WOMEN: SHORT HAIR PHENOMENAL

Short Hair Styles For South African Ladies Quenchsa Talk What39s On Your Head In 2015 Natural Hair Or Weave“A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life” said Coco Chanel, the French, prolific fashion creator. Celebrated hairstylists Owen Gould took it further; “Hair holds so much more energy than most of us are aware of. Some women use it as a security blanket whose purpose is to shield and protect, while others use it as a secret weapon to tease and entice.

True as it sounds, for every 5 women you spot, 1 must have cut her hair. Yes, in the day of our Lord 2017, women have brought their A game right into the man’s doorstep by taking the leap of faith in matters hair politics and thereby basking in the amazement that comes with a clean, neat and fresh hygienic hair. No pun intended to my feminist readers already wounded by blogger C Nyakundi whom I sharply disagree with, on his sentiments regarding the ‘suitable age of marriage’. That aside, from the millennial girl next door to the typical lead soloist in a non-conventional church in her early 40’s, both seem to be harbouring the same taste of a trending short hair look. That the contemporary sophisticated woman, bullishly encroaching the tomboy look so aggressively is no longer a shy attempt but a reality that is creating goosebumps to the gentlemen kingdom. A good number who are in the school of thought that deduce everything from a value-for-money point of view, are laughing all the way to the bank citing savings and the peace of not being bombarded with money-for-salon cliche. On the other hand, where the majority sit, they are offensively disturbed by the deforestation of the iconic black hair. While it’s hard to reconcile the two divides, the fact is, there has been an influx of women donning short hair which by the way is not a coincidence but a deliberate effort. That said, virtually every woman goes through a cycle of cutting down her hair at some point in her life all for various reasons.

Whether it’s to signal the end of a relationship or a new promotion at work; there is usually a direct correlation between what’s happening on women’s hair and what’s happening in their lives. And this correlation can be attested by Kageshi; she cut her hair in her second trimester of pregnancy when juggling between work, pampering her uneasy body and dealing with styling her hair every morning which clearly became too much. Moreover, I was made to understand that the baby didn’t like her mother’s hair while in the womb and so she had to cut it. And when she persistently placed the question of facing the cut, I was left with no choice but to join the bandwagon. I chose to be open-minded and took the high road of diplomacy. Boy, what did I do? I accompanied her to an estate barbershop and perched there in disbelief watching her glossy hair get trimmed and fall off her shoulders helplessly.

That aside, women who cut their hair belong to a faction of the society that believes in risk-taking, boldness and self-assurance. And with short hair, it becomes healthier, easy to maintain and very convenient. By the way, Kenya exported short hair to the heart of Miss World 2017 beauty pageant securing the top 5 position beside reigning and easily securing the Miss World Africa -2017. How beautiful can that be? Standing out at such a coveted podium where the woman’s beauty is put at the global focus and to the sharpest of scrutiny. This happened to one of our very own Magline Jeruto, with her hair off.

A lot has been documented about the woman’s beauty and the icing on the cake has been her hair. The glamour that has been sold to us of course, has been about the free-flowing, wagging, woman’s hair dropping all the way to her back. However, the contemporary woman is risking it and shaking off our conventional attitudes towards natural black hair. Is it a hit or miss? Is it enough of a stride? A majority call it modern day transformation all in the attempt of crossing the path of black hair politics.

Speaking of black hair politics, hair pundits will confirm that black hair is thicker, curlier, and often frizzier. That notwithstanding, esteem issues manufactured and instilled by the Western ideologies has unfortunately weakened it through the excessive use of ‘chemicals’. Clearly, the journey of black hair has been rather uncelebrated and rocky. As a matter of fact, the entry of weaves and wigs was a slamming game changer since their only major purpose was to camouflage the black hair as to be long and pro-west with less maintenance cost. The media has penetrated a narrative that black natural hair is no longer ‘ideal’ and in fact, that the way to go is by embracing very long, silky, wavy-flowing and mostly blonde hair. What the promoters of weaves and its cousins fail to inform their audience is that there is grave scalp damage, lack of hair growth, breakage, hair loss and weakening of the hair follicle as a result of embracing artificial hair in the long run. This, therefore, begs the question; when was the last time short, curly, kinky black hair was celebrated or promoted as equally beautiful? This question was asked by Cherly Thompson when she penned an article dubbed – Black Women and Identity: What’s Hair Got to Do With It?

Perhaps, with the influx of Kenyan women moving away from the norm, that is weaves and wigs that has taken away the beauty of black hair, and consequently ‘going natural’, be it by initially cutting it to size, is part of a long process to heal the wounds of hair colonization for the native African woman. We are at a point where black hair is relearning the process of embracing its God-given beauty and unashamedly wearing a face of optimism and showcasing to the world that it is just a matter of time black hair triumphed politics that have rocked it.

That black hair politely brags about rich authenticity which unfortunately isn’t glamorous enough to match the artificially sewed human hair fished from horses’ tails is rather a sad affair. Come to think of it, white hair is thinner, dull and weaker. It’s time the African woman, walked shoulder high rocking the Afro kinky or whatever they call it and before we fully relearn and overcome our century-old black hair politics, let’s start with embracing bob-cuts and natural short hair.

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MATERNAL MOMENTS: PART 2

Happy Mashujaa Day Andreaders! Can we dig in into part 2 of Maternal Moments?

From the onset, once a pregnancy test turns positive, the next phase of life is to schedule the maiden antenatal clinic which for a matter of urgency, should be to bring along the other partner. Most tests will be done on the woman, but the most critical one if you ask me is the HIV test which is carried out to both partners. It’s important because it’s meant to safeguard the fetus while forming in the mother’s womb and for posterity purposes. Further, this session is meant to orient the couple on the pregnancy journey and of course establishing the first probable Expected Delivery Date (EDD) be it from the compass-like tool the clinician uses to the scan. Most scans are close to perfectly accurate at weeks 9 to week 22 since, beyond that, the fetus keeps growing pretty fast making it complex for the scan to capture all the organs in tandem and perfectly. My point is, don’t be surprised when at week 38 the scan suggests you are two weeks behind schedule hence throwing a spanner to all your plans. Recall, it’s perfectly normal to have more than one EDD since it’s a game of probability.

Something else, halfway through the pregnancy, the hospital where one is to deliver should be earnestly identified. And that said, there are parameters to observe when choosing a maternal hospital namely; cost, service oriented and distance. With the hard economic torrents remaining bullish to our present times, many of us find ourselves between a rock and a hard place. While you may wish to give your unborn baby a decent delivery-hospital in matters professional service, in most cases it’s pegged at a huge cost. Now, Kenyan hospitals are broadly classified into three classes; Private, mission and public hospitals. In most cases, Private hospitals score big on matters service delivery. What I mean is, that one’s patient has a very high likelihood of getting personalized and well-catered attention. However, the same Private hospitals are notorious for being sneaky and mischievous in their billing. You’ll find that there are so many charges which will cost you an arm and a leg since their darkest underbelly is manipulating bills anyway.  Hence it’s appropriate for one to be well prepared be it through a reliable insurance cover or moneywise.

Mission hospitals have shown lots of tremendous improvement on matters service delivery and besides, are not as expensive as most private hospitals. However, without a reliable cover too, be it, NHIF or employer cover or one that an individual has subscribed to, the billing can still be quite expensive. The good news with Public hospitals is that maternity is officially free at least with the Jubilee government regime. However, service delivery is highly compromised and too wanting, of course made worse by the prolonged Nurses’ strike which is over 4 months now. But do many of us have the luxury of an option? Of importance though, is to appreciate that NHIF cover is at its best currently. As long as one has a clean statement meaning they have zero defaults or penalties in their monthly premiums, one is expected to reap big especially if one’s patient is in a mission hospital. As a matter of fact, mission hospitals offering NHIF payment terms literally pay close to 98% of the maternity bills whether the patient had complications or not!

Thank God if the pregnancy is all smooth sailing, a few hiccups here and there notwithstanding. If complications come, that shouldn’t ever write off the joy of carrying a pregnancy. Count your blessings as you may know, a good number strive to conceive for years in vain. For some, they develop diabetic pregnancy caused by an increase in glucose in the body. To others, they succumb to blood pressure which if not managed well can put the life of the unborn in high risk (Preeclampsia). Some may have a history of miscarriages, bleeding from the onset, Ectopic pregnancy, Placenta Previa, Premature labor and birth and rhesus-factor incompatibilities. It’s highly advisable to seek services of a gynaecologist if experiencing some of these or more complications as early as possible in the gestation period. On a lighter note, positive energy is key as pregnancy moods are unpredictable. One day you wake up okay, the other you wake up with zero energies or moods that make you believe you should be bedridden.

As a first-time parent, there are things one tends to appreciate in the entire process of delivering a baby. That Labor is extremely tough but very much surmountable! The thing is, there are a lot of grey areas for our generation in matters labor experiences due to the disconnect in information sharing amongst ourselves and especially from our older peers brought about by cultural degradation, for lack of a better term. You’ll realize, many of us are clueless on the very basic signs of labor or if we have an idea, it’s very much fluid and unclear. From what I gathered, women go through labor very dynamically. There is never a clean script or uniformity; every woman has her own experience, in fact, different from one pregnancy to the other. Interestingly, in as much as labor is associated with crude pain, some don’t feel any pain at all, but a majority do experience havoc, confusion and anything in between.

Actually, I’m reliably told some carry their bibles and read from cover to cover all in an attempt to interrogate God what they could have done to warrant such pain. Others give their life to Jesus in the process, through confessing and taking an oath of being Christ’s followers while some take it a notch higher – They never at any juncture wish to spot their husbands walking around the labor ward or attempting to comfort them. They tend to blame them for all the ‘anguish’. The good thing is, once labor pains are concluded, everything settles down normally including the wild spirits of dissenting one’s husband’s in the open or hurling insults at them. In my community they say, a child travels from far to be delivered. By the way, men should keep off labor ward if they harbor any desires of having more babies. I tell you why; chances are, she can easily disown you upon meeting your sight in this room. Plus, it’s not fair watching your woman helplessly bite a metallic bed and kick everything in her vicinity including uprooting her weave, throwing off her phone and handbag and soliciting the baby to kindly pop out!

The following are the tell-tale signs to check out for or what can be referred to us the red signs in matters true labor stage; 1.) Be very careful when strong and regular contractions start building up. This shouldn’t be confused with false labor otherwise called Braxton Hicks contractions which normally have irregular contractions and are typically weak in strength if a woman changes position or takes a walk or rests. 2.) If her water breaks and consequently start leaking, one should rush to hospital immediately. 3.) Bloody vaginal discharge is another red sign that should alarm the person involved. 4.)  Lower back pains and nausea too should be taken seriously. More fundamentally, one should present herself to hospital if the EDD passes on with no signs as highlighted above have been experienced.

The next battleground after labor ordeal is the art of breastfeeding. Many first time mothers will attest, it’s never simple as it appears. From how to hold the baby to how to position the breast, can be challenging at first. In fact, to some, the challenge either lies in lack of milk at all, lack of sufficient milk, plenty of milk but the baby won’t breastfeed which could easily cause mastitis and nipple alignment challenges. Some of the tips in best practice when it comes to breastfeeding include; mother-infant tummies to be close together, the infant mouth to cover most of the areola (dark layout after the nipple), baby’s chin must touch the breast, the infant to have his/her mouth wide open before inserting the nipple, mother supporting the infant’s entire body, infant’s nose should be opposite the nipple and many others. Effective suckling can be determined through establishing if; Slow deep sucks and sometimes pausing while suckling (Infant’s suckling is irregular), infant’s chicks are round shape when suckling, baby releases breast when milk is fully finished, mother’s breasts feel relaxed. By the way, engorged breastfeeding can be undone through homemade ways that include massaging the breast with a warm hand towel or manually or electronically expressing the milk through a pump-milk equipment.

As an excited first time dad, you’ll be amazed by some small achievements like changing diapers, babysitting a 5 days infant which will include fathoming where to put your left and right arm (Most men will be fearful of handling an infant), composing lullaby songs and lulling the baby to sleep, helping in cleaning the infant and many other small wins like helping in massaging your woman’s breasts not boobs (mothers have breasts not boobs, and it comes with a price) when it clogs with excess milk, or taking charge in supporting her with or without a house girl. Some social media busybodies will cheapen these wins. They will joke on how superficial, contemporary husbands appear to be and how they can’t keep up with a successful career woman. Some cheap internet personas will write and lecture us in their newspaper columns on how marriage is not an achievement, but who cares; Life is all about the everyday small wins.

While at it, it will hit you that you wake up around 10am and only retire to bed not earlier than 1am after showering at 12am due to juggling from one task to the other be it cleaning the dishes, rushing to the market to get some green fodder, taking a bike to one Mr. Abdul who is a camel butcher to fetch the oxtail bone which you’ll use to make soup for your woman, to sifting the black beans (Njahe) and lentils grains(Kamande) to fermenting porridge from Mama Ngotho who is a self-made specialist in matters porridge flour for her clientele who’ll include breastfeeding mothers, pregnant women, clients battling overweight issues, underweight people, slay queens trying to tame their tummy sizes, babies with appetite issues, terminal illness patients and many others.

Finally, watching your baby fall to sleep will be the most beautiful adventure your eyes will have fallen onto in recent times. You’ll desire to stick in there and stare her breathe life occasionally making smiles in her small dreams to much of your amusement. You’ll watch this soul with a clean life sheet and zero sins apart from what Jesus died for, follow your voice with her feeble neck and almost touch the palpable delight on your face.

Enough of maternal stuff

 

MATERNAL MOMENTS: PART 1

It’s all fun and games until labor contractions begin. By hook or crook of it, it gets evident that the chickens have come home to roost. That the day of havoc is alive and well. At this situation the baby is usually stretching off, armed with eagerness to breathe life outside the placenta. Speaking of which, the placenta is that place where everything is controlled from the atmosphere to the lack of harshness from realities like demos, teargas, cash crunch, frenemies, global warming, traffic, inflation, idle politicking, sanctions and blackmail. Besides, if hues and cries and piercing pains are anything to go by, a lot is left to be desired in the labor ward.

So, a day to the EDD your wife will confess to having craved for chips and since she cooks them so effortlessly, you’ll encourage her to let the unborn baby have what she is desiring, be it chips. And in a few, the table room will be filled with sweet aroma emanating from the kitchen where your wife and her bulging belly will be cooking for the baby and yourself, her last meal before she crosses the bridge to parenthood. Halfway the cooking, she will drop the long cooking spoon and run to you, holding her back with one arm complaining of a sharp pain. The impact of the pain will be enough to smoke out a bit of tear drops in her eyes and have her form a paranoid face. All this will happen at the backdrop of dawning labor pains that will have no clear recognition to first-timers. So anything close to pain will be enough to call a press conference and make a quick call to Eston, your cab guy. It will also be prudent to let the chips burn out in the kitchen as compared to handling the pain from your wife. Later, you’ll walk to the kitchen to serve what will have been saved from the savage of burning out. However, you’ll only manage to have some few bites courtesy of the tension building on.

Two hours later, the pains will have become more frequent at intervals of 30 – 40 minutes. By then, you’ll have consulted Doctor Google who will have it that the pains are called contractions. And that they’ll be signs of true labor if they come at a time when the EDD is expected. Upon reading that, your heart will skip with fear and excitement. The two feelings will interlock and do a Jaguar – Babu Owino fist out at your dismay. Further, Doctor Google will have it that, it will be highly important if one times the intervals of the contractions and probably, record them somewhere. The following will be the reason; For first-time mothers, true labor is placed when the spacing of the contractions is at the intervals of eight minutes while for the rest of the mothers, true labor kicks in when the contractions space in between ten minutes interval.

While you’ll gladly communicate this to your wife, she will have none of it and so will you. You’ll rather seek an interpretation from the nearest hospital in your list of options. What will follow will be you picking the small suitcase that will have ‘mother & baby items’ and place it at the doorstep as you make a call to Eston. He will not disappoint. At 11:44pm, he will have showed up at your gate. Both of you will make a brief prayer committing everything to the Lord and requesting for His protection and guidance in this uncharted path. You’ll walk out quietly, careful not to trigger any curiosity to your neighbors. In less than 10 minutes, you’ll have arrived at the hospital waiting to be attended. While at it, you’ll hear screams from the labor ward, of mothers pushing hard and cursing in equal measure. You’ll turn to your wife and pretend not to have heard the noise, just not to scare her further.

After an examination, your wife will be reordered to revert home as her cervix will have had zero opening and that the so-called pains she will be experiencing will be premature. In fact, the doc there will be like; “we need 10cm opening.” You’ll drive back home dejected, scared by what type of pains and magnitude to expect; wondering how your wife will handle them; bothered if that cervix spacing will ever be possible to attain and further agonizing if Eston will pick your call at 3:30am if the pains become intense and unbearable. No sooner you arrive home than the pains will drift closer together in intervals of 20 minutes. You’ll practically not sleep that night apart from massaging her back and persistently timing the pains and hoping hours ahead will speed up. You’ll miss daylight and all its safety.

At 5: 25am, you’ll have fully prepared and made way to the hospital again, this time not ready to revert back to the house without a kid in the arms. Luckily, she’ll be earnestly admitted and pronounced as to be experiencing true labor. She will be issued with those fluffy and oversize maternity gowns that will make her look like a Langa’ta Women’s prisoner. No pun intended. You’ll notice buds of fear placed at the corners of her eyes. You’ll try to ignore them as you whisper words of encouragement that in fact, will do little to suppress the fear in you too.  As that unfolds, her phone, as well as yours, will keep on buzzing from curious family members and friends eager to know if the baby will have popped out yet. While the calls will create more anxiety, you’ll advise your wife to switch her phone off and leave it to you, to convey the information as to when it’ll be appropriate. A friend of hers, actually twice her age will call you requesting to know if you picked a woman friend to help your wife as you embarked to the hospital. You’ll lie to her that you did so. As soon as you hang up, you’ll wonder how in the 21st-century husbands can’t drive their women to maternity wards in peace and in the company of nobody else apart from maybe their pet dog, one Poppy!

Not even your mother in law or your own mother will have the closest of information on what will be transpiring at this moment but instincts will be screaming something to their heads. While at it, you’ll stop the nurses along the way, humbly requesting to know the fate of your wife. Some will be receptive while others will be as cold as a club bouncer. The latter will have no feelings to let nor sympathize with your poor self. But there will be some who understand keeping up with a pregnant woman for nine months and overseeing all the hullabaloo and drama that comes with it, is no mean achievement. One such nurse will be Nurse – Angeline. She will have lots of things happening on her taste of hairstyle which will make her stand out anyway. Upon posing the question of the fate of your wife, you’ll notice her honest smile and reassurance even before she speaks. You’ll also notice the narrow gap between her front teeth that will make her smile more customized and memorable.

That evening, you’ll walk home to meet your house literally walking to you demanding to know how everything turned out. “Did the baby come?” the matrimonial bed will ask. “What is the gender?” the utensils will pose to you. “What is the weight of the baby?” The electronics will beg to know. The half-eaten chipos of yesternight will still be on the table mapping out what will seem to have been the most hectic 24 hours of your lifetime. Meanwhile, you’ll sit down and draft short messages conveying great news of the birth of your baby, a few hours ago, to people around you who seem to matter most. Before then, you’ll have called your mum as the first recipient of this privileged information and she will recite a gratitude prayer right on the other side of the phone conversation. She will be glad of her son, finally walking into parenthood while she is alive to witness it as it unfolds. To God be the glory.

By Day 2, your wife will have made lifetime friends from her hospital bed from the likes of Milly who despite losing a new baby born, will be a walking piece of inspiration. She will be extremely prayerful, overly kind and unbowed by the circumstances of losing a child. She will have coastal origins from her Swahili command to her plus-size demeanor. Then there will be sad stories of women who have braved marriage violence for their entire pregnancies. There will be more cold ones like of kids born with deformities and had their mothers take off leaving them at the mercy of the hospital. There will be some to extremely sympathize with; like of women who’ve endured bleeding from their fourth month of pregnancy compelling them to be hospitalized to the end of their gestation period; while others won’t deliver until their blood pressure stabilizes. Then there will be this slender, light-skinned Form two girl, admitted in the same ward with your wife. She will not have a child lying next to her. You’ll learn that she survived a rape ordeal, got impregnated in the melee and had the dignity of carrying the pregnancy to the ninth month. She delivered one and half years ago, an innocent baby boy. But why the girl will be back in the hospital is because she will have pains around her belly which in a few days ahead, will be booked in the theatre after it’s established if she has developed some tumor in her stomach, through an X-Ray process. Your wife will also have made friends with one woman who gave birth to 1.5kg underweight infant baby and got trapped in the hospital since the bill was too high for her and her family to settle. The last you had about it, it was way past sh.100,000.

Looking forward to Part 2 of Maternal Moments!!

 

I STAND WITH DJ MO

Size 8

While it’s okay to have Zari and Diamond trade jabs and wash their linen out in the open for anyone who cares to decipher, it’s extremely unfortunate for Njoki Chege to find it acceptable to buy her writing material or lack of it by dragging along DJ MO and his marriage to her bitter emptiness and strangling all the fragrance. I dare say so since it’s a proven fact in the world of psychology that people who portray and exercise unusual negative energy and vengeance are either sick, mad or empty. Call that intolerable, I call it cutting the slack! How on earth can Njoki Chege be the savior and defender of the unmarried women while all she does is emit anger, humiliate men and have a problem with harmless passers-by whose only mistake is seem to be celebrating their marriage life?

It’s in that context and a heavy heart too that I’m compelled to reply even though uninvited to the so called mess that DJ MO and his wife are castigated to, for the simple reason of MO putting his wife under a series of tests then, while dating her in order to find out if she was the right match for him. Well, that is the annoying problem that the opportunistic Njoki Chege tries to dangle and protest for? What I find most curious and fascinating is the fact that Njoki Chege accuses DJ MO and co. for the reason why so many desperate women longing for marriage are on the rise or stuck in ‘loveless marriages’. However, in her subsequent article named – I’m Wife Material and Much More, DJ MO, But will Marry When I Want; the City Girl extends her ugly obsession with the acclaimed gospel DJ where she contradicts herself by putting it clear marriage is not an achievement. So at one point is DJ MO and co. to blame for women not getting married but then again Njoki rubbishes her own argument and alludes that marriage is not an achievement. So why is Njoki Chege confusing us?

She goes further to trash DJ MO’s career as shallow, hollow and below par. To exactly quote her, “All you do is mix and match songs”. Well, Njoki would want everybody to study a doctorate degree for one to be viewed useful, important and having achieved. This notion is to be forgiven and ignored for lack of substance and due to its vagueness. Why? Because it’s not PHD degrees that define or measure success in the world of the 21st century. Dear Njoki Chege, smell the coffee and realize that success is a lot more than back to back degrees. It’s measured by one’s level of realization and attainment of excellence and fulfilling life goals. It’s the stage where one portends to outgrow oneself in every aspect of imagination. Not that I’m belittling education.

That aside, the Entertainment industry is one of those well-paying jobs in modern-day realities. Contemporary DJs are no longer pushovers or small rats. They are bigwigs and they deserve it. As a matter of fact, the Art industry and the informal sector at large is by far the largest employer and hugest contributor to the economy than white collar jobs. Sammy Muraya aka DJ MO has a compelling life story. Through diligence, hard work and fear of God, he has broken a galore of glass ceilings and earned honest income, unlike Njoki who get paid to trade jabs, destroy careers and families, exercise vengeance on a national newspaper and engineer negative energy in every article she writes, all at a free will. What’s more unfortunate than that level of impunity?

What can’t be wished away is the fact that DJ MO was highly instrumental in the revolution of the gospel industry not only in Kenya but in the East Africa hub. And by so doing, he has his name pegged in the map of Kenya as one of those locally made and successful stories this country ever produced and should be proud of. With such accolades, the likes of DJ MO normally fall victim from a majority of ladies for obvious reasons; Fame and money hence the need to warrant themselves with caution as they embark on the slippery avenue of finding a suitor for marriage. One is compelled to be smart enough not to fall on the way or rather get peeled off, out of gullibility, naivety and extortion from the cunning slay queens. And by the way, all men have their way of testing women on whether they make a wife material or not. That pedigree is not only inevitable but rational. Men have what one would call Irreducible Minimums. Every sound man has this conditions griped in their fingertips. Most men go beyond beauty since this is one attribute that is conventional and a common denominator so to speak. Hence my surprise when Njoki Chege assumes men view beauty as to be cast in stone. NO! Beauty has got to be tested and verified. Beauty should account for itself. Meaning, it should prove why it’s not just superficial! And that’s why men apply their very own and unique pyrogiriam theories to ascertain if they are on the safe side. Interestingly, women are very good in coming up with their testing analysis too. In fact, when Njoki bullishly points out she will only date men who are not intimidated by her doctorate degrees, it boils to the same concept she is accusing DJ MO of. It’s a question of speaking from both ends of the mouth.

Now, Njoki again attempts to deconstruct DJ MO’s fame by referring to his original name Sammy Muraya, as a household name back in the day that was used by the benga maestro – Sammy Muraya. That maestro musician Sammy Muraya is what many Kenyans would first think of before getting hint of DJ MO government names, is an argument that is neither here nor there. In fact, its dead on arrival since, DJ MO, chose to coin his own brand and trademark away from the Murayas in as much as they are related, to much success!

The question of whether marriage is an achievement normally emanates and tossed around by modern day slay queens in between relationships that do not seem to outlast Safaricom data bundles. What disturbs me more is that most of us went through an 8-4-4 system and yet can’t define what an achievement is. Forget the Oxford and Google’s definitions. I’m referring to what we personally view and define as success or rather achievement. For avoidance of doubt; achievement must include attributes like Sacrifice (Compromise), Integrity, Diligence, Commitment, Chastity, Vision and Focus. We all agree the above accolades suit what could entail as an achievement. In other words, they are part of the process that leads to an achievement. That is not contentious, right? Now, the above attributes still, define what marriage is. This brings me to my point; that if these attributes define what achievement and marriage is; then it’s logically right to conclude marriage is indeed an achievement. Not unless, one gets married to destroy, rob or kill people’s career and them too.

As somebody who is married, I can confirm, marriage is not for the faint-hearted. There is a lot of hard work and deliberate effort that takes place for marriage to breathe life and roll on. Be it as it may, we must look at the bigger picture at all seasons of marriage. From dull days, frustrating days, feud days, unlucky days, days when both of you seem broke, days when there is less talking, days of self-small-meetings, days when you lose arguments, days when you sound stupid to days when you compromise not because you are weak but because you look at the bigger picture and certainly appreciate that in marriage, the end justifies the means. Those who castigate marriage as not an achievement only do so to sound sophisticated while covering up for their gaping voids and emptiness in their pale lives. Moreover, if one makes a decision never to get married, they should not compel the married to apologize to them, for portraying successful marriages. This being in line of defense to DJ MO, his lovely family and everybody else who celebrates and strongly advocates for marriage; Never feel small for overwhelmingly investing positively in marriage life. Its Godly and fulfilling to this life and thereafter.

Out of provocation from the mischievously, misplaced and misleading article by one Njoki Chege, DJ MO, as a human being went out of context in responding to Njoki and somehow touched on the sensitive Single Mothers element in his response, that went ahead to raise uproar. At that juncture, I agree, that it was not the single mothers that had hurt Mo but Njoki Chege. Hence, he should have restricted himself to Njoki and not the single mothers. He, however, saved himself by apologizing to all single mothers though the damage had already been done to much amusement to columnist Njoki. My bone of contention, however, was how Kenyans reacted when Mo lost his cool as was clearly seen in his response to Njoki. My conclusion would be; only hypocrites should stand to be surprised when Christians lose their cool. The Bible has immense documentation of characters who lost their cool including Jesus Christ! So, cut the slack and deal with your surprise. I stand with DJ MO.

VASECTOMY

According to Elaine Lissner, founder and director of medical research at Parsemus Foundation an American NGO, “it’s unfortunate women bring millions of children to the world by sole bearing the physical responsibility but still have to bear the repercussions for preventing unplanned pregnancies and failures thereof.”

That said, do you really care about your wife? Like really, really! Can you put a price tag on your love to her? And would that mean that as a fully grown African man who went through a grave ordeal in the name of circumcision in order to qualify being called a man, can as well shelve that level of pain and seek an equally if not worse, gruelling experience just for the same love for her. I’m just imagining vasectomy is damn painful. And this can mean parting with one of your symbolic organs that proves you are a man indeed? Okay, don’t get lost. Here is a simple definition of Vasectomy – It’s a method of male contraception which involves surgical cutting and sealing of part of each vas deferens, typically as a means of sterilization. Before you put your arms up, you better appreciate that – Vas deferens is that pipe that transmits sperms from the testicles to the urethra. Now you know!

Speaking of contraceptives, President Trump caused a major scare across the globe during his campaigns when he threatened to defund Planned Parenthood, the reproductive health organisation that provides contraception to many women around the US, and dismantle the Affordable Care Act, which guarantees access to contraception. By any clear reasoning, this was a gross insult to women. That aside, women continue to battle endless side effects depending on their type of contraceptives. This may range from hormonal imbalances which is quite common, mood swings, headaches, depression, acute PMS (I will leave men to find out on this) and for extreme cases – blood clot. Mind you, it’s even worse in areas where women survive with less than a dollar a day, which means using all manner of paraphernalia to mend their dignity. Basically, all I’m trying to do, is draw men in this so called sticky conversation of CONTRACEPTION.

Back to vasectomy;

You may want to refer this as part of first world problems but while doing so make peace with the fact that, quite a number of men here in Kenya have tried their chances with vasectomy. This includes married men and those cohabiting. So, why vasectomy? When a couple feels that they are in the stage where they wouldn’t be interested in raising more kids, long-term contraception methods come into play. Basically, vasectomy is one of those methods that deter pregnancies and taken upon by men to save their women from taking pills or going for those injections, or be it IUD coils, until they check into menopause age bracket. Quite noble isn’t it?

By the way, vasectomy isn’t castration. Nothing changes when it comes to vasectomy but for the latter, one technically ceases operating, if you know what I mean. Of course, nothing is 100% guaranteed under the sun, but vasectomy promises utmost 1% surprise, that is, very slim chances of failure. I hear it is also way cheaper and safer compared to all other forms of contraceptives. Something to worry though, chances of successful vasectomy reversal decline over time. Reversals are more successful in the first 10 years after the operation.

Some of the myths around vasectomy include stigma. That the process results to demasculinizing the man and is equal to castration. Moreover, it causes men develop female features for instance, breasts, and that it results to painful sex and reduced sex drive. There is also the element of information gap that erodes all the gains in the recent past.

That said, who is ready for vasectomy?

Certainly not me. They say in Africa, fathers never count their children. How far does that truth travel or amount to? Well, studies have shown that there are more elderly men having second families across the globe than in a similar period 30 years ago. This not being a justification whatsoever, I’m just saying, men would wish to feel psychologically ‘fully intact.’ No man wants to have misgivings about his reproductive health even after hitting a century old, with no teeth to smile about, and notwithstanding, him being awash with white hair and a feeble body that has seen better days. It is that twisted.

I tend to imagine our ancestors watching over us from wherever they are and trying to grapple with any idea of us having gone nuts in matters of embracing vasectomy. Thinking out loud – they will be like; “what’s the problem with contemporary man?” And go like, “Gentlemen, we need to embark on a trip downhill and summon them. This is absurd and will get out of proportion. Let’s get there before the damage gets ahead of us.” And they will descend to somewhere in Accra city, in a fancy hotel overlooking a humongous water pool, in the leafy and serene suburbs of the city where the rich reside or frequent. They will hold a press conference or rather, (a presser – a name I got acquainted with recently on twitter from journo timelines) after meeting our crop of representatives. It won’t be funny anymore. They will press us to declare if we’ve lost our minds! Okay, while at it, Ghana seems like a very safe haven for African declarations plus it was the first African country to gain her independence, in 1957. So, in here there will be a declaration that will read: ACCRA DECLARATION 2017 – NO TO VASECTOMY

And how will our ancestors land in Accra – Ghana in 2017? Does it appear beyond human imagination? Woe unto you who’ve not watched the breathtaking series TIMELESS. You’ve seen how the trio in this movie, that is; a History professor, US Army guy and the Pilot, travel in something alike a spacecraft which they call Time Machine. They embark on trips to critical events that happened in American history way back, in order to battle and protect the ‘right history’ as was intended by nature since a group of criminals had managed to reconfigure the fate of the Free world country. Similarly, assuming our ancestors are a genius lot, they will be in Accra to save the men in us from a fate that will have been orchestrated to destroy the very core of our survival.

This shouldn’t sound harsh to women. In fact, it should worry them that, vasectomy is a permanent contraceptive, so to speak as compared to the rest of them. Hence, it’s unfair to advocate and push it down our throats when we have other suitable contraceptives that can be used by men in as much as, they can be messy and annoying at times. That said, I will through caution here; that we love our women using contraceptives and we will go to whatever length to support them and advice on what’s best for them, given a chance. What this article doesn’t mean is; that we shrug off the conversation on contraception. On the contrary, more contemporary men are receptive to this topic and are more than willing to be drawn in and participate for the greater good of a win – win situation.

Enough said. The jury is out!

 

WHICH WAY OUT: FEW OR MORE KIDS

Image result for A photo of a beautiful african family

Early April this year, my family and I embarked on a trip to visit my Shosh, up in the hills of Othaya. A green desert of tea farms, and dwindling coffee plantation, up and down we were, taking sharp corners underneath unbothered deadly rivers making their way to distant lands. Othaya, a very fresh environment courtesy of the unrivalled abundance of rare indigenous trees, tall and gigantic, placed on top of hills and down south along the slopes, bending and singing smoothly – what a purified air! And this journey is never enough without passing by Tums. Well Tums is a small getaway, sandwiched by weather roads, red in colour and inside a sleepy village called Giakaja. Here, the best of kuku and mbuzi choma invites you from the parking bay, and soon you spot the busiest of waiters speeding like rally cars, balancing their trays with the dozens of orders playing in their heads. Tums being a gazebo-like layout, the laughters from happy people enjoying every bite of the meat and ambience waft easily all across. Normally, Nairobians who live for discovering hide outs, will be found here on a Saturday afternoon, flanked by their glossy wives, and their beguiling looking, smooth skinned girlfriends with sweeping elegant weaves, and their boys in expensive pants while some will still insist on puttting on coloured shorts in the year of our lord 2017. Usually, their tables will be dotted with Tuskers and silver-like melting meat. They will smoke arrogantly, speak louder, laugh more and ask for more beer and choma.

Now, we make our way to Shosh’s place, eat, drink, chat and then by coincidence happen to meet a number of my cousins who have also checked in for other engagements here. So, as the evening gets weary, one cousin rises to give vote of thanks but sneaks in an interesting conversation. That as cousins, they are considering awarding whichever family that will reach the target of having at least five kids. Currently the top contenders which is a tie of a few, has four kids each. Actually they are three families out of thirty something. SADLY, SHOSHO PASSED ON RECENTLY AND IN FACT LAID HER TO REST ON 16TH JUNE 2017. Rest in eternal peace dear pillar of my heritage.

Moving on…Our generation is breeding far fewer kids. Two utmost. Three if one is damn rich. Some one. Well the commonest reason being the “harsh economic times”. Quite logical. I mean how and why should one agonise over raising more kids when Unga is neither affordable nor available. When you can’t place food on the table, why more? Dear Andreaders, can our economy encourage contemporary parents to get more or few?

Well, I sampled a few of my friends asking them: Given a choice considering the status of our economy, would you go few or more kids? Kindly give reasons. Only one out of twelve respondents was for four to five kids regardless of the economic status. Three respondents were for very few kids. The rest had no clear answers. Simply put, they were nor here nor there. Just a bit confused. Sometimes back, my siblings and I visited mum by surprise. She was extremely happy and sensational. One thing I fondly remember her saying was; “Assuming I had one or two kids, would I be this happy?” You can imagine a family of slightly many siblings , armed with their spouses and curious teenage-like kids, and few more delicate and restless ones less than a year old, who can cry all night. We were scattered in one house, unbowed by the crying ones annoyed by the new environment they were not used to and the laughters and dealing with not-so-familiar faces plus the undoing of low temperatures of Nyandarua. Kids can be sensitive? My mum now savouring the beauty of watching her grandchildren whirl up and down while the shy ones sat attentively as they gazed at the hearty conversations. The shy ones in this instance had to be the teenagers getting acquainted to adolescence stage of life.

While working on this article, I stumbled on a research report named, Kenya: The Demographic of a Country in Turmoil which gives a chronology of Kenya’s population. Digging in, between 1970s and 1980s Kenya had one of the fastest population growth rates in the world. It experienced an economy slow down thereafter, which prompted the government to advocate for family planning to lower fertility rates. In 1960’s an average family would have 8 – 10 kids. As of 1990’s, that dropped to about five kids. With the AIDS epidemic which eroded health and mortality progress, Kenya has had to review life expectancy from an average of 60 years in 1980s to 53 in 2007.

But while the poor are having more kids, the middle class are siring few! Seemingly, the former are putting up with a fight of survival while the latter are toying with pro-westernized ideologies where getting more kids is no longer fashionable and worse still – very demanding and expensive, so to speak. But demographic pundits have it; that with an effective government and stable economic environment, population increase leads to steady economic growth.

The worry is, many alike, in our classes of life are bringing up fewer and lonelier families. Where, a couple gets two kids, educates them and by the time these children join University at about 19 years, the parents being anywhere from 45 – 51 years, are left to live alone while the kids run to Nairobi. These are the same kids who never get married nor visit home. So the closest these parents get to meet their grandchildren, unfortunately, will be in their sorry state – feeble and draining their family savings to medical bills besides dealing with two kids who haven’t stabilized in life. Forgive me for entertaining the thought that, there is fun in more numbers.

Thinking rationally, clear advantages of having relatively more kids include; Family projects become easier and attractable to finance based on the numbers, the few less-fortunate in life get pulled up by the rest of the siblings, the diversity of careers and lines of incomes brought about by different interests for each sibling increases chances of survival, such a family has a bulk of knowledge and forum to exchange ideas and increase business networks. Moreover, economies of scale have never been more plausible than in families – Utility bills are far cheaper in a house of more, than of few. Clothes and toys can be passed on to the younger ones. Parents who are pro-more can be in a position to enjoy freedom earlier since the teenage kids can be left to guard the little ones as they attend a dinner date, or rush for urgent issues out of the house, and can be caught up in traffic without worry of house girl drama.

Medical researchers have disclosed that growing up with a brother or sister can reduce food allergies, multiple sclerosis and some cancers. Obesity and depression is potentially reduced by exposure to more siblings. Parents with one or two kids, spend lots of money in Day-cares while the pro-more can have that aspect taken care of easily. Research have shown that ‘siblinged’ children will have stronger soft skills and keener emotional intelligence than single children. In most cases, siblings make up the best of friends. Mistakes and confessions are first told to close siblings meaning a good support system can be nurtured within siblings. Further, one or two kids can choke from over attention and pressure. Relatively more kids dilute the attention awarded to each kid hence aiding in making a child mature quicker.

Few or more, the jury is out.

 

CHEATS AND SIDE DISHES

A friend of mine who lives in a staff quarter since he works in a firm located remotely shocked me the other day when he narrated a story about his colleague. So, his colleague whom we shall name Jacob* who happens to hail from afar town and hence compelled to live in the same quarters, developed an affair with a lady from a nearby village. With time the lady moved in to stay with Jacob and would only walk home occasionally. Mind you, the lady’s parents are aware that their daughter sees a man from this firm but somehow have no idea that Jacob is very much married and with three kids. Commonly, cheating men are stingy to their wives. Exactly what Jacob turns out to be; earning a handsome salary but neglecting his family to an extent where one day, his wife decides to travel a distance of about 200 kilometers, to Jacob’s place of work to confront him.

On this day, the side dish happens to be in Jacob’s house oblivious of his wife journey to accost his seemingly mindless man. So the wife rings Jacob warning him that she is five minutes away, having embarked on a journey for an impromptu visit. As soon as Jacob hangs up, he drifts to the bedroom, grabs the side dish suitcase and all her belongings, throws them over the fence that borders the staff quarters screaming at his girl to speed off since his wife is meters away coming. In seconds, the poor girl walks out of the house confused, meets with Jacob’s wife along the corridor but lucky not to have been noticed as to where she emerges from; walks away unhurt by a fellow woman’s wrath. Too lucky but unregretful, she walks back a week later after Jacob wife travels back home.

A number of years ago, soon after landing my first job and too excited to live alone; living in a single room by then…My immediate neighbor a struggling alcoholic, red eyed man with a couple of dark scars on his face and one who would carry a heavy smell of intoxation, welcomed me in my new found freedom of sorts. His love for loud music was unmatchable. He’d exchange ladies at will, something the neighbors had made peace with. Well at some point he settled down with one lass. Haiya, just so casually at the glare of our eyes in that come-wash-my-dishes scenario. Assuming that she was among the seasonal ladies who would just be replaced as soon, we were dead wrong.

You know, in single room neighborhood, sound travels as fast, as if everyone is living under one roof – See your life landlord. One evening, as I was retiring to bed (My bed being next to the imaginary bedroom of my neighbor’s room) his newly wife phone rung and she picked it with ease. I could tell it was a man calling and flirting with somebody’s wife right on his balding head. As soon as the conversation ended, screams from the lady could be heard. The tiny house was turned upside down, in chaos, screams, ultimatums and shouts that would go like “Live my house”….”live my house”…”pack your stuff!!!! (Wajameni whats with men daring their wives to pack their stuff while inside they are wishing – I hope she won’t). Here was a phone call from a man who was sharing the spoils with a newly married lady or so it appeared.

While a good number of young people would jump to love triangles for material gains, a good number of the slightly older folks, deliberately get involved in side affairs for emotional assurances. That not being an excuse, the contemporary marriage has been rocked with complex issues opening gaps and cracks for side dish syndrome to penetrate, shimmer and thrive. The most vulnerable being men who are trapped by either desperation to feel loved, reassured and recognized, the side dish woman continues to grow in vigor and boldness each passing day. From the gospel world to men of the cloth and politicians, infidelity and lust seem to be crossing paths far too frequently.

When some months ago, a compelled confession by a man of no mean achievements and who happens to be the number two most senior official of Jubilee government, an eloquent, vibrant and charismatic – William Ruto; clearly the wave of brooding side dishes confidently stands tall, first among equals even for the high and mighty. Is this the case? Perhaps not. How so, while he is not the first nor the last politician to feature in the side dish infamous book. That in the year 2006 Ruto met, got twisted and succumbed to the strong agitation of brewing a secret affair, hearty and well-oiled love only for the timing and leaking of the bombshell to be in the electioneering year.

Monica Lewinsky a 21 years old unpaid intern in White House under the leadership of President Bill Clinton back in 1995, perhaps was and is the most publicised woman in the history of marriage infidelity.  Tiger Woods who was too naive to realise his career was intertwined to his performance in marriage, painfully ended up his envious world class golfing career out of a side dish affair. Locally, renowned celebrities have battled recorded tapes leaking to the social media, pants down cheating on their spouses.

But why are we surprised? You know of this guy in your estate pub or your friend who brews this beautiful side dish. You know of this woman whose man works in a far city but broods young men when the poor man drives back to the city. It shouldn’t be a surprise by now. You know of this close relative who is in his/her early forties, unmarried and seemingly unbothered to get hitched but occasionally have rumours wafting now and then sometimes to your doorstep that so and so is normally seen frequenting his/her house. You perhaps have this neighbor in her late thirties, with two kids, no consistent man in the vicinity but an occasional man who sneaks shyly when these kids resume back to boarding school.

What I’m I trying to say? That our generation has normalized infidelity, sexual greed, selfishness, and compromised integrity. We have smashed the marriage institution, robbed it off its values and bleached the institution with short-sided sinful and guilty looking men and women. We have witnessed Whatsapp prayer groups get rocked with sexual scandals. That not surprising, infamous pastors and alleged men of god have been all time culprits to this society weakness.

Far more men and women are putting their cries on social media, others succumbing to depression, lost for words with what is fighting their union. Many more are resulting to physical fights to save what is rightfully theirs in as much the reality is hostile to listen, respect and keep off.

Thanks to an ongoing conversation in the social media that MARRIAGE IS NOT AN ACHIEVEMENT; I dare say marriage is a goal and an accomplishment – For crying out loud in Africa. Marriage should validate oneself and be devoted for, if done for the right reasons. The so called campaigners of this narrative have every objective to welcome and support cheats in marriage and just play down this incredible institution. That with one phone call or text message, a life may be at danger, a whole family may be in shambles, two people conjoined by honest love and commitment may be at the brick of self-destruction. It’s very costly to repair love more so when the orchestrators move and smile at will in the name of socialites and sponsorees at hire.

Yes, majority of married men will look attractive to you lazy woman who can’t find your own and will gladly fall into your trap to cheat on their wife with you, only for you to realise when it’s too late that you too will be cheated on by the same man you lured in the first place. That said, people should stop doing church weddings for formalities if they can’t let go their side dishes.

Have a good one Andreaders!