What you need to know:
- This friend had offered to buy him nyama choma and whatever went down well with it, and from how her husband relayed the news, he thought it was a good idea.
- Her husband had spent Sunday at home, but not with his family, who were holed inside watching TV until late in the evening when the mzinga and nyama choma-carrying friend left.
Last Saturday, a friend called me to vent. Three of her husband’s friends had visited, and they had come bearing a 10-litre mtungi of muratina, the Kikuyu community’s version of the Luhyas’ busaa.
They arrived with their ‘shopping’ at 4pm, and by 6pm, raucous alcohol-induced laughter reverberated all over the neighbourhood from the shaded area outside where they were seated.
The loud drinking spree went on late into the night, and theirs being a quiet neighbourhood, this friend and her children as well as their livid neighbours only managed to fall asleep at around 2pm when the empty container of alcohol finally persuaded the merry-making men to return to their homes, way, way past curfew hours.
If you’re a man who enjoys his beer, you’re probably wondering why this friend would be upset that her husband had such generous friends especially during this period of scarcity when most barely have enough for themselves, leave alone extra to share.
Everyday food items
Well, here’s her argument – were it her friends who had visited, they would have brought her something that would have been of benefit to the whole family such as unga, bread and cooking oil, the everyday food items that every household needs, plus a packet of biscuits for the children.
These men had, however, come carrying something that only benefited them, something that only they could enjoy, never mind that this home they had visited, and in which they were generously treated, (my friend prepared them lunch she hadn’t budgeted for) had other occupants apart from their friend, whom they proceeded to fill to the brim with alcohol.
Her conclusion, though it could have been Covid-19-induced frustration speaking, was that unlike that of women, men’s friendship was not beneficial, that it was not considerate and did not inspire growth.
She said it is not that she expected those men to pass by the supermarket and buy her a loaf of bread before knocking on her door, but she felt it would have been good manners if one of them would have reached into their pocket, removed a 200-shiling note and said something like, “Nunulia watoto soda” before sitting down to partake of the ‘gift’ they had brought their friend.
Swap endless stories
This story reminded me of another I’d heard sometime last year before Covid-19 struck – we women swap endless stories, most of them about our lives. Anyway, for most families, Sundays are the day that most spend together.
On this particular Sunday, the narrator’s husband got a phone call from a friend. This friend had offered to buy him nyama choma and whatever went down well with it, and from how her husband relayed the news, he thought it was a good idea. But his wife firmly pointed out that Sunday was the only day they spent any meaningful time together, therefore he should turn down his friend. He did.
An hour later, they heard hooting at the gate – it was the friend that had called earlier. With him was a kilo of nyama choma (enough for two) and a mzinga, which the two proceeded to enjoy at the verandah, soaking in the sun. Her husband had spent Sunday at home, but not with his family, who were holed inside watching TV until late in the evening when the mzinga and nyama choma-carrying friend left. I have to agree, the friendships between men and between women are as different as night and day.
The writer is Editor, Society & Magazines, Daily Nation [email protected]