Home-Sickness is a Real Disease

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Last summer I remember visiting the zoo, it was exciting to take my daughter who had started recognizing animals and much as it was exciting to see all these animals in the same quarters, a part of me was sad for the animals. Being that I have seen most of these animals in there natural habitats, I couldn’t help but feel that they were out of place.flamingo

The back drop was a lash green landscape, the animals look clean and well groomed and the atmosphere is picture perfect. Everything seems perfect, they have professionals and trained experts around them, taking care of them, ensuring they are provided for the best care. So why did I have this nagging sad feeling. lion zoo

To me the animals looked misplaced, the Lions in there natural habitat are surrounded by savanna landscapes that they are able to blend into and camouflage to enable them to hunt, flamingos in Lake Nakuru are surrounded by lion marahot springs and muddy looking waters, that make people always wonder how they survive in that harsh environment, the sea of pink you see when you are approaching the lake quickly becomes an image of flamingos standing on one leg with muddy, dirty feathers. At the zoo they were sparkling clean pink.

So do they have it better at the zoo, they look cleaner, they are provided with food, shelter, vet care. So I kept pushing that nagging sadness I felt away, because the professionals say they are well cared for and are provided with first class health care.

I didn’t know what the feeling was, Until I watched a documentary by Morgan Spurlock, about animals in the zoo. He featured various animals including gorillas, elephants and various other animals at the zoo.

The documentary starts with gorillas in their cages where they approach to be fed. They come into the cages to sleep and for feedings and go out to the field for the day. The gorillas were on various medication since they all had health issues. They had heart problems. When the Veterinary, who took care of them was interviewed, she explained how they kept a close eye on the gorillas hearts because it seems like the hearts were bigger and they had blood pressure issues. When asked about gorillas in the wild, in the Congo forest of Africa that she had studied she explained how they did not have similar health problems. The reason could be the diet and also the animals peace of mind. In other words, they are home-sick.

All the animals in the zoo seemed to have a host of problems that were related to them not being in their natural habitats, elephants developed arthritis because in their natural habitat they walk for miles and miles on end.

African elephants in the wild live more than three times as long as those kept in zoos. Even Asian elephants working in timber camps live longer than those born in zoos. 40% of lion cubs die before one month of age. In the wild, only 30% of cubs are thought to die before they are six months old and at least a third of those deaths are due to factors which are absent in zoos, like predation.

So it would seem like the solution for these animals would be to set them free in their natural habitats, for them to have a longer, healthier, happier life. But unfortunately due to the conditions they are provided for at the zoo, they are incapable of surviving in the wild.

These is evidence that home-sickness is real. For people who migrate away from home, they all have similar problems as the animals.

From the outside they may appear to be doing better, they live in a better looking environment where the infrastructure is better and systems work but inside they carry a heavy heart, that feels out of place. Multiple health issues also occur because the food, climate, environment is all different. But for most migrants they get so accustomed to the new environment/comforts that they cant be able to adjust and move back to their natural habitats.

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Are we Becoming Weaker

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Most of my parents generation and all older generations came from large families. I remember talking to friends, relatives about family structures. And for most people my parents age and grand parents age they would always count the number of kids in their family and point out that two or three of them had died maybe at child birth or when they were older. It was always said ‘matter-of-fact-ly‘ and wasn’t a sad subject discussing the lose of children or siblings.

In my culture, when people were laying on their death bed, and had no hope of recovering or getting better, they would be dumped in the forest for the wild animals to feast on.

Twins were considered a bad omen and if you gave birth to them, one would be killed.

We even see it in movies, during medieval times, when people committed a crime they would be sentenced to death and would be beheaded in front of a group of people including children.

How is it that these people were capable of going through all this and not have any mental or psychological effects.

Even when we look at our lives today, if you consider the relationship between most of us and our parents, and us and our children, it has changed tremendously. We are more attached to our kids, we are more involved in their lives and the same between our parents and ourselves and our parents and our grand parents the change exists. Its like with every generation the gap between parents and kids is getting smaller.

So with this realization, I am left to wonder are we becoming weaker as human beings or are we just more knowledgeable. Why are mental disorders, depression, suicide, addictions on the rise.

Is it that we realize that we are humans and therefore should act different from animals. Do we now realize that children are capable of way more than we thought previously and they therefore thrive when treated as almost equals? Is it the upbringing or evolution? Nature Vs nurture

I don’t have the answer, I am just wondering out loud, are becoming weaker?

What I love About Being an African in the South

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With President Obama concluding his African trip and more importantly his trip to Kenya, I am left with a feeling of pride and a great lesson for all of us.

Knowing his story and having read his biography ‘Dreams of my Father’ I am repeatedly reminded over and over again; As a person and an individual, you can never make progress unless you learn to love, appreciate and embrace all the things that make you, you.

I believe had Obama never made the pilgrimage to Kenya as a young man, had he not gotten in touch with his Kenyan roots, had he not had pride for his ancestry then he wouldn’t be the man he is today, he wouldn’t be a great leader and he most definitely wouldn’t be the most powerful man in the world.

Yet as people and individuals we do this on a daily basis. We deny a part of ourselves; we are embarrassed by some bits and pieces of ourselves and for that reason we are never whole and therefore have nothing to offer since we are not complete.

I am personally confronted by these battles everyday, being an immigrant myself and interacting with many immigrants. I have interacted with those who are proud of their roots, but I have also interacted with those who wish they could just wish away a certain part of them. There are those who will act like they can’t speak their ethnic languages or eat the foods they grew up on because they are ashamed to have that part of them. I have met those who completely ignore communicating with people back home maybe because they lost a part of themselves in the transition of moving from one country to another.

Which leads me to ‘What I love about being an African in the South’. The reason I say ”What I love” is off course I don’t love everything about it. Its the SOUTH!!! Which means the vast majority of its inhabitants are closed minded individuals.

But the number one thing I love is the fact that living in the South has helped me shatter stereotypes of Africans to the few individuals I have come into contact with.

Many people have this idea or image of what an African should look like, someone once told me they thought all Africans were extremely dark skinned with orange eyes. And I was happy to be able to enlighten him, just like any other part of the world, we have different shades of black in Africa,

I have also come into contact with a lot of individuals who tell me I speak English very well, and am happy to explain to them.Just like the US some African countries were also colonized by the English.

I am proud of the fact that we were brought up on organic foods and we cook a hot meal everyday. And I explain it to anyone who is willing to listen that the reason we don’t have obese people in Africa, is because we prepare our own meals and only eat out once in a while as a treat.

I feel I have contributed to animal activism in a way, someone was once showing me his priced possession that was made out of ivory. And I explained to him why its not good to buy Ivory, what they do the the elephants and how the animals numbers are reducing due to poaching.

I love that I have improved my knowledge too, I also had stereotypes of Americans. I had no knowledge of North and South, East Coast and West Coast. I have also increased my overall experiences in life. I look at it this way, life is too short to spend it all living in one place. Living here has opened me up to all the possibilities that exist if you are willing and ready to take that leap of faith.

So just like Obama has taught us anything is possible; where a young man can leave his home, travel to the other side of the world for an education, leave a single mother to raise a mixed child in the 60’s and have him end up being the President of the USA, I am also contributing in my OWN small way leaving a foot print on this earth (so to speak). I feel like I am on a mission trip and spreading the good word, ‘That Africans are people just like any other people, we are a hotbed of vibrancy, diversity and multi culture.

I always tell people here, ”you need to visit Africa, because there is no party like an African Party”

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ARE WE WOMEN OUR OWN WORST ENEMIES

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With Hilary Clinton being one of the would be candidates for next year’s elections, it has become common ground to hear how a woman is not ‘presidential material’ even though a lot of countries have women presidents.

What is most surprising or rather it’s not really surprising, but more sad is the fact the people who seem to say this the loudest is other women. The reason I say it’s not surprising, is because as a woman I know and have lived the life where we as women do not support each other, we smile in each others faces while we stab each other in the back.

Why is it we are not happy for each other, why are women each others worst enemies. Is it in our DNA? Is it a cultural thing? Which I don’t think it is because different women from different cultures and different parts of the world act the same way. Was it created by men as way of keeping us from succeeding – divide and concur, or did it happen when Eve took a bite of the apple?

I don’t know, but with age and maturity I have come to love and count on other women. I have heard it time and time again, some women saying, I prefer to have male friends, or I prefer a male boss, or I prefer a male doctor.
Why would you prefer the advice and companionship of men, when you don’t really know what they are about. I know I have heard it countless of times men telling us or warning us against another male. Using that age old line ‘his a guy’ like this should explain his behavior or when a lady claims another man is only her friend and all other men respond by saying ‘his a guy.’

I have never understood what that statement means ‘HIS A GUY‘ but to men it explains a lot, because they know how they think and operate as men. We as females will never completely understand men, but we can understand and support each other.

I always said that I wouldn’t want to have a woman boss, but now I prefer working with women, and especially mothers, they understand my challenges better. I always said that I preferred a male gynecologist, but now I know it’s so much easier to talk to a female doctor, she has lived it and not only read books about it. I once thought that I preferred the company of men, but now I know I wouldn’t trade all the ladies in my life for anything.

Ladies, let’s all love, respect and support each other. Only we alone know each other’s battles and struggles. And only we alone can lift each other up.

Mother, Mum, Mummy, Mama, Maitu

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mother 3Wikipedia definition of a motherMother is women who inhabit or perform the role of bearing some relation to their children, who may or may not be their biological offspring. Thus, dependent on the context, women can be considered mothers by virtue of having given birth, by raising their children, supplying their ovum for fertilization, or some combination thereof.

Bible definition of a mother -Psalm 127:3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.bible mother

My daughter’s definition – Everything, I never get tired or hurt. I can make all the scary monsters and bugs go away. I don’t need to sleep, if she is sick I can kiss it and make it go away, and if she’s sad I can put a smile on her face. And I am also a princess/queen depending on her mood.

If we could only see ourselves through our children’s eyes, we would realize our true value and beauty. We are not over weight or too old or too short or too anything to them. In their eyes we are perfect.

According to the Bible children are a reward/ gift. If you are rewarded with one, (like if someone gave you a gift that means so much to you) you should treasure them, protect them, nature them, impart knowledge and wisdom and principles.
Just because you can reproduce, doesn’t mean you have to. And their different ways of being a mum. You don’t have to birth to be a mother as all the above can be provided by mothers who are not biological mothers.

So this mother’s day. Let us celebrate mothers who take their role seriously, mothers who know being a mother is a reward, mothers who know the precious little lives they are grooming are of people who will grow up and be productive members of society.

Mother’s like my mother. Happy mother’s day!!!

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Biology of Dads

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This is very interesting and thought provoking.

After watching this I realize a lot of the things I thought I imagined or a lot of things I try to correct are actually meant to be.

Good example, when I was pregnant whenever my husband would touch my belly, my daughter would get extra active, she wouldst do this for me or for another other person, I thought I was imagining it, but from the video above, you see the baby in the womb responded more to the dad than to the mum. I guess because they have mum all day so she’s taken for granted? I don’t know all I know is its been proven to be true. Babies in the womb respond more to their father.

Another example, whenever I am talking to my daughter, I find myself always trying to make my language less complex, and using words I know that she will easily understand, and sometimes I find myself correcting my husband because he doesn’t adjust his language, I find myself saying things lie, ‘she doesn’t know what that is, tell her this instead’. But in the video they say that they have found that dad’s talk to kids like grown ups with more vocabulary and complex words, which is good for their linguistic development. I was surprised because its not something I necessarily concentrate on but after watching this I realize that its so true.

Biology of a Dad, has taught me and has taught a lot of people too, that while we have always thought of the role of of a father in a particular way, its now been proved wrong. Men are natures, too. Their hormones are altered by pregnancy and childbirth too. And the only proof I need to know that, is the look on my husbands face the day my daughter was born. To me the whole birthing process felt surreal, like I was in a dream but the one thing that has always remained stuck in my memory, was the look on his face the first time she cried. He was over come with emotion and joy.

Will Male Circumcision Eventually End?

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In my culture male circumcision is a big deal, we even have a name for uncircumcised male ‘kehii’ which is a very rude, condescending word, meaning you are not considered a man, and therefore cannot lead or speak in the presence of other men. Men have been circumcised for generations and there is so much pressure on men from different cultures to get circumcised, bot for health and social reasons, that they are now doing it as grown men.

We have heard of so many health benefits for doing it, and also religious and social reasons. It so deeply ingrained in us/ in me that I have never doubted if I had a son he would be circumcised, the only question is when, immediately after birth or later.

So it was very surprising to me when I heard of several countries in Europe that are trying to ban circumcision. The laws surrounding circumcision in most European are so strict so as to discourage parents from doing it.

In California they are also trying to ban it. Which leads to the question, will male circumcision eventually end?

At one point female circumcision was valued in my culture and several other cultures, but now we know better, Female Genital Mutilation has damaging and permanent effects. Probably a case can be made for male circumcision too.

I know in Europe and Asia majority of the boys are not circumcised and they don’t have more health issues than those countries where majority are circumcised. Could this practice eventually cease.

Food for thought…

Why God Made Little Girls

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God made the world with towering trees,
Majestic mountains and restless seas.
Then paused and said , “It needs one more thing…
Someone to laugh and dance and sing.
To walk in the wood and gather flowers…
To commune with nature in quiet hours.”

So God made little girls
With laughing eyes and bouncing curls,
With joyful hearts and infectious smiles,
Enchanting ways and feminine wiles.
And when He’d completed the task He’d begun.
He was pleased and proud of the job He’d done.
For the world, when seen through little girl’s eyes
Greatly resembled Paradise.

This poem was given to my mum when our last born was born, I was 7 when she was born, and we memorized this poem. Its amazing how a childs brain is like a sponge, it absorbs anything and everything. It amazes me that till today, me and my sisters all remember this poem.

I don’t know if we really quite understood the meaning of the poem, but it definatley made us realize we were special, and we had a purpose. Isnt it just a beautiful mantra to little girls lives.

Extreme Parenting

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It seems like every time you turn around, there is a new parenting style. Parenting has become so complex with philosophies and styles and an endless supply of advice. In my personal opinion a lot of people take something that is so natural and over complicate it.

At the end of the day, everyone judges other peoples kids, everyone has an opinion on what other fellow parents are doing wrong and areas they can improve on, and we really judge people’s characters by how their children behave and how they treat their kids in our presence.

That being said, in a world where babies addicted to drugs are born everyday, in a world where mothers are selling their babies for drugs, in a world where parents are leaving their kids to be baby sat by strangers, drunks and moving in random men after one date. In a world where people are killing kids everyday.

In this world of so much cruelty and evil. I say kudos to all parents who are parenting. Regardless of you style, philosophy or beliefs. As long as you are taking care of your kids and providing for them the best way you know how, then you are alright with me. And if you mess up they can get the rest of the help in therapy when they grow up.