Wednesday, 30 November 2016




There are days when I feel like a population control ambassador. Those are the days I feel like walking into any hospital, to ask whether they offer family planning services such as vasectomy

On such occasions, I use statements such as, 'Population explosion is the greatest hindrance to our economic mobility, hence we need proper strategies to curb unplanned growth of the population, which leads to economic stagnation. Big words huh! words which make you feel like you have been to school, chewed and swallowed a few books and brushed shoulder with a few distinguished professors. Words which can make you receive the Nobel peace prize, if the right people listen to you at the right time. Words which can make you give a speech in front of men and women with big titles before their names. Words which can make you be invited to give a lecture in Ivy league Universities, to very curious listeners who use words like affirmative action, impact assessment, impact analysis, cost - benefits, oh! the list is endless.

Forgive me for getting carried away. Where were we? Oh yeah, we were ruminating and ventilating on vasectomy (I hope I am not lying or insulting anyone here). Every time I think about vasectomy, I encounter a few problems (or challenges if you work for an NGO), the dorminant one being fear. The problem (fear) apparently originates from the mental impression created by Francis Imbuga's play - Aminata. Have you ever read that book? Life threatening I tell you, especially where vasectomy or the second knife is mentioned.

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One particular case of vasectomy gone awry, is Jumba, the village headman. He is trying to sire more children, after his children were unfortunately struck by lightening, leaving him with only one child. But apparently, the second knife- as vasectomy is referred to in this particular community, is irreversible. Jumba blames his brother pastor Ngoya for leading them in the wrong path and making them face the knife for the second time. He even believes that the ancestors might have punished him for failing to lead his people according to the dictates of culture.

He becomes paranoid there after and hates anything which comes from the church or from educated people such as Aminata. It does not help matters that pastor Ngoya had even led the women into eating chicken, when it was considered a taboo for a woman to eat chicken (but this article is not about chicken). He even goes ahead and ensures that that pastor Ngoya's grave is cemented, as dictated by culture, to keep his spirit grounded I suppose.It has been awhile and a lot of water has flown under the bridge since Francis Imbuga's book was written, so my question, which I believe lingers on many people's minds like traffic jams in Nairobi is, can vasectomy be reversed? Can that vas deferens be brought back to life, so that life can flow again if need be, especially now that we have made great stride in technological advancements? What happen when you find yourself in a situation where you still want more children?

  To make matters worse, anytime you think of going through vasectomy, someone probably older than you, will tell you to think again. They normally say it is like gambling with your own life and even equate it to castration. And you and I know that  old people are believed to radiate wisdom and most of them have never read Aminata by Francis Imbuga, so do they know something I don't?

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