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!

A GATHERING OF THE BOY CHILD – PART TWO

Image result for Kenya boys in public schools

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WE, THE SOCIETY OF ‘APPROVALS’

The rich and the poor truly are from different realms: one has adapted to become an expert in material forfeit; the other has forfeited all they are to material, and thus is enslaved, by it.” – Justin K. McFarlane Beau.

We are the bubble that will burst soon from material enslaving and obsession with show offs. We perceive ourselves rich while in reality, we are heavily indebted humans. Not only have we shattered what is considered good but also auctioned the patience and virtual of becoming successful gradually. We are using shortcuts and loans to smell successful. We are borrowing way too much to look trendy and urbanite, naively passing the buck to our sons and daughters and their offspring. We are the people that believe in only living once by unfortunately have our priorities misplaced and swapped with the expectations of our peers. We live for the expectations of our families, family friends and for the status. We choose what to buy (not invest) to feed the imagination we have of what others expect of us. In other words; we have no time to hold candid and honest discussions with ourselves. We live for others. We live for approvals. Sadly!

You see, many of us have been lying to ourselves that we are wealthy and successful going by the lifestyle we brag of. But how are you rich, if your liabilities exceed what is rightfully yours? And what’s yours shouldn’t be necessarily what you inherited from your family. By the way, there is nothing wrong with taking bank loans, but there is something very wrong when that money is used for things which won’t matter two years from now. The thing is, we are borrowing not to invest but to finance our lifestyles. Since nobody will notice your sagging indebtedness apart from perhaps your bank, you will sink in deep s*** towing this demeanor like you own half the world and pulling no stops in social media streets selling your imaginary smooth life for all to envy. For how long? Remember, perceived friends can be a pain in the a** especially when you go broke or rather; when they stumble on the truth.

You and I should refuse to be put under any pressure by family and friends. We should vow not to care whether they approve us or not. It won’t matter because, what they seem to do is show no respect to our priorities, anyway! Look at it this way; do you go out every Friday because you have the urge to do so or to making us aware of your high end friends and fancy places where your boys and yourself, go to unwind. Do you get worried when your kids school in schools that do not meet the expectations of your friends or your occupational status? Or is it about the complexion of the girl you date? Or the engine cc of the car that you drive? Or the estate you dwell in? Or your profession? Or where you go for salon? Or is it about your not so 1 billion worth church which haven’t qualified to have church mums and dads? Dear reader; please cut the slack and start living. Drop the baggage and the blurring euphoria. Learn to choose friends, breathe life to your goals and passions, follow the basics in life and develop a relationship with money.

Speaking of money;

Many of us have been caught in the neck of woods of drowning in debt and the addiction of credit cards purely for approval. Come to think of it this way; why would one spend a staggering sh.5 million to hold a wedding that does not last a year? Practically, it means this couple rushed out, assumed much and got deluded by societal approvals. To others it’s all about the looks and the pocket size. Why? Because your family and friends put that as a top priority! Since the poor you would never contemplate shaming them, you marry looks and a bank account only to realise later your dissimilarities and approach of life are too overwhelming. Funny enough, you don’t quit but soldier own to pay the price of approval. And when push comes to shove, your hands and legs get chopped off!

There is a trap in the name of a bubble that we all fighting to be associated with. The middle class syndrome. We are grappling with all in our possessions, creating innuendos and perceptions in the streets of social media that we duly belong to this class of society. We are using financial shortcuts and bribing ourselves to this envied life. From our pricey phones to fancy apartments to where we go for shopping – we are borrowing to enjoy this life. But what’s in it. Only one thing stands out; The feel good effect. I like to call it, The Nairobi effect. By the way, to you Nairobians that seem not to speak the local dialect even when you visit up country; we are aware of which side of Nairobi you reside in. With all fairness, your up country is cleaner than where you live, so cut the slack. The tendency to pretend your heritage and background is not from the village is not only farfetched but pure disgust.

Dear imaginary middle class, I know you believe in faking it till you make it. While at it, don’t make it up with mortgages that seem to trounce your very existence. Please don’t fake it if you still owe HELB some money. Cut the slack too if you have been blacklisted by Mshwari and or have defaulted numerous bank loans. Spare us if you reside in a grabbed piece of land that houses your bungalow, financed by embezzled funds. The middle class bubble is very seductive but when a time comes for hard facts to spill; it will expose your annoying under belly. Your offspring will have it tough footing your lifestyle baggage that did little to make the life any better. Do you wish to die of curses or of Approvals? What’s in your bucket list? What’s keeps you awake you in the night? Is it your dreams or the expectations of others? Do you ever think of yourself or all you do is feed other people’s expectations?

Do your math!!

DEAR STUDENTS, PLEASE CUT THE SLACK

Students strikesAbout a 100 students have been charged in court for arson related cases in the last one month. Moreover, close to a 100 high schools have been closed down following the unfurling unrest among students. The unwavering strikes have had pundits citing reasons to do with extension of 2nd term, mind you, for just one week and the archaic anxiety brought about by form four Mock exams. Some have even gone ahead to allege it’s all about Matiang’i leadership style! If you ask me though, he is one of the most hands on C.S in the Jubilee government. By the way, it’s time he cracked on the clueless County Educational Officers, as all they do is sit and wait for a hefty salary at the end of the month.

There has been this misconception over the years in the minds of many students that the world starts and ends with them. We were in that stage too, toying and flattering with the same euphoria. We used to imagine we were the end game and the creme of the world. We believed the world looked at us with awe and admiration and that it would literally stop, sit back and wait for our nonsensical mindsets to steer us to burn schools and pull a see no evil, hear no evil. Nobody could have convinced us otherwise. Dear students, we’ve been there, done it and come to regret it. Please lend us your ears and while at it, kindly cut the slack and the hype. It won’t matter a thing in a few years.

You see, there is something about uniforms that hides our family status. It blurs hard facts creating an impression that we are equal and will forever be. The truth of the matter is, that’s far from the truth. It’s colonial and cheating. Come to think of schools in developed countries and why they don’t emphasize on school uniforms. The philosophy behind this, from my imagination is to help these kids develop self-identity and appreciate backgrounds will always differ. That hasn’t been felt in Kenya. I say it again; uniforms have a way of creating artificial uniformity which is misleading to me, from where I sit. Let students appreciate they are different and must chase their individual dreams. Dear students, the moment you walk out of that high school gate having successfully sat for your KCSE exams if lucky and safe to be out of jail, reality will coldly welcome you to the other world. To the world that puts you to your rightful place. It has no time for slack and mob justice syndrome. Never. Here, everybody carries his or her cross, baggage and dream(s). In here it’s all about how you far you push your envelopes; how you trade your skills; how you amass networks and not how wealthy or poor your family is. You can also get away with impunity anyway but if not lucky, you will die a young death and a painful one for that matter. So dear students, please cut the slack.

Woo unto you especially, that is funded by a bursary scheme or harambees. No pun intended. If your parents sacrifice everything to have you in school and all you do is conspire strikes that burn classrooms; may the good Lord speak to you in a special way, now. May He wake you from the messy ignorance you are swimming in. You know, it is extremely annoying if you burn a school while your relatives have combed the entire community soliciting for small donations here and there just to give you what they didn’t benefit from. This is what we call parental love, boy! I also assume that you have come across an idiom that says; You never throw stones if you live in a glass house. Nature can be punishing and unforgiving.

Dear young girl that is chauffeured to school in pricey cars. Please don’t inconvenience poor kids’ dreams with your selfish influence. After organising for a strike, your parents will bribe their way, and ship you to another school. This is Kenya, right? Your life will move on seamlessly but you’ll have cut short someone’s only hope. Those students you badly influenced to join you in organising to burn classrooms will have their fate sealed by poverty and misery. Their parents will not have the stature or the evil monies to bribe their way to other schools. Their kids will have to drop out school sadly and get married at their young age if lucky not to get pregnant and start the journey of single motherhood before they celebrate their 18th birthday.

On the other hand, parents fixed to the corner by hard economic times will have to approach their chamas and Saccos for emergency loans. Yes they will do so to pay for your selfishness that had dormitories and classrooms torched. You even torch your books and beddings seriously while some of you don’t even have enough beddings at home. Why do you allow yourself to be drugged by this stupidity? Imagine it won’t matter in few years. You will never meet with some your so called friends after completing your KCSE. Some will do well in life while otherwise will have it rough. Some of you will have the potential of even employing some of these so called rich kids. Please dare to prove me right by not joining them in torching schools that are your only getaway to your dreams. Don’t allow them to mess with your future. You know what; Life cares very little about your family background. Actually in most cases it doesn’t. Imagine you all have a blank cheque for your life. It’s all about who you let in to your life and whose opinion you choose to buy. Life is all about creating something with what you choose. If you choose bad influence and slack from rich kids who believe their future is cut out, or from students who have lost hope of life; you’ll have sealed your fate for the worst.

To some of you, it will feel momentous when one contributes to the pattern that adds to the infamous staggering statistics of schools torched. Momentarily, your peers will celebrate you. How foolish is that and how long will it last? How much will you cost your struggling parents while even having you in school smoothly without being sent home for fees is a problem?(No pun intended). Dear students, it’s all fun and games until when you check to your parents’ humble homes only to be welcomed by reality. This is when you realise, the uniform no longer matters but rather, is the devil in the details. You realise how much uniform hides from reality. Who lied to you that you were born conjoined at the hip with your classmates? That’s a fallacy you need to drop before it’s too late. Their lives will be fixed by their influential parents but what about you who can’t afford a lawyer or can’t relate to the term – Family doctor?

Promise to stop this madness, dear student.

Address to parents:

Parents must step up and cede from overprotecting their kids. They must drop the shenanigans of treating their children with kids gloves. This alone, has immensely contributed in the soaring indiscipline cases in schools. Just the other day, it was reported that a parents’ association had bailed for an out of court case with one of the affected schools. Now, what will stop this delinquent kids from torching their schools all over again given a chance?

WEDDING COMMITTEES & THE CHARACTERS

weddingThe other day a female friend sent me a text message reading that I had been invited to a wedding committee. Actually, she was not really a friend but one of those people who possess your number by mistake. You know, there are those people who shouldn’t have your number, but they have it anyway and there is nothing you can do about it. The bad thing is that they will use it to invite you to wedding committees while in reality the two of you can’t sustain a two sentence conversation. You console yourself with the fact that your number stays dormant, cold and feeling out of place in their phonebooks. It’s hardly used.

Back to the wedding committee; What followed is that I was added to a Whatsapp group!

Two things;

One – If I have to be in a wedding committee then I have to be a mutual friend to the couple.

Or

Two – I have to be invited by the man, meaning that dude will have been my friend by the time he is inviting me to this committee.

If neither of the two – I will show up at your wedding day with my present of course!

The thing is, not everybody should be part of a wedding committee. There should be a criteria and something like benchmarking in deciding who should or shouldn’t qualify to this endeavour. This shouldn’t be a meeting where you gather acquaintances, would-be friends, frenemies, secret admirers, phantom friends or familiar people. And by the way, as a lady leave the functioning of the wedding committee to the man. You can help him come up with the list of trusted friends and relatives but this does not mean going all out fishing and combing-clean social media streets smoking out friends (stalkers) and dragging them to wedding planning forum half asleep. Neither is it a time to start looking for erstwhile friends whom you haven’t spoken to in a decade and then converting them to wedding committee members.

You know, there is something beautiful and manly about being invited by the man to this kind of a committee. From a man’s perspective, it reads recognition and appreciation. My point is, as a woman please focus on the gown, wedding cake and that humorous lady who perfects in cake cutting as she engages the crowd. Men are poor in these three tasks.  And for your information, a wedding is an expensive affair, save enough before imagining of who should be invited to the committee.

Assuming you will be convinced or feel the need to attend one, this is who you will meet. By the way it’s terrible to bank wholly on the wedding committee. They will fail you big time if you are not cautious. This is how it plays out;

You invite a hundred fellows, 30% turn up, 70% will never show up, respond to your texts nor pick your calls the moment they smell you need to part with their money. The 30% that turn up, 20% will only attend the maiden meeting just to be noticed and to see who has been invited and who didn’t make it to the list. These are people obsessed with titles and big man syndrome. This is how the rest will unfold:

Observers

Among the 15% out of the 30% that choose to attend, will be a group of the so called Observers. They will check in on time but will never contribute a point. They remain nailed on their seats, mum and occasionally on their phones. You can label them see no evil; hear no evil kind of people. They are mere observers rich in silence, big in attendance and zero on impact. End result – huge disappoint.

Phony People

These are quite interesting creatures better than observers. They contribute just one point in a two hours session and then drift to their pricey phones. Here they take selfies projecting how they are holed up in a big-wedding-planning and share them on social media. They will regularly walk out to pick calls and later comeback to remain glued to their damn phones. They will make it their point to ensure everybody notices their expensive smartphones by the time the meeting is done. Normally they walk in possession of two to three phones. End result – Below average

Technical Appearance Groupies

These chaps will check in to be seen they attended. They show no regard to the agendas of the day or any concern to how the wedding plan is progressing. They show up for 5 – 10 minutes and walk out in disguise of making a phone call. End result – Zero

Apology Lot

They throw perceptions of being very busy people. If they ain’t catching a flight, then they could be driving up country if not jumping to an important meeting. They specialise in giving apologies even on the actual wedding day. End result – Miserable

One Hit Wonder

They show up either on the maiden meeting or the very last one. They are a huge disappointment if one banks on them. They come to assess and gauge whether they should attend in future. They are big on promises but zero on delivery. End result – A mistake to have been invited!

Noisemakers

They are very social guys. They make friends effortlessly and create networks in minutes. To them, they view people as viable avenues to market their businesses, get county tenders, clinch jobs for relatives or buy or sell cars. End result – Fairly reliable.

Trusted circle

These could be close relatives, office colleagues or trusted friends. They are the main decision makers and major initiators of meeting agendas. They are tasked with specific responsibilities from Committee leaders (Chairman, Secretary & Treasurer), Transport Managers, Entertainment heads, Tent & Decor docket and tasks to find the best and affordable Photographers & MCs. End result – Extremely important

Big Kahunas/Financiers

Normally very influential personages, they are extremely critical. They have resources or connections to ensure the wedding is successful. They will avail cars, seek wedding venues and finance the wedding budget significantly. End result: extremely helpful

Wedding committees have been watered down over the years for two main reasons. One, the organisers have not been paying attention to the principle that no everybody should be invited. We are obsessed with numbers which in many a time end up to disappoint. I can confirm to have participated in a lean wedding committee that ended up delivering beyond expectations. The advantage with a small team is that, it’s easy to manage, to allocate specific tasks and to hold them accountable. Again, a smaller team works harder to prove they are equal to the tasks allocated.

Secondly, we are people that do weddings just to be noticed. That said, a majority don’t save enough for the big day but burden relatives and friends to finance their budgets. We do weddings we can’t afford just to smooth our egos and form the talk from the villages, church, office and to other social circles.

Let’s cut the slack and do weddings when we are sincerely ready.

 

 

 

 

‘LOVE’ – YOUNG VS OLD

quarter baked menLess than two weeks ago, Nanyuki woke up to very sad news of a 64 year old killed by her supposedly boyfriend who is only 22, crudely in what was alleged as a ploy to take advantage of her wealth. Well, a 42 year gap is what it is and no man can convince me it had anything to do with love but a quest for free money and feeding curiosity. Did they say curiosity killed the cat? Never underestimate the power of clichés. While some say the elderly woman was in pursuit of a companion, I dare ask you; When did a hot blooded, rugged and uncivilised 22 year old learn the art of companionship? Not even 26 year old ladies date 22 year olds dudes. But anyway, I register my sincere condolences to the family and friends of the bereaved.

Away from that; over the few years I have lived in this town, I have come to identify a certain clique of well dressed, nailed polished men, who seem to have mastered what works with their bodies. Blokes who go for weekly haircuts and who have half of their budget going for trendy clothes and shoes and fancy phones. Guys who live large and exhibit a taste for the fine things in life. Once in a while you will spot them in posh, borrowed cars making rounds around town leaving a trace of disturbance from the roaring exhausters or music from these high end cars. They are local celebs, if you may. Bragging of well-connected networks and rich friends at their disposal. You will never fail to find them in every worth-the-talk social gathering that comes by, be it house parties to outdoor events where they endeavour to leave their signature mark, which is causing a stir. From the rides, dressing code or ladies who stick to them like flies, they will form conversations in every salon, class and chama meeting.  And they love this feeling of being the center of all attention.

But there is a twist. Who finances their deluxe lifestyles? You will never meet them in office corridors in haste or along the streets walking pensively with documents. No. Theirs is a always a nonchalant attitude chilling with the alike boys on top of eye-drooling cars on a Monday morning in strategic places around town, in shorts and tight T-shirts, funny hairstyles, flashy phones and commandeering demeanors.

To what may not surprise you by now, they serve as fodder for the secretive and little known market of sugar mummies. A carefully knitted and subtly operating, intriguing world where relatively older women feed their obsession out of the ever available supply of lustful, money-hungry young men in their twenties and early thirties. For a long time the market has been well guarded from the public eye but going by the trends of late, the players have either been found pants down, or rather choosing not to pull any breaks nor giving a damn about the cat getting out of the bag.

Here the affluent women some as young as 40, wrestle out with them in octogenarian years. They come fore to shop for good looking young souls who can diligently calm their baffling appetites in exchange of some tidy sums of money. How these guys fool the rest of us; is that they still maintain their oblivious girlfriends or if not harbouring a string of mindless call-girls just to cover their untamed desires.

This reminds me of a story I was narrated by a colleague sometimes back, how having attended a function with a couple of friends, they decided to visit an entertainment joint to unwind. A few tables away, seated women in their mid-fifties who apparently began eying the young men who had accompanied my colleague. In a matter of time, these poor blokes had been courted, sensualized and shifted their base to join these lecherous women. My colleague and her female friends had to deal with this defeating surprise for the better part of the night.

Where these poor men ended up that particular night after a treat of free drinks, presumably triggered an erosion that wiped away all their genuine and faked integrity, conscience and innocence. Who knows how many other bad decisions they have made since that night? Did their spouses ever got wind of this storo?  Probably not! Women who go wooing young men in nightclubs have very high chances of manipulating a brood of other headless men under the disguise of money and enviable lifestyle.

What we are dealing with as a society is a case of a generation using short cuts to make ends meet. We are a people who are of the opinion that the end doesn’t necessarily justify the means. We want overnight wealth built on quicksand. On the other hand, the world is littered with an elderly clique of humans who have trashed decorum and anything that sounds right. Fairly wealthy men and women who have dared to have their cake as well as eat it.

For the sake of playing the devil’s advocate; why would women of age, fantasize young lads. What is it that their age group male counterparts can’t fulfill? Who created this void and what do these boys guarantee? Is it the pot bellies or maddening drinking that’s a problem? Is it that these ladies skipped a stage in their lives of dating and what-have-you? If that was the case, who permitted them permission to transfer their baggage to the younger generation?

Now, the tragedy is, evil triumphs when enough good number of men do nothing.