Friday, August 17, 2007

Kenyan kids of today and yesterday

Life for those of us born before the 1980s was different to Kids born today. We survived without a lot of kids stuff that parents think they cannot do without today. We were much stronger and could do a lot at a very young age. I could do house work at an early age of 6, not that we didnt have a house help but its how we were trained, but now am different I cannot imagine my child moving anywhere near a stove or cooker even at 10 thinking she will get burnt.

Read more of what life of most Kenyan children was like in those days from this email I received:

This is dedicated to Those Born - 1930-1979!

1930's 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's !!)

First, we survived being born to mothers took aspirin and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies on a mattress on the floor not baby cribs covered with bright colored leso. To be put to sleep you were carried on the back tied with a leso and not put on rocking baby cribs or wheeled around on baby cycles till one got dizzy and opted to sleep.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets. When we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took climbing walls, trees and posts.

As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, booster seats, seat belts or air bags. The matatus those days were the seven aside type (pick ups) so riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from anywhere; from the river, lake, rainwater that collected on the ndoo; the garden hose, directly from the tap whatever tap- outside the shamba, in the toilet, on the street, in the kitchen sink and NOT from a bottle. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle; or shared a sweet (puru) with four friends- and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, goody goody, ice cream, white bread (Elliot's) and blue band, but we weren't overweight because WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the sun went down.

No one was able to reach us all day.

And we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our toys, mungaringari, out of scraps and tins of blue band, kimbo, and cowboy tins or out of omo boxes and empty jik bottles. I remember of a friend who desperately wanted a jik bottle to make a toy car that he went and emptied jik from a full bottle into his small brother's napkins that had been kept on a basin for washing. I guess you know what the consequences were: remember then ride down the hill, only to find out the bike has no brakes. And mind you this small bike is carrying 4 guys- After running into the bushes and sewage trenches a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We made up games- after watching Black Ninja or Bud Spencer movie at our friend, peter, they were the only ones with a video tape player- we went out a started playing Ninja with sticks and through Ninja bombs (tennis balls, stones etc) and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.

We did not have Play stations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD's, no surround-sound, CD's or I pods, no cell phones!, no personal computers , no Internet or chat rooms....... WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate worms and mud food made from dirt (when playing cha baba na cha mama), and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given Big G for our 10th birthdays, but the most common bought cloths for our birthdays from the first to ???? , bought the same on Christmas and other important occasions. In case you did well in school a pat in the back will do and a stun warning not to fail otherwise you will see, for the lucky ones a new school bag or uniforms would do.

We simply walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law (in this case talking of school) was unheard of. They actually sided with the law! Imagine they even had the nerve to take the cane from the teacher (law enforcer) and unleash it on you!!!!!!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever! The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!

If YOU are one of them . . CONGRATULATIONS!

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the TV, lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good

And while you are at it, forward it to younger kids so they will know how brave (and lucky) their parents were.

I am one of them.


Steven said...

Wow what an eye opening blog!!!Make us forget how good we have it here or do we ??

Great post

I will link you!!

Waititu Warima said...

Sue you're soooo funny!! Your post took me waaaaay back to my early years. I remembered something (you may have been pre-occupied with kati at the time)...hehehe...but anyways, I remembered building and riding in a "beta".
Do u remember these? Made of mbao alafu the wheels were old berrings? ....And a kid would sit on it alafu get pushed by some other toi down the road??

Damn! Those days! I can't tell you the number of times I've been pushed a little too fast and crushed on a tree or a wall...and we still survived. Wasn't wearing a helmet either!

Here's another one. How about tukicheza "cha baba na cha mama", and actually cooked using tu-mkebes of kimbo, blueband etc? I remember we'd each steal a few warus from our haos and chop them up to fry chipoz in those tins? And the boys would feed the girls and vice versa. Hahahaha...And no child ever died from eating all the germs ama bacteria from those cooking sessions!!

Aki, I can't believe we did all that stuff. Life can be so good.

Waititu Warima said...

Oh, and one more I forgot. I remember when one toi was seen chewing gum like Big-G or orbit...he or she would be begged by the others..."please nikatie mi ni best friend yako?"
And if you had kosanad with whoever was the gum chewer, then bahati mbaya...coz you're getting nothing!

We'd get katiwad chewing gum from another toi's mouth and actually chew it ourselves...and one ever died from this. I know it sounds disgusting now, but in those days....your biggest worry was kama iko na sukari bado.


Sue said...

Thanks Waititu for reminding me more about our days as kids. You made me laugh when you made me remember kids sharing a gum, cooking in Kimbo, cowboy or blue band mikebes. The jikos were made of bigger tins, I believe we are better cooks than todays kids because we would invent our sufurias, jikos and menus from stolen food from our mums kitchens. For us the food tasted better. Remember the cooking game was called "kalongolongo".

Kati was the best game for girls, do you also remember shake and there were few cars in the estate so we would draw shake on the road without worrying of being knocked down. Then hide and seek, we would hide as far as we could in the estate.

During safari rally boys would make flashy cars from tins and ride then around the estate as far as they could. Parents were never worried because we took good care of ourselves, at the end of the day most of us got back home safely. Girls also stiched their own dolls and doll clothes. We were more creative those days.

With all the funny/dirty stuff we ate and drunk water straight from the tap we rarely got sick, we only came to know about typhoid when we were already teens or adults.

Todays' kids are lazy they watch cartoon and play in-house games and stick to their compounds or courts because parents are worried about them getting knocked down by vehicles or insecurity. We drew our games like snakes and ladder to play in the house during rainy days.

Its good to recall those moments.

Very funny.

Waititu Warima said...

hehehe, and after playing was now time for "Brikisho bantu!". Just trying saying it aloud now...."brikisho bantu!!"...I can't help but laugh when I say it aloud.
And you had to really shout when saying that....

I really miss those days of innocence. Before we found out about suicide bombers in Gaza/Pakistan & the mungiki beheaders. Before we had bills to pay, ama friends backstabbing us. By the way, at that time, we didn't even care about tribalism. Jango's, Kyuks,Kaos,Kisiis we were all friends...and no toi cared. Kumbuka the way, all children were friends...and as far as we were concerned, they were all good friends.

Sometimes Sue, I reminisce about those days as a child...where our paroz were our whole world. They could solve any problem, and moms always had a answer for all problems.Precious paroz! How I wish to go back to that childhood innocence...for just for one day.

Ssembonge said...

Sue, I call it God's grace. And yet it was soo much fun.

Nowadays we pamper kids too much. And if you hear what our parents endured you are left wondering if today's generation are lesser human beings.

Sue said...

Yes we pamper our kids too much and treat them like fragile products (handle with care).

By the way just like Waititu says, we didnt even care about tribalism we were all friends, but now its a big monster that is also affecting our kids.

If only we could look back from where we came from and make Kenya a better place for all tribes and see ourselves are Kenyans.

Meet black singles said...

Kids of today are very spoilt. I was very surprised when someone suggested that we give them condoms in Schools.