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WHISPERS FROM LONDON: A wise man changes his mind, a fool never!

Written by: Man ManKambugua E-mail: manmankambugua@gmail.com Facebook: Man Man Kambugua
On arrival at the airport was Justus’s wife Priscilla, her two children and his long-time friend, James, who had come to receive Justus her husband from Africa. Since it was summertime, the wife was wearing a tight Jeans skirt which was several inches away from the knee. She also wore a sleeveless blouse which was short enough to make her navel visible. Justus, being a quintessential African traditional had never seen his wife dressed that way but since it was his first day in Europe, he turned a blind eye.
His friend James’ hair and moustache were well curled, trimmed, and clean. Justus himself had let his moustache grow so big that it made him look like he had two mouths. In Africa, his appetite for meat and beer was explosive leaving him with a very fat tummy. Somewhere on the way one of his kids asked him,
“Daddy are you pregnant?” to which he replied, “Yes, I am, why?” he asked.
“Your tummy looks so big! You look like you are a dad who lay eggs!” she said.”
“It is a sign of riches!” he said.
“I will tell my teacher that my dad is pregnant!” she said.
“Dad, tell me, you and Uncle James, who is more kind to mum?” asked the other kid.
“Why do you ask that love?” he asked.
“When we went for holiday last summer, Uncle James was so concerned that mum had cold, and she could not swim. He took her to her room and massaged her poor feet. He is such a good uncle,” she said.
Upon asking the children where they were when her mum’s feet were massaged, they informed him that they were praying in the sitting room.
“Uncle wanted to show mum that he cared. But mum was just crying as her feet were massaged by uncle. Mum was very mean!” she said.
Priscilla overheard the conversation and interjected-
“Yes, we went for summer holidays with James and his entire family, and we had an enjoyable time!” she said. James was lost for words for he could not draw a serious conclusion as to what his kids had just said. Meanwhile, James was busy driving ignoring the ongoing conversation.
He was overjoyed to be in such a magnificent country where everything was well planned. On the way, his children were all over him since it was five years since they saw him. He was in deep conversation with his children as his wife and James talked about this and that. James being a happy man would say something and the Priscilla would laugh uncontrollably. Back in Africa, Justus was not used to seeing his wife talk to another man so freely in his presence and so he started wondering whether Priscilla was the same wife who left him five years ago.
After an hour and a half, they arrived at Priscilla’s house. As she alighted, considering that her skirt and blouse were short, he saw her navel again and top part of her inner wears which to him was a cardinal sin.
Justus noted that there was extraordinarily little conversation between him and his wife despite that they had not seen each other for a period of five years. Instead, both James and Priscilla had so much to talk about especially matters relating to work, politics, and economics.
In the house, Priscilla prepared breakfast which they all ate as they caught up with their past lives. James promised to come for Justus later in the afternoon so that he could show him around the city.
At exactly 2 PM James arrived. He took him for a drink as sign of friendship and also to explain to him what he expected from abroad.
“Once you have stepped in the European soil, you will have to leave your ego in the plane otherwise you will never make a step forward,” he told Justus.
“Meaning what…?” asked Justus.
“While in this country, it is not for you to choose the job, the job will choose you,” he said.
“What is the worst job I should expect?” he asked as he took his lighter and lit a cigarette and exhaled a generous amount of smoke.
“Once you are here and you have proper documents, apply jobs with employment agencies. If for example you get a job even in a mortuary to clean corpses, just do it. In the end you will be paid in foreign currency that is very strong,” said James.
“What else?” he asked with his eyes fixed on James as if he was a Government’s hangman.
“At times you would expect jobs in care homes where you take care of the elderly, you clean and feed them with care, you can also work as a security guard or simply work in a factory,” he said.
“I have no problem with any other job but cleaning the elderly? You mean I clean someone who is the age of my grandmother? Is this what you do in diaspora? I wish I knew,” he said with deep regret that he had resigned from his highly respected professional job in Africa.
“If you are used to order your wife and children around, this has got to stop! Remember you are in the West where a man is supposed to respect humanity religiously,” he added.
Justus remembered that when James left that morning, he had a quarrel with his wife because of the way she was dressed. He was particularly overly critical of her showing so much of her fresh to the entire world. His wife told him that he should have known that he was no longer in his home country where women were not conscious of the fashion trend.
“What?! Who is the leader of the house then if I cannot talk in my house?!!’ he asked.
“Your machismo will not work here. Your wife has the power to chase you out of your house and the police will forbid you not to be around her for a certain radius. She can even have a boyfriend if she so wishes!” said James.
“Why am I a man then?” he asked.
“Once you are in this country, you must change your ways otherwise you will eventually risk losing your family and being on the wrong side of the law. I know you as those traditional African men who like beating their wives. In this country you only need to stress her, and she informs police. You will be arrested and be charged with causing grievous bodily harm.
From there you will have a criminal record and that is where your hard life abroad will start. It will be hard for you to get a decent job; your insurance premiums will also be extremely high. You will not be able to get credit facilities from financial institutions. When you are in Western countries, as a man, the best you can do is to have eyes and not see, and have ears and not to hear,” said James.
Exit five years -James and Justus had not met because he (James) had massaged his wife’s feet once upon a time. Regrettably, Justus was still physically abusive to his wife and children, the same way he was doing in Africa. For the sake of the children and her safety, the wife reported him to Police numerous times. The social welfare department advised the couple to separate for the sake of peace which they did so, Justus lost the joy of seeing his young children growing up.
Another worrying thing was that Justus did not care to find work. He was relying on the benefit provided by department of Pensions. On being asked why he never worked, he would say that after he talked with James, it became apparent to him that he could not imagine himself doing demeaning jobs just to survive. He also found it ridiculously hard to imagine himself working in a care home, in a security firm or in a factory.
If only Justus arrived in the West and adjusted with the system, he would not have separated with his wife. This means that he would have enjoyed the joy of having his family around. Due to his stinking attitude and a criminal record attached to his name, it was hard for him to get a job or credit facilities thus jeopardizing his life left, right and centre. A wise man could have told him that it is only a fool who did not change his mind.
I overheard my compatriots say that if you have been married for twenty years and three of the twenty years have been spent in the West, then you have been practically married for only three years. In the West, your wife is independent since she has a job, and the Government is there to protect her. In your native country she had to go by what you said, in the West there is democratic space, so she is free to show you her true colours.
With such facts, your ego must go away if you want to live in peace. As a wife, much as you have freedom, do not misuse it because your children need a father. Ask single women how lonely it is to live a lonely life and they have a story to tell. You do not know what you have until you lose it. To you Justus, stop being stubborn, change with time for you to reach the promised land otherwise you will forever live-in captivity. By the time you realise that you wasted your time, you will be old and lonely. A wise man changes his mind, a fool never!