This week has finally come to an end. Apart from the insecurity issues in Bungoma County that has left scores of people dead and a number injured, Mombasa County has also been in the limelight for all the wrong reasons.
Really, what happened in Mombasa? It has been a week now since it was alleged that eleven girls and a foreigner, a Swedish nationality were found on the wrong side of the law, after the twelve were prosecuted for engaging in what continues to be defined as pornographic shooting at the up-market Nyali Estate in Mombasa. It has also been alleged that there was also a dog in site, which complicates the whole equation.
Turn of events
Talk of turn of events and changing times; someone exclaimed as the news went viral on both Kenyan mainstream media as well social media. “Patience, when we were young our parents only told us; Sex is not good, it is only good in marriage, so wait until you get married. However, the vybe has changed today, parents are now telling their children, hey, it is ok to have sex, but only with a human being…nothing short of a human being.”
This gets me thinking. As a society, where have we gone wrong? Is there any hope left in saving the next generation? Kenyans have looked at this case as a clear indication of where our society stands at as far as morality is concerned. There are those who have reasoned that what the girls did was justifiable on the basis of getting themselves a daily bread and that poverty is the root cause of all this. Then, there is the other group of Kenyans who believe, regardless of one’s problems in life, the act of illicit sex with an animal should never be tolerated in Kenya, and that the Bible condemns the same.
“I believe there are certain values I cannot compromise when I am raising children. I am doing my best to show them the right path in life but later on in life should they decide otherwise, I will not blame myself. I feel for the parents to those ladies we saw on TV.” Remarked Gerishon Ndegwa commenting on the this story on social media.
Ok, let’s look at this story again and some of the lessons we can learn from it.
As I watched this story, the first thing that came into my mind was, “Could my smaller sister or any of my nieces and cousins be among the eleven girls?” So, I keenly watched the unfolding story but, of course the girls were hiding their faces and therefore, I could not see them well. Then I picked my phone and made a call, just to find out if my sister was really safe out of this saga.
Students from Educational Institutions in Mombasa
“You must be out of your mind to imagine I was among those girls.” Came a harsh reply from her. I didn’t apologize for making such an assumption. I only went ahead to explain my thoughts. “ Come on, you know what, by looking at those girls, they are girls in their twenties, just like you and most likely, they live in Mombasa just like you.” I finished my explanation. I mean, I am justified to imagine this could be one of my smaller sisters and if not, maybe one of my beautiful cousins or even my nieces.
The thing is, by looking at those girls, alleged to be students from various educational institutions in Mombasa; they are definitely our sisters, aunties, cousins, nieces or even our neighbours. Then, as an older woman, I start asking myself, have I done enough to mentor my younger sisters? To what extend should I do this and is there anything else I can do to help them understand the realities of life, that there is more to life than money? What would really make ourselves sell our bodies at such a tender age? What about our future? What do we want our children to pick from us? By looking at the bigger picture, I am sure none of the girls would go ahead and do what they did. Therefore, this means there is a huge need for mentoring, explaining to these young girls that, every success story has a history. All those people living as though all their needs are answered and that they have all the money they need in this world, did not simply get there over night, it has been a case of constant progress. This is reality, but through hard work, every vision and dream will come to pass, if only we shun shortcuts, especially where our lives were concerned.
“Do you realize that we may have taught them to love money and idolize sex and mzungus (white men)? Have you been a good example? Remember children learn from what we do, not what we say. It’s time we all rise up and be what we want the next generation to be. We must not let our young sisters perish, think about it.” Remarked Esther Ingolo, a Nairobi based Radio presenter with a passion for the Coastal girl child.
Coastarians speak out
Throughout this saga, something was evident. Coastarians (those who come from Coast or live in Coast) were quick to sanctify themselves by confirming that though this incident happened in Mombasa, those who were involved were not Coastarians. The suspects Christopher Clement Weisssenrieder (foreigner), Janet Akoth Omollo, Mercy Waithera Karanja, Mary Nyambura Kimani, Magdaline Wairimu Chege, Celestine Nekesa Sitati, Dorcus Melishah Indakwa, Lydia Nyaboke Momanyi, Philidelia Mawia Solomon, Anne Wanjiku Gichuki and Celilia Nzambi Katuku are not Coastal names as many imagined.
Being a Coastarian, I understand this concern; however, I think we went overboard with this. “Take a closer look at these names, all these girls are from up-country. Coastal girls are well-behaved and you can see for yourselves. It’s time we asked them to go back to upcountry.” Remarked Benard on a facebook post.
This has been my explanation. Let’s not look at the names and where these ladies are coming from. Of course it was relieving to realize that these were not Coastal names, however, let’s look at it differently. These are our young sisters and our fellow Kenyans. Esther Ingolo puts it in the best way- “What makes me lose my sleep is the fact that, I as an older woman has done little to show my younger sisters what is sane. I shudder thinking that my niece is hearing such stories, young as she is. To the older women like me, are you part of the bandwagon?
Sureya Roble Hersi, a very vocal woman in Mombasa puts her voice in reply to Esther’s thoughts. “Esther our society is rotten and believe you me a lot of evil is going on in major towns and unfortunately us leaders including the religious leaders bury our heads hoping the problem will solve on its own. There is a lot of peer pressure among the teenagers to live a certain lifestyle and yet they don’t want to work hard and earn through legal means so they resort to short cuts an end up this way. For sure our society has failed and our girls need role models like you and I not to sit in office but talk to them and mentor them on morals and values. The girls need to know that through education and hard work you can live the lifestyle of your choice.
There we have it, we all seem to know what to do. From where we sit, indeed the blame game will never stop, so let’s do the noble thing and try to see to it from a different perspective. These maybe our sisters, if not, our cousins or even nieces. Are we doing enough to see that they have people they can always look up to?
Over to you Kenyans!