Short Essay Questions Key
1. Why is Maisha a prostitute at the age of twelve?
"An Ex-Mas Feast" opens with the eight-year-old narrator, Jigana describing his twelve-year-old sister, Maisha. Maisha has recently become a prostitute for many reasons, but mostly because her parents live in the slums of Kenya and cannot afford basic things for their family like food and education. She has taken it upon herself to support the family. The narrator states that Maisha is already training her ten-year-old sister, Naema, about life as a prostitute, letting the young girl try on her high heels and giving her tips about what Johns to stay away from.
2. Who are the members of Jigana's family?
Jigana lives in a rickety slum house where his entire family, Mama, Baba, Maisha, Naema, twins Otieno and Atieno, and Baby sleep together on the floor.
3. Why does Mama give her children glue to sniff on Christmas morning?
The family wakes on Christmas morning and Mama, who is an alcoholic, rummages through her belongings for the small amounts of cash she has stashed away. She cannot afford to feed her family on Christmas, so she gives all the children glue to sniff to stave off their hunger while she awaits Maisha's return from her night's work, hopefully bringing food for the family's holiday feast.
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