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.
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.
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.
Happy came home last night. I am just so excited I do not know how to tell this story. One minute please, I need to breathe slowly. In…out…in…out. Phew! I have screamed and danced and cried till I cannot dance any more. I am happy once more. Happy is back home. He sniffed his way back after he disappeared from home three weeks ago. It has been a torturous time, with sleepless nights and nightmares. I have heard neighbourhood dogs bark and ran to the window, thinking, hoping that it was Happy Dog, but no.
Happy came home looking dirty and starved. He had been bitten all over the body by some stray dogs, I guess. Someone had taken away his collar and chain. He sneaked in at 3 am and came to my bedroom window. He did not bark, but kept scratching the window sill. It was as if his return was a secret between us and he did not want anybody to know about it. I was fast asleep and I thought I had been attacked by thugs. It was Happy. Oh, how we hugged in joy. If he could talk, Happy could have told me what happened. It does not matter, though. The important thing is that Happy is back home, safe and sound. Happy gobbled all the milk and all the food it could get hold of. For one moment I though Happy had turned into a greedy Hyena.
Happy is sick. I took him to the Veterinary doctor down the road, next to Donna. The doctor knows Happy’s history and Happy knows him too so he will be happy to be near someone he knows. He vaccinated Happy against rabbies a while back. So Happy will stay at the clinic for a few days as he undergoes treatment. But I will be visiting him. I have to take some time off work. Lucky has bad wounds so I will not take his pictures. It would be violation of his privacy and a little cruel and insensitive on my part. So the pictures I have posted above are older ones of Happy’s taken in January and February 2012. I showed him the pictures and he liked them, well at least he licked the laptop.
Happy is a great grandchild of the group of police sniffer dogs. He came home five years ago when he was only one week old. A lady family friend brought him to give me company as I could not get over my father’s death long after he was gone. We were talking about my father, who died in a car crash in 1998, when I burst into tears and everyone realised how raw the pain still was to me. Happy became my constant companion, always there for me, always so faithful and true. Through all life’s ups and downs, Happy stayed on. It hurt me deeply when he went missing. Happy knows how to climb high walls too and I believe he must have inherited this trait from his parents. So he climbed his way up the walls and into his kennel.
What a happy day. The sun seems much brighter today, the coffee tastes sweeter and everything seems happy. Thanks to all friends and family who gave me their support through phone calls, text messages, posts. Welcome Home Happy Dog. Welcome Home. I love you!
Sarah had always had thin legs but she had never thought her man would dump her for her legs. She was aware that her legs were very thin but she loved them and had never equated them with a mosquito. So it came as a shock to her that Freddie, her love did not love her legs at all. They had dated for the last six months and he had never mentioned her beloved legs at all. How could a man claim to love you and hate some parts of your body? She was slim and tall and had a small frame when she met him, yet that had not stopped her from loving him. Now she was expecting his baby. What was she going to do? Deep down in her heart, she knew he still loved her. Where had this ill wind come from and carried Freddie’s love for her in a totally different direction? Whirlwinds came fast and furious and carried everything along its path, left a wave of destruction behind. How come no one had ever told her that love was a whirlwind?
Sarah could not remember exactly when Freddie started hating her legs. But she did recall it had all started with the visit home to his parents in Saola Village up the mountains. Sarah was already 33 and still in search of a husband when she met Freddie, 47, a Banker at her friend Jerusa’s Birthday Party in Eastleigh Section Three. Freddie looked into her eyes during dinner and shouted in front of everybody, “I don’t know you much Lady Sarah, but I am going to marry you!” Everyone at the party had been embarassed for a minute. Then everyone burst out laughing. Sarah, a Secretary with a Law Firm was amused too and took it as a joke, bust she soon realised he was serious. He wanted her to meet his mother.
“I know mum. She loves weddings. She has been nagging me to marry, so she will be quite excited to meet you,” Freddie had said, his dark eyes shining in joy. No one had proposed to Sarah all her life and she decided to grasp this opportunity for a husband with both arms. Men had come and gone in her past but none had even joked about wanting to marry her.
The visit home had been pathetic. Freddie’s mother and her four huge, tall, plump sisters had burst out laughing, the moment she arrived. It was not the usual laughter, it was evil and taunting…laughter that did not come from the heart. “Is this the woman you want to marry?” Freddie’s mother had asked him sadly, contemptuously. “Yes, this is Sarah, a beautiful lady with a wonderful heart,” Freddie said happily.
Then Freddie’s aunt Rita had summed it all up. “No, no, no. What joke is this, Fred? This girl cannot fit into this home. Look at her mosquito legs. Her legs do not deserve to walk in this important home. You cannot marry her. You will have sickly children with very thin legs and you do know that our family is endowed with nice, plump, healthy bodies.” Sarah looked between Freddie’s aunts and his mother and back to Freddie. Freddie looked down, never saying a word as the aunts taunted her.
They had left immediately without even taking lunch. The six-hour journey back to the city was quiet with no one saying anything or eating any food along the way. Usually, they would have gone to his place. He dropped her at her house in Buru Buru Phase Four as he headed to his house in Fedha Estate. “I will call you!” Was all he said.
Three months later and he had not called. He did not pick her calls either. His friends had gone out of circulation. But she still hoped. That one day he would show up at her door, with the beautiful flowers he used to bring her. She knew he would show up with her favourite red wine. Love did not just disappear into the blues, without a reason. Surely, her mosquito legs could not kill the love between her and Freddie. She still loved him. She knew he loved her too…despite her small legs.
We have at one time or the other been patients. Close family members, friends, relatives, colleagues and those dear to our hearts have been hospitalised too. When a patient is in hospital and especially when one’s condition is not stable, relatives and family tend to be overcome by anxiety, tension and stress.
Patients dearly cherish hospital visits which give them an opportunity for encouragement, moral and physical support. Unfortunately, not everyone always has goodwill towards the patients or their families. Some hospital visits are abusive and depressing rather than exhilarating. Some visitors even silently or verbally wish for patients to die.
Do your hospital visits make the patient better or worse? When you visit a patient, it is important to carry your hospital manners along with you. Commenting within the patient’s hearing that he or she has only 24 hours to live and will not make it, can be distressing to the patient. This is purely bad manners. Careless, reckless and insensitive talk must be discouraged by all means.
Patients tend to feel that relatives and friends owe them a visit. Do not promise a patient a visit unless you are sure to come because patients tend to hold grudges when you do not turn up. They are already vulnerable and may feel rejected , abandoned or even deserted. This may result in self-pity.
‘Get Well’ card
One should not celebrate over a patient’s illness or hospitalisation. Avoid malicious and negative remarks around the hospital as these thoughtless comments may worsen the patient’s condition when they get to hear of them. Telling a patient they look as thin as a rake and then bursting into tears is not in the patient’s best interest. Telling them off over their illness is extremely unkind. If you have no words of encouragement for the patience then silence may be very good for you. Better still would be a ‘Get Well’ card.
Some visitors carry other medicine to the patient and convince them to take them thus interfering with the patient’s regimen. Giving the patient charms or any other medicine can cause serious repercussions as the patient is already on prescribed medicine.
Visiting during meals, not because you want to assist feed the patient but to take advantage of the patient’s poor appetite is bad manners indeed. Gobbling up fruits from the patient’s fruit basket and drinking all the juice as if they will never recover is poor manners.
A genuine smile
Give the patient a genuine smile. There is no point going to visit a patient you do not like and then laughing very loudly during the visit, especially when you know the patience has extreme headaches. Body language experts can easily identify wrong body language. A lopsided smile may in fact mean you disapprove of the patient’s condition. Others take great lengths to investigate the patient’s personal life. They move around the hospital making friends with nurses and patients’ relatives to get background for gossip.
Please give the patient and his or her family personal space. Use wisdom to discern whether your visit may not be suitable for the patient. Kindly avoid distressing the patient with unusually long prayers or trying to push the patient to accept the Lord as their personal saviour when all they need to do is to sleep. Along with your manners, you could carry with you fresh flowers, an assortment of fruits, bottled water and of course a great and genuine smile. One can carry a range of toiletry like toothbrush, toothpaste, face towels, a comb, bathroom slippers and a change of underclothes.
Do not carry alcohol, cigarettes, charms or any other form of drugs to your patient, They will cause more damage than you could ever conceive. Happy visit!