HOW KENYA MARKED WORLD BREASTFEEDING WEEK

Dr Kioko  from the Ministry of Health and Safaricom CEO,Bob Collymore .
Dr Kioko from the Ministry of Health and Safaricom CEO,Bob Collymore .

“It is embarrassing that in the 21st century women should have to be expressing milk in washrooms and toilets.”

-Bob Collymore  CEO,Safaricom

You know the event you are attending is going to be great and has been well planned for months  when you are handed a sky blue media kit complete with a DVD by UNICEF .

I am entering the Michael Joseph Center and it looks resplendent in blue and white colors for the official launch of the breastfeeding week that is being celebrated in more than 17 countries across the world.

But first a thorough  security check you are entering  “Fort Knox”.

The Ministry of health together with relevant stake holders is launching Guidelines on Support for Working Mothers A first in Kenya and the theme for this year is Breastfeeding at Work,Lets make it Work.

The Chief Guest for the event is James Macharia,the Cabinet Secretary for Health but he sends Dr James Kioko in his place.

As usual we are a wee bit late in starting the event,but not to worry i get time to admire the baby piano and nice seats at the MJ center,i almost wish i could carry one or six with me .

We are first led on a tour of Safaricom”s Mothers room and creche,facilities that are a first for a Kenyan company to invest in for their female staff who are parents or plan to be in the near future.

As Mrs Marilyn Mbuthia the Head of HR Operations tells us,female staff at Safaricom get an extra one month of maternity leave in addition to the statutory 12 weeks the government recommends.

Mothers working here also enjoy flexible working hours and a medical insurance that covers all costs from pre- natal,post natal to delivery  costs.

We got entertainment from a group of mothers called Diamond Mothers,who meet at St Teresa’s Catholic Church in Mathare,an informal settlement in Nairobi and their skit on the challenges and benefits of  breastfeeding deserved an award.

One of the mothers from the group recounted her experience losing a child at 5 months because she had started giving him complementary foods at 1 month.There was in drop silence as she told her story in Swahili.

The CEO of Safaricom Bob Collymore gave a passionate appeal for corporates to see facilities like a mothers room as being the right thing to do.

Every company needs to support women who choose to breastfeed and it need not be an expensive venture like what they have done,a mothers room to express milk is enough.

While making the workplace a conducive environment for mothers has largely been led by the private sector will the public sector slow to follow ,it is a milestone to finally see the government launch guidelines on making the workplace a more family and child friendly environment.

Who knows,we may just see a creche at parliament .

Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore and Dr Kioko helping children at the Safaricom creche with their artwork.
Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore and Dr Kioko helping children at the Safaricom creche with their artwork.

LIGHTS.CAMERA.ACTION

Stay at home mum

When i received Mummytales cryptic sms I did not know  it would lead me to the set of Victoria’s lounge, sharing my experience of being a stay at home mum.

30 minutes is very little time to share your experience of 6 years,travelling over Kenya while raising 3 kids,it is the most fulfilling thing yet the most difficult thing i have ever done.

You see,i never planned or intended to be a stay at home mum for that period of time but the experience and the growth over the last 6 years ,i would not trade for anything.

It is skimming the surface when i say being a stay at home mum was something i felt i could afford to do at the time.

It is a story of a lot of blood ,sweat and tears over the years.

But it has led me to my meeting the most fantastic women in the world,been inspired by great women like my sister in law Diana,she is a Ninja.

And it has led me back to Nairobi,the most beautiful city in the world.

If you get to watch the show on Thursday at 7:30 pm on NTV,remember that is just my story,part of my story.

It is not the perfect solution for everyone and it should not be taken by everyone but for those who decide to be stay at home parents,my hats off to you.

You will be spending a part  a large part of your time doubting yourself,feeling like pulling your hair out and pleading with a 2 feet angel who will not touch peas because they are yuck .

Maybe they will pull a tantrum one,two,several times when they do not want to do their homework and you will think your working friends are the luckiest people in the world.

But you know what kids grow up, you can  never get those first three years back.

So whether you are working at home,from home or in an office,spend time with your children,know who they are ,love them and love yourself and cut yourself some slack,you are doing a great job.

And when you see me with lots of make up on TV looking like a deer caught in the headlights,be nice.

Xx,

Ina

MY FAVOURITE WRITERS:MUMYTALES

Today was a great day.

I got to meet one of the most inspiring writers with an awesome blog.

With the stories of the women she has featured on her blog,i have cried ,laughed and prayed with them.

The writer of Mummy Tales  is like family to me,she has inspired me,we have exchanged emails and she knows all of my kids names.

The writer of Mummytales is Maryanne.

She is a journalist by training and a writer at  heart ,a rare combination and those are the kind of  people who truly inspire me.

She writes because she loves what she does and she wants to inspire  other people.

We had coffee,exchanged ideas and had a thoroughly enjoyable time.

She has asked me to contribute on her blog  when she had the Pearls of Wisdom series.

Pass by her blog and get inspired.

HOW TO BE GREAT AT ANYTHING

A lot of people who know that i write  ask how i do it.

For many of us ,writing does not come easy.

We may have the ideas and content but we just can’t seem to get started.

The answer i give  is writing requires lots of mistakes.

And lots of bad writing to get it right.

Yes it does.

And you can only make a lot of mistakes from doing a lot of work.

When i first started writing i often repeated myself, words,phrases and generally became long winded with my first posts

Quickly i adapted to keeping my posts short and to editing .

This applies to any area you want to become adept at.

Practice.Practice.Practice.

It takes 21 days to form a habit,whatever it is you want to be good at,set aside 21 days for it,then do a little bit of it everyday .

Do you have a specific skill you want to learn or perfect?Share you tips or lessons learned in the comment section.

KENYAN APPS :REVISION 844

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In March there was the  2nd  annual Kenya ICT conference at the Kenyatta International Conference.

The event was held between the   2nd and 3rd of March this year.

There were a lot of conference attendants  and the exhibitors were absolutely smashing  with their applications.

And one of turned out to be a personal favorite.

An application,Kenyan if i may point out that and it aims at making revision fun and exciting.

With relatively few resources available for online learning,Revision 844 was launched in October 2014 and covers the Kenyan school curriculum from classes 4-8.

By making revision for exams a fun and interactive experience that can be done anywhere , anytime,the application seeks to provide better information for parents/guardians on a child’s revision progress.

For parents the application seeks to provide an ever growing source of  quality and relevant content  to give children a pleasant and beneficial learning experience.

The developers are working with the best teachers in  the top performing schools in The Kenya Certificate for Primary Education examinations held annually to develop content.

The national exam helps place primary  school students in high school and placement  is solely dependent on performance.

The developers dreams go further than Kenya,they would like to launch it in as many African countries as they can.Elementary school education in most African countries is pretty much almost the same and the platform the application operates on is flexible enough to see it adapted to a country’s educational needs.

If you are a parent reading this,get the application on your smart phone and let your child give it a try.

Do ensure you get back to us with feedback on the experience.

Go Revision 844 Team!

THE BEAUTY OF FAILING

Yes.

Courage does not favor the brave,it favors the defeated because they live to fight another day.

I never understood this until now.

Until i got children and until i got it clear in my mind the purpose i am alive today.

Too many times we think that the ones who win life’s battles are the ones who never know defeat or failure.

But the ones who win are the ones who know that every day comes with its own battles.

And we have to fight them.

And we win some and lose some.

But we never lose hope.

Tomorrow is another day.

And we live to fight another day…right?

The ones who win know the beauty of carrying around their battle scars.

…who know that being courageous is getting up when you have fallen down.

Courage never fails the defeated, it fails the ones who never took one more chance.

And another more chance and another more  chance.

Life is a lot more about chances than you would think.

Another chance to be alive,to love,to work to just be.

Yes life is for the ones who fail because they get up the next day .

“To fight another day.”

JUST BE

Modernity has robbed us of the beauty of solitude.

It has made us so busy that when we catch ourselves just BEING we start looking for things to do or to amuse ourselves with.

So what is  being?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines being as a conscious existence.

It goes on to say that it is the most important basic part of a persons mind or self.

Just the simple fact of acknowledging that you a living human being,breathing and existing at this precise moment  is just BEING.

Being is listening to ourselves.

Hearing ourselves think and feel.

It is in  being that we learn to listen to that inner voice that i call God’s spirit living in us.

Urging us to grow,stop,think,love and to create.

There is a vast undiscovered world inside of us.

But we have learned to never learn to risk to discover that world.

To risk discovering our hidden creative side,our passions,our loves,OUR CREATOR.

It is in solitude that we discover that we are a necessary part of creation and that our presence on earth matters a really great deal.

This week just BE.

WHEN GETTING STUCK IS A GOOD THING

Everyone loves a new beginning,i especially totally get excited at beginning something new.

Last year I got my self into a cul-de-sac and I had to find my way out…. somehow.

No one enjoys getting stuck in jobs,relationships,careers or businesses that are not going anywhere.We love to grow we are human and we are wired to thrive on change and challenges.a

A few lessons I learned while “stuck” was that getting stuck is not a bad thing…. so long as we don’t remain there or make no effort to get out of our rut.

It was while stuck that I discovered the true meaning of faith…faith in God and in myself.

Faith inspires us,gives us hope beyond our present circumstances and reminds us that we should not let the circumstances of our lives dictate who we are.

“You do not have to play the role life has handed you”

Remember that though the world has over 7 billion people,there will never be anyone like you …ever.

Learn to use your natural talents to create the kind of life you want,learn to really live and expect a lot out of live and it will respond in kind.

And if you haven’t yet discovered what your natural talents are,start by writing down the things you truly enjoy.What would you do for free without expecting anything in return?

Maybe you played an instrument as a child,enjoy cooking,painting,volunteering at a hospital or old people’s home,find something to do  that makes your heart sing.

And that is how I discovered that  am naturally drawn to inspire people be better and do better and Maridadi living was born .

Hope you will join me  on this amazing journey called life and we can have fun together.

Hugs and blessings,

Santina

LIVING WITH A CHILD WITH FOOD ALLERGY

Image from foodallergyfun.com

Red,puffy watery eyes, incessant itching that is accompanied by lots of sneezingand coughing.

That is what my son gets when he comes in direct contact with raw eggs.

…and that is s why we always have an anti histamine in the house

Allergic reactions to foods among children are  increasingly becoming more common.

A food allergy is defined as a toxic clinical reaction to foods or food additives that involves the immune system.

Your immune system then develops a reactive response to protect the body from this “invader”.

Some common food that cause allergic reactions include :eggs,cow milk,wheat and gluten,cheese,nuts and fish especially egg fish though you could develop an allergic reaction to almost any food .

Children with food allergies need to be informed of them early enough so they know what they can and cannot eat.

We let my son know early enough that he cannot have eggs ,he also cannot have peanuts or peanut butter either.

By letting our children know early enough we can empower them to be aware of their food choices.

It is also a good idea to let the school your child attends know just incase they may need some special dietary considerations.

Always have anti allergy medicine close by or take your child to hospital for treatment.

Doctorstv.com lists the symptoms to watch out for :

  1. Skin rash or hives
  2. Trouble breathing
  3. Wheezing
  4. Trouble swallowing
  5. Swelling on the lips,throat or any part of the body
  6. Diarrhoea
  7. Vomiting
  8. Coughing
  9. Red watery eyes
  10. Dizziness
  11. Fainting

Let your child know the importance of hand washing before mealtimes or snack time to prevent cross contamination.

Teach your child to say no to foods offered to them that they are allergic to,as that the only way to avoid food allergy.

A child or any person with food allergies also needs to avoid processed foods as much as possible as the preservatives and additives used may contribute to allergic reactions.

Some allergies may go away with time but some especially nut allergies you live with them for life.

Incase you suspect your child has a food allergy please visit a food allergy specialist.