Saturday, May 30, 2009

Battered men

The new Maendeleo ya Wanaume (development organization for men in Kenya) are really working hard and want to catch up for being in the dark for many years when women have moved far with Maendeleo ya Wanawake (development organization for women in Kenya), FIDA and other organizations that support development and rights of women in Kenya. This week they came up with an interesting finding, that over 1.5 million men in Kenya are battered by their wives. Many people could not believe this because it is believed men are physically stronger than women and so this is impossible. I also laughed it off and said this is another of their get-famous-gimmicks.

However having looked at the issue again and read the story in the news, I realize they could be right on some issues, many men get abused and in some cases battered by their wives when the woman is many years older, financially stable than the man and especially when the husband is jobless, the wife is the breadwinner amongst many other reasons. It is true just like their research revealed roles are reversed so the jobless men are made to cook, wash clothes, clean the house, clean utensils and baby-sit. This is very common because the working woman does not see the need to employ a house help while the man is just in the house doing nothing. The other reason is many women would not trust a jobless idle man with a house girl in the house and because many rarely employ houseboys so the man would be forced to do all the work in the house.

On the issue of physical battering I believe men are physically stronger than women, in fact many can even kill a woman who tries to beat them. Even if a man is a few years younger they are still stronger. The only way a woman can succeed in battering a man physically is by using a weapon like the case of a man from Eldoret Town who came up in the open after these findings to show how the wife had inflicted injuries on his body with a knife. A man who can put up with such a woman is very desperate because of their kids or financial support he may be getting from the woman, but not for love. The other opportunity is when a man comes home very drunk his wife can use the opportunity to beat him.

I know there are men who are very annoying like the promiscuous ones, drunkards, lazy, mean etc… who if women can get an opportunity to teach them a lesson through battering than the number would be higher. However there are women who are very good at cruelty on men who are quiet or vulnerable, they use abusive language, it is not only to jobless men but also working men who marry the wrong women, ending up in miserable relationships they stick to because of kids and what the society will say when they part ways (social stigma). I have realized that many widowers who re-marry end up with abusive women. I know people who suffer in such abusive marriage because the new wife comes with different ways and ideas from what the man was used to, the man may be desperate for a wife and mother for his kids so he puts up with the woman even when she is abusive, the woman also takes advantage of the man’s situation to fulfill her demands. The man ends up depressed remembering his dead spouse and regret why they married again. I must say not all of them are bad but majority of the cases I have seen are bad.

It is good Maendeleo Ya Wanaume have come up with this issue to save men who are suffering in silence. Innocent men should open up to shame such women.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Importance of Breast milk and Breastfeeding in the office

In today’s news the Government and UNICEF are appealing to employers to allow mothers to breastfeed their babies in their work places, express milk or to give breastfeeding breaks to mothers. The campaign has been started because it has been realized that many babies are dying and many suffer from diseases that can be avoided through exclusive breastfeeding for at least six months as recommended.

This is a very noble idea; breast milk is very important to babies because it improves their immune system thus reducing child mortality rate. Working nursing mothers really suffer when going back to work. From my personal experience, one cannot work in peace when you think of your baby crying at home because you are not there to feed him/her. The other problem is breast swells with milk during the initial months making it very uncomfortable to concentrate on work; it gets even worse when milk spills through the bra to the dress or top one is wearing if the nursing bra or pads gets full with milk.

It is very difficult for working nursing mothers to express milk in their places of work because the facilities are not available in many companies, most of the time the only place one can express milk is in the ladies rooms, which can be very dirty because it is shared by other people from the same company or other companies so one cannot keep the milk. Luckily for me I worked in a small company where I got a place to express milk and keep in tight jars in the company fridge to take back home for my baby to use the next day. This really helped my baby, because it was very nutritious compared to other milk alternatives. Babies who are exclusively breastfed for the first six months are very different from those who have not been breastfed at all and also those who take other milk which is not the mother’s. I have also seen this with my kids and those of friends and relatives, those that are well breastfed rarely get sick.

I know it cannot be easy for many companies to adopt this practice in their offices, especially allowing mothers to breastfeed in the office. It is easier for employers to designate a clean place/room where mothers can express milk and if they are kind enough they can also keep a fridge in the room for them to store the milk. If many companies will allow, then other staff will understand when a mother has to leave the office a few times to go to the place. There are breast pumps in the market that can make it easier and faster to express milk to save time. Some companies in other parts of the world have nurseries that have such facilities but I have not heard of any in Kenya.

Sometime back I watched a South African documentary about a children’s home for orphans. They showed how the babies get breast milk donations from some mothers in the USA, the milk would arrive refrigerated by air and stored for the babies’ daily consumption. The babies looked very lively and healthy that one would not imagine their mother are not alive. This shows that breast milk is important for all babies, it is also possible for women in Kenya and African as a whole to donate breast milk to orphan babies and those whose parents cannot breastfeed them because of health reasons. If this can be supported by the government, organizations and citizens at large then we will have a healthier Nation. Mothers will not have to take offs every- now-and-then to take their sick babies to the doctor because they will be healthy.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Some annoying events of this month

Police use all their might on Mechanics

Mechanics near Globe Cinema vowed they will not leave the land near the city sold to a developer, their demonstrations turned wild because police also used a lot of force to get them out of this land. These battles remind me of Mungiki crack down in Mathare and post election violence last year. One would mistake the police for fighting a criminal gang not some innocent Wananchi forced to demonstrate over land they used to earn a living from for many years. If the government knew they would sell the land and eventually evict them, why didn’t they prepare another land just like they did with public service vehicles, where they built a new bus station at Muthurua, another one near Globe Cinema, they also renovated Machakos bus station. We did not see such protests from matatu crew or passengers. If they got a land somewhere built shades for the mechanics am sure these people would have moved there with time and the City Council would have benefited from levies charged.

In the event of battling with the rioting mechanics they beat up innocent people passing by, I was shocked watching police on TV beating innocent ladies running from a shop, were they mechanics? Those policemen must have been drunk, they interfered and affected children learning at River Bank Primary with tear gas, mechanics damaged property in nearby shops, many shops had to closed, cars were burnt, it was chaotic. It took the intervention of area MP Hon. Dr. Margaret Wanjiru and the Mechanics lawyer Paul Muite to cool down the situation.

Government should think of ways they can help its citizens, when selling land to developers they should also remember the hardworking common citizens.

Provinces to be divided

I listened to some MPs demanding that the 8 provinces in Kenya be subdivided and welcomed the move because some are just too big for administration purposes, but wait a minute this was not for administrative purposes, it is for political gains. The constitution requires that a presidential candidate to win elections should get 51% of votes and at least 25% votes from most of the provinces, so when some have realized it would be difficult for them to achieve this they start making amendments that will benefit them and not us citizens. Shame on them!

Ugandan President Insults Kenyans

I thought Migingo issue was under control when told by Government officials that they are using diplomacy and surveyors were to start working on determining Kenya’s boundary. However things got worse when Museveni had an interview with BBC radio, during the interview he said Jaluo’s (the main tribe living near Lake Victoria where the disputed Island is situated) are mad and that the Island belongs to Kenya but the water around it belongs to Uganda (what nonsense). I got really mad that I said if I did a post on my blog that day I would have written terrible things about this man but I chose to ignore because it is not good to argue with a fool.

Tom Cholmondeley sentence

The grandson of Delamere got 8 months for killing Robert Njoya who trespassed on his land. Many waited to hear what sentence the Judge will pass because many believe that Kenyan Judiciary is biased against the poor. I was not shocked and felt that this sentence was good enough because I thought he would be set free after being charged of manslaughter earlier. This man has served the longest sentence that a man of his caliber would serve in Kenya, before he was sentenced, he was in remand for 3 years and now he will be in prison for 8 months. There are other worse offenders in Kenya like him who have never been to remand even for one day but have committed worse offenses. A good example is our leaders who masterminded the post-election violence. What about the murderers of politicians like the late Dr. Robert Ouko and many others? They are free because of their status in the society and the law is biased.

Maize saga

We are told that around 6000 tones of maize imported from South Africa are contaminated and is being held at Mombasa port. Then some contaminated maize is found in the markets of some parts of the country and people suspect its part of the controversial Maize. Next Kenya Bureau of Standard (Kebs) assures Kenyans that Maize in the markets is safe for human consumption. Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) says the contaminated maize is intact at the port, who is fooling who? If this is some political game our politicians like playing let them not use food meant for the common mwananchi (citizen) in their games.

Printing Error

Sh.9.6 billion computer or printing error by Finance Ministry on supplementary budget estimates. A very expensive error!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Brand Kenya Initiative

Watching Brand Kenya Launch on TV this morning and listening to the opening remarks from the CEO and other speakers, I must say it is a good initiative that should have started a long time. If what they are advocating for would have been implemented earlier in Kenya, we would have been very far now. However it is not too late to start Branding Kenya, if they can be allowed to work in partnership with the media without political interference, then this country will be a wonderful place.

Kenya is a beautiful and wonderful country with many prospects & assets to attract visitors, investors and to make living conditions of citizens better. The major hindrance to our country’s image and development is our politicians and corruption. Our politicians have served us over 45 years since independence but because majority of them are only concerned about filling their stomach, acquiring wealth and rewarding their friends/associates, but not improving the lives of those who elected them. If they were genuine our country would have been better than what it is today.

I hope this will not be like other bodies that are known to hold conferences where they talk big and do nothing. Since public funds will be involved to support the initiative it has to bear fruits. Otherwise I wish them success in Branding Kenya our beautiful country.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Mothers Day

On this Mothers Day I salute my Mother and all Mothers in the World, I am happy and proud to be a mother and would like to tell all Mothers you are Great!. The world would have not been a better place without you.

Mother's day Poem:

My lovely mother,
I love you! Mom, you mean so much to me. I'll never forget you in my life. No matter what I become in life you will always be my champion. I love you so much.

Your arms were always open when I needed a hug. Your heart understood when I needed a friend. Your gentle eyes were stern when I needed a lesson. Your strength and love has guided me and gave me wings to fly.
- Sarah Malin

Mother's day Quote:
All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his.
- Oscar Wilde

Congratulations for being a Mother and God bless you all.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Family planning and women

I went to hospital one time with my husband for postpartum check-up and to get my contraceptive. This was after giving birth to my last child so we were thinking of the best long term method of family planning.

When I got to the doctor’s office, she commented on how I was in good shape and then I told her I will not be the same once I start using contraceptives. From my past experience I knew I was going to put on weight (this happens to many women others loose weight). She told me how unfortunate and asked me “why can’t your husband go for a vasectomy instead”. I told her to ask him because he was present and I said how true why not. My husband laughed and said he would take an injection instead if there was any for men. She said not yet may be there will be one in the future. I also concurred with her and asked why not him if we believe we have enough kids.

When we got home I told my husband the doctor had a point, why is it that mostly it is women going for family planning methods and not men, he answered that family planning is a woman’s concept meaning that it is women who do not want more children, but an African man would want as many children as possible if he can afford to bring them up. This left me bewildered because it is quite expensive to raise many children in the modern world, not like the days of our parents/grandparents and could not believe that an educated African man would believe in having a big family.

Yes Vasectomy is done in Kenya but what I know and from my husband’s response is that very few African men would be willing to go for a vasectomy, thinking they will not be able to perform after the operation and that it is irreversible. So I am left wondering why men cannot also participate in planning their families. Most men only use condoms with women who are not their wives to protect themselves from diseases and pregnancy, but when it comes to their family it is their wives who have to go for other family planning methods. When a woman and a man feel they have enough kids, it is the woman to use a long term method like Tubal Ligation (TL). . As women fight for equality, I think this is one area they should also advocate for.