What happened between Mwema and Dorothy (not thei real names) at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) the other day, made me realize how common this problem must be for many Kenyans all over the world these days.
The situation in our country has forced many Kenyans to seek greener pastures outside by going to seek jobs in foreign countries. Many times, it has not been possible for spouses to tag along. The result has been long years of separation. Long years of previously married people going back to living like bachelors.
The following is a reconstruction based on an eyewitness account and on the bitter words that were exchanged in loud voices and actually caused a scene.
Dorothy had left the country for the United States by being part of a group that were going for a special convention somewhere in the States. The meeting was being held in a State where she knew a number of friends and so it was easy for her to miss her flight back to Kenya. For the next six years she worked long and hard to make money in the land of opportunity. It was much harder than she had expected, she would say in her regular communication with her husband Mwema. Mwema was a very responsible man and looked after the couple's children as well as taking care of the home. Dorothy would send money regularly and as a result of her efforts the couple now had not only a plot somewhere in Nairobi, but they had also constructed rental houses.
Mwema had really looked forward to this day with all his heart. He had not made love to his wife for 6 long years and he was so much looking forward to it that he had organized things so that on the way from the airport they would pass a city hotel for a "second honeymoon." But it was not to be.
The minute Mwema saw his wife he knew that there was something that was very wrong. Her smile was not quite hearty enough. It did not reach the eyes. She finally came through and they hugged.
"Where are the children?" Was Dorothy's first question.
"They are at school. I've really missed you Dorothy. How have you been?"
"Could the children not miss school for a day as important as this?"
"But I had plans and…"
"Mwema, you will have to be tested."
Mwema could not believe his ears and it took him sometime before he could digest those words so as to be able to reply.
Dorothy tried to whisper under her breath at as they walked through the busy arrivals area at JKIA. "AIDS."
"You must be joking."
"I have never been more serious in my life."
To cut a long story short, tempers rose and what followed was an ugly scene where several Kenyans were treated to the intimate details of this marriage as accusations and counter accusations flew. What really seemed to irk Mwema was the fact that Dorothy seemed to have set up an intelligence unit, which he had been aware of the whole time, to monitor his movements. Mwema's point was that people who did not trust each other had no reason to get married in the first place. Dorothy's point was that all men are created weak and although the spirit may be willing the flesh is always terribly weak.
The couple left in different taxis after the intervention of security personnel at the airport who urged them to continue their lively debate in the privacy of their home.
The whole incident made me think of my own marriage. If it were to happen and we were parted with my wife for many years. Would I insist on an AIDS test? It is an issue that is still disturbing my mind.
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Previous Hot stories in this series:
A True Kenyan Story: A Doctor’s Revenge
A True Kenyan Story: Matatu Nightmare
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