How to love an African Man (Satire)
Forget this whole nonsense of red flowers, red clothes and underwear, a red hat and handbag, Valentine cards and walking hand in hand in the streetlights of Nairobi. Do you love an African man? Then stop gazing at him directly. Look away, when he talks to you, preferably at the floor. That is the first sign of African love. True love, the African way demands deep sacrifices that go beyond artificial show, like wearing red high heels or leggings.
Ladies, if you truly love your husband, then this is the time to get him a second wife. Allow him not just to marry but get out of your way and give him your sister or cousin or best girlfriend. Jealousy shows a selfishness and lack of true love for your partner. A generous woman holds the family together and shares her man’s love with other women.
Deeper African love involves allowing your husband to bring home a girlfriend. Show him total love by warming some bathing water for his “guest”, preparing for them a delicious meal and allowing them to use your bedroom for the night as you sleep in the kitchen.
A woman, who truly loves her man, must bear him as many children as possible. 11 to 13 children will do. A woman who has less than five children is uncaring and denies the man the ability to continue his lineage. She has no iota of love in her.
According to psychologists, red in Africa is generally associated with mourning and death. So for heaven’s sake, avoid wearing red clothes by all means. It portrays you as a witch thirsting for blood. It only shows how much you hate your man and how you wish him early death so you can inherit his property. Red is the bearer of bad news and may cause death in the family, a road accident or block your man’s promotion.
If you have never been beaten by your husband, all we can say is; be warned as this is a clear sign that he does not love you at all. You should indeed do the rightful thing expected from a loving wife; scream, beg him to stop, and of course thank him for beating you by warming his bath water and making him a nice hot ugali or sour porridge.
In the old traditional days women who had been beaten and their arms broken were forced to return to their husbands on the same day with gifts for their husbands. That was true love anchored on forgiveness. There were no grudges, hardly any divorce. Wife beating in certain communities in Kenya remains a cultural love practice that is still highly valued and revered for its romantic nature.
Several women favour beating by their husbands as an act of love.
Mary Agatha 55, a Primary School teacher is a married mother with four children. Agatha’s sentiments are rather strong on the fact that a woman must be beaten up as a proof of love. She concurs with the local culture that encourages wife beating. “How can my husband prove that he loves me if he does not beat me? A woman who has never been beaten by her husband is wasting her time. She will never really know what true love means. It is also really nice to be beaten because my husband always buys me gifts after beating me. I sometimes provoke him to beat me up so that I can have my gifts! Some women are so stupid that they do not even allow their husbands to slap them,” says Agatha. “When will they ever get loved?” She pauses.
Dowry, the true sign of love
When a man loves a woman, he pays her parents dowry. The more he loves her, the more cows he takes to her parents’ home. The fewer and thinner the cows, the less dosage of love the man has for his wife. But at times a woman may love a poor man. To demonstrate her love for him, love may force her to elope with her darling in the heart of the night or on her way to the river. That is true love.
A young man may also kidnap the love of his life when he has no dowry. This make’s the girl’s parents very happy since their daughter has found true love.
Make your husband a big ugali that he cannot finish. As everyone knows, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Avoid snacks like rice and green grams as such meals put an African man off. Even if you make him some rice, make an even bigger plate of ugali and serve him. Make sure you serve him a huge bowl of sweet potatoes and a full flask of tea after his main meal.
Ask no questions
Shouting at your husband in front of his friends is typical of a woman who is not in love. True African love means asking no questions and smiling even when things are wrong. Even where you are more intelligent than your lover, act like you do not know anything. Being a fool to give your husband greater glory is love beyond measure.
When you truly love your man, you cannot deny him his conjugal rights no matter how many times he asks. True love has no calendar or time.
Going out for a dance or an evening out is definitely out of the question. As a woman you are supposed to show your love by staying at home and cooking for the children. Never ask your man where he has come from, no matter how many days he has been away, or whatever time of the night he knocks on the door. What love is that to let other men hold you on the dance floor, tightly, tightly! Going out in a women’s group popularly known as girls’ night out or “ladies night” is total nonsense. It is only women who hate their men and want to take over households who meet in public pubs to gossip and finish their men.
African men do not appreciate miniskirts unless worn by Koinange Street Women. Wear a decent dress or a long skirt far below the elbow.
When you love a man, do not walk with him side by side. Show your love by walking behind him.
Love your husband’s mother with all your heart and your entire mind and all your soul. How can you love a man, without first loving his mother?
If you love your man at all, avoid high heels especially the red ones. No man wants his wife to look like a horse. It is not only embarrassing but disgraceful. Allow your man to go out for his beer or traditional Busaa or Chang’aa with his friends or to go watch football at the local shopping centre and wait for him at home with a jug of brown sour millet porridge.
When your husband is a night runner, learn the game very fast so that you show solidarity with him. Total commitment and loyalty means going out for those nightly rides on the back of hippopotamuses and leopards. True love means you do not talk about the nocturnal activities or else the love will grow cold.
Do not visit your partner at his place of work or call him during office hours. True love means if you did not ask in the morning, then wait until he comes home. Tell him how tired he is after working so hard, massage his feet, feed him and only when his tummy is extended from overeating can you make your demands.
So are you ready to love an African man? Get set. Replace candle lit dinners with warm firewood, don’t play new music from a cassette; instead sing or chant his praises. Sing to him about his sexual prowess and how great a hunter he once was. Sing praises for his wisdom and knowledge and for his seductive mastery in adding more wives to the home. Burn those red clothes and other red items that make you look like a desperate witch. The demands are high before you enjoy the true love of an African man.
Copyright Omwa Ombara 2012.
No Justice for Baby Ryan Yet: Part 3: Suspect spotted building her house as Baby Ryan stays in Orphanage
Read Part One and Two of this Story on the Home Page and on My Blog Go Women Go. “Who did this to Baby Ryan” and “Who Will Save Baby Ryan”?
Yesterday, we paid a visit to the Saidia Orphanage in Gilgil to follow up on Baby Ryan’s story. We had agreed to leave at 6 am so we could meet the Children’s office before he left for a Wedding Ceremony. But Dorine and her stepsister Teresa showed up at Kencom Stage at 8 am. Dorine, Baby Ryan teenage mother and Teresa could not raise the Sh40 (half a dollar) from Kaloleni Estate to town. I had agreed to take care of the Day’s travel expenses and do a little shopping for Baby Ryan. Well, a neighbour finally lent them Sh40 and Dorine, Teresa, I and Transworld Journalist Mary Mwendwa took a Matatu at Nyama Kima and set off for Gilgil. Mary Mwendwa is a young Professional Media Woman under mentorship at the Media Liaison and Advocacy Centre Consultants’ Programme. We arrived at the Home at 10.45 am.
From Right: Baby Ryan, Trans World Journalist Mary Mwendwa, Dorine Odipo and her Stepsister Teresa Odipo at the Saidia Orphanage.
The handlers at the Saidia Orphanage were friendly and welcomed us warmly. We had lunch and tea and met hundreds of abandoned, neglected, sick and needy children. Baby Ryan ran and danced towards us when he saw his mother Dorine and so did the other children.
The woman who allegedly abused Baby Ryan, Evalyn Achieng’ Ouma, is at her husband’s Boniface Odipo’s home in Kajimbo Village, Nyakach. Evalyn surfaced there last week. She had gone underground after an irate mob tried to lynch her, frog-matched her to the Gilgil Police Station and handed her over to the Police. Evalyn who has been spotted at Kajimbo turned up with a lot of building materials and is doing final touches to her permanent house. Relatives suspect her husband may be around or may have sent her money for their family project.
Despite a call to a police officer in Gilgil and to the Gilgil Volunteer Children’s Officer Mr Henry Wamae, no action has been taken. Evalyn is free and on the loose as the traumatised Baby Ryan finds temporary shelter at Saidia Children’s Home.
Mr Henry Wamae, Volunteer Children’s Officer at Gilgil Children’s Department and Jane Kinuthia, Co-Founder Saidia Orphanage during the visit.
“I called my mother the moment a neighbour alerted me that my sister-in-law Evalyn was at our home. But my mother (read stepmother), said Evalyn was a new bride in her home and she could not chase her away. I called the police officer, Ms Nafula who is handling the case. I called the children’s officer Mr Henry Wamae. But nothing has happened,” says a teary Dorine Odipo.
Dorine Odipo’s story is heart-rending. It is the story of a teenage mother who had a baby at 15 while in Form Three. The family took her back to School at Tieng’re Secondary School Boarding in Kisumu County. Dorine claims she was sent home from School because she failed to clear an outstanding balance of Sh27, 000. She missed the Kenya National Examination (KNEC) Registration as a Form Four candidate. Not one to lose hope on her education, Dorine registered as a Private Candidate at the nearby District Commissioner’s Office in her Village.
Lunch hour: Dorine cries as she feeds Baby Ryan at Saidia Orphanage.
While still chasing her School fess issues at home, she got a call from Gilgil Police Station asking her to go and identify her son Baby Ryan who was a victim of child abuse. Baby Ryan had allegedly been bitten, scratched, knifed and burnt with hot oil and matchsticks and starved by Dorine’s sister-in-law Evalyn Achieng’ Ouma. The suspect had bitten Baby Ryan’s private parts and he was oozing pus and blood upon admission at Gilgil District Hospital. The P3 Form signed by a Dr Sang, Medical Officer of Health indicated the details.
Dorine comes from a large polygamous home, next to Kodingo Police Camp in Kusa, Nyakach County. Dorine’s late father had two wives. Dorine has only one brother from her mother’s house. This brother, Boniface Odipo, a KDF soldier in Somalia is Evalyn (the suspect)’s husband). The other house has 12 children. Dorine’s parents both died leaving Dorine to be raised by her stepmother. It is the same stepmother who has been taking care of Baby Ryan.
Asked why the culprit has not been apprehended, Saidia co-founder Jane Kinuthia says Evalyn needs counselling and not police arrest. “There must be something in her past that may have triggered her action, “says Kinuthia. She however admits that it is sad and unfortunate that Evalyn is at home with Dorine’s stepmother.
The Children’s Officer handling Baby Ryan’s case is said to be on leave for the last one month and will return to work on May 9th, next month. A Volunteer Children’s Officer, Mr Henry Wamae told the writer that we have to wait for the Children’s Officer to return to work. “We cannot release Ryan Brownstead from the home as he is still healing. Both mother and child are vulnerable and have no proper place to go to. But we will release Baby Ryan to his mother as soon as she is settled and can support the child.”
Although Media Liaison and Advocacy Consultants had offered Dorine a job, Wamae says this is not enough. “We must follow protocol and ensure Baby Ryan is stable. The interest of the child comes before the interest of the mother or the relatives,” a firm Wamae says.
Baby Ryan (Front Row in Navy Blue Sweater) and Mum Dorine pose for a group photo with some of his Saidia Family.
Meanwhile, Dorine has been allowed to visit her baby as often as she wants, despite the fact that she cannot raise money to travel to Gilgil.
Who will save Baby Ryan? Who will take Dorine back to School? When will justice be done so Baby Ryan’s abuser it prosecuted? Why did the police release her when she was already in their custody?
Baby Ryan in his new warm Jacket and Baby cap, poses with Saidia Manager Teresa Wahito in the Dormitory.
It was a tearful departure for both mother and child yesterday, with Dorine crying outside the gate and Baby Ryan crying inside the home. So I gave Baby Ryan a sweet as his house mother Risper carried him away. I gave Dorine a sweet too, to distract her from the sad scene. The rains pounded heavily on us as we left Gilgil and jumped into a speeding Nissan Matatu, back to Nairobi.
Who Will Save Baby Ryan – Part 2 of Who Did this To Baby Ryan?
Story and Pictures by Omwa Ombara
A crime has been committed. There is conspiracy by the Kenyan society to deny 4-year-old Baby Ryan justice. And as his teenage mother Dorine Odipo drops out of School before completing her Form Four, Baby Ryan has now found temporary shelter at the Saidia Children’s Orphanage in Gilgil. The Children’s Department, the Police, no one is willing to talk. Who will save Baby Ryan?
Baby Ryan’s mother Dorine Odipo during the interview. Who will save my baby, she pleads.
It is a wonder that Baby Ryan’s 14 aunts and uncles and other relatives never realised that the child was undergoing such inhuman torture. Dorine was called from School by Police to go and identify Baby Ryan at the Gilgil District Hospital. She told the writer: “The baby saw me and started crying. I asked him what happened. He told me he was beaten with a belt, cut slit with a knife, on the hands and forehead. He was burnt on the hands with live matchsticks. He was bitten on the right hand and uncle. The wounds were still fresh,” says Dorine. Baby Ryan’s stepmother, (Dorine’s brother’s wife who allegedly tortured him), is the wife of a Kenya Defence Force soldier currently fighting Al-Shabaab under Amison in Somalia. He is in the Paramilitary Unit.
Dorine Odipo (centre) , Step-sister Theresa Odipo and Step-brother Shem Odipo during the interview
But Baby Ryan only stayed in the hospital for three days before being released to the Saidia Orphanage. The Children’s Department is reluctant to release the baby to any member of Baby Ryan’s family.
Baby Ryan is unwell and needs treatment. He cannot control his bowels and he remains traumatised. He cries a lot and keeps to himself. Whenever a visitor goes into the home, Baby Ryan hides under the bed.
The 24-year old step-mother, who allegedly committed the crime, has gone underground. The police say they have to wait for Ryan’s uncle to come back from the war before they press charges on his wife. Meanwhile Dorine is under pressure from the family to withdraw the case. Dorine alleges that her soldier brother will not send her any more money for her School fees until she withdraws Baby Ryan’s case.
Teenage mother Dorine Odipo hopes Ryan will get justice. She has dropped out of School trying to find a way for Ryan.
But the Children’s Department and the Police will not release the Baby. The P3 form signed by the doctor is proof that Baby Ryan was tortured by a member of the family. But even if Baby Ryan was released to Dorine, she is under age and cannot support the child. Her own stepmother is the one who released Baby Ryan to the relative who allegedly abused him.
Ryan’s father who was a teenager of 17 when he impregnated Dorine, then 15 years and in Form Three is a layabout. He broke up with Dorine after impregnating her and they have not been in touch, says Dorine.
Dorine is stressed because she can no longer visit Baby Ryan. She cannot raise the Sh500 to go and see her son in Gilgil, She cannot travel back home either. She cannot raise Sh1200 to travel home. She is afraid to leave Baby Ryan behind. But she hopes and prays that someone somewhere can help her get Baby Ryan to hospital. She also hopes that one day she can go back to School. Who will save Baby Ryan?
See the original Story on Home Page – Who did this to Baby Ryan?
Story and pictures by Omwa Ombara
I hid my face from friends and family when you died. It took me time to attend your wake at your house in Lang’ata. Our friendship was such that you had to call me on Wednesday and prepare me for your departure. You asked whether we could meet and have a quick cup of coffee, but I was too busy at Sheria House chasing my registration certificate.
“Omwa, I don’t have long to live,” you chuckled. “I am travelling to Simenya for a Board meeting then I will pass by to see my mother. In case I do not make it back to Nairobi, just remind my family that I want a beautiful funeral. Make sure they dress me well and put red lipstick on my lips.” We laughed and made jokes over that. I did not believe she would be dead by Saturday morning.
Veronica had asked for red lipstick too. I preferred purple while Veronica loved pink. But in one of our regular dinners at Yaya Centre, Mary, being the most adventurous of us trio had often told us off and insisted that red was the professional colour. So after arguing over our Pizzas, we agreed to turn to red nails and toes and of course, red lipstick. I remember we buried Veronica in red lipstick too.
I saw you lying in your beautiful coffin at the Don Bosco Shrine during your requiem Mass and said I would not cry. You, Veronica Mburu and I had promised each other that we would not cry if any of us died first. But we cried when Veronica died and yesterday I cried as if my heart would break. I cried when all I wanted to do was smile. I tried to smile through my tears but forgive me my dear friend. I could not let you go without a tear, knowing what you had gone through, knowing the deep secrets we shared.
Caren Ochele, our dear friend ushers the Congregation at the Don Bosco Shrine during Mary Ted’s Requiem Mass,
It took our friend Caren Ochele, who was an usher to calm me down. “It is well!” She repeated as she hugged me and wiped my tears. “It is well with our friend!”
Mary Ted wanted me to be an accountant. I remember Mary Ted mentoring me at the Agricultural Finance Corporation where I did my attachment after my ‘A’ Levels. She was the Financial Controller. Caren was our Secretary. After patiently trying me out with figures, balancing sheets with Shakila and Mrs Mwangoda, and with some goading from Mumo Matemu, the lawyer, Mary and Caren finally gave up on me. “Omwa has too many stories to tell, she does not have a Mathematical mind, so we declare you a Journalist,” she said. We were another trio, Mary Ted, Caren and I. So when I joined University, I opted for Literature and Linguistics, with Mary pushing me to master my Language ahead of my Journalism career…
When Mary Ted started her Kenya Breast Health Programme in Lang’ata, she picked me from Nation Centre where I debuted as a Freelance Correspondent. The Breast Health office was still bare. It lacked curtains, the wiring was not yet done and there were cables all over the floor. There was no electricity yet and one computer. Two young ladies, volunteers poured for us two cups of home-made tea from a white flask. The proud smile on Mary Ted’s face was infectious. “This is just a start. I want to reach as many women with cancer as possible. I want to stop as many women from getting cancer by encouraging them to go for the test early.”She said. The dream made her eyes glitter with hope. It was an exciting evening and we toasted Champaign to a Cancer-less future. Mary was diagnosed with Cancer on January 5, 1999. True to her dreams, Mary Ted spearheaded and championed a nationwide campaign on breast cancer awareness. She was a counsellor and a great support system to Cancer survivors, allowing them to stay in her house when they lacked accomodation. Mary Ted was indeed instrumental in pushing the Government to install Cancer support equipment in Provincial Hospital. Her mobile clinic on cancer screening became the face of hope in Kenya.
Breast Cancer survivors show up in style at the Requiem Mass. Their powerful message was,”what is your purpose in life?”
Mary Ted wanted a Breast Cancer Journalist who could break Cancer stories and break the stigma that enshrouded Cancer then. The media would not touch it and there was a general contempt by society for women with one breast. Mary Ted’s first assignment was that I go for a Mammography. After much reluctant persuasion, Mary Ted, Vero and I went to Nairobi Hospital. My tests were fine and of course we celebrated the results.
My first Cancer story was Veronica Mburu. I did the interview as Mary Ted and Vero tried on the latest prosthesis (artificial breast) in town down at Kijabe Street. I had not seen prosthesis before and I did not know women wore it after they lost their breasts to Cancer surgery. Despite my ignorance and shock, Mary Ted and Vero cat- walked up and down the shop making the salesman and I burst into hysterical laughter. And so I got into the Breast Cancer family as a Journalist and not as a survivor.
When I did Vero’s story, the challenge was whether we should show the Prosthesis to the public or not. My then editor, Rhoda Orengo took the bull by the horn and published the picture that shocked Kenyans to the reality of Cancer. The response was overwhelming and Vero had a rough time directing women to Kijabe Street.
At the fundraising dinner for the Breast Health Programme, I played both roles of Musician and Journalist as I performed with my Kalamindi band at the Panafric Hotel, Nairobi, backed up by Kenge Kenge Orutu System and Osogo Winyo.
Mary Ted was democratic with her daughters in a very special way. When I got an assignment from my then Editor, Betty Muriuki, to do a story on families with daughters only and boys only, Mary Ted asked me to talk to the girls and get their approval. We went to her sister’s house in Kariakor and found about 50 of her relatives ready to interrogate me.
From Left: Mary Ted’s sisters Margaret Alacoque ‘Koki’ and Dorothy Tsalwa at the Requiem Mass in Nairobi.
We sat in the kitchen where Mary Ted’s sister Margaret Koki made hundreds of Chapatis. Mary Ted sent her daughters one by one to the kitchen, sent Koki out and left me alone with the girls to persuade them on why they should appear in the papers. Such wonderful girls, Anne Marie, Amanda and Adelle allowed me to interview them and take their pictures. After lunch, The girls’ aunties interrogated and playfully teased me and finally allowed me to carry out the interview.
Catholic Priests, led by Father Emmanuel perform final rituals at the Don Bosco Shrine as they ask God to grant Mary Ted eternal rest.
The women danced themselves lame and our ever supportive friend George Otieno of Barclays Bank, whom Mary had nicknamed “Our Husband”, made the evening warm and cheerful.
Then Veronica died, creating a gap in our trio company. Vero died when I was out of the country on assignment. When I got back, Mary Ted and “Our Husband” took me to Vero’s grave in Lang’ata. The grave was well kept by Mary Ted and George with lots of lovely flowers. That had been Vero’s death wish.
So now Mary Ted will be buried tomorrow. She died in the arms of her mother Christine. Mary Ted made a difference to the Cancer community. She had passion for her battle against Cancer. So my two close friends are gone; Veronica Mburu and Mary Ted – two friends whose mark of friendship passed the test of time.
Your Eulogy was beautiful yesterday. And the Church was all so pink with brave faces. All your friends were there. The girls were brave. They smiled as you would have wished. For me, you were not the Vice Chairperson of the National Cohesion and Integration Committee or Chairperson, Nyanza Economic Forum. You were just Ted, my friend and bossom buddy. The Godmother to my great niece and friend Monica. Mary Ted, it was indeed a celebration of your life; the celebration of an achiever. Till we meet on the other shore, Mary Ted – Fare Thee well, my friend!
Mrs Ida Odinga, Patron Kenya Breast Health Programme and wife to Kenya’s Prime Minister, Raila Amolo Odinga at the Requiem Mass. Ida payed glowing tribute to Mary and asked Kenyans to make a difference in their own little ways.
This Man, Najib Balala
From those early days as a young man, he stood to be conspicuous wherever he went; even as a person he has a very pleasant personality. He is handsome (what the local community called a “natural attractiveness”). From the very beginning he has never been a fundamentalist – he is seen as a moderate, educated and westernised person. Even when other Arabs were being sent to local schools his family took him to Kakamega High School. He later went to Harvard University.
At Kakamega High School, Balala related well with the institution members that were not Muslim. This is not to say that he has not been loyal to his faith. He drives his inspiration from his beads. Balala speaks fluent Luhya and loves chicken. Although his favourite food is Biriani, he has had to go slow on the dish since it is quite fattening. The former Ag. Labour Minister has special praise, almost awe when he speaks about his old school. One cannot mistake his nostalgia. “Kakamega High School taught me to be an independent thinker. To appreciate different cultures and understand that there is no difference in humanity, in diversity.”
Najib Balala is a Monday child. He was born on an early Monday morning at Kikowani in Mombasa at the Mosque. This explains why he loves Mondays. His father died before he was born having suffered from Leukemia. He has always referred to his mother as a strong woman. “She was only 30 years and never remarried. She protected us (we were six siblings, four boys and two girls). She was a very poor woman. I am very proud of her. Her upbringing is very well cultured. Her honesty is the key to our upbringing,” he told the writer in a past interview. Balala is the last born of his mother. Being poor and fatherless always inspired him to work hard and change society. He is a down to earth person who drives himself around even though he has access to a driver.
Balala, 45 is a family man and rather proud of his family. “After work, I sit with my children. If I don’t give them time, they will lose personal touch. My timing is unpredictable due to the nature of my political work so I spend quality time with my family,” he said.
He first cut his teeth is politics as Mombasa mayor and later as Mvita Member of Parliament and Minister for Tourism. From the start, his family was against his joining politics and he struggled alone.
His mantra is the need to start developing leadership that is honest and trustworthy and to have a mechanism to block leaders who take advantage of communities because they are more vulnerable and who think they can buy people. His greatest achievement is in the tourism sector where he introduced tourism as part of Corporate Responsibility and turned the economic sector around. He has never ceased to be a darling of the media since he always gives interviews without a fuss and always picks his calls even in the middle of a meeting.
He is highly respected within the Muslim community and never misses a function at the Mosque. Balala is accepted among Muslims who are rich, poor and middle class and by non-Muslims who are also of the same status. He is also said to be a darling with women who are the majority voters at the Coast. Before his sacking a few days ago, he was a bossom buddy of Kenya’s Prime Minister, Raila Odinga until recently when they started following different political paths. He once described Raila as the only person who seemed to fight for the rights of Muslims.
Excerpt from a past interview. Copyright Omwa Ombara.
If anybody thinks I am going to give them my Facebook Password or delete my posts to appear “nice” they can forget it. Suddenly posts on Facebook have changed and I can no longer recognise my friends. Since word went round that Human Resources intend to ask people to give their passwords during interviews, friends have generally been on the panic mode. Friends have been deleting posts that could endanger their jobs, especially those gossiping about their bosses or indicating that they have night lives away from the office. Posts of employees showing that they are religious have taken centre stage with incessant quoting of Bible verses to show the Boss they are “good” people. Next are employees posting family outing pictures that portray them as responsible husbands and wives. This is good for one’s career as it gives the Boss the impression that you have too much responsibility and will not walk out of your job very soon. It also shows that you can make a good manager and this may favour you with a promotion. The jokes we used to share, our favourite musicians, criticisms of our politicians and celebrities are all gone.
Friends who used to post nice pictures in fashionable miniskirts and jeans are changing their profile pictures to appear more executive. The pictures have become boring and dull. I understand why my Facebook friends are suddenly undergoing metamorphosis. I was almost tempted to delete my posts last week when a friend called and informed me that his boss had sent a circular asking all staff to leave their passwords on his desk by 0ne o’clock. Staff went into panic mode, deleting sensitive posts and changing their names. One staff opted to resign.
When I joined Facebook, I knew it was a channel of communication to re-establish contacts with my old friends especially schoolmates and family who were out of the country. What I shared with my friends on Facebook were not meant for the Boss or Non-friends. In an amazing turn of events, Facebook developed a life of its own with politics and love taking centre stage. Messages of condolences also moved from the newspaper orbituary faces to Facebook. Trust Kenyans to change Facebook into a political platform. Well, I also acquired new friends and enemies some of whom I still keep for prestigious purposes and not because they add value to my life in any way.
After some soul searching I decided I would not become a hypocrite by deleting my posts. My posts are a part of me, they reflect how I live, think and feel and I will not delete them to please any Boss out there. Deleting them would be like tearing off part of my life and this would be very painful to me. Sorry, you can keep your job but let me be me! If the Boss wants to catch you on Facebook, they will do it anyway. They use fake names and lurk through your profile in the dark. They do it on Linked In too. You just need to check who has been viewing your profile and your Boss’s cheeky face will be right there smiling cleverly at you. Sometimes they use your real friends and colleagues on Facebook to read your posts. This is why Facebook often warns that you do not accept friend requests from people you do not know. From friends who call themselves Dorothea Nincompoop Fadddilas Trupus or Paipolllama Tubeerculosis Governor. That could be your Boss.
Margaret Jane was feeling very lonely. She wanted to die rather than live in this cruel, heartless, unlucky world. Both her female and male friends had rejected her. Every man she had dated had abandoned her. It was true she had gone overboard. Once she had dated a man for one week, she would ask them to marry her. Her married friends were cold to her since she had asked their husbands to marry her as a second or third wife . Men gossiped as much as women and word had gone round. She had become the laughing stock of Nairobi City, with men teasing each other with the words, “will you marry me?” and laughing loudly wherever she passed. They kept telling her they would get back to her after the proposal. But she never heard from them again. Most of their phones were either switched off or diverted to a woman, laughing cheekily at the other end. Friends and family no longer invited her for functions. Her visits to Pastor Ogjibani prayers at Nyayo Stadium had not yielded any fruits. She was frustrated to a point of no return. What did a man want?
What did they want her to do? She wished they could fit into her shoes to know how she felt. At 50, an MBA degree holder and a financial analyst with a leading bank in the country, she had reached the peak of her career. Yet her posh huge home in Gigiri, her Imprezza, her DSTv and every luxurious item in her home had not filled the yearning in her heart. To have a man to love and to hold. She had met Dan Mara, a young pilot with an international airline while attending a world conferences in the Netherlands. He had shown an interest in her, raising her hopes for a big wedding. The relationship had gone well that week and he had promised to buy her an aeroplane. Dan Mara had promised to come to Kenya in one month. They would take the new found relationship to the next level.
She looked at her four German Shepherd dogs and six Persian cats playing lovingly around her. She had bought them rather expensively and their meals cost her upto Kshs150,000 a month. But this was nothing compared to the Kshs 1.5 million she earned every month.
Initially she had loved her pets and talked to them daily, took them for a walk and ensured they visited the Veterinary Clinic next to the UN offices regularly. But none of her boyfriends had loved her pets and one had complained that she loved one of her cat Doughnut more than she loved him. Doughnut seemed jealous of her boyfriends and would sit on her laps, everytime she had a male guest. Margaret Jane walked around her huge quiet house, desolate. She went into her shoe room and stared at her 200 pairs of shoes. She often went to the shoe room and tried one pair of shoe after the other. It excited her. But today not even trying her new pair of high heels she had bought in the Netherlands brought her any joy. Netherlands had sad memories. She had lost her chance to get a husband at the Schippol Airport. Dan Mara had seen her off to the Departures Lounge and kissed her goodbye, promising to be with her in Kenya after a month. But after the kiss, she raised her voice at Dan Mara and asked him, “will you marry me?” “What?” Dan Mara had stopped dead in his track, surprised at this sudden proposal. “We have only known each other for a week. It would be inappropriate at this point.” Margaret Jane knew she was behaving badly, but something seemed to drive her on. She insisted, her voice getting louder. “Haven’t you heard of love at first sight?” She taunted him. “Why do you need time? Marry me now. Marry me!” Her desperate high pitched voice seemed to attract other passengers who milled around. He had suddenly turned and walked away, never turning back.
Two months had passed since her trip from the Netherlands and not a word from Dan Mara. It was as if he had changed his telephone lines. She had made several inquiries through various agents at the KLM and Kenya Airways offices but no one seemed to have even heard the name. Dan Mara, she had loved him very much, even if she had known him for only one week. Why had he refused to marry her? When Doughnut walked into the room and rubbed herself against her feet, Margaret Jane kicked her so hard that she mewed loudly in a terrified, surprised voice and ran out. After a few minutes, her cat donut was back in the room. She looked at Dan Mara sadly then rubbed her feet against her mistress. Feeling guilty and unfair to the cat, Margaret Jane picked the cat, stroked it lovingly and told Doughnut,” marry me, pussy cat. Humans don’t love me. Marry me!” “Meow.” Doughnut replied, snugging closer to her new ‘husband’ Margaret Jane.