Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The year 2013, the ‘damage’ it leaves behind.

2013 came. She approached us shyly, batting her eyelids and drawing circles in the sand with her toes and all. We encouraged her. We yelled “Happy New year!” in unison, with enthusiasm. Slowly she grew confident and took charge. She demanded for a place in our lives and we happily embraced her with unbridled expectation.

Things got real. Along the way somewhere, she shook us up a bit. She gave us laughter with hints of sadness here and there. She gave us new life in newborn babies and yet it did not relent on the deaths and funerals now and then. She gave us hope with a tinge of disappointment from time to time. Now she is done with us. Her time is up! She begs to leave, but she can’t leave us the way she found us, can she? She cannot just up and go without leaving a mark, right?

As 2014 knocks to be let in, I carry with me silt carried from 2013.  Like a flowing river 2013 had to leave some residue in me - its way of engraving the words ‘2013 was here’. The 'damage' is so much so that I feel like a different person. I even feel the need to get re-acquainted with myself.

She twisted my dress sense a whole lot. See, I was a jeans and pants kinda girl. I swore by trousers and never cared for the girly outfits. Then 2013 happened. She waltzed her way into my wardrobe and introduced me to dresses and skirts. How did this happen? Who even let her into the privacy of my closet! She went a step further and replaced me, the leggings hater with a leggings crusader! Miracles indeed do happen! I never could stand leggings before. Especially leggings worn as pants. Look at me now. All I do is gush “Aren't these the most comfortable garments or what!” as I pull a pair of leggings on.

She tested my patience all right. I never realized how much I lack in the ‘patience’ department until 2013 came and shoved into my face the slowest house help in the world EVER! A very nice girl, don’t get me wrong. Very kind. So soft spoken. But too. Damn. Slow. I had to grit my teeth, bury my head in the pillow and scream into it because I could not scream in her face. Did I tell you that she was the nicest girl? I had to be patient with her. It was torture, but I survived. I became acquainted to patience for the first time and ever since we met, I think it is the most underrated virtue. I henceforth swore to take my responsibility as a mother more seriously because I would hate to subject another human being the torture of teaching my grown children the basic life lessons that I should have taught them when they were little.

2013 you! Do you know what else she did? She made me a believer. She took me, an all time skeptic and turned me into a believer of love. A risk taker - come on, who doesn’t think that getting married is the biggest leap of faith one can ever take, huh? I can’t believe this year did this to me. I’m exuding a bunch of emotions that I never could allow to get the better of me. I ask, who is this person?!

I never did admit it before but 2013 made me face the reality. I finally embraced this very unusual side of me. I, Renee finally came to terms with the fact that I infact...do not like cake. Yep! I don’t. I think I had pretended for far too long and the year boldly decided “That’s it! Enough is enough. You have to admit it this minute. You don’t like cake. Now say it!” I had no choice but to repeat “I don’t like cake” with my head facing down. Pretender!

While we’re on food stuff; ironically, she made me a baker, this unpredictable year. Yes she did. She made me a cook. A good cook! (Toot! Toot!) She had me flexing my culinary muscles and whipping up recipes left right and centre. Hailey and Heidi have so much to thank 2013 for because they had their appetites whetted like never before. We sure cooked up a storm!

As we cooked up a storm and stuffed our faces, she made sure that I watched my weight. 2013 introduced me to the wonders of the hoola hoop. It is fun, first and foremost, and secondly, it works wonders on your waistline. I think I almost got rid of the evidence left after carrying two pregnancies, don’t you agree? Anyway...I recommend.

2013 leaves in me an early riser - something I hope to carry well into the new year. It gifted me with twin nephews, what joy! She however robbed me of my cousin. Bummer! She dished me lessons on motherhood by making me feel the pinch of being away from my babies for a while. Then she brought MD back home for good, YAY! (I warned you about this mushy woman!) 2013 taught me to appreciate people more. She restored my trust in both the human male and female species, except politicians - let’s not get carried away now. 

I have learned that for every minute that I breathe (and hence fill these pages), every second that I am healthy and strong, every moment that I get to share with loved ones, that I should be thankful. It is a huge privilege. One that I am not assured will always be there.

What’s more, 2013 drew me closer to God. A very good place to be.

Reading all these, don’t you feel like we just met? I know. I feel like I just met me too! What about you, how much ‘damage’ did 2013 do to you?

Happy new year my friends. See you on the other side, God willing.

Monday, December 23, 2013


It started with a knock on the door. I had to answer it. A knock on the door has to be answered, doesn’t it? Remember the movie Phone Booth?  Do you recall these words at the end of the movie:  “Isn’t it funny; you hear a phone ringing and it could be anybody. But a ringing phone has to be answered. Doesn’t it?” - I loved that movie!

Standing outside the door was a man with an envelope in his hand. I recognized him as our next door neighbour. I had seen him around the neighbourhood a couple of times and we had exchanged greetings in passing.

I was just about to go in for a shower when I heard the knock. I had nothing on save for a bathrobe but I chose to open the door anyway. “I will just peep out and get rid of whoever it is”, was my plan. My neighbour stood at my doorstep. He shook my hand to say hi, and held it for a while longer than was necessary. “This might take longer than I anticipated”, I thought. I was nervous being seen like this. Being seen by him like this.  If he noticed my disastrous wardrobe choice, he did not show it then. He instead went ahead to ask for directions to a certain building in town. He had to deliver the envelope (raises hand to show me the envelope in question) but he wasn’t sure where the office was located in town, he said.

I knew the building he was asking about and I tried to explain to him how to get there. The thing he did not know about me then is that I am poor at giving directions. Scratch that, I am hopeless at giving directions.  Nervous at my outfit (or lack thereof), I ended up not giving him much information. I was like “Go this way, then go that way, you’ll come across such and such a road, ashana nayo. Take the other road instead then go left, turn right, ignore this building, pass through the other road…” I was terrible. Still am. I believe the first lesson he learnt was; never ask Renee for directions unless you fancy getting lost.

He was kind though. He pretended to get what I was saying. He smiled at my nervousness and thanked me for my precious time. He even apologized for, wait for it ... waking me up! He had noticed my wardrobe mess all right! I chose not to correct the wrong assumption. I figured telling him that I had not been sleeping would mean having to explain further the reason why I was not fully dressed - not a conversation I was keen on pursuing at the time. Plus, it was mid morning! I should have been offended that he thought I sleep in that late!

I wasn’t offended though. Au contraire. I had a smile on my face when he left. A smile that lasted a long time after he was gone.  I knew exactly why he had stopped by, and it had nothing to do with directions to some office in town.

Fast forward twelve years later...

Koito is a Kalenjin word which roughly translates to ‘To give away’. It consists of the actual ceremony of giving away a girl to the man who comes with his people to ask for her hand in marriage. The man pays dowry to the bride’s family and there are celebrations thereafter where the two families socialize and get to know each other. Food and refreshments, not forgetting ‘mursik’ - sour milk - are served as they exchange gifts and make merry.

The members of the extended family - uncles, aunts, grandparents - are gifted as well. The women sing and dance with the bride as they bid her farewell. There is counselling too, of sorts, where the couple is advised about marriage life by the ‘veterans’.

My grandmother (bless her soul) enjoyed telling us about her unique betrothal to my late grandfather. She narrated repeatedly, with a hint of nostalgia and a fondness that was almost tangible, about ‘Mwalimu’ - my grandfather’s nickname - a young respectable man (her words for; an eligible bachelor)

What my ingenious grandfather ‘Mwalimu’ did was, instead of going to ask for my grandmother’s hand in marriage, he waited till the dead of night, and stealthily went into my young  grandma’s home. He already knew where she and her siblings slept and so he, together with his ‘hommies’, went for her when everyone else was asleep. I forget whether they knocked on the door, introduced themselves and asked my grandma to go with them, or whether they yanked the door open, picked her up amid her protests, hoisted her up their strong muscled shoulders and off they went. All I know is that they ‘stole’ her (as they called it then) in the middle of the night only to send some elders a few days later to come and inform her parents of their intentions to marry their daughter and to agree on the dowry. That is how my paternal gramps and grandma ‘hooked up’.  

What would have happened if the parents of the girl refused to give away their daughter to that particular man? Would he have to bring her back? I forgot to ask that. Anyone?

Twelve years after the ill-timed knock on the door, I too was given away to none other than MD formerly known as my-next-door-neighbour-with-an-envelope-in-his-hand. And that, ladies and gentlemen is how my neighbour transitioned into being my husband. 

 Merry Christmas everyone. Draw your family closer this festive season. 

P.S: I dedicate this post to my cousin who was called to glory just five days to my koito. He passed on at the prime of life - a call has to be answered, doesn’t it?. Fred, I think of your smile each time I think of you. Rest in Peace dear cousin.

Friday, August 23, 2013

My True North

I have never been a city girl. Not at heart, at least. I love the country life. I fantasize about living in a big house deep in the village, surrounded by trees, bushes, grass and wild nature – creepy crawlies and all. Eeew, you say? Fine, those I can do without but I will insist on uninterrupted internet connection, electricity sans blackouts, and running tap water (so much for the rural life huh?) Hopefully, Kenya power and Lighting co. get their act together.

I will spend my days tapping at my keyboard, telling stories. Great stories, if I might add. I will look out of the window and seek inspiration from the wilderness, allowing nature to inject life into me. I will get high on the fresh country air which I will inhale deeply through my nostrils into my system (and no, I’m not a druggie) as I watch the rain falling to water the earth or the sun caressing the green vegetation. With a scalding-hot cup of coffee (Or milk, if I’m to stick to my roots), I will try to change the world one word at a time.

Hailey and Heidi will be big names at the time – you better believe it! Grown women of substance. Hailey will be a big shot model (You should see her pose for a photo, I swear!) or actress, or singer. Heidi will run some company, fearlessly admonishing employees and making management decisions. Making men sweat - in a nutshell.

Md will be in the bushes with me (I don’t care what he tell you, this is my fantasy!). As I am busy on my keyboard, he will be lurking somewhere in the bushes trying to catch something, sword - or some other lethal weapon of choice- in hand. Maybe he will resurrect his passion for art and join me at the window with a paintbrush and canvas in hand? My very own Da Vinci? I don’t know...All I know is that he will be shirtless with just a pair of shorts, the Fabio look-alike that he is. I will stop there before things get all steamy and inappropriate. Ha!

When I close my eyes I get lost in this fantasy. It is so tangible, I can taste it. It is so alive; I can feel it burning my bones, willing to burst out.

My true north! This must be it, isn’t it? Is this my internal compass? “Everyone has an internal compass where their true north is clearly defined. Even when they stray, this compass will point them back on track” so I’ve been told. And don’t you agree?

It’s a journey getting to that point where what you want is non negotiable. There are  so many distractions on the way. So many hardships that all combine to build you to the person you want to become.

Every woman, I believe, has to go through the thick scary forest with wild animals raring to gnaw at her delicate frame, ready to take advantage of her fragility. She has to climb mountains so high while struggling to hang on lest she plummets into the ocean below that is eager to drown her. Every woman, at one point or another, has plunged into deep waters; unable to swim she has stretched out her hand helplessly. If lucky, she has clutched on a straw and stayed afloat.

She has had to run away from danger! Towards shelter! Barefoot sometimes! She’s been pricked in the process! She has bled. She has asked for help along the way only to be turned away. Screamed for help in the dark, only to be ignored. Sought for help among people who claim to love her, only to be misled. She has somehow managed to come back nevertheless.

Every woman has slipped! Has fallen!Crawled on all fours! Dragged their bodies on the mud when standing up was too much for her! She has cried! Boy, has she cried! She has laughed! She has smiled! Given a fake smile! A fake orgasm! She has loved! She has hated! Harbored anger! Resentment! She has gone crazy with confusion! She has given in to pleasure! Succumbed to pressure! She has given up! Thrown her hands up in defeat!

Yet she has picked herself up! Stood tall! Pushed her chest out! Made a comeback! She has trudged the long winding road! Step by firm step! Determined to reach where she needs to go! Focusing on that one point that remains constant through it all. Her true north.

Every woman has gone through her fair share of smelting to become that shining, refined woman who knows what she wants. Whose morals, principles and ideals are non negotiable.

In life's journey we are often uncertain where we stand, where we are going and what the right path is for us personally. My true north beckons me to this place where I am comfortable in my skin; with what I have and who I am. It stops me from comparing myself to others and insists ever so determinedly, irritatingly sometimes, that I make my voice heard regardless of what people might think. It fights me when I try to conform. It dares me to be me. Unique. Different. Blessed.

Take a look, see how far you’ve come. Now imagine how much farther you can go! Never lose sight of your true north. Keep going. Keep North!

Friday, August 16, 2013

It's Daddy's fault

I took out the keys from my purse and struggled with the door a bit. It eventually gave way and I let myself in. The house looked just as I had left it that morning. Every little thing remained unmoved. The remote was on top of the table. The windows were wide open with curtains drawn yet darkness was creeping in. One end of the curtain swayed back and forth courtesy of the wind that was blowing luxuriously through the open window into the living room. I picked the remote from the table and made to close the window while simultaneously pointing it towards the television to switch it on. As I closed the curtains, I realized that the television remained off. Didn’t I just turn it on? I gave it another try. Nothing doing. It then occurred to me that I had turned the power socket off that morning. I turned it on and voila!

The TV came alive on the same channel I had left it, CNN. Eric Holder was talking about something and before I could figure out what, the clip switched to our very own son from Kogelo. I switched to a local channel before I could hear what Obama was on about and headed to the kitchen to deposit the plastic bags with groceries.

The house was too quiet for my liking. It was cold. The refrigerator purred softly through the silence. I opened it and peeped in. What to cook, what to cook? I consulted my appetite, it was nonexistent. I closed the refrigerator. The kitchen sink had a cup and a saucer-my breakfast utensils, untouched since morning. I went to close the bedroom windows and curtains. It was cold. It was quiet. Too quiet.

The kids’ room was in perfect order,  painfully neat. No toys were out of place like is the norm. Their beds were still neatly spread. They bore no depressions from napping or sitting or jumping. All the shoes were still neatly arranged on one side of the room - nothing was out of place. I was used to finding a shoe or two out of place. Not today.

I craved for some madness. Some untidiness. Some noise. Some yelling, shouting, singing. Some fighting, even. Anything but the silence, order and emptiness that filled the house.

I am toughing out this solitude because I decided to stop hogging my kids to myself and took them upcountry to be with their grandparents. I realize that I cannot be everything to them. I can only be their mother. I will therefore let their grandparents be grandparents, their uncles, aunts and cousins be who they should be. Should anything ever happen to me (God forbid) I would hate for them to feel lost in the company of their own flesh and blood.

Normally, my evening on coming home would be quite different. I would knock on the door and the girls would shriek in excitement. Hailey and Heidi would tackle me outside the door and seek to find out what I had brought for them even before I had the chance to walk in and heave my tired body on the couch. Today I had the chance to heave my tired body on the couch but I didn’t. All windows closed, I came back and sat on the sofa; not so much heaved, but just sat carefully. Quietly.

On most occasions, I come home to find the TV tuned to a cartoon channel, or a Pink Panther, Tom & Jerry or Dora the Explorer cd. I never bothered to watch the 7pm news before, opting instead for a shower as the girls struggle to fit dinner into their tight cartoon schedule before bedtime. Today however, I get the luxury of watching the 7 o’clock news as there is no one watching or demanding to watch cartoons.

It had been a while since I watched the 7 o’clock news. They are reporting about a shooting in the city’s CBD where a bride-to-be and her brother- in- law were shot dead as they purchased wedding rings in a jewelry shop. Kenya is now that country where a person is shot dead. In broad daylight! Doesn’t that send a chill down your spine?

I opt to go take a bath and after some twenty minutes or so, am back on the couch, my new found companion. I start writing. Now the keyboard is my BFF. Who cares about TV and the depressing news anyway?

I miss the girls. I truly miss my babies.

I spoke to Heidi yesterday and for a moment there, I thought she had acquired an accent. I think there’s some mother tongue influence creeping into her vocabulary. I kid you not! Hailey on the other hand seems to be having too much fun, that I am almost jealous.

Speaking of Hailey, allow me to digress for a second…

SHE IS IN! Yep, she passed her standard one interview. We really prayed for this and when the admission letter came, we high fived, did a jig, hugged and kissed then we gave thanks. I now declare today a public holiday (of sorts) to all the #TeamHailey members out there. It is only fair that those who sent well wishes for my girl should have a drink on me and send me the bill; be it morning, noon, or night in whichever time zone you hail from.

…and my one second is up!

On the day I took them upcountry, Hailey on seeing a barefooted young boy, who was almost her age, motioned me towards her and whispered in my ear “Mum, that kid is not wearing socks and shoes?” I nodded in agreement as I greeted the boy. Hailey stretched towards me again, cupped her mouth to my ear and whispered “His daddy has not bought for him shoes and socks?” I nodded again. I was puzzled that he blamed the boy’s daddy.

She continued staring at the boy’s feet. Relentlessly. Thankfully, he was too young to take offense. He infact stared back at her, seeming equally fascinated by Hailey.  

“Why hasn’t his daddy bought for him shoes, mum?” she was back on my ear again. She must have decided that she deserved a better answer than just a nod.

“I think his daddy - and mummy - don’t have the money to buy the shoes now. But am sure when they get enough money, they will buy for him” I told her.

The answer seemed to satisfy her curious mind.

Daddies beware, according to my daughter Hailey, if your child has no shoes on their feet, it’s your fault!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Scramble for Excellence

I opted for the third row from the front, a few meters away from the podium. I sat on a seat at the end of the row, next to a gentleman who was reading a newspaper. There were a few of us. The meeting was to begin at 9.30am. Please keep time, the letter had said. I was twenty minutes early.

When I woke up that morning, Hailey kept reminding me not to be late for the meeting at their school. She kept checking the time as I got out of the shower, as I dressed - she even knocked on my bedroom door a few times. I had to take a few swigs of tea, as she monitored that I don’t get too engrossed in watching the morning news. She pointed at the clock every few minutes to remind me that I had to hurry. “OK, OK, OK!” I resigned to leaving the house way before my scheduled time. 

Thanks to Hailey, I had to wait twenty minutes as the other pre-unit parents took their time to get to the hall where we were to have a meeting about next year’s class one admissions. The few parents who had arrived equally early were trying to keep busy; some were engrossed in their phones, browsing on their touch-screens, Galaxys, Androids, whatnot, while others chattered away. 

I pondered on what to do as I waited. Since the person seated next to me insisted on reading about Sossion and the Teacher’s Union, I was bored. There is a book I always carry in my handbag for moments like this, I remembered. I made to fetch it only to realize that I had changed handbags that morning and taken a smaller one to which I had transferred just my purse, wet wipes, lip gloss, earphones, a notebook and pen. That was all the small purse could carry anyway. No book in sight, I instead opted for some music and took out my earphones. Might as well...

Soon, three nuns walked into the hall which was now full save for a few empty chairs here and there. They were trailed by a gentleman who had a bunch of papers tucked under his arms. I regrettably tuned off U2 & Luciano Pavarotti as they belted out the song Miss Sarajevo into my ears. Awesome song! 

With a word of prayer, the meeting started at 9.48am. A wasted half an hour easily translated into equal length of wasted sleep. How I would have loved to sleep in that Saturday morning - If only Hailey would’ve let me!

They cut to the chase. The good news was that they were ready to absorb our young ones to standard one. The bad news was that there was limited space and our children, our young angels, had to jostle for that limited space. I looked around me and realized at that point that we were nothing more than competitors. This could as well have been an episode out of the series Survivor Guatemala or Caramoan or one of those little known islands. Bottom line, we all wanted the same thing. If it were up to us, we would shove each other shamelessly, elbow each other unapologetically, bribe someone even, use any means possible to get that space. I could see a few mothers I could take down with little effort. The fathers would be a handful but some of them had a small physique and would be no threat, like Mr. Sossion seated beside me, for example.

Unfortunately this was our children’s battle. And being children, innocent and all, they don’t have dirty tricks tucked up their sleeves. They don’t know how to rig or smuggle mwakenya’s to class. Yet. They will sit in a classroom, with their little pencils and little rubbers and with their little hands, they will jot down answers they can remember - If they are not too sleepy, or hungry or simply out of it. What a gamble!

On our part, we will do nothing but break a sweat like we did as we listened to the headmistress. Our hearts pounded as they explained the procedure of admission. Each parent, I am almost certain, praying that their child would be among the chosen few. 

Even as the gentleman stood to address us and went out of his way to show his prowess at dishing anecdotes, creating light moments here and there, advising us that unlike any Kenyan politician, he would not accept any bribes from any parent, we smiled and laughed with nervousness.

The parting shot at 12 noon was a stern warning not to pressure our children. “Don’t transfer your anxiety to them because that might contribute to their failure” Let the children be, they insisted. “We have taught them well, we have given them the best foundation they could ever get anywhere in the world. They are all bright boys and girls”, they assured us. “Sadly, we can only absorb a certain number to proceed with us, and this test is the only fair way to make that selection. Should your child not make it, it doesn’t mean they are weak”

This is just one war I wish I could fight for Hailey, but sadly, my karate skills notwithstanding (or lack thereof), I can’t.  

To calm my nerves as I walked out of the hall, I put U2 and Pavarotti back on “….Here she comes, Heads turn around. Here she comes, To take her crown…” they bellowed into my ear, picking up from where they’d paused. Miss Sarajevo – Listen to this song and tell me if the great Tenor by Pavarotti doesn’t give you goose bumps. While at it, read a bit of the history on war-torn Sarajevo, Bosnia in the 90’s and then you’ll fully appreciate the song. Yes, there is a connection.

Meanwhile, what is it they say; que sera, sera

Friday, June 21, 2013

Hailey by any other name…

Mama Hailey, my other name, threatened to change one afternoon when Hailey got back from school and told me she had decided that she does not want to be called Hailey anymore. I know, unbelievable!

“What? Why mum. What’s wrong with your name?” was my reaction. I was shocked of course because I have always believed (conceitedly perhaps?) that I named my children well. I call both my kids ‘Mum’ on a regular basis when we are on good terms, best buds and stuff. Then they do something wrong and I yell out all their three names:


Yeah, I like the effect this has on them. They kinda freeze and look around as if to think “Ooops! She saw that? Does this woman have eyes on her back?” or “Damn, here comes another lecture!” or “Wha….what did I do now?” I can only imagine what goes through their minds when I do that.

Being a mum is fun. Only until your kids turn into teenagers, then you start pulling out your hair, strand after strand. After snakes, teenagers scare me.  

“I want to change my name” Hailey said

“What do you want to be called instead?” I prodded

“I want to be called Jane” she replied matter-of-factly 

I expected some phenomenal name, you know. You don’t pass off a name like Hailey only to choose a name like Jane (no offense Jane) but Jane is just so..so… ‘Plain Jane’, you know? Please tell me I am not alone on this one. I expected a name like Felicity, Gwendolyne, Gwyneth, Aurora…ok, I’m pushing it. But you catch my drift? 

“Jane? Why Jane, baby girl?”

She was quiet.

“Mum, Hailey is a very good name, let nobody lie to you. Don’t change your name. It’s a very good name” I stressed the VERY. GOOD. Just for emphasis.

“OK” she agreed.

Alrighty then! That was easy?

PHEW! She is still Hailey. And I am still mama Hailey. God knows where that was coming from. I am guessing she likes someone in school called Jane. Or maybe her teacher made a remark in passing, like “Hailey? Why weren’t you given an easy name like Jane?” Or she heard someone telling Jane that she has a good name? Or some braggart called Jane kept telling her that the name Jane is better than Hailey? Seriously Jane? No offense sweetheart but your name ain’t all that.

I don’t know what brought this on but am glad we put it to rest and she never pursued it anymore. In your face, JANE! Oh, you wanna cry now Jane? 

If I were Hailey, I would be on my knees right about now, thanking God that she does not bear a ridiculous name the likes of ‘North West’. Kim Kardashian’s newborn daughter has every right to demand a name change when she is older. If she ever does, I will completely have her back. North West. Tsk! Not Hailey though. No. I love Hailey. And I love mama Hailey too…

What’s in a name anyway? The other day, Hailey and her sister were playing house then Hailey kept calling “Elkana! Elkana! Elkana!”

We got confused and asked her who Elkana was.

She pointed at Heidi who seemed not to be getting with the program.

“She is not called Heidi, she is Elkana” Hailey verbally ‘baptized’ her sister.

I then noticed that Heidi had Hailey’s school bag strapped on her back, and it dawned on me that she was supposed to be Hailey’s school-going daughter. On many occasions I have heard Heidi calling “Mum” and when I responded, she would shoo me away and tell me that she was in fact not calling me but Hailey, her “mother” in the game.

Elkana? Really? Of all the names she could think of…? My Hailey is something else.

Mama Jane, Mama Elkana or Mama Hailey? I pick mama Hailey any day of the week.

Back to Elkana. Isn’t Elkana a boy’s name anyway?