Feature

The season for gloating and bragging.

The week's news at a glance.

Kenya

Njoki Kaigai
The Nation

While most New Year’s revelers recover from hangovers, in Kenya we have to recover from our relatives’ visits, said Njoki Kaigai in the Nairobi Nation. Every year for the Christmas holidays, Kenyans return to their home villages “to show off.” Any man who made good in the city tries to arrive in the flashiest car possible. “How else will people know you are doing well?” Many of these men insist on throwing parties “to show just how fat their wallets are.” But the women are just as bad. They flaunt their well-educated children, making kindergartners recite the entire alphabet “for an illiterate audience” of locals. Some of them prompt their kids to sing Christmas carols in English, knowing the villagers won’t understand a word. Worst of all, of course, are those who return from abroad acting as if they’re now too refined for village life. “Suddenly, a guy who spent half his life squatting over a pit latrine declares the same latrine unfit for use.” They toss around dollars and complain about the dust. Next year, let’s try to remember that no matter where we now live, the village is where we came from—“and chances are that is where our bodies will end up.”

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