Saturday, September 23, 2017

Breaking barriers: Taking charge of your sexual health



Say no to unprotected sex

Say no to unprotected sex 

By Salome Gregory

 In Tanzania, five out of every 100 people are living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). The HIV and Malaria Indicator Survey (THMIS) 2011/2012 show that, the general HIV prevalence is estimated at 5.1 per cent among adults aged 15-49 years.

Of the mentioned age majority are youth. Unprotected sex is among the major factors that instigate the spread of HIV, Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) and unwanted pregnancies.

Different researches on the spread of HIV show that women are at a higher risk of being infected with HIV compared to men. However, a survey by Woman shed light on what might be part of this problem; failure to make their own decisions when it comes to using protection during sex. 

Juliana Isaya, 33, a primary teacher in Tabata says male domination has a lot of impact in Tanzania. As a matter of fact, this is evidenced in the early stages of a relationship where women tend to be shy to talk openly about their feelings towards a man. There’s this perception that it is the man who should profess his love, and not the woman.

She says women in many African countries play second fiddle to men when it comes to making decisions, denyingthem of their right to an opinion.

“We grew up with the embedded notion that women should always be under men. Even on matters that affect their lives directly. This has brought a very serious challenge in our society today and it makes it hard for women to open up and share their feelings,” says Juliana.

Talking about her sex life, she says it has never been easy to bring up a conversation on having protected sex. Only way she can protect herself is by making sure she gets a faithful partner who’s only committed to her.

“I know it is very risky to put your health in the hands of someone else. At the same time it is not easy bringing up conversation on using protection. There is a need for us to change our mindset,” says Juliana.

Taught right from school

Dina Robert, 37, is a sales person at a telecommunications company in the country. She says that, during her high school years back in Uganda, her teachers taught her on self respect and the value of her life.

She says that teachers went ahead and taught them more about HIV/AIDS and how to protect themselves from being infected through having unprotected sex. Since then she has always been careful and never has sex without protecting herself.

As soon as she came back to Tanzania from Uganda, her first boyfriend was surprised when he saw her carrying condoms and bringing them whenever they planned to have sex. To her, carrying protection is a normal thing and helps her take better care of her own health. 

However, as days went by her boyfriend accused her of being a prostitute for carrying condoms. It (carrying condom) being a habit associated with majority of boys and men in Tanzania, carrying protection rendered her an easy victim of insults from men. 

“I am not yet a mother and I am still single. I believe in having a very stable family in the future. There is no way I can risk my life by having unprotected sex as majority of men are not ready to start a family but still like to enjoy the privileges of married couples,” says Dina.

A recent research published by Mail online reads that men are more likely to have unprotected sex with women they find very attractive while ugly women have higher chances of carrying a sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the eyes of men.

The research further shows protection methods get thrown out of the window when it comes to one-night stands with pretty women, experts discovered.

The study aimed to better understand the relationship between perceived attractiveness, sexual health status and intended condom use among heterosexual men. 

Dr Colman Matunda is a gynaecologist at the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH). He says, not being able to decide on important matters especially reproductive health is because the society has undermined the girl child.

It is important for all parents and teachers to come up as one and break the silence among girls. They have to be educated on different things and on proper ways to go about any challenge.

He says that majority of women especially in rural settings think that men are in a position of making major decisions, even those that affect them directly.

“Gone are the days when a woman was taken for granted. Living the decision of using protection entirely to men  has affected the lives of so many women and in this process a number of them have ended up contracting STDs,” says Matunda.

 

Failure to open up

According to the physiologist, ten out of 40 patients he sees in a week are women who can’t open up and explain what disruptions persist in their lives. To take control of this submissiveness to men portrayed by women, education of self-worth and using protection during intercourse should start at an early age. “They have to be taught on the importance of taking care of their lives as well as protecting themselves from diseases,” he says.

The situation of submissiveness has crossed all boundaries and now you find that even a married woman lives it up to her husband to decide whether to use protection or not. As a result most couples find themselves with an unplanned pregnancy which often comes with a host of complications.

Aisha Ismail, 36, is a banker and a mother of three children who also never wanted to discuss about family planning issues with her husband.  Her first born, Lamra is 8, second born Hussein is 6 and her third born Sharifa is 4 years old.

She says her husband doesn’t like to use condoms. They never get time to discus about reproductive health because her husband never likes using condoms.

She says she has been married for the past ten years, and during all these years she’s been using morning after pills as a way of protecting herself from unplanned pregnancies.

“I have been struggling very hard to balance my career and personal life. There is never a balance between the two. Most of the times I fail to deliver at work due to family issues that I have to handle as a mother and a wife,” says Aisha.

She says her family comes first but she wishes she could’ve managed to decide on spacing the birth of her children to give room for her career growth. She believes that being a mother of three children without a good parental planning has brought a lot of challenges in her career life. And it will take years for her to fix the career damage that has happened in all those years.

Studies show that the HIV prevalence among key and vulnerable populations is higher than that of the general population. HIV prevalence among these groups is as follows: Female Sex Workers 26%: People who inject drugs 36%.

The HIV prevalence among adolescent girls and young women aged 15 -19 is 1.1%, and those aged 20-24 is 4.4%; whereas the HIV prevalence among young boys of the same age groups is 0.6% and 2.8% respectively. This situation compelled the Government to develop a National guideline targeting HIV prevention programs for Key and Vulnerable Populations.

Urio Mbago a psychologist  based at Mororogoro Regional Hospital says use of protection is not only to prevent the spread of HIV, but to also act as a family planning method for families having more than two children and are not financially stable to handle more children.

“Having a high number of children who cannot be well taken care of especially in rurall settings can result to critical poverty and being unable to meet the basic family needs.

He suggests that, people, especially married couples should get proper education on family planning as well as reproductive health in order to help them plan their families better.

sgregory@tz.nationmedia.com

 

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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Take charge of your sexual health

By Janet Otieno-Prosper

Today as Woman desk, we want to share with you an interesting conversation between men and women on who should be responsible for protection use in a relationship. Majority are of the view that when it comes to condoms, women leave it to men.

How true is this? Well read the story to find out. In the neighbouring nation of Uganda, condoms are sold openly and people are not afraid to pick them. Women also buy them and stash them in their handbags.

 But in a conservative society like ours, people could scorn at a woman picking condoms openly, right? Here is what I think, your safety is your responsibility.

Anybody thinking of engaging in an intimate relationship should buy condom and it should not be left for the men to decide at their own whim.

You should protect yourself from Sexually Transmitted Diseases. I believe that it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to this issue and women should not be stigmatised when they buy condoms.

I mean why should people be afraid to buy condoms? Even men are afraid to buy condoms in the supermarket fearing scorn from other buyers.

Why should condom be bought in whisper? It  is a contraceptive against pregnancy for those who want to plan their families  so why should one be afraid.

It also protects from STDs including HIV/Aids so why would you please everyone else and compromise on your health.

I know there are people out there who would slut-shame women who openly buy condoms and it is not right because if they don’t they may end up with unplanned pregnancies or diseases which they will regret in their lifetime.

It is time as a society, we revisit that conversation about condoms. And women should know that taking control of one’s sexual health is an empowering action that one should be proud of.

Nobody should convince you that using or carrying a condom equates to promiscuity.

So let everyone take charge of their sexual and reproductive health using condoms since it is a non intrusive method and is also convenient according to several studies.

 

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Saturday, September 23, 2017

She has two names, reveals to you why



Bar maid uses two names at grocery

Bar maid uses two names at grocery 

You arrive at the “grocery” where you’re warmly welcomed by a tallish, charming barmaid.  Boosts your ego… you feel important. Not strange, of course, for this is one big reason men spend more time than they should in groceries… the desire to be appreciated as “heads” in a world where members of the hitherto weaker sex are increasingly getting disturbingly stronger..

 Oh yeah; many husbands feeling like they’re the “fairer” sex in today’s Bongo. Why, we’ve all these women who, like Doki of the Biko gambling promo, own cars while their husband’s, like “her” Mpoki, is a mere holder of a six-year-old driving licence but without a car!

That’s what the world has come to, but our brother Mpoki must take heart that he’s not alone… many fellow men are socially and economically de-franchised by the formerly meek “mama watoto” who today doesn’t even cook for their hubby. The housemaid does that. She could be a CEO of some company or a powerful businesswoman and the hubby, a struggler with a miserly monthly pay. He’s no longer the traditionally ever important sole bread winner.

Husband or no husband, there’s always enough bread at home, thanks to today’s mama. Asiwababaishe huyu baba yenu, today’s mama watoto can tell the brats who call you dad. Being called baba watoto is no longer a big deal. However, since men continue to consider themselves more important than women “by nature”, they need to find a place where their “God-given” importance is recognised.  The grocery provides such an outlet, au siyo?  Sorry, we’re digressing.

Now when this mhudumu rushes to you as you arrive, you can’t but feel great… it’s like she has known you since Adam, kumbe wapi! You’re led to a table and asked what you want and before long, a warm, small Serengeti is before you. There aren’t that many patrons and most mhudumu can afford the luxury of sitting—and even drinking—with patrons. 

 You look left and right and notice yours is the only mhudumu without a drink before her and you feel guilty about it. This cannot go on, you tell yourself.

“How come you aren’t having a drink?” you ask her.

“You haven’t offered me one,” she says.

“Sorry… go get yourself a soda.”

“A soda? Why do you want me to have a soda, mzee wangu?” she asks coyly, adding: “Or maybe I look like a primary schoolgirl?”

“Well, I didn’t know you drink; sorry… and by the way, what’s your name?” you say.

“Renata.”

“Okay, Renata; have a beer on my bill,” you say.

You’re soon sharing a table, not only with a mhudumu, but a fellow drinker. It’s okay, for this is Bongo. Service providers and receivers enjoy equal rights since ours is officially a socialist country—wajamaa.

In due course, the number of customers rises or as we say, baa inachangamka. Renata spends less and less time with you now. She moves from here and there attending to patrons, just like her colleagues, but makes sure she returns to your table to maintain her membership, more so because her second beer (from you) is still more than half full.

At some stage, you hear the matron’s voice call the name Vero. First time, second time… and then, Renata your tablemate, er, sorry, your mhudumu, shoots up and walks towards the matron. The boss directs to a table with patrons who have apparently been forgotten by wahudumu, most of whom are busy drinking and chatting and generally having a good time like they were patrons!

When she returns to join you, she apologises for leaving you alone “for so long”. You tell her not to worry. “In any case, you’re at work… you’ve to serve other drinkers, not only me,” you say.

“Thank you for your understanding, but you’re my best customer” says she. Ha! Ha! Ha! You laugh inwardly.

“By the way,” you say, “I heard the matron call Vero and you answered to that name; are you Vero or Renata?”

“Both names are mine?”

“And you use them interchangeably?” you ask.

“Yes… to my friends, I am Renata, to my employer, I ‘m Vero.”

“Why?”

“So that when I choose to leave, the manager won’t be able to trace me…it also helps to keep away crooked men, the ones I give the wrong phone number.”

wmuyanza@yahoo.com

 

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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Changing narrative on gender-based violence

Humanitarian effort: Graca Machel has been

Humanitarian effort: Graca Machel has been speaking up for girls’ rights. PHOTO I FILE 

By Hellen Nachilongo

For years, African women have been subjected to infliction of gender violence which is oftentimes disregarded as mere domestic squabbles among couples.

They suffer in silence and resign themselves to a life filled with resentment and hopelessness. It reached a point where silence was perceived as a norm for a woman going through gender violence.

Josina Machel, a daughter of Glaca Machel and stepdaughter of the late South African former President Nelson Mandela took a brave step and told the world of her own domestic violence nightmare.

It was 17, October 2015, when the man she loved so much, beat her up to the point where she was left bleeding profusely and lost sight on one of her eyes.

“Since that day I’ve never regained sight on my right eye and I’ve been permanently scarred by the traumatic event,” she said, adding that she had never once thought that one day the man she loved so much would do that to her.

Josina decided that she was going to speak out; she doesn’t want women who go through such ordeals to suffer in silence. Through her NGO called ‘Kuhluka Movement’, she would continue to speak out.

There are many women survivors who have suffered harassment, gender-based violence but their voices are not heard because they present their issues to the wrong people.

“We need a platform where we can be heard and seen so that we can heel our wounds and become champions of others, encourage them to speak out, empowering our spirits without helping each other cannot make any difference,” she said.

She further said that through her NGO she encourages more women and victims to share their experience in order to change the narratives.

It is apparent that it is not just the victims of gender based violence who fail to justly convey information on the brutality of such violence, but media as well has at times failed to extensively provide detailed reporting on the violence that women are subjected to.

In a bid to change the perception on women and approach to reporting on cases of domestic violence and other forms of gender based abuses, last month, Tanzania hosted the United Nations Women capacity building training to fifteen African journalists across the continent on Gender Responsive Story Telling and Documenting Stories of success.

During the course of the program, fifteen journalists including myself had another privilege to be linked with a Women Advancing Africa Forum (WAA) “Driving Social Economic Transformation” launched by Tanzanian Vice-President Samia Suluhu Hassan.

Celebrating role of women

The new initiative was a Pan-African flagship Trust to acknowledge and celebrate the critical role women play and it brought more than 140 women across Africa and other developed countries to discuss several issues.

Issues discussed during the forum included; Mothers and Daughter Intergenerational Dialogue on the Changing Role of Women in Activism, women progress and the future however, I found an interest on Changing the Narrative, Media and Creative Industries and Unleashing Our Power for Social Change.

The two topics presented by different women brought tears to almost every woman who attended the WAA forum, because women amongst the panelists shared touching stories that shed light on the devastating state of affairs in as far as gender based violence is concerned. The stories were horrid but touching such that everyone who listened to them couldn’t hold back their tears.

“No woman should lose her dignity because she lost her husband, and no woman should keep quiet because of harassment,” these are some of the words that Schoolistca Kimarya and Josina Machel said during a panel discussion on “Unleashing our Power for Social Change”

“Where I come from, when you lose a husband, someone must succeed your husband by cleansing your body,” the Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Maadili Leadership Solutions and Self Mentor, Ms Schoolastica Kimarya said.

She said that most women in her country have been victims of Sexually Transmitted Diseases because of sexual cleansing, “we must say no to such inhuman and uncomfortable behavior,” she demanded.

The unspoken truth

According to her, women must speak for the unspoken truth, say no to make a change, “we must see change, sexual cleansing does not happen once but it happens more than twice therefore it is time to say no to cleansing,” she speaks.

Mr Abdul Mohamed, one of the attendees at the forum applauded the initiative started by Josina Machel which encourages women to speak out when faced with gender violence. “It is a great initiative because next time the culprits will think twice before abusing women for fear of being exposed,” he says, adding, “This is a positive move because victims of gender violence will not remain silent anymore.”

According to him, women often do not have the resources to find their way to the authorities to report incidences of domestic violence. When they do, they are often met with victim-blaming attitudes by those mandated to support them therefore it was time for women to say no to violence.

He said that in some cases they are even encouraged to remain silent, as what happens between a man and his wife is regarded as private.

The Former President of Pan African Parliament Dr Getrude Mongella said as Africa was moving to second liberation, media should portray strong voices of interesting women because in the first liberation media have portrayed women as victims.

“In developing countries, most of the time strong women have not been heard nor seen in the media but instead they have been portrayed in images,” she said.

She explained that to ensure that women were heard and seen, women themselves should partner with media and move together in the second liberation to claim their rightful place.

“Sometimes women deny giving the media information they want, this doesn’t work in our favour because failure to share information leads to concealment of facts,” she said. She explained that as Africa is taking a leap in to the second liberation and looking into the fact that liberation depends much on technology and partnership, the only way to deal with stereotype is through dialogue with women and the media.

UN Women Tanzania Representative Ms Hodan Addou said that African women are often depicted as victims, having little stake in control of their future, and with a limited role to play in the transformation and development of African nations.

“We need to change this narrative that relegates African women to a role of despondent individual, incapable of helping herself -- a one-dimensional personality that only focuses on fashion, food and romantic relationships,” she said.

According to her, studies have proven that the effective promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment through role models and a positive narrative of the African woman not only contributes to the benefit of the women in terms of their individual capacities, but also contributes to the well-being and development of communities, countries and the continent as a whole.

For such initiatives to deliver worthwhile results, we need the support, contribution and commitment of the media through all its platforms.

The media is our key partner is ending gender-biased reporting on women and girls. Through your articles, programmes, photographs, radio shows and editorials, you shape the thoughts and beliefs of the people of your country.

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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Using challenges to advance women’s rights



Janet Otieno

Janet Otieno 

By Janet Otieno-Prosper

I came across this article in the Guardian, a UK based newspaper on how cycling is keeping the fights for women’s rights moving. In Saudi Arabia, male consent is still very important according to the article.

For your information, women are not allowed to drive. However cycling was legalized but women are only allowed to cycle in parks and beaches with male guardianship.

Strange stuff huh? Well, women have found a way to fight for their gender rights in this cycling. One woman, Baraah Luhaid has managed to organize a women only community and through that they have come up with a cycling shop, café and workshop.

She uses this to advocate for women’s independence. So you see in the face of patriarchal system, we can still turn things around just as Baraah is doing in Saudi Arabia. I know as a woman that we have many challenges and many are originating from gender stereotypes. There are even silent rules in certain places about things woman should do or not do, say or not say. In most boardrooms, women who voice their opinions have been viewed as threats.

In most cases women are expected to sit quietly and hear what the men have to say. But you know what, you can find a way around this and make things work out. For instance, you can start doing things in your organisation which positively impacts on the results.

This way, you will channel your energy positively in turning things around instead of complaining of how chauvanistic people you work with are. This is not the time to complain any more about gender challenges at home, work in the society but to try and turn things round in women’s favour.

For instance, if most women in your neighbourhood are unemployed and are subject to gender violence from their spouses, you can find time and talk to them and help create awareness about gender-based violence.

You can then take them to the community leader to report the case. From there, she will go and educate her peers and soon they will be acting towards ending this violence instead of just keeping quite.

And if many women in your community are un employed, you could just take two and talk to them about the importance of financial independence. If they show that they are willing to do some business, you could inform them about micro-financial institutions you know giving small loans to women.

And push them to go, it will be worth a try. So let’s use our challenges to achieve women’s rights in the society.

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Saturday, September 9, 2017

Women are fighting for their place in the mining industry

Doreen Kissia (third left), Sarah Kusambagulo

Doreen Kissia (third left), Sarah Kusambagulo (2nd right) and other women chat with Getrude Mongella, first President of Pan African Parliament (first left) on the challenges facing women in mining. PHOTO I Salhim SHAO 

By Salome Gregory

Women, girls and other stakeholders on gender issues came together from different parts of the World to participate on the 14th edition of the gender festival with the theme the transformation of oppressive systems for gender equality and sustainable development.

The four days festival from September 5 to 8 is an open forum for women rights activists to come together and share experiences and knowledge, and celebrate achievements and asses the challenges ahead.

A lot of challenges and recommendations were brought up through different sessions. Opportunities for networking, building capacity and contributing to public debate and planning collectively for social change from a feminist perspective ensued.

Woman brings you interviews from women in the mining industry. They shared their stories on how they started their business and the challenges they are going through just because they are women.

Sarah Kisambagulo, 45, is a mother of three children and divorced. She is the Chairperson of the Female Mining Association of Tanzania. Her mining business started six years ago. She decided to change her business from selling fish all the way from Mwanza to the Democratic Republic of Congo to become a mineworker.

She says that, selling fish in DRC pushed her to also start a mining business as some of her customers offered her gold in exchange for fish. Selling the gold she got from the exchange upon her return home helped her realize the profit in the mining industry.

She decided to give it a try by surveying Ludewa area in Iringa where she was informed there are copper minerals. It was never easy for her to locate the right place to get copper since she had no expertise and professionals to help her with the entire process.

She says that, she would travel about 50 kilometres by car from Ludewa town to Muhambalesi village where her research on the availability of copper minerals started. Kisambagulo says she would spend more than eight hours walking just to get to where she wanted to settle and start from.

Back then, small miners were allowed to look for the right place where they would want to start their business. She managed to get a place in Muhambalahesi village and employed about 20 people to work for her.

Money gone down the drain

“I spent more than Sh300,000, 000 million, for paying workers, paying for 175 plots to make sure I get a mining plant in Ludewa. Surprisingly I did not even manage to get a license after four years of surveying if the area has copper and I also incurred other expenses such as upgrading the village road to simplify the village logistics,” she says.

Even her 10 tons of copper she managed to get in Muhambalesi village could not be allowed to get out of the village since she had no license. On making a follow up on the plots she paid for she was told the plots had already been sold to another person prior to her purchase.

She says that, 2012 to 2015 was a period of recording losses in her new business as the bulldozer she hired for a year to make the road in the village had some of its parts stolen and she consequently had to pay more than Sh270,000,0000 million to cover the losses.

As she was still waiting for her license, she had already paid for 175 plots whose mandate for ownership was never granted to her. That was a very big letdown which forced her to halt mining activities for a year; as a result, her copper mineral was eventually engulfed by soil.

“A lot was said undercover that where was I getting money to do all these investments as a woman. At the end of the day they managed to pull me down and it is just one year since I officially resumed with the same business,” says Kisambagulo.

Rachael Njau, 42, is a mother of two children who has a mining site called Rachael camp in Mererani, Arusha. She has been mining for the past 12 years. She mines Tanzanite. She has employed more than 21 people.

She says the challenges she is going through at her mining site include lack of proper facilities to support miners to get more of the minerals as well as bureaucracy in getting mining license for women.

Unfavourable laws

Rachael is happy her father gave her the mining site. However she is not happy with the contracts and laws that surround the mining industry in Tanzania. She thinks that the situation could be much better if the government goes through all contracts and make sure they are not impartial and serve the benefit of the country itself.

“Being a woman, it’s not easy managing to survive in the industry for that long unless you accept the fact that you have to be a woman but behave like a man to keep your business alive and growing,” says Rachael.

She says that, women who are in mining industry are not considered when it comes to loans. Lack of proper facilities that can identify if a mineral is a gem, semi or caption is affecting our production.

She calls upon the government and other stakeholders in the mining industry to educate women on the best ways to go about the business as well as how to defend themselves when they are faced with any form of injustice just because they are women.

Doreen Kissia is a mineral broker who has been involved with the business for seven years now and owns Ikombo mining. She says that there is so much going on in the mining industry in Tanzania as far as women are concerned. And one can never succeed if she doesn’t cope with how men do things.

Her history in mining is very unique due to the fact that she was the only person chosen by the villagers to be given a mining license despite the fact that men spend a lot of their time and money campaigning for themselves to be given the license.

“I spent four years fighting to get my license while I had everything in place. Some powerful officials in Dodoma denied me license for that long and without any explanation,” she says.

She says that, whatever men can do women can do better. It is time for women to stand their ground and fight for whatever they want to achieve in life. “Men will always try to pull women down. If we give them that time we will never go anywhere,” she states.

As a way of pulling her down, her machines at her mine were stolen. There was also a time she was accused of making death threats, and according to mining laws if you get involved in any murder case your license is completely revoked.

“I was taken to police for finger prints checkup and they tried to verify if I had ever owned a gun. Thank God nothing came out of their investigation and I was released to go on with my life,” says Doreen.

Commenting on the challenges women go through, the Former Speaker of the National Assembly of Tanzania mama Anne Makinda says that, women should stop waiting for others to do things on their behalf.

She says, “Women shouldn’t wait for the government dominated by men to support them in doing their jobs. Women can manage to do things without being supervised, it is time for women to the lead and show the world that they can manage complex issues.”

Efforts made to reach the Ministry of Energy and Minerals for comments on allegations of gender bias in the mining industry didn’t bare any fruits. Woman contacted Dr Medard Kalemani, the Deputy Minster of Energy and Minerals to have his view on the matter but his phone went unanswered.

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Saturday, September 9, 2017

There is a need for gender parity

 

By Janet Otieno-Prosper

During the Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGNP) conference this week, Mama Anna Makinda, the former Speaker of Parliament said something which fascinated me. She said women shouldn’t wait for a government dominated by men to support them in doing their jobs.

She added that women can do things without being supervised, and called on women to the lead and show the world that they can manage complex issues. Now this came as women continue to struggle for equal rights in different spheres at home, work places and public places to find their place and space

s women continue to struggle for equal rights in different spheres, this year, awarded women who’ve had a tremendous impact in the development of our country. Though TGNP Director Lilian Liundi acknowledged the role women have played in this country’s development calling for their recignisation, a lot more could be done to ensure women enjoy equal rights. We can start from our homes and communities by supporting fellow women and rise beyond gender abuse.

There are several forms of gender abuses in our homes, workplaces, community and even public places. The button stops with us, we need to start standing up for ourselves. Any woman failing to support fellow woman is failing the nation and the world in achieving its gender objective.

We can be our sisters keepers, defend our sisters, give them constructive criticism, applaud them when they g o an extra mile. I know of women who don’t even greet fellow women who they perceive to be below them in rank.

You know what, they will one day rise and you would need their help. If you have a manual job to be done like laundry or tending to flower garden, give that job to a fellow woman just to uplift them and for their families. We can make small changes but touch the heart of many and positively impact many lives.

During the TGNP conference, some of the women who were recognised for their roles in contributing to development in the country are Vice President Samia Suluhu, Former Speaker of the National Assembly of Tanzania, Anne Makinda, Dr Ester Mwaikambo, Mama Getrude Mongella, first President of Pan African Parliament, Ester Bulaya Member of Parliament Bunda Urban constituent and the late Bi Kidude.

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Saturday, September 9, 2017

Practical tips new mothers should grasp

 

By Sue Chehreneger

Serena Williams, who just gave birth to an infant girl, has said that she does not know what to do with a baby. Even she needs tips for new mothers!

The following tips have been created in order to help women like her. These tips for new moms are not meant to be part of a guide that supplements directions provided by a paediatrician.

These tips for new mothers are meant to serve as a means for enriching and enhancing conventional baby-care guidelines.

Give your baby lots of love: Every infant longs for evidence of security and, in a baby’s eyes, love represents a promise of security. So, be conscious of where your baby is sleeping or playing, and make sure no object that could harm your baby is in this particular space. For example, do not use plastic to cover the mattress in the crib.

Feel free to kiss your new son or daughter. On the other hand, do not feel that you should allow every visitor to kiss the new addition to your household. Recent evidence suggests that a baby could fall victim to the herpes virus existing quietly on the lips of another, or a cold virus.

Make a point of prioritizing feeding your baby: Babies need two things: love and food. Become acquainted with the concept of sterile equipment. During the first couple months of your baby’s life, you must be sure that only sterile objects are used during the feeding process.

Of course, if you are nursing your baby, that will not be much of a problem. If you can nurse your baby, welcome that opportunity and enjoy it.2 If the doctor has said that you should not nurse, then heed that professional advice.

You will need to find other ways to establish a close connection between you and your child.

Connect with your baby by taking part in its development: Once you pursue this path, you should have little reason to repeat the question that was on Serena’s lips: What can I do with a baby? As you discover what your child is ready to learn next, you will think about what playtime activity might facilitate a simple learning experience. Children learn by playing.

So, set aside some time to play with your baby. Ideally, each of the playtime activities you initiate will help your baby discover a new aspect of this world. In other words, playtime should set the stage for a learning experience.

A Baby That is Less than One Week Old Seeks to Make Sense of a World That is Hard to See: An infant’s vision improves over their first week. Yet even an infant with limited vision can enjoy certain games. For example, you can hold your baby while standing in front of a mirror.

A baby has learned to recognize its Mother’s face, and knows when it enjoys the security of a Mother’s arms. Hence, it can begin to grasp the concept of a reflected image. As a result, it will welcome the chance to get yet another look its Mother’s reflection holding an infant.

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Saturday, September 9, 2017

Many questions asked when you order a soda

 

By Wa Muyanza

In last Saturday’s article, you let it be known that you too, at times, do partake of non-alcoholic beverages. Yes, first and foremost, water; and when you feel like it, a wide variety of other drinkables obtainable at “groceries”. You’ve no problems, for instance, with Pepsi, Coke, Tangawizi and Bavaria…or juice (ha!).

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with giving a break to lagers and spirits, if you ask Wa Muyanza, but most of his drinking associates and grocery operators express concern whenever he sits at his usual corner at the counter or settles at some table and orders a soft drink.

Like this other time when you enter Mama T’s and after settling at the counter, a bunch of the day’s newspapers in your hands and then say: “Let me have a Pepsi… a cold one, please.”

Now instead of heading for the freezer and get you a cold Pepsi, she looks at you, her eyes popping out of their sockets while exclaiming: “You, Mzee Muya; asking for a soda, and a cold one at that! What’s the problem?”

“Oh, my!” you say and continue: “There’s no problem… I’m okay.”

“You say you’re okay, yet you, of all people, are saying I give you a soda?” asks Mama T.

You can’t fully see how taking a soda and “not being okay” are associated, but all the same you explain to her you’re simply feeling like giving a break to alcohol now until you decide to get back to beer.

“I will soon resume my drinking, even tomorrow and indeed, even later tonight, so don’t worry, Mama T” you say as you proceed to order her a beer and another for Mongi, a mtani of you who hails—you guessed right reader—Moshi.

“Thanks Mzee Muya for the beer… like Mama T, I was also worried you’re sick,” says Mongi whose sense of relief is written on his face, a relief that his mtani is fine and that he’s abstaining today out of choice and not on orders from some malicious doctor.

On this other occasion, you’re at Halichachi Grocery where you pick an empty table and ask for a Coke—you had a craving for this brand of soda and you simply had to get one—a cold one. You cannot touch a chilled beer, yet when it comes to soft drinks, you like them cold. Zay, the attendant who has been in the employment of Halichachi for some three months now, is shocked on account of two things: one you’re ordering a drink that is cold while she has always served you with warm ones and two, that you’re here to drink a soda!

“Mzee Muya, kwani, is there a problem?” asks Zay.

Before you can respond, her manager, Mzee Halichachi, who must have heard you make the order, chips in, saying: “Mzee Muya, don’t worry about money, I’ll instruct my akaunta to give you beer on credit—any number of beers you want, even if you want to give offers to everybody here, including me.”

“Hey, Bwana meneja, who told you I’m broke? The month-end was just the other day.”

“Well, I was worried you didn’t come with money… it happens; it’s not like you to drink soda; things have changed under Magu and I thought you, like everybody else, is having cash flow problems.”

“You’re not correct in that score… I wasn’t in the eating fraternity of the past regime, so my situation after its exit remains basically the same,” you reassure the manager, then ask Zay to get him a Serengeti Lite on your bill.

“Okay,” says Zay, adding: “Can I also get one, Mzee Muya?”

“Well, well… okay; have one too—a soda, I mean.”

“No way! Why do you give me only sodas all the time? Today I’m taking a Castro Lite; in any case I heard you say Magu hasn’t affected you,” she says.

“Okay, you win, have your little Castro…”

In another grocery at a different location, you ask for a Tangawizi to wash down a mtori you’ve just taken and Jaqueline, your favourite barmaid at this joint, exclaims, “Hey, baby; has your mama watoto forbidden you from taking beer or Konyagi?”

“Why do you suggest that, my dear one?”

“I’ve never seen you take soda, like if you were a schoolboy!”

Duh! You say to yourself as you tell Jacqueline to stop joking and get you a cold Tangawizi.

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Saturday, September 2, 2017

Moms juggling between work and breastfeeding

By Salome Gregory

Last month, the world commemorated the annual breastfeeding week which happens every August 1-7. This year, the theme was ‘sustaining breastfeeding together’. As such, we are celebrating all the different ways we can work together to support breastfeeding mothers.

According to statistics released by the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, only 21 per cent of women in the country observe the two-year breast-feeding period recommended by experts.

Majority of career women fall under the remaining percentage of mothers who don’t observe the breastfeeding period. Working mothers are affected by working environment when trying to balance both motherhood and career. Meeting career goals as well as fulfilling the real value of breast feeding without denying children their right to a nutritious diet is hard to achieve.

Woman brings you different experiences from career women who on one hand work to meet targets and deadlines while on the other are breastfeeding mothers who have to meet the two year breast feeding period as recommended by health experts.

Matilda Rugalabamu, 37, is a mother of four children and an engineer. Her last born is just one year old. It is recommended for a child to be breastfed for two years, she breastfed three of her babies for only one year and two months.

“Since I became a mother, none of my children have been breastfed for more than one year and two months. Managing time has been a permanent challenge that left me with no option but to breastfeed for one year and two months to create room to meet deadlines at work,” says Matilda.

She says that, soon after completing her maternity period she has to report to work from 8am and take a break for two hours to breastfeed her child before going back to work to finish her daily duties.

Balancing motherhood and work

Due to demanding schedules both at work and home, creating a balance between motherhood and work is a daunting task for Matilda. During the first three months soon after her maternity leave she departs from work at 2pm and due transport issues in Dar es Salaam she gets home between 4-5pm.

“You can imagine how hard it is to make sure work targets are met as well as getting enough time to rest and eat proper meals suitable for a breastfeeding mother. Leave alone the stress I go through on the road dealing with unprofessional drivers or at home dealing with the house girl,” she says.

It is because of such circumstances that I’m forced to relinquish the baby off breastfeeding when they turn one year and two months. It is not a good idea but it is the only feasible way I can juggle all the duties on my shoulders,” adding, “but also, at one year and two months a child is already walking and more physically developed.”

In 2014 Dr Donnan Mmbando, then acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, was quoted saying; failure to observe proper breast-feeding had resulted in an increasing number of children who are malnourished or stunted.

Tanzania had more stunted children than most African countries, except DRC and Ethiopia, with 42 per cent of its children being stunted.

He said children who have been deprived of nutrients for healthy growth have also been deprived of nutrients for healthy brain development and healthy immune systems, calling upon mothers to observe breastfeeding guidelines.

Joyceline Kaganda, the Director for Nutrition, Education and Training Tanzania at the Food and Nutrition Centre says that, breast milk substitutes and similarly designated products flooding the local market are the alternatives used by mothers.

She says that, about 50 per cent of mothers observed the exclusive six-month breast-feeding period, while only 30 percent breastfed alongside giving children pre-lacteal feeds.

Amina Dudu, 35, works at a hair dressing salon in Tabata. She is a breastfeeding mother to a 9 months-year-old daughter called Namla. Her experience is worst compared to Matilda’s. She was only given three months of maternity, soon after she resumed work she was not even considered for the two hours a day for breast feeding.

“It is not easy to breastfeed without being supported by the employer and family members. If all employers could create special places for breastfeeding mothers to breastfeed their children while at work, then we would be more productive,” says Amina.

Amina says that during the first six months the flow of her breast milk was so heavy that she could not manage to get enough milk to support her daughter’s intake of exclusive breastfeeding. As time went by, her breast milk production was completely affected by poor nutrition and now she no longer produces enough breast milk for her daughter so she uses formulas.

Earlier this month when launching a breastfeeding week, Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Ummy Mwalimu called upon employers to provide special rooms for lactating mothers at work places.

She said that, creating a supportive enviroment for breastfeeding mothers will push the government’s efforts to allow infants being breastfed exclusively for the first six months.

Education on breastfeeding

Rose Mathew, a Nursing Officer at Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) says that despite the fact that there is a challenge on trying to make a balance between career and parenting; still there is the problem of low education on proper nutrition among mothers.

Rose is the head of the Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) Ward at the MNH, following the hospital’s decision to adopt the new initiative in August 2012. The decision was meant to cope with the lack of incubators to save lives of premature babies.

She says that about 98 per cent of women do not follow proper breastfeeding schedule suggesting that there is a need for the government as well as other stakeholders on reproductive health to introduce proper education on the importance of proper breastfeeding even before a woman thinks of getting a baby.

“Majority of mothers tend to even have schedules on what time they should breastfeed. A child should be breastfed whenever she/he wants. This helps to create a bond between a mother and a child as well as protecting a child from unnecessary diseases,” says Rose.

According to the Employment and Labour Relations Act-2004, a new mother is allowed to breastfeed a child for two hours a day for the first six months after her martenity period, completing the maternity period.

Mariamu Hussein, a teacher and a new mother to her son Issa, ten months, says that the government has done some changes to allow mothers to get two hours to breastfeed their children for nine moths.

“I think the government has created a very unique opportunity to support mothers to breastfeed their children with the time extension, however challenges are still the same as it is not easy for the mother to get home at exactly lunch time due to transport issues,” she says.

She suggests that employers and family members support breastfeeding mothers in order to make a proper arrangement that will give more time for a mother and a child. It is not possible for all employers to build special rooms for breastfeeding but atleast they should give a friendly schedule that can allow mothers to get home early.     

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Saturday, September 2, 2017

DEAR DIARY: Importance of breastfeeding

 

Breastfeeding is an important stage in a child’s upbringing. Natural milk from a mother is filled with healthy nutrients pertinent to a child’s healthy development. In addition to containing all the vitamins and nutrients your baby needs in the first six months of life, breast milk is packed with disease-fighting substances that protect your baby from illness

Breastfeeding protects your baby from a long list of illnesses: Numerous studies from around the world have shown that stomach viruses, lower respiratory illnesses, ear infections, and meningitis occur less often in breastfed babies and are less severe when they do happen. Exclusive breastfeeding (meaning no solid food, formula, or water) for at least six months seems to offer the most protection.

Your breast milk is specifically tailored to your baby. Your body responds to pathogens (virus and bacteria) that are in your body and makes secretory IgA that’s specific to those pathogens, creating protection for your baby based on whatever you’re exposed to.

Breastfeeding’s protection against illness lasts beyond your baby’s breastfeeding stage, too. Breastfeeding can reduce a child’s risk of developing certain childhood cancers. Scientists don’t know exactly how breast milk reduces the risk, but they think antibodies in breast milk may give a baby’s immune system a boost.

Breastfeeding may also help children avoid a host of diseases that strike later in life, such as type 1 and type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and inflammatory bowel disease. In fact, preemies given breast milk as babies are less likely to have high blood pressure by the time they’re teenagers.

For babies who aren’t breastfed, researchers have documented a link between lack of breastfeeding and later development of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Breastfeeding can protect your baby from developing allergies: Babies who are fed a formula based on cow’s milk or soy tend to have more allergic reactions than breastfed babies.

Immune factors such as secretory IgA (only available in breast milk) help prevent allergic reactions to food by providing a layer of protection to a baby’s intestinal tract.

Without this protection, inflammation can develop and the wall of the intestine can become “leaky.” This allows undigested proteins to cross the gut where they can cause an allergic reaction and other health problems.

Source: babycenter.com     

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Saturday, August 19, 2017

How a bar maid worked her way out of poverty



Zainab Peter. PHOTO I JONATHAN MUSA

Zainab Peter. PHOTO I JONATHAN MUSA 

By Jonathan Musa

She has been on duty for more than seven years, serving as a waitress and a barmaid in restaurants and bars in various parts of the country.

She opted for the job as it entailed no credentials or any other educational background apart from health permit, energy, self-confidence and honesty. But at the moment, she runs her own pub, owns rental houses and an M-pesa shop.

Zainab Peter, 34, the waitress in topic, is a widow and a mother of four. Her husband died of stroke in August 2008 and left the family with nothing. What a burden it was by then for the young shy mother. Her late husband had not saved much for the survival of the kids he left fatherless.

Zainab was married to Peter Arufani, a mechanic in a garage at Nyarugusu ward in Geita district in early 2000’s. Her wish to live happily with her husband solemnly vanished following his untimely death.

Preparing for the worst

“After I had the last child in June, 2008, my husband’s condition had now worsened. I began realizing that he might not survive after doctors released him to go back home and try herbal treatment,” she remembered.

She says her first child who was born in 2002 was six years old while the youngest was two months when their dad passed. At such young ages, they all needed to eat, dress well and also go to school.

Her brothers in-law had no capacity to help the widow while back at her home place, nobody had enough money to solve her case.

“I now had to look for a quick option before things ran out of hand. In Geita town, I tried casual jobs like cooking and preparing food in small hotels for little payment, but things still never worked out so well because domestic work such as taking care of my child made me delay to get to work on a daily basis,” she confessed.

She did various casual jobs including sweeping of highways but still the outcome was never a promising one. At such tough times, Zainab would always reminisce of the good times she shared with her late husband.

In December 2010, she left her village (Nyarugusu) and headed to town, Geita. Here, a single cemented room with electricity would go for about Sh40, 000/- to Sh50,000/- a month. This, to her was too much, instead she made an option of going for a simple one single, cemented room but with no power connection.

All she needed was to see her kids eating well, growing healthy and going to school as well like other children.

“I got a room that I paid Sh20, 000 per month and thanks to God, my landlord accepted my financial arrangement and I therefore paid for the first three months (Sh60, 000) contrary to her six months policy,” she says.

Zainab further says the more days passed the more her family needs changed; eating habits changed, there was a change in dressing code and other school requirements became necessity as well.

Meanwhile, working as a cook, and as well as a waitress now in a big restaurant in Geita town, she met many customers of whom some came to know of her status and showed compassion while others just ignored her.

“Others, especially those who knew me from the same village would leave me their ‘change’ which I would keep for myself. The decision to keep the change stemmed from a state of dire need rather than ill motive. I needed money for my children,” she disclosed.

In 2013, Philip Peter, Zainab’s first child completed primary school education and was looking forward to joining secondary school the following year. By this time, things were looking up for the struggling mother; she had a job.

After her child’s school results were out, Zainab was delighted because he had done so well. By this time, she had made some money that would cater for the boy’s admission in Mwanza Secondary School.

“I was working in a big bar as a waiter and I had night shifts with my colleague as a care taker in the guest rooms. There are times when I had to use an unfair advantage so as to make it in life, I regret that at times I had to lie to my boss,” she said, feeling shy.

Using means that border on the line of deceit is a known tactic in the catering industry. Workers, mostly maids, have to resort to ‘other’ means in order to make money. Things like not tallying the actual number of customers in the visitors’ book enables waitresses to make extra cash.

Zainab says she has worked in more than ten restaurants and bars in Mwanza, Geita and Tabora regions, each with its challenges.

“The biggest amount I got paid was Sh60,000 a month and I also never stuck to one working station for a long time – for one, conditions varied at each work place,” she said.

How did you get the capital?

“Working as a bar maid wasn’t something I was passionate about, I had bigger goals in life. I only became a barmaid due to my life’s condition. The little I made I always tried to save ,’’ she says.

She remembered of a day when a fight broke out among the drunkards in bar and unfortunately, one of the men dropped his wallet. Zainab picked the wallet up and kept it for the man who had lost it to come and get it – he was a regular at the pub.

“When he came in the morning, I never hesitated to hand over the wallet to him. He gave me half the amount that it carried, Sh450,000. This was my first time to get such huge amount as mine and at once,” she elaborated.

This gave her a great boost in her life that was much needed.

In September 2016, Zainab decided to stop working in bars and restaurants, and started her own pub at Sengerema. She runs the business on her own because she has full experience owing to her previous jobs.

“You know twirling in the same field for about seven years, one must have had enough of what it takes even if you did not go to school. I now have my own business and at least I can be called the ‘boss’,” she laughs.

The mother also runs M-Pesa shop which she says has enabled her pay some basic needs in school and at times food in the house.

She now has her own piece of land and has managed to build rental houses in Geita suburb with three tenants. She says she is expecting to add more the moment her firstborn completes high school.

“All this success stems from the brain I applied when I was serving mostly men in bars. I had to endure their abusive languages, I had to tolerate and learn the hard way to cope with the situation,” Zainab.

She has now employed a young lady running her M-Pesa shop with other small electrical accessories and four of them in her pub of where she works as the manager.

Challenges

She says collecting glasses can be a troublesome trial at times, especially when it’s a busy Friday or Saturday night. People treat bar staff like they’re invisible and won’t try to make that job any easier. Whilst one is trying to balance a tower of pint glasses on the other hand she’s trying to dodge a drunk folk.

“For one to do this kind of a job, she should be serious and only concentrate on what has brought her to the job. In this job, you handle different kind of people, others with good and bad intentions, so one has to watch out,” she advised.

Parting shots

First, she congratulates the fifth-phase government for having introduced free primary and secondary education, adding that was it not government’s policy, she would have strained a lot.

“With the free education system, I now have managed to do other businesses and offer support to others,” she explained.

In some places, barmaids are entitled to perform double duties and this does not last for long because at the end of it, fight erupts amongst maids due to the nature of the work they do.

“I hereby urge the community to understand the differences between a prostitute and a bar attendant because we even have male bar attendants,” she concluded.

jonathanmusa54@gmail.com     

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Saturday, August 19, 2017

DEAR DIARY: Who wants to learn manners?



Janet Otieno Prosper 

Janet Otieno Prosper  

By Janet Otieno Prosper

There was news earlier in the week of Zimbabwean First Lady Grace Mugabe hitting a young woman with extension cable. Grace was reportedly annoyed after finding the young woman in company of her sons.

The 52-year-old First Lady is accused of beating model Gabriella Engels, 20, on Sunday evening at the Sandton hotel, South Africa where her two sons were staying. Pictures circulating online show Engels with deep cuts to her forehead and the back of her head. Though the victim has lodged the matter with the police, as Woman desk we condemn such barbaric acts on women.

I will simply be frank and say women need to act with grace. At the level of a First Lady, there are certain things you should not do. How do you hit someone’s child in the first place as a mother? This drives me to a point, how should a woman act with grace in spite of challenges? We should start thinking of ourselves in the way we want to be perceived. The moment you start thinking about that, then everything else will fall in place. We all have those moments when we have responded inappropriately and would wish to take those moments back. This means that we should be very mindful of what we do and how they affect others.

Another thing, which we should possess to make us graceful, is self-control. We should always try to restrain ourselves in situations where anger pushes us to act stupid. We should also try not to give a thought of what others think about us as it can kill your confidence. A woman is passionate about life and has the ability to love herself and others. As you focus on yourself, you automatically learn to love others.

So let’s handle our emotions like business and command the right kind of attention and praise. This world needs women who are strong and gentle. You can be humble yet so fierce and rational. I don’t know about other faiths but Christianity commands us to be humble. The moment you act with humility, God lifts you up. Humility means being able to embrace people from different social and economic backgrounds and blending easily.

We should demonstrate respect wherever we are, embrace our strengths and accept our weaknesses. And when out there, let us strive to give our best. So whatever you do out there, know that somebody is watching so it is up to you to be a good role model or not. So let’s not act with disgrace like Grace Mugabe.     

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Saturday, August 19, 2017

What being a millenial mom really means

 

I recently found out that I am what society calls a ‘Millennial Mom’.

At first I was little offended because from what I read and heard, Millennials are considered lazy, overly sensitive individuals and not as tough as previous generations. For me, especially as a first time mother, I certainly did not want those words to describe me. Since being called a millennial mom is out of my control, I decided to embrace this label and figure out how to navigate modern day motherhood in a more positive way.

Here is what being a Millennial Mom means:

The World Wide Web: Some may think that we rely on social media on how to take care of our children, but there is more to the internet than getting advice from memes on Facebook.

The internet has helped us open our eyes and not become so close minded to people’s opinions. We are shaped by technology and we have resources right at our fingertips. Because of technology and the internet we are more mindful about things such as our health.

Who would have thought that we would have a watch that tracks our daily steps, calculate how many calories we burn and then have that information sent to our phone for more analyzation?

Selfcare: Now that maternal mental health is recognized more than ever, mothers are advocated to take care of themselves. Whether that is taking an extra 15 minutes in the shower, going out for a run or simply scrolling through a celebrity’s Instagram feed, we should do what we enjoy to feel energized.

I have said in the past that there is no time for myself. I have determined that this is not entirely true and reprioritized some things in my life. Even though I do not have family near me, I have a supportive husband and amazing friends to help me.

Providing some alone time does not mean we are selfish or not putting our children first but we are acknowledging that in order to take care of our family we need to take care of ourselves as well.

Different lifestyles: As millennial mothers, we have more options on how we live our lifestyles and raise our families. I always assumed I would be a stay at home mom because that’s what my mom did and I admired her for that.

As I got older, graduated college and became pregnant with our son, I realized then that for us to be financially stable as a family, both my husband and I would need to go back to work full time. This option worked for my family but this choice does not necessarily work for others, and that is okay!

Each and every one of us have a unique and different lifestyle so we need to look at it as just another option and not a negative decision.     

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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Women should forgive men for poor memory

 

No matter how many times I have unstrapped my woman’s bra, I still have no inkling what bra colour my woman prefers. Ideally, a man is supposed to know the wife’s shoe size, dress colour and design preferences and keep tabs of her birthday. A “caring” man in the eyes of most should go further take the small details. Realistically however, most men will try so hard in the first year but will give up thereafter.

I, just like most other men stand guilty as accused that I do not know her bra size – there has never been immediacy to the effect. I can also confide to you that the last time I remembered my own birthday was a decade ago - remembering hers is a task I cannot manage. There is no adequate reason for that and she has never complained about it. In many instances that I have had to buy a pair of shoes for her, the results are devastating.

Worse still, I end up buying the wrong stuff. She may accept the presents out of courtesy not to offend my goodwill, but will discard it as soon as I look the other way. This shrugging off of the little things women considered valuable by guys have been cited to as the reasons why many relationships come to a dead end.

My take is that most men’s minds are clogged with many things appertaining to life. While the woman’s mind has the capacity to multitask, a man’s mind is unidirectional (like that of a cow). Not to say that men are always to blame for forgetfulness, though. We’ll admit it—we don’t always remember even the most basic details about ourselves.

Take for instance, I am typing on the computer and my wife is trying to tell me how she spent her day in at work. Most probably, I will be nodding my head in acceptance but if you ask what she said, I most likely will not be able to replicate a quarter of what she said.

Various surveys point that a large percentage of men doesn’t remember their other half’s birthday, while an even larger percentage don’t remember her bra size. An additional percentage has no clue of their significant other’s choice of dress colour. Cell phone numbers top the list of things men forget about their wives or girlfriends, but we can at least understand this one. Who memorizes phone numbers these days? No one! Unfortunately, male memory span as said earlier is short.

But, what about the rest? It is totally unacceptable. Maybe it’s time we had a heart-to-heart with our women to make sure we actually know stuff about her.     

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Saturday, August 5, 2017

Why size zero must come to an end!

 

By Khalifa Said @RealKhalifax ksaid@tz.nationmedia.com

One of the most controversial aspects of fashion industry so far are the models. Specifically, how young they are and how thin they are.

It’s a topic that continues to create endless debate. Amidst the controversy the fashion world is divided in terms of the public opinion on whether or not size zero should be a criterion for modeling.

Size zero or size 0 refers to extremely thin individuals. Sometimes it can even refer to the trends associated with women and girls.

However, the appearance pressures experienced by fashion models have been criticized as harmful to their health. It has as well increased eating disorder risk among youth by promoting ideals of extreme thinness.

Zero, comfortable

“I’m zero and comfortable,” Niler Bernard tells Woman during an interview. “I currently don’t have thoughts of increasing my size but when time comes and I feel the urge to gain a bit of weight, I’ll definitely do so,” she says.

The now 25-year-old international model Niler is of the opinion that size matters in the modeling industry. Nevertheless, she defends that her loss of weight is not, in any way, associated with starving. She perceives starvation as odd and, as she puts it, would never recommend it to anyone since it’s not healthy.

“I worked out at least five times a week and ate super healthy meals like veggies and drank a lot of water,” says Niler, who works under Boss Models in Cape Town, South Africa. “My body weight reduced because of the balance I made between eating and exercising,” she adds.

Zero? Never

Melody Tryphone, also known as Miranda, is one of the country’s models with a very upfront view that size zero shouldn’t be, in any way, the gauge for modeling. This is not only based on health grounds, as she argues, but also that it will deprive others who don’t fit well with the size.

“Had it been the standard I wouldn’t have been a model in the first place in my whole life. There is not a single day I did or will think of losing my weight to that extent,” says the model, who started with size ten but is currently size six.

The 22-year old Miranda directs her accusations to the government through its ministry responsible with arts that it does lesser than the required in monitoring the industry. This includes protecting them from the nonsensical designers and stylists who care less for their employees’ health and wellbeing.

“There is no supervision in the modeling industry. It would be good that the government put a policy on the issue particularly stipulating the required size for the models. Sumptuous women should also be given space in the industry as their talent may run out,” Miranda says.

Designers, stylists speak

However, opinions from the country’s designers shade a different picture with some saying that whether or not size zero should be a criterion for modeling will depend upon the particular designer.

Ally Rehmtullah, one of the country’s famous fashion designers, makes it clear that he prefers size zero models for his casting. “I look at fashion as a fantasy kind of thing which undoubtedly slim girls have more to offer,” says Rehmtullah during a telephone interview with Woman recently.

But to Stacy Phillipo, a stylist with Nzuri Afrika Modeling Agency (NAMA), size zero shouldn’t, in any way, be taken as a determinant factor for modeling in the country as it would be at odds with the actual size of our models.

“It would be better if we take a thorough analysis on the common size of most of our girls and then after that we can come up with a particular size,” she says.

Nonetheless, Stacy is one among the few who sets herself apart from putting blame on the girls who decide to starve so that they can get slimmer but instead directs criticism to designers and stylists who have built that kind of mentality that a model must be slim.

“When rejected more than once at auditions because of their size, most girls, who are sometimes voluptuous, subject themselves to rogue techniques of losing weight including that of starving,” she says.

But Stacy has got a solution that she thinks can go a long way to save the lives of many girls both locally and internationally: “We need to change the mentality of these designers and stylists who think that models must be people with size zero only.”

Stacy says that she usually doesn’t look at size but attitude and other skills as well. She strongly agrees that designers pressurize their models but she doesn’t think that they are told to go and starve.

Designers, stylists under fire

Earlier this year a study titled ‘Results of a strategic science study to inform policies targeting extreme thinness standards in the fashion industry’ was published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders. The study assessed professional fashion models’ perceptions of the potential impact and feasibility of seven policy proposals.

The study was a part of the initiative by the Harvard graduate and former runway star Sara Ziff. Sara, with four other researchers from Harvard University, Northeastern University, and Boston Children’s Hospital, undertook the study as part of her taking on eating disorders in the modeling industry.

A sample of 85 female fashion models completed an online survey assessing unhealthy weight control behaviors, perceived pressure from agencies to lose weight, as well as the perceived impact and feasibility of seven potential policy actions.

Models reported high levels of pressure to lose weight, which was associated with higher odds of engaging in unhealthy weight control behaviors.

Never pressured

On pressure from her designers, Niler says that the agencies, both former and the current one, never exerted any pressure on her to become zero but rather she herself admired the measurement and worked hard for it. “I didn’t intentionally decide to lose weight to zero, I’m naturally a 4 so after exercising and the change in my eating behavior patterns, I went to zero.” Though she acknowledges that as models, they sometimes receive pressure from designers to lose weight and become size zero, Miranda makes it clear that no designer can convince her to lose weight to such extreme levels.

“In 2014, I came across a designer whose name will remain anonymous for now; the designer in question made a request for me to lose weight and become size zero. I rejected the notion straight to his face,” recalls Miranda. Despite standing her ground, Miranda was nonetheless selected by the designer.

“I didn’t subject myself to weird techniques like starving, I instead adhered to the proper advice given which I still work on to this day,” she points out, adding, “I totally disagree that one’s weight should set her apart from the modeling industry. I can’t put my life at risk by dieting so hard that I become size zero, no matter how much I like modeling.”

No pressure, but advice

Despite his confession for the love of slim girls to feature in his fashion shows, Rehmtullah was quick to distance himself from the perception that as a designer, he pressurizes his models to lose weight to zero.

“But I do encourage and advise them to get slimmer through the appropriate and recommended ways like healthy diet and exercise. If someone goes out and then starts starving so that she can lose weight, that’s upon her,” he says. To him, if a model isn’t zero size, then she doesn’t qualify. “There are so many ways of becoming slim apart from starving. There is a healthy diet and exercises to name but a few. These ways take time and cannot be achieved overnight. Starving so that you can lose weight is a bad thing and not encouraged in any way,” he adds.

Word from a nutritionist

Most people think of diet as a specific weight-loss plan, but Ms Neema Shosho, a Nutrition Advisor at the Embassy of Ireland in Tanzania debunks that fallacy by saying that diet is simply the types and amounts of food we eat. “I don’t recommend starvation as a way of losing weight. When the body does not receive essential nutrients that come from food and liquids, side effects occur. Systems in the body stop to function well and can lead to death.” She says that losing weight is not a one time off event; it should be embedded into one’s lifestyle. Her advice: “Don’t go for shortcuts such as starvation plan rather learn to eat a well-balanced plate with all the essential nutrients and right portions.”

Way forward

The policy approaches rated as most impactful by the study undertaken by Sarah and her colleagues, were, among others, requiring employers to provide food and a 30-min break for jobs longer than six hours. In the list is also providing employment protections and healthier working conditions which is highly supported by professional models.

But these are hard to come by without the government intervention. “There is no supervision in the modeling industry in the country. It would be good that the government had a policy on the issue particularly stipulating the required size for the models. Voluptuous women should also be given space in the industry as their talent may expire,” cries Miranda. While in May this year France announced that it would ban unhealthy models, Tanzania is seen to be indecisive about the issue at hand. Speaking with Woman this week, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Information, Arts, Culture and Sports, Prof Elisante Ole Gabriel Ole confesses that currently there is no policy on the ground to monitor the issue.

A sense of dignity

“However, as the government, we strongly strive for the respect of a person’s dignity and that anything that can compromise it and have negative repercussions to the society in any way is totally discouraged,” speaks Prof Ole Gabriel in a telephone interview from Dodoma.

ksaid@tz.nationmedia.com     

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Saturday, August 5, 2017

DEAR DIARY: We need breastfeeding stations



Janet Otieno-Prosper

Janet Otieno-Prosper 

By Janet Otieno-Prosper

Breastfeeding has never been taken as an important issue in many nations. Though in Tanzania, emphasis has been put on breastfeeding by various health facilities, some people are still not aware of the importance of this exercise. Most people think that the moment a mother resumes work after maternity leave, the baby can survive on cow’s milk or solid foods. So on this breastfeeding week worldwide, it is about time we start discussing about breastfeeding and ensuring that it gets all the attention it deserves.

Did you know that 820,000 child deaths could be prevented annually (about 13 per cent of all under-five child deaths globally) by improving breastfeeding rates? Breastfeeding could be one of the unique intervention in maternal and child mortality to create a healthier society. Though the Tanzanian Government tries to ensure babies are exclusively breastfed for six months by allowing nursing mothers to work half day, some employers still don’t adhere since the workload these mothers do remain the same not allowing them time to go and breastfeed. And for those who strive to pump, there is no safe place to pump and store the breastmilk. It is good to highlight that babies should exclusively breastfeed for six months. This is because the breast milk alone is sufficient to help them grow and meet their development milestones. It is also laden with antibodies which help protect the babies from disease thus boosts their immunity. Breastmilk is loaded with vital nutrients and is easy to digest. It is also very convenient since no preparation is needed. For those career women out there, I know it can be hard to get time to breastfeed. The good news is that you could ensure that the baby gets enough milk while you are at home and pump or express some and store safely for the baby to take while you are at work. It is best stored in a freezer but for those without electricity, you can stand your container of breastmilk in a dish of cold water in a cool area in the room and ensure it is consumed within 24 hours. There is also an aspect of nutrition; nursing mothers could talk to their healthcare providers to guide them through proper nutrition to boost milk supply during this period. And to the government and all stakeholders, let’s join hands to support nursing mothers by providing breastfeeding stations in various public places and at work as it has an effect on the health of women and children. This would have a positive impact on the economy. Happy breastfeeding week to all nursing mothers.     

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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Meet to set plans for husband, dad-to-be

 

By Wa Muyanza

You, plus two ndugus, are having a drink at a place located a bit far from your neighbourhood. Why, there’re serious issues to discuss and you need privacy, away from your regular and intrusive drinking buddies.

So, we’re in this far-flung part of Bongoville off the Dar-Bagamoyo road, where you arrived sharing a vehicle with Yesaya, this ndugu who doubles as an on-and-off drinking companion.

We give Vita our driver strict orders to take only sodas and his response is: “Of course, wazee wangu, I won’t touch alcohol today, trust me; I’m actually on medication entailing a one-week drinking ban.”

“Okay, we trust you; take a seat somewhere and have a soda of your choice,” says Esaya after noting the fellow dragging a chair towards our selected table. There’re some sensitive family matters we want to discuss and we don’t want any third party around. “Okay boss,” he says as moves to another table.

There’re a lot of family issues that need deliberating on; like matters about brats who are now grown men and women who, however, consider themselves children. And all these several Form 4 leavers who attained a good grade but are declining to join high school. Like this one who has argued:

“Why should I go to high school? Sister (gives name) and brother (gives name) went to high school and then, to university; what have they benefitted from their degrees?”

A ndugu (call him Davy) who has just joined us reports about a clan member who has put someone’s daughter, who is still a student, in a family way.

“You mean,” Yesaya says, his lips trembling, “the crook has made some one’s school-going child pregnant? Poor guy! That means he’ll spend the next 30 years of his life in jail unless we act fast… he’s joking with JPM!”

“Hey, bro,” says Davy, “why are you jumping to conclusions so quickly?”

“It’s not a mere conclusion; it’s fact… when you impregnate a student, irrespective of her age, you get 30 years in prison,” insists Yesaya.

“But the girl in question is neither in primary school nor in secondary school,” says Davy.

“Ah, so, why do you call her student…where is she?” asks Yesaya?

“She’s at university, second year,” says Davy.

“Ah, then there’s no issue here,” says a visibly relieved Esaya, who adds, “why don’t they simply get married?”

His matter of fact that statement—si waoane tu chap-chap?—reminds you of the hit song by Chege, a Bongo Flava artiste, Waache Waoane.

According to Davy, if you put a grown girl in a family way, the one and only way forward, unless you’re a crook, is to move fast and marry her. And, as they, damn the consequences!

Now there are only three of us here, all ndugus to the culpable clan member who was reckless enough to see no need to use protection as he went about breaking the Sixth Commandment with someone’s daughter. We convince ourselves we comprise a quorum; that is, a group large enough to claim the mandate to plan what to do next since nothing can be undone regarding the mistake of the two “misguided” youngsters.

However, Davy comes up with a suggestion that it would be more appropriate to involve the culpable clansman for any decision we make implementable. We endorse that and ask the proposer of the idea to summon the young man.

Davy says fine and rings him, putting his phone on the speaker mode so we can follow the conversation. He informs the father-to-be the agenda at hand before directing him to where we are.

“Come here as quickly as you can,” Davy tells the young man at the other end, “I suggest you take a bodaboda, but tell the driver to be careful… you’re too precious to lose.”

“Poa uncle; I’ll make sure he doesn’t ride recklessly,” says the expectant dad.

Twenty minutes later, the young man appears and before he takes a seat, he bends towards Davy and whispers something. Then, Davy pulls out his wallet and produces some money which he hands to the father-to-be who dashes out, while saying to us: “I will be right back in a minute.”

“Hey, what’s going on?” Esaya asks Davy, “I saw you give the husband and dad-to-be some money, what was it for?”

“For paying the bodaboda driver,” says Davy.

“How much did he owe the bodaboda guy?”

“Two thousand bob.”     

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Saturday, August 5, 2017

Ways to keep your children active

 

In a day and age of Facebook, Netflix and WhatsApp, it seems that children are not as active as they used to be - so what are the ways to keep kids active?

Inactivity can have many detrimental effects to their physical and mental well-being. By encouraging them to be active, we will do wonders for their physical well-being, improve their mood and their social skills.

If you are struggling to get your kids active, here are a few suggestions:

Family walks are the best way to move for the entire family: Family walks are great because they allow you to spend quality time together and get out of the house. This is much easier if you have a dog, but if not, then you could take a picnic or stop off at a pub along the way. This is much healthier than sitting around and watching television and it is a good exercise for all.

Journey to school can be more fun if you walk or use bicycle: Instead of driving the kids to school and picking them up, consider a more active route. You could walk them to school, or try a more fun activity like using a bicycle - these are hugely popular with kids and a surprisingly good form of exercise. Of course, this is only possible if you live relatively close to the school, but encouraging them to walk or ride a bicycle anywhere can make a big difference to their fitness level and also improve independence.

Park and garden games are great activities: Take the kids to the park armed with a range of fun toys and games for them to play. You can take them to fun city in Kigamboni or another park closer to the city.

This can be great fun and a good chance to spend quality time together as a family. They could play tag, jump rope, play football, fly a kite, tug of war amongst other fun games. If it is a hot day, a water gun fight is a great way to keep cool!

Dancing is a great exercise: Rainy afternoons do not have to be spent in front of the television. Turn on some music and get the kids dancing - you can encourage them by making it a friendly competition, by using balloons or hula hoops and by playing their favourite music.

This is a decent form of exercise and is sure to be a fun-filled afternoon too. Swim together to stay active: Swimming is a great way of keeping kids moving and it’s a great way for the entire family to have fun and stay active. Just make sure the water is not too cold for your little ones and that all safety rules are observed. Water is tricky and it only takes a moment. Caution is advised even if you think your kids are good swimmer. Kids are still kids! It seems that kids are not as active as they once were, but keeping active is important for many different reasons. The above are a few ways to get your kids moving, but you should also encourage them to participate in sports, swimming or any other kind of activity during the week too.     

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Saturday, August 5, 2017

EU child: You all greet each other here in TZ!

 

By Wa Muyanza

You’ve been invited to a family function whose agenda hasn’t been made clear to you. “Come with your own drinks if you can, for I suspect there’ll only be sodas and juice,” says the SMS invite.

You understand, for it isn’t like it’s a wedding or send-off reception to which you go to consume drinks and food purchased from money you were coerced to contribute.

The function is expected to begin at 5pm but since this is Bongo, you aren’t bothered, so by 6pm you’re still having a drink with some washikaji at a grocery in your neighbourhood. You arrive at the party venue well past 7pm.

It’s a surprise crowd you find here, for besides your fellow Waswahili, there’re numerous faces of the Gulf extraction as well as those from the European Union.

Your investigation soon reveals that virtually all the non-Wabongo guests had been here minutes to 5pm. This doesn’t surprise you much, for you’re an adherent of Freddy Macha, a Diaspora M’bongo who pens “must-read” weekly columns for Mwananchi Jumapili and The Citizen (Friday), in which he never misses a chance to impress upon us how Westerners respect time religiously.

You get the impression Freddy is trying to tell us that our disregard to the importance of keeping time could be one of the major reasons there’s huge development and wealth gap between Africa and the West.

Much as you notice some of the wageni looking at you and their watches as you make your entrance, you comfort yourself that they won’t murder you even if they were given the chance to, because, whatever part of the world they might be from, they must have heard of the infamous phrase, “There’s no hurry in Africa!”

Furthermore, in all appearances, this is a garden party that’s very casual. Guests and hosts are mingled anyhow, with almost everybody making a trip to where a goat is being roasted, claiming they want to check how Odiro the nyama choma boy and his assistants are faring. Without exception, each meat roasting inspector comes back munching something.

“The cook is great… a few minutes more and it’ll be ready,” says Esaya as he munches and swallows.

“Oh yeah,” agrees Katherine (from Switzerland), while munching, “actually to me this is more than ready… I know you guys in Africa like you’re meat thoroughly cooked, us, we like it rare.”

After a lot of tasting (strictly by adults) and critiquing, an impromptly (or was he self-appointed?) picked MC, Yesaya, welcomes us to file towards the nyama choma bay. Rice comes around in huge hot pots from God-knows-where and soon, everybody is eating.

The young are free to eat from wherever they are in the leafy, dimly lit garden. The table is for wakubwa.

Thanks to modern technology, deejaying is no big deal these days; several amateur disc “spinners” are giving people what they want from their smart phones via a huge speaker placed on a tree branch: Bongo Lava, Zilipendwa and German songs.

You learn there’s a lot of German influence in Switzerland and German is one of the major languages there. You’re impressed by the way the young boys and girls in this function speak English with confidence and you’re bawled when they tell you that besides Swiss, they also speak English (of course, that’s how you’re able to interview some of them) and German.

It soon transpires this function isn’t just a family reunion affair; it’s also a birthday party for Katherine, a Swiss lady married to Bulbul Kannadi, a Tanga-born Tanzanian hotelier based in the EU. Their daughter, 16-year-old Ramona, plays for Switzerland’s national Under-17 Team.

A number of people get the opportunity to speak, including Steven Baker who, together with his parents and sister, is in Bongo at the invitation of the Kannadis. They’ve plans to visit numerous touristic sites and enjoy what his dad describes as “this beautiful country of yours”.

Says the 12-year-old Steven in his speech, “Tanzania is such a good country…your people are very good, we’ve been to various places…the beaches, streets, marketplaces and everybody says hello… where we come from, only a person who knows says hello.”

We all clap to that. We’re touched, more so because it’s a compliment from a child speaking in pure innocence. It’s not like a grown up alien trying to flatter us, the locals.

One of the moved guests offers the boy a free stay if he chooses to make another visit to Bongo in future.     

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Saturday, July 29, 2017

DEAR DIARY: You can still be sexy in that body



Janet Otieno Prosper

Janet Otieno Prosper 

By Janet Otieno Prosper

This is a very sensitive topic for women. As women, living in our own bodies can be a challenge as we aspire to get a certain look. We are always rushing to lose weight faster than we gained it. Recently, a nursing mother in my prayer cell shocked us. She wanted slimming tea though she was breastfeeding. Our attempts to warn her about its effects on breast milk production and breastfeeding in general fell on deaf ears. She told us she wanted to look like size zero models.

I agree that they look great but what is behind their sizes will shock you. While the younger models are naturally this size, their older counterparts are not and work extremely hard to achieve the desired weight. Nevertheless, it is perceived to be the ideal size for the high fashion industry.

A story of top Uruguayan model Luisel Ramos death hit headlines in 2006 after she collapsed minutes after stepping off the catwalk.

The already skinny 22-year-old had been told to lose more weight by her modeling agency so that she could conquer the fashion world. She then embarked on diet of diet coke, salads and other green veggies. Her death sparked calls from various quotes to fashion agencies to adopt more healthy looking women as their models.

In May this year, France announced that it would ban unhealthy models. And then there was a Miss World Kenya who looked really skinny to most people until the panelists decided that she was a bit hippy (not thin enough to fit the bill).

Many people were shocked since she was already painfully thin, but here we were being told that she was not thin enough. Well, she did not take the world crown, but she is back home doing several innitiaves in the community and reaching out to the less privileged. Her story did not end tragically like Ramos.

We are not going to deny that certain clothes look great on slim frames but we have to differentiate between slim and skinny. Girls don’t need to be forced to diet extremely to become top models. They have to endure calorie counting, obsessive dieting and extreme exercises to achieve ideal weight for the fashion agencies.

I think women can still be happy, sexy, powerful and confident in whatever body size. Without self-induced vomiting, punishing diets plus pills to look acceptable. My two cents.     

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Saturday, July 29, 2017

Moral values to teach your children

 

By Woman Reporter

The moral values to teach your children are super-important in the kind of person they will grow up to be. Raising a family in a society that is fast-paced and ever changing can make it confusing to know just which values to teach your children. As a general rule, it’s up to you to teach your children what to believe, and how they should live their lives. But when it comes to teaching and instilling moral values, I’d love to pass on a few values to teach your children from a young age. These are simple and common everyday values that are quickly fading from our younger generation.

Respect: One of the most important values to teach your children is respect. Having worked in several daycare facilities, I’ve seen children who have no respect for authority at all. It’s exasperating to the teacher and to the parent when they arrive to pick up their kids. By teaching your kids respect, you are doing the world, yourself, and your child a favor! Life will go much easier for them with a little respect under their hat.

Obedience: Obedience is something that doesn’t come naturally, for any of us! It seems more “fun” to want to break the rules, doesn’t it? Kids see it this way too, so you must be firm and consistent. You can reward good behavior to give your children incentive to be obedient. And be patient, sometimes this one takes a while to catch on!

Politeness: Remembering to say “please” and “thank you” isn’t a difficult task, but if kids are never taught or reminded, they will never do it. As adults, we all know that sugar attracts more flies than vinegar! So start teaching these morals from the start and they will come naturally.

Responsibility: Believe it or not, children can be taught responsibility from a young age!

You don’t need to be overbearing about it, but giving your kids easy chores to do, like picking up their toys, putting away their clean laundry, or helping clear the table helps instill discipline and responsibility, two traits that will be helpful later on in life. Another way to teach responsibility is to make sure your kids brush their teeth or do their homework without being reminded.

Humility: I know this one may sound a little strange, but humility is an important aspect of life that we often overlook. Having humility has to do with not being prideful over accomplishments and achievements, but for children, it’s more about knowing to say they are sorry for acting up or doing something they shouldn’t. A good parent will always teach their child to apologize when they are wrong! Good manners: Good manners may not necessarily be a moral value per se, but you will find that for the most part, good manners are sorely lacking in the young people of today’s generation. Make sure to set a good example for manners at home and try to push through any influences that may be overshadowing your small one’s life.

woman@thecitizen.co.tz     

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

When postpartum depression sets in

 

Having a baby is an experience that can cause a mixture of powerful emotions from excitement and joy to fear and nervousness. However apart from such amazing experience, some women are faced with a possibility of living through something unexpected after giving birth and that is depression.

While many new mothers are said to experience postpartum baby blues after childbirth including anxiety within the first two to three days after delivery, some new mothers on the other hand are believed to experience a more severe form of depression known as postpartum depression.

 Martha Joseph*, 28, is one among  women who went through such an experience after giving birth to her first child two years ago. According to her, the arrival of her baby girl was expected since she and her husband were eagerly trying to get pregnant for several months.

‘I remember how the first few days of my postpartum went well with few days of baby blues, however one month after I gave birth, things turned for the worse. I suffered from severe anxiety not being able to relax even when my baby was sleeping. I had lack of sleep and was always bad tempered,” explains Martha.

One thing that she never would have recognised was her possibility of suffering from postpartum mood disorder, “It did not occur to me that I would suffer from something that I have always heard and seen on TV and books. I always thought that it was a common condition for women living in European countries,” says Martha who after three months of suffering wanted to feel like herself again and therefore sought for help.

“A visit to my doctor and after several checkups I was finally told that I was suffering from postpartum depression. My doctor told me that anxiety was usually a big factor in postpartum depression and gave me the medications and monitored me carefully and within weeks I showed improvement,” she says, adding, “I have been doing much better since and I wish other women would be more open to seeking help such as medical advice when things get out of hand. I thought that what I was going through was normal that’s why I looked for medical help very late something which was not right. There is help for this curable, temporary illness.”

 

A common problem

Martha’s case represents a wider number of cases of women who have and continue to suffer from postpartum depression. The World Health Organization (WHO) identifies postpartum depression as a serious public health problem that can lead to enduring mental illness for women and serious psychological and emotional consequences for their families.

 Often characterised by feelings of loss and sadness, insomnia, lack of energy, forgetfulness, irritability and poor functioning, worldwide about 10 per cent of pregnant women and 13 per cent of women who have just given birth are said to experience a mental disorder, primarily depression. In developing countries this is even higher, that is 15.6 percent during pregnancy and 19.8 percent after child birth according to World Health Organisation.

A gynecologist at Muhimbili National Hospital who requested  anonymity said postpartum depression can be viewed as simply a complication of giving birth and that signs and symptoms can range from mild to severe, “first we need to know that a woman experiencing motherhood can have a mixture of feelings after giving birth which can lead to what we call postpartum baby blues. Usually this comes with a number of symptoms which may include mood swings, anxiety and sadness and in most cases these symptoms usually last only a few days to two weeks after giving birth,” says the gynecologist

He went further saying  that postpartum depression  signs and symptoms are more intense and last longer compared to baby blues and without  noticing can interfere with a mother’s ability to care for her child. “If a mother has severe mood swings and she finds it hard bonding with her baby or that she withdraws from family and friends and has less interest in doing the activities she used to enjoy doing before or that she fears that she is not fit to be a good mother then this can be signs that a mother is suffering from depression.”

He says there are factors that contribute to postpartum depression, including having emotional concerns.

“A mother may feel less attractive or she might feel like she has lost control over her life. There is also the change that comes after a woman giving birth, for instance change in hormones; estrogen and progesterone may contribute to postpartum depression.”

He says if ignored, postpartum depression can cause a lot of problems especially when it comes to mother and child bonding. “If a mother is left untreated  for months or longer, it can become a  chronic depressive disorder and children of mothers who have untreated postpartum depression are likely to have emotional and behavioral problems; such as sleeping problems, they may also have excessive crying habits,” he says.

 

It’s treatable

With appropriate treatment, he says postpartum depression can be treated within six months, however in some cases it may last much longer. “With psychotherapy and antidepressants, a woman suffering can find better ways to cope with her problem. That’s why it is important to continue treatment after they begin to feel better,” he advised.

Studies from Sub-Saharan Africa identified a range of risk factors for post partum depression naming few factors such as unwanted and unplanned pregnancies to be associated with postpartum depression. Lack of emotional or practical support from husbands or partners was also a significant risk factor. Furthermore, family stress and being consistently unhappy during pregnancy are associated with it.

A research titled “Culturally determined risk factors for postnatal depression in Sub-Saharan Africa: A mixed method systematic review’’ showed a number of significant factors that could lead to depression – one among them include age, with younger mothers said to be more at risk for depression, similar to findings in Western cultures.

“Undesired gender of baby was found to be a significant risk factor, as there is an overall preference for male children within patrilineal society where an heir is considered of great importance. Having an unplanned pregnancy was found to be a significant risk factor in women who lived in a peri-urban environment but this association was not evident in women who lived in a rural environment. Although child bearing is often seen as desirable in African culture, the meaning ascribed to pregnancy and its context may be different to urban and rural women,” the study reads in part.

Gertrude Simon is one among many women who was caught between the cultural perceptions where being a single parent and having a baby out of wedlock was socially unacceptable, “I went through a lot including being stigmatised by some of my friends, family members and community after I had a baby out of wedlock. Born and raised in a Christian family, that was not expected of me,” she says.

Having a weak support system from family members and from a man, who impregnated her, let alone having financial problems and unplanned pregnancy was enough to cause a lot of emotional issues that led her into depression.

“I was 22 then, still in college depending on my parents to pay my college fees. My father was really angry and so was my mother. I could understand why they were angry because apart from our family having financial problems, I was the first born and my father had too much expectations from me, he expected me to set a good example to my other siblings. But I failed them, that caused a lot of pressure during and after giving birth since I had all these feelings of worthlessness, shame and guilt, however thanks to my aunties and grandmother who counseled both me and my parents. That’s when they came into terms with my situation,” says Gertrude.

Postpartum depression is the most common complication of pregnancy and childbirth, affecting up to 15 per cent of all women within the first three months following delivery. Research has shown that mothers of infants born prematurely have almost double the rates of postpartum depression, particularly during their time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Research led by Betty R. Vohr, MD, director of Women & Infants’ Neonatal Follow-Up Program and professor of pediatrics at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University in the US,  found that there are certain social and emotional factors that further increase the risk of postpartum depression in mothers of preterm infants. The research, entitled “Social Emotional Factors Increase Risk of Postpartum Depression in Mothers of Preterm Infants,” has been published in The Journal of Pediatrics by Katheleen Hawes of the Center for Children and Families at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island,  US elaborate more on post partum depression.

“We found mothers with a previous mental health disorder and experiencing negative perceptions of herself and her infant at NICU discharge were at increased risk for depression one month post discharge, regardless of the infant’s gestational age at birth,” explained Hawes.


By Esther Kibakaya

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Battling through life as a single mother

Surviving as a single mother isn’t easy, you

Surviving as a single mother isn’t easy, you need to be very resileint. PHOTO I COURTESY 

By Salome Gregory @TheCitizenTz sgregory@tz.nationmedia.com

It was June 18, the global day for celebrating fathers called father’s day, different posts on social media platforms were awash with heart-warming appreciation to fathers. However, I also came across some other posts which celebrated women, single mothers.

These are women who have had to take on the role of mother and father in raising their children.

It was intriguing that on a special day designated for celebrating fathers, there were some single mothers who were being celebrated as well. Woman decided to talk to a few single mothers who laid bare the ups and downs of raising children as single parents.

Aisha Ramadhan, 26, is a correspondent at a local newspaper in Dar es Salaam. She is a single mother to Rehema, her one-year-old daughter. Working as a journalist, Aisha finds it hard to make ends meet, owing to the dismal pay she receives as an unemployed correspondent.

According to the young mother, her boyfriend agreed to be responsible for the pregnancy, but then decided to walk away from her life and she hasn’t heard from him ever since.

“We dated for three years before I found out I was pregnant. Though he told me he was not ready to become a father, he still insisted we keep the baby. I was heartbroken when four months later he decided to move on with his life and told me to never look for him,” says Aisha.

She says that it was never easy to manage hospital bills. After she gave birth she had no money to cover hospital bills, her friends had to come to her rescue.

A tough time

Aisha’s predicament had just began, with a baby come a host of expenses. The young mother couldn’t afford to buy food and clothes for her daughter. With her job, her pay depended on how many stories she wrote, because of her pregnancy, it reached a time when she couldn’t write anymore, so this meant that she had no income.

“I decided to talk to the shopkeeper next to my house, begging him to give me food on credit, when I get money I pay him back. This really helped me, though at times I become a bit hesitant to go and ask for food on credit,” she says.

As a means of generating extra income now that the expenses are mounting, Aisha decided to start an ice cream business at her one rented room in Temeke. She made ice creams at night and left them with the house girl to sell the following day.

“Being a single mother has never been easy, I am currently thinking how I will manage the situation once my daughter reaches the right age to start studying,” says Aisha, adding, “I hope to get another source of income to help with the expenses.”

According to the information from seleni.org single motherhood comes with a unique set of emotional challenges that can, at times, feel overwhelming.

The website shows that, the challenges one faces as a single mother are from self-doubt and anxiety over money to the stress of making decisions alone are best understood by women who share them.

Suzzane Chambon, 32, is a business woman and a single mother of two children, Peter, 7 years old and Harrison, 4 years old. Just like Aisha, Suzzane was abandoned by the father of her children. She, however, can manage to provide for her family.

“It was never easy in the beginning but I had to stand my ground to make things work better for me. I had to go back home and ask for forgiveness from my parents,” says Suzzane.

Suzzane made the decision to go back home after realising that things weren’t going well for her. This was when her first son turned one. “I had to go back home where I never wanted to go after I was thrown out after my parents realised I was pregnant,” she notes.

She says that her mother was quick to forgive her, however it took a while for her father to accept her back in his house. It took about two months for him to accept her situation.

After being forgiven, Suzzane’s father called for a family meeting and invited her together with her son to move back in to the house and she was given Sh3,000,000 to start her business of importing clothes and shoes from Uganda and selling them in Tanzania.

“I had no words to thank my parents enough. I promised not to fail them again with the second chance they blessed me with. And since then everything is moving nicely,” she says.

Two years later Suzzane the father of her second son Harrison. After a year of dating she became preganant. He was not happy with the pregnancy, he wanted them to wait a little before starting a family.

According to the mother of two, since she was financially stable, she decided to keep the pregnancy. However, in as much as the baby’s father calls to greet him, he doesn’t provide any finacial support.

A challenging task

It is very challenging to do everything all alone. Managing to raise boys as a single mother is not easy. “My social life is completely affected with parenting as I have to be extra careful to make sure I raise good boys that will turn out to be good husbands and responsible fathers when they grow up,” Suzzane says.

Sociologist Mbago Urio based in Morogoro, says that raising a child alone needs one to accept the challenge and deal with it in a more mature manner that is filled with positivity in order to make sure things are okay at home.

He says that, majority of single mothers in developing countries are stressed due to financial constraints, leading to anxiety. This at times can degrade to a level where a single mother starts abusing her child out of frustration.

The sociologist says that a woman might find herself mistreating her children without her knowledge. It is very important for single mothers especially those who are not single mothers by choice to get emotional support to make sure they raise their children in a positive way.

“Failure to meet basic needs by a single mother, and lack of support from a male partner and family members has a lot to do with stress among women who are raising children on their own. They feel left out by the world and have nowhere to turn to,” Urio says.

Adding to that he notes that children whose parents raised them alone are in higher danger of performing poorly in class and even socially. Lack of support from a male partner leads to a mother working long hours.

This results to lack of time to talk to children and further leads to less attention given to the children.

Studies have shown that single mothers by choice are generally well-educated women in professional occupations who become mothers in their late ages. This is caused by a number of factors, owing to the life choices of the woman in question.

Reports further shows that, despite having chosen to parent alone, majority of solo mothers do so not by choice, but because they do not have a current partner and feel that time is running out for them to have a child.

Many single mothers by choice report that they would have preferred to have children within a traditional family setting but could not wait any longer because of their increasing age and associated fertility decline.

Pastor Antony Lusajo of the Pentecost Church in Tabata says that, raising a child alone is not God’s plan however it is important for parents to talk to their children on the importance of waiting for the right time to start a family.

Religious leaders should also preach more about self worth to help youth involve themselves more with their studies rather than indulge relationships with studies – a habit that costs them at the end of the day.

Pastor Lusajo says that parents have a big role to play in aligning the right path for their children. Parents should act as good examples. If parents try to resolve their internal conflicts amicably without leading to divorce, then children will understand the unity and love that exists in a united family setup.     

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Give single mothers a break



Janet Otieno

Janet Otieno 

I remember a few years back in the UK, when single mothers were reportedly blamed for the riots and looting in the English towns. They were accused of raising “fatherless” boys who are violent.

Whether single or married, they are still great mothers. We should learn to appreciate all single mothers who are filling in the gap of both parents for their children.

And each case of a single mother is different; they could be single because they got children out of wedlock, some as a result of divorce and for others it is death of a spouse.

For those who got children out of wedlock, they undergo stigmatization with morality police accusing them of being irresponsible and a disgrace to the society.

This is nothing but gender biasness and discrimination. According tothe moral police, the single mothers are responsible for the children they bear as if they had an affair with themselves. There is also another story; men always deny responsibility so they undergo depression during their pregnancy and feel all alone which could endanger their lives and that of their unborn babies.

While there is no quick fix solution to the trend of single mothers but the men should equally be responsible for their children until they reach the age of 18.

The law enforcement agencies should be very keen on this to ensure the child is taken care of. A stricter child support system would be a good starting point. And those who refuse should equally face the full arm of the law.

And because it is always women who take the blame for engaging in irresponsible sex, men will also take cue and be more careful before engaging in such acts then running away. I think as a society, we should demand more from such deadbeat fathers. I respect the single mothers who have pulled out and are successful despite the challenges. They have risen above those who talk behind their backs and their accusers.

All those tears they shed after being disappointed by baby daddies should brake your heart. All we need to do is to support them and encourage them that their past should not define them as they are now smarter and stronger.

Remember to either ignore or tell off those who treat you harshly because you are a single mother.     

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Being man, you’ve to buy, no matter what!

 

By Wa Muyanza

As we keep noting in this space, a man’s popularity at the grocery is mainly measured by his all round purchasing power—that is, the way he exhibits he can spend, not only on his throat, but on the throats of others too.

Wape kila mtu mbilimbili hapa—give everybody two-two. A man utters that and, instantly, he becomes the most respected man at the table… unless, of course, a tougher drinker gives a subsequent round of the same nature and when the number of tablemates has increased from four to six.

Now if you’ve a keen ear, you’re likely to hear a lady tell a fellow woman seated next to her: “Huyu ndiye mwanamme.” Oh yeah, the other woman will agree.

They’re in effect suggesting that of all the guys at the table, only the fellow who has ordered an obscene round, is a real man. Mwanamme ni pesa!

For reasons that only drinkers seem to understand, buying booze is considered a mark of greatness. And the more one buys, the more respect one earns from fellow drinkers.

Smart fellows exploit this thinking and wangle beer out of others, fellows we can liken to praise singers a.k.a. court poets, who know that flattery can win one anything.

Old readers of this old column are sure to know them—smart, clever fellows who will call you “boss” while the fact is, you’re a nobody at your workplace.

Yeah, they’ll address you as mkurugenzi when you’re actually a junior clerk at the company you were questionably employed, thanks to your aunt’s close association—sssh!—with the actual mkurugenzi. It’s called technical know-who or something like that.

Some guys are very susceptible to empty praise, to the extent they’ll actually bend overly backward to buy a huge round of drinks, even when they don’t have the money. How do they do it?

It’s easy when you’re at a grocery where you enjoy some amount of trust.

You simply talk nicely to the manager who will instruct the akaunta to give you what you want and record your bill on which you’ll append your name and signature. Simple.

But of course, a most foolish thing to do, if you ask Wa Muyanza, that is, buying booze—of all things—on credit! But what can a man do when his good reputation is at stake? Good reputation, oh yeah? Ha! Ha! Ha!

East Africa’s King of Twist, Daudi Kabaka in his song ‘Mwisho wa Mwezi’, refers to such conduct as seeking ‘’madaraka ya ulevini’’. Delusions of bossmanship that partakers of alcohol seek to acquire, or even proclaim, at drinking places. Some, even when they’re not yet drunk.

It’s clear this is the kind of experience that has influenced this other fellow who, as soon as you set your foot at this grocery you regularly patronise, shoots up from his chair and greets you very ceremonially.

“Welcome sir; mzee wetu; you’re most welcome,’’ he says while giving you a huge bear hug. It’s like you and him are the best of buddies in the whole of Bongoville, kumbe wapi!

He then turns towards his table and introduces you to people who actually happen to be more accustomed to you than he and you accustomed to each other. You might say the guy is introducing you to your friends. Pombe!

“You guys, meet Mzee Muya…the most accomplished pressman in Bongo… he’s unbeatable, that’s why I give tip-offs for big stories to no one but him…I swear he’s the greatest…” he says and continues to tells more lies about your journalistic prowess, linking you to stories which, according to him, shook the country. Uwongo!

You’re sure the other drinkers take him least seriously, more so after he associates you with a newspaper they know you don’t work for presently. Interestingly, nobody bothers to correct him, just as you don’t. Why should anyone bother?

He concludes his lengthy intro by inviting you to his table of six occupants. Of course, you decline—as politely as you possibly can. He sadly accepts your excuse and, leading you to where you’ve chosen to sit—at the counter— he says in a whisper: “Bro, my ATM outlet has let me down… can you afford to lend me, say 20 thou? I’ll refund you tomorrow… I need to buy a round at our table, just like other men.”

You say sorry, informing him you can only afford 10 thou. He says it’s okay.     

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Saturday, July 15, 2017



Festula

Festula 

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Saturday, July 8, 2017

Saida Karoli dusting herself up and ready to rise

 

By By Paul Owere

Saida Karoli has come out of the other side of the deep, dark low where she fell into, and has regained her ebullience while adding a sense of self-understanding to her new surroundings.

She is riding a redemption journey courtesy of a team of well wishers.

This was evident at her comeback on Thursday night’s show which was christened ‘The rise, Fall and Rise again’!

Reality strikes

Years after dominance at the very top of the music industry, Saida’s world came crumbling after her contract with the then FM Studios expired.

For the village girl whose passion for performance earned her admirers, the downward spiral came a little faster than her rise and it was then that reality struck, she didn’t make any money during her time.

While she was at FM Studios she was a salaried employee whose earning was pegged at Sh300,000 a month with the only exceptional pay day coming after the massive sales of her debut album.

“The boss called me and said look, we have some token for you and it was Sh7.5 million.”

This to her was a miracle because as a village girl she always dreamt of certain things like sleeping on a proper bed and sitting on a couch.

She was naïve and that would cost her dearly several years later as she found herself penniless with no roof over her head.

“The phone calls went silent, I went back to Mwanza where for some reason I have always called home,” says the 41-year-old.

From the days of feeling up stadiums and halls across the region with her hit song ‘Maria Salome’, this silence from her benefactors puzzled her and it felt like Beethoven.

Village performances

Faced with near destitution with no form of support plus three children to raise, she just had to start somewhere.

“I went back to my roots performing at the very places where my humble career first began, those local pubs where they sell local brew just to make ends meet,” she says.

Bad relationships too became a feature of her career and soon a fourth child arrived from another companion whom she doesn’t seem comfortable talking about.

Something got to give! She realised that she could still make money through her performances in the villages.

It is perhaps from these village performances that the damaging rumour that she was selling local brew emanated from.

“I, with my children would leave Mwanza at the beginning of the harvest season to perform in the villages of Mwanza, Shinyanga and Kahama. The infrastructure was sometimes very bad that it would take us several days to get there,” says Saida.

On these expeditions she would leave at the beginning of May and return to Mwanza sometime on October after a trail of performances.

As dark as it might seem it was from these shows that she got what stands as her greatest pay day to date that afforded her the opportunity to build a permanent roof over her head in the suburbs of Mwanza.

Fame backfires

But even with this rather contingency plan, setbacks were to come as some villagers called her an imposter, because according to them a woman of her stature couldn’t perform at such places.

“I hated why I ever became famous because not many could believe that I was the same Saida Karoli that they once knew,” she says with a tinge of nostalgia.

The lowest moment came in 2015 when some strange rumour again emerged on the social media that she had died in a road accident.

“I really cried that day and for some reason I thought I had really died given the situation that was surrounding me,” she says.

The fifth child came and tragedy again leered its ugly head! Her companion at that time whom she had a baby boy with met his sudden end in a road accident.

Family life

She is a mother of five children though she keeps much of the details to herself because she believes it is the only way to stay as a family.

Throughout the bad times her children were her pillar of strength and they have become part of the band.

“They love what I do and with time they have become part of the creative section of the band,” she says.

They travel with her wherever she goes; unfortunately, this has come at a cost of their schooling life with the eldest turning 20 next year.

On fellow women

She believes women are strong and can achieve a lot but the most unfortunate thing is that women are their own enemies.

During her times in the village most of those people who worked hard to bring her down were fellow women.

“I just don’t know why we keep bringing one another down even when there is no apparent reason for one to behave unrealistically,” she says.

The renaissance

When all seemed to be rather dry after the release of Diamond’s Salome, she received a call that invited her for a performance at a wedding in Dar es Salaam.

It was here that her current benefactors convinced her to extend her stay and the idea of her comeback concert was born.

She has since recorded 18 songs which she says an ideal avenue of how to release them is being devised given the state of piracy in the country.

She believes that one of her major strengths has been dwelling on the positive end of things keeping her smile on even when the going gets tough.

“I’m fine now – I’ve never been better,” says the veteran singer. I thought I understood that we have a finite experience, but it’s not hammered home until you have a near-death experience. You realise that you’re not in control in any way.”

To her, music is the most natural expression and therapy that is boundless with alternatives.

“Good or bad, it’s the only way I know how to get these feelings out. Now, as a more evolved human being, I’m thinking of more stuff,” she says.

What Saida doesn’t have is the dogmatic dryness of a stricken survivor.

Her forthrightness about her past is still laced with her cynical sense of humour, while new songs such as Orugambo matches her rebirth complete with all elements that suits only Saida’s repertoire .

“You can choose to be negative, bitter or choose to be a creator, I chose the latter, and it’s certainly a whole lot more fun and that is why my best weapon through the years has been laughter.”

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Saturday, July 8, 2017

Never give up on your dreams

 

By Janet Otieno-Prosper

A story is told of Saida Karoli, a famous Tanzanian songbird who stamped her authority in the music industry and graced a bigger stage.

She attracted fans within the country and beyond in the early 2000s with her tickets selling out during her shows.

However, bad deals forced her to quit music thus sending her to oblivion. She would be paid very little by the organisers and promoters. She recently made a comeback to take her rightful place in the music industry and even fly Tanzanian flag higher.

She cited several reasons for her setback and also went through a difficult period when her benefactor abandoned her.

Though I know living a happy life is not always as easy as many people think, there is always a way to turn it around and do whatever you want.

I believe that all our dreams are valid and that is what we all need to know. At times things can go so wrong in our lives such that we start wondering where all the happiness went. It could be work related, family issues, illness, business deal gone awry and many other reasons.

There are these famous quotes, “Never give up on what you really want to do. The person with big dreams is more powerful than the one with all the facts.” Another one goes, “Keep trying and never give up. The dream may seem difficult to reach at some point but never let go of your dream. You will be amazed by what you can accomplish when you stay determined.”

In short, these wise sayings are meant to encourage all those who feel they are stuck in some hole and the world has suddenly stopped.

It is meant to urge them that there is always a better tomorrow if you continue with the push. And did you know that no one could ever defeat a person who never gives up. I want to encourage all our readers that through all that mud and filth you are wading through, there is a goal, which you will achieve at the end if you have a higher purpose in life. Just ignore all the pessimists and trudge on because determination pays in life.

So if you are in the thick of things and your career, marriage, business is not making sense at all, never give up the will in life just because things are going haywire in your life. There is always a bright light at the end of the horizon. And if you fall along the way, get up, dust yourself and continue with the journey. And remember to congratulate yourself when you achieve your goal and celebrate your success.

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Saturday, July 8, 2017

How to be a successful working mother

 

By By Woman Reporter

Knowing how to be a successful working mother means recognizing that you will have an insane amount of responsibility on your plate, with one job never giving you so much as a day off or a lunch hour; as a Mom, you are on call 24/7.

But can you successfully juggle being a corporate professional and give everything you need to your family? Consensus is that you will be exhausted, so here are some tips for how to be a successful working mother.

Get enough sleep: No-one can function without decent sleep and getting enough sleep is one of the essential ways to be a successful working mother.

When you are on a hectic schedule, the worst thing you can do is crank up the chardonnay the night before and fall face first into bed complete with makeup and not having a clue what homework is due.

The next day will be hell and you will struggle to make up the sleep you lost. Staying up working till the wee small hours is no good either.

The only people who will pay for your growling mood the next day is your family – cut them some slack and get to bed early. It’s good for your marriage too!

Attitude is everything: If you walk through the door, tired and grumpy after a hellish commute in never-ending traffic and launch into a roar when you dump your bags on the living room floor, it is going to have a ripple effect on everyone else in your family. Being a working mother means your time with your family is limited and precious.

Make a conscious effort to hang up your frustrations and irritations on an imaginary hook outside, so that when you step in that door, the joy and happiness will be infectious.

Prioritize ruthlessly: Those in the know of how to be a successful working mom understand the power of priority.

Successful working moms are really superheroes and while it may feel like you are trying to move Asia a little bit to the left each day without a sweeping red cape, making lists will help you get there.

You are never going to remember everything so keep a notebook and write stuff to remember at the back for work and stuff to remember for the family at the front.

Make a concerted effort to tick the important things off and keep your eye on the ball when you can’t.

Don’t procrastinate: When crashing into the couch with a large glass of merlot at the end of the day is the only thing on your mind when you crawl home through the traffic – make sure you have finished everything you need to do before.

Don’t put off those little things until the morning; don’t leave the dishes in the sink, sew on that button, sign the school homework, pack the school lunches and iron that shirt – you will love yourself in the morning and you’ll impress everyone that you know how to be a successful working mom.

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Saturday, July 8, 2017

Wife doesn't care as hubby eats anywhere

 

By Wa Muyanza

Eating and drinking. That’s the Bongo modern-day pub culture. A man goes to a watering hole, not just to drink, but to eat as well. A familiar sight in a Bongo grocery is tables of men (and women, at times) on which there’re trays of juicy meat crowned by ugali, potatoes or bananas.

Filling your stomach is important if you’re to avoid dangerous diseases such as ulcers, you’ll hear a man say as he attacks the meal from his side of the table. And if he’s the one who is paying, he could even accompany this very important observation by a huge belch. A mark of good health and power…ahem!

Eating and drinking was also there in the days of yore, but not to today’s extent. In those days, a drinker would be contented with eating a mshikaki or two, basi. Bites. Vitafunio or asusa, we called them.

Oh yeah; people of yesteryear didn’t go to drinking establishments to gorge themselves with mountains of beef, goat meat, chicken or kiti moto (pig meat). Drinkers would simply take something small in fear of overfilling one’s stomach with grab out there to the extent that one would later fail to take one’s wife’s food. Thubutu!

In the days of our fathers, you’d rather eat your wife’s meal and end up constipated, for anything short of that would result to a domestic war.

“Oh yeah, are you sick?” mama watoto would ask a hubby who’d say he isn’t eating her supper.

“Aaa…I’m not sick as such; I simply don’t feel like eating today, sorry,” the hubby would say, sounding genuinely apologetic.

“So, my dear husband, who feeds you these days?” she’d ask.

“I beg your pardon?” the guy would ask so as to hear a repeat and confirm that what he heard was actually from the mouth of his mama watoto.

“You heard me! You say you aren’t eating my food… whose food have you eaten for supper today?” she would say.

“I’ve not eaten anyone’s food, haki ya nani… I swear,” the guy would say.

It would go on and on…. The guy would even swear in his mother’s name, the ultimate oath which, in some Bongo communities, is considered more serious than swearing in God’s name. So after the guy says, “Naapa kwa jina la mamangu, sijala kwa mwanamke yeyote,” the mother of his children would say, “Okay, but… anyway, let me not say anything; let’s go to bed.”

The guy would feel safe, for what he said, whose truth which he fortified by the invocation of his mother’s name, didn’t mean he never ate anything out there; he simply said he wasn’t fed by any woman out there.

How about today’s mamas, in this period of Bongo’s history when men eat to their fill anywhere? They really don’t care. In any case, it’s not they who cook the food. Dada wa nyumbani, that is, the house girl, does.

For them it is: eat the food or leave it, who cares? Everybody is busy. Those will normally be the words in her mind as she checks out the hotpots and discovers baba watoto didn’t touch the food meant for his supper.

It’s no big deal to today’s mama watoto because, she could as well be grouping you in the league of Vanessa Mdee’s dume suruali. That is, men who consider themselves simply because they wear trousers. Ha! Ha! Ha!

You’re aware of all these things, so it’s no wonder you aren’t shocked when, on this other bright afternoon, you walk into a grocery and find a man having chapatti, which he washes down with beer.

Yes, chapatti with beer alone. He has before him a plate of chapattis and a bottle of big Serengeti lager with which he’s downing his meal without the use of a glass, tarumbeta style, the way you do it with the small variety of the same brand.

You conclude that he must be single, but you soon learn you’re wrong. You learn the truth when, not long after the guy is done with his lunch, a woman walks in and joins him.

Your paparazzo curiosity (not umbea, please!) takes the better of you and you call Neema, a barmaid you’re most familiar with at this place and ask her conspiratorially: “Eti, who’s that woman who has just joined the guy who has been eating chapatti with beer?”

“Oh, that? It’s his wife.”

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Saturday, July 1, 2017

DEAR DIARY: Women should support each other

 

Women have come a long way to finally attain the recognition and respect that they deserve.

Throughout history, from the early days of patriarch societies where men were considered to be superior, an inferiority complex had engulfed most women who had to play second fiddle.

Today’s woman is a celebrated woman. She can make her own decision and doesn’t have to seek approval from a man. But there are certain sectors where it became apparent that women still had to prove their worth before being considered.

Sectors such as education, political leadership roles, and certain positions at the work place became unattainable to most women.

Campaigns against gender inequality became common songs. Different activists advocating for the rights of women took to streets demanding for impartiality at the workplace and society in general.

To a larger extent, the struggle has been fruitful, and today we have many women holding high positions in offices and a high number of girls going to school.

But after such success, a new problem presented itself: women started wars amongst one another in office settings for various reasons.

Such a state of disharmony among female employees raised a lot of concern towards the state of women in the corporate world. Envy, misuse of power, emotional imbalance, are some of the misconducts that are being attributed to women.

It is said that in as much as women are equal to men, one woman might not wholeheartedly support the success of another.

As a result, they resort to ploys that threaten the very nature of women’s status in today’s society.

After struggling for years to attain equal position in today’s world, women should fight for consistency of such positioning.

Embroiling in workplace conflicts that have little to no benefit at all will derail any progress made in the fight for respect.

As equal pillars of society, women should support each other in all endeavors.

Be it at the workplace, school, neighbourhood or family, women need to stick together and form a united front that is unwavering in the support for feminine excellence.

Mpoki

mthomson@tz.nationmedia.com

Instagram: editor_supreme     

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Saturday, July 1, 2017

What all pregnant women experience

 

All moms have experiences they’ll share the second you say you’re pregnant, and then there’s the truths they would rather not. Well The BBC.co.uk asked some moms to get down and dirty with the truth and here’s what they got! All mothers can laugh as they remember their experiences with these and all moms to be can get ready for what to expect.

Your poo is like coal: “Seriously, it was rock-hard coal coming out. No one tells you about that”

You will never stop weeing: It may feel like someone’s stuck a cork in at one end but, at the other end, it’s like a riot hose. “You literally wee all the time,” explained one woman. “Also, we wee like we’ve been drinking in the pub – just weeing for about two hours,” elaborated another.

People tell you their horrific birth stories: Once you reveal you’re pregnant everyone decides to drop the real truth bombs. “Nobody’s got a good story,” observed one woman. “It’s like, ‘I was in labour for a week…I had third degree tear’ or, ‘your vagina will turn into a bucket’.”

Morning sickness can strike any time of the day: “They shouldn’t call it morning sickness. Just sickness”, one woman suggested. “Any time of day it can creep up on you. Any time”, agreed another.

You start crying over a meal deal: Another thing that can strike any time: hormones.

The trigger could be a sad song on the radio. Or it could be having to choose between a pasta salad or a hoisin duck roll. “You’re in the middle of the supermarket, picking a meal deal and it can literally feel like the end of the world,” explained one woman. Another had a similar story. “I’d be texting my best friend like, ‘I just cried over food again.’”

Cravings can include things like petrol and soap: Here are just a few we heard about: “Pickled onion and milkshake” “McDonald’s fries with ice cream” “Petrol. I mean, obviously I didn’t stand at the petrol pump drinking from it, but, you know, I wanted to.” “I got really addicted to Imperial Leather soap.” stated another. “I really wanted to lick it.” Do not drink petrol! Or eat soap.

Say goodbye to sleep: “You don’t sleep. And you never will again”, one haunted-looking soul told us. “You’re on your back and you just can’t feel your legs anymore”, said one woman And then there’s the fact that, as another woman put it, “You have to do a three-point turn to roll over.”

There are some unexpected sparks: “Being able to jump the queue in public toilets”, listed one woman. “I loved getting the golden ticket - the ‘baby on board’ badge – aka, ‘that seat’s mine, bch’”, chimed another. Not only do you get to bring a beautiful new life into the world, you even get a seat on the bus.

woman@thecitizen.co.tz     

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Saturday, June 24, 2017

DEAR DIARY: Every girl has a right to education

 

By Janet Otieno Prosper

I had said it in the past that every child has a right to study and create a better future. Teen pregnancy is a big issue, which featured prominently in the country this week. It is a sad reality that many young girls are pregnant. Denying that reality is quite a big mistake. Condemning someone for getting pregnant at a young age when they don’t actually even understand their bodies is quite unfortunate.

We should support all the children through school since education would be the basis of good life for them after being robbed of their innocence. Already, many pregnant girls drop out of school as they try to find menial jobs to support themselves and their babies. These jobs include hawking in the scorching Dar es Salaam sun with babies strapped on their backs. This is because, without a secondary school certificate, a diploma or degree, good jobs are hard to come by. They end up in poverty, which becomes a difficult cycle to break away from as a nation.

And there are cases where other teen boys make their female counterparts pregnant, what happens in this case? This is a very sensitive issue that should be looked at carefully. Imagine a nine-year old being shunned from school just because she got pregnant? Yes, eight year olds can get pregnant these days. Whenever they go back to school, they are stigmatised, forcing them further psychological torture.

The torture is enough trauma for them, so we should let them back to study. Case studies have it that they return to school with new determination knowing that they have a dependent thus they work extra hard.

And we should not forget that education is a human right and not a privilege. More so, if you educate a girl, you educate the whole nation and reduce poverty. For those of us who believe in God, “we should hate sin but not the sinner.” We don’t support premarital sex as a newspaper, but depriving someone education is so wrong in many ways as it come with long term consequences.

Many of these girls’ congnitive functions are not fully developed to stay at home and be mothers. Knowledge is power and taking that away is devastating. According to Unicef, education saves and improves the lives of girls and women. It allows women greater control of their lives and provides them with skills to contribute to their societies. It is this education that produces all the other developmental and social benefits.

Janet

ajotieno@tz.nationmedia.com     

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Saturday, June 24, 2017

MEN'S CORNER: His car is broken down, but he doesn’t say it!

 

Since your name appears now and then in a tabloid that brags it’s the most important daily in town, some uninformed people tend to believe you’re a man of significance, while the fact is, like most members of the scribbling fraternity, you’re just a struggling kaperson. Mtu wa vivi-hivi.

Now, you’ve a little mtumba car bought on a loan, but it’s rarely on the road for reasons that you won’t reveal here, since you don’t want everyone in town to know you’re a mere survivor. Actually, you’ve made all those who inquire why you walk long distances or use the daladala while you own a car, that you’re do that on doctor’s orders.

“Why, eh, you’ve a car yet you come to work by a daladala… you’re a very strange man!” a lady colleague would usually ask.

“Doctor’s orders,” you usually say (read “lie”) in response to this kind of intrusive question.

“Doctor’s orders? You mean it has to do with staying fit?” she’d continue probing.

“You guessed right; it’s healthier to take a bus to work than driving…my doctor says that, and I fully agree with him,” you say. This response, of course, is a product of your imaginative head.

Yeah, for the truth is, you use public transport more often than not because you rarely have the money to fuel your car. Oh, yeah…furthermore you dread reaching the mileage threshold, at which point you’re forced to take the car to your mechanic, Fundi Lucas, for service.

You dread dealing with Lucas because you’re sure he cons you on all those little things—oil filter, brake fluid, brake pads…. and so on and so forth—the things you suspect he doesn’t actually buy although you give him money for the same. Mjini hapa! You’re sure the guy, as we say in Kiswahili slang, anakupiga?

All fundis in Bongo will con you in one way or another, no matter how smart you think you are. So, a motorist may as well keep his familiar, crooked fundi, for, as they say, better the devil (read Lucas) you know, than an alien one. That’s why you don’t think much of the lakh-plus you give for car servicing items you’re certain he won’t be buying. In any case, you’re certain, it will take very, very long before he can rob you again in the pretext of servicing your vehicle.

You’ve noted that whenever you arrive to a grocery in your car, the attendants welcome with a lot of respects, referring you to as, not just as mzee, but mzee wetu—our own old man. Eti, it’s like you and they are members of the same clan! However, when you arrive on foot, meaning you just dropped off at the bus stage across the grocery, they treat you like the nobody that you are, but it bothers you not.

But there’re all these drinkers who get really bothered if they’re caught without the four-tyre machine. The type that will hide their faces at the bus stage lest they’re seen by people who have always known them as “mtu wa maana”. You thank your Creator you aren’t like that.

Such guys are the type who, upon taking a seat at your table, will start, without anybody asking him, explaining why he had to come in public transport.

“Today’s children are a really menace… now, my son, I normally lend him my car and you know what he has done? He had been issued with a whole four tickets and he never told me…. The cops just seized my car as I drove here, for I only had money for my beers, not one hundred and twenty thousand, excluding the fine, which they wanted….”

You want to ask him, “Who asked for all those details?” However, you don’t, because, anyway, the whole thing, whether true or false, doesn’t concern you.

Another guy of the same type will be heard say: “You know what? Wives can be a headache; imagine, just because her mother is in town, she cannot let go of my car… wants to drive her to visit relatives and friends, even those who live less than ten-minute walk from our house… women!”

It’s all lies. For weeks now, the guy’s car has been at a garage bubu located in our neighbourhood that operates under a mango tree—you’ve seen it with your own eyes!

wmuyanza@yahoo.com     

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Saturday, June 17, 2017

Earn your own dime and ring

 

By Janet Otieno

Woman should be responsible of her own happiness and not depend on men. My colleague shared with me a story about how girls are always told to get husbands to give them better life.

Yes you hard me right; for instance girls are told to get husbands to take them abroad or buy them good cars.

Well, girls too can work hard and buy their own big rides. You can take yourself out for that massage if you want and even buy yourself flowers, chocolates and that mouthwatering dinner.

Who said women can’t? So next time, you hear someone urging young girls to get a husband to take her places or better her life, tell them off.

Children should be trained to be independent and the value of hardwork should be cultivated in them as well.

Remember you have no control over what someone does or thinks about you.

However, you can control the way you respond to problems. So in this edition we have a story about men’s fixation with cars and other electronic gadgets that women simply don’t understand.

Then there is this evolutionary notion that women are more attracted to men with good cars! Many women and now in highly paid jobs and drive big cars as well. I will repeat this; women should work hard and be independent even if they come from very stable families.

It is liberating just to have your own money however little it is and spend it how it pleases you. Imagine asking for money for everything? You also grow professionally by setting goals and achieving your set targets.

At the end of it all you better the whole community by contributing to the economy through pay as you earn. Did I mention about pumping money back for circulation as you pay for goods and services?

And you leave a greater legacy. So look here ladies, let men get fixated with those cars and electronic gadgets, work hard for your own good. You can buy your own car. Who said a man has to buy it for you?

Now give yourself a big round of applause, get up and work harder even at home.

Though I know what we do with our lives is our own business, doing something you love give you a fulfilling life and happiness and make you choose the life you want.

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Saturday, June 17, 2017

Why you need to connect with your children

 

Christine Mawadri equates the significance of connection with a child to breathing. She believes as a parent, a child depends on you to nourish them in every way.

“Connection is safety, and security- both emotional and otherwise. It’s like instinct,” adds the radio presenter and single mother.

Work together

For fashion designer, Elizabeth Mbabazi, involving her children in the home’s plans like the weekly meals so that they assist in some of the chores, has built a bond.

“We go grocery shopping and agree on what we can realistically afford to buy and what should wait. I have three children so they take turns in simple basic household chores like cleaning the table, tidying up and sweeping the compound. It is never that easy but since I’m hands-on, they fall in eventually too,” Mbabazi adds.

Marrying role and career

Her work revolves around fashion design and art so she often invites her children to some of the events where they get to connect with her, even as she works. She adds, “I guess marrying my work and parenting allows them to see me more and also realise some of the realities of life and this has allowed us to talk more and also disagree when necessary.”

It is a process

Counsellor and paediatrician Sabrina Kitaka, says parenting is a blessing but takes patience and learning minute by minute, day by day, year in year out. “As parents, we are the first teachers of our children and their life skills role models. So, we must endeavour to lead and live by example,” she explains.

Kitaka is emphatic that in leading exemplary lives for our children, it is important in shaping them since they grow to be part of a bigger community.

Get them to open up

And as parents become role models, counsellor Ignatius Mulyowa, of Cheerful Life Counsellors, advises parents to also get their children to open up to them so that there is mutual trust.

“There are a number of things that a parent can do to connect with their children. When you leave work, spare time to do homework and take conversations beyond simply fulfilling the academic requirements. Introduce games at home. Board games require teamwork and connect minds so parents can exploit such avenues to win trust by teaching and guiding both on the academic front and also investing in leisure,” Mulyowa advises.

Keep promises

“It is important that when you are trying to win trust of children, you keep promises. If you promise to buy sweets for them, please come through with that promise,” Sophia Gombya, an independent counsellor, adds, emphasising the need for growth of friendship between a parent and child.

Mbabazi observes that getting children to open up is a gradual process. She adds, “I pick them up from school every day and we use the time in the traffic to talk about anything and everything about their day and mine. One of them is reserved so I ask him more direct questions that get him to open up, for example what funny thing happened during the day? Or did he enjoy his lunch? It takes time, patience and having some basic routine structure and of course rules.”

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Saturday, June 17, 2017

The truth about men’s love for cars and gadgets

Women are wired to real life, and by extension

Women are wired to real life, and by extension human beings while men are more attached to inanimate things. PHOTO I FILE 

By By Peter Muthamia pmuthamia@tz.nationmedia.com

Jane*, a married woman could not fathom why John*, her husband had thrown the mother of all tantrums, giving their ten-year-old son such a serious thwack after he accidentally smashed the screen of his treasured 43-inch Samsung flat screen TV with a baseball bat.

Jane was not irked so much as to whether the boy actually did damage the TV; she was furious because of the thorough beating the husband had meted out on the child. Jane reckoned that a TV is a replaceable object but her son wasn’t.

That is a common scenario where men attach too much value to their “beloved” gadgets, sometimes, way above the family members. There is an unsaid rule in most homes where some gadgets no-no for the children.

To buttress this point, a joke abounds of a man who after his wife arrived home dripping with blood from injuries caused by an accident involving their car, the first question he that shot out of his mouth was “where is my car, is it damaged?” Instead of first seeking to know whether his wife was seriously hurt or not against the dictates of common sense. He had put too much value on his car than his spouse that he could not imagine seeing the wrecked car!

Men have been known to pamper their cars, dole over their electronic gadgets much more than they pamper their spouses and children – meaning that cars and other inanimate fancy gadgets receive undivided attention at the expense of their families. In some instances, this tended to cut into family budgets. Cars and electronic gadgets can spend a sizeable chunk of family budget sometimes to the chagrin of women.

Cars are primped up, occasionally “treated” to sprucing at the so-called car salons (especially in Nairobi) and car washes, whereas, a woman cannot remember when her man lastly financed her salon, pedicure, manicure or even purchased a new dress for her. Women don’t understand it at all. A colleague of this writer thinks men take this too far. While the family car is important to get around in, men have a personal attachment to their cars and gadgets that is not comfortable with women.

“Men pamper their cars and gadgets. On routine basis, a man will take his car for servicing, washing, repainting and sometime to put a few unnecessary additional features to them. However, it’s next to impossible for a woman to get such a treat from her man. Men say women are human beings and can take care of themselves; cars and gadgets need all the man’s attention, she said”

Men have been observed lovingly caressing their cars and complaining about tiny scratch on the hood. On the flip side they rarely express affection to their women. A tiny dent on the car causes so many concerns to them. Women on the other hand cannot wrap their minds around this misplaced affection. They wonder why anyone would have such sentimental attachment to something so inanimate like a car or a gadget.

Chris Mauki, a practicing psychologist says that while females are wired to real life, and by extension human beings, males are more attached to inanimate things like gadgets and cars.

“Females are wired to people and what appertains to life. That is why most girls if asked their career choices, they are more likely to settle for those that have a human face in them such as teaching, while boys will most certainly choose careers involving inanimate objects such as engineering and physical sciences,” he said.

According to The Telegraph, the study, The Secret Life of Cars and What They Reveal about Us, an insight the relationship between vehicles and their owners, conducted by Iain MacRury and Peter Mash, of the University of East London, men talk about their cars as if talking to themselves while women are more comfortable expressing their feelings directly and see the car as separate from them.

Peter Marsh, added that the attachment of men to their cars is often translated into feelings and they were also likely to indulge in the type of shows of affection towards cars that one usually associates with loved ones or pets, such as patting the roof or dashboard.

According to Charles Nduku, a psychologist says that men’s attachment to their car and gadgets results from acculturation.

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Saturday, June 3, 2017

DEAR DIARY: Humility lessons from US envoy



Janet Otieno-Prosper

Janet Otieno-Prosper 

By Janet Otieno-Prosper

We want to appreciate all our loyal readers out there. We really appreciate your continued support. We have very rich content and would therefore encourage all women out there to read it as you while away your weekend.

There are those who have kept copies of this magazine since its launch in the Tanzanian market. And then there are those who religiously buy this magazine every Saturday. One such woman is the outgoing Chargé d’Affaires at the US Embassy in Tanzania and the East African Community (EAC) Virginia Blaser.

In this issue we feature the envoy and her role as a woman professional and how she managed to balance her role as a wife, mother and her country’s representative on the shores of Indian Ocean.

Word from those close friends and colleagues to this envoy has it that she was very humble. Why am I bringing humility issue here? It is because several women tend to forget about lifting fellow women as soon as they ascend into high positions.

They forget to groom and bring the best out of their women colleagues and all they spread is fear and terror.

People suddenly start trembling at their presence. They let success get so much into their heads such that they forget to be human beings at the end of the day and throw peoples’ skills out of the window. We can learn a few lessons of humility.

She was a professional woman so effective at her work and surrounded herself with people from different backgrounds.

She did not just associate with “yes people” but accommodated her critics as well. As a professional woman holding a high position, never stop growing because even experts take criticism and have room to learn. A little humility will remind us that we are human beings after all.

A great leader pulls others up along the way and remembers their roots by always guiding others to learn.

And don’t forget to treat people with some dignity and encourage them to work extra hard.

Virginia truly touched the hearts of many women while on duty in Tanzania. For those who didn’t know Virginia, she is well grounded, warm and lovely to people around her despite her post. From the Woman desk, we wish Virginia well in her future endeavours.     

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Saturday, June 3, 2017

My child’s development is really slow

 

By Woman Reporter

Evelyn Kakyo’s child was very slow compared to her neighbour’s son who was two months younger.

“My neighbour’s son walked at eight months and my daughter did at one year and a half. I took her to so many hospitals and we also visited herbalists but they all insisted she was normal.”

I was told boys grow a little slower than girls and in my case it was the opposite, this left me shocked. Each milestone my neighbour’s child reached sent me panicking. What was wrong with my daughter?” Kakyo wondered.

Diet

Kakyo says she gave her daughter pumpkin seed powder, eggs, fish and the desired foods she believed were necessary for a child’s development but saw no progress.

Many parents could relate to such an experience. According to Dr Sabrina Kitaka, a pediatrician at Mulago hospital, slow development in children is explained in three ways.

Motor development

This is caused by muscle contractions at birth. A child’s brain may either get injured or gets an infection due to bad handling. Some children can have trouble with movements that involve many muscles, such as playing football, or with smaller movements [colouring]. Sometimes the problem is not with their strength, but with their coordination.

“This affects the child’s body movements making them take long to walk or do much more in their movements,” says Dr Kitaka.

Cognitive development

At this stage, a child could have slow growing genetics, a brain infection or a low syndrome which causes them to be generally weak.

“These children will require an immediate attention by the paediatrician to detect the cause and help them accordingly.”

“A child with cognitive development may walk at one-and-a-half years as a normal one walks at seven months,” she explains.

Social development

These children take long to associate with others publicly. They in most cases keep to themselves and people call them shy. To Dr Kitaka, this is slow development.

Food matters

In addition to this, the doctor believes malnutrition and poor feeding could deter a child’s growth.

“Once a child is not given a balanced diet in proper portions, this may affect the brain growth leading to slow development in everything,” she adds.

This is not the end as children can be helped. Do not wait for the behaviour to worsen.

What you can do

When I felt that my daughter had a speech problem, I called the paediatrician right away,” says Lawrence Ogong.

“The doctor tested his hearing and advised me to see a speech therapist to diagnose and treat the delays. The specialist paused questions to my daughter and said she wanted to find out what she understands, could say and express herself.”

From there he was advised to; talk with her throughout the day, name objects or sounds at home, or anywhere they went.     

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

DEAR DIARY: Easter is time for forgiveness



Janet Otieno-Prosper

Janet Otieno-Prosper 

By Janet Otieno-Prosper

People celebrate various holidays based on their religious beliefs. And now that Easter is here, let’s talk about it.

To some people, it is a pagan belief as both Christian and pagan elements blend together during the celebrations, which involve heavy drinking and merrymaking at the same time.

They argue that Easter originated outside Christianity as it borrowed ancient pagan practices but this is a story for another day. We have all kind of traditions on how we celebrate Easter.

And interestingly, Easter is a movable feast without a fixed date to mark the day. This is because it follows the lunar calendar not the normal Julian calendar.

Dates keep changing; for some, it is time to go to church and pour out your heart to the lord, for others it is time to celebrate by eating lots of chocolates, mountain oval-sweets, cakes and good food plus some drinks to wash it down.

 For many Christians, it is time to remember the death of Jesus on the cross amidst persecution and torture. He then resurrected thus giving us joy and hope.

It also reminds us about forgiveness.  Many of us are struggling with our journey to the Cross, as there are some things, which could have hurt us along the way.

Some could be finding difficulty to forgive and see God’s mercy.

Let me tell you for free that there is relief when you let go some of those grudges and see the world in a bigger picture. There is no better feeling than extending a hug and a brilliant smile to those who wronged us.

For those who will gather in churches across the world, the Cross is a sign of forgiveness of our sins so just practice the virtue of forgiveness.

It is time to tell that story of hope and liberation for all those who are weary so that through our lives we illuminate his light to the rest.

What story would Jesus tell this Easter? Let’s reach out to all those who need our love and words of encouragement.

As we go out to celebrate, let’s remember the magnificent resurrection story and conquer the world by doing good things. At the Woman Desk, we wish you a Happy Easter.

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Saturday, March 25, 2017

When an abattoir becomes a den of fortune for women

Poultry and animal keepers use processed blood

Poultry and animal keepers use processed blood in food while feeding their livestock. 

By Alfred Zacharia

Around midnight, when most people have long finished their busy day and have retreated to their beds for rest, Ms Jasmin Abdi (37), a resident of Vingunguti in Ilala district, has a different schedule.

As a new day is being ushered in, Ms Abdi, along with a group of other women, head to Vingunguti abattoir carrying buckets on hands ready to collect blood from cows, goats and sheep, when slaughtering process is in progress.

Ms Abdi and her group of women, known as Watengenezaji wa vyakula vya mifugo (Wavimi), consisting of people with HIV and widows, also carry some bed-sheets to keep them from cold and mosquitos as they collect blood during the night.

The increase of demand for domestic animal blood in the local and international market has been a good sign of hope for them and other blood collectors in the abattoir.

According to Abdi, she has been selling processed blood for 8 years now, accommodating her basic needs and raising her two children.

She is HIV positive, taking care of her two children; Haisam Nkoningo, 15, and Aisha Nkoningo, 12, after her husband Abdallah Nkoningo passed away many years ago.

Her business helps her stay aloft of basic requirements including school fees for her children. Her first child is a form two student at Vingunguti Secondary School, while the second born is in class five at Miembeni Primary School.

Through her booming business, Abdi managed to finish building her house and now lives there with her two children.

“The blood business is now becoming a hot-cake in Vingunguti and other abattoirs as its market demand keeps escalating after being discovered that blood is a nutrient feeding to poultry and other domestic animals,” she told Woman.

She explained that at the beginning, blood was collected as waste in the abattoirs, flowing on the dug-pipelines to Msimbazi River, but today, it has turned into a good business that traders are fighting for.

According to Abdi, poultry and animal keepers use processed blood in food while feeding their live stocks including hens, cattle, pigs and fish.

She sells at least 200kg of processed blood per day locally and exports 18 tonnes a month. She sells Sh1000 per kilogram in the local market and Sh1,200 for exported one.

The entrepreneur added that animal keepers believe that blood has potential nutrients that regulate body temperature for hens and livestock. It is also a nutritious food for infant fish that helps them grow fast.

“Since blood turned into a nutritious food to those poultries and domestic animals, its demand is now doubling, it has gone up to 120 from 57 tonnes per year at Vingunguti abattoir, according suppliers,” she noted.

However they normally fail to meet the demand as the market has been expanding to other neighboring countries including Kenya and Uganda, who buy processed blood from Tanzania.

Abdi joined Wavimi fifteen years ago when she was just a widow, but not infected with HIV.

She said she turned HIV positive six years later, when she got a second baby after remarrying a second husband, who later died of the same disease.

At the beginning, Wavimi had a task of collecting and cleaning grounds which were covered with blood and flow it through the dug-pipelines and they were paid by the in the abattoir.

According to Ms Abdi, suddenly a huge business opportunity was uncovered and the blood started being sold as animal and poultry feed. Demand for it skyrocketed.

From there, men and youths whom some of them were also HIV positive joined Wavimi group. The business became more rewarding as blood collectors started earning more.

“Many things have changed since then; the government provided us a place in the abattoir to process blood and built us a cooker that we use to boil the blood,” Ms Abdi says.

Wavimi group started to pay the slaughters Sh50, 000 per day contrary to how it used to be previously when slaughters were the ones paying the group. This was because blood had now become a profitable business and slaughters also wanted to benefit.

Market demand

The market demand for blood is currently too high that most times the women fail to meet it on time.

Ms Abdi says the demand is high due to increase of animal and poultry farmers. Also exportation to Kenya and Uganda is among the reasons for market demand to go higher. Ms Abdi is one of many women who enjoys the profit of the business. She makes at least Sh120,000 as profit per day by selling 200kg, and Sh8.9 million per month for exporting at least 18 tonnes.

“Paying Sh50,000 fee does not affect my business at all, however problems arise when the blood is scarce,” she explains, adding that the market is not a challenge but sometimes blood is not enough because the number of collectors keeps on increasing.

Traders at the Poultry feeding market found at Tazara area are among buyers of processed blood at Vingunguti abattoir. Most poultry farmers don’t purchase feeds that do not contain blood in the mixture.

Good animal feed

Jackson Charles, a feed wholesaler at Tazara poultry market says he purchases at least two tonnes of processed blood every week.

“The business is very good since each customer wants feeds that are mixed with blood, claiming that it regulates body temperature of hens and it helps in the growth process,” he said.

Mixing blood in the poetry feeds is very important. “My veterinary expert has been insisting on the use of blood in the feed, and I have seen the positive effects of mixing a bit of blood,” says Eruhumbika, a poultry farmer.

Conflicts

“Our conflict originates from the struggle of trying to meet local and foreign demands while the blood is not enough here at the abattoir. We also have few traders with lion share trying to monopolise the business,” says Abdi.

She said that after the blood turned into a good business in 2014, other individual traders entered in to the market and from then on slaughters also started to demand more money from the blood-collectors.

Wavimi faces challenges from other traders involved in the business. “There are some traders who decide to pay huge sums compared to what we pay to slaughters, so that they may be given a lion’s share of the blood,” claims Joseph Abdallah, another member of Wavimi.

Throughout the business, there have been a number of other challenges that have forced women involved in the business of selling processed blood to lower down the price.

At times, due to high demand, blood becomes scarce and so traders fail to earn their daily bread. With other foreign markets also looking to Tanzania for their blood export, local market suffers severely.

Currently, Abdi and her Wavimi members collect blood from other abattoirs within the city, such as Mbezi, Mbagala, Pugu and Ukonga to meet the high demand.

Challenges

Ms Abdi and other HIV victims together with widows, face some discrimination and harassment due to their conditions.

“Sometimes people insult me because of my health status. Their insults affect me a lot because this is my place of work so their words really hurt me,”Abdi speaks.

She says the reality of being HIV positive has seen her, and other colleagues live an unbearable life working at the abattoir. “People point fingers at me and anyone else who’s HIV positive.

This puts us on the mark and we become the talk of the place,” she further laments.

Furthermore, due to medication, those infected with HIV find it particularly difficult to work under harsh conditions, and are often times required to rest.

But due to the nature of the work they do, resting is seldom an option. This causes their health to deteriorate. They get very few hours of rest. On top of handling their business, when they get home they have house chores waiting for them. Mothers have to prepare food for their children and clean the house.

They only manage to rest hours later after they are done with all the chores. “The situation affects my condition, but I don’t have any other means because I need to take care of my children,” she noted.

Other challenges include availability of blood boiling point and lack of proper storage of the processed blood.

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Saturday, March 25, 2017

DEAR DIARY: Watch out for those male gold diggers



Janet Otieno Prosper

Janet Otieno Prosper 

By Janet Otieno Prosper

Many times, women have been accused of milking men of their hard earned cash. Some women were always pursuing wealthy men with the hope of sharing their fortunes.

However, tables are turning with the emergence of “mercenary” bachelors in town. They are handsome enterprising men. Money and good lifestyle is all they need. I will quickly tell you story of my friend who is currently a spinster.

I have a friend whom we will call “Melby”. She wanted to settle down and she had a great job, a good car, a house and sexy look to boot.

She also had a good education and had several properties to her name.

She desperately wanted to settle down but seemingly men were afraid of her. So one day, she met this prince charming who took her to an upscale restaurant in Masaki and they both ordered expensive food and drinks. Once done, the guy, whom we will call “Ted” requested her to pay claiming his visa card had issues.

They met for the second time and after they were done with drinks, the man again gave an excuse and failed to pay. She then took to the hills though this millennial now thought he had gotten an easy prey and a running tap of cash. Well he was wrong as she went for good.

Let’s now talk about these male gold diggers. There is this evolving concept of romance that not all people who fall for each other fall in love.

Some fall for the opportunities and the benefits that come with the person hence “romance with benefit” notion. Though some women are also gold diggers, more men have joined them in this booming game. Taming someone to see who would sacrifice anything for money.

Some men are also seeking wealthy benefactors just as some of their female counterparts seek the so-called “sponsors.”

What happened to working hard to earn a decent living? With the changing ideals in gender roles, women should now watch out for these men who have become modern day opportunists. Thye for nothing but self-enrichment, all the while playing with women’s emotions.

Do not become easy prey for these ‘hungry’ men. They will use you and then leave you without warning. If it’s love and affection that you are seeking, then you have to be very cautious, lest you find yourself going to bed with every Tom, Dick and Harry.

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