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Archive for December 7th, 2011

Video: New Kenyan Parliamentary Seats costing Sh200,000 a seat!

Posted by Administrator on December 7, 2011

Now, starting march next year, members of parliament could be transacting their legislative business in the new chambers.. The ministry of public works says the completion of the 949 – million – shilling project, was now on course, after a tender dispute was resolved…but, here is the catch.. One of the first things to be completed as early as February 2012 will be a 352-seat chamber, at a cost of 200,000 shillings per seat. Willis Raburu reports on the price of comfort, in the national assembly.

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Posted in Kenya | 2 Comments »

Video: The Reluctant Outlaw

Posted by Administrator on December 7, 2011

Nairobi’s matatu drivers are generally despised and feared, but one driver dreams of beginning a new life.

Posted in Kenya | Tagged: | 5 Comments »

Top 10 Things Women Do To Destroy Their Marriage

Posted by Administrator on December 7, 2011

While both husband and wife should take responsibility for their part in a marriage, below are ten mistakes common to women, which can completely destroy a marriage.
1. Using words to hurt, maim and destroy your marriage: Although men are stronger, women have the advantage when it comes to verbal strength. Women are adept at brandishing the sharpest words in order to shame, demean and belittle their man. Words are like toothpaste. Once they are out, there is no getting them back in. Regardless of how sorry you are afterward, the damage has been done.
2. Having unrealistic expectations: Seeking fulfillment from one person, and projecting your unhappiness onto him when he doesn’t measure up will quickly destroy your marriage. If you feel unhappy, first examine reality. You will be happier if you shape your expectations to fit the reality of your situation. Expecting your spouse or children to make you happy is unrealistic. Make yourself happy.
3. Using sarcastic and critical statements, gestures, and facial expressions. This is a quick and easy way to show your husband that you don’t respect him or his opinion. Men can become overwhelmed by the barrage of criticism coming at them. The result is they shut down, withdraw, and seek kindness and approval elsewhere.
4. Criticize him, make fun of him and belittle him to your friends and family: Not only will this diminish your husband in your eyes, it will poison those closest to you. You force them to take sides, and of course they choose your side, because they want to be loyal to you. They will not look at your husband the same. Once you are over your tirade, they will still be mad at him. Your close friendships andrelationships will remain irreparably altered against your husband, in time, this can destroy your marriage.
5. Withhold affection and sex: Men are wired differently than women. Theyneed physical release through sexual intimacy. When you refuse to meet that need, you are making a much deeper statement; you do not care about or respect his needs. As much as you need emotional release and closeness, he is wired to need physical release and closeness. Neither is wrong. You are just different. While you want your emotional needs met, it is important not to lose sight of his needs. Think of it this way; what if he stopped talking to you for three days? How about a week? What if he didn’t talk to you for a month? Unconscionable. Likewise, it is unfair for you to cut him off from what he needs.
6. Disrespecting his insight, opinions and advice: Men are fixers. By nature, if you present a problem, he will come up with concrete steps to solve the problem. When you are dismissive, it sends the message that you do not value him. If you just want to bitch and complain, call a girlfriend. Girlfriends are great listeners. They will not try to fix you. If you must whine at your husband, tell him upfront that you don’t need a solution, just an ear to hear. Sometimes, you might actually follow his advice. It could just work.
7. Undermining his authority, but demanding he take full responsibility: In any organization, there must be a leader, someone in charge. The head over the whole organization, who says, “The buck stops here.” Typically, the person who carries the responsibility ought to be the one who has the final say. Don’t become so focused on your own feelings and fears (i.e. I’m afraid he’ll make a bad decision. I feel like I make better decisions) to override his feelings and fears (i.e. I am responsible to take care of the family. I’m afraid no one in the family respects me.) Be gracious in light of his decision making. You can respectfully disagree with a decision without attacking his ability to lead.
8. Never being happy: One of the quickest ways to destroy your marriage is to spend all your time acting miserable and unhappy. The goal of marriage should be peace and happiness. It is to this end that you have an obligation to be happy. If the goal is to be happily married, it is up to you to exercise self control. There is no need to express every angry, bitter or resentful thought. By owning your own problems, you can take responsibility for your own happiness. Each day, work on bringing your best self into the relationship. Regardless of what happens, you are only one thought away from peace.
9. Demoralizing him and crushing his spirit: If asked, most men believe their wives to be more moral and spiritual than themselves. Often, the wife agrees. She does not see herself as sinful or wrong. She feels her greatest “sins” lie in being deeply disappointed by her husband’s failures and her children’s shortcomings. Beyond this, wives typically admit to bad behavior and attitudes, but attribute it to hormones, chemical imbalances and a dysfunctional childhood. Woe to the husband who dares suggest his lovely bride could use improvement in some aspect of her life. Labeled a heartless, uncaring, unrighteous lout, he is silenced by an angered, wounded wife, cloaked in self-righteous indignation. She then feels perfectly justified in attacking every flaw, magnifying every misstep and pointing out every failure, until he feels ashamed for living. You are not your husbands holy spirit. Stop trying to correct every little flaw you perceive in his character and set about removing the blinding plank from your own eye.
10. Picking the wrong man. Again. And again. You meet a man. You like him. You start dating. Then you begin to notice the tiny flaws. The chinks in his armor. He yells, just like your dad did. He drinks and becomes abusive. He is mean to your kids. “It’s o.k., ” you tell yourself, “I’ll fix him after we get married.” Stop right there. There is no fixing it. The man you date will be the same man after you are married. Inherently kind? He’ll still be kind. Addicted to pornography? He’ll still be addicted. You cannot change the basic nature of other people. You cannot love them into changing. You cannot nag or pout or complain them into changing. If the relationship feels unhealthy during dating, getting married will not fix it. He will not magically become more responsible, more reliable, or more loving after you marry him. So if you want a good husband, find a good man, date him, and marry him.
While this list may seem daunting, it is important to remember that the main goal of marriage should be peace and happiness. If life is stressful, work on changing your perception. You can see peace instead of stress. You are only one thought away from a peaceful life. If you feel unhappy, seek those thing that will fulfill you in life. Just be happy. The simplest route to something is to just be. The only person you can change is yourself.

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments »

Top 10 Things Men Do To Destroy Their Marriage

Posted by Administrator on December 7, 2011

While both husband and wife should take responsibility for their part in a marriage, below are ten mistakes common to men, which can completely destroy a marriage.

1. Leaving her alone in the marriage: One of the quickest ways to destroy your marriage is to leave yourwife alone. Spend long hours at work, followed by a beer afterward with the guys. When you get home, don’t engage her or your children. Lose yourself in baseball or computer poker. On the weekends, complain about the messy house, then leave to run errands. Don’t come back for several hours. The most miserable thing for a wife is when you isolate her by emotionally leaving the relationship. Yes, she has friends, and a job. Yes, she spends a lot of time running the kids around. It’s not the same. Her desire is to spend time with you, the man she loves. To be left alone by her husband causes deep heartache for women. For most women, their largest fears boil down to isolation and deprivation. When she feels abandoned by you, she attacks with hurtful and disrespectful behavior. Her ability to verbally hurt you is her strongest weapon, and she uses it out of fear, trying to get your attention.
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2. Not getting too close: You wife feels energized when she feels close to you. Refusing to let her know you is destructive to your marriage. While you strive to keep your independence, she longs to connect with you. It is not fair to either of you if you are only affectionate and attentive on the days you want sex. Affection and closeness ought to be an end in themselves, not a means to a different end. Talking is not the only way women feel close, although it is an important one. Simple ways to fulfill your wife in this area are to hug her often. Hold her hand. Spend some time alone with her. When her need for closeness is met, she will be more inclined to respect your need for independence.
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2 1/2. Closing yourself off to her: Women exist as an integrated circuit. Mind, body and soul are closely linked so that hurt feelings affect the entire system. A wife whose spirit is crushed may suffer from fatigue and confusion. Like a strand of Christmas lights, when one light goes out, they all go dark. Men compartmentalize. If one Christmas light goes out on his strand, all the other lights function properly, unaffected. Men are able to fully function when one area of their lives is not working properly. Your wife does not understand the closed off, mysterious way you operate. Things don’t seem to bother you. You never want to talk to her. She knows you are stressed about work, but you don’t show it. She wonders how you can even function. Your wife is not trying to pry or sneak her way into no-mans land. She simply wants you to be open. She wants to “see” you. She feels loved when you share your fears, worries and troubles. She won’t try to fix you. She will listen.
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3. Always trying to fix her: Even when she doesn’t always say it, your wife sees you as her strength; the bearer of her burdens. When she comes to you to off load the weight of her world, it is a compliment. She knows you can handle it. Rather than try to resolve and repair every issue, try to just listen to her. You might even ask if she needs a solution or just an ear. It will be a relief for both of you when you realize that sometimes you don’t have to fix all the problems. And when you listen, she will feel like you understand her (even if you don’t!).
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4. Never say, “I’m sorry.”: All marriages have conflict. The refusal to apologize is a quick way to destroy yours. While conflict is not a pleasant thing, growth and closeness can increase as conflict is resolved. For your wife, an apology means she has moved forward, through the conflict and is now seeking peace. Manyhusbands see apologizing as a sure sign of weakness. They think, “If I apologize, she won’t respect me.” On the contrary, if you humbly apologize and ask her forgiveness, your wife will be putty in your hands. Your small act of contrition soothes her spirit, a healing balm over her heart.
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5. Taking her insecurity too lightly: Your wife knows she is highly committed to you. When she sees you looking at other women, in the mall, on t.v., on the computer, she fears that you may be unfaithful. She is insecure and needs your reassurance, not belittling, joking, or teasing. Your wife is motivated by your love and loyalty. She has committed her life to you, and wants to feel secure that you are equally committed to her. A big symbol of your loyalty to your wife is a wedding ring. For a woman, this is a sign of your fidelity. A married man without a ring seems to be trying to hide something. It requires not a lot from you, to reassure your wife in this way, and her peace of mind ought to be worth the cost of an inexpensive outward expression of your fidelity. When your wife feels insecure, she may ask if you still think she is pretty. She may ask if you love her. She may ask if you think someone else is more attractive. This is not a trap. She feels she is moving toward you, by asking a question and starting a conversation. Talking is how women feel close. She is seeking your assurance of love and loyalty. Rather than make light of the moment, look at her. No, really look at her. Tell her she is the most beautiful woman you have ever seen. Give her the assurance she seeks, and ease her troubled mind.
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6. Ignoring the importance of simple gestures: Your wife does not require fancy jewelry or expensive meals. Granted, those things are nice, and you like to treat your wife. It isn’t always necessary. She feels loved by the small tokens of your love and appreciation. When you neglect the small things, it may feel to her like you are trying to buy her affection, or ease your own guilt, with the big things. Let your wife know that she is on your mind during the day. A single rose when you walk in the door speaks volumes to her language of love. for her, the most important days of the year are her birthday and the day she married you. Celebrate these days by spending time with just her. It will mean more than any expensive gift ever could. The cost of the gift is secondary to the thought you put into it.
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7. Taking all the fun out of sex: When you confuse sex with intimacy, it’s no fun. When you only focus on your orgasm, it’s no fun. When you only show interest in your wife when you want to get lucky, it’s no fun. When you devalue the depth of your sexual relationship with crude jokes and pornography, it’s no fun. When you expect her to get excited instantly, it’s no fun. When you neglect your wife’s sexual needs, it’s no fun. When you are married, sex is supposed to be fun. An intimate sharing, designed to bring you closer, sex should cement the bond between you. Think of your wife as a crock-pot. You are a microwave. Put a meal in a microwave, and you are eating within three minutes. A crock-pot meal takes a lot of forethought. You need the proper ingredients. You have to put everything together, turn it on and wait. Six or eight hours later, you enjoy a delicious meal. Your wife needs the same thoughtful consideration. Start in the morning with a kiss. Tell her she’s beautiful. Women never get tired of hearing that from the man they love. Help get the kids ready for school. After work, ask about her day. Slow. Slow. Slow. If you want to bring the fun back into sex, think crock-pot, not microwave. You can microwave in the shower.
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8. getting lost in bitterness and anger: When you shut your wife out, to brood in your despair, it fills her with fear. Women like to talk things out. Men like to shut things out. When you feel stressed about work, about money, about your relationship, you turn inward. This provokes your wife’s fear of abandonment and rejection. She thinks you don’t love her when you refuse to speak. This fear, and her desire to resolve conflict, cause your wife to pursue you. She wants to talk it out, not to belittle or demean you, but to feel closer. She wants you to trust her, so she can trust you.
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9. Not taking responsibility: Whether it’s an addiction, an affair or poor performance in your life, many times, husbands point to their wives as the reason for their weakness. “She makes me drink because of her nagging. I cheated because she wouldn’t take care of me. I’m doing poorly because she never encourages me.” It’s time to take full responsibility for your own behavior. You choose to drink. You choose to cheat. You choose to work or not work. Rather than blame someone or something else, stand up, take control and make your life reflect the values you desire. Your life is completely under your control. Today, you can choose differently.
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10. Picking the wrong woman. Again. And again. A woman in distress, moving from crisis to crisis, will continue to be distresses after you marry her. A nitpicking woman who criticizes your every decision will continue to nitpick. A control freak always wants control, even after the wedding. If you want a nice wife, then date a nice woman and marry her. Treat her with love and respect and she will return the kindness. Trying to rescue a woman in distress will only lead you to feel used and unappreciated. A strong marriage begins with a goodwilled woman and a goodwilled man. It flourishes as you both grow in love and respect toward each other.
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While this list may seem daunting, it is important to remember that the main goal of marriage should be peace and happiness. If life is stressful, work on changing your perception. You can see peace instead of stress. You are only one thought away from a peaceful life. If you feel unhappy, seek those thing that will fulfill you in life. Just be happy. The simplest route to something is to just be. The only person you can change is yourself.
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Posted in Features | 9 Comments »

Kenyan IDPs in Uganda Arrogant, Says Murugi

Posted by Administrator on December 7, 2011

Some 216 Kenyan IDPs in Uganda have not been resettled because they are arrogant and some are still traumatised by the 2007/08 post-election violence experience, a Cabinet minister has said.

Special Programmes minister Esther Murugi said the IDPs remaining in Uganda are demanding a 5-acre piece of land and Sh500,000 each before they come back to Kenya. “So we decided they might as well be better off living in Uganda as IDPs. They cannot give us ultimatums like that,” said Murugi during a Parliamentary Select Committee on IDP’s workshop in Mombasa yesterday.

Saboti MP Eugene Wamalwa had asked why the government has only returned 400 IDPs who had fled to Uganda and left the others. He said they should all be brought back. “We appreciate that the government resettled 400 IDPs from Uganda but there are others still remaining. How has your ministry helped them? Have you visited them?” posed Wamalwa.

Murugi said some the IDPs in Uganda need continued counselling and some are not ready to come back for fear of victimization. “One woman in Uganda witnessed her children being burnt in Kiambaa. She told me she cannot come back to Kenya for fear of the unknown,” said Murugi. She said the UNHCR in Uganda should continue counselling the IDPs until they are ready to come back home.

The minister also complained of skyrocketing land rates that she said have hampered the resettlement. She called on Finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta to increase the amount set aside for purchase of land for the IDPs. “The amount set aside for purchase of land was Sh200,000 per acre but for the last three weeks the prices have been going up,” she said.

Murugi said verification is necessary because some people masquerade as IDPs to benefit unfairly. She said the ministry is tracking alleged IDPs who sell off or let their houses. “It is disheartening to find out that an IDP has sold off or let his piece of land bought for them by the government,” said Murugi. Wamalwa and Cooperative Development assistant minister Linah Jebii Kilimo said there should be consultations before resettling IDPs to avoid conflicts.

Source: THE STAR

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Kenyan poultry entrepreneur turns $6 into a $100,000 business

Posted by Administrator on December 7, 2011

Geoffrey Kago

Geoffrey Kago

In 2002, the frustrations associated with finding a good egg incubator to hatch chickens to sell and sustain his fledgling poultry business, drove Geoffrey Kago to invent one. So with around $6 he built one incubator, which marked the starting point of a poultry enterprise worth over $100,000 today.

It has been quite a journey for the soft-spoken man who receives 50 to 100 calls daily from Kenyans in various regions interested in his signature innovation called the Kaki Incubator. The incubator is named after his company Kaki Village Enterprise. It’s one of the most popular of his innovations, which also include egg candlers (lights used to observe the growth and development of an embryo inside an egg). “Sales this year have gone up by 50%,” says Kago.

At the time of conceptualising his incubator, Kago noticed that most of the incubators in the market were designed for large scale hatcheries and unaffordable for smallholder farmers.

Besides making electric incubators, Kago has also developed kerosene powered units. For regions where there is abundant sunlight, he converts the incubators to tap into solar energy. The company is currently also in the process of developing incubators that can run on biodiesel, sourced from cotton, croton and castor seeds. In Kenya’s Mai Mahiu area, where there are 3,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) due to the 2007 Kenyan post-election violence, Kago is providing them with castor seeds to plant on their small plots of land and in the neighbouring forest. He aims to be buying the castor seeds in the near future and provide IDPs with a source of income.

Loving the “sense of independence”

Growing up close to the rural Kenyan town of Nyeri, where his parents reared indigenous chickens, got Kago interested in poultry from a young age. In 1985, he bought his first chicken from his mother for $0.20. He was able to tend to it well and bred 200 chicks. From selling these chicks, Kago paid his high school fees from Form 2 to Form 4 at Nyeri High School.

“I loved the sense of independence,” he says. It was also in high school that the incubator innovation idea began budding, having experienced the challenges of traditional hatching with a mother chicken. An event which also spurred him to innovate was when a neighbour poisoned his chicken. The scaled-down versions of electric incubators he developed won him several prizes at high school science congresses.

To make ends meet after high school, Kago’s life took a different trajectory, almost drawing him away from his passion for poultry. In 1997, he went to Nairobi and settled in the Kiserian area. To survive, he worked as a stone mason and casual labourer. Later on he got work as an apprentice carpenter for two years in a funeral home where he learnt joinery. He got so skilled he could make pool tables.

The skills he learned from the funeral home proved priceless. He was able to join the dots when designing a viable working electric incubator in 2002. He bought the fittings needed for the incubator with $6 he saved from hawking cigarettes, his last job before re-entering the poultry business.

Today Kaki Village Enterprise is regularly courted by Kenyan government ministries and international NGOs, interested in the company’s technologies for farmer groups.

For Kago, his journey has not been without challenges. He is of the opinion that Kenyans are yet to appreciate local technology as the solution to boost industrialisation. He also says that banks make it difficult for small entrepreneurs to access credit facilities.

Kaki Village Enterprise currently has three branches in various parts of Kenya. At the age of 36, Kago is full of ambition and aims to start a unique poultry cooperative in the future. He is also a keen admirer of the Apple founder Steve Jobs.

Source: http://www.howwemadeitinafrica.com/kenyan-poultry-entrepreneur-turns-6-into-a-100000-business/13823/

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Cost of elaborate funerals puts strain on Africans

Posted by Administrator on December 7, 2011

A band plays during the funeral service for six victims of post-election violence in the western Kenyan town of Kisumu 21 January 2008.

A band plays during the funeral service for six victims of post-election violence in the western Kenyan town of Kisumu 21 January 2008.

(CNN) — From buying expensive caskets and tailoring new clothes to slaughtering animals and organizing a massive feast, little expense is spared in South Africa’s elaborate funeral celebrations.

Here, as in other communities across Africa, the financial and social resources invested in funerals are matched by no other rite of passage.

“In the west, marriages are often the biggest life-cycle events. In Africa, it’s funerals by far,” said professor Michael Jindra, co-author of “Funerals in Africa: Explorations of a Social Phenomenon.”

Jindra explains that such large events, designed to pay respect to the dead and honor one’s roots, also provide a kind of “social glue” for communities in many African societies: They are at the heart of social and cultural life, with status concerns, succession issues and family bonds also at stake.

Yet, honoring those who’ve passed away can also exact a huge financial toll on the already emotionally vulnerable relatives.

In South Africa, bereaved families often have to spend significant amounts to host lavish funerals and burial ceremonies. They are expected to host and feed extended relatives who visit from all over the country and can stay for weeks. Other costs include slaughtering a cow or a goat to honor the dead, renting hearse tents and arranging transportation to the burial ground for mourners.

“In many areas, a lot of people spend a lot of money on funerals. Sometimes, it’s out of choice for reasons of status, but other times, it’s simply out of the social pressur,e and it is certainly putting burdens on people when they don’t have a lot of money,” said Jindra.

A 2009 report by economists Anne Case and Alicia Menendez found that the average price tag for an “honorable” funeral in South Africa between 2003 and 2005 was about 3,400 rand ($415), which is equivalent to 40% of the average annual household expenditure.

The report said that funeral expenses leave surviving family members vulnerable to future hardship, with spending on items such as food and clothes significantly lower following the funeral. Children in households that experienced a death are also less likely to be enrolled in school, while adults are much more likely to report problems such as symptoms of depression and periods of anxiety.

“The costs of food are enormous. The coffins are extremely expensive,” said Case. “A family might spend as much money on a coffin as they will spend on their children’s school fees for all of the period that their children are at school.”

In Ghana, where funerals are often boisterous events of great size and importance, families tend to channel vast amount of resources and time in the memorials. One example is ordering custom-built coffins in just about any design shape that either are symbolic or reflect the deceased’s profession.

Ghana’s incredible coffins: Fish, bananas and buses

In Kenya, a 2004 study published in the Journal of Human Development found that 63% of households that declined into poverty in rural areas cited heavy funeral costs as a reason.

In Cameroon, Jindra says, people at times would opt for saving money for a funeral instead of contributing for medical costs while a person is still alive.

“People know that these funerals can be so expensive that they’ll actually save money for that and spend it on that rather than health expenses that could actually keep the person alive longer,” he said.

A financial instrument that has evolved in South Africa to help people prepare for funerals are savings clubs or accounts that pay out only upon death. Individuals usually belong to a burial society or pay weekly or monthly installments for insurance that guarantees that some expenses incurred for their funerals will be paid for by the insurer.

However, most times, the funds from these plans are not enough, forcing families to turn elsewhere for assistance.

“The households are really left scrambling,” said Daryl Collins, co-author of “Portfolios of the Poor: How the World’s Poor Live on $2 a Day” and director at Bankable Frontier Associates.

“The lion’s share is paid for by the relatives, but what’s hidden underneath that is that, oftentimes, what comes from the relatives is not quite enough, so there’s quite a bit of borrowing from either friends or money lenders,” she added.

As a result, nearly a quarter of households have no choice but to borrow money, according to Case and Menendez’s study, with money lenders charging exorbitant monthly interest rates of 30% or more.

Reuben Naran, who built the Kings and Queens funeral parlor in Johannesburg to help fellow Zimbabweans bury their dead back home, says that funerals are creating a big financial burden for poor households.

“It costs you, you go and borrow money, you have to pay back to repay the money after the funeral, so it means your life will be affected most probably for the whole year for a single death,” said Naran.

Inside his parlor, a relative of a deceased man agrees: “It is expensive because we have to donate. Each and every member of the family has to donate so that we can manage to take him home.”

Source: http://edition.cnn.com/2011/12/06/business/funeral-costs-africa/index.html

Posted in Africa, Kenya | 2 Comments »

Strange wedding rituals

Posted by Administrator on December 7, 2011

Marrying across one’s race subjects partners in love to a fare share of strange traditions writes, THORN MULLI

I recently had the pleasure of attending a multi cultural wedding between Wanjiku, a stunning Kenyan lady and Claus, a charming German gentleman.

During the colourful reception, I had the pleasure of interacting with Claus’s family. Being a friend of the groom the ushers inadvertently led me to his ‘side’ and this was what broke the ice to what turned out to be, not only a cheerful conversation, but an informative one as well.

It turns out that the seating arrangement amongst other Kenyan ways was rather amusing to the visiting Germans. “Ruracio”, a common practice amongst the Agikuyu and in essence most Kenyan communities that involves haggling over bride price was an odd experience as is nonexistent Germany.

Morning gifts

Marriage is essentially by common consent amongst parties involved and the only custom that came close to bride price was “morgengabe” that loosely translates to ‘morning gifts’. It involves presenting gifts to the bride’s family by the groom’s on the morning of the wedding.

Katana, a Giriama hailing from Kwale made the banter even more interesting when he pointed out an odd traditional Mijikenda practice. He explained that in the olden days, a respected elderly woman would accompany the newlyweds in their room to witness their first night together. Her role was to present the bloodied beddings to the community as proof of the bride’s purity.

She was also meant to offer insight in case of any shortcomings, no pun intended. A bride whose beddings came clean was condemned and in some cases ostracised by the community. It was even shameful for a bride to enjoy her first night as this amounted to proof of prior youthful indiscretions.

An unspoken tug between the visitors and us, the Kenyan hosts, erupted with each trying to show that their culture was indeed richer and stranger than the other. Mr Dominic, the grooms father and most knowledgeable of his kinsmen’s customs led the onslaught.

First was the “kossenbitter” practise. He is one of the brides cousins charged with the duty of hand delivering wedding invitations. Donned in a tuxedo and hat, he dispatches the invites that take several days to complete. To urge him on, he is offered two glasses of “schnapps” that represent the bride and groom at every stop.

During the weeks preceding the wedding, Germans organise “paube”, which generally involves a house warming party that doubles up as an engagement party for the couple.

On the eve of the wedding, a tradition called “polteraband” involves the couple cleaning up a mess of dishes broken by friends and relatives. The significance of this tradition is to scare away the “poltergeists”, an evil spirit. The dishes broken are believed to bring good luck as they signify breaking up of old lives and beginning new, fresh, and ultimately better lives.

Blessing the marriage

At this point, those rooting for Kenyan native customs got a boost when the conversation was interrupted by gift presentation. Wanjiku’s clan presented the couple with a bed symbolising they had officially blessed the union and allowed the bride to make a home with her husband.

To wish them health, traditional cooking implements were presented to the bride assuring the groom that he would never lack. This included a nyungu (earthen cooking pot), a mwiko (wooden stirring stick) and of course a kiondo, a sisal basket for carrying groceries from the market.

Not to be left behind, Charlotte, the groom’s cousin explored a contemporary German custom initiated also on the eve of the wedding day. The groom gathers friends not involved in kidnapping and hiding his bride for a search. The search would of course begin in a bar where the groom buys drinks for the search party.

Still practiced is a lighthearted practice called baumstamm sagen that exerts the newlyweds who amazingly wear their wedding bands on their right hands. They are required to saw a log on half using a two-handle saw. The aim is to not only test their physical strength but also how well they can tackle problems together.

Dusk soon raided our party and as Wanjiku tossed her bouquet to a frenzied group of single ladies who scrambled to catch it in the belief that it would force lady luck ensuring their wedding was next, Gisela, Dominic’s mate noted that if it were a traditional German wedding, fir tree branches would be laid out in front of the couple as they left the reception.

This was done to attract luck and fertility. And so without a clear winner we again silently agreed to a draw and bade each other goodbye.

Source: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/sports/InsidePage.php?id=2000047670&cid=619

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