Posts tagged ‘Everyday Life’

November 28, 2012

Discrimination in Mosques


Why do people go to worship places and does God discriminate against any human being based on colour, hair, complexion, height, weight, socio-economic status? Two friends have been subjected to discrimination inside a Mosque and by fellow Muslim brothers. Why?

The first incidence happened during the Friday prayers. He was behind three Muslim brothers and when my friend bends to remove his sandals, the fellow worshipers before him looked at him suspiciously. Reason? he does look like a person of Borana, Burji or Somali origin. Then all of a sudden they say he is a thief who has been stealing sandals at the Mosque. He is tied under a tree at Huruma Mosque along Outering Road until prayers are over. Later he is beaten and released but with injuries.

On the second incidence, a friend goes to Eastleigh and buys expensive sandals; Ksh. 2000/-. While walking in the neighbourhood of Kiamaiko he is confronted by fellow Muslim brothers that the sandals he is putting on were stolen a short while ago at one of the Mosque. Reason again? He does not belong to the ethnic group that is widely associated with Islam in the area but is a frequent visitor to one of the Mosque. He is also dragged and called unprintable names.  An argument ensues and the person claiming the sandals are his is asked by another Muslim brother ‘what was the size of your stolen sandals?’ The claimant says his sandals are no. 43. The sandals are checked and it turns out that the claimant is wrong. He apologises but the damage is already done.

Stealing of shoes and sandals at the Mosques is a common and has been used by some rogue unfaithful to discriminate based on ethnicity who is responsible for the vice at the mosque.

A new Mosque which has been constructed in the neighborhood of Kiamaiko along Valley Bridge is becoming difficult for people of other ethnic community to enter for prayers.

Currently it is common to find worshipper carrying their sandals in black paper bags while praying.

Discrimination in any house of worship based on ethnicity is an act of religious primitivity. Its is only decent human being who believes on promoting spiritual goodness and belief in Supreme Being cannot practice religious discrimination in the current age.- Simon

July 31, 2011

Night time in Mathare

Mathare at night

It’s lively in Mathare at night, when most of the people come from their places to hustle. The women in the streets sell their products, mostly vegetables, while talking to each other with a lot of joy and gossip in their hearts. The men come back from earning their daily bread, walking from the city’s eastern industrial district with their paychecks of the day in their pockets, buying dinner. The kids run around playing and singing, a few of them gather up in video dens to watch their favorite karate movies. They do it very keenly so they can tell the story tomorrow at school to their friends who were not so lucky to see it.

“Slum snacks” are sold all over. They are the moshogi, orenge and mara, chicken head, feet and intestines respectively. They sell from 5 to 10 shillings and are considered a delicacy. I personally recommend the moshogi (chicken head). After a snack, the pool will be a good entertainment for a young person like me to catch up on the latest gossip, such as the English premier league transfers, footballers sex scandals, which cell phone has the best features, which shoes are fashionable, and if there’s anybody who got rich and got out of the ghetto lately. Graffiti, freestyle rap or weeding will help ease the stress of the day. The women on the road will talk about who got pregnant, shot, who contracted malaria or HIV/AIDS, got married recently, and who dropped out of school in the past week. And let me tell you, they do keep track!

As the night progresses some of the kids are still in the video dens playing Playstations, the men are in the bars drinking good old chang’aa. For the married ones this is the time to take showers, the time to head to “The Amazon” or “The Caribbean” (those who know they know, others can contact me for further explanation). The unmarried ones will hop from chang’aa to bussa (fermented millet wine) den all night long. Some of them will head to funeral gatherings. Ironically in Mathare, funeral gatherings are a celebration where the music is played until morning and people dance all night long. If these bachelors are lucky they might find a catch here and there but more often fights will break out. The atmosphere is tense, and there are only a few ladies around, so it’s a mad dash of young men to ensure the “Caribbean warmth” that night.

At about 3 am Mathare gets cold, and quiet, and peaceful. It’s almost like a ghost town, only a few barks from a dog here and there, and maybe a few drunks singing in the streets.

If you look beyond the troubles of the slum, you will realize it’s a truly fascinating place. The slum teaches life long lessons. The lights, the rusty roof tops, and the smell of sewage, chang’aa, food and love fill the air. I was born and raised in the ghetto and if I die, I hope there’s a ghetto in heaven too. Goodnight Mathare, sleep tight Mathare. All of us sleeping and sharing a dream of a better tomorrow!

— Jeff

December 27, 2010

5 Christmas Lessons 2010

It was a good a day from me, two children and my wife as we prepared to visit my sister and brothers for Christmas in Kosovo, Mathare. Commuting in can be hectic as most public vehicles  (matatus) opts for long distances as people pay more than usual fares. We are lucky to find one with space for four but they charged us more than the usual fare.

At Kosovo we are well received by my sister and her family. As we settle down, it dawn on us that nobody has camera for this important occasion. The only option we had is to turn to the village photographer for assistance. We are damn wrong as his studio is flooded with customers all waiting to be photographed. From the look of things his business was booming. Each photo costs Ksh. 50/- per copy. A quick count revealed that in one hour he had taken over 80 photos and people were still streaming in. Me and the children gave up and so we decided to go back and enjoy TV and juices made my sisters.  Lesson number one: A camera is a must for capturing wonder moments with family or friends

The time for food came and were served with chicken, chapatti, rice and soup made from tomato. We were seated 15 people in a small room. There was joy and children were playing while balloons are all over. When we were half…a surprise guest appeared. A cousin (Papa) from Mombasa together with his family too was in town and he decided to come and greet my sister. It was such joyous moment for us all since it was seven years ago when I last saw. Immediately plans changed and more food had to be prepared to cater for my cousin and family as he is strict vegetarian no meat of egg. Lesson number two: Cook variety of food to carter for surprise guest and vegetarian too.

Being in a happy mood, we all found ourselves discussing our parents and what they are currently doing. We also talked about our other cousins and their family. We really missed their company. As were discussing one of nephew dashed to bedroom and came holding an old photo album. He started to take us through the photos explaining who he knew in neatly all of them. Unfortunately my cousin was not in any of the photos. Me and my sister we had difficult time to explain. Lesson number three: Family re-unions are important for younger children to know who their family members are As the evening approached we had another round of light food being served. Most children decided not eat but continue playing. At around 6 pm, all the children were assembled for goodbye session between the families. Nearly all the children wanted to remain at my sister’s place. My cousin children decided to spend the night at my sister’s place. It was time to go home and rest. I decided that I will host my cousin and the wife for the night. By the time we were gearing to walk to take matatu, my children were already tired and looked sleepy out of exhaustion because of playing. Lesson number four: It is important to organize own transport and this will save time and reduce inconveniences.

When we arrived at home, it was quite as in a whole building only three families were around. Other people had travelled either upcountry or Mombasa for holiday. We found ourselves discussing holiday destinations in Kenya and how most are expensive. My cousin shared his plan to build a holiday destination in upcountry to be used for weddings and parties during low seasons and for camps during April, August and December. Then my wife asked ‘so you are on your way to Kisumu?’. There was a deep silence in the house. Both my cousin and his wife looked at each other smiling. They said that they were in Nairobi to see the new road and buildings in town. They were purely on holiday in Nairobi to visit and see Thika Road, Building at City Centre, Uhuru Park and City Park. They plan to travel by matatu to Thika town. My wife was surprised that people can come from Mombasa to Nairobi for holiday too.

Lesson number five: Think outside the box when deciding your holiday destination. We are surrounded by many holiday destinations which are less expensive.

Balmer and Maryanne (twins)

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