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!

BATTERED MAN, PLEASE MAN UP

depressed-black-man-getty590That man is under serious s-i-e-g-e and crumbling faster than we thought may seem far fetched, however it is consistently being affirmed by daily scary statistics that bombshells anyone who cares to read between the lines.

Is man under a crisis? Yes. If we would measure the anger levels at the family level, it would shock you. We are angry and frustrated by so many things, but women seem to be leading the pack in throwing tantrums. From the look of things, they are not ready to sit down and have a conversation with man’s mediocrity and failed leadership. They are exhausted with stomaching facets that represent a man in deep crisis.

If our ancestors would resurrect now, they would immediately die again in shock. They would curse the so called men and their Maendeleo of Wanaume nonsense, for being nonstarters, complacent and weak. They would hurl their anger at the man’s kingdom for sucking up in cowardliness. They would blame the modern man for his feeble leadership styles and even go a notch higher to draw a sharp contrast with what happened then and now. If your grandfather was born in early 1900’s or earlier, I’m referring to him. A case in point, my grandfather was born in 1906, died 90 years later; aged, with a wrinkled skin, weathered body but not without a loud and solid legacy. He evoked awe and respect even on his deathbed. Rest in peace, Thuku Gathara.

What I’m I try to say? That the soaring number of men battered by women, is resulting from man’s very undoing. The fish rots from the head, as they say. Meaning man being the scion of the society owes everybody else an explanation as to when he will drop his nonchalance. Man cannot and should not play the gender card for being battered. No man deserves to be battered by a woman and if that ever happens then he doesn’t deserve to be called a man. Women never wake up and toy around with the idea of battering their men. They beat the betrayal of expectations. That said, no one should assume I’m trying to justify husband battering. My point is; the chicken have come home to roost. We are being reminded, that as men we have failed to live up to the expectations of the society.

Men have shown weakness and women have taken advantage of that. Meanwhile, while man is crying foul blaming women empowerment as his source of havoc, he still fathering a fatherless generation. And in anycase, where was he when the woman was being empowered? Why didn’t he agitate for the boy-child empowerment as well? The sight of a battered man should remind men that they have failed miserably in their quest to lead and steer a generation.

The future looks grim going by the statistics. To add salt to injury, the society is churning out very weak men who grew up with complacent dads who once in awhile slept in wet trenches drunk and buried by a myriad of irresponsible behaviours. We are dealing with a man who has abdicated his roles and assumed all will be well. Man has become ambition-less and too selfish. Actually what is hurting man today is his selfishness. That’s why he spends all his earnings drinking from Monday to Monday. While the poor man is dying of chang’aa and other illicit liquor, the middle class man is dying of mainstream alcoholism.

Consequently, the woman has repackaged herself and out of no options, has been forced by nature to fill the void. That’s why you spot many women playing the man-role; Being providers and family leaders. Man has sunken in his hollow and dimly lit dreams. The reality is, legions of women are raising families single handedly. What is more shaming than that?

The thing is, I’m worried and very sympathetic with the future. I’m shaken by what stories our sons will grow listening to. I’m doubtful if man will have manned up. How weaker will he be? How low we he have scooped? You see, not wealth nor class defines a weak man but his degree of upholding values and taking responsibilities. And by the way, a man is judged by his legacy, his provision ability and his family leadership style. Every man must walk to the measuring scale and be judged how manly he is. Them that invest and show concern about their legacies, who work hard in life to put food to the table and dare to hold their families in one piece, certainly have no symptoms to be battered by their wives.

Men must live under certain realms not only to satisfy societal expectations but also for the case of proving they contributed something small to society’s civilisation before death plucks them. According to sociologist Steven L. Nock, a man must live under the principle of creating more than he can consume. This is basically living well aware of the fact that our kids and grandkids will judge us critically with what we accomplished or didn’t. In that regard, they must shape up and be counted as gentlemen. They must leave indelible marks that coalesce around adding value, power and strength to a society. Our eulogies shouldn’t be decorated by adjectives that feel out-of-place and detached to the persona.

It’s therefore sad if the contemporary man can be bothered with if or when he will ever be battered by his wife. Now, to those battered outside of what I have alluded above, then that’s an isolated case which should be treated as such. Otherwise the bigger majority are being battered due to their slackness, laziness and failure to man up.

“Our forefathers had civilization inside themselves, the wild outside. We live in the civilization they created, but within us the wilderness still lingers. What they dreamed, we live, and what they lived, we dream.” -T.K. Whipple

Have a reflective Easter holiday!

MAMA’S BOY SYNDROME

mama's boy

Mama’s Boy has always been a hot-potato-topic loved and loathed in equal measure, one that is too sensitive for many writers to juggle with, that pierces through what we hold dearest to, compelling us to be on either side of the divide. You are either a mama’s boy or not. It is as clear as black and white. There is no middle ground or consensus in this. Sorry.

I’m not sure how I will fair but while at it can I throw a disclaimer? There is nothing personal in here apart from much respect to all the incredible MAMA’s out there.

 

Did you know six of every 10 Kenyan women are likely to be single mothers by the time they reach 45? The research by Prof Shelly Clark, an associate professor of sociology at Canada’s McGill University, and Prof Dana Hamplová from Prague’s Charles University and Institute of Sociology, also found out a Kenyan woman is more likely to be rendered a single mother by bearing a child out of wedlock than other, more unavoidable causes, like the death of a spouse or divorce. The alarming figures are one of the highest in Africa, mirroring the quickly changing dynamisms of Family in the country. A man’s roles at the family level is slowly being dwindled and riddled by reckless behaviors meaning many women are opting to raise their kids without the baggage of an irresponsible husband/dad. Moreover, faced with an increase in Female financial muscle, a good number of women are opting to go it alone in this whole family idea.

That said, where does it leave the boy child? What are the consequences of a child raised by a single mother be it from controllable or uncontrollable reasons? To some extent it disadvantages the boy child to the extent that he is constantly fed with how his dad was incapable, irresponsible if not unambitious or one that missed in action.  This boy grows with a very negative attitude of his own gender and tending to hold highly the role of the other gender.  Allow me to focus on the disadvantage of such a background for the sake of this article. That does not in any way water down the role of the female gender in bringing up a family.

That brings me to my point;

We are a society that is churning out legions of men who have never had an intimate conversation with an all rounded, mature man. The problem with that is, the boy child upbringing is hugely predisposed to one gender meaning the boy sheds off or even fails to attract manly attributes. Like appreciating the buck stops with him in matters family stewardship. Not getting to know the difference between crying and over-crying. Or rather, that signs of being too emotional are considered unmanly. Not learning early to tie a tie or how to skin a goat – Your dearest mum will never teach you this. Or how to jump start a car and that love is stronger than muscles……and how to be a gentleman. Neither your mum nor your aunties will ever help you in learning the ropes of being a gentleman than a father figure.  Remember you can’t give what you don’t have. They say baggage in baggage out. We are what we are predisposed to. Period!

That said, it’s one thing to passionately love your mum and to have her, love you back overwhelmingly and it’s another thing for her to overshadow your life in the sense of her approving every decision you make. Talk of lads who will not speak two sentences without mentioning their mums. These are the same fellows who will have a problem with their spouse’s cooking style, or type of lotion she applies if does not match that of the mum. No pun intended to mums though.

I strongly believe a man must chart his own trajectory at some point in his life. Where he will come to the realisation that, it’s okay to reach out to her when life becomes over bearing but also appreciating it’s not her role to sort out every challenge in his life. The sad reality is, the society is churning out quarter baked men who cling on a family’s heritage if not idling around waiting to bequeath what their parents toiled hard to acquire. It’s even despicable when you are 30 and bearded, battling an oversized belly, a receding hairline and unashamed attitude, wagging your tail home to pester your mum for not ensuring the house servant counted you for dinner or harassing her for not giving you money to fuel your car that she bought for you.

I’m talking about men who refuse to live independently.  Who still need motherly wings to cover themselves from the harsh life.  Blokes who can’t make a single decision without consulting their mums. Men who take advantage of the politics between their wife – mother in law relationship for their selfish gains. Of married men who back-bite their wives from A to Z from her bad breath to her poor taste of clothing forgetting there are married to their wives not their mothers.

This is beyond a caving mess that has me so infuriated. Saddening because it has become an all too familiar game that has risen and fallen, re-emerged, buried alive and at times refused to die or just fly away. Stubborn life stories that leave one disoriented, mad and tempting one to go uprooting these heinous men teeth, gouging out their eyes and hammering their heads hard enough until they shed off the unmanly attributes.

Bottom line: My Man to Man Talk has it that, as men, we have failed miserably and must come to peace with that. We must also resolve that we will not mould our sons to be quarter baked men. Otherwise that will be an injustice to the posterity generation. That we will dare to see beyond our Mama’s horizon. Whereby, we will be bold enough to make them believe in our self made dreams.

WHAT TYPE OF A PARENT WILL YOU MAKE!

Daddy & Mummy.ashxI took close to three decades to utter these four words that had haunted me for the better part of my life; “Mum I love you.” I had to. I was scared of not saying them before Annabelle or Adrian sets in the world (God willing) of Kageshi and I. It happened spontaneously as I conducted vote of thanks after a family function. It still sounded awkward, but I had to say it. Time had come. I was happy and relieved to have conquered that stubborn part of me. I didn’t grow up in an environment where parents said words like “Andrew, I love you”. That’s not how my siblings and I were conditioned.  I don’t blame my parents either. There was no way they’d give what didn’t exist in their lives. They too were not accustomed to that. Just like many others, they were in a transition of struggling to shed off the village way of parenting and embracing contemporary avenues of raising kids. Good or bad, they were wading in the mixed jungle of traditions and 90’s & 2000’s civilizations. Why would they have worried about giving us a goodnight kiss while there was more to deal with; like paying school fees, ensuring we had at least the basics in life and that the cows were dewormed?

Not a single day did they hug us, until it felt queer to be hugged by mum or dad. Childhood was a mixed bag in our lives. We had to discover ourselves along the way and fight for our dreams, to keep them alive. We were also to paddle in the confusion of being in a middle class school and living in the village. There were neither TV, FM radio stations nor electricity. But there was KBC…..John Karani and Charity Karimi of the Kings and Queens Show, from 4pm every weekday. Woooh! That was one huge show, listening to Mysterious Girl by Peter Andre, The Boy Is Mine – Brandy and then Usher happened. Meanwhile Sundowner from 6pm by Catherine Ndonye and the late Nzau Kalulu (RIP legend) were too sensational to miss. Kiss FM came through in 2002 if I’m not wrong. In fact there is one song by Ja rule ft. Ashanti which always reminds me of those years in class 7. It used to play frequently in Kiss. Away from that; we visited the barber once in three months. We engaged in hunting hares and grazing our dad’s cattle. Cutting napier grass that left itches on our arms and getting the right formula of mixing ‘dairy meal portions with molasses’ for the livestock. Waking up early to get ‘weeds’ which served us feeds for our rabbits. We also learnt to milk cows at an early age and ride “adult-bicycles” pretty early.

Fast forward today. That can’t be copy pasted to now. Our kids grow in storey estates or in houses with tiny compounds and a kitchen garden if lucky. Kids of this generation need to be affirmed daily.  They need to be hugged after a family breakfast and dropped at the school gate. And before they chuck out of the car, they expect a high five and be like; “Daddy I love you.” And you nod firmly saying; “I love you too sweet thing.” You have to befriend their teachers and monitor they performance in school. You’ll even insist they become active in co-curricular activities in school. You will read for them bedroom stories before they fall asleep. Other times you will kiss them at the forehead goodnight and chase them to sleep.

Phrases like; “Andrian, Mum and Dad love you” is too costly to overlook. They’ll grow in an environment where everybody speaks English including the house girl and where everything under the roof is monitored by CCTV camera. Their rooms will even have panic buttons. They will be better at operating your phone than you. They’ll play football within high perimeter walls and do hide and seek in parking yards. In the evening you’ll play chess game together as a family. They will call to ask why you are late to get home on those days your colleagues convince you to pass by the ‘local’. On bad days, while hanging those annoying headphones on their necks, they’ll throw tantrums and slam doors to their bedrooms ‘cursing’ you. You’ll look helpless in body and demeanor as your poor gait will be left staring a closed door. And do nothing about it. You will worry about what they browse on their laptops or what they watch while you are away. You will struggle to teach them about sex education and how that road is a no go zone, at least for now.

You will love these kids so much to devote all your evenings in getting interested on how they do their homework. You will remind yourself about BODMAS and LCM mathematics. Speaking of LCM; you will have wondered why 1/2 + 1/2 is resulting to 2/4 (in your head) only to remember after a whole 30 foolish minutes that there was one damn thing called LCM that Mr. Njeru taught you in class 5. Hahaha. You will also recite that song that helped you recall colours of the rainbow only to learn that it was changed to a new one by this digital generation. You will buy them test papers every week and mark them so diligently. On some days you will sleep late hours as you drive a formula home that Annabelle will probably have failed to comprehend in class; addition of Mixed Fractions and Area of a cylinder. And that Area and Perimeter are two different things. Haki ya nani!! Other times homework will be done in the morning because Mummy and Daddy will have been late in their Masters classes and the kids will have taken that advantage to watch BlackList with the house girl.

You will sacrifice your office work for a Parent’s Day meeting. This will awaken memories of your dad showing up with a newspaper at hand during your times. You will realise how time flies first and how you will have metamorphosed to a daddy. Walking side by side with your young ones to their class teacher will rekindle many nostalgic memories from those good old days. When you received your first letter from a girl named Maureen* (not her real name) that your sisters found in your shirt on that sunny Saturday while cleaning your clothes. They laughed and made fun of you for so long until it started to bother you…….Holding his hand, you will wonder if Andrian has a Maureen* in his life and whether she has jolted a letter to your heir yet! Back to where we were. Sitting pretty and watching those cute, innocent faces recite poems and plays, amid cheers from the parents will make you appreciate how life moves fast. It will feel good to be a parent. It will hit you that you are ageing gracefully. You will find yourself rising up and asking hard questions during the PTAs meetings; like why parents are paying staggering amounts of money for transport yet the school bus keep breaking down, inconveniencing the kids and the parents. Or why parents must buy the so called ‘weekend uniform’ for borders when the pupils have several pairs of P.E kits. Worse still, why uniform have to be bought from the school when it is way cheaper out there.

Being the best daddy has always been your wish and wondering whether you have achieved that so far, will be tough to answer.

El jurado está fuera El jurado! (The jury is out! - Spanish)

THE CORNERED MALE SPECIES

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Do they say the fish rots from the head? Come to think of it and while at it, ask yourself how you’d describe the chairman of Maendeleo ya Wanaume and these three adjectives would surface and do justice; a tired, laid back and comic guy. Who even appointed him if he wasn’t elected? And speaking of elections, how didn’t I not have a heads up! For men to be taken seriously in this country, we need a man worth his salt at the helm. An eloquent kind of guy, with stamina to steer an array of men battling with pot-bellies and receding hairlines. Type of a man who can resuscitate our emaciated reputation and take a bullet for the millions of us who grow beards. He should be that guy who can nurture a sense of belonging in the Man’s Kingdom by challenging us to provide leadership in our families.

But more fundamentally, what is ailing the Y chromosome? Has man been overrated all this time round only to lose his oomph in the 21st century? He has weathered and left bare and naked over time. Naked in the annoying truth of high appetite for lust and alcohol. He’s been reduced to a ‘thing’ that’s wading in moral decadence. He is now disintegrating in big and small pieces at the very feet of a bewildered society. What happened to the traditional male with all his aggression and protective syndrome? It’s an open secret that members of the male species have been cornered. We’re embarrassing ourselves in the open if not tearing up the little credibility we brag of.

10 years from now, I can only hope I won’t be caught up in the cobwebs of being chauffeured in an intimidating car to the G.P.O area, to fish out hot lasses at the bus station hanging on their weekend bags and glued to their phones. God should also forbid the mere thought of flying my P.A to Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club somewhere in Nanyuki for a weekend of escapades as my lonely wife pulls duvet in our elegant mansion agonising over my behavior. The reality is, having a 20 something years old sidekick as a married man, is very fashionable nowadays.

Sampling the recent incidents that have been unfolding right in front of my TV screen only leave my conscious in a state of jeopardy. I feel ashamed even while all alone in my house. You can imagine if I had a 3 year old inquisitive son, propping those queer questions right in my face. Like, “Dad, who is Mugo wa Wairimu? What did he do?” How I’m I supposed to respond to such a question? Speaking of Mugo, is he aware that by the time a woman walks to a gynecologist, she is already unwell? Raping her while in a sedated state is too inhumane in my opinion. It shames me as man. It puts burdens to hundreds of families who ever took their family members to that clinic all because of a man who can’t contain his libido.

What of when your uncle appears on TV heavily drunk, with a disillusioned face, overgrown beards and smelling like a corpse. How does my son put up with such a close relative? I need to have an idea of how Kenyan fathers survive in their houses at 9pm while watching despicable stories unravel on the screens. Men should think twice before indulging in some of these things. We don’t live in a vacuum. We have people who look up to us. Who expect mentorship and inspiration from us. If all that is in our mind is a comprised conscience choked with evil, how will we manage to guide a whole generation pregnant with expectations and hopes?

I was taken aback few weeks ago and even shared my anger on my Facebook page andrewismme.com of this chap who found out that his wife was cheating on him. So he ambushed her and beat her mercilessly. What ignited my anger was how bystanders mostly men, gnawed their teeth in unfounded excitement while they recorded the ordeal. That was so shallow and annoying. How do you watch a woman being mishandled and all you do is display your unashamed joy? The last time I checked, men were called to be protective beings. This chap should have simply separated with the wife or report her to Njuri Ncheke.

Sadly, men of the cloth whom ideally should be busy instilling values in us are in fact outdoing each in embracing the vices. Just the other day while flip flopping TV channels I came across a story of a pastor who was wedding without having consulted his 1st wife. Such like stories have been retold to the umpteenth time. Granted that this way of life persists for some years to come; will we ever have a society? The male species has failed miserably in upholding the value system of a society. From the Ng’ang’as of this world to matatu conductors who purport to be our moral police thereby stripping women ‘badly dressed’, we have sunken and buried the male species in deep shit.

Having said that, what’s a better place to reflect, seek healing and guidance than through the bible. Ephesians 2:1-5 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ by grace you have been saved.

I’m calling on the male species family for whom I am a member, to rise to the occasion and redeem our image. For so long we’ve steered the society in the wrong direction. It’s important to appreciate men have been bestowed with heavy responsibilities and it’s unfortunate when the Animal Kingdom behaves better than many of us.

YOUR PREGNANT WIFE

baby bumAfter you did your wedding vows, the patting shot you fondly remember from your mum, was that she was awaiting several grand kids. In hindsight, you thought you were done with pressure. No. After the lobbying from all and sundry, small talks and persistent, ugly questions of “kama ulipata mtu”, you finally surprised them with a wedding. Ooh dear, what a relief, or so you thought! Marriage life is where the rubber meets the road. You realise there are two parties that must be kept happy, even if it means faking it. Both families. It also dawns on you, the need to balance opinions between your mum and your wife. Speaking of your wife, she’ll have convinced you that you need to chill for two, damn, long years for her to complete her Masters class to even contemplate having a baby. You wish she appreciates how long you’ve waited and craved to be a daddy.

Yes, you’ll feel confused because all you care is a son or a daughter. You badly need one like yesterday. Before you know, this will serve as your maiden disagreement which when push comes to shove, then Koffi Annan (read marriage counselor) will have to find his way in this muddy affair. Lest it’ll prolong for months and sometimes choke your chemistry. Close to a year later, she’ll send you a text message on a hot Wednesday afternoon, saying she got some good news. You are the kind of a chap that doesn’t work with suspense. You even warned her of surprises. She’ll throw a hint, that Doctor Alice gave her some very exciting news. You’ll jump on your feet, forgetting you are in this quiet environment (where everybody tends or pretends to be busy). Your colleagues’ necks will wag at you, acclimatising with this unfamiliar face. It’ll be tough to fight back tears of joy! At this point, you’ll not give a damn. It’s been a long time coming. Only God and you can attest to this.

Fast forward several months. Dealing with a pregnant wife, was something you had not waded in. You didn’t portend to be the one holding the short end of the stick. Somebody should have prepared you for this. Isn’t there an Association of Husbands With Pregnant Wives where they perhaps exchange notes and give each other moral support? Or a place where you sit round, like a dozen group of men with a moderator or whatever they are called, and make fun of these weird experiences you’ve gone through as you laugh loudly? This can be very crucial in airing out your bottled-neck anxiety or stress related issues, triggered by your pregnant wife. It works for women, right?

She is 6 months now. As the bulging body makes its presence felt, so do your responsibilities soar. Actually within the first month, she had made enough complains about ironing your clothes. You chose to take on ironing, something you’ve not done for over a year. Then she developed this desire of hovering around your body. She liked you even more and even started calling at 5:30 pm to inquire if you were making your way home. This caught you by surprise but worked anyway as you felt ‘very much needed’. The first trimester was hell on earth as her body was getting acquainted to the changes in her body. Mood swings checked in and swapped at will, even at 12am when she used to wake you up, trading complains of you squeezing her against the wall. Then came in, regular nausea and heightened smell. She would ‘smell’ you a kilometer a way. Your deodorant which you still used even before the two of you first met, became an issue in this period.(1st trimester).

You learnt to adjust very quickly and became open minded going by all these hullabaloos. Her 2nd trimester is almost done, but it has come with its fair share of problems. What scared you most, was her waking you up (she still does) at 3am to warm some food. Hahaha, she feels hungry at 3am, how now? Nature has humour. So, for 3 months now, you’ve been waking up to sit at the couch as she makes her way to the kitchen to warm some food. She’ll then walk to the table room, and insist on sitting on your legs with all her weight. Gai! This clearly hasn’t worked especially going by how she sits down(she falls on the couch like a thunder. I’m sorry…..she’ll strangle you for writing this, hehe). So, as she eats, sitting between your legs, you get lost in the future. Toying with the idea of what type of daddy you’ll be and what your kid will turn out to be. You gaze at the walls, at these quiet times of dead of a night before your eyes stumble at the moving clock’s minute hand. This suddenly reminds you how fast you need to get back to bed to hide from your office in-tray and before the earthlings come to life in a few hours.

By this time too, she has also relinquished most of the cooking to you or the day scholar-house girl depending on her moods. Before she stopped, she used to wash her hands a million times. She became too sensitive to ‘hygiene’ hence the million washings. Her craving for meat has become a daily ritual. She even woke you up at one point demanding some hot soup. You had to wake up early, to book some bones from Mr.Githendu your butcher. There is also this time she cried for a sugarcane. You personally hasn’t eaten a sugarcane for decades. Your teeth are not so strong to rough up a cane. How then did she expect one to be found in the house? This was a long fight.

What has kept you moving is the love you have for this unborn baby and of course your wife. You get goosebumps for being a daddy in waiting. The mild imagination of slamming the door in the morning after kissing this sweet munchkin and walking home to realise how you love him/her, is invaluable. The mere thought of your family and in laws holding her(him) in their arms with sincere joy gives you enough impetus to surpass these pregnancy effects and experiences. It’s worthy it man! Enjoy as it lasts and do it with all your heart and while at it, have fun and show some love. It’s only nine months.

HER CHARMNESS IS UNBOWED BY A LIFE’S LOATHE

tanzanian-ladiesShe is 21. Beautiful, intelligent, confident, charming and sweet. Her alluring face, skillfully and with time has learnt the ropes of concealing what she has gone through in life. A life summed by four words. Sadness, fear and denied freedom. From a distance, you may be forgiven to assume she’s one of those PYT(Pretty Young Things) from campus who oscillate around married men like they are possessed by an overwhelming evil spirit. She’s that lady who can make your tongue mumble and swallow words just from her sheer looks. She is one that exudes this image that slurs your pick up lines and leaves you at the mercy of her patience. Here’s her story;

To start with, I met her accidentally when I paid a courtesy call to a close friend. We had those shallow conversations of gathering stories here and there, flattering jokes and mild laughter. Before long, I was gone. It’s after then, that the said friend broke out her shell of a life, to me. Brenda* was born from a brewing love of two lover birds in an urban setting. She wouldn’t enjoy the privilege of having two parents for long. When she turned 3, her dear mum passed away after a short illness. That turned around her life, upside down.

Her dad has always been very industrious and an aggressive businessman but also very shrewd. He was and still depicts this no-nonsense demeanor to her family. She grew under this environment for 20 long, eventful years. Her dad would marry another woman, close to a year after Brenda’s mum passed on. Before long the foster mum was pregnant and 6 – 7 years down the line, she had 3 of her own kids. Brenda* was loathed by this mum for obvious reasons. She was not her biological kid.

She had to choose between a rock and a hard place. If it was not her foster mum hurling insults, it was her dad’s daily beatings. I’m made to understand Brenda* has been battered by her dad all her life. From the sheer rumours that she was seen with a boy in the hood or coming home late, that alone qualified for a thorough beating. Her neighbours were all familiar with her usual wails and pleads to her dad, to stop the beating. Her entire body is marked by scars from her dad’s infamous belt or nyahunyo(whip). (Which dad keeps a whip to beat her kids? Slap them or get a small cane if need be but not a whip, for heaven’s sake! That only shows how a miserable dad you are, especially when you purport to discipline selectively).

Over the years, her dad evolved to a total stranger. Daughters have needs and require attention and care than boys (no pun intended). The thing is, she pleaded with her father for money to buy sanitary pads, in vain. Her dad would silence her with the all familiar phrase; “I don’t have money”. Appreciate that the same dad sponsored her cousins to schools and gave money generously to dozens of her relatives who visited their home. Mind you also, Brenda’s* dad bought land at some point, constructed a nice house and even purchased a car. Her foster mum on the other hand was unapproachable, only using Brenda* to relieve accumulated stress from her husband.

When Brenda* was to join high school, her father made it clear that she would have to join a day school so that he would ‘monitor’ her. He was an overprotective dad, who expected her to be within a radius he could trace all her moves. With all the bad things happening to her, she developed a rebellious attitude in school. She didn’t like the school she was in, and while in Form 2, she led a strike that made her be terminated. Your guess is as good as mine, she was very happy to leave that school. Of course she had to pay the price of ‘a shaming’ her dad. That particular time, she was beaten every part of her body.

She was moved to another school and the beatings wouldn’t stop. Every time dad came home stressed, she would be in for the beating, for mistakes committed centuries ago. Her childhood and teenage life was robbed by her parents. Her foster mum made her do all the house chores and take care of her siblings. She had no time to bond with her friends if any. Their house environment was terrifying and this took a toll order on her esteem. Her siblings were not going through the same agony but devoted to be her friend.

After high school, she stayed home for a year or so and was later enrolled to a tourism college. Even at this point in life, she was not expected to be seen with a ‘boy’ anywhere near her vicinity. Otherwise this would qualify to a two day, non-stop beating. Sadly, her dad would not even buy her a phone. What for? He’d ask! Even getting money to go to the salon was still a problem. College life became very distressful for this pretty lady who had bared it all while so young.

Things would twist a bit; her mum came to like her two years ago. She became soft and a reliable friend. This cooled things a little bit. Meanwhile her dad was still the same! Hard, terrible and violent. Come January 2015, she said enough was enough. She gave up on this life and embarked on a journey to Nairobi, having fled home. She didn’t carry her clothes, because her neighbours would suspect and ring her dad. She had no money either, to survive in the city.

She’d live for a short while with a friend before moving on to another, before the first became curious to learn of her guarded story of life. She did this while looking for jobs here and there. Through her small savings and skipping lunch and sometimes sleeping hungry became routine. To calm her stress, she got hooked to smoking and imbibing hard liquor. Days moved to months until she met her (cousin who’s my friend). The friend shared this sad story and implored on me to help. We managed to get her a simple hustle that would pay her bills for the time being.

My point is; count your blessings and be very grateful to God for everything. Some wish to have, half the privileges you savor. Never take anything for granted and help wherever you can. Lastly, guys, promise to be profound daddies. One man, can change the world!

Brenda is not her real name neither is the pic used. This is a very true story.

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