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Imagine waking up deaf…



Victor Wambua, 24, had no funds to correct his hearing and has had to adjust to a world of silence. By AGNES AINEAH

One morning in July 2017, I woke up in my room at Daystar University hostels, tuned the radio to my favourite station but no sound came on. It was eerily silent. Then I realised that it was me.  I couldn’t hear a thing.  I had battled hearing problems before and I had a hearing aid and could hear very well but on this day, it didn’t seem to be helping.

And I panicked. It was so upsetting not being able to hear anything and I remember sending a text to my family members telling them I couldn’t hear anymore and that they should respond via text. They came to pick me up and took me to Kenyatta National Hospital where medical tests revealed that the internal function of both ears was destroyed and medics prescribed a surgery to correct the situation.When I was two, I am told, I developed problems with my left ear.

It was oozing pus before it began losing hearing. I was put on some sort of medication at a hospital in Kitui and given a hearing aid.With the aid, I led a very fulfilling childhood. I was even able to attend school with normal children. Save for the fact that I always sought to occupy front seat in class, learning was perfect and I qualified for direct entry to university.

Delicate surgery

Surgery, the surgeons admitted, was risky. It was going to be a very delicate operation since the damaged inner ear is near the brain. The damaged parts, they said, were those responsible for converting sound into electrical impulses which are then sent to the brain for interpretation. The doctors explained that the surgery, for its complicated nature, would be very expensive too. They said it would cost Sh3 million, a sum which was way out of reach for my family then and now.

Living with it

With no medication to help, I have resorted to adapting to my condition and using the best techniques I can to communicate with people around me. Before I left school in December last year, I belonged to many WhatsApp groups where I got as much information as possible concerning the happenings around school. I also took the contacts of all my lecturers and consulted with them after classes since I couldn’t hear anything they said. It was tough for me since I had not learnt any sign language. I was therefore always running up and down to catch up with the rest.I am always on my phone, because chats have replaced the talking I used to do.

Whenever I wish to say anything, I send a text and I have to wait for a reply. Some of my close friends and family members sometimes have to carry a pen and paper to write me messages. I have also learnt to lip-read people to get what they say. It is a skill I am learning very fast.I try as much as possible to avoid group discussions. A while ago, I used to feel bad not being able to understand what my friends were saying in group conversations. I felt left out. Then I realised it wasn’t anyone’s fault that I couldn’t catch up and started avoiding them.

I can only talk to one person at a time at the moment and that person must must also give undivided attention to our conversation.I no longer go to crowded places and church gatherings because there is nothing I can hear that makes sense to me. I take a lot of caution going to new places that require being shown around. I therefore have to be in constant communication with whoever I am visiting. I also don’t watch movies unless they have sub-titles.

An ignored computer whizz

The toughest challenge for me has been getting a job after I graduated. Not many people believe that I can beat my hearing challenge and deliver at my job. It is hard convincing them that I am good in many things including photography, handling social media, managing websites, data entry and communicating with clients via mail. When I lost hearing in campus, I was withdrawn and led a very silent life where computers were my best friends. I taught myself so many things.


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PHOTOS: Two Kenyan men, Kamau and Mwaura, tie the knot in US



Two Kenyan men have said “I do” in the United States.

Benson Kamau and James Mwaura tied the knot at a gay wedding ceremony in Chicago, Illinois, this past weekend.

According to, as US based news website, Kamau and Mwaura are both natives of Kenya.

Sam-sex marriage has been legal in Illinois since June 1, 2014 after Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill legalizing such marriages on November 20, 2013.

This is not the first time that a Kenyan man has entered into matrimonial union with another man in the US, In 2016, Mr Ben Gitau, 33, and Mr Steve Damelin got married at Ann Arbor, Michigan.

In a related development in February, 2018, a self proclaimed Kenyan Lesbian married an American woman in a low key ceremony held in Dallas, Texas, USA.

Manuella Mumbi tied the knot with her American lover,  Lisa Webb Clay.

Mumbi, one of the few Kenyan women who have boldly come out to declare that they are lesbians, was born and raised in Kahawa, Kiambu County and recently relocated to the US to live with her better half before their wedding.

Webb Clay is an American model who hails from Texas. She reportedly invited Mumbi to the US to formalize their engagement.

RELATED: Kenyan woman marries her lesbian lover in US

Last week, the Court of Appeal in Kenya granted gays and lesbians the freedom to register their own umbrella lobby.

In a judgment delivered on Friday, a majority decision of the Court of Appeal held that human beings should not be denied their fundamental rights because of how they choose to live their lives.

This position was taken by judges Philip Waki, Asike Makhandia and Martha Koome while affirming the decision of the High Court.

Here are some photos from last weekend’s ceremony:

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Why are there so few women chefs?



It is believed that the kitchen is a woman’s place and as girls grow up cooking with their grandmothers and mothers, they carve their culinary career path from an early age.
But being amazing home cooks rarely elevates them to professional chefs.

At most high-end restaurants in Nairobi and Mombasa, there are no female executive chefs.

The InterContinental Hotel, for instance, has a male executive chef and one woman sous chef. Out of the 50 chefs at the hotel, just 18 are women. The Nairobi Serena and Tamarind Tree hotels which both have male executive chefs also have female sous chefs, who are a step below the executive chefs.

At Utalii Hotel, which has a college that trains hospitality workers, the ratio of women chefs to men is one to three, says Catherine Sidi of the food production department at the college.

This is the reality in the rest of the top hotels. Even globally, the number of male chefs awarded Michelin stars, the ultimate accolade of fine dining, outnumbers those given to women.

An executive chef leads the kitchen teams and also participates in cooking, planning menus and creating new dishes. Whereas a sous chef plans and directs food preparation in a kitchen.

So why don’t women rise to executive chef posts?

The pressure on women to juggle work and home life is nothing new but executive chef John Getanda of the Nairobi Serena says that a top chef’s job mostly involves running through 12 to 14 hour shifts and this could be the reason why more men take up the jobs as opposed to women.

“It is not easy and most women have given up along the way despite being capable chefs. Some want to start families and do something else after a short stint in the career,” he says.

Long hours

Sous Chef Corretta Akinyi of the Hotel InterContinental says that the hours are really what makes the job tough.

“For a woman to rise, she has to work long hours and be willing to stay even after work to perfect and learn new culinary skills that is just not easy for everyone,” she says.

Chef Corretta says while there are almost as many women as men when starting out in hotels, but most female chefs either divert to other ventures or stagnant on junior levels.

“Some prefer to be pastry chefs which is a flexible job in the sense that you can prepare the pastries a day before as opposed to working in the ‘hot kitchen’ where everything is done on the same day and with so much pressure,” she says.

When I ask Chef Getanda whether the restaurant kitchen is like what we see in famed TV series Hell’s Kitchen and if that could be the reason why the job could is tough for women, he laughed.

“No, that is not how kitchens are, and if they were, it would be a bad environment for anyone to work in, not just the women,” he says.

He adds that the industry needs to work on its representation, conditions and image to achieve a truly diverse workforce.


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US firm reveals plan to grow marijuana in Kenya



A New York-based company is claiming to have obtained a licence to cultivate marijuana on 500 acres of land in Kenya, bringing closer home the current global debate about regulation and control of the narcotic.

In a notice, GoIP Global Inc, which is listed on the OTC Markets of New York, told its shareholders that it has secured a permit to grow the stimulant on a 500-acre plot in Kenya.

“After visiting Kenya and meeting with officials in the country, I am very excited about the prospects this agreement (licence) brings to our company. This is the first of several critical transactions that will transform GoIP into a relevant member of the burgeoning cannabis industry,” said company chairman Ike Sutton in the statement dated March 7.

“The lease term will be for 25 years and Kenya being on the Equator provides the best conditions for all-year round production,” the statement adds.

However, the Kenyan government denied issuing such a licence, warning that marijuana remains a prohibited plant in the country’s statutes. GoIP did not respond to our multiple requests for comment.

Agricultural Research Principal Secretary Hamadi Boga said he is not aware of any permit issued to GoIP Global Inc for the growing of cannabis.

“I am not aware of the licensing of the said firm to grow marijuana. As you are aware, cannabis is not in the list of crops that we currently regulate,” said Prof Boga.

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