Friday, 20 November 2015

Here's to new

New. My favorite three lettered word. A part of me wants to say it's every girl's favorite word but that may be a bit derogatory ( whether it's true or not is a discussion for another day. Side note; it's true. Tsk tsk)
I like new things that come from old things. Recycled is the fancy word for it. I like to keep it poetic. New old things. That old pair of jeans you fashionably did a little ripping to here and there giving it a whole new look; that sofa set whose covers you took off and replaced...I have a long list of new old things in my life and I bet you do too. Note: the one thing that should not be new old are exes. Leave those in the old pile and stamp them with the 'hazardous sign'.
Today's blog post is for me to introduce to you something new old to me. A former blog. It will be the blog address that I will be using from now on. Even though this is simply a redirection blog, I will still note that teenage pregnancy needs to be stopped! Hopefully one day it will also be in our old pile, stamped with 'harzadous'.
Here is the new blog site.

See you there soon.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Friday the 13th? No. LIFE

Today has been a good day for me.It felt like I had so much time and just enough to do with it. I thought I'd use the spare time to write a poem. But like every poet out there knows,a good poem is fed off of some inspiration.
Over the past couple of weeks, my mind and heart has been arched towards ending what i would love to call nothing less than a scourge; teenage pregnancy. It's one thing to  hear about it over the news or read it on the internet and another to get the experience first hand from a victim; raw, unedited stories. Words dripping directly from their bleeding souls. Shared stories from young girls who are constantly covered by the blanket of 'I wish I knew'. Carrying resentment and regret like yokes around their necks. Yokes only put there because they lacked the right information to make the right choice.
Myths have become subtle parasites infesting the youth of today. Their diseases are sometimes hard to diagnose because their effects are often only seen after it is too late.
In my line of work, I am privileged  to work directly with young people and always taken aback by the myths they hold on to; detrimental beliefs that end up stealing the brightness of their futures from their lives.
'If I have sex standing up, I won't get pregnant'
'If I wash my private parts with coke or panadol after sex, I won't get pregnant'
'If I have sex 10 days after my periods, I won't get pregnant'
'If I have never had a wet dream then I can't make her pregnant'
'If I have never had my periods then I can't get pregnant'....
And the list unfortunately goes on.
There. There is where i got my inspiration for this poem. Most young people assume that sex is just a game that you can gamble with, not realising that it is their very lives that they are using as the bet money. Depending on 'luck' when they could win with knowledge. I digress. Here is the poem.

The sun rose from the East
Peeping its head over the horizon,
Like every other day.

Scorched the feathers
Of the village cock,
Causing an involuntary impulse
Of an early morning crow;
Like every other day.


This was not
Like every other day;
It was her birthday.
A number she had always considered magical
Because it would be the age
When she gets to go to secondary school,
All the 100s and 90s she worked so hard to get
Would abracadabra her to senior one;
One step closer
To her dream of becoming a musawo;
Treating people,
Saving lives.

As she stretched her arms,
The morning seemed to hand her
Her very first birthday gift;
The sight of an uncontrollably growing belly;
A testament of a life
Growing inside of her.

On this her birthday,
Her mind sang to her
Its own version of a birthday tune,
Echoing rhymes of her mother's screams
And her father's yelling
The day they found out their little girl
Would be forced to grow up
Before her time.
"What shame! You are not my daughter"
"Daddy please"

Out of the peripheral of her mind's eye,
She could see
Plasters of painful memories of the day she told Jim,
Empty promises of his support
If she silently took "it" out,
A death that nearly claimed two lives.

She overdosed on a combination of drugs
And fell into a coma.
Somewhere on her journey back to consciousness
Jim must have ran away,
Leaving her with their baby;
Two children surviving great odds.
Faced with a future bound to be tough.

As if a present of its own too,
Her body hurled out everything she had eaten the night before,

She made 13,
And her life would forever take a new turn.
No more school,
Blocked dreams
So many decisions she wished she could do over....

Sunday, 8 November 2015

For causes worth fighting for

A couple of months ago I had the amazing experience of bringing forth life. To say it was anything close to easy would be a huge understastement. The things that a person goes through in preparation of this bundle of joy can take a huge toll on someone, physically, mentally, socially...and so many other things...lly.Having experienced that, I am grateful to have had the knowledge I had prior to making the decision to have a child.
Unfortunately, unlike me, many young girls are neither equipped with information nor the choice on when to have their first child. They find themselves becoming mothers before they have fully had a chance to be children. UBOS 2011 reported that 1 in 4 girls between the ages of 15 and 19 was either a mother or was pregnant with her first child. In a nation whose bigger percentage is below the age of 18, 1 in 4 girls is a very big ratio. It's one that we cannot simply shrug away and hope it disappears; not like any case of teenage pregnancy should ever be shrugged away. Even if we had 1 in 100, it would be worth fighting against.
It is with this background that I dedicate my next couple of blogs to creating a voice for a cause so close to my heart. So many young girls' lives are affected by this issue; some going as far as losing their lives during delivery or due to abortions in attempt to remove a child they were obviously not ready for. If you sat down with a young girl in this day and age you would realise that there is a huge knowledge gap when it comes to matters of getting pregnant.
'Can I get pregnant if I have sex only once?'
'Is it true you won't get pregnant the first time you have sex?'
'Will I get pregnant if I have sex before I see my menstrual periods?'
All valid questions. All questions most of them have never had the chance to have answered. Because of this lack of information, our nation's future, whose blueprints are strongly embedded in our young girls, is being tainted. What can we do as a nation? What can we do as individuals? I think the first step to answering these questions is first and foremost equipping ourselves with CORRECT information. I capitalize the word correct because in this day and age, there is an outpouring of  information but not all of it is necessarily correct. In fact, giving ear to wrong information is also a cause of teenage pregnancy in our country today. Double check your information with more trusted sources. Use the internet for your benefit; make it your friend.
Here's another friendly way to use the internet, follow this blog and join me and so many others as we continue to add our voice to those who've gone before and scream in written prose ; END TEENAGE PREGNANCY.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Things they never tell you....

Every one prepares you for the pain of child birth; what to eat to reduce it, what to bathe in, who to call, how much to's important that you know and understand that bringing a life into this world is not only hard work but also very painful( if you do it as God intended that is).....

One thing they don't prepare you for, though, is the month after the child is born.
Sure,seeing a little life that came out of you and is a chromosomal fusion of you and the man you love more than life itself is an indescribable elation but fast forward to around day 5 when that baby is home with you and slowly by slowly your sanity begins to dwindle away....the rut that is routine begins to sink its teeth so deep into your psyche that you adopt a sort of comatose state of mind...the colours that describe dusk and dawn simply shift by with no particular particular joy to look forward to.

Of course there are tiny victories as you try to adjust to this new life. Like when he shocked you all and slept through the night( problem is, all of you had slept through the day in preparation of his nocturnal behaviour so still, no sleep)...or that moment when his cord fell off.small victory for some but you see some doesn't have a mother who constantly tells you about the trouble she had with each of her children's cords falling off and doesn't keep exclaiming how come it hasn't fallen seeing it fall all on its own, no complication, no dejavus of my mother's experiences, was a very big victory for me.....or that time he squeezed your finger with his little hand, or had his first dramatic moment when he pushed your breast away and let you fight to feed him simply because you had taken too long to respond to his obvious call for milk that is his.(every child has a diva in them somewhere)

All those countless victories are probably the only strings holding you together as you adjust to this very very new way of life...a sleep deprived, baby driven sort of life.

No one tells you about the nights you'll wake up with him crying irreconsolably(if that's a word) and since he can't speak you have to employ the elimination he wet? Tired? Hungry? Hurt?  Cold? Sick? What is wrong with my baby?!?!?

They never tell you before hand that there will be things that he will do that are completely normal but will freak the hell out of you and make you think you are the world's worst mum. Like his feeding every 30 minutes or so...(of course depending on who is with you but if the voice you are constantly hearing is one that is telling you that you arent feeding him enough or right or your breast milk is too little, even if it drips and wets your whole dress whenever you miss feeding him, you start to believe that voice. Start to question a lot of things and it begins to tag even harder on that thing you used to call your sanity.....)

Child birth is one of life's greatest joys. Seeing a little human who is composed of half your DNA is oh so joyous...but like all life's great things, it doesnt come without any hurdles. However we often look at the crown and forget the cross.

I'm finding ways to adjust, ways to learn. I will, however, be sure to prepare whomever i can for not only the pain of child birth( which produces a beautiful life after the pain is overcome) but also the likely mental pain that will come in the beginning after( which serves to make you stronger, and in more ways than one, less and less selfish. I think it is in these first few weeks that that motherly love they speak so highly of begins to be beautifully curved. You look at that baby and realise he is worth even your own sanity....

Saturday, 18 October 2014


I attended my first bridal shower today. A cousin of a friend is getting married soon and the only reason why I tagged along is because they mentioned that there would be a ssenga session. I had learned in my history and social studies lessons that the ssenga was a very important person to the marriage because she was the one responsible for making the girl grow up into the woman that she should be; but most especially into an acceptable wife. I have a ssenga….well, most of us actually do. But in this day and age it seems like their cultural role in our lives has very slowly dwindled away. So much that some people have to go to the extent of hiring a professional ssenga to take the girl through what she should do in her marriage; but most especially in her marital bed.

I have heard about their inept discussions quite elusively from friends and was curious to find out for myself how deep these talks really go. So I sat, and listened. There were a lot of ohs and ahs going around the room as she told us things that we probably never imagined or had ever heard of; deep cultural things that this era of sex tapes and sex toys has slowly faded off…things that, if you really thought about, made a whole lot of sense. Don’t get me wrong, some of the things probably do not apply to this generation where people are trying too hard to be and act anything but African but most of what she said made sense. Most of what she said got me thinking about how we try so hard to copy the western ways of marriage and then wonder why our marriages don’t last long. (try and compare the divorce rates of our parents and the one of the people in the western world)

So, are SSengas really relevant in this day and age? I think they are; more than we can imagine. Especially in this so called dot com era where people would rather seek counsel on their marriage from their single best friend than from a family member.

I was looking at the different girls around and one thing I actually appreciated was the fact that everyone was being given a chance to learn;to ask questions. Taking in mind the fact that most of us may go into marriage without the slightest idea about our African culture,(and hence be unable to pass it on to our children) the fact that these ssenga sessions are meetings of not only the bride and her ssenga but rather the whole bridal entourage is a big plus.

Another even more important thing about them is apart from our botanical name and the villages that we visit twice a year, this is one other thing that we get to do to honor our roots. Of course, as a Christian woman, most of the practices that were spoken about may not apply to me but the knowledge of my past and the culture they had is something that I can be able to tell my children about and respect in some applicable aspects.

I am not sure if the gentlemen have ‘kojjas’ serving the same purpose that the ssengas serve for the woman. But I am surely glad that that was a part of our culture that we have not lost with the excessive westernization. Sure, it may be a little diluted but thank God it still exists.

Friday, 17 October 2014

crazy love....

As she leaned in and kissed him gently on the cheek, he took hold of the frame of her face, looked her square in the eyes and said,’I am crazy about you’ pronouncing each word as if it were glass. The corners of her mouth curved into what should have been a smile but appeared much more glorious in his eyes. Her eyes darted down but her long silk eyelashes carried them firmly back to gaze into his. ‘ I love you like crazy. Sometimes I am scared that I love you so much I would literally do anything for you’….

That’s when I stopped thinking of them as romantic and looked back into the book I had actually gone there to read( plus, come to think of it, I must have started looking like a crazy person just sitting there at the table opposite them, staring…..) crazy love. Psht. I have come to learn that we are all capable of some sort of craziness and when you add love to the mix of that, then it becomes something else; much more harmful to self. Allow me to illustrate. I know of a girl who loved this guy ‘like crazy’. She is probably the most logical person that I know. She has a firm head on her shoulders and sometimes I wonder if she has two brains inside her skull( not that her head is big but she is really smart) so it came as a surprise when she narrated her love saga to me. She loved this guy. They had been together for 2 years. Although Lord knows how! The guy was a total douche. He slept around quite openly. When he got caught he told her he had a problem and needed a break to sort himself out, which she willingly gave him with a return ticket. He basically treated her like she was scum; think of the worst thing a person can do to someone they claim to love and this guy probably did it twice. But she was crazy about him. She said things like, ‘I know I should leave him but I don’t know, I just love him so much. I mean sometimes I swear he makes me feel like I am losing my mind!’

Crazy love: the kind of love that makes you act insane. Some people yearn for that kind of love. Me? No thank you. You see movies and media and all these fictional books have led us to believe that love is only like a fire. Burning fiercely and consuming all of us(but mainly our mental faculties) they paint the picture that true love needs to make you lose your very senses and most of the time will get you rolling on the floor in tears asking yourself why the hell you still love him even though he just cut your lip with the back of his hand for the umpteenth time. Don’t get me wrong. Crazy love and unconditional love are two very different things that are too often mistaken to be the same. Crazy love says I will ride to the end of the earth with you no matter what the cost. Unconditional love says  no matter where you are in this world, I will still love you the same. Probably not the best analogy to use here but go with it.

 Crazy love is sad. Especially because it has you questioning yourself and realizing that you would never do this in any other circumstances. Like I said. I want none of that.

I want me a love that nourishes. The kind of love where you wake up in the morning feeling and knowing that you are a better person, a stronger person. The kind of love that makes you see the future when you look in the mirror; a future that is bright and happy and sometimes sweaty from all the work this love inspires you to do. I want a love that’s sane; awakening. The kind that shocks you back to reality every time that you are about to do something crazy and stupid.

I want a real love. A love that I don’t have to be delusional about. The kind I can feel and see and even test against empirical standards and find to be true. You see, people tell you that the guy who looks at you in a certain dress and tells you you look fat in it must be crazy. But I want that. A true love. A love that is not molded out of some societal clay to be appropriate to those therein; open the door for her, pull her seat out, buy her chocolates and roses on valentine’s day. I mean all of the above would be really nice bonuses but I want him to do things he thought of in his head not stuff he saw in a movie or read from a book. You see, I believe in the creator of love and I know he created a mind of creativity and endless possibilities inside of each of our heads.

I want a love that lasts. the kind that sees the past for what it is but doesn’t choose to ignore it as if it were something that could never come back to haunt us. Instead, this love deals with it, tears down its foundation and builds a stronger, more lasting one. You see this love does not take with it the growth it brought if or when it leaves. No, this love has a permanent mark on your life because it hasn’t made you into the person it wants you to be, rather, it has shaped you into the person you were meant to be.

I guess, all I really wanted to say was, looking at that couple opposite me, I felt no envy or desire towards their position. What they had or felt may have been something that worked for them quite well. Rather, I felt contentment. Daily, I realize that I have the love I have always wanted. The kind of love that fills you up and leaves you feeling fulfilled. (repetition intended)

Thursday, 16 October 2014


Today has been a dull a bad day. For some reason the beginning of this blog feels like a diary entry but stay with me. It isn’t. today has been one of those days when you have such a bad day that you don’t even have the mental energy to fully acknowledge how terrible a day it really is. The kind of day when you are on auto pilot; wake up, drag your feet to the bathroom, take a shower, drag yourself back to bed and force upon yourself a slumber that will hopefully last through at least half of the day.(the nap was actually the best part of my day) anyway, amidst the suffocating feeling of how much of a vacuum my day was, I found some time to think; to ponder. I thought about the quality of my days of late. Of how stuck in a rut my life had started to feel and how much I hate routine. Don’t get me wrong. This is not one of those times where people whine about how boring their lives are of late yet they are not doing anything to change them. No, I have been doing literally everything to change but somehow it feels like the doors just won’t open; as if I forgot the password to sesame and my repetition of different recitations just locks it even tighter.

So somewhere between my naps, I thought about something someone wise had earlier told me. ‘what if God wants you to learn something that you just aren’t? what if you feel stuck in that place because there is a lesson you just aren’t getting right?’ At the moment he said it, I didn’t really want to hear it. I was pouring my heart out to him and simply wanted him to hold me and tell me everything would be okay, not be my guru. Well ,I guess, not getting what we want can be a good thing too. Anyway, hours later, I got to thinking( and praying) and I realized that that wise man just might be right.

The school of life is not just a metaphor, I think it is a reality. We don’t just exist and breathe for the sake of being a statistic in the growing population of the homo sapiens. We have a purpose and every purpose has a plan. A carefully pre-designed blue print to our destiny. Now life being a school means we are going to have to take a whole lot of tests. And just like in school, we can’t progress to the next class if we don’t pass that exam or that test or if we never learned that lesson. I like to think of life as one huge staircase. We need the previous step to get to the next one; we need whatever lesson we will learn in one phase of our lives as equipment for the next phase of our lives.

That inadvertently led me to think of something else. The teacher/headmaster. GOD. I think that if life is a school then God is the principal, the teacher, the headmaster; basically the one who equips us with whatever we need to move to the next part of our lives. Sometimes we want to rush through the school and finish a certain stage before our time. But I am grateful that in his love and according to his perfect timing, God holds us in place. He knows how important certain lessons are for us so he only lets us go forward once we have learned that lesson. He of course, teaches us( in different ways) but sometimes in our stubbornness, we refuse to learn.

Now like the staircase that life feels to me, that also led me to think about something else. HOW GRATEFUL I AM for today. I know. It has been a totally bad day. But I have learned today, a lesson I wish I had learned many months ago. I have learned( or rather been reminded) that there is nothing that happens in my life just fwaa( I apologize for the colloquialism. I have always wanted to use that word in writing; without self-restraint) and for that I am grateful. I learned so many little lessons today one of which was how God has got my back. No matter how it may seem, IT WILL ALL BE OKAY. But I couldn’t see all this without first embracing a thankful heart. Gratitude was the lense through which I saw the different little lessons that warmed my heart today. So in a way, I am grateful for gratitude.

The rain may not always bring with it a rainbow but one thing is for sure, somewhere something is being brought to life by the pouring of that rain.