There are few things that are more painful to the victims and the perpetrators than the incidents of domestic violence. This sad and shameful condition is present in every world society and in every walk of life. No community, no social class, no ethnicity and no country in the world is spared. The victims can be men or women. But it is the children who live in these conditions that suffer the most.
The causes of domestic violence are many and varied but they all have devastating and long lasting effects to all those concerned. I was quite stunned to read that the cause of this particular incident was one partner’s desire for higher education
I have always found December to be a bit of a funny month. With Jamhuri day arriving half-way into the month and then Christmas and the new year there is very little time for much else and it seems that most people’s social calendars are crammed with functions. I must admit that this is a month that I enjoy – meeting long lost pals and making new friends. For many people it is also a time for family.
This December we have, ofcourse, the on-going doctors’ strike that has crippled medical services in the public hospitals. It goes without saying that the GOK will have to meet with the doctors’ leaders to thrash out their difficulties because the current situation is just not sustainable. According to a newspaper report Eighty-five percent of doctors joining the civil service as interns will have resinged from the service within three years of their appointments. The main reason cited for this state of affairs was poor pay which doctors felt did not take into account their qualifications and workloads.
As the strikes continued to bite we were given an idea of how our country decides it’s spending priorities. It was reported that Parliament had decided to acquire seats for MPs at a cost of Ksh200,000 each. These were to be made by the prisons department. It is difficult to work out which stories are true and which are mere speculation.
From Daily Nation Dec09 2011
It was with real pleasure that I came across a story which I knew was neither made up nor the wild fruits of speculation. Mainstream media does many stories on bloggers these days and I was pleasantly surprised to read of some of my favourites in a DN feature.
From Daily Nation Dec09 2011
On the friday just passed I went up with and Mrs Woolie to see her parents. It was an interesting visit and we had a wonderful time catching up and telling stories of times past. During the conversation a story came up of how I had once gone shopping and upon returning to the car I had placed my mobile phone on the roof in order to unlock the car-door. Once all the stuff had been stowed away I had jumped into said car and driven off. It was only half an hour after getting back home that I noticed my phone was missing. I used another phone to call my number. It rang for a few moments before someone answered it. A friendly passer-by had heard the phone ringing in the middle of the road. It was was in several parts but still it was ringing. He told me where he was and I went down to meet him. The phone was totally wrecked having been run over by several cars on this busy road.
Mrs Woolies Pa laughed and said that this story reminded him of how way back in 1970 he had received a call from one of his cousins who was then a student at Makerere University. She would be sitting her final exams on such and such a day and would he mind terribly coming up to Kampala in his car to give her a ride back home? To this he had readily agreed, ofcorse and on the appointed day he and his brother arrived at the college halls. On the way up there the car had punctured one of the wheels and they had stopped at a garage nearby where some real friendly operatives had seen to the repair. This meant that they arrived a little later than plannned. The girl assured her cousin that they were not late – infact the students were in party mood and she had arranged somewhere for her cousin to spend the night so that they could leave for the journey home nice and fresh the on next day.
Now Pa was a military man. He drove up to Makindye the main army barracks in the city and on introducing himself was ushered in. The officers in the mess welcomed them warmly and took care of their every need – it is something visiting officers were always accorded anywhere that they went. They went ahead to arrange overnight accomodation. As the music played and the drinks flowed it was certainly a party atmosphere. Suddenly and without warning the commander of the base stormed into the mess his face like thunder. He ordered everyone out on parade at 11:30 in the night! He recognised the Kenyan officer and called him to one side. He explained that the deputy commander one Idi Amin had gone AWOL with another officer’s wife. The officer had discovered the deception and was at this moment hunting the maverick Amin. It was safe to say that there was going to be trouble that night. He asked the visitor where he was staying Pa said he had booked a room in a downtown hotel.
The commandant ordered for 2 crates of beer to be placed in the boot in Pa’s car and they bade each other farewell. Pa drove back to the same garage where he found the same guys were still there selling petrol. He brought out a crate of beer and as the drank explained his situation. The manager said – spend the night in your car right here. You will be safe here. They moved the car into the show-room where new cars for sale were displayed and he slept soundly with no interruption.
Next morning Pa drove to the college where the young cousin was waiting with all her luggage. They loaded up the car and set off for home. On the way they stopped to have a small picnic. The girl took out her radio placing it on the roof of the car so that they listened to pop music as they tucked into their packed lunch. With the picnic over they cleared away the things and got back into the car for the long drive home. The small radio was never seen again.
We are living in times of heightened tensions and security concerns. We must never forget the enormous debt of gratitude that we all owe to the brave men and women of the Kenya Army who are putting their lives on the line to defend the freedoms that we all cherish in this country. Let us remember them and their families especially at this time and let us pray for a quick and successful conclusion to Operation Linda Nchi
I would finally take this moment to wish you all a Happy Jamhuri and best wishes for Christmas and the new year!!
There is a popular style of speaking that every now and then declares something like “White is the new black” or “Thurdsay is the new Friday” – It is a supposedly cool way of saying that trends are changing. This morning I caught a bit of a radio show in which a hair styling guru was being interviewed. She stated quite clearly that Grey is the new Blond, or Black.
More and more people of a certain age-group feel confident enough to wear their natural hair with grey. It is now considered sophisticated and mature – in a good way.
I’m always the last one to hear about these things. Infact just last Thursday I slipped into a small chemist’s the other side of town and quietly bought myself another one of these
In every carton you have 2 bottles – a small one and a larger one. There is also an instructions leaflet. The dyeing process can hardly be described as rocket science – it is more like bathroom chemistry. It helps if you have a steady hand and a bit of privacy.
The contents of the small bottle are poured into the larger bottle which you then shake for a few minutes to mix the reactants quite thoroughly. I should have mentioned that it is a good idea to put on the disposable gloves – which I discovered in the packet half-way through the process.
You are advised to test on a small patch of hair just incase you are allergic to the products.
Once the dye is applied you should not leave it on the scalp any longer than 5 minutes. The leaflet actually warns users not to simply guess when 5 minutes are up. Use a stopwatch. I would hate to imagine what happens at the 6th minute. I have not had that problem though because I find that 5 minutes is plenty of time – so much time infact that looking in the mirror I catch myself contemplating the ironies of nature – what exactly is the use of hair on the average human’s head? Is it perhaps as a protection against cold and/or heat? Harmful solar radiation, maybe? If that be the case why are the most vulnerable – babies, the elderly why don’t they have more hair than the rest of society. Why also does nature rob you of hair from your head and transplant it in silly places like inside ears, on the back, in the nose – I am on a roll now as I slowly develop the theory in my mind that in nature Hair is just another mating accessory – we have peacocks with their fine feathers, monkeys with their colouful behinds so why not lovely hair to attract the mate – in human populations. It is an evolutionary trick. Once you are past the mating age it is all downhill….
Oh, five minutes are up and it is time to remove the funny mess from my scalp. After a good rinse and shampoo I step out of the bathroom looking a bit silly but 11 years younger. The remaining liquid in the bottles must be discarded. The clever scientist have made the dye so that it decays one hour after mixing. Next time you want to cover up the greys you will need to buy a new bottle. Like I did just before writing this.
I was just getting used to July when August came crashing into our lives with shock and awe.
London exploded into burning and looting following a peaceful protest in Tottenham organised by the family of a local man who had been shot dead by police. In the following days disturbances spread right across London and into many English towns and cities including Birmingham, Manchester and Nottingham. The ferocity and anger of the rioters shocked many, including the police.
Much has been said about the causes of the trouble with politicians from all sides falling over themselves, stating the obvious whilst trying to score party points but for me it was a comment on the Daily Nation online edition that captured the the mood best: The English riots were the UK’s own hurricane Katrina. They have exposed an underlying disease festering in the fabric of the country. It is often ignored and rarely discussed. If nothing is done about it we may well see much more serious trouble in the streets..”
Libya became more violent as the opposition forces closed in on the Brother Colonel, forcing him out of Tripoli. As opposition forces gain the upper hand there have been terrible reports of retribution and human rights abuses coming in. The situation is far from settled and only time will tell if the revolution gives birth to a better country for all its citizens.
There is a light at the end of this tunnel because 3 wonderful ladies: Edna Kiplagat, Prisca Jeptoo and Sharon Jemutai completed a fantastic 1-2-3 for Kenya in the World Athletic Championships in Daegu, South Korea, last Saturday.
Arsenal losing 8-2 would have been enough to give anyone a severe bout of depression but then some clown at the Daily Nation decided that Beyonce falling pregnant was an item that merited first page-breaking news. I was happy that they did that – the comments page showed that Kenyans are number one in the art of sarcasm.
So just as I was about to swallow a whole packet of malariaquin a rumour started spreading and I was notified that she was back. I rushed online to confirm what was being said on the street – The lady herself had listened to the pleas of her readers and she had returned to be with her loyal fans.
As the year draws out its final hours we’ll take a moment to reflect on 2010. It may be interesting to see how it compares with the watered down year of 2009 – the non year.
2010 was ushered in with predictable noise and pomp as the good people around the world threw off their caution sending million dollars up in smoke in spectacular displays of fireworks – there would be plenty of time later to worry when their meek governments announced plans to cut public spending and shed thousands of jobs.
The natural environment became a feature of the new year almost immediately when severe winter weather battered Britain in early February disrupting transportation for the second year running. In April there were several eruptions of the volcano Eyjafjallajokull in Iceland. A huge evacuation effort was undertaken to rescue the local population. Subsequent eruptions sent huge pillars of smoke and ash several miles into the sky prompting the closure of all UK airspace as well as that of many western European countries on safety grounds. The ensuing transportation crisis was unprecedented.
When the UK held a General election in May there was no clear winner. Gordon Brown of Labour was portrayed as a loser attempting to cling to power but in the end David Cameron and Nick Clegg formed an historic Tory – LibDem coalition government following other Serekali ya Msetos patented in Kenya and Zimbabwe. The UK coalition government seems to be on a collision course with Unions over planned cuts to government spending and huge job losses at a time of sluggish economic growth.
In August the people of Kenya held an historic referendum which delivered to the Nation a new constitution. This ground breaking document which swept away the old Lancaster House independence constitution was a culmination of decades of activism and political wrangles and its adoption promised to usher in a new age of democracy and freedom to the people of Kenya.
Wikileaks – now there was a breadth of fresh air. If you ever wondered what your bossom buddies really thought and said about you behind your back – wonder no more. Even superpowers have human weaknesses – US Embassies world-wide were shown to be hot beds of rumour, gossip and scandal. Friends patted their allies on the backs whilst secretly plotting against them. They ridiculed some of their best friends and made very serious allegations against others. There must be a lesson here about the safe-keeping of secrets.
The International Criminal Court Prosecutor Moreno Ocampo was in an out of Kenya more times than ever without seeming to make any headway on the main objective – to bring all those suspected of having a hand in the post election violence to trial. More than 1500 Kenyans lost their lives and close to 400,000 were displaced following the disputed elections of 2007. To date no senior official has faced justice for their part in the worst disturbances in our country’s history. In December Ocampo announced what came to be known as the Ocampo list – naming six individuals who would be travelling to the Hague suspected of having played significant roles in the PEV. The list was promptly denounced as a political stich-up. Ocampo had named six suspects three each from the two opposing sides. Whilst these names came as no surprise, Kenyans – and especially those living as internally displaced persons in camps were angered at the names that had been omitted – those individuals and groups who should bear ultimate responsibility for 2007/8 – Those who vowed to win by any and all means.
At the close of 2010 the economy in Kenya is growing faster and we are witnessing impressive changes in the country’s infrastructure. The government does not blow its trumpet and some may be unaware of the huge strides being made. Outlook remains positive with hope of better things once Southern Sudan becomes an independent Nation in its own right. Politically there is an air of optimism in the country even as we grapple with the ghosts of 2007. There are elections scheduled for 2012 so there will be plenty of money sloshing about. It is a good time to be in business.
Here is something else that I think I will really miss
Are there any lessons to learn from this year – time will tell.
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”
The opening line of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice
There is a new truth today that is rapidly gaining acceptance in our digitally connected age. It is a truth that many will learn by painful and costly experience, a truth so blatantly obvious and yet notoriously easy to ignore.
My ward-mate at the Mental health institute says that we ignore this truth at our peril. A self-made business man who left school at form IV to start work at the vegetable market, Ali has always been self employed and has never had to call anyone his boss. His businesses prospered and Ali moved into the stocks and shares market at the turn of the century.
Just over a year ago Ali ventured into on line trading buying stuff at auctions and selling it off in one or two of the main auction sites. His quick calculative mind allowed him to set up some impressive trades and before long he was doing it full-time. It paid the bills and left him in good profit but his quest was for that elusive Big deal. At around this time Ali had become quite fond of a “tipple” in the evening.
Ali takes up the story:
Wool, like anyone else, I just liked a glass of wine or a drop of whiskey as I watched telly in the comfort of my own house…what harm was I doing to anyone? When the telly got too boring with the endless interviews of lying politicians by ego hungry presenters I would go online to catch up on my emails. It started as a pattern which became a bit of a habit. After a few weeks I was coming straight into the house and heading for the desktop PC at the corner of the room. On a small table beside it was my bottle of wine.
I remember that it was on a Saturday night that Mrs Ali came to me at the PC and said she felt neglected. I was spending far more time online than with her. Was anything the matter? I apologised profusely, drained the last of the whiskey and took the cat outside. Back indoors I went to the PC to find a nice present for Mrs Ali. As I scoured the pages for something special I came upon an advert that went something like this:
JOB LOT PRODUCTION OVER RUN. SURPLUS STOCK AT FRACTION OF THE COST!!!!
I clicked on the link for further details and as far as I could gather, a men’s luxury shoe manufacturer up North somewhere had over – produced on an order and they wanted to dispose of the surplus stock of 100pcs.
The auction was live and kicking and bidding had reached sixty quid. My wine induced excitement got the better of me. I placed a maximum bid of seventy and waited.
In time they gave me the “good news” that I had won the auction. The final price was sixty-five quid. I had won 100 pcs of luxury shoes for sixty five quid! Huge profits lay ahead my son.
The package duly arrived on the Tuesday and Mrs Ali was standing there beside me as I opened it. The long box contained 100 brand new luxury leather shoes wrapped up in some type of soft tissue paper. There was something odd in that all the 100 shoes were to fit a right foot. There were no pairs.
After a long silence Mrs Ali let out a loud burst of hysterical laughter. She danced around the small dining room clapping her hands and thighs and singing in the vernacular: “come and see a fool, come ye and see for yourselves. He has been conned by conmen, come and see a fool.”
Wool, I was getting angrier by the minute. Mrs Ali seemed to be enjoying herself now and she was intent on carrying on with her mockery. Her dancing and clapping hurt me deeply and to avoid doing something that I would later regret I stormed out of the house. In my mind the single question; Where on earth was I going to sell 100 right foot only shoes, where? My creative thinking had abandoned me at my hour of need.
I drove around the countryside for several hours thinking things over and then parked at a motorway service area where I slept like a baby in the car. It was late night when I got back home. The box of shoes was still on the dining room floor. I went to the shed outside and got out a big shovel which I put in the car together with the box of shoes. I drove to a secluded spot just at the outskirts of town. It was during the process of digging a shallow grave that I was arrested. They officers were very kind but said that they would have to lock me up overnight whilst my story was verified. It was down there in the claustrophobic police cells late that night that I suffered the nervous breakdown.
Ali looked at me with moisture in his eyes. He was my only friend here at the mental institute and I really felt his pain. Mrs Ali had not visited him once in the time that he had been here.
“And the truth that you wanted to share, Ali”, I asked
“Don’t go online when you’ve been drinking”. He sighed, got up and put on his slippers…..
Every year as St.Valentine’s day approaches I find myself in the same old predicament. I am suddenly overcome by a total mental block and I have absolutely no idea what gift to get my other half.
This year perhaps I might just have cracked it. You see I came across a copy of “Perfumes: The Guide” which is a comprehensive review of thousands of fragrances and perfumes for ladies and gents. A very readable book it is a must-have for all of you ladies and gents looking for inspiration this Valentine’s day.
Question: You know what fragrance he/she wears, you know what it smells like, but do you know what it looks like?
The sun was already quite high in the sky when I woke up early that morning at 10.00. The house was as silent as a tomb. I went downstairs and made sure that the other members of the household were gone. Perfect. I was home alone, exactly what was needed for what I was about to do.
I ran back up to the bedroom and pulled out the brown package from where I had hidden it under the bed. As I pulled out a little dark bottle from the box a small instruction’s leaflet fell to the floor. I picked it up and read it twice just to make sure. The skull-and-cross bones image at the top of the leaflet lent an air of urgency to the moment and I went quickly into the bathroom and placed the bottle by the wash basin.
I looked in the mirror suddenly and caught the doubts in my face. But this was no time to have a last minute change of heart, I told myself. I had to be strong and carry it through. I had got this far and spent so much money and time surely I must go ahead with it. In any case I was suffering from chronic insomnia and poor appetite caused by all this anxiety. My life was falling apart. The contents of this bottle offered me a way out.
My turmoil all begun three weeks earlier. It is hard to imagine now how a silly chance conversation with a stranger in a pub had dented my self confidence and lowered my self-esteem to somewhere just below the knee. The whole thing had pushed me into a mid-life crisis.
The man had first walked up to me at the bar and said that he liked my nice tweed cap. We chatted and joked about hats, umbrellas and walking-sticks for a bit and he bought us a couple more double whiskeys. It was then that he pressed home his attack.
“ Aren’t you just a little bit ashamed of your grey hair”?
I told him it was none of his business and I was quite happy the way I was, thank you very much! In many communities grey was seen as a sign of wisdom and respectability. Can you believe the cheek of this man? He laughed at me and ordered us two more whiskeys. It was then that I noticed that his hair was black as a raven.
You like it, don’t you? he asked, running a fat hand through his silken hair. “I’ve used a dye since I was twenty-seven and I have never looked back.”
“Today, everyone is doing it.” He said.
“I have many young clients some even half your age and they swear by the stuff. It is nothing to do with age.” He said. He drained his glass and went off to the gents’ for a third time.
I studied the leaflet that he had left on the bar. There were photographs of men in their forties and fifties playing beach-volleyball, tennis and golf and not a grey hair to be seen. On the inside page there was a doctor with a stethoscope and below that a lawyer with an armful of files. There was a Judge sitting at the bench and a company Chief Executive having a massage. They all had perfect hair.
My friend was back. He showed me a bottle of the miracle stuff. It was called Grobber and described as the Professional Hair Colour for Discerning Men. It was what the professional stylists used in really posh salons where a dye job for a regular-sized head was upwards of £50. My new friend said he was an Independent Personal Grooming Consultant and just for today he was offering me the dyeing compound kit on a Special introductory offer of £60 for a twelve-month supply. I needed time to get the money. He was happy to wait. We would meet at the end of the following week. And so it was. We met in the pub at the pre-arranged time and down there in the empty toilets we struck a deal and shook hands.
Today was the big day. Donning a pair of rubber washing-up gloves I filled the basin and washed my hair in lukewarm water. I then poured the dark Grobber liquid all over my head taking care to work it so that it covered the entire scalp. I sprinkled the magic fixing powder product . This initiated the chemical reaction and also acted as a catalyst. I left the whole mess on my head for I hr 45 minutes as advised and then rinsed it out in cold water until the water changed from blood red to clear.
The results were truly amazing: I was the proud owner of a brand new head of jet-black silky hair and looked twenty years younger. I showered, got dressed and called for a taxi. I did not want to be late for my new gym membership consultation .