Pure Madness

My thoughts on the "behind the scenes" of life. You will find inspiration here. Share it generously


1 Comment

My pledge, Children and Girls

Photo courtesy: www.flickr.com

Photo courtesy: http://www.flickr.com

The evening news can be a source of heartache and stress more than it can be a source of information. I have heard many people say that Kenyan news is too depressing to watch. If it’s not the leaders we woke up early to go vote for doing everything but what they promised to do, then it’s the society turning against itself in every way.

A man who hacks his wife and children to death before taking his own life, the rising cases of violent crimes, road accidents, community intolerance, hate speech you name it, it will be on your menu everyday on the evening news. As if you don’t get enough of the bad news at the end of every day, the newspapers will be ready to remind you the following morning how bad, the bad news was yesterday.

In media they say that good news is not news. If a dog bites a man, that’s not news. But if the man bites the dog, well that is something to talk about. Truth be told, we don’t watch the news hoping to see anything encouraging. In most cases we will flip through the channels to get different versions of the same bad news we saw on one station.

But bad news is not always bad for us. There is need for you and I to see what is happening around us in our communities and the country at large. It is important for us to see what our leaders are doing after we voted for them (*coughs* Gilgil weigh bridge). It helps to know what other communities are doing (and not doing) with what they have. It is here that we too can and should see opportunities to engage and impact our culture and communities.

How many children don’t have access to basic education or study in very harsh conditions? How many young people need a mentor to guide them in their career choices? How many women need access to better maternal health care? How many men need information on better business opportunities so that they can better provide for their families? What can we do about the issues that consistently affect our country; hunger, insecurity, alcohol and drug abuse and many more? Can you and I help in any way?

You would be surprised to find out that most of the needs around you don’t need a member of parliament or local leader to solve. You would probably do more with the “little” that you have than the so called leaders. Some of us work in organizations that fund different developments but we will never consider reaching out to our community leaders to let them know of the opportunities. Some of us are teachers but we have never thought that maybe during the holidays we could offer the children in our neighborhoods remedial lessons. We like to see that as someone else’s “problem”.

There are many opportunities for us to give back to society. We don’t have to wait to be in political offices to influence change. In fact, that mentality is what makes our leaders feel like they are super heroes and not servants. We can change that. If every one of us finds an avenue to support and influence our communities, the dependency on leaders to do everything for us might just end. Imagine what would happen in our society if you and I could use whatever we have.

I love radio and I believe that it is one of the most important tools that can be used to influence change. This year there are two things that have captured my heart (well, they always have but I am putting in more focus); Children Hygiene and Female Genital Mutilation.

Many children die every day because of diarrhea and other hygiene related diseases. These diseases can be prevented through simple acts like washing your hands with clean water soap. But many communities in Kenya still don’t have access to clean water or soap. For us who do, we don’t take advantage of this privilege. We don’t have to lose any more lives, we can influence change. We can teach communities how to save lives through better hygiene practices like hand washing.

I recently saw a shocking video of what happens during FGM and it shattered my heart to know that young under age girls will drop out of school to be forced to get married after this extremely painful ritual. Their chances of a better future that education offers us will traded for cows and goats and that is if they survive or don’t get infected with HIV/AIDS. Surely everyone should have the right to an education. I don’t know how to influence this sector yet especially because it is a deep seated cultural practice, but am willing to learn what others are doing and contribute their efforts.

This is my influence plan for the year. What is your influence plan?


Leave a comment

Remember The Poor!

Remember_the_poor

It almost seems impossible to believe that we are in a new year barely two weeks after we ushered in 2015. Some of us have already forgotten the resolutions we swore to live by this year. To most, it’s safe to say not much has changed from last year. We are still here, in the pain and problem we were in last year. No fast forward buttons available to speed up the process. We feel stuck, out of luck, let down and left behind. We are disappointed.

I am guilty of expecting things to change as soon as a New Year checks in. I love new beginnings. Fresh starts. I get easily frustrated when things seem to remain the same when I eagerly expect them to change. I want to plan better, make better choices and wiser decisions. I want to drop old destructive habits. I want to be a better person. I want to be more reliable, I want to live beyond myself. But that’s not where I am this year. Far from it.

I am still selfish and self-centered. I don’t care much about other people’s needs it’s about me. I am lost in the problems of my own world and blinded by my own needs. If only I could stop for a while to see what is happening around me, I would actually realize that I am so much better off. I have so much than I think I do. My frustrations about what I don’t have would disappear if I took time to look around and see what others don’t have.

I have good health, I am sane (or at least sane enough to think that I am sane) I have a family and friends. I have a home and access to clean water. In fact the water that runs in my toilet bowl is fit for human consumption; it’s about etiquette for me, not access. I have a meal every day and when I don’t, it’s out of choice. I have decent clothes and a place to go back to in the evening regardless of what the day was like. I have so much to be grateful for.

The fact that I have “so much” does not mean that I still don’t have needs. We all do. But is it possible that as they say, I am crying about my lack of shoes while my neighbor has no feet? There is nothing wrong with anticipating to meet your needs. If anything they are yours. That’s why you work; to meet your needs. All our needs are valid but perhaps we give them too much attention than we should.

I learnt on Sunday something that inspired my perception of “where I am”. It might inspire you too. Did you know that if you and your spouse bring home a minimum collective income of (wait for it) Kshs40,000, you are among the 7% of Kenyans who live above the poverty line. You are actually the middle class! This means that 93% of Kenyans are living below the poverty line. You can learn more about this data in a sermon here. Remember the poor!

givinghands

Believe it or not. You are doing way better than most. You are doing so much better that you have no idea how envious those around you are. You have so much going on for you. True, you have no obligation to worry what other think about you. Actually, there is a common phrases in a popular Kenyan song “tuko na shida zetu tuskize zako kwanini”? (We have our own problems why should we listen to yours)

This year, Kenyans, regardless of what is happening in your life, what you think you have or don’t have, please remember the poor. For a long time we have placed this responsibilities on our political and religious institutions. But this year I invite you to a different call, remember the poor within your reach. The people who work for you. Those who clean your houses every week, those you interact with at work, those 93% who are still below the poverty line around you. If you and I choose to make the life of one fellow Kenyan better, just one, then others will follow. Those we have helped will help others, Religious institutions will follow and eventually (hopefully) our leaders who have more influence to change the current trend, will follow suit. Our country will change. You and I will have contributed to this change and not just with handouts but real change.

You are doing way better than you think. Remember the poor.