Remembering Young Elijah

Remembering Elijah Jnr
On May 29th 1995, my young brother Elijah died. He succumbed to an inexplicable feverish attack and died after one day, leaving me the lone son and the two sisters of my already widowed mother. I was only 9 and I knew immediately that is was devastating. It dawned on me that I was never going to have a blood brother. Young Elijah was only a little older than four months and in retrospect, I can now digest my mother’s pain and in deed all women who survive with a pregnancy for nine months only to deliver a stillborn or when the kid submits to infant mortality for whatever reason.

It is easy to forget an infant’s death but any family or couple who have ever lost an infant can confess it is never an easy thing to get over; both for the man and the woman. Often it feels as a sense of failure, a curse, a conspiracy by fate and so forth. Those families that have lost a family member know too well how hard it is to cope with the loss. My case hasn’t been easier, either. While I can’t tell if my sisters do miss young Elijah like I do, of late I have been harboring very inquisitive thoughts about the kid.

I have wondered how he would have turned up. He would be 17 this coming January, meaning he would be a troublesome teenager. I have questioned myself whom among my two sisters he would have taken after, both physically and behaviorally. Could be it my temperamental and conservative eldest sister? Or could it be my calm and liberal second born?

By now, if all factors remained constant, he would be under my tutelage. Possibly, he would be in high school and given they study much faster nowadays, he would be sitting for his KSCE this year. Funny how fast times move.

He would have been definitely shorter than me, since my height has defied any logical biological explanation. My mother used to tell me that may be they gave him a different kid at the hospital, every time I was naught. I used to entertain that idea greatly. But even so, my maternal side is a one gigantic lot. But I know my brother would be some where around 5’8 at most, short and a little fat. He would be a little light skinned and with a pimpled face that will clear in the fullness of pubescent. I also believe that he would have been one hairy chap, speaking in a low bass or a regulated tenor.

I would have longed established whether he was University material and offer necessary motivation to follow my academic footstep and would have ensured that he went only after excellence. I would have ensured that he never lacked in school. However, I would never have killed the poor child if he did not excel academically. I am old enough to know that we are all endowed differently, and the trick lies in detecting these abilities early enough.

Personally I have never believed in good grades as a means to success-materially, spiritually and everything for that matter in life-even though circumstances and societal pressure have forced me to pursue this very line of academic excellence.

I have had flashes of imagination that Elijah would have been an average student but incredibly talented in something and well behaved. In terms of behavior, I have absolute and unequivocal belief that given the strict religious background and coupled with my belief in good moral behavior the kid would never have had problem in coping. In terms of talent, I have often prayed that the Elijah should have loved team sport…Why?

Part of the reason I would have relished my kid bro doing well in sports would have been my ‘unathletic’ self. I am a big flop in sports. I have never participated in any known team sport, which remains the most irreversible regrettable thing in my life. As a child I would have wished to play more, do physical things like hunting and fishing but I had a circumstantially regulated childhood that playing was never in the schedule.

I played a little in my childhood when growing up in Kibera. But after moving to Kisii, there was a bit of problem fitting in with the village children who were not very cooperative. All I remember are solitary days chasing birds in my grandmother’s backyard with little success. Swimming in the river always attracted dire beating.

After my parents were all departed, I was shipped to a boarding school and any chances of moulding any sporting skills were shelved and books became the most central thing in my life. And for the better. May be I wouldn’t have turned up the way I have. So, given my kid bro would be growing at a point when I know these things, I would have encouraged the kid to play and play some more. If his passion would be computers and was on course to become a nerd, I would have encouraged that as well.

Elijah! How I miss having a blood brother. I have male relatives I have grown with who have really sufficed as brothers but blood is thicker than water. They are the men I have looked up to for bravery, wisdom and manliness. There is a sense of security when you know you have brothers. Not to say that my sisters don’t count for much. But I still would have needed this kid. For the many days when my male folks have let me down, I would possibly have counted on him. For the many days that my friends have messed me up or I have messed them up and abandoned me, I would run to him, even though young and seek refuge in his approval and love for me. Hardly do we disprove of bad behavior from our siblings. Rather we always find a way of dealing with it.

We would have been tight, definitely. For I value family so much. I have often bemoaned brothers who are separated by their wives a couple of years into their marriages and I have a couple families that I really admire the way they contain the divisive nature of wives and ensure that the established family bond outlives the benevolent and malicious wives who are always determined to separate the family. I like the strength of male brotherhood when there is love. I am a loving person and I know the kid would have had one great friend, mentor, brother, leader and hero in me.

I would have ensured that the kid had guts to approach life more confidently than me. I have a cancerous shyness that has really inhibited me from achieving my full potential. I would have given the kid even money or anything to never be afraid of anyone. I am inordinately and helplessly timid. I know the kid would be respecting me and may be thinking an occasional column in the local newspaper is an achievement, but I would have advised the kid to aim higher than me.

By now, I would be living in a one bedroom apartment with him, whereby all the electronics in the house will be his. He will be watching his movies with friends and playing computer games. If the kid was to be the laid-back, church going type, I still would have supported him and would be joining him every Saturday for the service and encourage him to join any youth movement in the church but never with the aim of bedding the women in the movement as it happens. Under my tutelage, he would have someone to brag about. The big bro, you know.

I would have ensured that the kid was well fed, well dressed, had enough loose change to carry him through and would have laid ground for him to rise to the highest of all celebrations. But why this teary piece…

Well, there comes a time in a man’s life you feel lonely. Lost. You have a void so big that neither alcohol nor any addiction can cure. So many problems, rent, bills, disease, family problems and a lot of crap to deal with. You are young but you feel that stress is consuming you. At this point you need family or a woman to stand by you. Very few women I know can stand by their men when everything is going south.

Well, I must make it clear that those are not the circumstances I am currently dwelling in. But lately I have been questioning my existence and what do I live for, exactly. My life is now full in my hands and no one calls me any more to give me any order or direction. It is a dangerous state when the only person that you are accountable to is yourself. Naturally, I have abhorred any form of restraint and control, ever since I turned 20.

Yet, you need some form of control. You need a girlfriend, or a spouse who can shout at you and you listen. You need someone higher than you who controls and helps you through the pitfalls of life. A soul mate. Some find their soul mates in great friends, and I must confess that I have some of the best friends ever the world can give. Some have great family to look up to.

For friends, I have the best. Thank God. For the family, both nuclear and extended, it is as good as it gets. Yet there is that emptiness, that vacuum that I only feel that may be my brother would have filled. The kid would have been the fuel guiding me.

Being the last born, the kid would have been looking up to me. This means that I would have had to raise my standards. I would have wished to play the father role to him and hope in me he would have found the most wonderful brother and in my two sisters, he would have known there will always someone to run to when the world proved too unfair. For when you grow as orphans, the family becomes so separated that you lose some sense of continuity that is hard to redeem. Sooner you are adults, possibly married and you remain strangers forever.

Hence, I would have wished that I stay with Elijah under the same roof forever. Whether he would grow to be his own man is something different. But I would have really insisted that even in marriage we go for one big house and live there forever. I would have loved him to boring levels and would have ensured that I have a beautiful, intelligent and graceful girlfriend to inspire the kid about standards. A girlfriend whose presence would have inspired some good discipline and he would obey her when she sends him something in the estate shop. There some women who hardly inspire anything good in our young brothers. Equally, there men who are just plain bad examples to young women growing.

Elijah. I would never have been strict on the kid but would have been harsh on him if he picked bad habits such smoking, drugs and alcohol at a young age or if he turned up one day telling me that he only gets attracted to men, it is possible nowadays. You can never rule it out. I would have encouraged the kid to date and believe in love unlike the incurable me. I would have ensured that he dates a bright chick with the bright background. Many a girl from the wrong background has disappointed me.

Not to say that the kid should have lived my life or I would have wished to be the axis upon which his world rotated but I normally believe that I would have been a wonderful brother and would even tolerate exchanging a rude word with him, occasionally…There is something powerfully bonding when brothers and sisters exchange a rude word knowingly that they are equal, whether one is providing or not. It is something I really miss.

May be you have ever lost a loved one and you still harbor many ‘ifs’, I can feel you. If you have never, thank God. The memories can linger on for eternity. I really miss my brother and invariably, I feel lonely and empty. An emptiness so big that even my closest, generous and wonderful friends have failed to fill. If only God, could show us a sign how our lost and beloved ones are fairing in the hereafter.

Here is to hope that someone will ever fill this gap and more hoping that Elijah is in heaven given he died an infant and assumedly untainted. And to hope that I will meet him as we work towards joining those who left too soon.

Miss you Elijah. Keep smiling down on me like that. Peace.

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What Education (and alcohol) did to our women

One of the best things that ever happened to me is to go through the University of Nairobi, to study no better a course than Bachelor of Arts. Given that BA is taught at the Main campus located at the heart of the city, it gave me an opportunity to learn many things about the modern woman at a considerably young age. At least I know that know that our future wives will cheat on us effortlessly. They will be drinking with us in night clubs to the wee hours of the morning.

They will cheat on us, not because we will fall short in the bedroom or we can’t love them good enough, or even provide but for sheer adventure. They will cheat at the conferences they will be attending, with the boss, with the randy colleague or the random the guy they will be meeting God knows where. They will cheat without any guilty burden or conscience.

Given, I came straight from the village to the university; it means my world view was going to be invariably informed by the village mindset on how women should behave. My guardian old man, a man whose wisdom I so much cherish, did a great a job on sitting down and telling me to always learn to live within my means, the consequences of premarital sex and the ever relevant issue of marrying outside my tribe.

Four years ago, when I joined the university and I unlearnt many things. The society clearly had completely changed, and for worse. And the main culprit is education. Educating the woman kind and consequently liberating her changed the world. Given the better gains of formal education cannot be gainsaid; I will dwell on the negative tidbits that I know will earn me more female enemies who take this blog too seriously. That means prolonged singlehood for me.

A few facts from the outset; women of my age in the 20s believe there is absolutely no problem with having multiple male sexual partners. Secondly, they are a materialistic lot (OK, women are biologically designed to like shiny things-it is among the 43 things they share with fish). Thirdly, they hate domestic work, many can’t or hate washing even their own clothes and cooking ugali is abuse of highest order. However they know the places that sell the best fries and well dried chicken along Moi Avenue. They are quite a handful lot, if you can ask me.

I was quite a generous chap when in campus. Occasionally, when I had enough loose change in my wallet, time on my hands and feeling sufficiently goodhearted, I would invite some of my close female friends for supper. They always turned up and they kept time. I am a good cook as long as it is Ugali and beef involved. Wherever, we met as boys or a group, I was the designated person to leash out the best ugali. There must be some Luhyia blood in me.

Ordinarily they would arrive and after a little chat, I could get down to the business of cooking in the small, really despicable rooms (I can at last afford to talk nasty about those campus rooms) that could hardly host more than three people. They used to climb onto the bed that served as seats and the dining table before other roles followed. The women, mostly in twos, could sit on the bed, mostly talking about the colour of their nails, hairstyles or watching some really boring movie on my laptop.

Frankly, the villager in me always felt emasculated. The women could not even offer to cut the onions. With my ever running nose, and the onions always chose to be tear-inducing when they were around. Think of a tall man in a small room cutting onions, the nose threatening to burst with mucus and tears rolling down his eyes. In retrospect, the tears were a protestation to what I was doing to my manhood.

I would do all the work, unconcernedly and my cheeky male friends would show up conveniently when I was serving the food. Under such circumstances, they hardly said NO. They could join the party, go on to seduce the women with success rate of 90%. They were always quick with women, that way or the women were loose. Not that I was a toothless prick who couldn’t seduce them, but nature has a way of always giving the worst dilemmas in my dating attempts while I was in campus.

Once they were full-they were always full-we guys from Western Kenya always serve to everyone’s fill.-they dropped the plate, and none ever offered to go and wash the utensils. None whatsoever. My male friends predictably disappeared suffering from the early bachelorhood inability to wash utensils. Disturbingly, these women always never even suggested wetting the sufuria that cooked ugali.

The following morning or several days later when washing the utensils, I always hated myself. There was a repulsive resentment that always engulfed me. It made me loathe the women of my generation. Not that there place is the kitchen, but I don’t believe that even men have abandoned their gender assigned role, domestic or otherwise. So why have women chosen to neglect this part thatdefined their womanity, continuously eludes me.

Then there were those hostel parties. If you think some Ampex speakers and 1400ml of Kibao Vodka cannot sustain a party of 20 individuals, try college students. Together with my colleagues, we used to have routine parties occasioned on how broke or horny some of us were.

Whenever we were broke, the only viable option was to buy some spirits or whisk from the supermarket and drink from our rooms and smoking something (certainly not cigarettes). Treating a college girl in Nairobi can be scandalously prohibitive. Virtually every campus lady preferred partying in Westlands and Langata in our latter days in campus. That meant buying an insulting Ksh 200 or those things they call shots that go for Ksh 250 a shot. Yet she needs ten of those to feel high, just slightly. If you dared asked a campus lady where she likes partying that was a costly financial blunder. So the only way we used to beat this is being creative.

How about buying cheap some cheap Napoleon, coke and pouring it into whisk bottles, apparently nobody ever used to figure this out-trust Bon-I to make the best cocktail. With as little Ksh 1500, we could have a miraculously night-long party akin to the Proverbial Jesus feeding 5000 guys two fish and two breads( at least we now know they were not Luos or Luhyias). With some borrowed speakers and a relatively bigger room of a student leader we were always good to go.

Given how randy some of us could be, we always knew the kind of girls to invite to such parties. Girls with a tendency to let it go after a few shots. Every one of us knew whom to call. They always showed up, if they were not attending other parties elsewhere in senior male hostels. These tricks were universally common in the university.

The evening begun with drinking undiluted hard liquor and smoking really bad stuff. By the time, I was a fourth year; I was astounded by the high number of women who smoked crack. It was baffling. Some were too innocent and too kind to even think about them along such lines. Some were hardly a surprise. The dancing begun and predictably, the men could disappear with the women randomly to their rooms before coming back; the man with a stupid conquest smile on the face, and the lady suddenly quiet before resuming wild partying-as if nothing had happened.

You only had to go to some room to pick something like a phone charger only to stumble two unlikely individuals getting it on, rather wildly. It always left me wondering where the world is going to.

Suffice to say that this is not a fair representation of the women in campus. At such a Friday night, some women were in church for kesha or fellowship. I would have taken them too seriously only that some even went ahead to fall pregnant and the father disappeared like magic. The women I trusted the most ended up disappointing me the most. I wouldn’t explain how but I will move to make this article much longer.

The reason for the two flashbacks is the woman I am dealing with out here. She is liberal. She is a football fan, and rugby for various reasons. She listens to hip-hop. She drives. She can’t cook even if I was on ICU dying. She sleeps with more than three men. The problem is not the three men, rather she sees absolutely no problem. She is married, but she doesn’t mind fooling around. She can’t wash, even her own clothes for christ-sake.

I am not trying to justify that the woman’s place is the kitchen or that men have monopoly over cheating. Far from it. I am not rationalizing any gender stereotype or building on certain assumption. I am about to offer my two-cent academic insight in to what education has done to women.

One, education made women desire to be men. That is why they picked all the bad traits of masculinity. They have an unusual passion for sports. They now drink harder than men, cheat more than men, are vulgar and all the bad things that men do. They are yet to start farting loudly in public. Or even pick their noses. Some are ugly drivers and others can get physical.

While some of these are survival strategies in a beastly masculine society, they set their bar too low. Men are not the best yardstick of rationalizing bad behaviour. Anytime I hear the line ‘BUT MEN DO IT’ I feel like punching someone woman on the face. Two wrongs don’t make right. And here it is not a case of sour grapes or they are outsmarting men at their own game, more so on the cheating front.

What education did is that it changed the mindset of women to think like men. It made women perceive sex as a physical exercise like men. For men of my generation, sex has become a physical work out, more often than not void of any intimacy. Not that our fathers were any different but they looked at things quite differently. Now more and more women are detaching feelings from sex, quicker that a politician fails to connect his rhetoric to reality after an election.

More and more women in towns are dating many men; some for sex, some for emotional comfort and a good number for financial gains. The number of women for whom rent is paid in town in exchange for sex is startling. And to think they are not prostitutes…. It leaves me worried what our women have become. Is it that times are hard or men are foolish?

As soon as women detached feelings from sex, it became a jungle. We live one day at a time. Sex loses even its procreationary role; given most women believe in abortion and morning after pills ( I just saw an aborted foetus at the Donholm roundabout when coming to town. It is no longer a big deal.

Let us talk about alcohol. More women are drinking alcohol than ever before. The number of women in night clubs is a bad indicator of the kind of future that awaits the men who believe in a marriage. If they are going to be our wives, we are doomed. I find it exceptionally odd when I am sharing hang-over stories with a woman. I find insulting when a woman is taking Guinness Kubwa and I am having my Tuskers. I loathe when a young woman tells me that she hates the fact that she is drunk but not as high as she would like to feel.

I lose hope every time I convince a lady on the first day in a club to go with me to my place. Not that I take them there anyway. I hate (and many men do) when a woman gives a number promptly in a club without even begging. I don’t enjoy a lap dances that I hardly hassled for or any ass-dancing my way without any hard work. The women have become, too willing, some too loose-yet they are not prostitutes but they are enjoying it.

I can only blame education for liberating too much and the few things we enjoyed as men we can no longer enjoy them. They cheat like us, may be too much. Drink as much and like men in the past, they don’t give a damn. I bemoaned the Kenyan men when my Sudanese friend Duot declared that he is marrying in January.

“I know you are certainly marrying a Kenyan,” I quipped.

“Never, ever. Kenyan women know too much and don’t possess the true traits of an African wife. Given I have a big family and friends, she will definitely hate me since I might not accord her sufficient attention.”

“What?”

“I can’t blame them. That is how they have been brought up.”
I cried.

Cremation, oooooouch!!!

Cremation, Oooouuuch!!!!!

In May 2008, Sungu Sungu descended on a number of villages in my rural home in Kisii and lynched a number of suspected sorcerers and wizards. It was a highly publicized event that earned my commnity negative publicity for the umpteen time. Old women, normally associated with the practice were doused in petrol and necklaced with car tyres and lynched. I felt that there was need for an insider-someone from the cmmnity-to bring the real story to Kenyans.

It was at the end of my first year and end year exams were beckoning. At the moment, I was enjoying some good rapport with an editor at the Standard’s Crazy Monday, a humorous pull out that makes Mondays worthwhile. I wrote to him expressing my wish to visit Kisii and bring the story that I guaranteed was going to be as juicy as they come. He gave me a go ahead.

This was at the formative stages of my freelance writing and I can confess that getting such an opportunity is a big honor. For any would be writer, getting the attention of an editor at a big media house is as good as it gets. It was my first big assignment and there is no way I was going to screw it. I remember running into the library to do a lot of research about past incidents and what academicians had written about it. I spent two days at the Kenya National Library at Upper Hill, which to me is the best library in the country, even though public.

Upon completion of my research, it was time to go down to the village and research on the events leading to the lynchings. I called on my close friend PO who said he was game and we could go down and carry out our first journalistic experience. PO was also getting into the writing game having been given into poetry more than prose writing prior.

We set to leave on a Saturday Night, conduct the research on a Sunday and be back to school by Monday. It was a fairly achievable feat. We left school at 9pm and arrived at the bus station 30 minutes later. All the buses had left. We only had one two options, sit there through the night and wait for the first bus in the morning or go back to school and leave early in the morning.

Now I have a big problem with myself. Once I have set to travel, I never revise my schedule to accommodate any unforeseeable circumstances. It has really cost me a number of times. I have slept in forests when the vehicles break down, and I have often found myself really dangerous spots at wee hours of the night. We could not go back to school and we opted to dance the night away at Club Wallets along Tom Mboya Street.

We looked naive, with our back packs. We looked foolish with Peter on Sprite and me on a Redbull. In Wallets. A club more famous for the number of wallets that are stolen every weekend than partying. A club with the most physical dancers in Nairobi. A club that is home to many revelers from the Eastlands who have a habit of sneaking into clubs with all manner of hard liquor. At wallets, your drink can be spiked in a blink of an eye and you might wake up somewhere in Uthiru with your hideous boxers on. Yes! that is where we ended.

I wasn’t yet a close friend to Bon-I and Paul Ndeda, the men who convinced me that beer actually does not taste like a concoction of salted bitter wild flowers. My earlier experiences with beer were torturous and finishing my first bottle of Pilsner while in Form III was more punitive than circumcision. So on this given night, PO who is still a teetotaler(with the strangest of reasons) and I sat there with PO taking to the floor to dance occasionally( jumping like a Dinka traditional warrior is more like it). Too bad I can’t dance to win the woman of my dreams, much less save my life. I keep losing women in clubs for the sole reason that I have two right feet that are totally immobile.

It was a long, belabored night. If you have ever sat through for the night waiting for someone or something to happen, you should have known that the hours are psychologically longer than during day time. By 5 in the morning we set out and got into a Nyamira Express and set out. Exactly four and half later, we were in Kisii Town and fast enough we got into the contraptions that transport people into the populous villages in Kisii.

It was a revelation for Peter as 14-seater Matatus packed up to 26 individuals comfortably. There was always an extra space for for the next person. We delved into the affected villagers. All my neighboring villages had been affected and I had called upon my cousin Areba to take us around the villages. He proved to be duly resourceful. We criss-crossed the villages, searching for the Primary school teacher whose kidnapping by sorcerers had triggered the widespread lynching.

See, what the witches do in Kisii, they normally have a certain book that they enlist individuals they would wish to kill and through which means. Allegedly, they play god by determining on how one dies. It has never been proved though. In this case, the teacher had stumbled upon the book at the primary school, and he was instantly made a speechless-literary and a Mathari Case. The witches are that powerful.

The villagers were so incensed and all the suspected witches and wizards were torched plus their houses. It was a morbid encounter and an eye-opener into the injustices that had happened. With new academic insights, whatever that was happening was wrong. I remember the teacher refusing to talk to us, claiming that if he says anything, his life would be in danger.

I rarely go to my ancestral home, because of private reasons but anytime I happen around there, I normally pass by to say Hi to my folks. This day was no exception. I passed by and went on to cover more stories before finally packing at my grandmother’s place. My grandmother is the greatest living woman in the world, and I can spend all my time listening to her. I love her. I adore her. I admire her deeply. I discussed with her the events that had happened and she was equally disturbed by both the unending sorcery practices and equally the ruthless nature with which they are dealt with.

When I got back to Nairobi, I wrote the story and in deed it was published as a big feature that helped shade some light into the social-cultural, psycho-political reasons for the lynchings. Amongst the things

I suggested to help deal with the practice of digging up bodies for consumption or canibbalism and further rituals was cremation. It sounded a good intellectual antidote to the disgusting exhumation. Already in the village that I grew, in order to deal with the exhumations, a number of villagers had begun pouring sulphuric acid over the bodies in order to dissolve the bodies into bonies or something completely inedible to the repugnant appetites of the witches.

At the moment, I felt academically liberated to entertain the idea of cremation and personally I had a feeling that come my time, cremation was worthwhile. I come from a community that is as rigid as they come. In Africa, ordinarily the dead have no wishes to make, literary. Even someone like me, with a complicated parentage that a cremation can help resolve many a dispute, it will be awkward to even think about it. Logically, it looks the most feasible thing to do in Kisii, since all the land has been taken up by subsidence farming. And many land disputes are in the offing, unless they all steer clear from dependence on land economy.

But after watching and listening to the cremation debate with regards to the death of Prof. Wangari Maathai death wish, I have had to revise my position with regards to it. For spiritual and sentimental reasons. On second thoughts, cremation looks, odd, insensitive and out of touch with Africans respect for the death. I can’t imagine being reduced into ashes through cremation. It is just improbable.

Many of my friends share the same sentiments. I would prefer a public cemetery to cremation.

Protection: who should initiate?

In the event of a bedroom blunder, women suffer doubly. I insist therefore that women must always take charge of matters to do with contraception, no matter how tempting or exciting the situation is…

If there one bedroom moment that every man dreads so much, it must be a condom burst. It is scary. It is frightening. It takes the winds out of any man’s sails and gives many a boy a wakeful nightmare.

The frightening prospect of a VCT visit crosses one’s mind and that morning after, the man is always preoccupied with morbid expectations of what that ‘slight’ accident can lead to; an unwanted pregnancy-invariably the least of his worries-or contracting a venereal disease, mostly AIDS. It is always selfish and the man only mindful of his welfare, never that of the woman.

Three decades since the discovery of HIV and more than half a century of active marketing of contraceptive devices, many women stand accused of their inability to take the initiative on something that often affects their lives detrimentally. The number of abortions as reported elsewhere in this publication is sure proof that unprotected sex is the norm than the exception. A cursory walk down to your suburb pharmacist on a typical weekend can tell you how young women dutifully rely on morning after pills, another sign of the rampant unprotected sex going on in this town.

The costly price of unprotected sex is now clichéd news. Banal and boring; more so to women. In our daily interactions with most women at all levels, the issue of protection is purely a male affair. Unless it is a fling or a call girl, I have noted with alarming concern that even women sufficiently exposed tend to leave that decision solely for the man to decide.

Which brings us to the ever pertinent question that everyone shies away from; who should be in charge of protection?

The answer should be simple. WOMAN. Period. Before you raise your accusing finger, look at it soberly. Men are selfish and if the decision is left with them, they can only act as far as their pelvic desires can drive them. Naturally, anyone looks forward to unprotected sex that can be safe, which in itself is paradoxical given sexual safety begins with that walk to the VCT to ascertain the status. This only happens when the wedding bells are chiming away or where two individuals have demonstrated some proven commitment.

But when people date over a considerable period of time, there is that mutual temptation to drop down the guard and go it the fleshy way. Foolishly, using the rubber becomes exhaustive, burdensome and limiting. When a man opts to go tubeless, a woman mostly will have no say or her protest will be met with his insistence and believe you me a man will have his way. After foreplay and the exciting pre-sexual rites, women are susceptible to be taken away. The word condom and consistency have not co-existed in the same sentence for quite some time.

Naiveté is the bane of social life in campus. It is costly and many brilliant minds have had to learn it the hard way. On the heat of the moment, it is possible to forget the now indispensable ritual of love making; protection.

Personally I have been caught in that dilemma where such a decision was imperative and the urgency to satiate my pelvic thirst naked quite compelling. The women lay there vulnerable, helplessly trusting me and may be the gods that everything will be fine. Those who know me can attest that when you see me, the word handsome loses meaning. I am as broke as they come. It leaves me wondering what happens with those other men who are flier, loaded and may be better at these things.

There are women, who through experience or discretion have learnt the art of consistency and how to tame the offensive fleshy desires of their boyfriend(s), kudos to them. But for those who believe that the man knows, they are wrong. Our involvement has always been physical and beyond scattering the wild oats, there is nothing else. If you get pregnant, you will be robbed some nine productive months that you had not planned for. Worst still, you may contract a disease that you would have avoided.

Men should help in making this decision but given women suffer doubly from any sexual recklessness; they should take charge of protection bit. Suffice to say tripping is humanly inevitable and in the event things go wrong, one should always be ready to take responsibility. You can begin by keeping the baby. It is never a bad idea. Who knows, maybe it is an Obama. Besides that should always remind you that you tripped but it wasn’t a fall.

While at it, can a female student explain to me why they are more scared of a pregnancy than contracting HIV? It simply doesn’t add up. May be I’m too dumb.