It’s not just mukimo that is a headache for Central Province. Actually, in light of the challenges central province is facing their cooking habits should not even be a concern. This week I was in Karatina and Muranga towns and this is a call for help. If people from this region have been too proud to say it, well, Central Province needs your help.
Every woman we met in this region had one plea; “please save our men from alcohol and substance abuse”. Their stories are heartbreaking. Some young people were buying and selling weed right in front our eyes not even worried that we had video cameras. Don’t get me wrong, these men are not lazy, far from it. The problem is what they are doing with their daily earnings and what is at stake if nothing is done soon. The women have lost hope. They don’t do know what to do anymore. They are reaching out. Maybe you and I can do something.
“What kind of a man is this”? One woman asked bitterly. “I got tired of dragging him from trenches at 4am. I got tired of waiting up for him to come home. I got tired of waiting for him to provide. To take care of their family. I live my life. I have found him sleeping at the gate or outside our house a couple of times but he is no longer my business. I am done. He is not a man.
You wonder why it said that we beat our men. What do you do to a child who misbehaves? If your child comes home in the evening and he looks like he was in a dungeon what do you do to teach him/her to be more responsible? What if your child comes home from school and he has peed himself, don’t you discipline him? That’s the same thing we do to these men who act like small boys”.
There is a huge problem when a wife calls her husband, the father of her kids a small boy. When a woman takes up the role of the head of the family, when she becomes the provider and protector of the family yet her husband comes home every day (regardless of his state). Women in Central province are the ones taking tea and coffee from the shamba to the factories. They are the ones running family businesses. When a child is sent home to bring a parent, any head teacher would be surprised to see the father.
Still can’t see the problem? Well, according to the women from these areas, the men are always too drunk to perform their marital duties. One woman actually said that her husband sleeps under the bed. Another one said she wanted more kids but she only has two that she got before her husband became an alcoholic. So in simple terms, nursery and primary schools are closing down because they don’t have kids to teach. The population in this region is dropping drastically. HIV rates are going up, but the worst impact of alcoholism is children growing up fatherless and youth walking in the steps of their fathers.
It’s time for families to have this conversation in their homes. Fathers, talk to your sons and daughters. Be the example that your children can emulate. Let them see that family comes first and anything that threatens this unit cannot be taken lightly. Your kids are already learning by watching how you handle your drink, or how the drink handles you.
Leaders from central should be losing sleep thinking about their people. They should be organizing community forums and door to door initiatives to educate their electorate on the dangers of alcohol abuse. “Presidents” of these counties should form a police outfit specifically for this purpose; protecting the citizen from substandard brews.
Let this be a lesson to other leaders in Kenya. Handouts are finishing future generations. That 200 bob you dish out is the first spade into the sand. You are no longer buying your votes, you are burying them. Who will you lead in future? Why not start employment opportunities for these young people. Why are there no tough laws to curb illicit brews in the country? I am sure authorities know where they come from but they also know the revenue they get from these companies. According to women from Central province, the biggest distributor is known and he enjoys police protection.
For the rest of the Kenyans, once the market in Central province is “no longer competitive”, these products will find their way to your region. This story will repeat itself and since nothing was done when central cried out, you too will watch as an entire generation fades right before your eyes.
We were told.