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Multiple roles, one soul

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“Motherhood is the greatest thing and the hardest thing”. Ricki Lake
It was a beautiful Sunday morning. Sundays mornings are usually beautiful. Serene. It is like the weather knows it is a Sunday and even if it rains, the day has a sunny demeanor. May be because there is less traffic in Nairobi. Less pollution unless you neighbor some Church with blaring noise.I have never understood why they do this. The megaphones outside the Church preaching to everyone who is not interested in the preaching. Anyway, as usual, I had plans to start the day with Sunday Mass, but his plans…well he had different plans. I ended up spending part of the Sunday Mass time outside the Church when my terrific two son decided there was more interesting stuff outside. Despite the accommodating section for lactating mothers and young babies in the Church, he was uncooperative.
“Enough is enough.” He said …through tantrums.
He wanted to play, not pray. Sometimes, most times, he is more cooperative. To be fair to h…

Letter to my son

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Dear son,
You are now a Terrific Two! A whole two years of existence.
You came into my life and changed my world. The first fruit of my womb. Turned it in more ways than I can imagine. It is said life begins at 40, so what a joy to start a new life at 40! From the first minute you came into the world, you silently whispered “we are in this together”. While I could not hold you for some time, I said a prayer “Lord I need to bring up this boy”. I don’t know if I fell in love or grew in love, long before I saw you. Knowing you were forming in a world I could not see, yet the growing bump was evidence that there is a life coming up shortly! The bump did not grow fast enough for me to get…you know those social privileges of not queuing … I am not complaining.
We walked, we shopped, we planned, we prayed, we played. Then you came, and life has never been the same again.
You were an energetic boy from the word go. You fought the nurses who tried to put some sharp needle in your little arm. I re…

In a day of a social worker

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“Each one of us can make a difference. Together we make change”. Barbara Mikulski
There are times you just bump into something (or someone) and know it was meant to be. I bumped into social work and in particular into gender and development work. There, I found my passion and my mission and my professional career path. Sometimes career path chooses you, but that is a story for another day.

One day I will document my experiences in social work, the good, the exciting, the scary, the bad, the ugly, but more so what keeps me at it. I have not imagined my life away from social work. There is something about social work that runs deep and builds me as a human being.

Whether engaged in development or humanitarian kind of work, social work can never leave one the same. It challenges one to a higher level of appreciating humanity and retrospection on what life is about. When doing social work you interact with different kinds of people and lifestyles but more so different levels of poverty a…

With a smile, life is beautiful

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy”. Nhat Hanh
 She smiled. I looked up and smiled. We both smiled. We both knew that this was not just a coincidence but a meaningful smile.

 “You could smile more often” I had told her several months ago.

I met this young woman in a guest house while travelling in a field site in Uganda. She works in the guest house and I had noted how she was acting and wondered if she knew life is too short to live with a sad face. She was far from polite but something about her pulled me towards her. I thought of her as young woman struggling with life’s challenges and wondering when the day would end, starting another day and the drudgery continued. One day after telling me in a “do-not-disturb-me” tone that what I needed was not available, I called her aside and started chit chatting with her. I reminded her that she was in the hospitality industry that required that one be hospitable to others…

What did she do to deserve it? Victims’ blaming

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“She must be the one to blame!”

That is a common judgment that is used on women and girls, over and over again. the narrative seeks to establish how the victim contributed
to what happened to her.

In the recent past there has been several incidents of reported rape cases in Kenya involving high profile individuals or highly publicized incidents. Some are in the process of legal proceedings so I will not get into details. With social media such incidents are highly publicized and the ‘online experts’ immediately start giving ‘analytical input’ into the incidents. In one case, there was an immediate reaction on doubting if this was true and even how this was a “date gone wrong”. That caught my interest, a date is equal to saying yes to sex? In Kenya it is very hard to hear about date rapes. This is not because that does not happen but because there is an assumption that when you say yes to one thing, then it is a yes to everything else. If you did not intent to have sex, do not go out fo…