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Part 4: Variable Winds

Chapter 1

Aoro joins medical school where he meets Wandia. In the Anatomy class, Aoro and Wandia are grouped together with four other students. They are given a cadaver which they will dissect throughout the course.

Aoro and Wandia are competitive and when the final exams are out, Wandia beats Aoro by a single point. Aoro, though disappointed, offers to buy Wandia a drink. Aoro is attracted to Wandia despite her coming from a different ethnic community. Wandia declines to reveal her address to him but Aoro does not give up – after all, he is the great-grandson of Akoko, who never gave up.

Chapter 2

Both Aoro and Wandia are interns in two different hospitals. While Wandia is in Machakos, Aoro is in Nairobi and it is difficult for the two to meet – even on weekends. The two have only managed to get one day in a year to themselves, when their off-days coincided.

After a thirty-hour shift, Aoro manages to get an hour’s sleep but is awakened only thirty minutes later by Wandia, who is on her way to Murang’a to see her ailing mother. The two enjoy each other’s company and he sees her off at the bus stop after promising to visit her mother as soon as his internship was over.

Chapter 3

Wandia sees her mother at the hospital where she is admitted. She has an ulcer on her leg in addition to being diabetic. She is happy to see her and shows her off to the nurses. Wandia informs her mother about Aoro’s intended visit.

In the evening, Wandia goes to her sister, Esther, to spend the night. Wandia enjoys the company of her sister’s children. The sisters talk about their brother, Timothy, who is promiscuous and the new disease – AIDS. Michael, Esther’s husband, a feared and respected headmaster, comes in and welcomes Wandia.

Before sleeping, the sister, discuss about Aoro. While Esther is fearful that their marriage will suffer because of their ethnic differences, Wandia is confident that she can handle it.

Chapter 4

Aoro takes Wandia to Nakuru to meet his parents. This is after they have already visited Wandia’s family. Aoro had already written to his father informing him of Wandia’s visit.

Elizabeth is excited about the chance to meet Wandia. Mark, on the other hand, is skeptical about Aoro choosing to marry someone who is not Luo. Father and son talk for long. In the end, Mark is surprised to learn that Wandia’s parents have no desire for a bride price. Mark realizes that his view of the Kikuyu – as people who love money – may not be true.

Elizabeth and Wandia, on the other hand, get along well in the kitchen. Elizabeth tells her about Vera and Akoko. The two enjoy each other’s company as they prepare tea. Later, they all sit down for a cup of tea.

Chapter 5

Aoro marries Wandia and they go for their honeymoon in Malindi – which is organized by Vera. Wandia manages to get a transfer to Nairobi to join her husband. Wandia and Vera become good great friends and Vera tells her about her twin sister Becky.

Becky and John Courtney divorce because of Becky’s unfaithfulness. She becomes promiscuous and changes men like clothes. Her children suffer and become confused despite going to the best schools. Vera advices Becky to take the children to Nakuru but Becky insults her instead.

Vera and Wandia discuss the subject of Becky and it turns out that Becky could be infected with the dreaded AIDS. While the two women are talking about Aoro, Wandia who is pregnant, experiences her first labour pains.

Chapter 6

The Aoros are blessed with a set of twins – Daniel and Lisa. However, Daniel is diagnosed with Down’s syndrome. The revelation comes as a shock to the parents. Daniel also suffers from a mild case of leukemia.

Becky develops full blown AIDS and the Aoros adopt her two children. She dies a bitter person but leaves behind a huge insurance for the children and an estate that amazes everyone. In her will, Becky appoints Vera as her children’s guardian.

Wandia and Aoro are not religious but Daniel’s condition brings Wandia closer to Christianity. She prays to God to cure her son whom she loves dearly.

Chapter 7

Wandia joins university to become a lecturer after her second degree. She then receives a scholarship to study haematology at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. She finds it difficult to leave her home and children. The couple decides to bring in Mary – Aoro’s youngest sister – to come live with them.

At the end of the term, the children present their report forms and all are doing well except Daniel because of his condition. While Jonny, is attached to Wandia, Alicia, who is now fifteen, loves Vera.

Before leaving, Wandia visits her mother-in-law where Aoro drives her. They meet the aged parents together with Odongo, who is now a farm manager. They are joined by Opiyo and his wife Edna and Father Tony. Wandia talks to Elizabeth about her planned departure which she (Elizabeth) supports.

Tony commends Wandia and asks Aoro to pay Uncle Peter a visit with the children. Aoro agrees and also compares Wandia with the great Akoko.

Chapter 8

Wandia’s family and friends watch as she is awarded her doctorate degree – the highest accolade possible in medical studies. She is now Professor Wandia Sigu.

After the ceremony, the whole family goes to celebrate at Aoro’s homestead. Everyone, including Aoro’s siblings and their children; Wandia’s siblings and their children; and their parents, is present.

Elizabeth watches the whole gathering from a window upstairs and observes that, “the river has continued to flow” and there is hope that it will not dry.

On the way back to Nakuru, Elizabeth falls sick and is rushed to hospital where she is declared dead on arrival. Many come to mourn ‘the teacher’. Her husband, Mark, dies only a year later.

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