The Family: A Kenyan, Or Rather a Nairobian, Perspective.

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????Each time I think of family what comes in mind are those beautiful Christmas celebrations, birthdays ,at times weddings, since those are some of the times I get to bond much with my family members, and keep those awesome tokens as souvenirs  for the future. Sixteen years ago I lost my younger sister and the love we received from our extended family was tremendous, though it couldn’t take away the pain. Their presence was worthwhile and a relief that we were still surrounded by love.

So this got me thinking what exactly is a family? I think a family is any group of people related either biologically, emotionally or legally. Whether extended, nuclear, blended, step, single parented or adoptive, the fact remains that a family is where we all belong and it helps us to form our identity.

As I grew up I had that funny story that I guess all of us must have had, that children are bought. The interesting bit was when Mama couldn’t answer my question on what happened to her tummy after she came back from the hospital. Now i know, a family is an institution through which procreation takes place, Children are born, and nations are built. Wow! A pat on my parents back for educating me, at least I no longer think that kids are picked up from the supermarket shelves.

My brother is part of a football team and in as much as he loves playing football; he doesn’t score all the time, sometimes he comes home and looks at himself as a failure, especially when his buddies scold him for losing. On the other hand my sister loves cooking, and from time to time her cooking backfires and she feels like she will not try out another recipe again. The last time she prepared some biscuits they turned out spongy, instead of crunchy and sweet, as she expected. Oh! You couldn’t imagine the look on her face! When everyone took a bite and tried to give her that fake smile. Uh huh! Oh yeah! I know it will be mean, not to talk about myself too. Well, I love singing and I pretty much recall this time when my guitarist showed up the last minute and all the lyrics disappeared from my mind, I shivered all the way to the podium and my voice couldn’t project anything, the crowd on the other hand didn’t help at all, instead it scared the hell out of me. Yeah! The shame was unbearable! And I thought that was the last time I was going to show myself on stage.

For those of you who have been on the streets of Nairobi, you must agree with me that for the past few days it’s been hell on earth for those street urchins who sleep on the cold rains amidst the floods on the pavements. For a moment, I stopped and wondered whether to whisper a prayer, but then I couldn’t top asking myself…”What was I going to pray for? “ “ food,  clothes or may be a shelter he needed.” Hmmhh…I brushed it off!  But later on it dawned on me that I shouldn’t take for granted those basic needs.

One thing that I do know for sure, that has kept us going is the emotional support, love, care and affection we receive from our family who saw the opposite and gave us the drive to move on.

By Nohline Ouma, a WYA member in Kenya.