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Why teaching is a great profession…

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I was recently invited to give  talk to a group of High school teachers. It was a challenge and a privilege.  I said yes, not because I had anything to tell them, but because I was doing a friend a favor. I pondered,wondering what to tell a group of teachers. After a long debate within, this was my message to them…

  • Amidst all the unimportance preached against your profession, teaching is still very important. I believe that there are three persons who have the capacity to impact on the life of a person, positively or otherwise;the parent; the teacher and the priest/pastor. You can influence their character, expand their mind, mould their values, direct them towards becoming the very best of themselves. It is all in the words, the power of spoken words, in the home, in the classroom, in the pulpit. Words that create or destroy, words that tear or build, words that makes one fly or bring one tumbling down. They come to you like wet cement, whatever impression you put on them lasts forever. You have limited time to interact with this soul, mould it well. Albert Einstein once wrote that teaching is the profession that creates all other professions. Honor your worth.
  • He who must once teach must never cease to learn. One must create time so that they can perfect their best. After you perfect you then you are in a capacity to perfect others in the field of your interest. Build yourself so you can build others. Become a masterpiece of your own person, then you can create beautiful works of art.
  • The world will not honor you for the work you do, you must then honor yourself. The greatest teachers, Henry David Thoreau, John Locke, Albert Einstein among others still remain influential to date, because they attached value to imparting knowledge and sharing it more than he reward they got while at it. You must love what you do beyond the the returns it brings you, not because the love will put food on your table, but because the rewards of your impact are beyond the finest food you will ever eat.
  • Organization must be geared towards a common goal. While each teacher has a unique specialty, all the resources, human, time and otherwise, must be harnessed towards the betterment of a student. Not only academically but all round success. A school therefore is not only a machine for learning but a culture where all work together to bring up a human person.  It is an environment where talent is nurtured, innovation is encouraged and values are grown. The school could be having a dream, but we are all a part of that dream.
  • A school is not a machine. We must realize that each person who comes into it is human, with its own uniqueness, different backgrounds, different environments of growth, different personalities and temperaments. Like my grandmother said, there are children born with teeth and others with none, meaning, our levels of interactions with different people come at different ages. We do not expect like thinking just because we wear the same uniform. We are different, abled differently, all needing love, acceptance and respect, in spite of who we are. If your contribution towards in this person is n making this person better at their best and improving on their worst, then you will not have lived in vain and your impact will be for generations to come.
  • Finally, what what the children become is your responsibility. Not because you wont have bad results, but because you gave your very best. Teaching is giving yourself to make someone else better. I believe in doing the very best, so that when you are old, and you look back and ask yourself if you would change anything given another chance, you would confidently say, I wouldn’t change a thing…

You are a teacher. You have one chance. Be the very best. Do your very best. Become the very best. By being, you help someone else become… 

Article 39:- Hormonal Contraceptive-The Viable Alternatives…

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In my previous article, Hormonal Contraceptives-The female poison, I have highlighted the various side effects of the hormonal contraceptives. It is evident that its harm outweighs its value. So what next for women of child bearing age – Married women?

The contemporary world has reduced the term family planning to mean the spacing of births. It has also convinced most if not all of us that the only way to space births is to objectify oneself by using the several modes of contraceptives namely, the barrier methods, Intra-uterine devices and hormonal pills. However, there are scientifically proven methods that respect the dignity of the human person, are free of charge and have no side effects. For the purpose of this article we shall call it Natural Methods of spacing or achieving births or Natural Family Planning (NFP).

Disclaimer:-

  • NFP is not counting your menstrual calendar days;
  • NFP is not withdrawal before ejaculation during the conjugal act;
  • NFP is not the use of barrier methods during fertile days of a woman’s fertility cycle.

So what is NFP?

According to usccb.org, Natural Family Planning is an umbrella term for certain methods used to achieve and avoid pregnancies. These methods are based on observation of the naturally occurring signs and symptoms of the fertile and infertile phases of a woman’s menstrual cycle. NFP reflects the dignity of the human person within the context of marriage and family life, promotes openness to life, and recognizes the value of the child. By respecting the love-giving (unitive) and life-giving (procreative) natures of the conjugal act in marriage, NFP can enrich the bond between husband and wife. This aspect of NFP also then supports God’s design for married love.

NFP is based on scientific facts about fertility. The methods are developed from research about women’s menstrual cycles and the signs of female fertility. Over a century ago, scientists discovered cyclic changes in cervical mucus and their relation to ovulation. In the 1920s, scientists identified the temperature rise that signals ovulation. But it wasn’t until the 1950s that scientists developed programs to teach others how to observe and interpret these fertility signs. Today, ongoing research continues to refine the methods of NFP. Any married couple can use NFP.  A woman need not have “regular” cycles. NFP education helps couples to fully understand and interpret their combined fertility, so that they can discern when to postpone or try to attempt pregnancy. Couples using NFP to avoid pregnancy abstain from intercourse and genital contact during the fertile phase of the woman’s cycle. No drugs, devices, or surgical procedures are used to avoid pregnancy. The key to the successful use of NFP is cooperation and communication between husband and wife, a shared commitment. It is unique among methods of family planning because it enables its users to work with the body rather than against it. Fertility is viewed as a gift and a reality to live, not a problem to be solved.

Fertility cycle NFP practice is pegged on four facts about the fertility of man and woman:

  • A woman ovulates at only one time during her cycle, and an ovum can survive for only 12–24 hours;
  • Spermatozoa live only one to three days in the presence of fertile mucus, with survival up to five days being rare;
  • Cervical mucus enabling healthy sperm cells to navigate the genital tract is necessary for fertility (fertile Mucus);
  • A man is fertile from puberty till his death;
  • Fertility cycle is a function of a woman’s menstrual cycle.

What are the methods of NFP?

A woman’s fertility cycle (not menstrual) has four phases; Menstruation phase; First phase of infertility(Basic Infertile Pttern-BIP); fertile phase; and the second phase of infertility. While in her fertile years, a woman’s body provides several basic ways to identify the fertile and infertile times of her menstrual cycle. The rise and fall of reproductive hormones is responsible for these signs. Recognizing the pattern of those physical signs forms the basis for all methods of NFP. Each NFP method is focused on one or more signs of female fertility. They can be grouped into three categories;

  1. Billings Ovulation Method (BOM):-

BOM was developed by Drs John (1918–2007) and Evelyn Billings, validated by eminent international scientists and successfully tried by the World Health Organization. It uses cervical mucus/vaginal discharge consistency in identifying the fertile and infertile phases of the fertility cycle already highlighted above. Mucus CharacteristicsThis method can be used to achieve or postpone pregnancy during regular or irregular cycles throughout all stages of reproductive life, including breastfeeding, and peri-menopause.

What to obseveThe cervical mucus changes in viscosity and consistency with each phase of the fertility cycle. These changes are consistent with the phases of fertility. In NFP education, a woman learns how to identify the normal, healthy, cervical mucus which indicates the days that sexual intercourse is most likely to result in pregnancy (the fertile phase).  Keen observation of the cervical mucus can tell when a woman is ovulating. Once the couple can identify when the woman is very fertile, they can choose to abstain from sexual intercourse and genital contact if they are postponing pregnancy or engage in the conjugal act when they want to achieve a pregnancy.

More sophisticated trainers teach on how to observe the character of the cervix. It is based on the fact that the cervix opens only three times in a woman’s life; during menstruation; during ovulation; and at childbirth.

                     2. Basal Body Temperature Method (BBTM)

Basal Body Temparature chartBasal body temperature is the lowest body temperature attained during rest (usually during sleep). It is generally measured immediately after awakening and before any physical activity has been undertaken.  Ovulation causes an increase of one-half to one degree Fahrenheit (one-quarter to one-half degree Celsius) in basal body temperature. The tendency of a woman to have lower temperatures before ovulation, and higher temperatures afterwards, is known as a biphasic pattern. This method is used to pinpoint the ovulation time thus enabling a couple identify when to avoid or engage in the conjugal act depending on whether they are postponing or achieving a pregnancy. Its only weakness is that it identifies post ovulation infertility phase.

 3. Symptom-Thermal Methods (STM)

STM typically combines charting of the Basal Body Temperature (BBT) and (Billings Ovulation Method (BOM) of cervical mucus observation with other optional indicators, such as changes in the cervix and secondary fertility signs to identify when a woman is fertile. With this method, a couple can chart the pre ovulation infertility phase and the post ovulation fertility phase, and of course ovulation.

With the development of ovulation prediction kits (or OPKs), the rise of certain reproductive hormones such as estrogen and luteinizing hormone (LH) can be observed. Other optional signs, such as breast tenderness or minor abdominal pain at the time of ovulation, can also be observed by the woman.

How it Differs from contraception

There is an inherent inseparable connection between the unitive and procreative aspects of the conjugal act. The connection between the two aspects of the conjugal act is in fact such, that the destruction of its procreative reference necessarily destroys it’s unitive and personal significance. Why? Because the conjugal act has a significance that goes beyond the expression of affection and pleasure it offers. The conjugal act does not in any way lose its full meaning and value if one knows that a conception is out of the question, as when age, an inevitable operation for the sake of health, or pregnancy exclude it. The knowledge that a conception is not in question does not in any way taint the conjugal act with irreverence. This act in such a marriage, if it is the expression of a deep love anchored in Christ, will rank even higher in its quality and its purity than that in a marriage in which the love is less deep and not formed by Christ even though it leads to a conception. Yet even when, for good and valid reasons (such as the endangering of life or grave economic misery), conception should as far as possible be avoided, the marital act, whose meaning and value is the actualization of an ultimate union, in no way loses its raison d’etre. The intention to avoid conception does not imply irreverence as long as one does not actively interfere in order to frustrate the link existing between the conjugal act and a possible conception. Nor is the use of natural family planning in order to avoid conception in any way irreverent, because the very fact of the possibility of natural family planning, that is to say, the fact that conception is limited to a short period, includes also a God‐given institution. This also has a meaning, and it is definitely reverent to accept the opportunity which God offers to those spouses for whom the avoidance of conception is imperative! That conception is restricted to a short time also implies a word of God. It not only confirms that the bodily union of the spouses has a meaning and value in itself apart from procreation but it also leaves open the possibility of avoiding conception if this is imperative for serious reasons. To make use of natural family planning is not to imply the slightest irreverence or rebellion against God’s institution and the wonderful link between the love union and procreation; it is in no way a subterfuge, as some people tend to believe. On the contrary, it is a grateful acceptance of the possibility granted by God to avoid conception, if this is imperative, without frustrating the expression and fulfilment of spousal love in the bodily union. As soon as we see the abyss which separates the use of natural family planning from artificial contraception, we have answered the rhetorical question: “Why should artificial contraception be a sin if the use of natural family planning is allowed?” And as soon as we see clearly the sinfulness of artificial contraception, we can and must clearly repudiate the suggestion that this is the proper means to avert the threat of overpopulation. No evil in the world, great as it may be, entitles us to use a means for avoiding it which is sinful. To commit a sin in order to avoid an evil would involve adhering to the ignominious principle, “the end justifies the means” (Dr. Vincent Njuguna- St. Matia Mulumba Mission Hospital)

NFP represents a unique approach to responsible parenthood because it  calls for shared responsibility by husband and wife; is based on scientific research about the signs of fertility; treats each menstrual cycle as unique (from experience, it is unique); teaches husband and wife to daily observe the signs of fertility; has no harmful side effects; maximizes the possibility of achieving pregnancy when intercourse takes place during the fertile phase of the wife’s menstrual cycle; is effective for postponing pregnancy when intercourse takes place during the infertile phase of the wife’s menstrual cycle and; respects the unitive and procreative nature of conjugal love. In NFP both husband and wife are taught to understand and live God’s design for married love—this will give them countless blessings.

The various benefits of NFP cannot be exhausted but some include that NFP methods promote a holistic approach to family planning which both respects procreation and has the potential to deepen the intimacy of husband and wife in that it is open to the life giving nature of the marriage act; NFP methods support reproductive health. They are good for the body. The natural methods have none of the harmful side effects caused by contraception, especially chemical contraceptives (e.g., pill, injection, etc.). For the woman, NFP charting can even assist in the diagnosis of underlying medical problems. And, if a couple find they are having trouble conceiving, NFP information can help them pinpoint the most fertile time of the wife’s cycle. NFP methods can be marriage strengthening. NFP relies on couple communication and behaviour change. NFP methods require husband and wife to cooperate with each other in the most intimate area of their lives. During times of periodic sexual abstinence, husband and wife live a renewed courtship as they discover non-sexual ways to express their love for each other. On a practical level, husbands are encouraged to “tune into” their wives’ cycles, and both spouses are encouraged to speak openly and frankly about their sexual desires, hopes for number of children, and prayerful discernment of God’s will for their marriage. When living the NFP lifestyle, husband and wife learn that they have a shared responsibility for safeguarding God’s gifts of human sexuality, marriage and family. They also grow in their understanding of God’s will for their family size. NFP has the potential to make good marriages great. NFP is also free. In Kenya, training of couples is free, and exercising it accrues no costs whatsoever.

A number of NFP providers teach a variety of approaches to NFP. In Kenya, in addition to the Catholic Church, we have Human Life International Kenya among other organizations. It is endowed with doctors-physicians and gynecologists- and volunteer couples who are users of the methods. On-line courses are offered by Couple to Couple League, WOOMB International and most catholic dioceses all over the world.

The big question that comes when this is raised is, does it even work? What are the success rates? Well, from a users point of view, (we-my spouse and I- are users of the BOM) it depends on what you are trying to do. Are you trying to achieve pregnancy? Then yes it is successful, but remember, children come from God and are blessed unto us when God sees it fit to bless us with children. It is always for his glory. Are you trying to postpone pregnancy? Then yes it is. Currently rated at 99%. You just have to remember the fact that sex during fertile days can result to a pregnancy.

What makes it not work? Most of us have grown up in a world that glorifies sex and believes that sex is any time anywhere as long as there is a woman and man. Premarital sex is celebrated and those who choose to abstain till marriage as viewed as abnormal. Transfer the same attitude to a marriage situation and parties in a couple, believe that since they are married they are free to engage in the conjugal act any time but are not willing to embrace the fact that sex is both unitive and procreative, functions that are not mutually exclusive. Couples thus will seek to frustrate/treat the procreative aspect of the woman by letting her be responsible for her fertility and willingly frustrate it by taking the hormonal pills, implants and having intra-uterine devices inserted in her womb. The other major reason is fertility is viewed as a woman problem and should be fixed. Most men, not all, tend to abstain from responsibility of the procreative aspect of sex. Sex thus attains a selfish end as opposed to the unitive end that it was ordained to have. NFP introduces to the couples the value of joint responsibility in this key part of their married life; their sexual life; where each party appreciates and accepts the whole person and does not try whether medically or otherwise try to suppress any body functioning.

The biggest challenge I find is the attitude. How are we going to change this attitude that NFP does not work, bearing in mind even the medical practitioners who interact with families daily do not even want to think of this as an option because it is a concept out of this world. How do we even try to change a concept that is far-fetched because the other options are a multi-billion business enterprises that any other information that contradicts that which they advocate for will kill their business? Are we going to be brave enough to go against the norm? Or will we be complacent and keep failing to teach what is the best option? Are we going to watch as the cases of cervical and breast cancers rise and cower because we are too afraid to face this multi billionaires? Well the choice is mine, especially as a woman to abstain from the chemicals or to keep the poison in our systems. Either way, someday we shall all live the consequences of our decisions. I have always said, sexual matters are very key to the woman, and whatever is contrary to that which we believe in can be avoided by ensuring that the people we choose respect us and value that which we value.

Can we please stand up!

Acknowledgement:-

I acknowledge the contribution of Dr. Vincent Njuguna of St Matia Mulumba Mission Hospital and Augustine Richard Kakeeto, Lecturer at Catholic University of Eastern Africa- Kenya. 

Garissa Attack – The stories that will never be told, they can only be imagined

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shatteredWe all go to college. Not all of us get out of college. For some its because death they pass on. I went to college too The first time I heard of a student die, I cried a lot. I cried for the parent who expected to receive the son a graduate but receives a coffin instead. I cried for the mother whose hopes had died with the death of this child. I remember how the student died. He was swimming, just a few metres from where most of us were as we took a refreshing swim in Lamu having had a tiring day of touring the Island. He was swimming then he was gone, swallowed up by the Indian ocean.

Every parent sends their child to school for many reasons. For a country that is struggling in building its economy, its mostly about a better living for this child. My father always encouraged us to work hard in school so that we could have a better life. He took us to school. He struggled to keep us there. He whipped us when we disappointed him with poor grades or with behaviours that would threaten our admission. For all that struggle I am. I thank God for that.

For the parents who sent their children to  Garissa University College, their dreams were varied. Each parent has a dream with each child. All those dreams have been cut short. Stories have been told of how it happened. Gruesome pictures have been circulated. Frustrations of identifying one’s loved ones have been narrated. We have all expressed our anger,, which is justified. We have prayed and lit candles. For consolation, for repose of the souls.Amidst all this, there are stories that will never be heard. Stories of parents who will weep the loss of their children for the rest of their lives;parents who have lost their sole hope in family breadwinners, of parents who will walk with their children as they try to relieve the trauma and hope to God that someday they will be strong enough to forget the sound of a gunshot, the smell of fresh and drying blood, the sound of a dying friend, the sight of a lifeless body, the screams that will be etched in their heads. No one will hear of how life will become of all the families of the victims as they live each day mourning their beloved,not because they have not mourned enough today but because every day will be a journey of saying goodbye all over again. The readers will never know of the finality of burying a child. We have hopes and reams and the things we wish to do, and the promises these children represent, but it is all gone. We will never hear of the journey the wounded will make in struggling to forgive those who murdered their kin, their struggle to let go, and the questions they ask themselves that will never be answered; the what if they were still alive… candles

They are not dead those who still live in the hearts of the living. And true to that, those who are gone will forever live in our hearts. I lost a brother when I was eight years old, or there abouts. I once asked my mother of it has gotten any easier, and she said no. The child remains alive in her heart, she will forever remember those last moments when he breathed his last (sob sob)… These parents mourn their kin, their beloved. They will mourn them for the rest of their lives.

I always say that when you loose your beloved, you should remember the moments you sent with them, the memories you made, and that is what should remain in the heart to help us smile through the tears. The whole world is mourning these children.While we may not have lived with these children and may not have memories to help us smile, while we may not have the right words to even take away one drop of tear from the faces of these parents, guardians, brothers sisters, hope for the country at large, while we can not even begin to fathom the pain they are feeling, or the frustration they get to go through with every dawn of a new day, or the hopelessness they feel; while we may not even know what to do or say; we may surrender it all to our loving father in heaven. When all is hopeless, He is our hope. I wish all those affected Jesus. May He be with you, be your strength, be your consolation, be the answer to all those answered questions … Like Henri Nouwen said, I will be “The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing… not healing, not curing…”. I cannot do all this in person, but I go down on my knees and pray with you. umoja

The 7 day #BibleChallenge…. Day 7

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Love is the greatest  1 Corinthians 13:13;
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Romans 13:10;
Love does no harm to its neighbour. Therefore love is the fulfilment of the law.

Love is the greatest, and will forever remain the greatest.

LoveI have a belief that if we loved and loved truly, then all the evil we see, the betrayals, the bloodshed, the fights, the wars, the hatred, just to name a few would all be history. If I loved my friends enough, I would not speak behind their backs unless I am speaking praises, If I loved my neighbour, I would not shed their blood, I would not rape their daughter, I would not sodomize their son, I would not steal their belongings; If I loved enough, I would not corrupt the nation of its wealth, I would not grab public property and claim it as mine, I would not organise a group of gangs and make them kill each other; If there was enough love, then we would all live in goodness, looking out for each other, no one would go hungry or thirsty or naked; no one would be in prison, no one would be struggling with letting go of years of bitterness held deep in our hearts for wrongs done long ago,…

But that is a perfection that we have to daily seek. It is the perfection Christ seeks to teach us each day. As humans, we are weak, we have to constantly seek to be perfected by Christ. Our journey of faith because a continuous search for perfection, which by the grace of God, we shall achieve in eternity.

1 loveIt is easy to love those who love us back. Our ultimate test of love, is when we have to love those who we believe do not deserve our love. May we, in this moment remember the crucified Christ, who in spite of our imperfections loved us enough to die on the cross and keeps loving us…

The 7 day #BibleChallenge…. Day 6

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Kindness

We are all called to be kind. And like one wise man said, kindness is a language that the blind can see, the deaf can hear and the dumb can understand. It is easy to be kind to those who are kind to us It is easy to show goodness to those who are good to us.It is very easy to reciprocate love. True Christianity however calls us to go beyond that which is obvious. Luke tells us in the Bible to Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 

True Christianity requires us to do to others as He did for us. While, we condemned him and mocked Him, he cried for us; while we whipped him till he bled, he prayed for us; while we nailed him on the cross and jeered till he breathed his last, he forgave us. He tells us “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful”. 

Be kindIt is easy to wonder how we can be this, especially when we are really wounded. Kenya is a bleeding Nation at the moment, how now can we love those who brutally shot and cut short the lives of our beloved children? How now? Isn’t this verse making a mockery of our emotions? Flip side; how many times do we ourselves wound those whom we love? How many times do they bow down, swallow their pride and tell us,  “I forgive you?” Are we so special to deserve forgiveness?

Luke 6:37-38:- Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you…

God have mercy on us and grant us graces to actually be kind, very kind, especially when being kind is hardest…

Article 32:- Who will eat the vulture…

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Life

Vulture eats leopard,

Leopard eats snake,

Snake eats bird,

Bird eats worm,

Who will eat the vulture…?

This is not an ordinary food chain as we know it. I don’t even know if vultures eat leopards. It is a poem that came to my mind as I try to get a grasp and rationalize the news I have been hearing in the recent past. A house help decides a child’s back is strong enough to bear her 60 something kilograms (or above) weight, sane adult grown men deciding women should be made naked and sexually harassed for whatever reason and uncles who believe they can punish their sister in law by raping their own niece are just an example. A father who decides his spouse and children are better dead. A wife who decides life is too much and she would rather drown her children and herself. A group of people who decides that others must die because their names are structure in a way that does not suit them. A business man decides a rival needs to be eliminated from the equation for him to succeed… The examples are numerous; and very heartbreaking.

I know to some extent our society has become a man eat man kind of society. But this is a new record of low. They say what distinguishes us from animals, in as much as we are from kingdom Animalia is our humanity, utu wetu. What happens when that humanity is gone? We have become animals who rise up against each other, devouring each other mercilessly not caring what damage we leave at wake as long as our appetite to devour is satisfied. It is a predator prey relationship. Our aspect of reason is all gone.

So what would make a society rise against itself? What would make family turn against its most vulnerable in the person of children, killing them, maiming them, raping them, battering them, denying them basic human rights of food clothing and shelter in the most unorthodox ways? What would make family members turn against each other? Brother killing brother? Sister sending hooligans to rob her own sister? Sons killing their parents? Wives murdering husbands in cold blood? Parents killing their children? What would make a community turn against each other? Armed men shooting unarmed men and women whose only guilt is to look for daily bread? Shameless men stripping their lady friends off all of their dignity? Armed militia terrorizing communities. Neighbors rising against neighbors destroying them and what they hold dear. What happened to us? When did we stop caring? Who decided it was time love came to an end in our lives? Where did our humanity go? Is this the end of times that was prophesied?

c 2I don’t have the answers to any of the above questions. However I do know that someone has to eat the vulture. Or something. We have to retrain ourselves again to care, to love, to be there for each other. We have to learn to be human all over again. How do we learn this? Parents, have to own the responsibility of instilling values and nurturing morally upright and responsible individuals. They must arm them with so thick a skin that the contagion that comes from interacting with the world does not corrode or poke holes into that shield. I know that family’s must stop acting and living as individuals and restore the sense of ownership. Uncles must look at brothers’ children as their own and treat them so. Aunties must fight for their nephews and nieces hard enough for the society to know that they belong somewhere. Grandparents must instill those values that they instilled in their children long ago. The spirit of togetherness must once more be nurtured in our hearts. Parents must take the initiative of introducing the family unit as an institution to be treasured and protected at all costs. Each family member must stop being a threat to the other member of the family instead be a back up who when the world is so wild, one can go back to and find solace, rejuvenation of the tormented spirit. I know that the community have to stop taking the laid back attitude and stand up for what is right and condemn what is wrong. It must not watch as victims are suffering just because whatever is happening is not happening to them. Niemöller is perhaps best remembered for the quotation: “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out, Because I was not a Socialist; Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out Because I was not a Trade Unionist; Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out Because I was not a Jew; Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me”. He was a protestant pastor who was condemning all who did not speak during the German holocaust. If we do not speak, then at some point when the tree falls on us, who will care if it happened to us? Our hearts would have been so hardened that it won’t matter anymore. Neighbors must restore neighborliness all over again. I also know that the state, in its leadership must diligently fulfill its responsibility towards its people. It must act, not just speak, it must do not only say, it must stretch out its long arm as it is usually insinuated and reach out not only to the affected but also those who are affecting. Laws must be made, but most importantly they must be executed. The state cannot remain complacent. Complacency will breed indifference, indifference hatred and hatred radicalization.

Back to my poem…

Vulture eats leopard,

Leopard eats snake,

Snake eats bird,

Bird eats worm,

Who will eat the vulture…?

 The earth says it will.

What does it imply? If all fails, then there will be natural justice or divine justice. In as much as God should not be our last resort, when everything seems beyond us, we know that God will always come through for us. Exodus 22 from verse 20 talks of people not taking advantage of the widows and orphans for whoever does angers God and His wrath will be upon them. In those days, widows and orphans were the most vulnerable in the society. Extrapolate to today, my thinking is, those who are vulnerable should still not be oppressed or touched or assaulted for woe unto s if they cry to God, His anger will be upon us and according to Exodus 20:24; “My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless”.

May we do our part in protecting and taking care of His creation.

care

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