By S Nyanchwani via FB
There were two known abortionists in my village. One was a polished character who ran a clinic that used to administer aspirin, and Panadol and nothing much. Later I learned, he had never attended anyone’s medical school, but he was very useful in the village for small medical problems, which he fixed mostly by guesswork. Later I learned, what kept him in that abandoned shop for so long was the abortions he used to help young girls procure. He was a clean chap, polished, with a quiet mien, though he could get talkative when he wanted. But he wore some air of professionalism, so much that when I learned he was a quack, I was deflated. If my memory serves me right, he was also a known sex predator, and he has his wily way with women, married and young.
Then there was the village medicine man, a middle-aged (he has remained the same since I first saw him in May 1997). He was a known mganga, what in Ekegusii we call “Omoragori”, I don’t know how to translate, but he is the person if someone stole your goat, and you wanted the thief to eat grass like the goat, he is the guy you went to. I don’t remember any of his spells working. But as a diviner, he was respected and many people used to go there for his miti shamba.
Again, he was famous for abortions. Word has it, that he used to use very crude methods to help desperate girls abort.
Some said, he would insert some stuff into a woman reproductive system and will lie to the woman, that to help the stuff get in, he had to use his penis to push the stuff in. A drowning man will clutch at any straw. A desperate woman, with a cannibal of a father and beast for brothers, can do anything. At some point word has it, that he was infected and God knows how many girls he infected.
There was a third one, but he was only a quack, nothing much.
The villagers knew the antics of these men, and I wonder why it took them so long to chase them.
But poverty is a difficult thing. Poor people have no choices.
Imagine a 17-year-old in the village. He is tricked by a 21-year-old who sleeps with her in a tea plantation, on her way to the river. She catches a ball. She panics. Pregnancies scare the hell out of young women more than AIDS.
She can’t afford much. But there is a man who wants to help her, and she can pay in kind, or the least she can afford!
I have not watched the Mugo wa Wairimu thing. And will not watch. Because, the media exposed the rogue long time ago, and ideally, he should be picking soap in Kamiti. But that is not how the systems work.
Guys, poor people need protection. When some of us cry wolf at the privatization spree in the country, this is precisely the reason. The medical professional is filled with quacks because healthcare has become too expensive for the common man. Sometimes the quacks do save a life.
You can cultivate a measure of ethical practice without the attendant investments to ensure the poorest of the poor can at the very least get a painkiller, their daughter can access contraception, or find a humane way of dealing with unwanted pregnancies.
Charlatans like Wairimu will always exist in various shades. Whether it is a probox owner who carries 20 people in a five-seater, or a bus owner who packs 70 people in a 52-seater…
It is simple folks. Poor people have no choices. You can yap from your keyboard as a middle-class because you have options. But know for a fact, poor people have no choices. Sometimes their only option is crime, prostitution, opting for quacks or any short-cut, including fetching fuel from a tanker moments away from explosion.
So, as long as there is corruption and privatization of essental services, the Mugo Wairimus of these world will exist amongst us, in various shades.