One of the biggest challenges a girl faces working on the Street is the need to hide the true nature of her work from family and friends and to erase any suspicion that family may have about her life in the city.One of the biggest challenges a girl faces working on the Street is the need to hide the true nature of her work from family and friends and to erase any suspicion that family may have about her life in the city. The doubts arise, for instance, when a girl is vague when talking about her “job” or unconsciously taking habits picked from the Street to family social settings.
Like if a girl casually uses words considered vulgar or her body language giving the impression that she is inappropriately seducing men. To prevent such suspicion that may have occurred, a girl has to occasionally act in a way that validates that she is in a proper job. You know, she has to have money at the end of the month, and not just that but must also send some to her parents. In addition, she has to be using the lingua franca of the formally employed such as constantly referring to the “boss” and “promotions”. Plus, a girl needs to spend some few days with her parents claiming to be on annual leave. Still, to a girl of the Street, the most important of all these pretences, the one that truly certifies a girl is in a normal regular job, is spending Christmas with family.
However, spending an extended time with all of family is usually a doubleedged sword. On one hand, a girl is able to preempt any misgivings her family may have about her career, while on the other, the carefree and celebrating mood of Christmas may make her let down her guard and say something or act in a way that raises doubts. But like it is said, “the guilty are always afraid”. If a girl fails to attend a Christmas celebration, she will be fearful that her family has a hint of what she does and are now talking behind her back. Consequently, as Christmas draws near and everyone is thinking of relaxation and reflection, we here are thinking of money and impressions, after all this is Christmas. A girl needs to dress sharply and have her pockets full.
She thinks of things to do and say to avoid any contradictions. She wants to make it clear to everyone, even those not interested, that she is working classcorporate working class. So given a choice, many girls would prefer to spend Christmas away from family and only visit when the mood in the village is calmer and people are not relaxed enough to note each and every word said or ask piercing questions about one’s work . Not that there is much choice though. Towards the end of the year, the city too seems to get a life of its own, wanting to have some time alone. Therefore, after the blitz Christmas marketing, which has a “take all you can before I take a break” kind of urgency, the city retreats to a dull, actually boring calm which does not entice anyone to stay around.
The few people present, closed shops and morgue silence in some parts plus the inability to afford a holiday to Elementaita, the only option is to pack one’s bags and join the family in the village. Last year, I spent Christmas with family. They were happy but I had one too many, opened my mouth wide and talked things I regretted. This year I am not enthusiastic to go upcountry. Money is not forthcoming, and bar a miracle, I don’t see myself hitting a Christmas jackpot which I should have had by now. In a few days the men who matter, the ones with cash will have started trooping out of the city to the parks and beaches. And I would rather stick in the city than go for holidays broke.
For some time I had clung to the hope that the general elections would be held in December and hence have an excuse not to travel by saying I am registered to vote in the city. Now I can’t come up with a good enough excuse other than changing my “career”. Or do “Marketing Consultants” work over Christmas? Wherever I will be, I plan to have a wonderful Christmas. So should you. Have a Merry Christmas everyone.
|< Prev||Next >|
By Susan Kahumbura