Controlling Our Emotions Can Help Change Others

Mother and Child watching each other
Mother and Child watching each other (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For a couple of years I observed some negative changes to my son’s behaviour. The first thing I noticed is that the good relationship a parent enjoys with his son was not there any more. After I noticed this, and of course some other negative behavioral changes, I decided to act as quickly as possible save the situation.

For a couple of years l started to act believing that I could transform my 20 year son into someone else he was before. I encouraged him, cheered him and did everything in my power to change him into what I viewed as his full potential. He then slowly and constantly started asking for my help. But even though, the truth was he never put his full heart into it.

I wanted him to change much more than he did, and I was so blind to my mission that I never accepted him for who he was. This nearly made me part with my only son. But luckily, I was able to control my emotions and never gave up my couching. I avoided using any kind of force when dealing with him. This appeared to have succeeded and my advice is that, being patient is the key word to success in this kind of situation.

We want to believe that we are a positive force for change, both in our lives and in those around us. We see role models accomplishing this all the time. Great teachers can mold young minds. Philanthropists can provide opportunities to those who don’t have. But just because you want others to change, it doesn’t mean you control them. In the end, it is upon each individual to live his own life.

The whole point here is to correct wrong doing. While we cannot control others, there are things within our control that we may apply that may influence others to change for the better.

Controlling our emotions.

You are always in control of how to react in a given situation. Thìs in turn gives the other person a chance to react to your reaction. How you react helps define your relationship. If the relationship is strong, can help model behaviour. And this is how parenting works. Every body, even young children have a will of their own and cannot be forced to do anything, but how you treat them can change them. If you remain calm in the midst of temper tantrum, you have better odds of passing that ability to control emotions onto your offspring.

Potential Threats to Our Drinking Water.

Safety of our drinking water.

Do we ever give thought to the safety of our drinking water? If the answer is yes, then this makes our collective experience with water not very different from that of hundreds of millions of people across the world who lack access to clean water. Right?

Several times in a year, water supply to major Kenyan cities get interrupted for days because of pipe bursts, causing water pollution. Chemicals from industries that don’t treat their effluent properly also find its way to water sources and contaminating the water supply.

While the circumstances in each situation leading to contamination may differ in different areas, they have a notable similarities.
. Pollution not adequately treated by the local water plants.
. Activities in or near the communities caused or partially caused by human, for example mismanagement of waste, throwing waste in open areas.
. Upstream industrial spill; polluted runoff, including from agriculture.

While the country has made huge strides in reducing water pollution, and the statutes have set great goals to ensure safety, it all depends on states and the National Environmental Management Authority to make a follow up to keep the water clean. They underscore the imperative of ensuring that clean water policies are fully implemented and strengthened where necessary.

But, is the regulating body doing enough to ensure this safety?

Threats are not static and neither is the environment. Polluted runoff is now a primary focus- runoff from homes, farms, streets, factories is a major problem across the country and more difficult to control because of its ubiquity. Floods caused by heavy rains in parts of the country also cause contamination of water.

Climate change also plays part by warming the water, resulting in more algae blooms.

The national Environmental body will do more than just regulate. They are required to follow a water management approach that uses natural systems like wetland and green buffers to reduce runoff, enhance water supply and improve community aesthetic.

If we ignore the weaknesses in our current approaches to safeguarding our drinking water supplies, we take a significant risk.

Drug Abuse – How to Fight it At Village Level

Logo of the United States National Institute o...
Logo of the United States National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Drug abuse

Drug abuse continue to be a major problem in many parts of the world, including Kenya – more so in the coastal city of Mombasa.

Observations have shown that control by the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drugs Abuse (NACADA) – (the regulatory body responsible for exercising autonomous authority over drug abuse in regulatory/supervisory capacity), is not very effective.

It is considered by many that the war on drug abuse has to go beyond police swoops or blanket bans.

I know there might be hundreds of articles already written on this topic – however,  the more people talk and write about the issue, the more healthy it becomes – it is awareness campaign – never ending.

The rehabilitation programs in the country will also not be effective if the supply chain remain or continue to increase. Some of the dug addicts who have gone through the rehabilitating programs are also known to go back to the habits again.

New tactics

There are a number of known reasons why youths turn to drug abuse. Two primary causes are : 1. Peer pressure and 2. depression.

Youths associate with different types of people (friends) and through the pressure from these friends, they test the drugs and chances are they will continue using the drugs.

Depression come from idleness – the resulting boredom remain a major cause of youth turning to drug abuse. Unemployment is the major cause of idleness.

It is therefore imperative that a new way or tactics of dealing with menace be sought.

I believe that an effective way can be achieved through the village community participation program, where people can easily interact.

First the parents should take the lead role and take control of the youths – the youths can be contained in every house hold – if for example each household an income generating activity for the jobless youths which can sustain or supplement the family income.

Parents should try to keep away their children from bad friends.

Churches (places of worship) can do a lot in the villages to transform the youth through lecturing and counseling.

The village community can organize activities which can keep the youths occupied most of the time.

Sport fields can motivate the youths in the villages to engage in talent motivating activities.

After school activities should be emphasized in schools and the villages.

Teachers and others experienced in other professional fields should volunteer and start evening classes in the villages.

Retired veterans can also volunteer and share their valuable experiences with the youth.

This change of tactics in dealing with the drug abuse menace may not be the solution we are looking for, but it will certainly have some impact in reducing the number of youths going astray. The idea is to keep the youths occupied to eliminate idleness and boredom (depression)

 

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Nubian IDPs in Kenya

English: Nairobi (Kenya) Skyline from the city...
English: Nairobi (Kenya) Skyline from the city center, 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Slum Kibera in Nairobi, Kenya.
English: Slum Kibera in Nairobi, Kenya. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This blog is about the Nubians Internally Displaced Persons in Kibra, on the outskirt of Nairobi, Kenya.

Definition of IDP

Persons or group of persons who have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of, or in order to avoid the effect of armed conflict, situation of generalized violence.

Nubians occupied Kibra, a 4000 acre piece of land on the outskirt of Nairobi – the capitol city of Kenya since mid 19th century. Nairobi was not the capitol city at the time. The land was given as a gift to the Sudanese soldiers who were brought to Kenya by the then British colonial government.

However, lack of security of tenure for the Kibra land has been used to push them away from their surveyed plots to give way to ‘ sputtering ‘ housing upgrading projects that have hardly benefited the Nubian community, as majority of them became landless and homeless.

These demolitions and evictions took place between 1968 and 2001, to give way to the following development projects:

. Jamhuri estate in 1968

. Otiende estate        1968 – 1979

. Salama and Fort Jesus     1963 – 1969

. Olympic estate  1968

. Ayany  estate  1977 – 1980

Persons displaced by development projects have special needs precisely because of their displacement. They may require special protection in cases where they are forcibly displaced without resettlement, compensation or respect for human rights. This is true whether they are in camps or merged into urban slums. This is true in the case of the displaced Nubians in Kibra.

Writing this article was never meant for making money. However,  the donation will help me cover my blogging expenses in the long journey I intend to make advocating for the reforms of the marginalized minority, and engaging in community matters.

Donation can be made via PayPal using the button below.   

 

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The Sufferings of The Minority Communities

What sufferings do the marginalized / minority groups experience?

Marginalized or minority groups suffer mainly from discrimination, be it social, economical, infringement of rights etc. ( exclusion from government services, programs and policies ).  Material deprivation ( such as food, shelter ) is another common cause of suffering. Ensuing poverty, psycho emotional damage and its resulting deceases, often result, in catastrophic damage to lives, health and psychiatry.

How does one get out of this “slavery” ?

The answer is “struggle”. However, before you start the struggle, challenging the authorities, the community has to first of all have an accurate assessment of who they are and where they are, and where they want to be.

  1.  They have to have full trust of themselves
  2. They have to believe that all nations, and for that matter, all communities are made up of people of diverse background; putting these diversities to use will help uplift the community.
  3. Each one must learn to respect the strength of their diversity.
  4. And that for a community the power lies not in its numbers, but in the diverse skills and resources of its members.
  5. There are elements to which we must adhere to succeed as a community :
  • .Always be united, unity is crucial to delivering a clear message to your opponent ( authorities concerned )
  • Maintain your identity as a people and be proud of your culture.
  • Engage constructively with authorities without resorting to militancy, as militancy only begets militancy.
  • Use existing law to deliberate your issues.
  • In extreme cases, internationalize your issues. Use international organizations to apply pressure on your government.

Lastly, but not the least, after fulfilling all the above, then go ahead and start your challenge!

 

 

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Marginalised Groups / Tribes

What is it being marginalized or what is marginalization?

In sociology marginalization is the social process of becoming or being relegated to the fringe of society.

Many communities experience marginalization all over the world. For example marginalization of Aboriginal community in Australia is a product of colonization; as a result, Aboriginal community lost their land and were forced into destitute areas. They lost whatever source of income they were getting and were excluded from their rights.

On the other hand, today, especially in Africa, various communities continue to be marginalized from society due to the developments of practices, policies and programs that meet the needs of influential people in the government or from the major tribes, and not the needs of the marginalized groups themselves. As a result the marginalized people are denied basic human rights and even citizenship status. These communities are seen as ” undeserving foreigners “.

Can a community come out of this problem? And how?

Yes is the answer. I am a firm believer that a marginalized community can do a  lot to free themselves from this discriminatory situation.

It is said that attributes of  wisdom include being able to take initiative. And that every action you take today is a seed for tomorrow.

Having said that, I would like to single out one marginalized group in Kenya who have been neglected by the government of Kenya for decades. This community, the Nubian community, has woken up and are challenging the government for their rights. The community has realized that they cannot afford any longer to wake up in the morning and take life as it comes, and go to sleep at night not knowing whether they made any progress that day or not. Which is called existing, not living. They felt that there is need to learn how to plan for future life. The community realized that if they can plan, they can fulfill their destinies.

The struggle against marginalization

Over the last decade, two bodies were formed by the Nubian community to fight for their rights. The Kibra Land Committee and The Nubian Council of Elders were formed to pursue the twin issues of Nubian ethnic recognition and the land rights in Kibra.

The struggle on the formal Nubian recognition was internationalized through media, Human Right bodies and the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of Child (ACERWC).

The struggle on the ethnic recognition was successful after ACERWC, in its ruling found the Kenya government had violated Chapter 6 of the African Charter provision protecting the rights of children to nationality. The committee then made recommendations to the government of Kenya to correct the situations.

Strategic Planning

The community felt that drastic changes were required to be able to transform, but what does it entail?

First, to begin the process of transformation the community must have an accurate assessment of who they are, where they are and who they want to be. It was established that the community problem was mainly lack of vision.

Therefore to have any meaningful transformation, the community decided to use the analytical method of assessment, SWOT, ( Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunity and Threats ).

With this method it is possible to define success for different areas of life, financial, social, economical and even spiritual. Once this has been done, the next thing is to take each area and come up with the demands that each area will require.

What are the skills needed to develop? What are the relationships needed to cultivate? What are the investments needed to make?

Lastly, but not the least, it should be realized that many visions do not come to pass because even though the vision is good, people are not able to pay the price to bring it to pass.

Every vision comes with a price tag. The ability to pay the price will determine how probable your chances of succeeding are. You need to define what you need to see and the timelines to assure you that you are making progress. This is vital so you don’t just engage in motions without progress.

History of Kibra – The Home of the Marginalised Nubians

English: Kibera Slum in Nairobi Deutsch: Der S...
English: Kibera Slum in Nairobi Deutsch: Der Slum Kibera in Nairobi Polski: Kiberia – dzielnica slumsów w Nairobi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Facts about Kibra

Kibra is a village on the outskirt of Nairobi, (capital city of Kenya), about six kilometers from the city center. It is a home for the Nubian community whose forefathers were settled there by the then British colonial government after conscription from the army, the Kings African Rifles (KAR). Nubians originated from the northern Sudan.
Kibra Nubian village as it is known, came into being early last century, after the area was designated a military reserve for the demobilized KAR soldiers.
Kibra was already there when Nairobi was made a city in 1902. Kibra was registered in 1917/18, and survey map reproduced in 1934.
The official original area of Kibra was 1497.5 acres. This area has however been reduced to its current 600 or so acres by the successive governments employing the policy of marginalization, and land grabbing by corrupt government authorities and influential rich people.
Kibra Problems
Kibra lost its origin soon after independence. These problems were started by selfish politicians who wanted to keep control over their voters. The first change we saw in Kibra was the change of the name from Kibra to Kibera, the corrupted name adapted soon after independence. This was intentionally done to distort the history of the area.
Kibra is now a home to more than 500,000 people, a figure released by the civil society organizations. The national census done in the year 2009 put the figure at 250,000, this latter figure is largely believed to be a distorted figure.
Majority of the population are people who invaded the area for political or economic reasons. Cheap and affordable housing in the area made it attractive to people who earn low salaries, and at the same time politicians invited their supporters to gain voting power.
This great influx of people in Kibra made it to be the largest slum on Africa.
Challenges facing the Kenya Government.
Among the challenges facing the government and those who want to resolve the land question in Kibra are:
1. Competing rights between the Nubians, who settled in Kibra more than 100 years ago, even before Nairobi became a city, and migrants who have continuously been settling there since after independence.
2. Political competition between major tribes like the Luos and the Kikuyus. Each one trying to outnumber the other.
3. Economical interest of those who believe they have a right to the piece of land they have invaded: owning a land in Kibra is a bog deal, and they will use any means available to protect their interests.
Challenges facing the Nubian Community
1. Uncertainty about the government giving back the Kibra land to the Nubian community. This issue of Kibra land has been internationalized through media, Human Right bodies, and the African Court. But the government s still quiet.
2. The community has to continue keeping the government under pressure claiming their rights and internationalize the issue. Use international organizations and international law. Tickle the mind of decision makers.
3. The community must always remain united, unity is critical to delivering a clear message to the government.
4. Community must be organized.
5. The community must be sensitive to the unfulfilled promises given by the successive governments about the Kibra land. On the contrary, tensions were created between the Nubians and other communities, while the politicians from the major tribes incited their followers to violence.

Writing this article was never about making money. However, the small donation I plead for is for helping me cover blogging expenses in the long journey I intend to make advocating for reforms of the marginalized minority,  and also engaging in other community matters.

Donation can be made via PayPal using the button below.

 

 

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Self-fulfilling Prophecies

Nubians
Nubians (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Self-fulfilling prophecy example

When you tell yourself that I cannot do this or that, you actually ensure that you can’t do it. How do you change that thinking?
The Nubian community in Kenya, and especially so in Kibra, are divided into groups who have always been at loggerheads and cannot agree with each others ideas. There is a common belief among people in this community that it is dofficult or even impossible to unite because there has always been disagreements among groups since the time of our forefathers. This mythical belief has spread like fire and is really hampering progress.
Who are the Nubians?
Nubian community is a minority tribe in Kenya, originally from Sudan, whose fore fathers were settled in Kenya over one century ago by the then British colonial government, after conscription from the army.
Going back to the mythical belief the community holds, this state of mind has made difficult to change the community in order to forge forward in development.
A great discoverer, Albert Einstain said ‘ You cant solve a problem with the same mind that created it’. In this regard, the community way of thinking make it stuck to where they are, no development. If the community does not change its way of thinking, chances are the community will end up in the exact same situatipn.
Our children grew up believing that Nubians will never unite. This is the repeated message that they get from their parrents.
Change your way of thinking!
Many of the members of the community still relate with the idea that they cannot unite, because it has never been possible in the past. Are we waiting for someone to come and tell us we can do it? The truth of the matter is there aint going to someone to tell us that.
Change your way of thinking, do not limit yourself to this false belief, say ‘Yes we can’, and move forward..

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FIFA WORLD CUP 2010

Fifa World Cup 2010 has many lessons for Africa and the world.

Cup has many lessons for Africa and the world.

Indeed there are many lessons to Africa and the world in this 2010 world cup. It is the first on African soil. It is also probably the most colourful. We should not also forget the deafening blast of vuvuzela, a word which originated from IsiZulu – meaning noise.

It is the first time the biggest sporting event in the world being staged on African soil. South Africa has thus done the continent proud, considering that the preparations were characterised by doubts of if an African country could really host a tournament of this magnitude.

Fifa president was right in a recent speech when he said : “football is not just about the game; it is about connecting people”.

This was the case when tens of thousands of people from different cultures across the world thronged Soweto’s Orlando Stadium for a fans’ festival and concert performed by several international and local artistes.

It was a star-studded affair – with such top musicians as Black Eyed Peas, Shakira and Alicia Keys performed. The beat and sound of the drum, a musical instrument that symbolises Africa, was magical as some of Africa’s top artistes like Hugh Masekela and Angelique Kidjo sung for the continent.

A HOST OF WORLD LEADERS, INCLUDING U.S. Vice president Joe Bidden attending the opening ceremony, showed great support and goodwill for South Africa from across the continent and the world has for Africa.

On the pitch, the African players have shown great talent. This depth of talent has produced great players that dazzle the world, such as Cote d’Ivoire’s Didier Drogba of Chelsea in England and Cameroonian Samuel Etoo of Inter Milan in Italy.

Although the world cup is not over yet, the African teams have shown great performances, which I hope, will make FIFA consider increasing the number of teams from the continent to participate in the future world cups.

Last but not least, the world cup should also give Africa some positive image abroad. In the past, focus was only on the continent in relation to conflicts, famine and diseases. However, this tournament should help in showing the world our rich cultural heritage, great hospitality and natural resources.

We salute South Africa for hosting the World Cup on behalf of Africa!

Dear Old Phone Booths

 

A telephone booth with smashed tempered glass ...
A telephone booth with smashed tempered glass in Holloway, London. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nostalgia as phone booths make last call

Mobile phones win the war as Telecommunication Company recalls the last of its ‘call boxes’

The famous telephone booths, once a landmark in streets all over the world are taking their last calls gradually. In the next one year or so, the last of the booths will disappear from Kenyan streets.

With their exit – the war between the majestic red, yellow and (recently) cream booths, and the mobile phone, finally comes to an end, obviously won by the wireless. This process which may have happened years ago in developed countries, is happening now in most parts of Africa. Why? Pace of development.

However, as history goes, the first coin operated telephone booths were installed at Hartford Bank in Connecticut, in 1889. The English had their coin operated telephones in the early 1900’s at the Ludgate Circus Post Office.

But in the part of the world I live, in Kenya, the phone booths made their entry in 1960’s. So what will the people remember about them?

In those days, one had to go through the notorious eavesdroppers, called telephone operators. They were the demi gods of telephony then – all calls had to go through them. There was nothing like direct calls. First you call the operator and gave him/her the number you want, then replace the receiver and wait for your call. When the call comes, you hear this, ” Please insert coins into the slot to start talking”. The invincible operator would from time to time growl: “add more coins and hurry it up”. Then the worst experience follows, the operator was always the silent listener to every conversation!

The queues, and the desperate search for coins were the first headache one experienced. The phones in the booths used the silvery one-shilling coins. To ensure that your call did not end prematurely, one needed coins in plenty. So where do you get the coins from? Of course sweet and cigarette vendors had plenty of loose change. One had to buy a sweet for a shilling and give the vendor a larger denomination.

The most frustrating part of all these is that when one accidentally comes across a telephone booth where the telephone is probably out of order, and quickly ‘swallow’ the coins lined on the slot, even before you could say “hallow”. Scenes of frustrated callers angrily banging the phone’s coin slots were very common and very amusing.

The crooks were not left behind. I mean those who would do anything to break a law. They would try to use any unorthodox means to make free calls, from inserting any round object the size of the silvery coin – and even inserting tea spoons in the slots to make the machines work. Others would ask the telephone operators for the infamous “reverse calls”, this was a call to be paid for by the person receiving the call, on condition that he agrees and gives the operator a go-ahead. The “reverse call” was the closest version of the present “please call me”.

There was another trick though, which was commonly used by students or teenagers, it worked as follows – one simply lifted the handset, and “tapped” the protruding switch which cuts off the telephone when the receiver is placed on the phone. The tapping had to be as fast as possible, and the number of times must correspond with each individual number which makes the telephone number you are calling. For example if the number you want to call was 9112, one had to tap nine times very fast, with a small pause then followed by one tap and so on until the last number. And voila! The call would go through most of the time.

Today’s teenagers may not understand the agony of calling a sweetheart in those days. You had to have a thick skin; whether you liked it or not, someone was bound to overhear the conversation. A deliberate arrangement that usually involved strict timing to have the sweetheart wait at a booth on the other end.

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