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Archive for November 16th, 2009

A loaded woman is still a woman

Posted by Administrator on November 16, 2009

Following last week’s tragic murder of my friend James Kazini, I was starting to develop doubts about the desirability of relationships, when one Dora reminded me that not all women are that bad…

In her reaction to my article last week, Dora wrote: “Congratulations ladies [but] do not forget your gender roles; being loaded does not mean you abdicate your role as a woman of the house.”

In my more youthful days, these were the kind of statements that would automatically win this babe a second and maybe third look and possibly a first date. Here, I thought as I read the comment again, is a modern and sensible woman.
Years ago, as my hometown descended on a cute little hotel to help my parents celebrate my graduation, my grandfather leaned over and whispered: “now that you have conquered the studies, another measure of your success will be how you manage your home. A man must be the leader and the example in a proper home.”

Of course being a leader is not easy because at some point there is a danger that people supposed to be following you are actually chasing you and even ready to trip you so that they can take over your position.

That, gentlemen and ladies, is the situation in which many men find themselves today. The women we love have started competing with us for leadership in the home – just because they wear trousers and earn big money. And this is causing all manner of marital problems.

So, unlike the Kenyan brother who felt threatened because his better-paid woman had started picking bills, I don’t see money as the problem. As Dora says, go ahead and get your money, but remember it does not make you the man.

Which man would not be happy with a wife who can chip in once in a while compared to someone who has to beg for everything? The problem is who is the leader in the home?
A friend tells me he often reminds his missus that marriage is not a carnival where anything goes; marriage is an institution, and there is no institution in this world that runs efficiently without strong strategic leadership.

Leadership where the leader protects the interests of the institution and respects those he leads; where the led respect and trust their leader; and leadership where everyone knows what they are supposed to do for the institution to thrive.

And I challenge anyone to show me any value system – whether Quranic, Biblical or traditionalist – show me any value system that says the woman is the boss of the home!

Let me ask my married sisters: do you respect your man the same way – or even more than – you respect the Managing Director at office?
Don’t get me wrong: I know in some organisations the boss is feared more than Joseph Kony’s commanders, but that is not my kind of respect. Neither can I stand the idea of my wife kneeling to greet me or me beating her up.

But if you keep shouting at your husband as if he were your shamba boy [even then, only assuming you are an Army general], locking him out of the bedroom when he is out with the boys, hanging up on him because you are upset, snapping at him at every opportunity, storming out to spend a night with friends after a quarrel…then you are giving your mother a bad name.

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Nairobi Bus Rolls with God

Posted by Administrator on November 16, 2009

 

By Greg Moore, The Kansas City Star

 

Kenyans are God-fearing people.

 

And though I haven’t been to church since coming to Nairobi more than a month ago, I did ride the bus last week.

 

It all started in a gift shop in the city centre. And it ended with a 20-something preacher in suede cowboy boots yelling at me in Sheng, the Swahili-English patois that everybody here speaks fluently.

 

I had been looking for a nice gift for my wife since I came to the area. And just about every shop in the city centre sells little elephant statues and banana leaf mosaics and beaded leather bracelets that read “Kenya.” For most friends and family, such keepsakes are perfect.

 

But these gifts aren’t exactly romantic. So a couple of friends agreed to take me to a jewelry shop in an affluent part of town.

 

The three of us got on a Citi Hoppa bus, and so did just about everybody else in Nairobi. People turned sideways to shuffle down the aisle toward the remaining seats in the back. These buses, unlike their American counterparts, don’t have standing room. Backsides rubbed against shoulders. Shopping bags bumped into heads.

 

Soon each seat was full. Everyone was touching someone else. There was no air-conditioning. And since it’s early summer – and since the people of Nairobi wear long-sleeve shirts and pants regardless of the weather – we were all sweating bit.

 

Right before the bus pulled off, a young guy got on board and stood in the aisle. He looked around and smiled with anticipation.

 

There was nowhere for him to sit. But he didn’t seem to care.

 

The young man wearing stylish jeans and a casual blue blazer started to nod at people. He had on a button-up shirt that was open at the neck. His skin and eyes were light brown. His hair was curly and black. My friends took one look at him and knew he was from the coast.

 

He didn’t have any wrinkles. And none of his hair had turned gray or fallen out. I took one look at him and knew that hadn’t yet turned 30.

 

The bus got going. And so did he.

 

He held a book by Pastor Rick Warren in his left hand. He introduced himself as being from a church in Mombasa.

 

The bus started slowly. And so did he. And it was all in Swahili. I had no idea what he was saying. But I know Christian preaching when I hear it.

 

The bus sped up and gained momentum. And so did he.

 

A few minutes in, I looked around. No one was talking. And just about everyone was paying attention.

 

“Especially, for our generation!” the young preacher yelled in English. It seemed like he was looking right at me.

 

He was into it. When the bus jerked, he grabbed a seat, braced himself and kept going in Swahili.

 

“Honor your mother and your father!”

 

He paused. The bus was silent.

 

“Especially! …”

 

He took off again. Swahili. His face was red. English. His index finger was wagging. More Swahili. His voice was turning horse. Still more Swahili. The bus had been going for more than 15 minutes and so had he.

 

He yelled out a Bible book chapter and verse in English. He went back to Swahili, but now he was whispering.

 

Again, I have no idea what he was saying, but whatever it was, he meant it, and the people on that bus were into it. No one other than the young preacher said a word.

 

He stopped. I looked around. So did he.

 

“Wow,” I thought. “That dude knows how to work a cro…

 

“Especially!” he yelled, snapping me back to attention and breaking the silence in English. He quickly switched back to Swahili and kept going for another 10 minutes or so.

 

Finally, he was done.

 

“Amen.”

 

A woman handed him a bill folded up into a little square. Others reached up and handed him money as well. Some gave him small stacks of coins. Others gave him paper.

 

“Thank you,” he said, wiping sweat from his brow. “Thank you.”

 

The bus pulled to a stop. He gave a wave and jumped off without paying.

 

No one complained.

 

And anyway as one of my friends said on the way to the jewelry store, “He didn’t use a seat.”

 

The Kansas City Star has exchanged journalists with Nation Media in Nairobi, Kenya, for the last three years in partnership with the Alfred Friendly Press Fellowships. Greg Moore, who is The Star’s wire editor, is traveling and teaching journalism in Kenya and Uganda for the next several weeks.

 

 

 

Submitted by GregMoore on November 15, 2009 – 7:24am.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kenyan teens in quarter life crisis

Posted by Administrator on November 16, 2009

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 16 – The age commonly referred to as the “golden twenties” ought to be the ideal time for a happy, relaxed life.

At this stage, ‘puberty is over with, and mid-life crisis is still far off.’ But instead of being happy and relaxed, a growing number of 20-something-year-olds are facing what specialists call a quarter-life crisis.

The term stands for the identity crisis young people suffer when they are about to finish their education and have to decide what to do with the rest of their life.

Social developments in recent years contribute to anxiety about the future. Additionally, given the large number of job possibilities and lifestyle options available today, some young people fear making the wrong choices. However, decisions are not irrevocable and it is not wrong to make a few detours on the road through life.

This predicament is however not limited just to college and university graduates but it also affects secondary school graduates. The scenario is made even more precarious when high school students do not get to sit their examinations not due to a mistake on their part but as a result of negligence on the part of the school administration.

Anam Omondi was a student at Twilight Secondary School and it was a bitter pill for him to swallow when he learned that he would not be sitting for his KCSE examinations this year.

“The principal told me that our names were missing and said that there was another list which I could not understand,” he said.” When I tried to reason with him, he brushed me off and when we were about to lynch him, our parents came and restrained us.”

Omondi says he and his fellow students had been suspicious of their non-registration for a long time but the school head pulled the wool over their eyes.

According to him, the red flag was raised when the principal went into hiding following demands by parents for him to explain the irregularities.

“We saw the nominal roll but it was unclear whether we were registered or not. The principal then told us to go to the Kenya National Examinations Council offices so that we could follow it up from there,” Mr Omondi recounted.

“He later gave us some index numbers which he said will not be used during the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Examinations.”

Upper Hill High School head Peter Odero however placed the blame squarely on the students and parents for not doing enough to ensure that the candidates were registered.

He pointed out that the time given for registration was sufficient enough to ensure that everyone sat their examinations.

“The process of registration starts in Form Three where we expect that each candidate will be able to bring the KCPE result slip and the certificate which we must have then we forward them to the Kenya National Examination Council,” he said.

“After a while in Form Four, we are given the registration form which we carry out for a whole month.”

He said that the affected candidates should have followed up on the process to ensure that everything goes on smoothly.

“This is a long process and any student who is serious would really realise whether they are registered or not. You cannot wait until the examinations are brought to find out whether you are registered or not,” he admonished.

“This is serious negligence on the part of both the students and parents.”

Nairobi Milimani Secondary School Principal Francis Mbai however censured the Twilight Schools’ administration for not being transparent in the registration process. He said that this should serve as a wakeup call to all students to take an active interest in the processes in the education system

 “I think it is irresponsible on the part of the authorities that are concerned with the registration. It is also unfortunate that the students come to know about it very late,” the Milimani High School Head stated.

“I do not know whether students know that they have to do any follow up but I think for now, every person who registers for exams should check and follow up.”

He is urging students to start checking that they are registered from their schools early enough and if nothing seems to be clear, they can move to the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) headquarters.

“They can initiate it from their own centre, just finding out from their own teachers whether they are registered and then if they do not get proper information they can still clarify with the examination council,” he explained.

According to Education Permanent Secretary Karega Mutahi, It is a criminal offence for school heads not to register candidates for their examinations.

He stressed that stern action would be taken against any unscrupulous individual who takes part in such activity to deter anybody from messing up the lives of students.

“Any proprietor who failed to register students and failed to provide proper facilities for the exam cannot be allowed to function in education. We will have to deal with him,” he affirmed.

“For now, we cannot do anything until the exams are out of the way because one of the things you must make sure of is that every Kenyan child has a right to education,” he said.

Indeed, sometimes the power of greed overcomes some of the values ingrained in us and at times, it affects others in a way which might have an adverse effect on their lives.

Therefore, it is in this context that school heads need to take their mandate seriously by ensuring that no one, neither student nor parent has any cause to shed tears due to a lack of coordination in the registration process.

Source: Capital FM

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New vicar appointed to West Brom’s Good Shepherd Church

Posted by Administrator on November 16, 2009

Date 16/11/09

A new vicar has been appointed to the parish of the Good Shepherd with St John in West Bromwich. The parish has been without a vicar since December 2008 when the previous incumbent, the Revd Dr Patrick Okechi, was removed from office after a disciplinary tribunal found him guilty of ‘conduct unbecoming to the office and work of a clerk in holy orders’. The parish has, in effect, been without a full time priest since August 2006 when Dr Okechi was suspended from duty.

The new vicar, who will also facilitate a multi-faith chaplaincy service at Sandwell College, is the Revd Kennedy Njenga. The 42-year-old priest was born in Kenya and has lived in the UK for the past 19 years. Currently Vicar of The Beacon Church, a joint Methodist and Anglican church in Pheasey, between Birmingham and Aldridge; Kennedy began his ministry as Curate of St John’s Church in Old Trafford, Manchester.

He was educated at London’s Oak Hill Theological College and Middlesex University; and the Queen’s Ecumenical Foundation in Birmingham. He will move to West Bromwich to take up his new post next Spring, alongside his wife Salome and their three young children, Sarah, Matthew, and Michael.

He said today: “I am thrilled after receiving the good news that I have been appointed vicar to the Good Shepherd with St John, and chaplain to Sandwell college in West Bromwich. The parish is situated in place that is multicultural, and multi faith, and this will give me the opportunity to serve in a community which is diverse in many ways.

I also look forwards to working with other community faith leaders and interacting with students at the Sandwell College.”

He added: “I have been privileged to work here at the Beacon church in Pheasey, and I will treasure the friendship that has developed here with all my friends in the last five years.”

The Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill, welcomed the appointment, saying: “I am delighted that we have been able to find an excellent candidate to serve as Vicar for the parish of the Good Shepherd with St John. Kennedy has served the parish of Pheasey well and I am confident that both he and the wonderful congregation at the Good Shepherd will be able to take the parish forward.

“This parish have experienced a number of difficulties over the past few years but through them all have persevered and come through stronger than before. My prayer is that they will be fruitful and find abundant blessings in the new start they are about to take.”

The Revd Kennedy Njenga will be licensed as Vicar of the Good Shepherd with St John by the Bishop of Wolverhampton and the Archdeacon of Walsall at a special service on 1st March 2010.

Source: http://www.lichfield.anglican.org/news&newsID=660&newsYear=2009

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Samasource: How African refugees are scoring Silicon Valley Internet jobs

Posted by Administrator on November 16, 2009

Story by Lisa Katayama

On a scorching hot June day in northeastern Kenya, an hour west of the Kenyan-Somali border, Leila Chirayath Janah arrived at the Dabaab refugee settlement in an armed convoy. She was there on a mission: to connect jobless, displaced refugees to the rest of the world through legitimate Internet-based jobs.

Leila, 27, is the founder of Samasource, a non-profit organization reminiscent of a tech startup that outsources web-based jobs to women, youth, and refugees living in poverty in third world countries. I met her last month in the tiny office space she rents out in downtown San Francisco. She is tall and well-dressed, and has credentials that include Harvard, Stanford, and a fellowship with TED India. Her obsession with Africa started in her teens — when she was a senior in high school, she left LA to teach English to a class of 60 blind people in rural Ghana; a few years later she created an African Development Studies at Harvard, and a few years after that, she started working on Samasource.

 

Leila’s approach to development is pragmatic; her goal is to equip poor but educated people with tools needed to turn their intelligence and drive into the opportunity to earn income. “Donors love health and education,” Leila says. “It’s so sexy; everyone loves to be the one to save a life by buying a mosquito net or building a school. But in reality, when you look at what the developing world really needs, it’s a connection to markets.”

Shortly after launching Samasource, she read an Oxfam report that mentioned a Dutch non-profit had set up a computer lab in the Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya. “I thought, how crazy would it be if i can get these refugees to do real work for clients in San Francisco? What if we could prove to the world that these people who have been written off completely as only good for receiving handouts, who are stuck in this camp receiving food rations, can be productive to the global economy?”

Before she left for Kenya, Leila hooked up with Lukas Biewald, a former Yahoo! engineer who had created a job crowdsourcing software web site called Crowdflower. Lukas had agreed to help her hook up the refugees with real clients in California through Crowdflower — Leila would train the refugees to do simple work like data entry and Google searches at the camps while Lukas watched their progress remotely.

Dadaab’s refugee camps are insanely overcrowded. 300,000 displaced people live in a space that is only meant to accommodate 90,000. While some resell goods acquired at the market in town, most of the refugees don’t have jobs because they can’t get work permits under Kenyan law. Boys are routinely recruited out of their mundane reality by rebel groups that turn them into pirates and child soldiers.

The camps are managed by CARE, so Leila coordinated with its reps to have 16 trainees picked out for her Samsource experiment. They had to have a certain level of education and basic knowledge of English. The computers in the lab were imported from China and rigged to withstand the heat, pressure, and dust that permeate the refugee camps.

The tasks ranged from simple searches to transcription to virtual assistance to app testing. Leila spent an hour teaching her workers how Samasource would work and setting them up with a special Crowdflower login and an @samasource.org email address. “I taught them how to Google,” she tells me. “They totally got it.”

Two days later, Leila called Lukas to see how her refugee workers were doing. “They’re getting the same results as our for-profit clients,” Lukas told her. “And in some cases, they’re doing even better.”

One of the refugees Leila trained was a 24-year old Sudanese man named Paul Parach — a former Lost Boy who was seized from his home at age nine and survived by walking through the scorching desert with no food for days before arriving at a refugee camp in Kenya, where he was shot in the leg by a guy from a rival tribe. “You could see in his eyes that he wanted to get out of there,” she says.

A few weeks after she left Dadaab, Leila got a friend request on Facebook from Paul the refugee. “It was just crazy,” she remembers. “This is a guy who, two months ago, had no idea he could be connected to the world this way.” After that, he even dug up her cell phone number and started sending her texts with credit he bought using the money he made through Samasource. Leila points out that Paul is now just one connection away from Mark Zuckerberg (Samasource was one of this year’s fbFund Rev winners). “Paul now has power and social capital; he’s starting to build an online reputation and starting to become visible to the world. It was a totally unanticipated side benefit.”

Leila’s experiment proved that a Somali refugee with a Kenyan public education could do a lot of the same work that educated Americans were doing. She now has 520 workers in six countries who are working with Samasource. They’ve generated over a quarter million dollars in sales working for clients like Google and the Stanford University Library, and have made more money than they would in years of doing backbreaking 50-cent-a-day labor at the camp. “Some people have accused us of creating a virtual sweatshop,” Leila says. “I find that very funny. This is like the ultimate creme de la creme job you can possibly get. If your opportunities are working at a quarry or toiling away on some field, the chance to sit in front of this cool machine and do this work that connects you to the world is so empowering for people, especially people from marginalized groups who have been told their whole lives that they’re not worth anything.”

You can hire a worker or donate to Samasource on their web site, or download the Give Work iPhone app to play a fun solitaire-meets-trivia type of game that helps Samasource-affiliated workers make a few bucks.

Source: http://www.boingboing.net

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Central Kenya men have highest number of lovers: report

Posted by Administrator on November 16, 2009

By SAMUEL SIRINGI Posted Saturday, November 14 2009 at 22:30

 

Men in Kenya have three times as many sexual partners during their lifetime than women do, a new study shows.

 

The men have an average of 6.3 sexual partners, compared to 2.1 for women, according to preliminary results from the Kenya Demographic Health Survey (KDHS) 2008-2009 released recently.

 

The report says men from Central Province have the highest average number of sexual partners (8.3) followed by those from Western Province with 8.1 partners.

 

Sexual partners

 

Men from Coast Province reported having an average of 7.8 partners, while their Rift Valley Province counterparts had a mean number of sexual partners of 6. Men from Nairobi and Nyanza provinces had 5.6 each.

 

The study, conducted at the end of last year and early this year sampled 2,633 male respondents. Women respondents had a much lower average number of partners. Those in Central Province recorded the highest number at 2.7 partners over a lifetime.

 

Women from Western and Eastern provinces had an average of 2.3 partners each in a lifetime. The report says married women and men were far less likely to report having two or more partners than those who had never married or are divorced. Those separated or widowed seldom reported having multiple partners.

 

The findings also revealed that people in their 40s are less likely to engage in risky sexual activity. Most sexually active Kenyans engage in unprotected sex, even when they had multiple partners, according to the researchers. Of those who had multiple partners, 32 per cent of women and 37 per cent of men reported using a condom during their last sexual intercourse.

 

The report says men were more likely to use condoms than women. Thirty-five per cent of women and 62 per cent of men who had sexual intercourse with a person who was not their husband, wife or cohabiting partner in the year before the survey reported using a condom in their last sexual intercourse.

 

Domestic violence against women is still rampant in Kenya, the report says. A large number of married, separated or divorced women reported they had been physically or sexually violated by their husbands and partners.

 

Of those sampled in the study which covered the past five years, 39 per cent of the women aged 15-49 years confirmed they had either been physically molested or sexually violated by their male partners. A total of 4,047 women were sampled by the researchers.

 

Of the affected respondents, 32 per cent said they were victims of such violence in the year preceding the survey. The survey showed that older women were more likely the younger women to report cases of sexual and physical violence.

 

Sexual violence

 

“Rural women are more likely than urban women to be victims of physical or sexual violence in marriage,” says the report, which also shows regional disparities in the cases of violence. Nyanza and Western provinces recorded the highest number of cases of abuse.

 

In Nyanza, 54 per cent of the women said they had been physically or sexually abused, while 45 per cent reported experiencing harassment over the past year.

 

Western Province had the second- highest reporterd cases of violence against women; 50.4 per cent of women there said they had been physically or sexually abused. Of the total number of 423 respondents from Western, 36.9 per cent said they had experienced the violence in the year before the survey.

 

According to the survey, women with secondary education are less likely to be physically or sexually violated than those with less education. “Women that bear the brunt of violence more than others are those with primary incomplete level of education,” says the report.

 

Divorced women

 

Divorced or separated women reported higher levels of violence. The study found that cases of female circumcision had declined from 49 per cent among women aged between 45 years and 49 years to 15 per cent of those aged between 15 years and 19 years. North Eastern Province reported the highest prevalence, with 98 per cent of the women respondents reporting that they were circumcised.

 

 

 Source: Daily Nation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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