As you all know, my siblings as well as Fiolina’s usually bring their children to stay with us during long school holidays.
When schools close, you always find Tocla’s Electina, Fiolina and Honda, Yunia’s Theophilas and Bedford; Caro’s Barrack and Edmund, among many other children, at my home.
I haven’t even mentioned Senje Albina’s grandchildren. By week two of the holidays, I am usually running a nursery here.
By now, I would be avoiding all the shops in Mwisho wa Lami, having taken foodstuff on credit.
But I did something interesting last December holidays when the children were around.
We survived on sukuma wiki and kunde every day, and sugarless black tea every morning. So much that I remember Bedford telling his mother that they had become rabbits.
And the issue is not just about the food budget. Tocla and Yunia hardly pack clothes for their children.
They expect me to buy for them. Last December, I gave the boys my old, green Kaunda suits. They were oversized and the boys did not like them. Fiolina also gave the girls her old clothes.
Keeping such children and maintaining high discipline is never easy, and you are always resolving problem after problem.
If you remember, in August last year, my father lost Sh500 and a watch in his house and suspected Honda, Tocla’s son.
We severely punished all the boys. Their parents protested. I disagreed with their parents at the time, although I later agreed with them because my father later got the Sh500 and the watch in one of his jackets.
Then there is work. You would expect such many children around to help around with work.
Tocla and Yunia usually send their children to come and improve their grades since Fiolina and I are teachers. And the children expect us to only give them academic assignments.
Last time we made the children work. Properly. We fenced my compound, prepared the land for next season’s planting, moved bricks and sand, maintained the grass, and planted vegetables with the boys.
When we were done with my home, we did the same at my parents’ home.
Fiolina ensured that the girls mopped our humongous palatial house every day and washed clothes twice a week.
Utensils were washed after each meal and the drums were always full of water, among other unending house chores.
So Fiolina and I were not surprised that no child has come over to stay with us this holiday.
I am sure the parents wanted to bring them over, but the children said No. But something else happened.
Yunia called in October and booked Branton. And so as soon as schools closed, Branton went to Yunia’s place.
Second was Sospeter, whom we first called Baby Probox.
If you remember, my sister Caro played a pivotal role during Fiolina’s pregnancy.
Being a veteran on matters children — she got her first born when she was 15, and is on her seventh born — Caro advised Fiolina every step of the way.
That is why Caro considers Sospeter her son. She still calls him Probox. Caro has always wanted to stay with Sospeter, but we insist he is still young.
This time we gave in and two weeks ago, I took Sospeter to aunt Caro’s place. A day later, we released our house girl and were left just the two of us. All alone …
So, ladies and gentlemen, the last two weeks have been paradise for us. No children around to disturb us. And no work.
I want to submit to you that it has been pure bliss, and we hope it stays that way until January.
One would compare it to our early days of marriage. So how have we been running our days? I will give a sneak preview: Mornings.
Except for the days when I am training for the Kakamega Forest Marathon, we don’t wake up early.
And after waking up past 7.30am, for obvious reasons, we don’t leave the bed until well after 9.30am.
Or rather Fiolina wakes up to prepare breakfast. And since we are just the two of us, it’s good breakfast — tea, bread and eggs. And groundnuts.
If it is a marathon training day, I leave the house at 7.30am. By the time I return at around 10.30am, I find breakfast ready, and Fiolina waiting.
We take breakfast together after which we go back to bed.
Day time. I am mostly around during the day. We spend a lot of time talking, moving from one room to another, changing things here and here, watching Nigerian movies and listening to the radio.
At around noon, we walk together to the market to buy food, then leisurely walk back home.
For the first time, I have been joining Fiolina in the kitchen to prepare lunch. Maini and matumbo have been our speciality.
We eat lunch together and just relax, talking. And admiring each other. At around 4pm we take tea with groundnuts.
Evenings. Unless when I am training for the marathon, or if I am going to Hitler’s, we take a stroll around Mwisho wa Lami. Holding hands.
We come back home at around 7pm to prepare supper. After taking super, we talk while taking more tea. Then we retire to bed early. However, for obvious reasons, we sleep late. Very late.
Life is good. I don’t want the blissful school holidays to end!