A New Family and a Thief

My entire host family except for my dad, Mohammed, went on a month long vacation to Dubai and Oman. That made it even harder to be away from home for the holidays. My aunt, Sunara, and her grandson, Nassri, moved in with us to take care of me while everyone was gone. There was also a house girl, Mi, who had worked and lived with my family a few years back. It was stressful having to adjust to living with another group of people. My frustrations made me feel like an ass, because they were only trying to make sure I was alright and had everything I needed, but it was overbearing. For example, sometimes I eat lunch at home and the days I go to Zanrec, they cook lunch for the office. I remember after about a week and a half after Sunara moved in, she confronted me and asked why I wasn’t eating lunch at home, thinking I didn’t like her cooking or something. It made me laugh and I explained to her that I didn’t have time to come home, but it’s also frustrating in the moment for someone who is used to being independent. Also, it’s difficult having to explain to someone why you’re not hungry or did a certain action just because and had no reason for doing it.

Then, a lot of my money was stolen out of my room. I had gone to the ATM to take money out for our trip. I locked my room all day when I was out and the only time it was unlocked was when I was downstairs eating dinner. At the time, my dad’s sister and her kids were staying with us. It’s a very shitty feeling knowing someone you live with would violate your trust right in front of you. I talked to both Sunara and Mohammed about the situation. Mohammed assured me that he would handle the situation and no matter what happened, he would return what the mwizi (theif) stole. Sunara also made me feel better saying that she felt like I was her own child and that we would figure it out together. Theft is a pretty big deal in Swahili culture. No one likes a thief and it isn’t uncommon to see an alleged thief being drug to the police station by a mob. You can imagine how people would react to it happening in their own homes. There were three people who went upstairs while I was eating, Mi included. She had knowingly gone into my room to put water in my bathroom. I was pretty distraught for a while, knowing that someone who I trust to take care of me (she was responsible for laundry, cleaning, cooking) could take advantage of that trust.

I found out after Mama Shadya returned home that Mi actually did steal the money. All of a sudden, a week after the theft Mi said her mother was pregnant and she needed to go home to help her. Which, obviously didn’t go over well because Sunara is pretty old and can’t take care of an entire house by herself and Mi agreed to stay here for the entire month. All the women were discussing it and their friend saw Mi with 200,000 shillings and saw her shopping after she moved out of our house. I came really close to asking her a few days after the theft if she did it and I really wish now that I had. I hope she enjoyed the Christmas present I gave to her. Urghh. I’m just going to be over here trying to remind myself to kill ‘em with kindness.

Either way, I’m so so happy my family is around again. As much as I enjoyed getting the alone time, I really missed just being around them. We usually watch Bollywood soap operas and laugh a lot. Our house is never dull.

Nassri. The sweetest boy who stole my heart with daily, 'Umependezaaa!" (You are beautiful!) to running to the door and yelling 'Kesho!' (See you tomorrow!) when I would leave for work, even though we'd see each other for dinner.

Nassri. The sweetest boy who stole my heart with daily affirmations like ‘Umependezaaa!” (You are beautiful!) as well as running to the door and yelling ‘Kesho!’ (See you tomorrow!) when I would leave for work, even though we would be seeing each other for dinner.


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