SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE

Today during one of my literature lessons with my students, I had a conversation with them that has really challenged my thinking. You see, I thought we are past the age where archaic practices such as F.G.M are long forgotten and have come to an end. But alas! What a shock I got today. Our current read is Blossoms Of The Savannah, a novel by one of our own , Henry Ole Kullet. BOTS basically is a story of two young Maasai girls who are forced to go back to the village after their father gets retrenched.

The girls get to experience life in the village and since they are from town, they have not been immersed into the maasai culture and so they are intoiye nemengalana (uncircumcised girls). The Nasilan culture dictates that they should be circumcised so as to be accepted into the society and be able to get suitors. the novel has a lot of twists and turns that eventually see one of the girls be able to run away and escape being circumcised and married off to an old man; Oloisudori Lonkiyaa.

So today during our discussions ,we were looking at the negative effects of FGM and one thing that struck me most was that the practice is still there. Three of my students come from this community and I got to learn that this archaic and barbaric practice is still there. This time it is even more advanced in that there are girls who are willing to undergo the ‘cut’ and they are the ones pressuring their parents to allow them go on with the practice. This really pained me a lot hearing that girls in this community have not been sensitized on the adverse negative effects of this practice.

That there are parents who are still forcing their girls to undergo this practice is quite disheartening. With the current situation in our country where some greedy people in the top most office are fighting to benefit themselves , I understand why this barbaric ritual is still there.What is the government doing to stop this? the government talks of 100% transition into high school, but this is not the case. The students report for a term or even a year then drop out, the reason being… FGM. And , the parents are clever, they change their contacts such that the schools cannot be able to trace them.

If only the government came to the rescue and help in bringing more girls to school through a lot of sensitization then many girls are going to be rescued. Instead of the government focusing on building houses for people ( as if we have been living in caves SMH,NKT!) it should focus on building many rescue centers in these areas for these girls so that they can find refuge when they run away from this ritual.

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WHAT IS HAPPENING ???

 I am angry and bitter as I write this post.  I don’t know what is happening to our education system but something has to be done ASAP.  it all  started with the abolishing of caning students.  Now those who like  me were in the era of the late Mutula Kilonzo and professor Sam Ongeri   know how caning  had a very big impact in  our performance in school and also overall discipline. 

This year I have had my  fair share of the effects of these Matiang’i and Amina generation kids.  I have had to negotiate with students on the type of punishment  is should give them. It has gone to an extent whereby a student can now report his/her teacher to the police just because  they were be beaten for being indiscipline… and the teacher actually gets arrested. Where did we go wrong as a society? As a nation what is happening to this generation we are raising?

The 2018 KCSE came to a close a week ago, but what happened ? some rowdy students decided to “express” themselves by burning their books in what they termed as ” academic fire.”  They further on went to insult some high profile people in the society and clearly if you watch news they were arrested and released in what was called ” lack of  evidence.”  Now, our kids who closed school saw all this and how it unfolded… come next year  teachers will have to sit in so many disciplinary committees trying to solve cases which we brought to ourselves just because of some people who have selfish interests among themselves.

The form one 2019 selection was done and to the disappointment of many children , most of them were not called to their school of choice… again this makes me so mad.  a child works so hard for eight years only to be called to a school which wasn’t even in their selection docket. You have emotionally killed this student and actually demoralized them. It will take a lot of convincing from family and friends to convince this child to go to that school. Why do this to the students?? 

From a teacher’s perspective , at the end of the day all what is left for me to to do is TAGH (teach and go home) nothing more  nothing less. 

If a man does his best, what is there? George S. Patton

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THEY CALLED US “WANASHOW” PART 2

My people, my people , my people…let me tell you when God has purposed that you will arrive at your destination, trust Him , you will arrive. finally we were cleared at 7.00pm .From the Tanzanian border at Sirare to Mwanza town is a whooping 286 km. Let’s do the math, it’s 7.00pm, you have 286km to cover using a bus travelling at 70km/hr ,what time will you arrive?  The road was abit rough and I clearly wasn’t enjoying this ride.

Fast forward to around 10:00pm, we still had not arrived. If you did the math then it would have taken us approximately 3-4 hours to arrive at Mwanza. Nevertheless, we finally arrived. The heat in that country is heeee…. I can’t even explain. showering was with cold water.  Let me inform you my  people, the way I landed in Mwanza …you would have thought  I was this lady who calls herself madam boss and has five children. I was slaaaayyiing. i had a suitcase, big headphones and a yellow…I repeat yellow (pronounce it as a kamba) selfie stick… yes I am still among those people who still use selfie sticks, a maasai shuka and a fancy water bottle.  considering I was among the top two youths who had suitcases, I sure was slaying.  As our neighbours from the lakeside say…pesa otas… Ihad money and i was going to chop some money.(insert that Nigerian accent). Maghufuli was to know that this beautiful girl from ukambani  had arrived . 

We wake up that morning , quickly dressed in our youth uniform. something interesting about this youth from my church is that, when we know we are going to present somewhere we give it our all. We had heard and seen of how these Tanzanian choirs dance and like the Kenyans we are ” tukajichocha” . Our kujichocha levels were at 200% . Let me tell you we tesaad that place you guy my guy ( insert that accent of people from westlands)  to the point of being called wanashow.  In Tanzania when they call you  wanashow, just know that you have made it in life …yaani they even gave us money weeeeeuuuuhhhh… I saw money being thrown at us … I danced weeeuhhh ile style ya kamatia chini and  like that dundaing song .

After all this came time to eat, we were disappointed. There was so much food but we had to beg to be given food.  I felt like coming back to Kenya. Those who know me know that when it comes to food we are besties. If you want me to do anything for you just show me food . At this point this wanashow thing was not in us. Imagine giving your all and then not getting food.I was so demoralized and vowed I would never step in Tanzania again. 

Well after spending close to three days in Tanzania we finally arrived in Kenya …home sweet home on Monday morning.  I learnt  a couple of things while there:

  1. Appreciate your country and your origin. Nothing beats satisfaction than knowing you are close to  home and those you love.
  2. Value friendships. I got to value my friends some of who  I had never talked to. They give you some inner peace.
  3. Pray. Prayer solves all things. Despite all the disappoints we had we only managed through prayers
  4. Have fun. Live, love and laugh when you have the opportunity.

MY TRIP TO MAGUFULI LAND EPISODE ONE

This is going to be a looooooong story time post .The month is September. The year is two thousand and eighteen. This month was going to be a good one, a really good one. The previous month our then reverend, now a bishop πŸ˜† announced that the choir and youth coordinator was going to solemnize his wedding on 8th of September. This didn’t actually surprise me and since my September was really occupied I wasn’t keen to listen to what he was saying. ” Harusi itafanyika Mwanza huko Tanzania.” Wait… Just hold on there… Did he say Tanzania? I stopped what I was doing on my phone and now was more attentive than ever. Details of the trip were well explained and at that point I cleared all my appointments for the first week of September so that I would attend this wedding in Tanzania… My people Tanzaniaaa.

For those who I am closet acquainted to know that I love travelling and having fun. As a result I became a super saver. That month I reduced my intake of chocolates, cakes, sodas just to save up money to go spoil myself in Magufuli’s land. Fast forward to four days to departure day. I went to my boss’s office to ask permission to be away from work. Now for those who are educators know that it’s very difficult for one to be granted permanent to attend a wedding especially if it’s not one of your family members wedding. I am such a coward and on this day I kept “loitering ” around my boss’s office gathering all the courage I had. You remember that cliche saying back in primary school, “My heart was beating like the tum tum drums of West Africa.” Yeeeeahhh that was me. To my surprise I was granted permission. I have never been that happy in my life. I now knew all that was remaining was to pack and get ready to leave to another land.

Thursday comes and at exactly 4.00pm I was out of work. Went and did some shopping for snacks. With my super savings you would think there would be no food in Tanzania because of the snacks I bought. Departure time was Friday 2.00 am. I charged my phone, borrowed two other phones from my papa, charged them. Let me tell you I had all this thing planned out. I was going to take as many photos as possible and was to spoil people on facebook, instagram, twitter and snapchat( this one I installed for that purpose) πŸ™„. At exactly 1:30am , I woke up my papa to take me to church. Where I live we do not have uber or taxify, we survive on Bodabodas and since it was too late I couldn’t wake my bodaboda guy after all he is a married man and I wouldn’t want to disturb him.😁😁

I called my friend and picked her along the way. We get to church and walllahhh!! We are the first to arrive. I rarely keep time but my oh my! I wasn’t going to be late to go to Magufuli land. So you can imagine how my anger started building up when by 2.00am which was supposedly to be the departure time, only five people had arrived. πŸ˜’

For the next one hour I had had my fare share of getting mad but ooooohhhh Jesus this girl wasn’t going to let some people who are African timers ruin her trip. I joined a couple of my friends and we started singing coz weeeeeuuuuhhh the cold that was there… Was just on another level.

Finally 3.00am we depart and since I had been awake all that while I decided that I would just nap just a little bit like this πŸ‘Œ. I woke up a couple of hours later since some of our youth members had decided to take water and lots of water. Who does thaaaat when travelling long distance. So we stop at some bush in Narok town and weeeuuhh people got out as if they had a tsunami in them. After 5-10 minutes we continue and by 9 am we were in Kisii town.

Now people let me tell you this town waaaahhh. We order for tea at this hotel and let me tell you they took 2 hours to prepare breakfast for lass than 30 people. I was so angry and hungry jeeeezz. They brought us hot mandazis which were not well cooked and I just couldn’t eat them.

My friend decided to buy some chewing gums and that girl walked looking for a place to buy chewing gum…. She couldn’t find one. 😣😣 she instead buys some tropical for us and we now start to appreciate Naivasha town. By 1.00pm we were at Sirare.

For those who do not know, Sirare is the border of Kenya and Tanzania . We have the other border at Namanga too when you want to go to Dar. So we get to the border and being the typical Kenyan that I am, I start taking selfies and I was on top of the woooooorrrrlllld my people. Sent the images to my mama and Papa and sister and just when I was about to take a photo outside the Tanzanian border offices this Askari comes and tells us that it is illegal to take photos that we should delete. Let me tell you, there and then I ate the humble pie and stopped taking those photos.

But there is something with us Kenyans,we never hear better put in Swahili ” wakenya kimbelembele itatumaliza.” Me with my infrontinfrontness I decide to switch of the flash and take photos without raising an alarm. You know how we do these thingsπŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚.

We took close to an hour to be cleared. Now hapa leave being cleared,one was required to take a yellow fever jab. The only place it was to be administered…. On your arm…. Yes aarrm. I heard that I was going to be injected and let me tell you me I wanted to come back to Kenya. That injection was on another level of pain. I cried, laughed, bled a little then was okay. But let me tell you, kumbe people fear injections, I thought I was the only one.

So we get back to the bus which was super comfy. We wait for us to now start the journey to Mwanzia which was 286 km from the border. After waiting for eternity our pastor informs us that the bus we are in can’t be allowed to travel to Mwanzia since it had some issues with the Tanzanian authorities.

My mood just changed and felt that my whole trip had been cancelled. Started with people coming late and departing late, then some poor breakfast in Kisii town and now this bus has been “arrested ” by the Tanzanian authorities.

according to them, this bus had travelled to Tanzania some time back but forgot to check out when it got to the border and so they knew that the bus was still in Tanzania but illegally since time allocated for it to be there had elapsed. They gave us an option of either getting another bus from Nairobi……Nairobi you can imagine we are in the lakeside region, or hire Tanzanian buses and travel in them.

There was another twist to all this, in that country public service vehicles aren’t allowed to travel as from 7.00pm .It was around 5.00pm and still we had no solution. I was already angry at this point and didn’t know what to do. We only had one more option left after trying to talk to the authorities to let us go. That was prayer.

End of part one

MY EXPERIENCE WITH DEPRESSION

“This has really been a tough season in my life.” Those are the words I said back in 2014 when I felt that I couldn’t take it anymore. Being a fourth year I was so excited to complete campus and get out there into the job market. I had really made bad choices before and I never got to realise that they were eating me up.

Being an introvert, I found it hard to talk about my issues and the problems I faced. Everytime I wanted to talk something held me back…fear held me back. What would my friends say? What would my parents say? I concentrated on what the society would say about me and forgot about my well being.

Watching movies became my daily routine and would sometimes miss classes just to watch a movie. Breakfast wasn’t in my to do list. It came to a point I would rather sleep or watch a movie than eat. I became a chronic alcoholic. Took all kinds of alcoholic drinks in a bid to forget my issues. My major concern was self esteem. I felt I wasn’t worthy. Too much pressure from home especially from my parents to perfom made me have many meltdowns.

I started having suicidal thoughts especially when I was at home and felt I couldn’t take it anymore.

Fast forward to 2016. I was to graduate from campus. I was ecstatic and anxious and had all these mixed feelings. I didn’t know that graduating from campus had it’s fair share of bad and good experiences.

I started my first job after graduating and it got to a point I couldn’t handle the pressure at work. I would lock myself in my room and cry all night since I felt I wasn’t giving my best at my work place.

I remember waking up one day and refusing to go to work. My parents noted this and decided to have a sit down with me. Owing to the harsh nature of my parents I broke down and couldn’t just talk about what was bothering me. I really had a meltdown and they realised something wasn’t right. My parents decided to take me to a counselor and that is when I knew that I was suffering from depression.

From my frequent visits I got to understand that all along I was depressed and had no one to talk to. I felt my friends weren’t of any help. I felt my parents would condemn me and call me all sorts of names.

With time I got to understand that anyone can fall into depression very easily. I try not to pile up issues and to talk them out. I am a work in progress and with time I know I shall overcome. I still have the meltdowns once in a while but I know I shall overcome. My parents have been really supportive. Mrs. Mutua a.k.a Veronica Mwende has been a close friend.Just talking to her makes me have hope and know that I have a

friend who really cares. We have had our fair share of differences but she has stood with me all through.

It’s a tough journey but I know I will make it one day.

TEACHER,SISTER AND MOM

We all have dreams when we are young.I had a lot of dreams as a child. Mama yao as we call her, ensured that she went out of her way to make me actualize my dreams. She brought her *A* game to my dreams and never hesitated to encourage me .

Growi

g up I wanted to become a judge.I had and still have a fetish for those clothes they wear.That white cap they wear…I really don’t know what it’s called…I envisioned myself in those attires and would even try and solve imaginary cases. I was a fun of vioja mahakamani.those days when vioja mahakamani was vioja mahakamani. (90s babies can relate)…that local program that had Ondiek Nyuka Quota and Olexanda and Makokha .

Mama yao Aka the moral cop saw my passion and one day she took me to the Nakuru Law Courts. I have never been so excited in my life as that day. That day I got to meet face to face with judges, enter a court room and listen to the proceedings. I was in class 6 by then and in a day school . From that day my passion grew and the yearning was real..but there was a problem…social studies and C.r.e were not getting into my head. I used to Kamatia Chini in those subjects…really failing.coming to think of it I think I really hated the teachers who taught me these subjects. They never pleased me at all.

Even with my poor grades I still stuck with my decision of becoming a judge when I grow up.fast forward to five years later. My dream had vanished. I was now in high school and one of the most chronic notorious students in school.if I wasn’t washing corridors I was in the school garden …digging. We used to have a gardener called Gachuguna(put some Kikuyu accent there)and he would pimia you a huge piece of land . I enjoyed staying out of class .I hated most of the subjects except the languages and C.r.e.

I would kamatia chini in all the other five subjects but pass in these three …with As. My class teacher noticed this trend and she called me,gave me a lengthy talk and that became a turning point in my life.

My new journey to becoming a teacher now began.I was now the subject champion for English.I would coordinate the class in discussions and it boosted my confidence and I saw I could be a better performer. Washing corridors and going to the garden to dig became a thing of the past.It wasn’t an easy path but I made it.

My passion now changed to teaching. You would find me teaching other students, writing notes, imitating how teachers talk in class,marking like how I would see my teachers mark and it finally clicked that I wanted to become a teacher.

Today I am a teacher. I love my job. Waking up every morning to encourage and empower a child out there is my greatest joy. Mama yao still continues to encourage me. She prays for my success. Baba yao on the other hand calls me his colleague. I consult him a lot on how to be a better teacher and he has never let me down. Being a teacher has taught me patience,understanding and to have an open mind. It has taught me to manage my anger.

I am a sister first to these children. They are my small sisters. I reprimand them like I do to my sisters. I say I a mum to fifty two beautiful girls. I will nurture them to be the best they can. Future husband just know that you are a father to many. These kids bring so much joy. We have cried,laughed and even not spoken to each other at times because of how they get into my nerves,but we reconcile our differences and forge forward. For the next fourteen weeks I pray for more joy and laughter and blessings as my babies come back to school.

It’s going to be a tiresome journey but a teacher just like a soldier never gives up. As they say, the only inheritance that can’t be taken away from you is education.