THE RIVER AND THE SOURCE PART IV by Margaret Ogola: CHAPTER ANALYSIS


CHAPTER ONE

AORO THE MEDICAL STUDENT

Aoro is introduced to medicine at the university. They study Anatomy, Biochemistry and Psychology among other subjects. Anatomy is the most competitive subjects with every student clamouring to perform best in it. In the laboratory, the students are told to group themselves into six.

Group six had the following members; Aoro Sigu, Wandia Mugo, Jeremy Kizingo, Kithinji Makau, Paul Omondi Rakula and Simon Onyancha. The competition in the Anatomy class narrowed down between Aoro Sigu and Wandia Mugo. After exam, Wandia beat Aoro with one point though both got a distinction. Aoro took it in good stead and offered to buy Wandia her a drink in the cafeteria-a beginning of a long term relationship.

SIGNIFICANT EVENTS IN CHAPTER ONE

  1. Aoro joins campus to study a degree in medicine.
  2. What starts as a competition ends up giving Aoro a chance to get to know Wandia Mugo

 

QUESTIONS FROM CHAPTER ONE

  1. Outline Wandia Mugo’s character according to the chapter.
  2. Why do you think Aoro did not take it well being beaten by a lady?

OBSERVATIONS MADE FROM CHAPTER ONE

  1. Men are finding it difficult to keep up with the competitive nature of women who are taking it well with academic. Wandia Mugo proves to better the men in Anatomy class by coming tops. Aoro reclines to admitting defeat and getting to know the person behind the iron lady.

 

 

CHAPTER TWO

AORO THE INTERN

Life as an intern was hard. Aoro worked around the clock with his routine rotating around the theater, in the Wards and filling patient information and also taking samples for laboratory tests. He goes without sleep for hours with few intervals for food but not enough time for refreshments.

Aoro’s girlfriend Wandia was also an Intern at Machakos General Hospital. They two would go for weeks, even months without seeing each other. Wandia, pays Aoro a visit, Aoro had just gone to the house to rest when the bell rang.

Wandia prevails upon Aoro and Aoro proposes to her there and then. Wandia was on her way to Murang’a to visit her mother who was sick.

SIGNIFICANT EVENTS IN CHAPTER ONE

  1. Aoro is An Intern in a Nairobi hospital while Wandia Interns at the Machakos General Hospital.
  2. Aoro is in a serious relationship with Wandia Mugo.
  3. Aoro proposes to Wandia Mugo after Wandia prompts.
  4. Wandia visits her mother who was sick and hospitalised in Murang’a.

QUESTIONS FROM CHAPTER ONE

  1. Explain the character of both Aoro and Wandia as exhibited in their relationship.

OBSERVATIONS MADE FROM CHAPTER ONE

  1. Aoro boldly pursues Wandia and the two are scheduled to marry. Despite their work setting them apart, the two manage to pull something up a workable relationship.

 

 

 

CHAPTER THREE

WANDIA’S FAMILY

Wandia came from a single parent family. Her mother had struggled to raise them of her farm of coffee. They were all now grown ups and doing different professions. Michael was a successful businessman in Nairobi, Esther was a teacher and married to another teacher named Michael, Wandia was a doctor, and there was Timothy and Kamau.

Wandia’s mother was suffering from diabetes and had an ulcer on one of her legs. Despite being hospitalized, she thought concernedly about her farm and her zero grazing. Wandia spends time with her mum in the hospital before leaving to spend the night at her sister Esther’s.

Wandia enjoys the company of her sister’s children and as night draws, the two sister’s take their time to discuss about their life and family. Esther is curious about the relationship between Wandia and Aoro. The two come from different tribes. Wandia seems determined to cross the tribal lines regardless of other people’s reservation.

SIGNIFICANT EVENTS IN CHAPTER THREE

  1. Single parenthood and how women are determined to take care of their children and see them succeed is highlighted.
  2. Diseases of old age e.g Diabetes threaten the life of Wandia’s mother as she grapples with a leg wound in the hospital.
  3. Interaction between cultures through marriage is questionable; Esther seems apprehensive of Aoro and Wandia’s union.

QUESTIONS FROM CHAPTER THREE

  1. Outline the challenges faced by children from single parent family.
  2. In your own opinion, give a story outlining the challenges of cross-cultural marriages.

OBSERVATIONS MADE FROM CHAPTER THREE

  1. Devoid the existing tension, Wandia is ready to wade in unfamiliar water of intercultural marriage. She has the strongest faith that she will make it and is ready to take her vows.
  2. The strength of a woman is reinforced and once again we see the extremes a woman goes to, to ensure the success of her children. Wandia’s mother makes sure her children study to fufil their desires.

 

CHAPTER FOUR

AORO VISITS PARENTS IN NJORO

Aoro after visiting Wandia’s relatives, he takes his wife-to-be to visit his parents Mark and Elizabeth Sigu in Njoro. Aoro had been warmly received at his In-Laws-to-be. He had written to inform his parents that he would be paying them a visit.

Elizabeth was impatiently waiting for them when they knocked on the door. She warmly welcomed them to the house. After introduction, Elizabeth takes Wandia with her to the kitchen while Aoro remains with his father in the sitting room.

Mark wants to know whether his son had made a good decision by choosing to marry from the Gikuyu who were known to love money. (pg 271) Meanwhile Elizabeth and Wandia are getting along well like a reunion of two lost friends. It was a beginning of mutual friendship.

SIGNIFICANT EVENTS IN CHAPTER FOUR

  1. The arrival of Wandia and Aoro at Njoro to visit Aoro’s parent’s
  2. Despite the wide gap that exists between Elizabeth and Wandia, the two are into a good start and their relationship begins like that of old friends.
  3. Mark seems to trust in his sons choice. He though has his reservations but decides to bless their relationship the benefit of doubt.

QUESTIONS FROM CHAPTER FOUR

  1. Outline the concepts of integration discussed in this chapter.

OBSERVATIONS MADE FROM CHAPTER FOUR

  1. Our perceptions of the other tribe is determined by our interaction with them. There is no reason to judge anyone depending on what we have heard, most keenly, we need to stand up against tribal biases and open up to embracing each other.

 

CHAPTER FIVE

AORO WEDS WANDIA

Everyone contributed to make Aoro’s wedding a success. Becky offered her car and planned for their honeymoon to Malindi where they stayed in her company’s house for seven days. Vera and Wandia developed quick friendship amongst themselves.

Meanwhile, Becky had divorced her husband John Courtney. Courtney had discovered that Becky was cheating on him. She had retained the custody of her two children Alicia and Johnny. Becky had taken to living a promiscuous life which worried Vera. Vera chose to intervene and was answered rudely.

On the other hand, Wandia was pregnant. She was expecting twins. Vera pays her a visit when she had a serious flu. Vera confides in her about Becky. They two discuss about Becky’s health which seemed deteriorating. Wandia goes to labour.

SIGNIFICANT EVENTS IN CHAPTER FIVE

  1. Aoro weds Wandia
  2. Becky is divorced due to infidelity.
  3. There is a huge scuffle between Becky and Vera which leaves Vera wounded. The conflict arises from the perceived poor parenting by Becky.
  4. Wandia pregnant is expecting twins.

QUESTIONS FROM CHAPTER FIVE

  1. Why do you think Becky is bitter and recluse?
  2. outline the differences between Becky and Wandia’s mother in parenting.

OBSERVATIONS MADE FROM CHAPTER FIVE

  1. Impacts of irresponsible sexual behavior are brought forward in Becky when she is divorced by her husband. There are fears that she might also have got the AIDS Virus.

 

CHAPTER SIX

DOWN’S SYNDROME

Wandia gets twins; Daniel and Lisa. Lisa grows rapidly and leaves Daniel behind who has Down’s syndrome. Wandia is so devastated by Daniels condition. She loves her child so much. Daniel too is a lovely kid despite his condition.

Becky dies of AIDS and Wandia and Aoro Adopts her Children Johnny and Alicia Courtney. Becky left behind a huge estate for her children ensuring that they were well provided for. Becky entrusted the children to Vera as their guardian but since Vera’s calling did not allow her to have a home; the children were adopted by the Aoro’s

Daniel develops Leukaemia. Children with Down’s syndrome are prone to be affected by Leukaemia. Wandia is shocked beyond reality. When Daniel is taken to the hospital, she visits the church for the first time. She promises God to be a frequenter if the child gets better.

SIGNIFICANT EVENTS IN CHAPTER SIX

  1. Daniel and Lisa are the twins of Aoro and Wandia. Daniel has Down’s syndrome.
  2. Alicia and Johnny Courtney, the children of Becky are fostered by the Aoro’s after the death of Becky, who was diagonised With AIDS.
  3. Daniel gets Leukaemia making his mother Wandia seek God after a long time.

  

QUESTIONS FROM CHAPTER SIX

  1. Religion is the last straw in the quest to finding inner peace. Explain?

OBSERVATIONS MADE FROM CHAPTER SIX

  1. Wandia turns to God for intervention when she fears for her child’s life. The signifies the close ties the Descendants of Akoko Obanda have had with the church.

 

CHAPTER SEVEN

THE SUDDEN REUNION OF THE SIGU’S

Wandia’s interest in Pathology, especially hematology grows after the recovery of her son Daniel. She receives a scholarship to study hematology at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, USA.

The Aoro’s have a large family to contend with especially at this point given that Wandia was going away. There is Johnny And Alicia who had taken to the family and loved Aoro and Wandia as their biological parents. There is Daniel and Lisa (twins-9) and Mugo.

At the end of term the Aoro’s had a ceremony as every child struggled to showcase their prowess at school. It started with young Mugo and ended with Alicia who preferred to discuss matters privately like an Adult to an Adult. Daniel too, despite the Down’s Syndrome was doing pretty well.

The Aoro’s put in place measures to ensure that the family is well tended while Wandia was away. They plan to call Mary (Mark Sigu’s last born and Aoro sister) to come and stay with the kids besides hiring another househelp.

The Aoro’s then set for a journey to go and visit Mark and Elizabeth, their parents. Mark had bought a farm in Njoro. Odongo was now the farm manager While Opiyo worked as a manager in Mark’s former company. Opiyo had married Edna and they had two children; Mark Jnr. and Elizabeth Jnr. father Anthony (Tony) was also present.

Wandia tells her Maro(mother-in-law) of her scholarship and she readily agrees. Aoro and Tony reminisce about the past.

SIGNIFICANT EVENTS IN CHAPTER SEVEN

  1. After the recovery of Daniel, Wandia vows to pursue Pathology, especially Haematology. She receives a scholarship to study at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore USA.
  2. The Aoro’s Visit Elizabeth and Mark at Njoro which turns out to be a small family reunion.

QUESTIONS FROM CHAPTER SEVEN

  1. Wandia signifies the few women in Kenya who made it to higher levels of education. Outline her role in promoting gender equality.

OBSERVATIONS MADE FROM CHAPTER SEVEN

  1. There is a paradigm shift from that of women taking the backstage to them being significant figures in the society. Aoro Sigu takes backstage as his wife Wandia Mugo Sigu Continues with her education.
  2. Aoro too seems ready to participate in parenting while Wandia continues with her studies.

 

CHAPTER EIGHT

WANDIA SIGU, DOCTORATE IN MEDICINE

The Sigu’s and the Mugo gather to celebrate Wandia’s achievement as the first Kenya Woman to get Doctorate degree in Medicine. There is a large gathering at the Aoro’s home relatives and friends alike.

Alicia was now studying Design and Music at Kenyatta University she was present and beside her favorite aunt Vera. Johnny and Daniel hovered around Aoro and Wandia.

Johnny is disturbed with his identity. He wants to take over Aoro’s name and forsake the Courtney name. His skin colour is a matter of concern to him that to identify with Africans he speaks fluent Kiswahili and prefers to hang with dark friends.

Wandia talks to him about forgiveness and acceptance which he does not really accrue to. Wandia tells Vera to send a letter to Courtney because she is most concerned with Johnny’s behavior.

Elizabeth, now exhaustively old, wakes up in the middle of the night to check on her children and friends who were partying and her young grandchildren who were asleep. She feels dizzy while trying to check on her grandchildren.

The following day,Mark received a call from Opiyo, Elizabeth Awiti Sigu had died. They buried her near the grave of her daughter Becky. Mark followed her within the year.

SIGNIFICANT EVENTS IN CHAPTER EIGHT

  1. Wandia graduates with a doctorate degree in Medicine.
  2. Elizabeth starts having problems with breathing and dies the following day enroute to hospital.
  3. Wandia faints during the burial of Elizabeth which was conducted by Bishop Owuor Kembo and Father Anthony Sigu.
  4. The river continues.

QUESTIONS FROM CHAPTER EIGHT

  1. Write an obituary celebrating the life and time of Elizabeth Awiti Sigu.
  2. Write the Biography of Elizabeth Awiti Sigu.
  3. Compare the character of Wandia and Akoko.

OBSERVATIONS MADE FROM CHAPTER EIGHT

  1. The death of Elizabeth Sigu opens the flood gates of a modern society. It is an end to the Society that begun in Sakwa, sojourned in Yimbo before settling in Aluor. The three women, who cemented this relationship and flow of the river i.e Veronicah Adoyo Obanda Akelo Akoko Okembo, Mary Nyabera Okembo and Elizabeth Awiti OKumu Sigu ends with the death of Elizabeth.
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THE RIVER AND THE SOURCE: PART IV VARIABLE WINDS


PART IV

VARIABLE WINDS

‘Variable Winds’ introduces as to cross cultural marriage in post-colonial Kenya. It washes aside the stereotype behavior of Kenyans who look at tribes in different perspectives while generalizing communities. Mark’s remark that… “She is a kikuyu after all-they have a thing about money.”Pg271 give us a clear indication that, in Kenya you are not judged by your character but from what tribe you come from. Despite the fact that Mark was a man who accepted change, he represents a majority of parents who have stop engagements on the grounds of tribe. Truth be told, fact is that, cross cultural marriages in Kenya are looked at apprehensively, both parties look at them skeptically with a thing in mind, will they work? We see this portrayal in the words of Esther, Wandia’s Sister; “Do you think it will work?” pg264. The bone of contention in this context is, what language will the children speak? How will you, as a woman, interact with your-In-laws? Such questions have created an impediment even to Kenyan Elite who as a matter of fact prefer to marry in their own language. This is also coupled with tribal stereotypes as cited above.

Secondly, we are brought into the reality of HIV/AIDS. Becky suffers from the ailment which sends her to death. AIDS is associated with leaving an amorous life. From the conversation between Wandia and Esther (pg262) and Wandia and Vera (pg280) we learn how promiscuity and lack of care leads to one getting the disease. Wandia openly discusses this to give highlight to readers on the implications of the scourge and how rapid it is spreading.