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January 20, 2019

FELGONAH OYUGA: What luxury it is to be a man


The other day I called a friend and told her I needed to tell on my children. She really found it funny but I was dead serious.

I had just come in from work. I had had a tough day. Clients had behaved like they belonged in a zoo, someone scratched my car and I had not eaten all day. So I get into the house and ask for something to eat. “Hakuna!” I was quickly told. Apparently they decided I may eat where I am from so they did not bother to leave anything for me. “Okay, fry me an egg, I can have that with bread.” “I cooked the last one for The Cat (we have a kitten called The Cat), it was hungry!” At this point, I was seeing red. They cooked an egg for a cat. A hard earned egg for a cat.

Anyway I decided that I would not win this one, so I decided to go wash my hands and face and go to bed. I turned on the tap and water poured on my feet. The sink was broken. “What happened to the sink?” “I don’t know!” “It was Maya!” “No, stop lying. Matthew was trying to fix it, then it came out” “Liar! “Mum, it was Maya!”

I knew if I decided to beat my children, we would end up at the police station. I got into my room, locked the door and cried. I literally cried for my mother. I wanted to tell on my kids. Then a soft knock on the door. “Who is it?” “Me.” (They assume I can tell who is me out of the four of them) I open the door. “Mum, can you give me two thousand shillings tomorrow. I want to take my phone to the fundi, Matthew dropped it!” “No, you are the one who left it on the floor!” “Stop lying!”

I close the door and wonder if I ever did this to my mother. As far as I can remember I was a good child. (I am sure she is having a good laugh at my expense.)

Someone sent me a link of some talk some man was giving. It was trending. The man talks about how he ‘betrayed’ his wife, ‘things did not go well at his job’ among other things. He decided to go to the Coast until he was ready to come home and ‘reconcile’. Meanwhile his wife had his children. She was raising them, mentoring them, protecting them while he had the luxury of going off to make mistakes. I watched that talk with clenched fists.

How nice it is to be a man. To be able to make mistakes and keep making them until you feel it is time to stop. To be able to take as much time cocking up while someone raises your children. Not caring how they are managing because it is okay for you to be selfish.

When I gave birth to my first daughter, an aunt who came to see me at the hospital said to me, “What a joy to give birth to a girl. Then you start to feel sorry for her, because you know what life is like when you are a woman.”

I was not going to let this old woman dampen my spirits because she married a foolish man, I was marrying a good man! After all, these old people did not know how to choose good men. Ha! As I sat in my room feeling sorry for myself, I knew I had the luxury of about 10 minutes before I had to pick myself up, go out of my room and continue being a mother, mentor, protector, provider, friend, nurse, judge to my children.

The first draft of this article had a lot of ‘Duck Yous!’ Quite a few to the “good man”, but I am expected to act a certain way, otherwise, loose words like “bitter” start getting used in the same sentence as my name.

It is a luxury to be a man, to be able to go find yourself where you are hiding, to come back and expect forgiveness and reconciliation. In my next life, I am coming back as a man. Till then, aluta continua!

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