The pain of a Kenyan university graduate

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Every year, approximately 700,000 graduates in Kenya flock the job market. The employment gaps doesn’t match the job seekers. For most of university graduates in Kenya, their future seems dark and unpromising.

Karis, (a fictitious name) shares his pain as a graduate. “I’m among the few people who made to university from my village called Gakorome in Murang’a, and therefore I’m a beacon of hope to school-going children. I must admit it feels good when I go home and by next day’s dawn, the whole village knows I’m around. You somehow become the village Celeb and when walking around kids will look at you and say, karis athomagira cukuru Nene ikoragwo nairobi (Karis studies at a big school in Nairobi).
The schooling process has not been an easy one. It has been characterized by unending strikes from the lecturers which has had effects on my education. As at now, I will have to go for my industrial attachment after clearing my course in May. There isn’t much to complain about my school life. However, being a university graduate is not an easy thing. There is so much expectation from the society, some of which are hard to achieve if not impossible.
My old mzee in the village is not so much conversant with what goes on in the job market. For him, his Karis will clear his university education and instantly get a job. As for the hustle of getting a mere attachment or internship, mzee has no clue. For me, that’s where frustrations start, I have a month to finish my degree course but getting an attachment is hard enough so getting a job is worse of.

Most employers say they prefer employing diploma or certificate holders because they don’t ask much in terms of salary and my question is, in an economy where taxes are raised so often not to mention the high standards of living and the Helb loan to settle, should one take Ksh. 5,000 as the gross salary?
Few months after finishing school, my first lady (mum) will start making calls and say things like Karis, ira turanyuire chai utari cukari. Ikia kanyamu niwe wi Nairobi (Karis, yesterday we took tea without sugar, send some money because you’re in Nairobi). Mind you, I’ll probably be trying to survive in an attachment where I don’t receive even a penny. Probably I’ll get lucky and find a friend to live with as I do my attachment and get foot in Nairobi. You know how hard it will be to explain to her that I’m working without being paid. It’s impossible to say no to mum so even if it means getting a loan from fuliza, I’ll have to and send her some money.
One year down the line, probably still unemployed or doing a side hustle that can help me pay my rent for my single room house in Kawangware,( after attachment I’ll have to move to my own place), buy food and other expenses, mzee calls. It’s one of those calls you wish you had switched off your phone not to receive it. He starts, Karis, niwakimenya niwe Wa bere na ari na ariu aku me cukuru, Ng’ang’a araingira form one mwaka tutorete riu turenda urihage bithi yake. (Karis, you know you’re the first born and your brothers and sisters are in school. Ng’ang’a; younger brother to Karis is joining form one next year and we want you to pay his school fees).
My mzee is one of the kind of parents who takes you to school with the hope of someday helping to educate the rest. Telling him that I’m barely surviving in Nairobi is out of question. My plan would be moving to a better house come next year, preferably a bed sitter but with Ng’ang’a on my small payroll, I might have to move to a cheaper house. The law of compensation in social science is that the poor dress well to hide their poverty but the rich have no point to prove to any one so you can wear anyhowly.
Three years down the line, I can manage to buy one or two suits apart from my common attire which comprises of a shirt bought at Riverroad, a simple sweater from Gikomba and a trouser from Muthurwa. When I go to the village in a suit my mum starts, niwamenya muiritu Wa kimani akoragwo Nairobi. Na miaka no irathie na nidirenda tucukuru. (You know, kimani’s daughter; their neighbour lives in Nairobi and you’re not getting any younger and I also need grand children) you can imagine I have Ng’ang’a on my payslip, mummy’s sugar and dad’s new shoe, and mum wants me to marry yet my salary can hardly sustain all these needs.
The girl from the neighborhood she’s telling me about came to Nairobi and turned out to be one of these slay queens who say; your money is our money but my money is mine. With this economy I have her for a wife? Not possible. To worsen the situation, because I’m still a village champ who wears suits, the nduthi guy sees me coming home and he’s like, Karis, wathire Nairobi ugitonga ukiriganiruo niithui, jikia kia meri nganyue gachai Mani) you went to Nairobi, became rich and forgot about us. Give me 200 I go and take tea.
Though that was not in my budget while going home, I’ll have to give him but feel the pinch when I will be in Nairobi and it starts to rain and the fare that is normally 50 sh. Shoots to 150. Worst of all is when you meet more than one nduthi guy and a few primary classmates who never made it even to highschool and they want some tea too. To avoid the hustle I’ll have to have around 10 notes of 50 sh to give when going home.
While all this will be on my shoulders a month from now, I can only hope that I will be lucky enough and get a job that will help me deal with my hustle after school and the current pain of a university graduate.

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Spared rod spoiled the child

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I have noticed a growing trend in children upbringing that is worrying. The strict raising though not sweet by then helped instill discipline in us.

Sparing the rod has really spoiled some of our young ones who are growing up as if they have no moral foundation. You listen to how young kids speak nowadays and you’ll be shocked. The rudeness is of crazy level yet you’ve not tackled the hardheadedness and arrogance.

When I was growing up, it was unheard of for a child of five years and there about to exchange words with an adult. I was shocked the other day to hear a small child shouting at an adult, giving orders and clicking. Whatever is happening to our morals, is not so good.

I’ve heard some people say that it’s no longer appropriate to cane children. That you should talk to them instead of beating them. That if you cane them they will grow up hating you.
The theory doesn’t apply to me. If you’re an African like me with an African mum and a Kenyan one for that matter, then you have a rough idea of what a real beating is. We have not tackled the “talking eyes” where your mum didn’t have to tell you you’re doing wrong. One look was enough to tell you things are not okay. If you tried to be nosy around visitors and or behave inappropriately the eyes did the talking.

About beating, I don’t think beating kids would make them hate parents. If it were so, then my mum would be my greatest enemy. As a village girl, I didn’t have the privilege of being beaten with slippers or wooden stick. There is a nylon rope that was used to tie the cow’s legs while being milked. Due to prolonged usage and frequent contact with milking oil, the rope became twice as hard. That right there was my mum’s “slippers” for beating me.

To parents, being too soft to kids and letting them grow up undisciplined is your undoing. It might seem as love but the repercussions are felt later when your child misbehaves or disrespects you in public. The blame will be on the parents and mostly mothers because people will ask ” who is his/her mother”?

Movie Review

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Genre: Family drama

With Christmas around the corner, By God’s Grace will be a great watch for any lovers of Christian-Christmas movies. The movie features Cameron Deane Stewart as Chris Taylor, and Savvanah McReynolds as Grace Taylor as the main characters.

The family drama movie written by Debbie Preston and directed by Brett Eichenberger is rich in content, life lessons and smooth transitions in time that will get you hooked.

Chris loses his parents and Grace; his sister in a road accident on Christmas eve. This turned him into a mean and bitter young man, as opposed to how his parents raised and taught him; that Christmas is a time of giving.

One Christmas Eve, Grace “appears” to him and takes him through their past and the good Christmas memories, his current situation and how different he has become, and the future if he doesn’t change his behaviour.

Through these extraordinary characters, the film brings out the meaning of Christmas and the art of giving and sharing with the less fortunate in the society. To all lovers of Christmas movies, this is a must watch.

Christmas throwbacks

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December festivities are around the corner. As a grown up, I noticed a lot has changed in terms of celebrating festivities. I remember when I was a child from around 4 years to 10 years; Christmas was the best time of the year.

With all the goodies that came with it, I always looked forward to Christmas and New Years Eve. This was the time chapati was a delicacy unlike these days where no one is interested in eating them anymore. Sodas were valued and at least one got to take a few bottles if the belly had enough space for that from the mega eating.

Most delicacies could only be eaten at this time, the likes of meat, ‘chapo’, (short form of chapatti) soda and other varieties of food. When we were still young, my siblings, cousins and I would compete to eat the largest amount of food as well as taste all the varieties.

That was not the problem; the issue was getting a comfortable sleeping posture. We would get so full my stomach would protrude and sag at the sheer quantity of the achievement. Lying while facing upwards only seemed to shift the contents and let out a growling sound.

New clothes and shoes were the favorite part of Christmas. On the eve of Christmas, everyone had restless excitement. The night seemed unending as we anticipated fitting in our new clothes, take pictures in them and showing them off to the neighbors children. Nowadays new clothes come at anytime of the year unlike in the past when they were treasured as festive gifts.

During festivities, there was the fun part of going for sleepovers to our friends’ places or having a family get together. The whole extended family would meet at our grandparents’ place and celebrate Christmas or New Years Eve. We would sleep on the floor, sofas or squeezing ourselves in one bed. Better yet, we would be allowed to play outside at night. The best part of it was meeting with cousins; playing the whole day and making the fun last all night. These memories may last forever, but Christmas will never be the same again.

When a woman loves

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I have heard a common phrase from men that women are complicated. That it is hard to understand them. Well, how about we talk when a woman loves? Even in their complicatedness, women are very poor at hiding it if they are in love.

As much as ladies have the habit of saying one thing and meaning the other, love is a topic ladies talk about in black and white. Ever seen a lady explaining how she loves someone? The words, gestures and facial expressions are all in one accord.
I’m not talking about crushes or a boyfriend who a lady sticks to as a matter of convenience, I mean a man in whom the lady sees a future with like a potential husband. One thing, she will talk about it. If she has a best friend who is trustworthy, she is the third party in the relationship. The best friend knows like 90% of what happens in that relationship. She might have gone through all the chats or eavesdropped in some conversations. If she loves you, she will say it out loud.

She will justify the wrong doings of a man she loves. She will defend the man and find reasons to hold on even when it’s not worth it. When a woman loves, she will overlook all flaws as well as cope up with some poor habits even when she can’t bear them.

She will understand the man and go out of her way to help him achieve his goals in life. She will work towards being helpful instead of being a burden. If a lady is all about money and material things, and she gets mad when you don’t give it to her, my brother run for your life. She loves your money not you.

A woman that loves you will understand when tell her you will not be taking her for holidays because you’re investing or running on a tight budget. She will work towards knowing the real you, what you like and what you dislike and do that which pleases you. She will push you to work hard and be a better version of yourself.

She will take your growth as hers and help you achieve it. She will be all about growth. Therefore, when a woman loves you, she will support you, tolerate you, defend you and be mindful of your progress and well being.

Learn to communicate effectively

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It’s not until a friend shared with me about a witle-to-be that broke up on the eve of their wedding because of a misunderstanding that I realized how vital effective communication is.

One of my favourite quotes says that between what is said and not meant and what is meant and not said, most love is lost. I cannot stress how much critical communication is in any relationship.
Disagreements will always be there but how we talk about them brings the whole difference. Some of us have the habit of assuming the other party knows what is happening. That they are supposed to be aware when we are stressed, not in a good mood or something is wrong. We expect them to behave or handle us in a certain way, and when they don’t that becomes a fight.

While there are people who can easily tell when a friend is not okay, majority of people are poor at this, and unless you talk it out no one will help even if they have the ability.
When communication lacks, most things are ruined because instead of knowing what the other person is feeling, we assume. Hence learn to communicate. Say what you don’t like or how you’re feeling. If you don’t like a dress your wife wears, don’t avoid walking with her because she wore it. Let her know you don’t like it and she will never wear it because it’s in the nature of a woman to please the man she values. The problem with some of us, we know how to air our views but in the wrong way.
If you told her something like “honey, I like it more when you wear the other dress instead of this”. A sharp woman will understand that you don’t like it and she will change into what you love. However, there are these kinds of people who will just say something like ” you look thirty years older than your age in that dress”. Though she will change into something else, damage will have been done.

As much as the message is the same, how it is communicated and its effect is totally different. It is therefore imperative to air your view but more so, airing them properly, otherwise quarrel among people will never seize if they don’t talk about issues in their lives.

Book Review

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Sidney Sheldon’s book titled “Tell me your dreams” brings to realization cases of people who have multiple personality disorder (MPD), also called dissociative disorder. The main character Ashley Patterson is twenty eight years old, and has two other alters that she doesn’t know about.

One is called Toni Prescott who was ‘born’ twenty two years ago after her father sexually abused her by touching her and forcing her to touch him. This alter was formed as a shield to the pain and trauma she suffered.

The second alter is Alette Peters who came into being twenty years ago after the father slept with her. These alters were as a result of the sexual abuses she underwent at a tender age. Ashley is not aware of these alters, though the two know and talk about her.

She is being accused of murdering five men and castrating them, yet she is not aware she committed any of the crimes because one of the aggressive alters; Toni was responsible for the killings.
Sidney Sheldon brings out the life of a person with MPD, and takes us through the scary, confused and sad moments of a young lady who is not aware that she killed five men in a gruesome way because when one alter takes over, she has no control neither does she know what is happening.

The author hooks readers as he takes one through the court trials where medical specialists testify against MPD, the life in hospital trying to understand the alters and ‘remove’ them, and bringing to light conditions that are overlooked in the society.

To people who are interested in mental health, through the writers imagination and creation of characters within characters, this is a great read and a book that will keep you hooked to the last page. However, from a concerned citizen point of view, how serious as a country do we take mental diseases? What are the laid out plans of ensuring that such cases of mental illnesses are taken care of, given there is a rising concern in relation to mental health globally.