THE EGOCENTRIC MAN

Image result for Kenyan men who drive big expensive carsSociety respects confident men. Actually it has a soft spot for them. They can get away with anything including beautiful ladies who get you thinking; Is she dating that guy, how so?  They manoeuvre dowry negotiations with some sort of ease. They always know what to say and how to say it.  They win second chances during interviews and get more recognition in workplace meetings. In essence, a man with no confidence is a goof. Nature is unforgiving, unfortunately.

What of a too confident man? A slightly arrogant type! Them that bite more than they can chew. Have you done business with these kinds of fellows? They have a thing for big man syndrome. They can be reckless in their talk. They are straight shooting and cut conversations into two; you either with them or not. And if not, they will dare to topple on every confidence you’ve amassed over the years. They are self-believers and assured type. They are full of conviction and wit. Have you seen them in traffic, driving cars that seem to massage their 35 years ego? They enjoy being served, referred and reported to. They live to delegate work and ask tough questions. They enjoy being consulted submissively with pick up lines that sound like; Sir, did you approve the payment for XYZ Ltd? They will take time to answer as if to first savor the demeanor being put across by this staff who’ll pose so humbly and politely.

You will find them in exquisite bars holding meetings with men of their match. You will easily identify them by their authoritative laughter and loud voices. Actually they are even louder while on phone. Holding humongous smartphones, they will get the eyes of a waiter just by the look. They will be here to deliberate on County tenders and influential positions in blue chip companies. They imagine the world should uphold and bow down to them. They have a problem with you who forms another center of power and confidence. They abhor anybody who threatens their patriarchal thinking. They have a way of measuring your confidence weight in a matter of minutes by giving you those firm handshakes and fixed eye contact for minutes. You’ll not sound bad when you refer them as busy bodies.

So, on this day you’ll have been scheduled for a meeting by one of this type, in his office for some biashara. You got introduced to him by a mutual friend who incidentally stumbled on an opportunity that he thought you’d do it justice.

Exactly 1 pm, you’ll check in at the reception area and request to enquire about a Mr. Chris. The light skinned receptionist seemingly not having such a bad day will evaluate you from head to toe as if to find out if you are one of those KRA officers. She will be donning those trendy specs that seem to elongate on either side, have her nose powdered and be dressed in one of those petite dresses that will do everything to flatter her body. She will ask:

Was he expecting you?

Yes, certainly.

You said you are from?

I’m Andrew, from F.C.P (Financial Consultants House). You will watch her eyes dazzle and come to life. And that will be a perfect juncture to give her your business card.

Just have a seat please.

The egocentric type of boss has no respect for punctuality. You will be compelled to wait for about 15 to 20 minutes. By then you’ll have gone through the day’s newspaper, cover to cover. You will even have attempted the Sudoku part and through to the Obituaries section. It’s funny how you’ll notice it then. Naturally, you always skip that page. From the background you will not help eavesdrop conversations in his office. You’ll be bombarded by deep voices and hearty laughter. You will also not miss utterances like; Sure Mheshimiwa…Will catch up sir….Will be in touch when you jet back in the country.

By the time these gentlemen walk to the front office, you’ll have questioned so many things. Like will he recall you? What will be his mood? Will he excuse himself to rush to the airport or run for a meeting with Bwana Governor? You see, when a client tells you he’s running for a meeting with the Governor or the County Assembly speaker….he is simply telling you mark my lane. He is one of those chaps, always meeting the big kahunas in town. He has connections with all the ‘right people’ from politicians to influential business persons. To add on, he is always in the know of every classified information in the business circles like which lucrative firm is investing where, which contractor met a particular Tender committee in a certain hotel. You mention to him of a financially endowed entrepreneur and he interjects you with a half an hour’s story of how he once worked with him or her.

Where were we?

As they make their way through the corridor to where you’ll be seated, you pensively wait for his reaction upon spotting you. It’s like Obama landing. Everything else halts including breathing. Suddenly the receptionist who will have been busy scrolling her phone all this time will bounce back to her computer, pretending to be occupied. When he finally appears, he will go like;

Oooh Andrew, you are here!

By then you’ll have stood up; strictly upright and giggling. Steadily feeding your eyes on his face just to have him not get twisted like you are unsure of yourself. You’ll reach for his handshake and mumble those empty conversations that lead to nowhere.

He’ll apologise for keeping you waiting for long and you being the needy person in this situation, will let that pass unchallenged. He will invite you to his office and drag his chair over to one corner to get his notebook and pen. You will notice how his office is quite spacious and organised. This will remind you of your Communication Skills lecturer mentioning something about space and authority. Bosses have bigger offices than the rest. It’s a matter of restating that they are firmly in charge and that they are the main guys and heartbeat of the organisation.

So you and your phone will make yourselves comfortable as you give in to forced laughter and smiles. He will indulge you on how business is performing on your end. You will sound Kenyanese with familiar statements like; Kung’ang’ana tu hii town.

So, you will reach to your laptop and get this proposal about this million dollar project coming up in a few months. On the 45 minutes conversation, you will be awashed with staggering numbers being thrown all-over the place apparently pumped to result to handsome results later. You will walk out hopeful and confident to have won his heart. Later, you will excitedly inform your girlfriend about this breakthrough coming your way pretty soon. This will seem to be the jackpot that you’ve finally been waiting for.

Three months down the line, reality will have settled in a rather depressing way. Your calls will go unanswered and so will be your emails. You will bump him in those coffee shops busy catching up with men who survive by striking deals. Be they brokers who specialise in doing business with the National or County governments or investors looking for vast land to develop. Your convictions will lead you towards walking to his table briefly. He will promise to give you a call in a few days.

This will never come to be.

In the end, you will realise egocentric men are not necessarily successful but rather, apply these gimmicks just for perceptions. Do they say life is all about perceptions?

PEPTIC ULCERS – BE IN THE KNOW

Image result for private hospitals in KenyaWhen people hear of ulcers what mostly comes to mind is that the victim is probably battling stress related issues or depression. I won’t call it ignorance but rather lack of information. I was in your position too before I met Austin and listened to his story.

I bet you want to be in the know about this infection that is not so popular but painful and draining. Join me as we go through Austin’s medical journey as I compiled it few days ago;

To what started as mild pains around Austin’s chest quickly developed to intense discomfort in a couple of days. When the pain became tough to endure having toyed with the idea that it could be stress which could somehow be solved by going easy on himself and opening up to close friends and relatives, the pain had none of this. When this failed to work, the most prudent thing was to call a friend to rush him to a nearby hospital one late evening. He was misdiagnosed with Asthma by the nurse on duty. The doctor was away. Be careful with private clinics. He actually learnt of the misdiagnose close to a week later when he checked in another hospital only to be treated for Anxiety Disorder. The doctor made him believe he was a Type A personality just like renowned familiar public figures to name a few –  Presidents Uhuru and Obama. Google defines Type A personality as more competitive, outgoing, ambitious, impatient, aggressive and self critical. They are short fused meaning their temperament can be slightly out of normal. They are also highly status – conscious, workaholics, rigidly organised, anxious and proactive. Type A personalities are highly vulnerable to stress related illnesses than the rest of the personalities.

Austin having been diagnosed with Anxiety disorder was prescribed with medicine that would make him relax his mind. The side effect was, he tended to sleep more. No sooner was he done with his dose after a month or so, than his chest pains re-emerged once more. He visited another different hospital and this time round diagnosed with stress. He was made to believe his body was producing excess acid which in effect, affected his esophagus, because acid burns, right? He was cautioned to avoid issues that would make him overly stressed and also consider engaging in hobbies that would relieve his mind off the serious stuff. In other words he was to embrace unwinding seriously than before and to have a strong support around him. The remedy here helped him relieve off the acid but had nothing to do with treating peptic ulcers.

Two months later the pains kept playing hide and seek; jumping from one area to another. It went to a point where his rib cage ached from time to time. Austin became convinced its time he had an X Ray of his chest. He booked an appointment in an established Mission Hospital where the result came with a clean bill of health. Here, he was diagnosed with pneumonia. He was advised to keep warm, avoid conditions that would lower his body temperatures unusually, exercise more and strictly drink warm water. He was medicated and got temporarily recuperated.

As soon as he was done with this medicine composed of antibiotics and pain killers, the pains resurfaced this time more angry, rebranded and confronting. Meanwhile, Austin was developing stress out of not getting a lasting solution about his pains. Besides, the checkups were draining him financially and disappointing. One day, he sipped tea and felt nausea. The next minute, he was holding his breath to stop untimed vomit. How so? With the pains stubbornly persisting he was dealing with another problem; of handling nausea. I remember him joking – I felt like I’m pregnant. No pun intended.

By sheer chance, one of his distressed siblings advised him to go to a reputable hospitable with a credible laboratory where he would be tested for amoeba. For your information, amoeba causes nausea and headaches. Austin identified another hospital where he had his tests done. This time round, he met a proficient doctor who diagnosed him correctly. He calmly told him his illness had nothing to do with stress but hygiene! How? Yes. He was suffering from an infection called Peptic Ulcers caused by a bacteria referred as H.Pylori. This was evidenced by the tests done from his blood and stool samples.

The doctor advised him to avoid taking meals and water from public places – Hotels etc. The bacteria is mainly caused by contaminated foods including fruits , water and spread from person to person. I assumed it’s through kissing. Washing ones hand regularly and thoroughly is also highly recommended. By all means avoid those tempting street mutura in your neighborhood, normally prepaid by this lad who is always in a dirty, dust coat. Please also ignore the aroma that comes from that kibanda that sells chips mwitu. Be careful with where you buy your greens too. They might have been grown in sewage rich areas.  The bacteria attaches itself along the digestive tract and triggers acid which the burns the esophagus which lead to pain around the upper part of the chest. As you read this, Austin has fully recovered. He has shed off the pains and carried along vital lessons.

He is worried of one thing; Social media. You know of those ‘forwards’ on Whatsapp that read – if you have this type of pain bla bla bla please consider visiting a doctor as it may be trigger a particular chronic illness bla bla bla…. They end with familiar conclusions that go like; please share with at least ten of your loved ones. 

These messages made Austin paranoid. They made him struggle with self assurance. He consoled himself with the fact that, most of these information spread across social media are mostly inaccurate and unverified. However, Austin has one plea to put across; that please do not forward any message on whatsapp or whichever platform especially to do with one’s health if you are not a clinical officer or health expert. This messages can easily trigger panic attacks to individuals who are not as lucky as you forwarding them. Lucky in the sense of a credible support system and people around them at that time of reading these forwards. They can easily get paranoid. They may also be living alone, you know. Think of what could happen when their blood pressure suddenly shoots up out of reading such forwards.

The issue of going for comprehensive medical checkups at least once in a year should be taken more seriously. It might be slightly expensive but; ….THIS IS ABOUT YOUR HEALTH! The cliche that prevention is better than cure is so true. In any case, the money we spend in clubs drinking ourselves silly just in one weekend is enough for a thorough medical checkup. Is that much to ask!

Lastly; Avoid alcohol as much. Alcohol worsens these conditions.

A GATHERING OF THE BOY CHILD – PART TWO

Image result for Kenya boys in public schools

Over the last one week, I have received many emails and Whatsapp messages; of some impressed readers, some who couldn’t wait for Part Two and a few others who dragged a seat for me, and gave me a dress down on how I was castigating the boy child which ideally, belong to. I’m happy though that a majority found sense in what I was putting across and partook in appreciating the cloudy reality that seems to hover around the boy child.

Itemised  below were bits and pieces that I was able to gather from this meeting organized by one, Moses Njoroge as pointed out in Part One of this article.

I was here seated with deflated humans just like me battling life fears and societal expectations that not only keep glaring at us but also toppling over whatever little confidence left behind.  Amongst us were men married to beautiful, spiritual and devoted women who perhaps were worried of what could their men be learning from this meeting. Was it about radicalizing them to be tougher husbands who shouldn’t show emotions nor accept to be corrected when they fail? Was it about telling them to be a bit careful on giving out money to their wives? Or was it all about emphasizing to them to be ignoring ideas fronted by their spouses? Far from it, this was a forum attended by gentlemen who meant well for their women. They were coming from a school of thought that was willing to learn something new; to approach life with a wider scope of people’s experiences and backgrounds; to laugh about their weaknesses and mistakes and more importantly to create new networks to bond and to empower the boy child in us.

Here is a wounded lion that is still expected to roar. He is wounded by imbalanced upbringing, lack of role models, under empowerment and steady rise of single mothers. He is sidelined by the media and all other stakeholders, who now put all their attention to the other gender at his expense.

We are grown up men struggling to let go hangovers of our childhood. If it’s not about dad’s who didn’t live up to our expectations rather succumbing to the wild-fire of alcoholism then it has to be how they ruthlessly battered our mothers right in front of our eyes. These imageries have refused to go or die of. They keep haunting us and replaying over our minds. They stubbornly question why we had such horrifying dads; insecure, unambitious and who loved the beer bottle than our family.

Some have learnt to cope with realities of dealing with dads who passed on when they needed them most. They died even before, these men who were boys then, learnt how to pee on their own. They were left to be herded by older sisters in the jungle of adolescence and moms who had no idea on how to instill these sons, manly attributes. The best they could do was to provide them with all they could afford but nothing to do with how gentlemen think and are wired. These boys grew up in an environment where there was no man to look up to and to identify with. Their dads passed on pretty early in life exposing them to tough rays of life that were not only itching but with far-reaching ramifications.

For others, it was a case of finding themselves being molested by close relatives and not knowing who to trust or talk to. A majority of us (men) being fundamentally introverts in some quarters have a tendency of keeping it to ourselves from a very tender stage. To some, they got it really bad in Form One after going through hostile environments full of bullies. These changed who they were and how they perceived people. It eroded every good virtue in them. Living in a chaotic environment has consequences and one of them is succumbing to the ugly mess of turning out to be as the rest.

Family gatherings that are expected to harness unity and create identity to an extended family are no longer fashionable to attend. They are now scarce and far between. You know, we are busy humans; busy chasing money, cutting financial shortcuts, bribing and embezzling funds. We’ll also be spotted in middle class functions drink driving to look cool, having sagged our pants and mentality as well, hand in hand with lasses donning waistline skirts and showing cleavages from here to I don’t know where. Uncles, who should essentially play a critical role in mentoring nephews; are in fact busier souls to have some time with. Family gatherings have been reduced to show offs and a place to trade subtle, perennial family feuds. We attend these occasions to enjoy beer with cousins we’ve not met in a hundred years. Unfortunately, there is nothing like mentoring of boys by the uncles and being shown how to skin a goat or having a sitting to learn about traditional cultures.

I recall one participant who co owns a company in real estate and land business giving very cold statistics on the gender portfolio of their clients. You’d imagine men are big in investing, right? Imagine the numbers don’t seem to add up in days of our times. In fact according to him; Out of 300 sales of land, only two pieces were bought by men, the rest being purchased by women. As pointed out in the previous article, women are deliberately investing more and spending less. For men, we’re doing the reverse; spending more and investing less. And included in our entertainment expenses is treating these same ladies (who own acres of land) by taking them out with cars on defaulted loans, and paying bills with credit cards. Shouldn’t that worry you?

Society should further be scared by the overwhelming number of singer mothers. The boy child should be scared even more. With all due respect to voluntary single parents, and their devotion to their children, I mean well for all of you. However, allow me to look at the bigger picture, especially on the boy child issue for the sake of this article. According to Pastor Gillis Triplett of Embassy Christian Church headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia; your son IS NOT the man of the house. He is your child! Most single mothers will never understand the psychological damage they cause by anointing their sons to be the man of the house. By falsely convincing their boys that they are men, these single moms pigeonhole their adolescents into a pressure-based environment God never intended for them to be in.

We are giving these young boys lots of emotional duress and what Gillis calls mom’s fanatical demands of manhood. You know, many single mothers are not in good terms with their ex-husbands. Note I used the word MOST not ALL. It is a case of subtle war between the two. So this boy child is brought up in an environment where he is quickly ushered to a war field right after birth. It’s a case of who succeeds in winning the kid’s trust over the other. Going by the statistics of the rise of voluntary single mothers; the boy child poses to lose big time as he is brought up by a woman who has very low regards about men generally. Meaning, in as much as the boy would be provided with everything he’d desire of, except for a dad, he will be hugely exposed to narrations of how his dad was or is a failure. How then, will such a kid ever admire being a great man if his world exists of none?

I’m aware of men who’ve got their acts together, so to speak. They have intentionally dared to be the most committed fathers and husbands they can ever be. They have persistently raised the bar for contemporary men notwithstanding the overwhelming challenges facing the male gender. I salute these blokes and encourage them to create forums in their neighborhoods to empower the rest of us.  No man is self-sufficient. And, we are human first before anything else. It’s natural for human to crave for acceptance, motivation, general empowerment and to be listened to. Men are of no exemption!