By Aaron Aroriza, Uganda:
Maxi and I have been friends for as long as I can remember. I attended his wedding reception recently. His smile might have fooled everyone into thinking he was happy but I know Maxi, and I know that smile he wore all through his wedding reception wasn't one of happiness. It was one of politeness. Maybe I read through it because I was aware of the fact that hadn't Brenda gotten pregnant, Max's wedding plans would have been decades from now.
But it was his uncle's speech that almost made me stand up screaming at the top of my voice carrying the plastic chair I start on – on my head. Maxi's uncle said he knew Max was struggling financially because he had wasted a lot of money in his bachelorhood but now that he had gotten married, he was about to get financially stable.
I wanted to scream at Maxi's uncle to shut up so I could explain to Maxi how irrational his uncle's statement was. I wanted to paint a scenario to Maxi. I wanted to tell him how his rent expenditure was going to increase. Brenda's relatives had sent her away with a lot of presents – most of them household goods – and amongst them a king size bed, a giant fridge and a mammoth cupboard. I know Maxi's one roomed bachelor pad; even the new bed alone wouldn't fit. And he's been having rent issues. Now he will have to find a bigger apartment to live happily ever after with his Brenda. God knows how much better he will fair with the new landlord.
I wanted to tell him how in a few months' time he and Brenda will have junior crashing their party. I wanted to remind him of the hospital bills that will come with it – especially if Brenda refuses to bring forth Junior into this world the 'village' way and instead goes for the cooler option of C-section.
I wanted to remind him how after that, he won't be able to work for long hours since he will have to be going back home early to be a good father. And he won't be going home empty handed like he has always done. No. he will have to carry a kavera. And God help him if that kavera ever happens to be empty. God help him as twice if he leaves Brenda at home without 'sente za kukameeza'. Junior will eat and junior will puupu. He will soon find out, junior doesn't eat kikoomando like his father always did. Junior's food is pricy and his puupu, even more expensive: Maxi won't believe how much of his money will be going down the drain through juniors pampers.
Then Junior will be too much for Brenda and Maxi. They will bring a house help. But Brenda won't want the house help to sleep in the same bedroom with her visitors. So maxi will have to now find a three bed-roomed house or live unhappily ever after. And all this will happen in his first year of marriage.
Pity him if he gets to think the worst is over then. Because truthfully, with all the financial challenges Maxi will be facing, it will still be honeymoon compared to what will be awaiting him in the following years. Junior will reach an age where he has to go to nursery school. But first he will go to baby class. Max will be amazed at how much money the lovely nursery head teacher will charge for giving some play space and time to what society has always told him is a bundle of joy. He will find out, his high school tuition his uncle always cried about is almost a tenth of little junior's tuition fees for playing and sleeping during day time.
But, his woes would have just started as Brenda's tummy will be re-growing and about to bring forth another bundle of joy. Max will be surprised at his not being so joyful at the prospect of another bundle of joy. But the juniors in his life will only be the tip of his marriage challenges' iceberg. He will think Brenda bewitched him so he could become poor and not be able to sleep around with younger girls. His 'uncle of the wedding' speech will affirm these suspicions and tell him how he had hoped Maxi would be luckier. Maxi will then realize that a few years ago, dear uncle of the speech was involved in an embezzlement scandal. And Maxi will now understand how his uncle ended up going down that road. Maxi will wish he had found financial stability before joining the institution of marriage.
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