Friday, January 22, 2021

Grandma’s letter to Obama!

Hello, my child.
I want to tell you that except for my knees, I am well. I also write to inform you that we are coming to eat Christmas in America.
This will be my first festive season out of the village. I look forward to eating Christmas in that country.

When I came for your inauguration, I did not have time to look around because of all those people who were taking photographs.

Grandson, I must say I was also nervous on seeing all the people who had come for the event.

When your father left the village all those years ago, we did not think he would end up with a son who would make us so proud. I recall how angry your grandfather was that your daddy was going to read more books in a foreign land.

Your grandfather felt that his son had received enough education and should teach in village school.

Teaching was a very prestigious profession. The only people who could eat with a knife and fork back then were teachers. They also spoke English through the nose just like proper white people.

It is only through my intervention that your grand dad allowed your father to go to America. Even then your grandfather was convinced that too much white man’s education was not good because we knew sons of neighbouring villages who had gone mad because their heads were filled with too much education.

Your father spent many years in America. He went for many years without writing. Jealous people said he had finally gone mad. We were so sad.

The day we received his first letter, you should have seen us. We were so happy. Your grandfather summoned all the elders in the village and the school principal was called to come and read the letter.

We were so surprised when, after finishing the letter, the principal pulled out a photo of your father with a white woman and a little boy whom we learnt was their son.

We ululated and the men sang and drank traditional beer because your father had done us proud by marrying a white woman. I did tease your grandfather and asked him if he still thought your father would go mad because of too much education, and marrying a white woman.

Grandson I am getting on in years and don’t think I have long to live in this world. That is why when your nephews said I should come and eat Christmas there, I decided to oblige although I don’t like that aeroplane thing.

When we came for the inauguration, it was only me and your brother from another mother. I want to tell you that this time I am bringing along other relatives.

You remember your two nephews who attend the local primary school? Well, they have long wanted to visit America. They say they are always taught about America at school and don’t believe a country can be so wonderful. They want to see it with their very own eyes.

There are three women from our burial society who insist on accompanying me because when I arrived back home the last time I was not very well. They say it is because I was homesick and missed singing traditional songs with them.

The chief of the village does not want to take no for an answer. By the way, he is your distant uncle if you didn’t know. In our culture a chief does not travel alone. He will be coming with two members of the tribal council.
I also thought it a good idea to bring that boy who helps us with the cows. We will borrow some decent clothes for him so that white people don’t laugh at him.

Grandson, there is another important reason why I must come to America. Your grandfather has been visiting me in my dreams for some time now. I do not know if white people communicate with their ancestors. But in our tradition if departed members of the family wish to send a message to someone, they come in our dreams.

Your grandfather has only one message. He says he is worried that some white people are jealous and don’t want you as their president and might even harm you. He says many white people who made you president have good hearts. But there are others who don’t like you so much. Because you are too busy to come here your grandfather is of the view that something must be done.

He has directed me to get some traditional medicine that will fortify you against your enemies and make them fear you. For this medicine to work it must be prepared by your wife. She must run a bath for you and then sprinkle some of the herbs in the water. I do not think you wife will have any problems. She is black after all.

If she behaves like a white woman and refuses to do as your grandfather wants she will be out of that nice house in no time because your enemies wives also want to live there.

The chief of the village is coming because he also has a message from the people here. They are not happy that ever since you became a big man, you have failed to visit.

They think you are ashamed of them. They are not happy at all and want you to come and eat New Year with them. They say if I eat Christmas there, then you must come and eat New Year back home.

Grandson, I must tell you I did not enjoy your food last time. I want to eat a nice Christmas. Make sure there is goat meat. I hear that the goats there are treated like pets and if they are killed, people are allowed to complain about cruelty to the animal. If that is the case I have no time for your American goats.
We will bring our own goat along.

The boy who takes care of the cows will slaughter it when we are there. Those silly people would have no reason to complain because we would not have slaughtered an America goat.

Grandson, please don’t say there are too many people coming to visit you. If you don’t have enough bedrooms, they will share. Others will sleep in the kitchen and in that room where you watch television.

Grandson, I had asked the local teacher to write this letter for me. When I get there I will tell you what I told him to write and you will confirm if indeed those are the words you received.

Make sure that all your old clothes and shoes are packed in a bag. When I return, I am going to give some to your relatives who, sadly, will be eating Christmas barefoot and wearing rags.

I will also bring back all the leftover food. You people in America are spoilt. How can you throw away food? We will depart tomorrow. Good bye, Your Grandma

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper