Solving relationship issues the African way
12 February 2015, 17:22
Nairobi - When I was a child, obviously I used to watch movies and
cartoons but I always wondered why those people in the movies would go talk to
a stranger and tell them all their secrets and problems. As a child, I would
think how that money they paid the therapist could have bought or paid for
something they complained they did not have or could not afford. I would also
think how they wasted time because it was an average of at least an hour which
they could have spent doing something else. I also did think that those
therapists were really clever because all they did was sit on a chair, listen
to someone talk and get paid without all the hurdles of friendship or being
called at odd hours to solve disputes. Either way, I thought the therapists
were the winners and I wanted to be like them just sitting and getting paid.
Now that I am grown up, you would think that I have changed
my perspective; but no, it is still the same. I am not worried about those who
go to see one but I do not think I will ever see one. First of all I am a very
suspicious person, in my head I am thinking how you now know some important
deal that I need to close and you will tell someone about it or use it
yourself. Another is that I still think like my seven year old self; that money
could do something else. Either way, I am not seeing a therapist and I think a
lot of us will never see a door of one. I have heard of counselling but there
is someone I know who tells me they zoned out on their first session and never
went back. Not very encouraging is it?
I do not know if the therapy business is thriving here in
Kenya as it does oversees but I doubt it is that lucrative because Kenyans are
generally a suspicious lot, you would rather die with it rather than be worried
about that stranger touting about it. So what do we do?
If the marriage is not working, the women talk to the man’s
relatives but the men opt to get another wife. The men are usually the
satisfied lot because they can marry as many as they want on the other hand,
the modern woman has the tools of divorce and taking half of what is his along
If the children are not behaving; getting suspended and
acting rude, the cane has been there since time immemorial. For the kawaida family, there are no video games
and banning people from watching the television. My mother used to make us
kneel on gravel and walk from the gate to the house and stay that way until she
got bored or forgot about us. It was fun, trust me, we were a large group including
cousins. At times she would make our dad use the cane because she was tired
from work but my dad is no good at beating so he would make us beat each other.
That got him bad looks from my mother. Point is the only therapy an African
child is getting is from a cane or with masonry chores. I can list a bunch of
creative ways my mother used to punish.
If school is not working out you either a) put up with it b)
make up a lie of how the school has been failing so that you can be moved or c)
complain but chances are you will be taken to a worse school. All three have
happened to me. Our schools do not have the school psychiatrist or therapist.
At the end of the day, I think there is therapy but how well it is doing here in Kenya is just another
story because we only reserve it for few traumatic situation and chances are
the patients rarely do understand the point.
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