I find it hard to believe that I will be spending my Christmas holiday at the Coast, a break from the past when I marked the festivities in my village. I was in the village only a few weeks ago to attend a family meeting and that excuses me from returning this Christmas.
My parents had summoned all of us to discuss the fact that of late, we as siblings have not been getting along and I feel like I am the main object of hate among my brothers and sisters.
One faction of the family believes that my efforts at taking care of my parents are aimed at luring them into signing off their land to me.
Two days before the family meeting, Rachel one of my sisters called me up and asked me for a ride to the village. Frankly, I was taken aback by her request since she has often been vocal in opposing anything I propose for my parents.
My initial thought was to refuse to grant her the ride but I decided that perhaps this might be a great opportunity to get some intelligence on my other siblings.
Our drive to the village was a mixed bag. To start with Rachel was half an hour late in arriving at the pickup point we had agreed on.
On the way all she did was talk about her woes and problems, which she said, were many. She told me that she wants to, “divorce her husband for being useless and for not paying the bills”.
I really did not know what to tell her for I was still distrustful of her motives. So I just listened and told her, “I hope everything works out”. At one point, I was tempted to tell her that I too have a tonne of issues and problems that I have to deal with daily but I decided to keep quiet.
However, it was not all bad because somewhere along the way, we started revisiting memories of our childhood and exchanging juicy gossip about the village and our relatives. I really enjoyed this gossip session so much that by the time we got home, my mood was much better.
When we got home, two of my brothers, as well as two sisters, had arrived. We were now awaiting the arrival of one brother and one sister.
The wait was a bit awkward as we exchanged small talk and shared photos of our children and families. My parents appeared very serious and reluctant to join in our small talk — clearly, they were not joking.
My other siblings showed up one hour late and did not offer an apology for their lateness. My father was not wasting time as he said, “you, my children, have not been getting along and today I want to understand what the issues are. Your mother and I do not have much longer on this earth and we want to leave a united family behind”.
There was a pregnant silence before anyone dared say anything. After a while, Rachel spoke and said: “The main issue is that you favour Josphat and give him all the attention. Now we hear you are giving him the ancestral land.”
This seemed to open the floodgates as the other siblings joined in and threw in their accusations and claims. The more they talked, the angrier I got.
I was hoping that my parents would say something reasonable but my father only said, “Josphat, what do you have to say for yourself?”
By this time I was seething inside but I had to keep my cool lest I offend my parents. I said, “It is unfortunate that you all feel this way and all you can think of is the land.
I wish you could also think about all the bills and responsibilities I have to handle singlehandedly. I always call on you and at most only one person offers to help.” Joe, one of my brothers, jumped in and said: “It is not about the money! You always make it about the money.” I said, “we are not talking about money here, we are talking about responsibility for our parents.”
This led to a heated argument and I realised we were not going to reach an agreement so I said, “Since you people are obsessed with the land, I give you the land and I give you all the responsibilities.”
I then got into my car and drove. I could see the shocked faces of my family as I drove off.