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Why I walked away from my marriage and never asked for a shilling

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Recently, a heated debate ensued on radio host Maina Kageni’s Facebook page, with numerous women commenting on their take on child support from their estranged partners. While some aired their frustrations about the process, others confessed that they had never sought or received support from their former spouses. What would drive them to never look back? Caroline Njoroge speaks to one such woman, Valentine Kawira (pictured).

“Everyone knows when they are about to hook up with a disaster in waiting. There is that red flag that goes off in your spirit but hormones get in the way of good judgement. When I started dating my now ex-husband, something didn’t feel right. But I was in love and chose to ignore everything that did not line up with my wanting to be with him.

It was in the little white lies here and there. I couldn’t figure out at that time that pathological liars don’t always reveal the full extent of their lying potential on the first date.

Things began changing when I gave birth to my second born. Why do men change when we give birth? The arguments became more heated and threats interwoven in the arguments became a bit scarier with every argument.

The last straw came when he lied perpetually about the money I gave him to pay school fees for my first born (she is from a different relationship I had while I was a university student).

She had just started going to school. I remember getting a letter from her school about outstanding fees. Whenever I asked him about it, he would respond that there must be a problem with the system at that school. He would go, talk to the bursar and things would go on as normal.

Then one day, the school bus driver refused to pick the child up and said it was because the outstanding fee was substantially high. When I told my husband what the bus driver had said, he hurriedly prepared and left. At that point, I decided I would go to the school myself to find out what was going on.

At the school, the bursar said my daughter owed the school fees for two terms. They had not received any money before that morning when my husband had walked in to pay Sh10,000.

As I was seated there still trying to process what was happening, my ex walked in. The bursar asked him why he had come back and his response was quite the performance: “Me? Mimi? Nikakuja hapa?’. He completely denied that he had been to the school earlier on. He was the kind of guy that would make you believe that regardless of what you think you know or have seen, you are the one with a problem.

So, I sat and watched the drama unfold. When it was over, I paid the outstanding fees (Sh30,000) from what I had in my mobile money account and we went home.

I had questions: “So, where did the money which I gave for payment of school fees go? You said you had paid. You gave me narrations of the long queues at the bursar’s office…”

“I gave the money to my sister because she was in need,” was the response.

“So, why did you not tell me that? For two terms?”

I found out he had also been taking money out of our joint account and not telling me. The last argument ended this way, “Nitakuvunja shingo wewe!”

I figured he might be serious, so I packed my bags and moved out with my children. I was of more value to them alive than dead. I figured I did not have to wait for him to become physically abusive for me to get the point. I walked away while I could.

It has been about four years. You ask me about child support! What child support? I don’t even expect it.

Our separation made me realise just how much I had neglected myself. I was taking care of everyone else but myself; too busy working to become a wife and a better mother. It made me realise that I had struggled with feelings of failure for long and having a failed relationship did little to salvage the situation.

I found myself sliding into the pit of depression; struggling to understand who I now was. I got panic attacks. People tell you to be strong because you are not the first to go through it, it’s like telling a patient in a coma to get up, they are not the first to go through it. It doesn’t help.

If anything, it makes things worse. There have been times when I thought I had moved on, but slid back into that dark cave. It feels you’re drowning and there is no one to hold your hand and pull you out. You could be in a room full of people but you feel so alone.

I’m fine now, I am strong. That word strong, I don’t really like it because it’s the same one some well-meaning people would use right after they would say I wasn’t the only one who had gone through it.

I have learnt how to take good care of myself and have no expectations when it comes to relating to people. That way, there are no surprises or disappointments experienced.

My advice to that girl, that woman feeling trapped in something that is just not working is that it is okay to walk away. If he is emotionally and physically abusive, don’t use your children as an excuse to dig your own grave. Walk away. I walked away after less than five years of being in a union that was about to cross over to a physical disaster.

As far as child support is concerned, if you are lucky enough to get it, be grateful. If not, don’t waste your money on legal fees or unnecessary drama, God will provide for you and your children. Focus your energy on finding yourself again and rebuilding.

To the single girl, don’t put your money in one basket. Before I got into that relationship, I heard someone say that it was not a good idea to have a joint account with your spouse. I thought the people that said that were archaic and not with the times. I now know better.

It is okay to share financial responsibilities but have your own money in your own account. Also don’t ignore red flags, if it doesn’t feel right, if there are some telltale signs that don’t augur well with you, run. Feelings will catch up with your decision. Walk into a relationship with your head and not just your heart.

To the divorcee, to that woman still feeling crushed; I know it hurts, but it will get better if you allow it. It takes a decision and surrounding yourself with the right support system. Don’t allow yourself to harbour bitterness and please don’t take it out on the kids or on those that love you.

Statements such as, “wewe ni mjinga tu kama baba yako!’ will crush that child’s esteem. Bitterness is a poison that will destroy whatever you have left. Allow your heart to channel out the pain. Give yourself permission to cry. Be okay with not meeting people’s expectations. Accept where you are and know that even if life didn’t work out as you had planned, you will be fine.

by Standardmedia.co.ke

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Lifestyle

Concrete slum? Why Pipeline residents cover wet clothes with plastic bags

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Though the Government banned plastics a few years ago, residents of Pipeline are not about to let go of them.

Plastics come in handy to those living in flats whenever they air their clothes out to dry. They use plastic covers to protect their clothes from dust or water dripping from the upper floors.

Most of the flats are up to seventh or eighth floor, each house built with a balcony, where one can tie a clothes line. During dry spells, the place is so dusty that hanging clothes without a plastic cover is a waste of time. They gather so much dust and end up looking unwashed.

It is for this reason that almost every storeyed building here has plastic covers covering clothesline. This might look strange to an outsider but for residents it is a normal occurrence.  Enock Mutua, a caretaker in one of the flats, said the practice is common and that tenants do it to keep their clothes clean.

“Here, there are flats of up to eight floors and people wash at different times. Some people have clothes that shed colour, others do not properly wring out excess water from the clothes and if you do not cover your clothes, you might find them ruined or wet long after you washed them,” said Mutua.

He added that when there are new apartments to be occupied, prospective tenants run for the top floors.

Love for top floors

“One is never sure unless you live in the top most floor. Some of the buildings have space on the roof tops for tenants to air clothes,” said Mutua.

He further said that many choose to put up with the “small problems” because houses are affordable.

“Most of the houses here are single rooms, bedsitters and one bedroom which range from Sh5,000 to Sh9,000,” said Mutua.

Derrick Chenge, a resident of Pipeline, said he would rather cover his clothes even if they stayed on the clothes line for three days than leave them uncovered to come and find them ruined.

“Have you seen the dust that is around here? I cannot allow it to go to my clothes, especially the white ones. I cover them all the time,” Chenge said.

He added that they were forced to do this because of insensitive neighbours who do not care whether others have clothes outside.

“The person who stays above you will not wait for your clothes to dry and ask you to remove them. It is up to you to protect your clothes,” Chenge said.

by standardmedia.co.ke

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Health

Fear after Mombasa school principal dies from Covid-19

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The principal of Tononoka Secondary School in Mombasa where 11 teachers tested positive for Covid-19 has died, county education officials have said.

County Education Chief Officer John Musuve said Mohamed Khamis (pictured) died at the Mombasa Hospital where he was receiving treatment in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Multiple sources revealed that Khamis was one of the 11 teachers who were infected with the virus at the school. We could not, however, independently verify whether he succumbed to Covid-19.

“Yes, I can confirm that Khamis has died. I cannot tell you whether he was one of the teachers infected with the virus,” said Musuve.

Reports from the hospital indicate that Khamis was admitted at the ICU after he developed breathing complications immediately after he was rushed to the hospital on October 15.

Last week, Mombasa County Commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo said 11 teachers from Tononoka Secondary School and four at Star of the Sea Girls High School had tested positive for Covid-19.

The two schools, located within the Mombasa Central Business District, remained closed.

Unconfirmed reports said that a teacher at the third school in Mombasa has been taken ill with Covid-19-related symptoms and is currently in the ICU at the Coast Provincial General Hospital.

Standard Digital has established that some students in the two schools have also contracted the virus.

“I can confirm that at Star of the Sea Girls High School, four teachers turned positive. More samples from staff members had been taken and results are yet to come out,” Kitiyo said last week.

He added: “At Tononoka Secondary School, the number was a bit high, with 11 cases confirmed,” he said, adding that the two institutions had been closed for two weeks.

Parents expressed anger over the turn of events and asked the government to carry out mandatory testing for all the students and teachers before they re-open the schools.

Khamis was scheduled to be buried at Kikowani cemetery this evening.

During the Mashujaa Day celebrations, Governor Hassan Ali Joho lamented over rising infections in Mombasa amid fear that the county was experiencing a second wave of the virus.

“We are seeing a spiral effect in new infections, resulting in all emergency beds being taken up by people who have turned positive,” Kitiyo said.

by Standard.co.ke

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Lifestyle

County traffic officer smashes car after seizing it

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A city inspectorate officer in Nairobi has found herself in trouble after causing an accident along Kimathi Street that saw two cars, a motorcycle and three public benches destroyed early on Monday.

It started on Monday with a brief scuffle between the officer and a parking boy who was looking for parking space for a Nissan Note vehicle (reg number, KCA 897U).

The officer then bundled the young man out of the car and stepped on the accelerator. Little did she know that the vehicle was on reverse gear.

Hezekiah Virero, a boda boda rider whose motorcycle was on the path of the reversing vehicle, narrowly escaped death.

He barely managed to jump off his motorcycle which was run over by the reversing car.

Members of the public stare at a car which was involved in an accident along Kimathi Street in Nairobi on October 26, 2020. Eye witnesses said the car, which was being driven by a county traffic officer, hit another car and a motorcycle before hitting a tree.

Salaton Njau | Nation Media Group

An oncoming vehicle, a Mitsubuishi Colt (reg number KCZ 633W) was also hit. The car swerved dangerously as the driver, who only identified himself as Ken, struggled to control it.

The Colt lost its left side mirror while its left front window was reduced to tiny shards on the wet tarmac. The vehicle’s left front door was also dented with the entire left side of the body badly scratched.

As the vehicle kept speeding in reverse, riders and members of the public who were relaxing on public benches next to Total petrol station along Kimathi Street scampered out of the way.

The vehicle ended up smashing the public seats into a tree.

The impact flattened the front tire of the car with the bumpers, right side mirror and the rear windscreen were also extensively damaged.

Angry crowd

Miraculously, no one was hurt in the accident.

Bystanders and other road users stared in amazement as the dazed inspectorate officer rushed out of the vehicle.

Angry motorcycle riders charged at her. Sensing danger, the officer’s colleagues jumped into a breakdown towing vehicle and made a quick escape.

Left alone, the hapless officer found herself surrounded by the irate crowd. She was only rescued by security and police officers manning nearby buildings. She was quickly whisked into a nearby bank.

A breakdown tow away a car which was involved in an accident along Kimathi Street in Nairobi on October 26, 2020. Eye witnesses said the car, which was being driven by a county traffic officer, hit another car and a motorcycle before hitting a tree.

Salaton Njau | Nation Media Group

“The City Council have to take my damaged motorcycle and buy me a new one. This lady hit me and I fell on the road. The next thing I saw as I stood up is her hitting another vehicle before crashing into a tree and sending another parked motorcycle on the ground,” Mr Virero said.

For him, the accident has not only affected his vehicle but also his livelihood.

“I will sue for damages. I’m an Uber driver and my livelihood has been affected,” he said.

Police manning the bank where the city officer was taken for cover assured members of the public that they would hold her until traffic police officers arrive.

City Hall, however, declined to comment on the matter with the Director of Security Compliance, Joseph Kipsang, saying he was yet to get a report on the same.

by nation.africa

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