Apr 18, 2019

Lessons of Regreat

* Not real names

“It has been a tough year. More than half my livestock has died and with how its looking like now, by the end of this drought I might have nothing left” Bwana *Mongoi from Lpus Natodo started. “See, last year it rained a lot we had enough pasture and water for our animals. All seemed well. We did not think to prepare ourselves for the drought. We did not save grass nor did we get any water storage. Its not only the animals, also in our houses. We do not have much food. And the little that we buy from the market is so expensive we cannot afford to buy a lot of it. We go for long without water to drink let alone for basic hygiene around the house. The water that we get is not that clean so you can only imagine how many trips we have been making to the hospital for stomach aches. Sometimes I really do not want to come home since I wonder what will happen to my family. I have six boys and five girls. Two wives and my mother living with us. 13 mouths to feed is not an easy task. I wish it was a smaller number, then maybe we would be better off.” *Mongoi lamented.

“If only I had accepted what Julius - CHAT’s  partner in family planning (FP) mobilization  and sensitization and a Community Own Resource Person (CORP)–  was telling me some time back, maybe I would be less stressed. He told me of how I could have less livestock and to manage my family size to a number that I would be able to rake care of. I thought he did not want me to be wealthy and maintain a respectable position in the community but now I regret. I really want to improve the situation my family are in,  so at least I can plan better for the future.” He went on. “I want all my children to go to school so that they may one day take care of me in my old age. I want them to be educated like the children of my peers. That is why I have made the decision to ensure my wives have accessed FP services. Also, I want us to start a small garden for our food once the rains start. This will alleviate at least a little of our hunger.  As for water, we have started discussing on how we could save some water for ourselves once the rains start since that is our biggest source of water. We do not have a river here so harvesting water is our only option.”

“I hope our people get to learn of the importance of managing a small population for both the animals and the family. That is the only way we will not feel the weight of such hard times.” Julius (CHAT’s CORP partner) commented.

“It's long been accepted as fact that the availability of family planning services saves lives. Where women have access to these services, children and families are healthier, and society at large benefits.” Martha Plimpton

In the past three months, CHAT was able to reach a total of 2,671 individuals with BCC information with 1,007 women receiving different FP methods.

CHAT Camel Mobile into arid areas
CHAT Camel Mobile into arid areas
Apr 18, 2019

The end justifies the means

CHAT Nurse Ann providing services
CHAT Nurse Ann providing services

‘With this economy and the expensive living, it is only normal to work more than one job.’ Lentua* explained. “Some people barely sleep and an opportunity to rest is rare. We work so hard but really never enjoy the fruits of our labor. I for one am a mother to twin girls in high school. Being a single mum, I cannot sustain them with the little I earn from my job as a waitress. I do not have any academic qualification past secondary school meaning I can only rely on local jobs.

With this, I could not find any other job apart from prostitution. Am not proud of it but it makes the ends meet so I do not mind. My girls do not know what I do on the side and I hope they never know. I leave work from the hotel at seven in the evening, go home, clean up and go to work. I love going to uptown clubs where men flood to find their luck with young women. On a lucky day I get at least five clients but am not young so I have to work harder to be on top of the game.

I am aware of the risks. I have seen girls raped and left for dead. Some customers are very aggressive and end up not paying even after making an agreement before. There are a lot of diseases and these are a major job hazard. If you are sick word might spread and there’s no way you will get customers if people know. The biggest of them all is pregnancy. Yes, I know it sounds atrocious to be scared of a pregnancy than a disease but how could one survive a lifetime of responsibilities compared to a manageable disease? Raising a child alone is much more expensive and a lot of hard work thus we need to protect ourselves. That is how we all know of Esther.

Esther-CHAT CORP offers counselling to all of us anytime we go to her. She organizes with a nurse and goes from house to house to offer services thus we all are cleared of pregnancies. If a new girl comes, we introduce her to Esther. We always replenish our stocks of condoms from her. She truly supports us without any judgement. I intend not to have more children and that’s why I have the five-year implant. This has ensured that I can go about my business without any fear or worries.

“I cannot offer jobs or a livelihood to all of them so I help where I can. Everyone has a story behind their situation and choice and am here to ensure they are safe and feel accepted.

As Martin Luther once said, ‘every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.’ I choose the light of creating better lives for fellow women.”

In the past three months, CHAT was able to reach a total of 2,671 individuals with BCC information with 780 of these being youths. 1,007 women receiving different FP methods and  a total of 5,142 condoms were distributed both male and female.

Jan 22, 2019

CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME

Nalimu as she receives her implant
Nalimu as she receives her implant

“As I got to this remote and desolate village in Sura Adoru, I found children playing their happy games, laughing with each other - oblivious of the hardships around them. All they know is being happy and obedient to their parents. But something else caught my eye. One of the girls playing had beads worn by married women. I wondered why such a small girl had them. I couldn’t believe that she really was married. I called her aside so to know why she was dressed like that; then that is when a woman confronted me furiously, and asking me why I was talking to a married woman!?  I learnt that the woman, *Nalimu, was the girl’s mother in law, she was very protective of the girl.

I responded to Nalimu, shocked, ‘No! The girl can’t be a married woman, she is too young!” Nalimu responded by saying that she had got married at the same age and is now a grown woman and is okay, so why can’t the girl be married!

This prompted me to ask the lady how many children she has - and with self-condemnation she replied NINE!!! And her husband was not going to stop any day soon. Nalimu then confessed that she knew the trouble the young girl was about to encounter in her life and wished she had an alternative option, but dowry had been paid and the traditional wedding ceremony already happened - there was no going back.

Nalimu explained that her father wanted more wealth and was not willing to work so he decided to marry her off and that is how she ended up married young and with the nine children that she has. She wished that she had less children and a better life, like her cousins who often came from town to visit them. They are always happy and have money to splurge around on big phones that look like televisions. She also is scared of having more children, she does not want any more at all, and that was her biggest problem, she did not know how to prevent them.

Susan explained to Nalimu that she can control her pregnancies. All she needs to do is learn about family planning. She was eager to learn more so she welcomed me to her manyatta, and made me tea so we could sit and talk. I talked to her about FP and of its benefits. She realized that it was a choice she could make for herself and her family. There and then she decided to go for the three year protection implant that would ensure she does not get anymore “surprises” in that period of time. Susan assured her that she would be okay and nothing would go wrong. She really appreciated the kind hands of CHAT’s nurse, Ann, and the huge ‘free’ solution to her problem.

‘I pity the young bride. In about two years she will start sleeping in her own manyatta with her husband and this will be a problem. I hope I can convince my son to let this girl, at least, grow older before they have children. “Charity begins at home, let me see how much effort it takes me into securing a future for her!” Nalimu committed.

 

To support young girls, mothers and the community in general, CHAT, this last quarter reached a total of 34,208 individuals with holistic Family Planning using a PHE approach, in which a total of 12,328 women chose different usually longer term contraceptive methods.

 

“By improving health, empowering women, population growth comes down” Bill Gates.

Community sensitization by CHAT CORP.
Community sensitization by CHAT CORP.
 
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.