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A Christmas message

It was Christmas morning and I was sitting in the lounge with my Mum, looking at the [small] pile of discarded Christmas wrapping paper when the mobile shrilled out “Jambo Bwana”, the ring-tone signifying that the call was coming from Kenya.

“Mambo, vipi”, I said, knowing that the caller was my friend, Vincent, in Kisii.

“Mambo, safi, David”, came the familiar voice.

We exchanged greetings and then Benta asked to speak to me.

“Baba, when you come to see me?”

The lump in my throat grew and grew. I cannot answer that. I don’t know. I was planning to go out at the beginning of January, but the economic crisis has hit my family hard and I have had to dig into the money I had put aside for the trip.

All I could say was, “Soon. I will come to see you soon.”

I could sense the disappointment.

I could also hear Josephat in the background, wanting to speak to me, but this is impossible as he speaks no English.

This little conversation gave a bitter-sweet sense to the rest of the day. Of course, I want to be with my Mum for Christmas, but I yearn to see my girlfriend Liz and her kids, Benta and Josephat – all my friends in Kenya.

Oh well. I will just have to build up the pennies in the coffers again and hope that no more financial crises hit the family.

Benta, Jojo, I will see you both soon.

In the meantime, I raise a glass to absent friends.

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