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My journey dealing with my husband’s mental illness

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Esther Kiama was working as a teacher in Nyeri, central Kenya when she received the call. Her husband, David, was unwell.

“And it is not a minor illness,” the caller emphasised, and then explained: “It’s a mental illness.” At that point, in 2005, Mrs Kiama had not seen her husband much over the previous year as he had moved to another town to set up a business.

On the times she visited she had not noticed his health problems. But once the call came, Mrs Kiama left immediately to find him.

“We had to go get him home so that he could get medication,” she told the BBC. Mrs Kiama said that her husband “would talk to himself, throwing his arms about, appearing to be talking to people while there was really no-one he was talking to”.

She was describing what later would be diagnosed as bipolar disorder.

“It got worse when he came home. I would leave him in the house and one day I found that he had burnt the ceiling, saying there were strange people he was looking for up there.” It was as if her husband had transformed into someone she did not know, and she did not understand what was happening. ‘You have bewitched our son’ She decided that she would take him to hospital but her relatives would not let her. They accused Mrs Kiama of casting a spell on her husband.

“His dad came to take him and said: ‘I have been told that my son is sick, I have come because you have bewitched him.”The forceful removal of her husband of 15 years was a traumatic experience for her and their four children. “I was shocked at first, but I’m a believer, even though it really shocked me, I believed this would end,” she said.

Meanwhile, she could see that her husband’s health was deteriorating. But because of their belief that he was under a spell, Mrs Kiama’s in-laws did not look for medical help.

Mental health problems in Kenya are sometimes associated with witchcraft or curses, rather than something can be treated or managed. Kenya’s ministry of health says that many people do not seek help for these kinds of conditions and would rather conceal their illness.

The World Health Organization estimates that one in four people will be affected by a mental health problem or neurological disorder at some point in their lives. There are no up-to-date figures for the situation in Kenya – an indication, perhaps, of how much work needs to still be done on the issue in the country.

Chased with a machete

For three years, Mr Kiama was a burden to his parents, especially to his elderly mother who at some point fell ill, seeing the sad state of her son. Occasionally, neighbours would contact Mrs Kiama about her husband. “Sometimes I’d be called to be told that he was in town roaming about and I’d go hire a taxi and take him back,” Mrs Kiama says.She would at times go and cook for him. But she was still blamed for her husband’s behaviour and this filtered through to him.

“He once chased after me with a panga [machete] saying: ‘You bewitched me.’ But I asked him: ‘If you kill me, who will cook for you?’ He then threw away his panga,” she said. Mrs Kiama was grateful that except for that incident, her husband was not violent.

Mrs Kiama said it was difficult watching someone she loved suffering so much from an illness that she hardly understood. She also struggled with the reaction she got from friends. Many turned their backs on her. Kenyan psychotherapist Maggie Gitu, who specialises in marriage, family and sex issues, said it was not right to label mentally ill people as “insane” or “crazy”, as often happens. The labels obscure understanding the condition.

Abandoned by friends

She told the BBC that medical check-ups were necessary to determine what kind of mental disorder a person could be suffering from. She said that mental healthproblems could be triggered by stress, feelings of loneliness, fear, panic or a feeling of not being appreciated.

Despite her husband’s condition, Mrs Kiama was not going to abandon him, against all the advice from her friends.“I told them it was because of the vow. We had had a Church wedding. He came to pick me from home, as a young bride. To say the truth, we loved each other very much… we had four children”.

In the end, Mrs Kiama decided that she was going to reclaim her husband from her in-laws. “After three years, I told my children [that] we are going to steal dad,” she said.Together with her children and a psychiatrist, they devised a way to get her husband out of his parents’ home.

By then, she said: “His finger and toe nails had grown long and dirty that it would take days to clean them. His beard and hair had overgrown so much that it gave him a horrible appearance. “He was like Nebuchadnezzar of the Bible, totally unkempt.”

Back with children

Mr Kiama’s bipolar disorder was then diagnosed and he was admitted to hospital for about two months. Since leaving hospital, he has been recovering at home, although he is still on long-term medication. The family is now back together.

“The doctor has counselled my children, how to live with their dad and they should love him the way he is… and it has worked,” Mrs Kiama said.


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Diaspora

Life In America No One Tells You About

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BY BOB MWITI

Life in America no one tells you about. In this video, you will learn the following.

1.My journey to the US

2.Opportunities in USA

3.Challenges immigrants face in USA

4.How to transition from a student to a skilled worker in corporate America

5.The attractions & opportunities in the city Of Tampa

A Little Bit About Me!

I am a former international student in USA and I am a senior IT consultant in the areas of Oracle EBS Financials and Robotics Process Automation (RPA) here in USA. I am the programs director of Appstec America – A consulting company based in Tampa, Florida, USA.

I’ve been blessed to have learned a lot in my career as an IT consultant. My life has truly changed, and I’ve made it my mission to give back and serve others beyond myself. Whether that be helping you to relocate to USA as an international student, train you as an IT consultant, help you start and build your own online business, creating your financial freedom, motivating you to pursue your goals and dreams, to being more productive, to inspiring you to constantly improve yourself.

My mission is to get you to wake up to the unlimited potential within you and achieve what you’re truly capable of through my various self-development training programs.On the internet, I openly and passionately share my life experiences and all of the very best concepts, strategies, tools, and resources that I continue to discover that have made a measurable difference to my life, and will do for you as well.

Keep your dream alive and never give up! To learn about my company’s amazing programs, please go to;

www.appstecamerica.com or www.successwithbobmwiti.com

Contact me at;
success@successwithbobmwiti.com
info@appstecamerica.com
+1 813-573-5619 ext 402


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Kenyans in Diaspora to get a free ride from the Airport courtesy of Certified Homes

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Your developer of choice Certified Homes Ltd is offering Kenyans working and living in the diaspora FREE ride from the airport to their destinations within Nairobi metropolitan.

Certified Homes Ltd is the first developer in Kenya specialising in affordable houses to offer all Kenyans in diaspora rides from the airport free of charge.

On arrival the diasporans will receive special gift hampers courtesy of Certified Homes Ltd.
Have a look at Sukari Heights comprising of Studio, 2 & 3 br plus SQ apartments starting from Ksh 2.7M located in the most exclusive Kahawa Sukari neighborhood.

To book your free ride;
Call/WhatsApp +254711128128
Email: diaspora@certifiedhomes.co.ke
www.certifiedhomes.co.ke


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Lifestyle

Female client smashed my windscreen with a gun – Bolt driver

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A Bolt driver was on Wednesday night left with a broken windscreen after a female client allegedly smashed it with a firearm in a row over Sh320 fare.

According to the driver, Brown Mwangi who posted his predicament on the Uber drivers Facebook page, his client was being dropped in Karen’s Kwarara road when the incident happened.

The driver added that the lady asked him to leave her premises immediately after dropping her off.

He said she told him that the money she owed him would be sent to him by her boyfriend later.

“Upon arrival she told me to go eti her boyfriend will send me money 320. I insisted I will pack outside the gate till my money is sent,” Mwangi wrote.

It is then that the client reportedly left for the house and returned with a gun and smashed the car windscreen.

She further bragged to the driver that she was the daughter of a big shot lawyer.

“She later went inside came with gun and smashed my car windscreen saying her father is a big lawyer and I will take her nowhere. I managed to drive all the way to Hardy police station,” Mwangi added.

On Thursday Mwangi mentioned that the matter was being handled by his lawyers.

“I had to go see my lawyers for advice. Now heading to Hardy police station meeting the OCS,” he added.

He also said he had received another windscreen from well-wishers to replace his smashed one.

“Abt wind screen I have already received new windscreen to be fix tomorrow from some well wishers free of change,” he said.

by NN


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