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Archive for November, 2010

Diaspora group to address challenges

Posted by Administrator on November 30, 2010

Kenyans living in the United States have formed a movement to address challenges facing them.

The Kenya Global Unity (KGU) comes hot on the heels of multiple murders that have seen dozens of Kenyans killed in domestic violence related incidents across several states.

Interim officials of the organisation say the movement will be used as a think tank to channel several issues affecting Kenyans in the Diaspora and at home. It was registered in the State of New Jersey as a Non Governmental Organization (NGO). 

The interim President of the organization is Alex Momanyi (North Carolina) and Julius Ochieng Oluoch (North Carolina) is his deputy. The interim Secretary General is Joseph Lister Nyaringo (New Jersey) and his deputy is Beatrice Ruto (Florida).

KGU will seek to unite the various organisations that operate in various states in the US and worldwide to speak in one voice.

“We are going to advocate for unity of purpose among Kenyans who live outside their home. But we shall also seek to seek for real and practical changes in governance, the realisation of social justice, equity , good governance and promotion of democratic ideals,” said Mr Nyaringo, during the launch for KGU in Las Vegas Nevada last weekend.

It will retain three chapters in Europe, one in Canada, three in the US, and two each in Asia, and Africa respectively. The organisation shall also operate a homeland office in Nairobi.

KGU officials have appealed to the government to facilitate the implementation of dual citizenship for Kenyans and help them acquire new passports through its missions abroad. They also want the government to put logistics in place to enable all Kenyans in the Diaspora to register and vote in the next general elections slated in 2012, since it’s their right to do so.

The officials also demanded that the government addresses the issue of Kenyan women who are lured to Saudi Arabia with promise of a good job only to end up as domestic servants.

Other officials of the KGU include: Joan Misoi (Finance Secretary), Isaac Newton Kinity, director of operations while Peter Makori is the secretary for international affairs. Dr. Barrack Abonyo is the spokesperson.

In the Middle East, KGU is represented by Mohamed Abdi while Philip Ngugi and Julius Menge  represent the United Kingdom and Scandinavia.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/-/1056/1062856/-/11hadt1z/-/index.html

Posted in Diaspora News | 1 Comment »

HIV is the best thing that happened to our marriage

Posted by Administrator on November 30, 2010

The news could not have come at a worse time. She was just about to give birth to her third child when she learnt that she was HIV-positive.

To make matters worse, she was in an unhappy marriage, a marriage that was headed for the rocks.

“It was just too much for me to process. I was so stunned, I could not even cry,” says 32-year-old Halima Maina.

That was four years ago. Today, Halima and her 36-year-old husband Maina Muriuki say that being diagnosed with HIV turned out to be the saving grace of their once shaky marriage.

“Our marriage is happier and more fulfilling than it was before we found out that we were HIV-positive. We’re better people,” Halima says.

As Maina revisits his former life, one begins to understand Halima’s strange declaration about their marriage being transformed into a happier union by the HIV virus.

“I do not think I would be alive today, if I was HIV-negative,” Maina begins.

He confesses that before knowing his HIV status, alcohol and friends took priority over everything in his life, including his family.

His relationship with his wife was in such tatters that she had contemplated walking out on their 11-year marriage several times.

“He was my husband but I really did not know him because he was rarely home. When he was there, he was too drunk to make sense,” recalls Halima.

Their two sons knew even less of the perpetual drunkard they called daddy.

Maina concedes that the bond between him and his children was even weaker than that with his wife.

To begin with, his job then — a salesman with a local pharmacist — entailed a lot of travelling. He would come back in the wee hours, more often than not drunk.

The boys counted themselves lucky if they saw their father at least once a week, least of all while sober.

“I would leave the house at five in the morning and return late at night, drunk,” he confesses.

Then in the middle of all this gloom, HIV came knocking.

First, Muriuki fell ill and was admitted to Tumutumu Mission Hospital for eight days. His wife was pregnant then, and set to give birth any time. As he lay in his hospital bed, weak and helpless, she delivered their last child, a boy they named Douglas.

It was just before this delivery that the couple learnt about their HIV status. The news was devastating for both of them, so devastating that after being discharged from hospital, Maina fell ill again and was bedridden for five months.

That left his wife to cope alone, not just to nurse their youngest child, but to face the reality of their HIV status alone. Maina was in denial.

Halima says that she was the first to recover. By the time her husband came round to accepting his status, she had nursed their baby for almost six months and was ready to face life and this potent virus called HIV, to which she had never given a thought before.

And suddenly, their roles changed. The strong-willed husband who rarely spent time with his family unexpectedly found himself seeking the comfort of his soft-spoken wife who had quietly borne his truancy for eight years.

Like many men who are confronted with such unexpected news about their HIV status, Maina feared that his wife would leave him. After all, there was no doubt that he was the one who had infected her.

“I took full responsibility. I knew I was the one who infected her because a woman I had been intimate with had died a couple of years back from what I am now convinced was Aids,” says Maina.

Halima did the unexpected. She stayed and chose to confront the virus — and fight for her marriage. It wasn’t easy, though.

“I cried a lot. I asked where I was headed. Did I want my children to live without a father? Eventually, I decided to stay. I chose to live,” says Halima.

She does not regret her decision. Their marriage, she says, has moved to a higher level, one of love, respect, and friendship. Maina is a changed man. He has kicked a habit he had been struggling with for years: alcoholism. He says he now finds the smell of alcohol revolting.

“My drinking friends saw more of me than my wife. But after I was diagnosed HIV-positive, I began a new life,” he says.

His three sons, now aged 11, eight, and four, see more of their father and enjoy a healthy, and easy-going father-son relationship.

“He spends a lot with them,” says Halima.

For this mother of three, HIV has given her what she had quietly longed for during the many dark nights she spent alone with the children — a husband.

“I spent many lonely nights alone, agonising over what he was up to,” she recalls. “In so many ways, this virus that is so feared has given me back my husband. If he did not know his status, I doubt I would have a husband today.”

Halima has changed, too. According to her husband, she was a rather submissive housewife who quietly slipped behind the shadows of married life, as if she was trying to be invisible.

Well, not anymore.

Today, this mother-of-three plays a bigger role in all the major decisions that the family makes than she did before.

Often, she strictly enforces all the decisions made in their home, like those regarding the family diet.

She ensures that everyone, especially her husband, eats a balanced meal with the little resources available.

She is also a stronger character.

“Before, I was a quiet housewife waiting for my husband to come home. I rarely questioned his behaviour. Not anymore. I have a voice now, and I know that I am entitled to respect and appreciation from my husband, which I am getting.”

And although her husband is currently jobless and relies on odd jobs to provide for them, Halima says that they are happier.

“The bond between us has strengthened. We spend more time together, we share our thoughts more freely. I can now confidently say that we’re a happily married couple,” agrees Maina.

Initially, they feared that those who knew them would shun them because of their status and kept this information to themselves.

But they decided to shake off this fear and begun telling people about their status.

“If sharing our story could help other couples make decisions that would safeguard their health and marriage, we would share it,” says Maina.

They occasionally volunteer as peer counsellors for local support groups of people living with HIV and Aids, in Karatina, Central Kenya, where they come from.

They also talk to married couples about the importance of HIV testing, and over time, the community around them has embraced them.

In a society where an HIV diagnosis begins a despairing mental journey dogged by stigma for many, Maina and his wife have become an inspiration.

They are a poster couple for HIV/Aids anti-stigma campaigns, whose message is perhaps more powerful than any HIV testing and counselling billboard on the streets.

According to the coordinator of the Karatina Home Based Care and Counselling Centre, Samuel Kimiru, the Mainas form the backbone of a team that is encouraging married couples to know their HIV status.

“Many couples are now attending counselling sessions and those who are not married are now able to bargain for safe sex,” says Kimiru.

The result is yet another victory against the spread of HIV and Aids in marriage.

And thanks partly to a positive attitude, the Mainas are healthy and strong enough to lead a normal life.

Their campaign has borne fruit. So far, 20 HIV-free babies have been born to HIV-positive couples within the various support groups they have inspired, a factor that the local coordinator of Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTC), Jennifer Wothaya, describes as “the most impressive record in central Kenya.”

Available statistics indicate that married, untested couples present the biggest challenge in the war against HIV and Aids. Experts say that if more married couples would realise that being HIV positive does not necessarily mean an end to their marriages and lives, a big part of the battle would be won.

Halima and Maina want to encourage testing, saying this would go a long way to wiping out the HIV virus.

“I know there are many people who think that they are better of not knowing their HIV status. I want to tell them that they have a better chance of living a longer and more meaningful life if they knew their status,” says Maina.


Posted in Features | 1 Comment »

Kenyan Doctor Saves Lives Through AIDS Research

Posted by Administrator on November 30, 2010

Washington – With a mix of fierce dedication and a practical, results-based approach, Dr. Frederick Sawe has shown that much can be done in sub-Saharan Africa to stem the spread of HIV/AIDS. Sawe is deputy director of the Kenya Medical Research Institute/Walter Reed Project HIV Program, a prevention, research and treatment project run jointly by his home country of Kenya and the U.S. military’s international HIV program.

Based in the town of Kericho, in the southern Rift Valley region, the program is one of the country’s most comprehensive initiatives against HIV infection, which causes AIDS. Funding comes from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a U.S. government program established in 2003.

The program has registered more than half of the estimated 100,000 people infected with HIV in the region of 2.5 million. A little less than half of those infected receive anti-retroviral medication – a treatment that has turned the once deadly illness into a treatable condition. The others – infected, but healthy – undergo regular checkups and are put on the medicines if their health starts deteriorating. To bring care close to where patients live, medicines are provided at 347 local public health facilities throughout the region.

The program provides a level of care considerably better than what is available in many other parts of Africa. For example, the program reaches a large majority of the region’s pregnant women to counter the risk of their infecting their infants. Last year, 84,000 of the region’s 100,000 pregnant women were tested for HIV infection. Those who tested positive receive counseling and inexpensive medicines to prevent transmission of the virus to their newborns.

Sawe said the program follows procedures that researchers have demonstrated are pretty effective in preventing mother-to-child transmission of the virus. “There is really no reason for childhood HIV cases,” Sawe said.

Sawe’s program has improved the effectiveness of the widely used treatment. Research he co-authored that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that a combination of drugs – ideally administrated regularly from the 14th week of pregnancy – is much more effective and safe for the mother than the single dose of the inexpensive drug nevirapine during labor. This method has been used since its development in 1999 by researchers in Uganda. The treatment also avoids the risk of the mother building up a resistance to nevirapine and compromising future treatments.

Another focus of Sawe’s program has been reducing the transmission of the virus by prostitutes. Those “infecting the most people are the commercial sex workers,” Sawe said.

Typically, prostitutes and some others who might have been exposed to the virus have felt embarrassed to go to a clinic to be tested. So Sawe started a campaign of “moonlight HIV testing and counseling.” After a radio and leaflet ad campaign, health workers spent several nights on the streets of “red light” districts, offering testing and education on safe sex. In many areas, Sawe said, 50 percent of prostitutes tested positive.

“We teach them to use condoms, and how to negotiate with clients [for safe sex],” said Sawe. “For example, some now charge double for having sex without a condom.”

One of the goals of Sawe’s program is to train local health workers “so that people see their sons and daughters rather than some strangers” providing treatment. This is essential to winning the support of the population, Sawe said.

The program is also developing and testing new treatments and vaccines. The search for a vaccine against HIV received a major boost last year when, for the first time, a vaccine formula being tested in Thailand was shown to be partially effective.

The recently released annual report of the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS also had some good news. As a result of prevention and treatment programs around the world, at least 56 countries have stabilized or reduced the number of new HIV infections.

Source: http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1011/S00656/kenyan-doctor-saves-lives-through-aids-research.htm

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US tells Kenya sorry over WikiLeaks dossier

Posted by Administrator on November 30, 2010

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 30 – The government now says officials of the United States administration have apologised to Kenya over the anticipated damaging WikiLeaks cables touching on Kenya.

Government Spokesman Alfred Mutua on Tuesday said Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Johnnie Carson telephoned Prime Minister Raila Odinga over the matter on Monday but didn’t divulge details of the injurious information in the dossier.

Addressing a press conference at his Nairobi office, Dr Mutua was however categorical over Kenya’s disappointment with the information available in the international media on the regard Washington held Nairobi and its leadership.

“If what is reported is true, then it is totally malicious and a total misrepresentation of our country and our leaders,” he said.

Dr Mutua said: “We are surprised and shocked by these revelations.”

“What we know is that true friends should tell you the truth all the time. They should not tell you everything is okay on one hand and on the other say the opposite,” he said.

Media reports indicate that the US government has low regard for the Kenyan leadership and sees the nation as a swamp of corruption.

The Government Spokesman indicated that the apology suggested that more damaging reports could be on the way.

“I don’t think Carson could call our Prime Minister to tell him just about corruption. They have always told us that!”

“I think there is more to the leaks than just that. I think there is more which we will know in a few days.”

The latest round of WikiLeaks releases disclose more detail about America’s relationships with allies and foes across the globe information, which is touted to shake the associations.

“We have very strong historical relationship with America. We have worked well and we don’t think this will lead to any breakdown of the relationship we have,” said Dr Mutua when asked whether the information were likely to affect the bond between Nairobi and Washington.

“But it is good to express what we feel at this particular time.”

Read more: http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/Kenyanews/US-tells-Kenya-sorry-over-WikiLeaks-dossier-10696.html#ixzz16m0c6Z3F

Posted in Kenya | 1 Comment »

UPS looking to hire 50,000 temporary employees

Posted by Administrator on November 29, 2010

UPS announced that they will be hiring 50,000 temporary employees in readiness for the holiday shiping season.

UPS announced that they will be hiring 50,000 temporary employees in readiness for the holiday shiping season.

UPS expects to hire about 50,000 temporary workers for the holiday shipping season, about the same number the parcel carrier brought on last year, company officials said Friday.
The company has full-time, part-time, and seasonal positions available throughout the United States. The forecast fits in with forecasts from retailers that their hiring of seasonal workers, typically a boost to employment heading into the holidays, will grow only slightly over last year.
“Based on current projections, UPS anticipates that its peak season hiring will be similar to last year, with about 50,000 temporary workers added for the holiday surge in packages,” UPS spokesman Tyre Sperling said.
Those workers typically sort packages at UPS’s air and ground stations around the United States.
The company’s hiring projection comes as retailers are forecasting modest 2.3 percent growth in holiday sales this year and many stores are projecting seasonal hiring to increase only modestly from a year ago.
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If you are looking for Driver, Mechanic, or other Professional (including Business Development and IT) positions, please click on the appropriate tab in the left column. UPS is an equal opportunity employer.

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Posted in Announcements | 1 Comment »

Official urges Aids sufferers to remarry

Posted by Administrator on November 29, 2010

National Aids Control Council (NACC) Director Prof, Alloys Orago briefing the media at a past event. PHOTO / FILE

National Aids Control Council (NACC) Director Prof, Alloys Orago briefing the media at a past event. PHOTO / FILE

A government official responsible for the fight against HIV/Aids wants people who have lost spouses to re-marry as a way of fighting the disease.

This would allow them live a positive and full life, said the National AIDS Control Council director, Prof Alloys Orago.

The latest Kenya Demographic and Health Survey indicates that the HIV prevalence for girls is 2.8 per cent while that of boys is 0.5 per cent in the 15-19 years age bracket.

For those in 20-24 years bracket, women have 6.4 per cent HIV prevalence while it is 1.5 per cent for men.

Prof Orago urged parents not to further their careers at the expense of spending valuable time with their children. He said this would reduce their chances of getting into reckless behaviour that would expose them to contracting the virus.

He cited the new culture of many employed Kenyans attending evening classes after work as responsible for the youths’ reckless behaviour.

He warned that if parents delegated their roles, the number of new infections would continue rising.

“Parents should not just tell their children to abstain from pre-marital sex, they should also emphasise on building the character of their children,” he noted.

Prof Orago spoke when he officiated the opening of a voluntary counselling centre at the Teachers Service Commission headquarters in Nairobi ahead of the World Aids Day on Wednesday.

He commended TSC’s commitment to fighting the spread of the disease by establishing a vibrant Aids control unit, which runs a VCT centre at its headquarters.

He urged for the decentralisation of the unit to all the TSC branches countrywide.

“Kenya is well on track in attaining universal access to treatment in line with this year’s theme ‘Universal access and human right’,” said Prof Orago.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/Official%20urges%20Aids%20sufferers%20to%20remarry%20%20/-/1056/1062736/-/2sgl23/-/

Posted in Kenya | 9 Comments »

WikiLeaks: US envoys see Kenya as a ‘swamp’ of corruption

Posted by Administrator on November 29, 2010

Aerial View of the city of Nairobi, Kenya's capital city. Leaked reports from the US embassy in Nairobi depict Kenya as “a swamp of flourishing corruption,” the German magazine Der Spiegel reported on Sunday. PHOTO/ Fredrick Onyango

Aerial View of the city of Nairobi, Kenya's capital city. Leaked reports from the US embassy in Nairobi depict Kenya as “a swamp of flourishing corruption,” the German magazine Der Spiegel reported on Sunday. PHOTO/ Fredrick Onyango

Leaked reports from the US embassy in Nairobi depict Kenya as “a swamp of flourishing corruption,” the German magazine Der Spiegel reported on Sunday.

“Almost every single sentence in the embassy reports speaks with disdain of the government of President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga,” adds Der Spiegel.

The magazine’s brief reference to Kenya is part of its initial summary of the contents of a quarter-million secret US diplomatic cables being published by the controversial pro-transparency website Wikileaks.

America’s ambassadors are merciless in their assessments of the countries in which they are stationed, according to the leaked documents. Fifteen high-ranking Kenyan officials are already banned from travelling to the United States, and almost every single sentence in the embassy reports speaks with disdain of the government.

Personal information

Wikileaks itself has so far released only 226 of the 251,287 documents it obtained from undisclosed sources. None of the reports so far made available focus specifically on Kenya, but a graph on the Wikileaks website indicates that it has collected 1,427 US diplomatic reports related to Kenya.

In addition to Der Spiegel, Wikileaks provided advance access to the trove of material to The New York Times, The Guardian (London), El Pais in Spain and Le Monde in Paris.

Those news organisations say they will publish their own reports about the leaked information over the course of the next few days.

The leaked reports show that US diplomats did not just report on European or Arab leaders.

A national human intelligence collection directive issued under Hillary Clinton’s name calls for highly detailed and personal information on figures at top levels of society in Congo, Rwanda and Burundi.

It asks for details on military facilities, such as airfields and army camps, and on military equipment, including numbers, operational status and procurement/refurbishment activity.

The reports show that reports on medical history and the health status of some of the leaders in the Great Lakes region and their allies.

Other personal data included information relating to persons linked to African Great Lakes: office and organisational titles; names, position and other information on business cards; numbers of telephones, cell phones, pagers and faxes; telephone directories and e-mail listings; internet and intranet, credit card account numbers; frequent flyer account numbers; work schedules, and other biographical information.

They also sought information on rebel groups, opposition parties, status of media and their organisational structure

Three years ago, Wikileaks disclosed a report by the international risk assessment group Kroll alleging massive corruption on the part of relatives and associates of former President Daniel arap Moi.

The Kroll analysis had been commissioned by the government of President Kibaki soon after it came to power following the 2002 election. It was completed in 2004 and published by Wikileaks in 2007.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange subsequently claimed that the website’s action influenced the 2007 election results. Mr Assange said in a commentary published last year that none of the politicians named in the Kroll report were re-elected.

The vast trove of diplomatic cables leaked on Sunday by the WikiLeaks website shows that US allies in Europe and the Middle East are pushing for tough action against the Iranian nuclear threat.

The international community is already pressuring Iran to drop its attempt to refine uranium, but the leaked cables published Sunday by world newspapers show that behind the scenes world leaders are fearful and pessimistic.

From the first memos released, it was learned that:

• Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abd al-Aziz has “repeatedly” urged his US allies to take military action against Tehran’s nuclear programme and urged them to “cut off the head of the snake”.

• Israel believes US President Barack Obama’s diplomatic outreach to Iran is doomed to failure and that time is running out before military action will need to be tabled if Tehran is not to get a nuclear bomb.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/US%20envoys%20see%20Kenya%20as%20a%20swamp%20of%20graft%20/-/1056/1062774/-/at4du3/-/

Posted in Kenya | 14 Comments »

When friends shun you

Posted by Administrator on November 28, 2010

Your husband dies or you divorce and suddenly people you thought were your close friends peel away because you have suddenly become a threat to their marriages

Your husband dies or you divorce and suddenly people you thought were your close friends peel away because you have suddenly become a threat to their marriages

There are times when a woman may experience changes in life that are so far-reaching that they affect every aspect of their lives.

These changes provide eye-opening opportunities to discover who your true friends really are, or what type of friends you have around you.

When certain things happen in your life, you get the opportunity to discover exactly whether the fiends you have around are the type who will stand by you through hell and high water, or they ones who will drop you at the drop of a hat?

Lose your job and you will immediately lose a large chunk of people you thought were your friends.

After all, they don’t want to be associated with jobless people who will most likely be a nuisance as they keep asking you for money which you believe they are in no position.

Others have fallen ill and during such times, learnt to be friends. Friendship is indeed a valuable gift to have and to give.

One of the most revealing changes that expose the very heart of your friendships is when you lose your spouse through either death or divorce.

Death and divorce are the principal means by which marriages end. Others are desertion and separation. Such endings are often accompanied by many emotions – frustration, disappointment, grief, relief, hope – and sometimes by growth.

This is one area that catches many women unawares – the way their friendships with their fellow womenfolk will be affected immediately they become ‘single’ again.

Some friends will remain loyal, while others will show their true characters and turning away from you because they fear you may be a threat in some way.

These are what we know as fair weather friends. They are only your friends when the going is good and disappear into thin air when you least expect it.


Alicen Wangare, 36, (not her real name) went through a steep learning curve after undergoing an acrimonious divorce four years ago.

Although she got over the pain of losing her husband and marriage, she will never forget what the divorce revealed about her friends.

“If you think all the friends you have are for real, think again. When your situation changes, you will know who you are really dealing with,” she says in retrospect.

Alicen was a successful advertising executive living in a gated community in an upmarket Nairobi suburb with her husband John and two children.

She formed a close-knit circle with three other women in the neighbourhood and over a period of 10 years, they become a clique of families who were as close as sisters.

They did a lot of things together and were in and out of each others’ houses for parties. They were supportive even in times of problems and would rally around whoever among the had the a bereavement or any other issue.

Their children were in and out of each other’s houses during the holidays and weekends were spent at a nearby golf club where their husbands played.

On Sundays, they went to the community church, after which they had lunch together whenever it was possible. But this happy state of affairs changed for Alicen when her husband was offered a well paying international job.

They decided he would work overseas for one year, after which Alicen and the children would relocate and join him. A lot can change in just a year, and John had an extra marital affair with a foreign woman out of which a child was born.

When Alicen discovered what had happened, she confronted her husband who at first denied that he had an affair, leave alone a child out of wedlock.

Things came to ahead when the other woman called Alicen and told her she should give up on John because they were thinking about marriage.

She sent Alicen a bunch of pictures to show just how happy they were with John. Confused about what to do, Alicen opted to separate from her husband as she contemplated the situation.

She however, kept the house and tried to continue her life as normally as was possible in the circumstances. For support, she confided in her friends.

At first they were sympathetic and very supportive. But a year down the line when it was obvious that John was not coming back and that a divorce was imminent, she started noticing a subtle change of attitude towards her from some of her friends.

Very slowly and gradually, she noticed that they were no longer comfortable with her being around their houses especially when their husbands were around.

It was not overt at first, but she would no longer be invited when her friends had guests or when they were going out to the club to join their husbands. Alice instinctively knew that she was no longer part of the inner circle.

Much as her friends pretended to be their old selves, she realized that beneath it all, there was this sense that she no longer belonged.

She couldn’t help feeling that they now viewed her with open suspicion especially whenever one of their husbands spoke to her.


The last straw was when one evening as she drove to her house, she got a puncture. Daniel, one of her friends’ husbands stopped to help her change the tyre when his wife Kate jogged by.

She stopped to ask what the problem was but “Her body language spoke a thousand words,” says Alicen. “She was strangely cold towards both of us, and I literally froze. It was a very defining moment.

Her husband sensed it too, because he promptly changed the tyre, and left. This would never have happened when John and I were still together.”

It was very painful to realize that women who I had thought were my best friends now viewed me with suspicion and yet I had not given them any reason to doubt my friendship or integrity.

Was it just because now I was single and they thought I might target their husbands? After this incident, Alicen decided that if they could be so cruel to her instead of being supportive then she did not need them as friends either and that is how what had been a close knit group disintegrated.

They still meet at the club but Alicen now has new friends and even though the children are still friends, she is very careful how she relates with her former friends, their husbands and even their children.

Divorce or separation has many side-effects. Whatever you had, you seem to lose. First, it is your spouse and as if that is not enough, you lose your friends as well.

Some losses are expected and don’t cause a shock, but the friends? It is the icing on the cake of your losses. Losing friends and knowing that you are now the topic of gossip among them is hard to bear.

They treat you as if you have a contagious disease, afraid that your misfortune might somehow spread to them, so they isolate you and relegate you to the Siberia of friendlessness.

Some feel that being close to you may threaten their marriages. Divorce, separation and death are realities that can happen to anyone, but it still renders many friends speechless.

Most of them do not know how to handle the person on the receiving end, now that your status has changed. Others simply decide to keep away.

Those you thought you could depend on no longer relate with you and have no empathy, so they end up gossiping and judging you.

Whatever the cause of your separation, most of them leave you to lick your wounds all by your self.

Divorce and separation are not the only losses that could make your friends change towards you, it also happens when you lose your spouse through death.

Many a widow can attest to the fact people who were close to you when your husband was alive, suddenly distance themselves because they imagine that you will become emotionally needy and financially dependent.

Some women even feel that their husbands will sympathise with you and use this as an excuse to spend time with you.

Because men who were friends have been known to have affairs with their late friend’s wife, on the pretext of helping their late friend’s family out, their wives, who were probably your best friends may be afraid that their marriages could be under threat arising from your close association with their husbands.


Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/Features/saturday/When%20friends%20shun%20you%20%20/-/1216/1060874/-/wn5746/-/index.html

Posted in Features | 1 Comment »

When your spouse hates your friends…

Posted by Administrator on November 28, 2010

What happens when your spouse starts to treat your long time close friend as his/her enemy number one? A delicate situation arises and one may need to make tough choices to get out of it. Photo/ANTHONY NJOROGE/Posed by models, courtesy tacos restaurant

What happens when your spouse starts to treat your long time close friend as his/her enemy number one? A delicate situation arises and one may need to make tough choices to get out of it. Photo/ANTHONY NJOROGE/Posed by models, courtesy tacos restaurant

A former classmate of mine in college is in trouble with his wife of four years.

When he called me two weeks ago telling me he had a serious personal issue he wanted to discuss with me, I dropped everything I was doing and went to meet him.

To protect his identity, I will change his name to Martin*. Martin is a father of one, a son, and has been married for four years.

What troubles him today is that his wife has come to loathe his friend of 12 years, a friend from high school in the mid 1990s.

The bond between Martin and his friend is that they shared the same cubicle in Form One. They were bullied by the older cube-mates together and eventually learnt to defend themselves as they grew to be close friends.

They come from the same area and almost every term, one had to bail the other in terms of bus fare. After Form Four, they joined different universities although they studied the same courses.

They kept their friendship alive by visiting each other while in campus. As fate would have it, they graduated the same year (2004), “tarmacked” for two years before joining the same telecommunication company as new employees in 2006.

It is this friend that encouraged Martin to marry his wife. When the first child came, he was there as one of the close friends.

Party animal

But this year, things suddenly took a turn for the worse and the wife started to complain that the friend was “a bad influence on him”.

Martin, himself did not seem to see any problem with the friendship and does not understand exactly why his wife now hates this friend.

“This guy is a party animal. Every time he is with my husband, they come home past 3am,” said the wife when I reached her on phone.

Her problem on this one is that Martin doesn’t drink on weekdays but whenever he meets the friend on a weekday, they drink up to the wee hours. This is not his wife’s major problem, however.

Her beef with this guy is that at 32, he is yet to get married or even be serious with one woman. Instead of thinking of settling down, he’s busy changing girlfriends. This year alone, he has had three different girlfriends.

“What bothers me when they are together with my husband is the fact that the friend always has one of the girlfriends.

So what does my husband do when the friend is having fun with his girls? Does he just sit and watch as his friend enjoys life with his women?

Would I be blamed for thinking that he could also be having female company?” she says. There comes a time, she says, when a married person should spend time with people who care about the family’s future and not just those who are out for endless fun.

“I want him to have serious friends. Not those who are talking about how to spend money instead of how to earn more and invest. Martin apparently does not see why he should not discuss leisurely topics with his friend once in a while.

“I work in a busy environment and I need to let loose sometimes, life is not always about saving and investing. Sometimes we take life too seriously,” he says in a defensive tone.

A fortnight ago, matters came to a head when Martin’s wife refused to cook for the friend who had come knocking after the family had had dinner. “I am not married to two men. Let him get his own wife, she said furiously. She left them in the sitting room and went to bed.

“I am going to work early and I can’t go back to the kitchen. I’m sorry my dear,” she had told her husband loudly enough for the visiting friend to hear.Martin’s dilemma is that he is now confused on what action to take.

Should he cut any links with his long time friend at the instigation of the wife? Is the wife in order to choose his friends, to dismiss some and endorse some? And if Martin decides to keep the friend, what impact will it have on his young family?

The delicate balance that faces the couple is that there are people associated with one spouse who become ‘a burden’ when the family has rolled off.

Should such friends be kept at a distance? Or is it advisable to discard some of these close friends for the sake of the family?


It is not only wives who get fed up with their men’s friends. Martin’s case replicates the trouble that brewed between Jane, a female workmate and her husband. Both women are teachers in Nairobi.

Two years after her marriage in 2002, Jane’s husband categorically told her to terminate the friendship with the colleague. But how could she suddenly stop seeing her colleague who has been her ‘confidante’ over the years? That was Jane’s dilemma.

The husband had allegedly feared that this friendship was “destroying” his wife. The story was that the lady friend had separated from her husband after 12 years of marriage.

There was a serious fall out that involved both families and as a friend, Jane always accompanied her to family meetings. Finally, the matter landed in court with custody of children and equal share of matrimonial property taking centre stage in the legal battle.

Three months into the saga, Jane’s husband could no longer take the sight of his wife in tow with the plaintiff in the courts especially after a short court drama was captured in the media. “I ordered her to cut off the friendship immediately.

She strongly defended the friend’s legal action but I told her to choose between me and the friend as I would never allow the friendship to continue,” says the husband.

What triggered the husband’s wrath is the fact that during one school opening day, Jane was late to take their child to school because the opening day coincided with the mention of the friend’s case.

“She opted to attend the mention and deal with her child’s issue later. AS far as I’m concerned, that was unacceptable!” says the husband. The husband confides that he feared the same fate could befall him one day.

“I saw my wife picking up her friend’s aggressiveness and felt jittery. The woman is also the type that has little respect for men,” he says. It was hard for Jane to let go of her friend.

The matter could have degenerated into something else had the friend not been transferred to another school just in time. “It was a relief for me to see her friend go,” admits the husband.

Jane and Martin are examples of spouses who cannot stomach the characters of their spouse’s friends. What should one do when faced with the dilemma of having to choose between your spouse and a long-term dear friend? We spoke to a counselling psychologist.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/Features/saturday/When%20your%20spouse%20hates%20your%20friends/-/1216/1060902/-/15sofwt/-/index.html

Posted in Features | Comments Off on When your spouse hates your friends…

Churchill’s chilling encounter

Posted by Administrator on November 28, 2010

For the past one week, comedian Daniel Ndambuki has been in the media glare after a sophisticated group of shadowy characters apparently lured him into a seemingly orchestrated illicit romantic den.He spoke to DAVID ODONGO

It’s a few minutes past midnight and standing outside Carnivore Restaurant, the chilly Nairobi cold bites to the bone. I am waiting for my editor, CEO, who has gone in to have a private conversation with Churchill before I interview him. I look at the cars driving by. Ecstatic faces of fans who have just for the past four hours, been at the Churchill Live Show. And for sure, they don’t look disappointed. A few minutes later, as I stand, shuddering despite my heavy sweater, CEO comes back, with the comedian in tow.

Daniel Ndambuki aka Churchill the comedian, is not laughing. His ever-smiling face is taut with a worrying grimace. He says hi to me and tries to smile, but his eyes betray him as I can notice the languid, forlorn look.

We head into Simba Saloon and the comedian leads us into a corner. He settles into the farthest corner, as if trying to hide himself under the cover of dim lighting in the place.

“What would you do if you found a man with your wife?” he asks timidly. “There would be a fight” I reply without any hesitation. “Yes,” he says, then shifts a little to the edge of the seat. “That’s exactly what any man would do, not ask for money,” he adds.

For a man who has worked hard for 15 years to be the most recognised comedian in the country, the emotional and psychological strain of the past one-week is clearly taking toll on him. The last few days, rumours in blogs and social network sites have gone into overdrive, with different speculations on Churchill’s moral misdemeanour.

Others state he was caught in a compromising situation with a ‘married’ woman while others say the comedian is being blackmailed by a group of highly sophisticated unscrupulous shadowy foreigners. But the comedian doesn’t want to confirm or deny anything. He draws his black leather jacket tighter around him and says: “The matter is under investigations and I know the truth will eventually come out,” he adds.

great career

He shifts uneasily in his seat and asks if we have seen the alleged incriminating photos. We reply in the affirmative.

“I have worked so hard for 15 years to try and make it in comedy. A thing like this can bring everything tumbling down. I don’t know if some people would be happy to see me nikienda kuchunga mbuzi nyumbani because my career is ruined” he says this with so much emotion in his voice that I try to avoid his eyes. I look down and fidget with my notebook. Churchill himself is not settled. His hands are busy fiddling around with the saltshaker and toothpick holder. At that moment, Dzorro, Churchill Live producer walks in and grabs a seat. “Is everything alright?’ he asks the comedian as his gaze settles on me, assessing me with a stern, icy glare.

“Sisi tuko sawa,” says the comedian before he introduces me. Dzorro relaxes and after discussing the night’s live show with Churchill, gets up and walks away.

“It’s not easy. Today, I had over 1,300 fans that came for tonight’s show, and I could see question marks in their eyes.

I know somebody would have wanted me to clarify the rumours doing rounds,” whispers Churchill as he draws closer and adds, “The hard part is how do you tell your wife that this and that happened and be prepared because it will be in the media.” He says as a pained look comes to his face.

“Churchill is a brand that I have worked on for so long. And it can be so unfair for somebody to drag my name into such unsavoury situation. God will see me through, and the truth one day, will come out, for all to see and judge for themselves,” he says bitterly.

Ever a comedian, Churchill mimicking a Swahili newsreader says: “Mchekezaji mashuhuri aliyekuwa akibobea kwenye ulingo wa vitimbi, siku hizi yumo nyumbani akilisha mbuzi. Mchekezaji huyo, ambaye duru zakuaminika zasema kwamba…” he stops as we all laugh. Dark humour.

poor judgement

But where does the truth lie? Churchill intimates that he had known the woman in question for more than a year. The woman is said to work for an investment company that handles the comedian’s finances.

The person handling your moneyis probably the one you trust most and you keep close, common sense dictates. The woman invited the comedian to her place and harbouring no ill motives, Churchill went, accompanied by a male friend. What ever transpired from there is only known between Churchill, the girl and Churchill’s friend. What we know is that a man stormed in, with several photographers who took snaps at the comedian next to the woman, who had stripped naked. The man is alleged to have now been using the pictures to blackmail the comedian into paying him colossal sums of money or else, he releases the photos.

“That’s one thing I will not do. I will not pay anybody to hide what is false about me. God will see me through this. My consolation is, it could have been worse, and from this situation, I ask myself, which lessons have I learnt and what haven’t I learnt?” he says.

Born Dan Ndambuki in Machakos District, the comic has come a long way to fame, money and stardom. A creative comedian, an extremely capable thespian, a theatre director and producer, Churchill is also a powerfully witty radio presenter.

With a fresh style and clean humour, Church has in the past few years revolutionised the Kenyan comedy scene. Churchill’s star started shining brightly when he appeared in Redykyulass, a funny television comedy that satired politics and Kenyans peculiar way of life.

Acting alongside Walter Mong’are (Nyambane), Peter Kaimenyi (Kajairo) Maurice Otieno (Mdomo Baggy) John Kiarie (KJ) and Tony Njuguna, Ndambuki gained necessary skills that a few years later, saw him host his own successful live TV show, Churchill Live. The show has an online fan base of over 200,000 fans on Facebook, which demonstrates his popularity in social media. Accolades have also followed the comic’s rise as he won two Chaguo La Teeniez Awards this year. Last year saw Ndambuki win Best Comedy programme, Theatre Person of the Year and Best TV programme overall at The Kalasha Awards. He also won the Best Narrator at the 1999 Mavuno Awards.

script writer

The Churchill Live features guests from versatile spheres of society, blended with stand —up comedy from Ndambuki himself as well as guest upcoming and established comedians.

Having started gaining inroads into the industry, Ndambuki worked with a theatre group, Heartstrings Kenya. He has also written many hilarious scripts including most recently critically acclaimed play, The 43rd Kenyan tribe. Other plays penned by the multi— talented comedian include This Is Kenya, Dare Kenyans To Love and Let Kenyans be Kenyans.

In bid to support up and coming comedians, Churchill launched the first and only national comedy star search ‘The Top Comic’.

As for the predicament that Ndambuki has found himself in, what can’t kill him, will definitely make him stronger and as he says, the truth will finally come out.

Source: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/InsidePage.php?id=2000023274&cid=123

Posted in Kenya | 10 Comments »

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