When my Research lecturer gave us an assignment on writing a proposal, my mind juggled with so many topics for some days. Ultimately, my Proposal heading read; A STUDY ON THE PLIGHT OF THE BOY CHILD IN KENYA. It is no coincidence that I’m passionate about the male gender threats and prospects in this country. At times I will sound harsh to them (I included)with criticism, sometimes supplying sympathy and reassurance all in search of mentoring avenues for this incredible human species. It is also not a coincidence too, that this is the umpteenth time I’m writing an open letter to dear men.
I start by affirming the riddle; You never throw stones when you live in a glass house. My perennial criticism however, is not baseless but out of anger, shock and disappointment on how low we have lowered the bar of qualifying to be a gentleman. That said I can confirm the following;
A majority of fathers have miserably failed to be good role models. A good number of us have also welcomed the idea that it is humanly normal to have several sidekicks, not even one at your disposal! That man is the greatest loser from the upsurge of single parenting is not being emphasized either. Alcoholism has shattered our dreams, emasculated everything will hold dear and disenfranchised our families. These four facts have costed us immense reputation and track record. They have weakened our enviable history we bequeathed from our grand fathers. Furthermore, they have peeled every tasty flesh in man’s legacy and reduced us to mere scavengers with no heritage to hold on; left us bare, feeling vulnerable and battling with exposed flaws.
Enough of that.
Fellow men, I confirm to have partaken in dealing with the burden of unprecedented pressure, contemporary man is grappling with day in day out. If it’s not to have a loyal wife, then it has to be a decent car then expectations evolve to an imposing piece of land, then a mansion worth inviting humans to attend for the official opening. That done, they call for a million dollar wedding and before that you save for a commercialised dowry occasion. From there you will be required to steer and show direction to a family set up that is bleeding from over empowerment. You will be expected to hold this same family in one piece dealing on the sidelines with a mother in law who is briefed daily on the metamorphosis of your behaviors and bank balance. You will also deal with mother in laws who will dare you to stress their too educated but fragile daughters. You will grapple with village men who expect something small every time you visit up country. You will either deal with it willingly or from their manipulative skills. Your kids will be expected to go to schools that cost an arm and a length. A lot will be expected from you in ensuring you give them decent upbringing. Dear men, I know the weight of expectations from close family members. Out of circumstances you will be compelled to be ambitious and opportunistic. In the end you will be worshipped for being wealthy regardless of where you amassed it from. The quicker your bribe your way to riches the sooner the celebrations will start otherwise the reverse is also true.
However, there is more that matters to man. To achieve all the above we need to cultivate a strong foundation. We need to bank and invest on mentors. But who will mentor us, really? To prove how tough it is for a man to celebrate his 35th birthday sober, spiritual, and full of life; here’s some of the challenges.
Not so long ago a couple of my classmates and I gathered to catch up after we found out one of the day’s unit had been cancelled. A spontaneous convergence had taken place whereas the rest had hurriedly left on learning the news of cancellation of the class. Within no time, a heated conversation was growing and soon enough we were basking in laughter and tears of joy. The cost of leaving this elusive gathering was too high. I savoured every minute of this encounter since it’s not an often thing. You know how evening or weekend classes always have students in a rush even when it is unnecessary. If it is not hurrying to get to class on time then it could be to head home before the rains pound or before it gets too late to prepare supper or it could be to catch up for a big game with the boys. These students are always on adrenaline. Every single announcement of cancellation of class brings along its fair share of impromptu events and activities that must be honoured. In fact, these students live for the cancellation of a class!
Anyway, we laughed and sympathised with each other on life’s experiences. The dominant topic of discussion was about the plight of men in this day and age. Why this arose was because a lady who was scantily dressed made a mistake of passing next to us. Yes she was badly dressed. She had a kikoi to cover her exposed thighs given that she would sit down at some point in the day with her waistline-long dress. I never get the drift but I leave it there. That dressing was a game changer to our conversations. Thanks to her, it resulted to us sharing the most fundamental aspects of life. We came clean and unashamed of our past mistakes. For once, there was no judgment or eye -rolling.
A lady in the group spoke of how one of her male colleagues who by that time was a bachelor had been trapped in a love web with a lady that used to clean his clothes over the weekends. The banker dude had fallen for a Mama Fua. It all began when the said lady started by leaving some of her items in the bachelor’s digs every time she came for her kibarua(hustle), deliberately. This dude didn’t decode the signals right on time until she left her undergarments. They guy still unperturbed remained mum. The following weekend, Mama Fua came late and so her task ended in the late hours as well. She said she was worried to go home in the night. It was risky for her. The guy suggested to escort her but his suggestion was outwitted skillfully by Mama Fua. Mama Fua spent the night in his house and ……..one thing led to another. Whatever magic that lady used worked soundly.`
Since then, the poor guy fell for this damn woman with all his naive heart and soul, wealth, time, inheritance and with any other resource he owned. Oblivious to him, Mama Fua was a single mother. Daring enough, she brought her kid to live with the new dad. It became impossible for this man to cut links with her. Friends and colleagues tried in vain. When word reached the dad, his result to anger and condemnation bore no fruit. The only thing that worked was to literally pack the belongings of his son, uproot him and leave Mama Fua with the house all for her. He had to also influence a transfer of his son to another station in a different town. It worked.
We moved on to this bloke who confessed to have been enfeebled by this female colleague with unrelenting and disturbing theatrics to woo him. Clearly, this guy had been pulling uninterested looks to this chic who in turn seemed not to be in short supply of tricks to lure him persistently. He got trapped to this female colleague type of play. He naively chose to play in her court. By not admonishing her and telling her he was not comfortable with her moves, he made the lady assume silence meant affirming her motives. Not once, did this ingenuous guy find his coat sneaked in some scribbled notes confessing her love to him.
At another end, a guy broke to us how he dated a lady who was few weeks pregnant by the time he started hitting on her. Oblivious of what was to shock him, they warmed for a relationship with the lady throwing all the signals that she wanted to be laid as soon as possible. Were it not for Jesus who did a miracle to this lad, making him be patient enough, by now he would be paying school fees to a son or daughter he didn’t father but having been convinced it was his.
From my assessment, the society has negated its role of mentoring and looking after young men with the presumption that having gone through campus/college life, they are mature enough to make sound decisions and steer a life independently. On the other hand, too much concern is put to ladies which at some point means living with their relatives even with they get jobs. They are monitored constantly and every decision they make questioned by their parents. They truth of the matter is, young men soon after getting employed and living away from the watchful close relatives, fall into the gaping holes of naivety. They are never advised beforehand, that living in far a town away from family comes with a lot of trust and responsibility. Lest they will be swallowed by conniving eyes and tricks of swindlers who come armed with the so called love. The most regrettable mistakes men make don’t happen when in High school, not even in Campus or thereafter but during their formative years of employment. Evil has undying love for new money.
Guys with promising career prospects are getting duped so cheaply for lack of solid foundations and principles. They are dating and divorcing interchangeably. They are marrying the wrong spouses out of peer and societal pressure, raising kids they didn’t sire unknowingly, get battered and humiliated by their so called wives and scamper for help in bars when they meet female barmaids, who devour on whatever else that is left. In the end, we bury these promising young men, in their miserable state having been drowned by alcohol, HIV, depression, senseless society pressure and anything in between.
What young men are pleading for, is the society to churn out enough good role models who can advise them from childhood to even when they attend parents’ day meetings (before they are abolished by Matiang’i) and beyond then. Men need to be monitored, held accountable and reassured that there are people out there who cherish them and hold them highly. Parents should also cease from imagining that since their sons have landed fancy jobs after campus, that their parenting concludes then. In fact real parenting commences from this stage.
A very Happy Birthday to one Joseph Wairia a huge fan of this blog back in TZ….Bro, may you live to be a great daddy.