Rickets in Nairobi sunshine

Image from Daily Nation website

I wrote this article that was published in the Daily Nation newspapers today.

Rickets in the midst of plenty of sunshine by Tabitha Mwangi

It was a troubling article to write. It was hard to believe that in this day and age there are children suffering from such a preventable condition like rickets – and it was hard to hear the stories of women who are living so much below the poverty line that they can barely do much as their children deteriorate.

It is hard to imagine a world where a mother earns to little, she prioritizes rent and daycare for food – because she wants her children to be safe when she gets back. A choice of either feeding her child or sleeping out in the cold and she chooses the safety of her shack. It’s not even a choice really. Imagine the mental state of such women.

Kenya is slipping into a trap were we lack a sense of collective dignity.

If you have a lady who comes to clean your house and wash clothes once in a while – you can’s shove KSH 150 in her palm and smile and say bye. Just because you cannot see where she is coming from does not mean you can treat her like this. Where is your dignity if you can’t see your fellow human being and feel for her?

Her dignity is tied in to yours.

Of course, you can ask where is the man who has fathered these children – or be callous and ask why she had all these children in the first place. The children are here now, they are present and they need to live a life with dignity.

Since writing this story, I have not stopped hearing Tracy Chapman sing her song about people who live ‘on the waste and decay of the discards of their fellow men’…..

Tracey Chapman sings about a city underground

This song fits this situation. Rickets is a disease of people whose dignity has been stripped by extreme poverty, lack of exposure to the sun is a by product of this state.