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Of Baby Showers et al

    A hot sunny afternoon and I was lounging on on my couch when a call comes in. It was the lady who sells clothes to me. In my mind I was thinking ” I thought we agreed that I will not be taking anymore clothes because my finances can’t allow…”

    After checking on me and hinting that I should go and check out her new stock, and she doesn’t mind nikickua na deni, she drops the question; ‘Do you want to be added to my baby shower WhatsApp group?’ That question throws my mind off. When did mothers-to-be get involved in planning their surprise baby showers? Anyway, I consent. At least she had the courtesy of asking.

    That evening I was added to the group and the following day, one of the ladies asked if the baby shower was a surprise. To my surprise, the answer was yes. I was like, ‘the nerve in these ladies is too much.’ I must have been in a telling off mood because I bluntly said that it was not a surprise and she knew about it. I know, me and my big mouth. One lady added that she also wondered how she ended up in the group.

    Why do you want to lie to us that it is a surprise? All the baby showers that I have been involved in, the organizer is the best friend or sister to the mother-to-be. Then they involve mutual friends and organize a small party. Nowadays, you will get a WhatsApp notification that you have been added to a baby shower group. When you try to remember your relationship to the said, you are in the fifth or sixth generation of friendship.

    Anyway, two weeks to the event the lady calls me again. Again, she wants me to go and see her new stock. I reminded her of my financial incapacity. She adds, “Ni wewe uliambia watu kwa group ati nilikuwa nimekwambia kuhusu baby shower?” ( Are you the one who told people in the group that the baby shower was not a surprise?)

    “Eeh, ni mimi.” I respond. Damn these WhatsApp snitches. They can’t even wait for the event to be over then rat me out.

    “Unajua sikuwa nimeambia watu wengine, ni wewe tu,” (You know, I hadn’t told anyone else but you) she continues. The BS, I rolled my eyes and mumbled an insincere apology. She goes on to ask me if I had made my contribution because the organizers were asking. “Wanasema ati event itakuwa kesho”

    I was like, wait a minute, now a baby shower that was two weeks away has been brought forward to the following day? I remind her again, that I still don’t have money. I also tell her that I intended to contribute the following week because the date communicated was still two weeks away. She insisted that it was the next day and also I should send my contribution to the Admin.

    She said she doesn’t want money to be sent after because yeye hataki pesa za watu (she doesn’t want people’s money). I’m there thinking, if you don’t want people’s money then sort yourself out and cancel the baby shower!. My word is my bond so I sent money that night and the next day there was no baby shower. No one even talked about it. So this lady was just ensuring that I don’t fail to contribute? My goodness, people out here can be shameless. I sat down and thought about she and I. What bound me to her is because I was a regular customer of hers. I used to buy clothes from her every month. My money was our bond.

    This whole issue left me wondering. In my community people go to visit after the mother to be has put to bed. They call it “gucugia mwana” loosely translated to swinging the baby. This mambo of baby showers just mushroomed out of nowhere and now it has turned to be a competition.

    Initially it was a very nice and thoughtful event. They best friend or sister to the mother to be would request friends and family known to them to contribute and grace the occasion. Nowadays, everyone wants to outshine the other. They want their baby shower to be the talk of the town. “Let’s contribute 2k, sijui book a hotel mara let’s buy a dress for the mom-to-be. Then on top of all that, you suggest dress codes that will have us going to the shop after asking us to send three thousand bob.

    In a nut shell, if your friend is expectant and you want to throw a baby shower for her, shikaneni hiyo squad yenu and agree on how you want it to be. Don’t go through her contact list and lift every phone number to a WhatsApp group. Then when we are not actively responding, you you start smearing us and reminding us that it is not a must we be in the group. I didn’t ask to be added in the first place!.


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