These are issues that family members face in their day to day interactions with each other. The text addresses relations between siblings, parents and their children, married couples and even extended family relatives.
Relations between parents and their children are evident in the family of Chief Odero Gogni who loves his daughter Akoko to the extent of being over-protective of her. He wants the best for his daughter hence turns down 13 suitors. He goes to the extent of asking for a herd of thirty cattle – more than twice the normal bride price.
Nyabera shows love for her daughter and mother by taking them to the Aluro mission to stay with her. Nyabera’s love for her daughter is further evident when she is afraid of letting her go to college. She comforts her when Akoko dies and becomes lonely when Awiti leaves to stay with Mark in Nakuru.
The Sigu’s love their children and provide for their needs at home and at school. The children are well educated morally and trained on responsibility. When Vera asks for permission to go out, Mark fears for her safety. When Becky runs off to the city, her parents are concerned for her wellbeing. When Aoro presents Wandia as his fiancée, Mark is fearful about his son’s happiness but accepts to give him the freedom to choose his own wife.
Sibling relations are also highlighted in the text. Akoko has a close relationship with her elder brother Oloo. When she travels to Kisumu, she leaves her grandson in his custody. Oloo, on the other hand, sends his twin sons – Opiyo and Odongo – to accompany her on the journey. Oloo also welcomes Akoko into his house when she becomes a ‘migogo’ and leaves her matrimonial home.
Vera loves her sister Becky to the point that she gives up her place in a national school to join her in a district school. Their relationship suffers when Vera realizes that Becky is selfish and uncaring for anyone but herself.
The love between Aoro and Tony is mutual and Tony works hard in school to join Aoro’s school.
Relationships between couples in marriage are also explored. Chief Owuor shows a lot of love for his wife Akoko to the extent that his mother thinks her son is bewitched. Akoko leaves her matrimonial home when she hears of the bewitchment allegations. The marriage is salvaged after a meeting by representatives from Yimbo and Sakwa.
Mark and Elizabeth’s marriage is tested when Mark has an illicit affair with a girl. Even though Elizabeth hears about it, she chooses to keep quiet for the sake of the marriage.
Becky and John Courtney’s marriage ends in divorce after Becky becomes unfaithful.
Despite coming from different tribes, Aoro and Wandia have a successful marriage which is also tested when they give birth to Daniel, who suffers from Down’s syndrome.
Extended family relations are evident throughout the text. When Mark visits Awiti’s home, he comes with members of his extended family. Akoko also sends for her nephew twins and Nyabera’s brother in law. Awiti has to wait for her cousin, Father Owuor Kembo, to come and conduct their wedding.
Aoro’s and wandia’s family are seen to co-exist in love and friendship. The Aoro’s adopt Becky’s children –Alicia and Johny and even consider them their own. “The Courtney children had become so much part of the family that Wandia never dreamed of excluding them from her calculations” (pg 291)
How can you describe the relationship between:
- Becky and her children?
- Wandia and her mother?
- Elizabeth and Wandia?
- Akoko and her mother-in-law?
- Elizabeth and her mother-in-law?