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US boy fatally shoots self at his third birthday party

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Houston,

A three-year-old Texas boy has died after shooting himself with a gun he found during his own birthday party, police said Monday.

The youngster was celebrating with family and friends on Saturday in Porter, 25 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of Houston, when adults heard a gunshot while playing cards.

The boy was found with a gunshot wound to his chest and rushed to a fire station where he died, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department said.

Authorities said the boy had found a pistol that had fallen out of a relative’s pocket.

The group Everytown for Gun Safety said that, since the beginning of the year, the country has seen at least 229 unintentional shootings by children, resulting in 97 deaths.

A third of US adults own a gun, with the right to own firearms guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the US Constitution.

Texas is among states with the most permissive gun laws.

By AFP


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Rapper Msupa S on US tour, residing in Virginia

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All the Way Up star Sandra ‘Msupa S’ Chebet is in the state of Virginia, United States of America (USA) for a much-needed break after living out an exhilarating, roller-coaster rap career.

The self-styled hip-hop queen, famed for Hello, Utatii and Watajua Hawajui hit featuring award-winning rapper Khaligraph Jones, has since September 2020 treated her fans to a heaven-on-earth glow of life in the East Coast including a tour of Sterling, Loudoun County.

Msupa S [Photo: Instagram @queenmsupas]
Msupa S [Photo: Instagram @queenmsupas]
Msupa S [Photo: Instagram @queenmsupas]
Msupa S [Photo: Instagram @queenmsupas]
Msupa S [Photo: Instagram @queenmsupas]
Msupa S [Photo: Instagram @queenmsupas]


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Lady accuses MP of assault

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A woman has accused Nakuru Town MP Samuel Arama of assaulting her.

Amanda Chesiyna, daughter to former deputy commissioner for lands Elisha Chebii, reported the matter at Kaptembwo Police Station.

The incident reportedly happened on Sunday when Chesiyna and Arama were involved in an altercation, which the woman recorded on a video clip shared on social media.

In the clip, Chesiyna is heard shouting as the MP tried to question her about a lorry she claimed was her father’s property illegally taken away.

She accuses the MP of intimidating her as she tried to seize the lorry with the help of two plainclothes officers. Arama denied the assault claims.


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How I made peace with a father I have never met

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Growing up, Mugo Kariithi watched as people around him honoured Fathers’ Day every third Sunday of June.

That, on the contrary, was a day that perennially lit burning embers into his seemingly never-ending search for identity.

“I had a father, but went out there looking for one,” he begins.

Four decades ago, Mugo’s mother learnt she was pregnant with him while in high school, prompting her to drop out.

With a baby to cater for and an education nipped in the bud, she left one-year-old Mugo with his maternal grandmother in Nyahururu and moved to Nairobi in search of a job.

“I started referring to my grandmother as ‘mom’ because she was the only parental figure I had. My grandfather was bitter and disappointed that his daughter had stopped schooling due to that pregnancy, so he kept away from me.”

When he was three, his mother plucked him out of his grandmother’s care and took him to Murang’a where she lived with a new husband. He was lumped into a new family setup, with a mother who was a total stranger, and a man he had no blood ties with.

“My mother and I had been detached from my earliest years, and whenever she visited I related to her as an aunt until the day I started living with her.”

For Mugo, being a stranger living among strangers was difficult as feelings of loneliness and isolation manifested in him.

He also came face to face with the bitter truth when relatives from his stepfather’s side made it clear that he was a foreigner in that compound.

“The problem was that I could not seek clarification from my mom because she was a very tough woman who brought me up military style. I was to obey without questioning.”

Mugo’s curiosity made him seek answers from step cousins, who informed him that he was named after his maternal grandfather because the man in his mother’s life was not the biological father.

“I had to strip my grandmother of the title ‘mom’ and learn how to redirect it to the correct mother. So many times, when someone asked about my mother I could not decide whether to front her or my grandmother.”

The presence of his stepfather did little to pacify the emptiness that dotted his life. He always felt that something was missing from his life, something the man he shared a roof with could not fill despite them trying to bond.

“My stepfather was, and still is, a wonderful man. The problem was that he was always busy and would sometimes be away for several months. That limited the interactions the two of us had.”

Abandoned… again

 

While Mugo was still struggling to make sense of all the happenings around him, his step father was transferred to Nakuru and his mother, who had by this time given birth to his stepbrother, followed her husband.

This time he had not only been abandoned, but also left in charge of the house. Mugo would spend the day with step-cousins and eat from his step-grandparents’ house, but have to sleep alone in the stepfather’s house.

“Imagine a four-year-old being left to manage a house in a foreign compound. I was always terrified at night because the house would feel creepy and lonely.”

Mugo also noticed weird changes in his body.

“First, I started bedwetting, something that I had stopped while living with my grandmother, and it became a big problem that took me so many years to stop. I also developed bouts of nose bleeding out of nowhere.”

Fredrick Moenga Osoro, a Counselling Psychologist at the Kenya Institute of Business and Counselling Studies (KIBCo) reckons that the bed wetting is an anxiety symptom resulting from disorientation, change in life patterns, and extreme alertness.

Nose bleeding, on the other hand, is an outcome of trauma. The prolonged stress denies the child an opportunity to enjoy pleasurable activities that normally increase the release of endorphins, a neurochemical that inhibits pain and boosts immunity.

Knowing that he was a stepchild in the family magnified his desire for an identity. He felt lost; dumped in an unforgiving world by a man who, for some reason, remained a secret that those who knew guarded viciously.

With a gaping hole in his life, questions that had very few answers, and a search that was yielding little, Mugo found solace in books.

“I developed a strong love for story books, some bigger than someone my age would bother opening, because they offered me the company my heart missed.”

When he finished high school, he moved to Nanyuki for a much-needed getaway with his maternal aunt. While there, he applied for the position of drama teacher at a nearby school and was lucky to be offered the job.

“I was 17 then, just fresh from high school, but had to lie I was 22 so that they would not reject my proposal.”

For the first time in years, Mugo had broken tradition from being a perennial candidate for rejection. It is a feat that, as he would soon find out, cast a new ray of light on his lifelong mission.

“I developed a close bond with the main character in the drama we were working on, so much that she became, and still is, a good friend. Her name is Anne.”

The aha moment

For the next 22 years, Mugo trudged the country like the Colossus, following hints that would turn into dead ends.

In 2016, Anne invited him to the burial of one of her family members, which opened his eyes to a world he had missed out on during his search. It also re-energized his desire to know the man who had fathered him.

“At the funeral, I learned that one of the cultural practices necessary when a woman gets married with a son was to get him adopted into the new home. This is done through a ceremony called miruru. This basically implies the child cuts links with the biological father’s family and officially becomes a son in the new home.”

He was also informed that a father’s blessings were very critical in the progression of a child.

According to the Kikuyu tradition, one is born with a special gift that becomes a career later in their life. This gift comes to fruition upon him being offered an identity and blessings by the father.

“Having been born outside wedlock, my grandfather was supposed to slaughter a goat to cleanse his home before marrying off my mother,” he explains.

That fresh information sent his emotions spiraling out of control as he wondered whether his life was messed because he had never received those fatherly blessings.

But from who? Now, the desire to meet his father became a matter of urgency.

“For the very first time, I stood up to my mother and told her that I was 36 heading to 40, therefore mature enough to be told the truth about my father. I was tired of her dismissing the issue since childhood.”

Seeing how determined Mugo was, she caved in and told him that his father’s name was Mwangi and he lived in Nyahururu. The rest of the details about him were scanty as she had been very young when the two dated.

Breakthrough

 

Armed with a name and location, Mugo found himself in a remote part of Nyahururu called Muthengera, where he asked around and was directed to one of his father’s friends.

“He took me into the house and brought out an old photo of my father holding me.”

That was the breakthrough Mugo had chased for decades. It quickly became a straw on which his hopes clutched on.

The excitement would, however, be short-lived when he got information that cast a dark shadow on what had seemed to be a turning point.

“He told me that my father had died five years earlier,” he mutters.

With the father he had longed to meet six feet under, Mugo’s life crashed again. He had spent all the years hunting for blessings from a man who had died before doing so.

Amidst the gloom, however, Mugo learned that there was a ray of hope.

“I shouldn’t have spent all that energy and years looking for my biological dad. It was a simple case of culture, just that no one had told me about it.”

Mugo learnt that if the miruru ceremony had been held, he would not only have become his stepfather’s rightful son, but also opened doors for him to give blessings like a biological father would.

“I thought of my life and thought about the many single parents, children of single parents, children whose mothers get married with as is my case. I wondered how many are out there suffering without the knowledge that they are being held back by culture.”

Mugo has been married for 13 years and is a father of four boys. The marriage in itself is a symbol of breaking the yoke that had bound him for decades as he struggled to get into relationships.

“For a long time, I never dated for the fear of rejection. I never thought anyone would ever love me genuinely. On a positive note, the experience has made me a better parent who is always there for my children.”

Psychologist Osoro echoes Mugo’s sentiments, adding that when details about a child’s father are kept secret, low self-esteem, prolonged anxiety, and depressive moods check in.

Behavioral reactions to this include homosexuality, drug and substance abuse, as well as lack of interest in intimate relationships.

He proposes that parents and children who find themselves on wild goose chases over paternity take a step back and question whether there exists an easier way out.

They could, like Mugo, spend decades searching for a father when one is right under their noses.

“If I had managed to find my dad alive, I would have asked him why he never bothered about me for all those years, and if he ever wondered how I was growing up,” he concludes.

Mugo’s love for reading coupled with his experience gave birth to a published book in which he documents his story. Titled In Search of a Father, the book encourages others to tell their stories of significance in life.

by nation.africa


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