Posted in African literature, book review, culture, gender, my library, reading

We should all be feminists

Feminist: a person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes

What is your definition of feminism? Can men be feminists? One of them told me no because it’s just the way life is. Like what gender has conformed each man and woman to do cannot be reversed. Don’t you agree that it is the high time we raised both boys and girls differently? That indeed there is a problem with gender? Who agrees with me? Or more so Ngozi?

In this short vintage book Chimamanda was first ridiculed as a child to be a feminist but she bragged it off till she wrote the purple hibiscus book where shades of feminism revolved her. She takes a reader through a unique setting of why we should be feminists. So, she thought?

  • She couldn’t become a class monitor back in school since the teacher told her that role was preserved for the boys
  • The parking assistant thanked the man she was with when she gave him money instead of thanking her all because he thought the man must have been the provider
  • The waiters in hotels did not say hi to her but to the man who had accompanied her
  • In bars and clubs she was denied access since she was alone and she needed to be with the company of a man for her to be checked in
  • Back in the day a woman and man would do the same task but the man got the higher pay
  • Most of the positions of power and prestige were occupied by men

Flash forward, she takes us through today’s society on how our upbringings can diminish oneself. For instances:

  • women are taught on how to be likable, to attract men and they should worry about how men think of them but who teaches the boy child on been likable and how to please girls?
  • We teach men of masculinity and put them in the hard cage but on the other hand the girl is taught she cannot be aggressive, angry and tough!
  • We teach the girls to shrink herself and if she is the breadwinner she should pretend not to be one since she will emasculate the man
  • at a certain age in life if am not married and am a girl that is one deep personal failure but the boy can take his time since it is said he hasn’t found his pick yet
  • if we have sons we don’t want to know who their girlfriends are but we sure want to know who your daughters are dating since they are alerted not to be sexual beings
  • We praise girls for virginity  but we don’t praise boys for keeping their virginity

Gender prescribes how we should be rather than recognizing how we are. True or false? Today things have changed due to laws and policies in place but what really matters is our mindset and attitude. Our ideas have evolved but not that of gender. We must do it differently, much better and all of us.

Ps: I laughed about this part where she kept telling her friends who she is “i am a happy African Feminist who does not hate men and who likes to wear lip gloss and high heels for herself and not for men.”

Posted in book review, challenge, children, humour, inspiration, Kenyan Literature, love, my library, reading, short stories

Are you a dare-devil?

There lived a very beautiful princess who wanted to get married. From all walks of life came the princes, rich and poor men, handsome and ugly men to try their luck. However, they were not aware of what was in store for them as the princess wanted a brave, wise, courageous and good man for her hand in marriage. She put a test on them where each was to drink hot boiling water but none of them was bold enough for the test.

Hare heard what was happening and his long unnoticed admiration towards the princess gave him the confidence that he would pass. He alerted his family and friends who accompanied him to the palace. He lifted the pot, walked towards his family and friends where they discouraged him with the death talk. They all thought he was stupid and he should let the princess be. Luckily, he never bought their dismay and took sips of the hot water slowly then in gulps and when he was almost done, princess told him to stop so that she could have her share.

The king was a feared man and this made the hare and his mob run away though the king ordered his guards to fetch the entire family. Princess loved the hare for his wisdom, brevity, courageousness and goodness. They got married and lived happily ever after.

 

Moral Lessons:

  1. Always go for what you want with the needed strength and brevity.
  2. Never listen to negative comments or discouraging naysayers.
  3. Risks are worth taking.
Posted in African literature, book review, children, humour, Kenyan Literature, my library, reading, short stories

The woman who couldn’t cry

Okara, a rich old man was much respected for his ability to cure diseases, foretell the future and control rain but death came by robbing him his life. The women who brought food to him were shocked after they found the food left at his doorstep untouched. They alerted the elders who came to confirm of his death. The entire village was in mourning apart from one woman who had tear glands problems and would not cry.

It was believed if one couldn’t cry they were responsible for one’s death. Having noticed that all eyes were on her she ran to her home to sprinkle some water on her cheeks to fool everyone she did cry. Unluckily, the pot was filled with blood her husband had collected from animals and smeared it on her face thinking it was water.

When she ran out to the funeral, she was stoned, blamed for the old man’s death and ran away never to return.

Moral lessons:

Never be too quick to judge one’s actions

Learn to find out why people behave differently from the mob

Posted in community, development, education, family, parenting, social work

Who is to blame?

Me: “Good morning? I just bumped into a P2 box in this compound. Like who wants to show off their sexual behavior this early?

Ma’am1: Morning too. Do not even be surprised if it is a child who came with it

Me: From their home maybe but I wouldn’t be expecting this kids to know P2 at their age

Ma’am2: Hi Evalyne. Why don’t you tell her we caught ‘boy1’ with condoms?

Me: What was he doing with them?

Ma’am2: He said he collected them on his way here but he is one naughty boy anything is possible

Me: So you think these children are already sexually active?

Ma’am1: Some are but blame it on their parents

Me: Why?

(Ma’am2 and I get closer as Ma’am1 is always updating us on the social issues facing the ghetto children since she is a teacher in a local primary school)

Ma’am1: First of all the housing structures in which this families live is very dire.

Ma’am2 and 1: The bedsitter houses?

Ma’am1: Yes. A family has 5 children who sleep either on the floor or seats while the parents have the bed.

Me: That reminds me on the several home visits we went where some of these kids neither have beds, blankets nor mattresses. It’s not like the older days where the organization bought everyone their bedding, this days the budget limits us to about 20 or so in 3 months and you wonder who to give or not. Distribution is one task I don’t like.

Ma’am1: Now you see what am talking about? Then the parents have their conjugal rights whereby they end up having sex when the children are asleep but you know this is a single room so every sound, talk is heard.

(From the way she puts it, minding vulgar language, we all laugh)

Ma’am2: But where do you want them to live?

Me: Parents are casual laborers while others have no job at all. This is the only accommodation they can afford

Ma’am1: They should shift to one bed-roomed houses where their privacy is a secret or do their business when the children are not around

Ma’am2: That is next to impossible

Me: This is the ghetto. How then do you transform individuals from low incomes-middle incomes for them to shift houses? Mind you their level of education screams a lot. You see the business class only about 10 attended and their certificates are so beautiful

Ma’am1&2: Let us see the certificates

Me: Wait till the director comes, he has them. Then there was the mat and bag weaving class. Again only less than 5 finished that class. Have you seen their products? They got the skills now the institution is going to market them

Ma’am2: What happened to the children’s bead making?

Me: I understand from the budget it was not included now we have to wait for another financial year to include even things like yogurt making, dying and so much been looked into

Ma’am1: That’s the problem with the care-givers. When opportunities strike they don’t want to be part of it as if they like their poor state

Ma’am2: It’s all in the mind. Changing it to another thinking level requires patience

Me: Back to houses…

Ma’am1: The children copy what they see from parents. You hear them talk that this and that happened to an extent they want to experiment.

Me: Hope you teach them sexual education and not in the old-fashioned manner where everyone hides some information. Go straight to the point and let them know what awaits them when they indulge in early sex

Ma’am2: No matter how people criticize sex education it is the high time it was included as part of teaching lessons

Me: Did you parents ever have the sex talk back then?

(Everyone nods their heads sideways)

Me: Even I my mother has never had that talk and I thank God for aunts who are so talkative that they tell you this things. So back then in your eras it was a taboo now from exposure it is daily bread. From the movies, tv programs, peer pressure the children socialize with, they know so much we don’t.

Ma’am1: You see even my daughter (5years old) asked me if daddy’s thing is called sausage

(We all pop our eyes out as I shout Ooh No!)

Ma’am2: What did you tell her?

Ma’am1: I asked her where she got that information from

Me: And then?

Ma’am1: There is a kid on the block she plays with and she heard it from him. For lack of words I just said yes

Me: hahaha “cha mama, cha baba” (this is game where kids act as adults and there is the mother, father and children…call it house). When can a child be introduced to sex education?

Ma’am2: As soon as they start asking questions about where kids come from? No more lies about ‘doc gave him to me, i found him in the hospital, an angel dropped him to me.’

Ma’am1: I agree once they start going to school. Now I will have to be very careful with her. We teach them (both boys and girls) songs like no one should touch your body especially private parts and it works.

Me: Nice. Concluding this talk like parents should practice safe sex where children are not exposed and should keep their family planning methods away from reach of children

Ma’am2: Yes that can work but more needs to be done

Ma’am1: I rest my case. Shift houses but that is food for thought. Let’s think about it seriously.

(Laughter fills the room as ma’am1 and ma’am2 exit to their respective classes).

QUESTIONS:

  1. What is the best way forward to sensitize children to stay away from early sex?
  2. How do we reduce poverty and illiteracy levels especially in the ghetto neighborhoods?
  3. When is the right age for sexual education?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in African literature, book review, children, family, humour, Kenyan Literature, my library, reading, short stories

Riddle, Riddle

There lived a wicked chief who loved riddles and everyone who never knew the answers would have his head chopped off. Now a man had 3 sons and the first born sought for permission to leave to the village. His father gave him a donkey, food and took off. When the chief saw a stranger in his land, he asked him a riddle but he got it wrong and fate befell on him when his head was hacked off.

The second born was worried and he wanted to go search for his brother who had not returned home after several days. Permission was granted and with a donkey and food in hand, he left for the village. He came across the chief who asked him a riddle but never responded with the right answer and like his elder brother his head was axed off.

The last son became concerned about his brothers whereabouts, their mother panicked and the father declared they were dead. Third born set out in search of his brothers but before he could leave the mother prepared yams for him. She ensured enough poison consumed the yams so that her son would eat them and turn around rather than disappear like his siblings. With no donkey left, he began his journey on foot.

Pangs of hunger filled his days and he sat down to eat the yams. Even before he could eat them a flight of birds came by and he gave them bits of yam to which they all fell down dead. 3 leopards ran to feast on the birds and after they were done they all died. 7 men rushed to tear up the leopard meat, roasted it and when they had finished consuming, they all died. He decided not to eat them and continued with the trip where he passed by the chief. Riddle upon riddle he got them all right and the chief was very pleased.

The chief challenged him to ask him a riddle and if he got it wrong he would take his daughter as his wife. He went ahead and asked “half kills one, one kills 3 and 3 kills 7” but chief got it wrong. He was given his daughter and went back home where he was welcomed happily.

What do you think the answer to that riddle was?