What you need to know:
- Hands up if you are one of those people that don’t throw away containers that can be used to store sugar, salt, tea leaves and what-have-you.
- It is with great difficulty that I bring myself to throw away containers once the contents are finished.
I once turned up at my grandmother’s doorstep unannounced, only to come face-to-face with a locked door.
She’s normally home most of the time apart from Sundays, when she goes to church, so I had been pretty sure that I would find her since it was on a Friday.
Just in case you’re wondering how heedless I am, visiting my upcountry before alerting the person I intend to visit, my ushago, unlike that of my friends from Western, is less than 45 minutes from where I live, so I can decide to visit my parents or grandmother at 7pm on a weekday and be back home in time for the 9pm news. But I digress.
A bit disappointed, I decided to call her to find out where she was. She was nearby, she told me, and the key was under the potted plant next to the door, so I could go ahead and make myself at home.
I need to say here that I chuckled, amused that my grandmother still hid keys to her house in such an obvious place.
But maybe she’s not the only one who still does it. Anyway, I opened the door and got in. I like tea, no, I love tea, and since there was some little milk in a sufuria, I decided to make myself a cup as I waited for her to return.
Last time I was there, I had noted that she stored her tea leaves in an empty container of cocoa, so I reached for it, unscrewed the lid and liberally poured the contents into the mixture of water and milk, since I like my tea “conc”.
Only to realise that what I thought was tea leaves was actually salt. And just like that, the tea I had looked forward to was gone down the drain.
And there was no more milk. Turns out while I was away, my grandmother had switched containers …
Hands up if you are one of those people that don’t throw away containers that can be used to store sugar, salt, tea leaves and what-have-you.
At home, rarely were any containers thrown out, so you’d open the cupboard and count almost 10 Blue Band containers of various sizes — anyone not familiar with this Kenyan culture would probably have wondered how much margarine we had at a time.
Fast forward many years later, it is with great difficulty that I bring myself to throw away containers once the contents are finished.
As a result, I have two or three, (and I’m not being honest here) empty margarine containers and a couple of other assorted ones that have various uses.
I knew I was doing badly when, the other day, I found my son drinking water using one of those containers, yet there were cups and glasses where he had got the container from.
I was so appalled, I went on a clean-up exercise, resolutely tossing a number of them into the dustbin, horrified at the thought that one day, in many years to come, I would visit him only to be served tea or water in a plastic container. After all, I, his mother, had no qualms using them.
The writer is the Editor, Society and Magazines [email protected]