This Swahili proverb mgeni njoo mwenyeji apone (Welcome guests, the host to be relieved) means that when the visitor arrives, the host will be relieved. If the family was planning to eat Sukuma wiki (kales) for supper that day and a guest came, then the diet will be changed and chicken will be added.
That is not the case for all families. To other families, visitors meant that they will be dealing with a nightmare. I want you to imagine in the early days when Nairobi was a big deal. The days when you would tell your classmates that you had a relative in Nairobi would be respected. When the bus to Nairobi was only one and it passed in the village at around 4 a.m.So that when you wanted to travel to Nairobi will have to wake up at 2 pm and be accompanied by your whole family to the stage to bid you goodbye.
So imagine after bidding your family goodbye and they stay for about five months and inform you they are coming for a visit. That is such great news but it could be turned upside down by eager parents who want to please them and make everything look perfect even if it is not.
It will begin with the slashing of the compound, hedging the fence and feeding the goat to be slaughtered. Of course, few days won’t make a big difference to the animals, but the parents will give you extra grass for that goat to become fatter. The next thing will be the borrowing of cutlery from neighbours. It is not that they do not have their own but they want to make sure the guests are comfortable which is outrageous. Not mentioning the fact that they could be mishandled and could incur extra costs when replacing them but why pretend if these are the people who know you and will know when you are faking it.
The real day is now the worst. In the name of perfection, the hosts will pressurize the cooking and the serving which taints their image to their guests because all of the shoutings does not go unnoticed. A lot of money is spent in the preparation of the meals because of wanting to cook variety and the food goes to waste too. The chicken that was forbidden to be eaten by the hosts will not be eaten by the guests
When receiving guests, it is best not to put too much pressure on yourselves and do not try so much hard. Instead, just do things naturally and be simple. That way the guests will appreciate you. If not then you can opt to go to eat in a restaurant where the environment is neutral.
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