Compare and Contrast


Last week, during the process of laying the original Njenva to rest (I was named after her!), I got to analyse my two sets of relatives, from Mrs. Adrian‘s side and from Adrian‘s side.

I will refer to Mrs. Adrian’s side as Dzariguta, which loosely translated means ‘I touched it‘. This comes from stories of old….When people from this community first saw a car, they took to their heels and ran far away from it. The most courageous of the lot went back to the car and touched it. He then proclaimed loudly, ‘Dzariguta na karinena‘ which means, ‘I touched it and it didn’t speak‘……

I will refer to Adrian’s side as Nguruvati. Which is one of the funniest words I have ever heard. I don’t know why this word that just means ‘sack‘ (like sack of potatoes NOT like Donald Trump will sack you) tickles me so!

Anyway, the Dzariguta decided that they wanted to condole the Nguruvati during this sad time and a whole hoard of them traveled to Nguruvati land. First shock for them was that there was no overnight party prior to the funeral. How do people celebrate the life of someone without actually celebrating!? They got over this shock and when we woke up on the burial date, some of them were very tempted not to eat breakfast. It is a funeral. My friend, in Dzariguta land, this means PARTY. Me being the wise girl that I am, I requested them to eat as much as they could because the next meal’s timing wasn’t guaranteed. I know the Nguruvatis don’t cook during funerals.

I remember during Adrian’s funeral, about 30 minutes after he was buried, we were at a nearby hotel with my uncles having dinner and playing with our cousins. For the Nguruvatis, a funeral is not a party.

We got to Mama Adrian’s place where the funeral was taking place and I am sure the Dzarigutas thought we were at the wrong venue. Why?

  • There was no one wailing
  • There were no people throwing themselves to the ground in throes of mourning
  • There was no loud music
  • There were no drunk people dancing around the compound

The Nguruvatis started off the funeral with an hour of people taking photos next to the coffin:

1. Those who got married to this home

2. Those who were named after the deceased

3. Those who arranged for the funeral

4. Those who…. I lost count of these groups.

So, with my Nguruvati cousins, we started our own side meetings. And had a blast. Unfortunately, that is the truth. We caught up, made plans for the future, laughed, dissed each other and totally forgot that we were there for a funeral service. My Dzariguta cousins kept on looking at us in shock. They couldn’t believe that in addition to us not wailing and throwing ourselves on the ground, we were also very busy talking and generally having a great time with ourselves.  Truth be told, many of us couldn’t even understand ‘Nguruvatiees‘ which was the main language being used at that time so it really didn’t make a difference whether we paid attention or not.

Surprise. There was food provided at the end of the ceremony! Rice pilau with a rare treasures (beef) hidden in random sufurias….. There was no way that the Dzariguta were going to eat that food. They all (except Mrs. Adrian’s sister and her step mother) turned up their noses to the humble offering and said, ‘There is juice in the car, right? We’ll have that‘ Did I mention that the Dzariguta are renowned for their prowess in the kitchen?

I noted many other differences between my relatives, including looks and manners but i will not put that down on paper (or internet!). Skinny would be too upset with me if I did. And I don’t want to upset anyone at this point and time. Now, how is that for a totally random rambling!?

8 responses »

  1. First it was nice seeing you and meeting all those new cousins that I dont know how they are my cousins. Two, the pilau, wacha tu,,,,I totally understand the Dzarigutas. Lastly, please see me in camera for Nguruvatiees lessons. I am quite the pro as you heard. . .

    • 🙂 But you and I ate the pilau. Did you see the faces the Dzarigutas made on when I asked whether they were going to eat!? Hahahaha, I have given up on Nguruvatiees……. I hope my kids don’t end up being Nguvurates….

    • Thanks for reading Kate! I can’t write fiction. My life has too much *action*, I can’t ignore it……… so for the moment, I will just continue journaling……

  2. Keep those trips to that other Nguruvati town and your kids will end up being Nguruvatiees and I will be their language teacher 🙂 🙂 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s