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MAN IN THE HOOD: My relative has taken over my house

by kenya-tribune
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By PHILIP ETEMESI
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I have a bunch of lamentations today. My visiting relative is colonising me in my own house.

I know you are like “Come on Phil, how are you allowing that to happen? It’s your house.’’ I mean, don’t get me wrong. I am no weakling. I’ve been going to the gym regularly over the past few months and I think I’ve begun developing abs and muscles like those of a WWE wrestler. The key word here is ‘think’.

However, this relative of mine is huge and intimidating. I wouldn’t confront him even if I wanted to.

His hardened eyes always twinkle with a sharp gleam. They give a stare that has the effect of a six-battery torch’s light right into your face. His voice sounds like Chidi Benz and rolling drums.

When he speaks, he clenches his fists, like he’s about to give you a technical knockout. His skin has huge veins popping out; you’d mistake them for the roots of a baobab tree. I literally stand no chance against him.

So now you understand why I am struggling to break free from this colonialism, right?

Before he pitched tent at my place, I had heard rumours of how he uses not less than 10 cups of water to prepare his ugali. I rubbished these rumours as mere exaggerations by village rumour mongers. Now I have seen it for myself. My food budget has surged. I am buying a new pack of maize flour every day. I cannot keep up. 

I even heard that he asked the family next door whether they had any chicken pieces to spare when the aroma wafted out from their house. Come on now. Who does that? 

I thought he was a cool guy, you know. I hadn’t interacted with him that much. I had only brief jibber-jabbers with him during family gatherings and he seemed like a decent person.

So when he said he was in town for a job interview and would like a place to crash, I said it was alright. I knew he’d be in and out quickly like a pressed Kenyan stepping into a choo ya kanjo.

It’s in our DNA as Africans to help whichever person in our community that might need a hand. But this time the assistance was a big mistake.

It’s been a whole three days and he’s still here – chilling. I am wondering when I will get my house back. He just sits around, watches TV and clears all the food in the refrigerator before I even have a taste. The aura of incivility that he constantly gives off is shocking.

Mister ‘Cousin of My Cousin’ won’t even let me touch the TV remote. He says I should let him watch whatever he wants as I usually have the TV to myself all year while this is the only opportunity he has to watch – such entitlement.

And despite having the kind of strength that mirrors that of Samson, he never lifts a plate to go wash it. He just doesn’t seem to appreciate the kindness I have extended.

Wish me luck as I try to solve this matter through diplomacy. I am renowned for my high levels of tolerance as well as my proclivity for avoiding conflict. So far, I’ve thrown around subtle suggestions and dropped a couple of hints but nothing has worked.

Now I’ve had enough. I am declaring a state of emergency. I need to take back control. If asking nicely bears no fruit, I’ll have to call Ochi (Ochieng) my gym instructor to help out. He’s a good friend of mine so I am sure he’d be more than glad to help me solve my ‘relative problem’.

Ochi is badass. He once beat up three thieves that tried to rob him in the middle of the night, all by himself (That’s what he tells us in the gym, I don’t know if it’s true.) He’s about as big as Mister ‘Cousin of My Cousin’ so it’ll be the battle of the giants. I’ll make sure to grab some popcorn and soda baridi before tucking myself on the couch as I savour the entertainment.

The problem with employing the services of Ochi is that I might get knocked over as the two giants collide – me or my electronics. Also, if my relative is successfully kicked out by Ochi, he might go on to tarnish my name in the village.

Huyo Philip alinifukuza kwake (Philip threw me out of his house),” he will say. I’ll look like the evil person even though I had every right to fight for my independence.   

It is my wish that this gets resolved amicably. If not, a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do. Be on the lookout on social media. You might see a video of a 250-pound man getting carried out of a house as he yells “wachanako na mimi! (Leave me alone)”. My neighbours’ children like recording things so I am just giving you a heads up. Thank you. 

Before I forget, to the tweeps who are my peeps, you can start a #FreeEtemesi hashtag for me. You can also add other hashtags such as #RelativeMustGo, #SayNoToOppression and #IndependenceNow. Thank you once again. I’ll get through this.



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