The sun sits on Tim Odero’s scalp. Tim is balding. But then again he’s 42-years old, a husband and a father of two. Make that three. His first born was with a lady who relocated to the United States with his son, who is now 11-years old. He suspects their relationship ended because he wasn’t “stable” financially; he was in between jobs, freelancing in advertising agencies, trying to fill his pot with a sieve. The relationship ended at JKIA where he had rushed to, following a tip that she was leaving the country with his son.  He arrived to find her family bidding her goodbye, with the plane humming somewhere in the background.

“I have never known what happened,” he admits. “I called and emailed many times for an explanation, nothing.”  It matters little now because the sun sits on Tim Odero’s scalp and it’s a gorgeous day. It’s  a wonderful time to be alive and to have a job and to have a family and to be healthy.

There are men who look like old librarians when they start balding. Tim isn’t one of them. His baldness seems to be in conflict with his face and body which still retain prime youthfulness, making the baldness look like a misplaced metaphor on his head. He’s in a fitting red polo shirt and jeans. His biceps speak of time spent in the gym curling weights before a mirror. Men with big biceps like nothing but curling weights before the mirror. He is dark – like wet coal. He has a strip of well-tended beard. By well-tended I don’t mean that he’s one of those guys who run a comb through their beard before they start driving but I suspect he oils it once in awhile even though he will eat his hat before he admits it.

We are at The Grove  which is a bar and restaurant at the rooftop of The Executive Residence, Best Western’s new apartments at the junction of Riverside Drive and Riverside Grove. It’s one of those clean-cut modern furnished apartments for people who want to live and work in a place that is quiet and leafy. We’ve got a lovely view of the treetops of the leafy suburb. The Grove have this business lunch deal going for 1,500 per pax for a three course meal. It’s a place you would take a client who’s sitting on the fence.

The restaurant is quiet and bright and they don’t charge for the view even though they should. We skip the business lunch and order from the menu. Tim, who is an Art Director at Creative Young and Rubicam (Y&R) goes for the Lamb Ragout braised with seasonal root vegetables and I order the Moroccan chicken, grilled and basted in gulf spices.

Out there, floating over the treetops from a mosque somewhere, a muezzin calls the Muslim faithfuls to prayer as I ask Tim what the biggest things that pop up in his 40s are, and he mentions his roles as a father, his career, and his relationship with his father-in-law. Father-in-law?

Indeed. So he tells me about how he visited his wife’s parents to ask for her hand in marriage some years back. She is Kikuyu and Tim, as you can guess from his last name, is Luo. Large gazebos were erected for the occasion in his wife’s home in Malindi. Her relatives – ageing Kikuyu men and women came to Malindi in a hired van to hold court. His family members, wearing their best clothes, also came from shags. They all gathered under the gazebos; the groom’s family on one side and the bride’s family – the hosts – on the other side. The air was charged with protocol and officiousness. Of course they had heard that the Luos were coming and someone included fish in the menu and, because people are who they are, there may  also have been some warus in the menu somewhere.  

“It was a big deal for the family because their daughter was the first one who was going to have a white wedding,” Tim says. “The first born who lives abroad is not married and the last born didn’t have a formal wedding so I got the feeling that this was it, the first white wedding in the family so it had to be done right.”

If you haven’t been to such negotiations, the way it happens is that the father of the bride and the father of the groom never speak. They just sit there in their conservative suits, sipping warm sodas, listening to the proceedings and acting like they couldn’t be bothered less. Truth is, they are not allowed to speak, I guess because that might show their hand or something and affect future relations. Instead, appointed speakers from both sides – usually uncles or some senior members of the family with grey hairs – handle the talks because they possess excellent oratory skills, wisdom and experience in navigating these occasions. Once in awhile the uncle from the other side will lean and whisper in the ear of the bride’s father and he will nod, wearing his poker face as he tells him, “Look at their spokesman’s shoes; these guys can’t afford 400 goats.  I say we cut it to 250 goats.” The womenfolk, the mothers of both parties, even though the most influential in the grand scheme of things, never say a word. They sit in the shadows of the proceedings.

Malindi heat simmered from the ground that morning as speakers spoke and messages were passed from one tent to the next. The fathers, the respective patriarchs, sat across from each other avoiding eye contact and the mothers sat with their hands on their laps, Tim’s mom, I can almost picture, sporting a massive African headwrap.

“The first meeting went fine but then the second meeting never happened,” Tim says. “We couldn’t get a wedding date from their end and whenever we did, they would cancel it without any reason. At some point I realised that Roselyn’s father wasn’t keen on this marriage and it was because I was a Luo.” (FYI, he still is a Luo, he hasn’t converted.)

How did Roselyn feel about all this?  “She was devastated,” he tells me. “Of course she was. I mean everybody wants both their parents to approve their choice, to bless them. Besides she was the closest to her father of all her sisters and so that rift isn’t something that she wanted.”

After this impasse lasted for months without any clear solution, the matriarchs on both sides stepped in and took a hold of the negotiations. His mother and her mother started contacting each other with the arrangements and things moved fast.

A wedding date was set.

But then the bride’s father put a kibosh on the plans when he said he would not attend the wedding. “It put a strain on Roselyn because in addition to being her father he was her business partner. It was a bit of a tricky situation.” Since the father was to walk her down the aisle and he wasn’t having any of that, they came up with a plan B; someone else who would hand her over to Tim. Meanwhile, her mother continued working on getting her father to change his mind because mothers always just want people to get along, don’t they?

I picture them having tea in the verandah of their house in Malindi, the leaves of the palm trees rustling in the evening breeze, a boy clutching at his shorts to keep them from falling as he runs outside the boma.

“Baba Roselyn, why do you have to do this to your daughter, why can’t you soften your heart?”

“I’m not doing anything to her,” he growls. “She is doing this all to herself.”

“How is she doing this to herself, surely? She has met a man she loves and she just wants to be happy.”

“She can be happy, nobody is stopping her,” he mumbles. “I have no problem with her being happy.” He looks away and stares at nothing in particular, then he adds with his head still turned away from his wife. “Of all the men in this country you mean to tell me she couldn’t find a good man from our own community to marry? Instead she brings home that, that boy from Nyanza!”

She doesn’t say anything but pours more tea into his cup and stirs two sugars in it. The radio on the stool next to him plays a Christian channel at low volume.

“Give it a chance,” she says gently. “Soften your heart, these children are like that nowadays, they just need our support.”

“Never!” He spits. “Tigana nake. Niwe ureririre kūhikīra mūjaruo ūcio. Gakiyoha niko koī urīa karīina!”

The mother just sighs and stares at him patiently like you would a petulant child.

He then asks a crude question, “Wina ma Kimundu kiu ti kihii?

She gasps and says, “Nakaī nīngaruona ii! Riū ūruu nigūo ūgūraga mūtu?

He mumbles something, gets up and disappears into the house, an equivalent of storming out in protest. A door bangs somewhere in the house. She just sits there and calmly sips her tea because  he might bang doors but ultimately she holds the trump card. The charm of a woman is like a slow- working poison in your blood because on the day of the wedding, the patriarch shows up in a suit with his hair combed.  It is a garden wedding at a place called House In Bloom along Kiambu Road, where, long after everybody on the Mugithi train has collapsed  in their seats from exhaustion, Tim’s grandmother is still doing her jig, shaming the younger people with her stamina.

“What was his expression and demeanor like, when he walked her down the aisle and handed her over to you? Did you guys have a brief cordial conversation?” I ask.

“It was awkward.” Tim admits forking one poor chip and absentmindedly dragging it in the bowl of his mutton curry. He doesn’t eat it, just sort of leaves the poor chip to drown in that curry as he relives that moment. It bothers me, that chip. “We didn’t exchange any words. I don’t remember him making eye contact with me. I think he must have felt real bad handing his daughter to a Luo.”

The wedding ended and a baby came. (Not to imply the baby came at the wedding reception, but yeah). A little firebrand boy called Adrian, a burst of energy, a bullet that ricochets off walls. Everybody was elated but it didn’t soften the patriarch’s heart. “I found it disturbing, to be honest,” he says. “He loves his grandson; they play and he buys him toys and shows him so much affection and yet he doesn’t even recognise my existence. It’s almost like he’s not the same person – to hold such affection for my son and yet also show such unabating coldness towards me.”

“Does the rejection sting?” I ask.

He shrugs his heavy shoulders. He doesn’t seem to want to admit that it stings because that would perhaps expose his vulnerability. Instead he says, “There was a time we went down to visit and this time I sat at the same table with him and my mother-in-law who is cool, by the way. Throughout the lunch he addressed only my mother-in-law and when lunch was over he stood up and left without recognising that there was someone else seated at the table.” He had become invisible. Air.

“That was rough.” I say.

“Yeah. I thought we would get somewhere, me and him.” he says. “ I thought that time and age might mellow him a bit, you know, as they say but he seems adamant despite all the avenues my wife has tried to get him to accept me.” He finally puts the soggy chip in his mouth. I almost want to say, ‘Hooray! The chip finally gets eaten,” but I resist the urge. “He’s one of those prominent members of the church in town and my wife has even tried involving the priests to try and resolve this but he remains unmoved.”

I finish eating before him – I always finish eating before everybody else. Sheila clears away my plates. I ask him what fatherhood is like for him and he tells me about their four year old son – Adrian  – who is dyslexic and the challenges that come with getting the right schools for him and teachers who understand the condition. He then tells me about the time when his wife was pregnant with their second born. They went for a scan and they were told that the fetus had Joubert Syndrome.

“What’s that?” I ask as the remainder of the plates are cleared.

“Would you guys like dessert?” Sheila asks us and we both say nyet. Desserts are what the devil uses to lure unsuspecting men and women.

“It’s a brain development disorder,” Tim explains when Sheila leaves. “It’s a malformed brain stem, this part here [he holds the base of his neck] that connects the brain and spinal cord. This part controls balance and coordination and is called the cerebellar vermis. It was the first case they ever saw at Aga Khan hospital when we did the scan at 8 months and they really didn’t understand it then. There was no known documented case of Joubert Syndrome in Kenya and maybe only like 1000 cases in the world. We were given some scary scenarios, that there were high chances the baby would come out severely malformed; three hands or a deformed face, one eye, two toes that kind of thing.”

They were especially worried because earlier on, his wife had lost another baby at 8 months. “The baby we lost had underdeveloped organs and so this news filled us with trepidation. We were told that should we see blood we had a maximum of two hours to get to the hospital or we would lose the baby. My life from that point on was filled with doing a lot of math in my head, calculating distances to the nearest hospital and mapping out routes.”

Thankfully she carried the baby to term and when she was due Tim went in the theater with her. “ I was going to be the one to see the baby first before her and I was scared and anxious to see just how deformed he would be. I was prepared for the very worst.”

“How was that for you, waiting for your son knowing that he might come out with one leg or a cleft lip or no ears?”

“What do you do?” He poses. “What can you do but wait and hope it’s not that bad?”

He continues, “So when the baby came out, baby Morgan, he was handed to me first and I remember quickly counting his hands and fingers and eyes and ears to see if there was any anomaly and Roselyn kept asking me if he was okay, if he was normal.”

Morgan was born with one kidney and his condition – Joubert Syndrome – means that he, now at eight months, doesn’t have the same milestones as other babies his age. It is only now that he is learning to hold his head up on his own and can only sit up with support. His eyesight isn’t good because he has little control of his eye.

“You know how we take some things for granted, like how we automatically hold up our head straight? He can’t do that. His head just collapses down.” He says.

“What causes it?”

“It’s 60% recessive genes in parents and 40% unknown. It’s a very rare condition so there isn’t a lot of information around it. You know how you can google a disease and get millions of results? With this disease we would google and only a few pages come up. He is a case study at Aga Khan University because he’s the first case there and they want to learn as much as they can from his condition.” The care of the baby takes a lot of their time as parents because Morgan needs special care and so fatherhood for him is twice as demanding what with work and physio by a special nurse and by them. There is a lot of play involved, stimulation, talking to him and using psychedelic coloured gadgets to help him focus because his eyesight is weak.

“Do you ever wonder why you? I mean, this is a rare condition and it landed right at your doorstep.” I ask.

He thinks about it. “I actually never asked myself why me because I didn’t see it as a problem. We were more worried about if he was going to be a normal child and how we will be able to take care of him. When he was born we didn’t think he would live this long, and so it continues to surprise us every time he celebrates another month. All his small achievements and milestones mean so much to us – they become our milestones and achievements and we forget to ask ourselves why us. You get?”

I nod.

“But I worry how he will grow up,” he continues. “I wonder if he will fit in and if people, society, will accept him the way we have. I worry what will happen to him if we aren’t around him, who will take care of him in that case.”  

“What space are you in now, as a 42-year old?”

“I’m at a point in my career where I feel that I need to do more than I am doing now. I think I have plateaued out.” He says. “ But on the same token when I look back I think this is a great place to be because when I was younger I wanted to do more in a short period of time. There is a restlessness that comes with being young, you think you can cram a lot of achievements into a year. I have since learnt to take very small steps because when you take small steps and you focus on those steps you end up achieving much more.”

“When was the last time you spoke to your father-in-law?” I ask.

“I can’t remember,” he says. “ He is convinced that we are being punished.”

“For what?” I ask.

“For going against his wishes and getting married, more so in a garden wedding as opposed to a Catholic mass. He believes it’s a curse.” He says.

“Has he seen Morgan?”

“No,” he shakes his head. “ He hasn’t. He hasn’t set foot in my house.”

“Does that bother you?”

“It does, of course,” he says. “I mean personally I have come to terms with the fact that he will never accept me, but what bothers me is what it’s doing to his daughter. It hurts her when he comes to town and doesn’t come to see the newborn. When my wife’s cousins call her and say “ala, kumbe mzee is in town” and she has no idea, it hurts her. It’s not a great situation. And she tries to build fences, she tries to make sure that she keeps both sides happy.”

The expression “burning a candle on both ends” comes to mind.  

“That must be gutting.”

“It is what it is,” he says. “You wonder why things just can’t flow.”

“What has raising  children with special needs taught you?” I ask.

“I look at Morgan and how he draws people to him. Maybe it’s because he looks like a 4 month old baby and people always wonder how big he is.” He laughs. “The thing with him is that when he’s undergoing physiotherapy he works so hard, he tries so hard to overcome his limitations and he’s always smiling, 99% of the time he’s so happy, so oblivious of his condition. Sometimes when I’ve had a rough day at work and I go back home and I look at this boy with this rare condition and he’s smiling so hard, my problems just fade in comparison. I don’t have any reason to beat myself up with my small problems.”

“Do you feel overwhelmed by it?”

“You know the difference between women and men?” A very foolish and extremely ridiculous answer comes to mind that I would give him if it wasn’t a rhetorical question. “My wife can sometimes meet the mother of a child with special needs on Facebook and they meet for lunch or tea and talk for hours and I ask myself, they just met, how can they talk for so long?! I think that helps women deal with issues and situations. For us, men, we just ride it out alone.”

The sun has moved from Tim’s scalp, hiding behind a ball of grey clouds. A stinging wind blows through, the kind of wind that still has the smell of July on it. I zip up my jumper. I’d love nothing more than to sit there on that rooftop for ages but Tim has to go to work, Art Directors don’t just while away their whole afternoon on Rooftop restaurants, they have shit to sell to the masses.

“Are you happy in the marriage or has this thing with your father-in-law become a tumour in the marriage?”

“Initially it posed a potential danger that could affect the marriage, and I suppose it did in some small ways,” he says. “But it got to a point where we had to make a decision on what’s best for us as a family first. So we decided to focus on the marriage first and make everything else secondary.”

We call an Uber.

Have you noticed how the pictures of Uber guys look like they are the type that can abduct you and lock you in a grim dungeon with damp walls and feed you fungus-smelling Sunblest and water? There is not one picture of an Uber guy that looks like someone who loves kittens. Uber should take better pictures of those drivers. Tony is finishing up a trip nearby, the App tells us, which can mean he’s finishing up tying the hands and feet of the previous client in a nearby dungeon and telling him, “you can scream if you want, nobody will hear you.”

As we leave the restaurant I ask Tim, “How much space does this impasse with your father-in-law take in your life?”

“When you are rejected because you come from the wrong tribe you wonder if there is something else you can do to be accepted because unfortunately you can’t change your tribe but you can change other things,” he says with a creased brow. “Is there something else you can do for this guy to see you beyond your last name? Is there any adjustment you can make to accommodate him? My wife has tried everything she can and she still tries. I have done everything I could do to have him accept me but it hasn’t worked, so I guess I have stepped back because sometimes we try so hard to achieve something not knowing that the time isn’t right, that the moment isn’t ours and it might never even be ours.”

The Uber guy pulls over at the main entrance. Disappointingly he doesn’t look anything like a guy with a dark dungeon. Tim Odero will be fine.  He has big biceps after all.

Ps: September’s Writing Masterclass is now full and registration is closed. Please hold the emails, it’s stressing Bett. Apparently.


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      1. BS.
        We ALL have Biases. This is a 1 sided story. We never heard from his in-laws or his baby mama who left him for the U.S. No wonder Kenyans are so gullible to these politiicans.

        Assuming this Tim guy was really telling the whole truth (any reasonable person would see there’s a conflict of interest in him being the final narrator) why are there exchanges of his in-laws talking in kiuk, yet he doesnt understand kiuk? Or is this all fiction writing? And why cant we all get around to embracing his papa’s objections? After all he is consistent and not conniving like his wife or mom-in-law who secretly made plans based on their FEELINGS after the public baraza talks fell apart.

        Tribalism is going nowhere. Just because these brainwashed URBAN youth follow mzungu god and colonial flag, doesnt erase the silent majority. Tribes and African culture brought us this far and will be around long after Kenya ceases to exist. That I can guarantee you.

        1. Am years late and that is the beauty of this kind of art, it’s timeless
          I don’t know if you had the chance for someone to explain this to you but that is use of imaginations – that is the authors imagination.

          Biko, please translate those words.

      1. Hear hear. To quote Nelson Mandel “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

  1. Have you noticed how the pictures of Uber guys look like they are the type that can abduct you and lock you in a grim dungeon with damp walls and feed you fungus-smelling Sunblest and water? There is not one picture of an Uber guy that looks like someone who loves kittens. Uber should take better pictures of those driver!… So true!

  2. Oh my.
    You hang in there Tim.
    Biko that was a good read, reminding us not to take for granted all the bits of life that are so precious.

  3. 2nd one! Say hi to Bett hahaha

    He sounds like a nice guy and it is sad that his father in law..well..

    Tim will be fine, after all, he has big biceps.

  4. Uuuummm….I have a few ugly names to call this man but I won’t. My biggest joy for a parent is to see their kids happy. Or so I think. So Tim is from the wrong tribe, does behaving like a total jerk make your tribe better than Tim’s?

    1. I don’t think he’s a total jerk. I don’t even think you should call him names or want to call him names.
      Yes, what he is doing is wrong. But people have different mindsets and were raised in different ages. All we can do is hope and pray he finally becomes liberal minded…

      1. Beg to differ….he is a jerk (but cannot tell him on his face out of respect) because he has mortgaged his daughter’s right to happiness to his own preference (someone called it the Herodias Complex). At some point, we have to cut the umibilical cord of our children and set them free even to make their own mistakes like the prodigal son – its called fatherhood; having said that, you cannot reach out to him and help him without understanding the turmoil of his inner world.

      2. Still…..he is a church guy and he thinks his daughter is cursed? Is it mindset or an inflated ego? I wish I would see him through your eyes Bumblebee. You think your children are cursed that’s why they are bore kids with special needs???? Wow!

        1. Hahahaha..
          Ofcourse i do not agree

          I’m just putting on a white cap and trying to understand where’s he’s coming from.

          The fact that he is very possible a man of the congregation in a church is very questionable. But who are we to judge?

          Hope and pray that God opens his eyes one day.

          1. After passing judgment (jerk or no jerk…I voted for jerk, but I have never been a father in law so the weight of my vote should be discounted by that extent), Tim and his lovely family are still at point zero; the pain of rejection continues to linger and sting like the tear gas of Mathare. What if they all went spiritual and apologised to the father in law for offending him, daughter then wife then Tim, what if they gave he old man the opportunity to descend down from the stool of pride and admit his own want of judgment, what if they all really owned up to what they could have done better to be more accommodative of each other (I expect stones at this suggestions); could he be smarting from his own lack of judgment but pride cannot allow him, can we assume he gloats and toasts to the situation of his daughter, could he be in as much pain as Tim (albeit substantially self-inflicted)? Now stones may be thrown, I have a bullet proof roof….

        1. I take it back. My daughter has no kenyan friends. Leave alone from my tribe. I dont think she is less happier because she isn’t friends with folks from her own tribe. In fact I encourage her. I think clustering people into tribes or color or regions is kuwa na kasoro upstairs. But what do I know?

    2. You’d think these two precious grand-kids with special needs would open the old mzee’s eyes to the fact that there are grander and nobler things on this little orb of earth to occupy one’s mind; apparently not.

  5. Its sad that this conservative men still hold tribalism so dear to their heart.wish that man understood that his grandson belongs to no tribe.

  6. I wish Tim love and light. I can only imagine what they have had to deal with in getting his Father in law to accept him and family.

  7. Its sad that this conservative men still hold tribalism so dear to their heart.wish that man understood that his grandson belongs to no tribe.

  8. “I have done everything I could do to have him accept me but it hasn’t worked, so I guess I have stepped back because sometimes we try so hard to achieve something not knowing that the time isn’t right, that the moment isn’t ours and it might never even be ours.”

    Words that send you into thoughts.

  9. Wow!What a read!I applaud Tim and his wife.Such strong parents,their determination to keep on is amazing.
    I feel sad that Tim is facing rejection from his father-in-law,because he is Luo.Growing up,we used to be told so many tales about Luos and why we should never get married to one.
    It s sad that at this day and age,some people have refused to see past the tribal and cultural differences.It is such a sad fact that there are people who still think like Tim’s father-in-law.
    God help our society.
    I wish Morgan and Adrian all the best!!

    1. “I have done everything I could do to have him accept me but it hasn’t worked, so I guess I have stepped back because sometimes we try so hard to achieve something not knowing that the time isn’t right, that the moment isn’t ours and it might never even be ours.” ooh that broke my heart am sure if someone asks the old man one on one to pin point one reason why he hates the Luo son in law so so much he will not give any reason.. But mumble how it is not acceptable..sad

    2. it’s a good thing that you have stated that growing up you were told about Luo’s in a negative context. surprisingly i as a Luo was brought up to embrace all mankind, less-abled, elderly, foreign etc. We were always told that despite outside appearance, we would all bleed red blood if injured and we would all experience emotions the same way. Here I am now in a foreign land fighting racism and having fought tribalism and color coding back home. It’s very sad but I am bringing up my children to respect others and recognise diversity as I was taught. Kudos to Tim’s mother in law because no mother wants to see her child unhappy and unfulfilled for some selfish backward thinking!

  10. Morgan is officially the love of my life. He is so glorious. I love him love him love him!!! Of course it helps that Tim is one of my most favourite people on the planet…..

  11. What a beautiful story. Special kids are extra special. There is a book by Gladwell Malcolm called David and Goliath: The Advantages of Misadvantages there is a chapter on dyslexics and how the world’s entrepreneurs are mostly dyslexics. Like Daymond John of Fubu. Adrian will be a great one. I just pray that Tim’s father-in-law learns to see him for who he is, its never too late. Blessings.

    1. Very true about the world’s entrepreneurs being dyslexic. Richard Braxton, he of the Virgin Atlantic fame is dyslexic and look at what he has accomplished.

  12. Some of us are born to do stuff and shit. Jackson Biko was born to write. Don’t ever stop, man. Now, let me think about that chip in the gravy, which so bothered Biko. Nkt

    1. Kodi where did you disappear to? I used to read more of you than I do now? Ex-USIU etc etc or is it coz I don’t read the Star? Andika blogs pia wewe Boss. That chip made viazi tumbukiza and landed in Tim’s gut!

    2. Biko was born to write. I shared the article with a friend and he replied ” I will consider myself an expert if only i write as well as Biko”

  13. I’m trying to figure out why I’m crying… It’s sad how we can see another human being so different from us yet we really are all the same… Thank you for this Tim and Biko

    1. Maybe it’s because here’s a guy who didn’t choose to be born into a certain tribe, asking his father-in-law to see beyond that tribe but… well, “mindsets”.
      May God bless Tim’s lovely family! All of them

  14. It really takes courage… But someone once told me that our parents have already had their marriages, it is time to build yours- which Tim seems to be doing perfectly well.

  15. In a rush of emotion I wanted to reply to this with a sorta deep quote but then realized I don’t know half the steepness in Tim’s climb. But that he is holding his head up high is more than courageous. A lesson for the rest of us maybe. I also think I am at the point where I he says young people try to cram a lot of achievements into a single year. Its exhilarating. I somehow want to walk down a thousand paths all at once.
    Good read as usual.

  16. I like the fact that Tim has not asked why them. He sounds so nice”tearing up”. I only hear about mothers in law from hell, glad we having gender equality with Tim’s father in law..

  17. Tribalism is real!!! Very unfortunate but life has to move on…. It is great that as a couple they have decided it wont affect their marriage. I hope as a country we will get to a point where tribalism will be a secondary issue. Great read Biko.

    1. Am surprised because I always held the conviction that tribalism is a creation of the politicians. Hii is over the roof.

  18. I fail to understand parents who reject their children’s choice of partner on tribal grounds. It’s not like he is a thief or a murderer. It’s just a tribe. A human tribe. And the father goes ahead to say that the case with Tim’s kids is a curse! Can’t he see that his daughter is happy and just give them his blessings? Anyway, I’m not a parent yet so, I may not understand. Tim, you are a strong man and you will get through life. Your wife is strong too. I can imagine the pain of being in a situation of having to choose between your father and your husband. But you can’t choose one and leave the other. Because you love them both. Your kids will do just fine. God will see to it that they do.

  19. You think you are having a bad day beacause you woke feeling like shit. Your life sucks because you are 10 months late to getting that Hero Karzima ZMR you always want to get. You think you need to take bigger steps into life and probably do desert safari in Dubai in a year or two. Well until you meet Tim.

    Rejected by the first wife silently. And the the father -in-law who thinks a fore-skin or lack thereof makes a man more manly. A kid who would probably want to be a dancer at some point and guess what dances, the letters when he reads. End of it? Hell no! Loses the second born 8 months into conception; -1 month old. And then Joubert Syndrome. Which the teenager google is still not so conversant with.

    And yet he shows up everyday. And takes the small steps daily. Makes feel even more bad about feeling bad (That feedback loop from Hell Mark Manson applauds in his “The subtle art of not giving a fuck book). ‘Nothing to smile about by Morgan Heritage’ comes into mind and you launch of to look for a whip.

  20. In more than one way, this is a very personal article for me. I relate and identify with so many things.
    Thank you is all I can say.

  21. It never ceases to amaze me how stubborn old people think that something genetic amounts to a “curse for going against their wishes.” Do they take credit for our achievements too? Of course they try. Do they roll the waves when we end up with average mundane lives? They skip that bit. FFS.

  22. Must be a difficult situation, to be rejected because of your tribe, your last name…if it was in the workplace, it would be a different matter…one would ignore the tribalists..but the lack of acceptance by someone so important: a patriarch!…cuts deeply.
    I guess love conquers all, just keep doing what you do Tim, show love to your wife and kids, show love to your dad-in-law, do your part and hopefully God will touch his heart to come around and have a relationship with you that you desire.

  23. Biko…. Be Sure to send my love and support to Tim and his wife. They are just amazing people, and for sure its all about family everything else is secondary.

    1. fuck the so called father in law…..she can take his daughter….. could be the had arelationship with her daughter which is common in their culture

  24. Lol! Uber guys have it bad with you!!!!
    Have we met Sheila before?
    Tim’s spirit is powerful and in my head I imagine this man built like a brick wall yet so tender. Adrian and Morgan are the luckiest babies on earth!!! Tim, your father in law is so much cuter like my father….. you can only deal with him by loving him.
    Thanks Biko!! I was afraid you would throw a total eclipse joke on this one, with the sun on Tim’s head and all .

  25. Tim and Roselyn have each other… And they have Adrian and Morgan. They have chosen to focus on their blessings despite everything else. And that should speak to each and everyone of us. For at the end of the day, when we understand what is important, all the noise is just a distraction.

  26. Biko tries so hard to make light the story but it is still heavy on the reader.
    “……so I guess I have stepped back because sometimes we try so hard to achieve something not knowing that the time isn’t right, that the moment isn’t ours and it might never even be ours.” Profound words.

  27. “……………because sometimes we try so hard to achieve something not knowing that the time isn’t right, that the moment isn’t ours and it might never even be ours.” Beautiful. Deep. Real

  28. Tim seems like an extraordinary person. For the father in law not so much. Keep your God given light and grace constantly in your life. It shall be well regardless the challenges. Baraka tele

  29. Sad story, made me want to cry, I hope Tim’s father-in-law comes to his senses and accepts that his daughter loves who she loves, if not then it’s his loss. Tim sounds like a great guy.

  30. Father-in-law is a church guy……. I happen to know several his type! Church is one place you find very broken people; after all they are there seeking redemption, deliverance and some other God-knows-what stuff. My problem with this type though, is they take a lifetime to find that and continue being a pain to others. Am tempted to say r*p in advance but I will behave, after all, our moms want us to get along with everyone.

  31. @Bikozulu, i need Tim’s contacts, we share a similar case in the form of that child with a syndrome. I sent you a story more or less similar to this

    Tim, on the Father in law bit, pole baba, ukabila Kenya umeharibu maneno


  32. God will never give you a special needs child and not give you strength… Never. Tim and the wife are a strong couple. I can’t say anything about the father in law.

  33. sometimes we try so hard to achieve something not knowing that the time isn’t right, that the moment isn’t ours and it might never even be ours.
    something to think about

  34. It’s sad to understand that any parent will reject your choice just coz he or she is from different tribe or she has a child from previous relation.

  35. Someday, after we have mastered the winds, the waves, the tide and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of Love. Then, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire. Big up to Tim, the man in the arena!

  36. Citing Nelson Mandela, Obama wrote, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion … People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love … For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

    I hope it won’t be too late for Tim’s father-in-law to choose love over tribal hate. It’s a tragedy.

    Thanks Biko.

  37. “sometimes we try so hard to achieve something not knowing that the time isn’t right, that the moment isn’t ours and it might never even be ours.”…… something to ponder on

  38. And to imagine the hypocrisy of the so called ‘Christians’. Apparently father-in-law is a church guy, even the priests have tried to mend the relationship, but old man is not budging. At times you wonder why the most religious people seem to have the deepest level of hate in their hearts. I can only imagine the type of thoughts Roselyn has in regards to the strained relationship. There is no winning, no matter which side you lean on.
    Wishing Tim all the love, light and peace.

    1. You’ve said it. The most religious…not Christ-like. They do the outer things of that religion, but do not practice it’s teachings. Sad really

  39. Kwani even comments took a campaign holiday? OR did they like Tim’s dad in law remember that the writer is from a certain tribe? Kenyans rudini hapa I wanna read comments Y’all.

    Give Tim and Roselyn a hug from P K. They are my heroes for riding the crest of every wave in their lives.

  40. Martin Luther “………… I have a dream that one day our children will be judged by the content of their character…….”. We cannot choose our tribes. Discrimination based on tribe is alot like judging by height, colour or shoe size: things we cannot change. However, I commend Tim on his unwavering love and support for his wife. I pray for Tim, for God to keep him strong for his wife and father in law and the beautiful children.

  41. I feel for Tim. It’s painful. I was almost starting to think it’s a sort of a curse too, but I love the way he’s handling it. “sometimes we try so hard to achieve something not knowing that the time isn’t right, that the moment isn’t ours and it might never even be ours.”

    I wish them well in the raising of the special gifts they’ve been blessed with. Aren’t kids gifts from above?

  42. I have done everything I could do to have him accept me but it hasn’t worked, so I guess I have stepped back because sometimes we try so hard to achieve something not knowing that the time isn’t right, that the moment isn’t ours and it might never even be ours~This broke my heart. Why are we like this?

  43. This narrative is so sad yaani.
    My parents have the same thoughts sadly.
    Mum once told me, she would rather I married a bad Kikuyu man than a good Luo man sigh.
    And that was when I was dating a great guy who happened to be from the “wrong” tribe.

    It becomes difficult when you have to choose between love and the relationship with the parents.

    1. the sad reality right there and your mum is not the only one……quite a number of our folks would rather a bad kikuyu who might literally send you to your grave than a luo man who’d be a blessing to you and your family…..sigh!

      it will take a few generations before we realise character goes beyond tribe.

      1. There is a Luo proverb that goes; ‘all Luo men who have married Kyuk chics are still bachelors’……it has being hammered in us since childhood, so this hatred thing cuts across. But we choose to THINK DIFFERENTly……..

        1. Wow. Congratulations yo those of you thinking differently. Its honestly shocking that while the world has become one big global village we are stuck in some tribe madness.

  44. This tribe thing is a big issue. My wife is Luo and I remember going to her home for Ruracio, her family was very welcoming and I immediately felt like I belonged. Wacha tuende kwetu sasa. The funny part was that my parents didn’t have a problem with her, it the Aunties and Uncles that were the problem. I reached a point I had to stand up and say, ” Kama unajua haukunilipia fee ama kupatia wazazi wangu pesa ya chakula usiongee tena”. They all went quiet.

    1. Is that not funny – that it is always the aunties and uncles that are the wachochezis? Some of them you last saw several Christmases ago and they are the wajuajis!

  45. One thing i hate about some old folks in this country is that they are tribal to the core, the young comrades of this country need to shun away from tribalism. Great story Biko, and for Tim you are not cursed God can not allow you to be cursed just because you are a luo,

    1. It isn’t about old folks. The tribal hatred spewed all over social media isn’t by octogenerians or even 40 year olds! Saddest bit is most of the shit done in our country is by staunch Christians. Hell will be full of them.

  46. Those are really strong parents. I am deeply moved by the experience(s) they have been through and their ability to endure.

    I also suspect that deep down they probably wonder if their father/father-in-laws rejection could be a precursor to their kids conditions. A parent’s blessing really means a lot to a child. I pray that God gives them the grace to endure and that they strengthen their relationship for the sake of their kids and also to slowly draw in their father/father-in-law

  47. I believe there is nothing like wrong tribe or right tribe. People are just people, individuals.
    “Life is not what it should be, it is what it is” That is my mantra for this life, I give it to you Tim..

  48. “Sometimes when I’ve had a rough day at work and I go back home and I look at this boy with this rare condition and he’s smiling so hard, my problems just fade in comparison. I don’t have any reason to beat myself up with my small problems.”
    This is just the clincher.


  49. “Wina ma Kimundu kiu ti kihii? Biko meant “is that guy rich? Okay…
    Sob sob story, you do not question God but i just want to ask why?Why Tim?Well….And this story reminds me of a guy who told me “you are a good person, i like you but my people can’t accept you, sasa mbona wewe ni mkikuyu?We’d be married already..”.

    Tribalism is ??????????????????????Ask Tim what it is and what damage it can do.

  50. Lovely piece…May Adrian grow in body and stature with favor before men and God. May his latter days be greater. Father in law doesn’t know what he is missing…..LOVE conquers all but I guess very few of us have that.

  51. Another case of hatred coming from people in the church. Pathetic!…. That bigotry coming from the father in law has got me so mad i want to subject him to a public flogging pale outside Archives to serve as a lesson to him and others like him. We can’t continue to live like this!

  52. “For going against his wishes and getting married, more so in a garden wedding as opposed to a Catholic mass. He believes it’s a curse.” He says….underline garden wedding. Always go for a church wedding. it comers with Blessings.

  53. “Sometimes when I’ve had a rough day at work and I go back home and I look at this boy with this rare condition and he’s smiling so hard, my problems just fade in comparison. I don’t have any reason to beat myself up with my small problems.” had me in all my feels.
    A very important lesson.

  54. Sometimes when I’ve had a rough day at work and I go back home and I look at this boy with this rare condition and he’s smiling so hard, my problems just fade in comparison. I don’t have any reason to beat myself up with my small problems.” had me in all my feels.

  55. Tim,
    Don’t worry about the Old man,Your mother in law will bring him around.
    Just take care of the Boys and the Mrs.
    All will be well

  56. This is a script i know too well. Both my parents dislike my man because he’s a Luo. When i told mum about him,she said she was going to die.She told me how stupid i am for wanting to marry a ‘nyangori”
    She regretted taking me to school(read campus)
    Our relationship broke. My heart was shattered.( Still is)
    We hardly speak with either of my parents.
    Mom promised to disown me if i married him. If your mom a mother of 11 promises to disown you,trust me she will
    I never had a relationship with my dad. He’s always been a man i learnt to fear.

  57. Great read. That bit about fish and warus reminds me of that mashakula advert he he….

    I empathize with Tim and it hurts. A rejection by a parent for something you don’t have control over and never chose is an emotional and psychological turmoil. Am sorry Tim.

    On kids with special needs, I can relate coz my youngest brother-the last born- is such. He’s now 27. It’s been a long journey in a similar situation like Morgan’s. At his age and from his behavior, I can clearly tell what his desires are but his condition is a monumental limitation; but he’s a great chap to be around and can’t exchange him for anything.

    To Tim, I pray things just flow, one day: it could be today, tomorrow or the day after. All the best.

  58. I always believe God will hand you what he knows you can handle. Faith can move mountains Tim,my prayers are with you and your family.

  59. Sad.. so sad. May God be with you Tim and your family.
    Have faith in God and trust Him in everything. He only matters.. and as long as you are pleasing Him, you have no cause to worry or question or doubt. Love and Blessings

  60. Really sad and being kikuyu I totally understand what happens when your father doesn’t agree to a union and you still go ahead… I feel soo sad for Tim. the kikuyu elders should have intervened and advised him how to appease his father in law before the wedding/children

    May God intervene and make the best of the situation.

    1. Tim is just unlucky. But maybe he should consult elders from his community,not Kikuyus. He is not the one who got married!!!

      1. Tim is NOT unlucky. This kind of thinking is what brings depression and defeatism in people’s lives. This is life, and everyone’s path is different. For Tim, it includes a difficult pop-in-law and a child with a challenging genetic condition. But, Tim, I am sure will tell you of great blessings in his life too. Life is NOT fair at all and acceptance of the hand that you have been dealt goes a long way in giving you the courage to live the life you have in the best way possible. It seems Tim and his wife are doing exactly that with all the grace and courage they can muster.

    2. This is a kind of an unfair statement with the insinuation that Morgan’s condition is as a result of an unhappy father-in-law. I think when people make these kind of statements they don’t understand how callous and burdensome they are towards the parents of a child born with a challenging condition. It puts the blame on them for their child’s suffering which is truly unfair and unkind. How then do you answer the question of many people who have married with all parental blessings who are never able to have children or get special needs children too or suffer some great tragedy despite having done a 100% their parents’ will?

  61. “Never!” He spits. “Tigana nake. Niwe ureririre kūhikīra mūjaruo ūcio. Gakiyoha niko koī urīa karīina!”

    The mother just sighs and stares at him patiently like you would a petulant child.

    He then asks a crude question, “Wina ma Kimundu kiu ti kihii?

    She gasps and says, “Nakaī nīngaruona ii! Riū ūruu nigūo ūgūraga mūtu?”

    Who scripts your Kikuyu lines? Absolutely hilarious. But they mix up on the ‘ī’s and ‘ū’s, sometimes making the dialogue total gibberish, although we still get it from the context.

  62. It’s been a while. I’m glad I stopped to read this one. That boy is special and so is this family for seeing that.
    For a moment I thought the story would end much more tragically.

  63. It’s only on Biko’s blog that we come firstly as humans then as Kenyans. We applaud the good and condemn the bad…..I hope we do this everywhere. The hate I have been seen spewed these last few weeks, reading the comments here is such a breath of fresh air.

    Keep up the good work you are doing Biko.

  64. If only we would all embrace and uphold the principle of Ubuntu, that we are human only by seeing the same humanity in others. Nice one Biko

  65. “……………because sometimes we try so hard to achieve something not knowing that the time isn’t right, that the moment isn’t ours and it might never even be ours.” I felt sharp pain in my chest, like a dagger went in. Sigh!

  66. Tim and Roselyn’s story has entrenched my belief that every rough situation is a moment of being re-positioned for something profound, depending on our attitude and response to it. The light will shine in father-in-law’s heart and he will never be the same again. Just wait and see 🙂

  67. So sad, people who judge others by the tribe has a special place in hell.
    Of all the things tribe should be the last thing to use to judge a person

  68. Si I have stuggled with the kikuyu Biko.
    This speaks for so many people but it’s just a particular generation just like the way old white supremacists would rather die than let their children marry black folk.

  69. “You know how we take some things for granted, like how we automatically hold up our head straight? He can’t do that. His head just collapses down.” Always thank God for everything you have in your body, every small part, even the nose, I thank God for my health this evening, God take care of us

    May God be with you Tim, your wife and Morgan

  70. A foreskin or a lack of it does not make a man. But a man who stands and leads his family through the greatest of odds….now that’s a MAN.

  71. It’s sad that the father in law choose to not like you its his loss not yours Tim and trust me you even if you were custom made in Kikuyu heaven he would still have found an issue so hold your head high as always because you never did he is the one who lost

  72. I feel for the children. The kids are suffering a GENERATIONAL curse due to the selfishness of their grandfather. These cultural rituals carry a lot of weight more than people realize. I pray for Tim’s family and that reconciliation with the father-in-law will come sooner than later. Amen

  73. My very short lived relationship just ended becasue I was and still am kikuyu and he is luo and he ,despite having living abroad in a cross cultural set up,claimed that because Luos and k ikuyus hate each other ….it Can never work out ….
    This article. Is very raw, very real ……

    personally I keep thinking , ‘the ability to live ones own life without giving so much care to others opinions ‘ should be a life lesson for everyone .

    Too many people walking around breaking hearts.

    1. Janet, if you were dating with a hope to get married to him, then that man just did you a favor even though in the midst of your raw heartache you may not see it that way. All marriages go through great challenges because Life. So, if your man is unwilling to fight this tribal battle and would rather break up then be grateful through your tears and breaking heart because 1) you may marry him and end up discovering he cowers and runs when great challenges come or 2) he did not love you deeply enough to deal with the mess that is tribal issues…..
      I know heartache sucks so bad and it’s ok. to be sad but you will be okay.

  74. Tim your Life,s journey is inspiring , it’s not smooth and real life never is but your strength of character and love for your family… including the recaltriant Mzee comes through this well written article . Biko , catching up on your blog, which makes great holiday reading, I laughed through Ohuru jokes, cackled with utter amusement at Dusty rags, please Loonch !, and have wound up with Timspiration .

  75. No forces formed against you shall prosper.

    Only way we can end this tribalism or racism for that matter is to inter marry.

  76. very nice and inspiring read.!!!its a shame that some of our parents are still in the conservative era whereby they judge people from their tribe and not character.

  77. Big ups Mr. Biko. Great read! It’s amazing how you softened the story of Tim’s misfortune with just the right amount of humor. Loved it!

  78. That was such a sad read. I pray that Tim and Roselyn will find happiness – knowing that they have done all there is to do. The problem is not them – it’s the father-in-law’s. And only him can sort that out – if and when he chooses to.

  79. I hope Tom’s FIL eventually accepts him if not for anything for his daughter’s happiness. My husband walked in Tom’s shoes for many years for belonging to a different religion but now he is a favorite with my folks.

  80. Nice read Biko! Most parents relax on the tribalism when grandkids come along. So sad that Tims FIL thinks the special kids are a punishment. For what? So he thinks his daughter is being punished for not being as tribal as him? And why didn’t he get her a kikuyu man? Why? Am pissed .

  81. Biko, I always enjoy reading you. Your articles always leave a smile pasted on my lips.
    I previously read another article by you that jocularly talks of even chicken in Murang’a being tribal. I say they are lucky not to have “the uniquely human capacities ” that the social scientists so sing about. It will be sad if in our tomorrow, we will still be holding the same stereotypes our great grandparents held about other tribes when they were migrating from Congo and Bah El Gazal. That would be enslaving them, And for centuries to come, Kenya would still be the tribal country that we say it is. We have the political freedom, yes, but or thoughts and beliefs long held us captives in detestable dingy dungeons long before the first Uba driver thought of doing so. To the parents reading this, set your children free. Let them marry who they want, from the tribe they want.

  82. The monstrosity of tribalism as raw as it gets. If only we could address all the “father-in-law’s” in our lives, with measured wisdom and courage, the world would be a happier place. The cord MUST be cut. My heart is with Tim and his family. May light shine perpetually on your life’s journey. And all the commenters whose hearts have been shattered; lives altered by similar stories but still forged on,bloodied but unbowed – fluidity,resilience,love. To all of us consciously playing our parts as individuals,parents,role models, to rid this cancer from our society, I say to you, victory is certain. Aluta continua.

  83. As long as parents keep telling their kids not to marry from certain tribes tribalism will continue to plague this country. It is simply being passed from one generation to another.

  84. I absolutely love this family .Tim, Roselyn, Adrian and Morgan, you are all just awesome. Thanks Tim for sharing your story with others. Often times we hide behind a façade, even from family and close friends. Relationships tend to be superficial more often than not. I think it takes a tremendous amount of strength and grace for a man open up like this, and it is empowering to others. Sending you all my love, blessings, prayers and positive energy

  85. My second born was born a preterm(30 weeks), very tiny ..very fragile. Also born with a condition very rare ….amniotic band on his two feet…… this made us stay in hospital for two months … the boy has had three surgeries so far and he is doing well ,learning to walk now..I thank God always coz i didn’t know how strong i was until this experience it has taught me a lot.. Tim , no condition is permanent the boys will pull through …. they will grow up to be amazing gentlemen …my first born is autistic …..and he is pulling through well …at least at four years we can communicate…. Trust in the lord everything will be fine….be strong for the family Tim…

  86. If all of us can collectively do our bit and steer the next generation away from the perils of negative ethnicity then we will have made the world a better place.Tim,you are a great man and believe you me time will sort many things out.You are raising kids who will definitely contribute to make this a better world. ” Why cant we all just get along”-This phrase has never been more real.

  87. I’m not convinced that the reason why Tim and his father in law don’t get along is because of tribe. There’s got to be something else. Like a major personality clash or something. There are lots of such relationships within the same tribe that just don’t work. Unfortunately for them, mama watoto (In this case Tim’s wife) is the one that ends up in the middle – hurt and wounded. I however wish them both wisdom, enlightenment and may their hears be guided by love. Tim you are a strong person as is your wife and I wish Morgan good health.

  88. I love the fact that you have given due respect to the role of mothers, and their amazing influence in the grand scheme of things, I think the father in law is just embarrassed, so far, none of his tactics has really worked, Roselyn is married to Tim, he showed up at the wedding. It’s that thing the Japanese call loss of face, poor man.

    This couple is special, because on top of all that, they are parenting two special needs children, and thriving at it! Such an inspiration. Thanks Tim for sharing your life with us, you are stonger than you think.

  89. Nice piece Biko and to Tim there is no curse there, you did nothing wrong to the fella his curse amounts to what my mum calls ” Kirumi gia uturika” it does not hold court with the Gods and your son will come out victorious in the end Gradatim Ferociter!! and yes Gods speed as he walks his mighty journey.

  90. It always blows my mind when people default to ‘Curses’ like in Tim’s scenario. This events in all their lives should bring them closer together than ever before. Sad that even the love for his daughter is not enough soften his heart and accept her choices after all she is an adult and at this point what she needs is support. I have a feeling ‘watus’ who love poking their nose in family business had a great input in fueling the fathers stand and church as well. Its meant to be the place of solace but ca sometimes be the source of sorrow
    I wish this family all the best and pray the ladies father comes around

  91. “I have since learnt to take very small steps because when you take small steps and you focus on those steps you end up achieving much more.” Wow!!

  92. I know this will probably get lost in the comments below but when I’m home alone I like to go out in my garden and cover myself with dirt and pretend I’m a carrot.
    To Tim, hang in there.. Let the old man be… Morgan will bring you happiness and you’ll forget anyone who didn’t….

  93. I am surprised that he is not open minded even after living in Malindi where he interacts with people from different communities and ‘worship’ with him in church. Tim is fine but I feel sad for the wife.

    1. It may not be tribalism per se, but rather the personality of the father-in-law. He just could be a man who’s never been successfully opposed in his life by those under his control or influence. Tribalism just makes it an easier default excuse for his behavior because everyone can ‘understand’ the Kikuyu-Luo ‘thing’.

      The answer to what the true problem is is reflected in his wife’s actions. The fact that his wife proactively went ahead with the marriage arrangements shows you that she knows what kind of a character he is and knew if left to him, there would be no marriage. She knew he would not relent no matter how unreasonable or unfair he is. Obviously as his wife, she must have gone through countless frustrating times with him getting him to agree to go along with perfectly reasonable requests. So, Tim must truly be a great guy for the Mother-in-law to risk the husband’s wrath and push for the marriage. She knew that Tim would do well by her daughter, and he has proven himself so far.

  94. “His baldness seems to be in conflict with his face and body which still retain prime youthfulness, making the baldness look like a misplaced metaphor on his head.” That was funny. The rest was heartbreaking but life must go…the sun will still rise whether your inlaws love you or not.

  95. I recently went to shags to vote, interacted with my older relatives who are 60 and above. These folks are so hateful and tribal, I actually asked myself how we are related.
    The hate is real. We need to take a step forward and only accept the good teachings from our parents and grandparents. Reject what is bad and negative. Your conscious is your guide.
    Tim is a good guy and I’m sure the father in law will come around. Blessings to Tim’s family. The kids will be great. Even Richard Branson is dyslexic.

  96. This rejection of men because of where they were first hewn is unfortunate. But it happens across the divide, into our home’s, on all sides. We largely assume that what is right and just and of integrity should come easy to us all. And how easy it is easy to cast stones.
    But perhaps we forget that a man is the sum total of his experiences. That he is moulded into being by his associations. That very few of us really emancipate ourselves from the grips of culture and belonging. That this same belonging bestows upon us certain predispositions that cross that line we call just. And so let’s put down our stones and perhaps engage in what we as a generation can do to disengage this form of regression.
    Biko’s words are heavy and they relay just how much we need each other. That Tim is robbed of a support system and the trust and confidence which a man bestows upon another on handing over his daughter. Deep down we are not men from here or there. We are just men yearning to belong.

  97. What I love about your writing Biko, is how you indulge me with your distractful thoughts while telling a story without necessarily losing the flow of the story and your ability to express your approval/dissaproval silently, your writing is personal, and holds a strange power to unite, if ever we all met, I think we would be an intimate group of Biko followers who enjoy the fellowship, nice read!

  98. That’s a sad story but I’m glad that they’ve chosen to focus on their marriage and their children. Hopefully one day the old man will come around.

  99. like my mum says “whichever man you decide to settle down with is your choice..i (mum) married the man of my choice-tribe and you( her children) have witnessed my life. As for my dad (a man of many shades), i will know his ‘true conservativeness’ when i bring home that chosen man..

  100. (FYI, he still is a Luo, he hasn’t converted.)
    If only we had a choice of where to be born, but we don’t. Take me as I am, Because blood has the same color.

  101. This story is awesome .. its good to hear a man open up about #SpecialNeedsJourney.

    I am a parent to two children with rare conditions and i get him when all you have to do is wait and see as the docs do not know what is ahead.

    It shall be well Tim .. hugs.

  102. Kenya Community center for learning is a school behind TRM on Thika Road. Tim can consider visiting it, they handle special needs kids.

    The HM was on capital FM today

  103. I can bet you the Father-In-Law suffers a great deal inside, he’s torn between a father’s love and the outlook by his tribe, his stature amongst his age group and clansmen. Its simply pride and sadly its up to him to overlook it and he may never anyway…. (here is where the serenity prayer comes in, look it up) all the best Tim to you and yours Gods blessings too 🙂

  104. Thanks be to God who has given us some special abilities as men, we can shut someone out of our minds & hearts completely and still breath.

    Tim do not waste your time trying to win your father in law’s approval. Shut him out of your entire system and live.

  105. Quite an intense read. I would like to believe that love is stronger than prejudice and so Tim and his family will just be fine. Sometimes having challenges with physically or mentally challenged kids might just bring out the best in us…Tim and his family will be fine

  106. What is all this?! What have people come to?! Writing topics such as Joubert Syndrome that have conventionally caused discomfort?!

    1. Is reading it so uncomfortable for you while others are facing it every single day, have you considered that this is what we call creating awareness to sensitize others…

  107. Much gratitude for this profile, Biko. I know how it feels. I was once engaged to a younger woman of another ethnicity. She was someone who worked in a related industry that I did, albeit in a lower capacity than I. What she lacked in beauty, she made up with vitality and discipline in her career. It was no wonder that she quickly rose up the professional ladder due to these qualities and smashed the so called ” glass ceiling”. I assumed a role of a mentor in her professional career. As a man who had divorced from his first wife, she possessed qualities for a potential wife. A mother figure for my two children, independent-minded and a career woman who was sexy, too. I took the plunge and made a marriage proposal. She agreed. She backed out on the marriage day, though. Her reasons? She wanted more freedom and thought I was assuming the role of a father figure, instead of a partner. She could not imagine such a future. Though she did not explicitly say it, I thought that my ethnicity was another factor. I was heartbroken! Last week, I saw her in public place, having what looked like a business meeting from afar. Still looking debonair and professional. A wave of love swept over me but I restrained myself from going near her due to my self-consciousness.

  108. This is one for the archives: Tim’s baby is a Kenyan case study for Joubert Syndrome. All prayers to him, Roselyne and Morgan. Beautiful family

  109. Biko, your write-up is helpful but my own experience with inter-tribal marriage is also negative. I met a woman from another tribe and got her to do what a tribe follows: wash my underwear, tell her to stop working/ or advise her how to do her work, how to dress, look after my four children, house and my needs. Also, she would have to co-exist with my first wife, who is from my tribe. In return, I would pay her. What a flop! She would tell me to stop interfering with her job, and said she wanted to reside alone, not with me. I stopped paying her! She quit the job I had advised her to take and got one she had searched, lives alone and sustains herself. It might seem good for her but I deemed it a tad disrespectful!! I am supposed to guide her. I told her parents that she has to change and toe my line or their daughter would end up without me. Despite this, nothing has changed. This woman has insisted to follow her own path. I vowed from then that I would stick to my first wife or other women from my tribe.

  110. The greatest lesson I’ve learned from the 40’s series is that I shouldn’t be right by God so that it acts as leverage for me to have a smooth life, but I should be right by Him in order to receive the grace to ran my own race.

  111. It takes me back to my own situation but in my case it was my ex-husband’s mother, (was and still is a staunch member of the church) who frustrated all our efforts to tie the knot because we were from different tribes. Well, we eventually went ahead with it but unfortunately 7 years down the line (no kids) things didn’t work out and we agreed to part ways. All i can say is that some of these old folk hide behind the church and yet they control their children to suit their own selfish needs and desires. It’s plain and simple narcissism!

  112. “So we decided to focus on the marriage first and make everything else secondary.” this is the best thing to do. you cannot force someone to like/love you.

  113. Good read Biko. Reminds me of the many things we take for granted, like being able to hold my head up. It is very unfortunate that Tim’s father in law is so mean, his loss!

  114. To Adrian and Morgan, may God’s protective and loving arms always and forever be upon this too lovely little miracles, to Tim and his wife, may God continue giving u strength and greatest love and His Mighty blessings today and forever. As for the father in law, its quite sad that todate and in this time and age that some of our parents have refused to be diverse and accept that we their children r and can get married to people who are not from our communities. I pray that the Lord of all seasons softens up the old mans heart that he may accept and love Tim as his very own son and that this love too may be extended to Morgan. Tim your babies r no punishment at all, you and your wife have done nothing wrong, this is all God’s workings. Best thing is to keep on praying without ceasing, to hold no grudge towards your father in law and in God’s own perfect time, all will work out for the best. Baraka tele to u and your young family.

  115. “When you are rejected because you come from the wrong tribe you wonder if there is something else you can do to be accepted because unfortunately you can’t change your tribe but you can change other things,” Sad how tribalism has caused us so much pain. When will people learn that ‘may we dwell in unity, peace and liberty’ are virtues in a short sentence? Tribe is something that nobody has control over and LOVE should overlook that. I feel sorry for the kids because indeed Generational curses are real and those cultures mean alot. May God bless Tim’s family. As for Roselyn’s father, it’s all pity and Shame!!

  116. Am always and constantly reminded by my mum not to dare bring anyone from the lakeside.. I do not have the courage to stand up to my mum and larger extended family, so I have to get married to a fellow Kikuyu, even if that’s not my heart desires, I pray all goes well for you, and your babies will be okay, they are not a curse. Tribalism will be the end of us (FYI, he still is a Luo, he hasn’t converted.) that got to me…

    1. You don’t have bring a Kuyu exactly and not a Luo exactly… You can get a half cast(Luo & Kuyu) and theaz ur loophole. A win-win for everyone.

    2. Oh my! …. Lemme help you out on this one. Parents and family have an “ideal” spouse they want for theimselves and their children. A friend of mine married a guy from central to please her family and left a lakeside dude. She did it for her family which was a wrong move. She’s now divorced! She regrets not marrying for “herself”. You have to live your life. Marry whomever you love for you and not your family. Make you happy. Stand up to naysayers and LIVE your life :-)….. Being from central, I stood up to naysayers, i got my Lakeside hubby..2 babies down the line and both sides just got used to it! After all, I spend more time with him than them..I married for ME 😉

  117. What a heart rending story. This father in law needs a serious sermon on love, how can one claim to love God and not love a fellow human being? Really sad.

  118. So many comments disgusted with the father-in-law… This is a sign of how much Kenyans are willing and or have evolved thru the Country’s growth. I am hopeful that it will change with the next generation.
    But until then, BEST way forward for Tim is to enjoy each and every days victories
    “. All his small achievements and milestones mean so much to us – they become our milestones and achievements and we forget to ask ourselves why us.”

  119. It’s so sad to not be accepted yet there’s nothing you can do to change your tribe. I am Kikuyu and my hubby is Luo. A very close relative blatantly told me he doesn’t ‘trust’ those people when I told him of my relationship just when we started dating. I was pregnant too so he even went ahead to ask “don’t young people not know how to use rubber (condoms) any more?” I was crushed. Our mothers however warmly accepted us (we are both from single mothers) and that’s all the acceptance we need.
    I will pray for your family that acceptance will come through

  120. Tremendously, it kills every existing esteem and painstakingly disheartens a soul! When ethnicity deluges the mind of a father and makes him break every paternal affiliation and affection…
    The daughter shouldn’t have suffered that torment because of a choice, prepositions of heart, she made!

  121. Its sad and shocking how we stoop to the level of unfounded myths and tribal stereotypes. We should rise above that and embrace all coz sisi wote ni wakenya. No one chooses where to be born after all. Tim kudos for braving it althrough.

  122. Aah, a lot of holes in this story.

    First, what is all this papa bashing? The mzee has every right to reject who his daughter marries. A lot of brainwashed urbanites hapa wana payuka tribalism this, sijui progress that…BS. WE ALL have prejudices. Dont setup a meeting if you know you cant win the in-laws over. Halafu you dragged the poor guy into your wedding. Aibu gani hii?.
    Worst is this man can share the table with his papa in law but not even dare talk to him? At least be a man there. He will respect you if not like you..it begins somewhere. He is a mkristo so tell him she is your Rachel and for 7 years try to win his heart.
    My heart goes out to you. Is your US baby mama remarried? Perhaps you can ask her to help. Theres a lot of resources available there.
    Finally stop giving interviews to chiles who are obsessed with your biceps. Your wife wont like it. I

  123. When I read this, safe sabotage keeps popping up. When a man gets to 40 not acting responsibly especially when you have a daughter leaves a bad taste. Safe sabotage.

  124. I wish Tim well. Fast forward today, this piece reminds me of the ‘Hurricane’ Story. Tribalism theme still relevant. Slowly I see it fading nowadays as we see couples inter-marrying from different tribes

  125. I think we should just be grateful of God’s faithfulness each day. That God gives each the grace to go though the challenges we face. Tim and his wife are doing a great job. God bless their family.

  126. Tribal hatred is all over. . . When we are born, we are not born with the hatred for anyone. . . All people are the same, all tribes are the same, the hatred we have is taught. like in school, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that some of those lessons never caught our ear. . . Later, Glad we see that we made a wise choice not to perceive other people through our parents eyes, because as we grow older we get to see that not everyone is like that. . . Truth is. . . In each tribe, there are crazy people for some reason. . . All the tribes in the world have bad traits and good traits.. . That is the general analysis. . . But we shouldnt forget that one person is not the whole tribe. . . Just because that person Is from a certain tribe with bad traits does not mean they carry those traits with them. . . So it’s fair to say Tim’s Father-in-law presumptuous, No Matter, Tim holds his devotion towards his wife. . . He doesn’t need to prove himself to his father-in-law , as long as his wife knows the kind of a man he is. . . And she is pleased with the choice she made. . .That’s all.