A month ago, Xena’s school set out to present a play to the parents as they always do every Easter and Christmas. A week to the play, her diary had this note slipped in.
“Please note that the Easter concert will be on Tuesday 21st March. Parents should be seated by 9.00am. Kindly provide a kikoy outfit for your child as a costume for the play.”
I saw the note on Monday evening when I got home from work. Xia was seated on the console right under the TV, her favorite spot lately but detrimental to her eyesight. Xena was lying on the couch on her back, right foot drawn close to her bum forming an acute angle and screaming at Xia “for the last time stop blocking my view!” then she turns to me “mama tell Xia her sister is not happy with her”. She loves to talk in the third person which I find hilarious.
So I grab her diary from the dining table and flip the pages to find that note. I had a week to get a kikoy outfit. Brilliant.
Xena’s teachers must imagine that we are such patriotic parents, highly proud of our cultural heritage and therefore for every five outfits our kids own, about three must bear some local heritage and at least one will be a kikoy outfit! This is the point I wished that national dress project that some Kenyans were trying to implement some years back would have succeeded and hopefully the fabric would have been kikoy. Then naturally, there would have been a standby kikoy outfit for everyone in my household. Like the Nigerians and their agbadas and iros and the Indians and their sarees. Because you never know when you will be summoned for a national event.
Seeing as I had no idea where to get a kikoy outfit from, I decided to get creative. I knew I had about four kikoy lessos and figured we could tie one around her top area knotting it over one shoulder and another one carefully around her small waist line to act as a skirt. Bingo! I packed them in her bag and explained on the diary how they were to be used.
Meanwhile, every day Xena would excitedly recite a bible verse or narrate a part of the play or sing one of those Easter songs. She was excited about it and reminded the dad not to miss her event. I asked her what about me, she said only parents and children were invited. Turns out I didn’t fall under either of the categories. I stopped catching feelings long ago, so I did not let that statement get to me…though in retrospect, I am curious to know why she would think that parent=dad.
I imagined how hard it is for the kids to master their little parts in the play. The narratives, the dramatization, the sequence. I also imagined the effort the teachers put in to get such young kids to rehearse and perfect their narratives and to remember the flow of events. I figured I also had to bring something to the table and two plain kikoy lessos were not going to cut it!
On Saturday morning, I picked a fancy design on Pinterest and called Leah or Mama Toto Wraps as she fondly likes to refer to herself.
“I need a huge favor. Are you able to make Xena a dress in two days?”
“Wow! I can’t wait to hear how this emergency came about. But knowing you, you probably sat on this info until the last-minute.” She knows me too well.
“I need a dress, not a lecture.”
“Sending my fundi right away.”
Toto Wraps came through. On Sunday evening the dress was delivered home. The moment Xena put it on, it looked like it belonged. Like it had found its long-lost home. She swirled in it and admired herself and gave this gorgeous smile of appreciation saying “Oh my God mama I love my dress!” Yeah, she is already talking like that. It was a perfect fit and she looked dashing and glamorous. But most importantly, she loved the dress.
The concert was heartwarming and all the kids were stunning. It was unbelievable to see the effort that other parents had put in to deliver beautiful outfits. I thanked God for nudging me to step up!
I never imagined that I would ever use the words glamour and kikoy in one sentence. No offence but African prints have never been up my alley. However, I am slowly warming up to them. So much so that a few days later, I pulled this image of a kitenge top with a front crop cut and a flowy back off Pinterest and I called Leah asking her to do her magic, only this time there were no deadlines.
She delivered yet again.
If you fall in love with the looks as much as we did, get in touch with Mama Toto Wraps on 0712-641505 for her Mida’s Touch.