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Archive for June 28th, 2009

‘I often pumped his stomach to get rid of dangerous drugs’: Michael Jackson’s ex-nanny reveals his tragic secret life – Can she be believed or she is just out for quick money through story selling?

Posted by African Press International on June 28, 2009

Will the nanny now make cash from all this? She can easily become so rich if she decides to make up an inside story about Michael Jackson. She seems to have lust for money. Otherwise, why open up her mouth now when the man has died. (API)
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 2:59 PM on 28th June 2009Breaking her silence: Former nanny Grace Rwaramba reveals grim details about the tragic secret life of Michael Jackson

Former nanny Grace Rwaramba reveals grim details about the tragic secret life of Michael Jackson

The former nanny of Michael Jackson’s three children has revealed how she regularly pumped the singer’s stomach to remove a deadly cocktail of painkillers.

Grace Rwaramba, who was abruptly sacked by Jackson in December, also spoke of her fears for the future of the children following his death, and has flown to Los Angeles from London hoping to be reunited with them.

She revealed graphic details about the singer’s increasingly desperate final months.

Rwaramba, 42, said he was ‘penniless’ and sponging off handouts and loans from friends, but was deluded by his ‘riches’, blowing money on exclusive hotels rather than providing a stable home.

She said the star was addicted to narcotic painkillers.

‘I had to pump his stomach many times. He always mixed so much of it,’ she said.

‘There was one period that it was so bad that I didn’t let the children see him… He always ate too little and mixed too much.’

The former nanny spoke out as Jackson’s family demanded an independent post mortem on the singer to find out exactly why he died.

They also issued a statement in which they paid tribute to ‘our beloved son, brother and father of three children’.

But Rwaramba claims she once appealed to Jackson’s mother, Katherine, and sister, Janet, to intervene and persuade him to seek treatment for his addiction, but Michael turned on her and accused her of betrayal.

‘He didn’t want to listen; that was one of the times he let me go,’ she said.

Rwaramba also revealed how a member of the Jackson family called her shortly after his death to ask her where the star’s money could be found.

‘The relative said, “Grace, you remember Michael used to hide cash at the house? I’m here. Where can it be?’

‘I told them to look in the garbage bags and the carpets. But can you believe that? They just lost Michael a few hours ago and already one of them is calling me to know where the money is!’

Rwaramba also feared Jackson’s London O2 tour had taken its toll on the singer.

She believed that he did not even realise he had signed up for 50 dates.

‘Fifty performances! I said, “What are you doing?” He said, “I signed for only ten”. He didn’t even know what he was signing. He never did.’

Rwandan-born Rwaramba worked for Jackson for more than a decade, first as an office assistant before becoming nanny to his children, 12-year-old Michael Jr, known as Prince, Paris, 11, and seven-year-old Prince Michael II, nicknamed Blanket.

She was finally dismissed in December last year, but claims she returned several times to see the children, making her most recent trip in April.

Rwaramba said she had screamed with shock when she heard of the star’s death, while she was at the Swiss home of TV interviewer Daphne Barak.

Troubled relationship: Jackson holds the hands of his two children Paris Michael, four, and son Prince Michael, five, in 2002. The children hated wearing the masks

Jackson holds the hands of his two children Paris Michael, four, and son Prince Michael, five, in 2002. The children hated wearing the masks

She told U.S. TV interviewer Daphne Barak that her first thought was for the children.

‘I’m really distraught for them. Michael hadn’t been eating and the kids have been so scared for him.

‘Now the youngest has been saying, “Why Daddy? God should have taken me not him”.

‘I took these babies in my arms on the first day of each of their lives. They are my babies.’

Penniless: Rwaramba says Jackson pictured with daughter Paris this year, had no idea about money and struggled to provide a stable home for his children

Rwaramba says Jackson pictured with daughter Paris this year, had no idea about money and struggled to provide a stable home for his children

She claimed the children had an uneasy relationship with their father, recalling a recent incident when Blanket performed a mini-concert for her of his father’s songs.

‘I was laughing so hard. Prince and Paris were playing around,’ she said. ‘It was such a happy moment. Then suddenly Michael walked in and the kids just looked frightened. Michael was so angry.’

She said the children ‘hated’ being forced to wear masks in public.

‘They didn’t like them. It wasn’t my idea. I hated it as well. So whenever I had a chance I misplaced the masks or forgot to pack them,’ she told Barak.

Rwaramba said Jackson did not have a clue about money and fell under the influence of extremist sect, the Nation of Islam.

She said the sect told him the house Jackson had in Los Angeles – after Neverland was sold – cost 60,750 a month in rent.

But when Rwaramba checked with real estate agents, rent should not have cost more than 15,000.

She revealed how shortly before his death, Jackson was forced to sleep in the New Jersey basement of one of his former employees.

The fate of Jackson’s children is unclear with reports raising the possibility of a custody battle involving Debbie Rowe, the biological mother of his two eldest offspring.

Meanwhile, a person close to the situation says Michael Jackson’s mother has chosen one of the singer’s longtime lawyers to represent the family’s legal interests.

Katherine Jackson has selected L. Londell McMillan, who has represented Jackson in several cases in the past, said the person, who requested anonymity because the matter is private.

Since Jackson’s death on Thursday, the family has expressed its concern about whether Jackson had a will, and who was advising him in his final days.

source.mailUK

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Police question Michael Jackson’s doctor – is he a suspect in the singer’s death?

Posted by African Press International on June 28, 2009

ByREUTERS

In Summary

  • Police question Michael Jacksons doctor again
  • Singers family orders a second autopsy
  • Father calls Jacksons death one of darkest moments

LOS ANGELES, June 27

Los Angeles police on Saturday again questioned Michael Jacksons doctor, while the family of the pop music icon ordered its own private autopsy two days after his death shocked fans around the world.

Jacksons father issued a statement urging fans not to despair because the singer will continue to live on in each and every one of you. The family sought a second autopsy — the official one was conducted on Friday — amid reports about the 50-year-old singers reliance on prescription medications.

Jacksons personal physician, Texas cardiologist Dr Conrad Murray, who was with the singer when he collapsed at his rented mansion on Thursday, hired an attorney to accompany him to what was expected to be a lengthy meeting with the Los Angeles Police Department late on Saturday.

Dr. Murray is considered to be a witness to the events surrounding Michael Jacksons death and he is not a suspect, Houston law firm Stradley, Chernoff & Alford said in a statement.

Dr. Murray hired legal counsel to help guide him through the police investigation process. The law firm was hired to make sure the police investigation is conducted properly.

An LAPD spokeswoman said she had no updates on the meeting, three hours after it was scheduled to begin. According to media reports, Jackson was injected with the narcotic painkiller Demerol shortly before he went into cardiac arrest.

Murray was desperately trying to revive Jackson when paramedics arrived, and he rode with the singer in an ambulance to the hospital where the pop star was pronounced dead.

The official autopsy, conducted on Friday, failed to determine what killed Jackson, pending toxicology tests that were expected to take up to six weeks. Such tests could reveal the presence of drugs in his system.

The celebrity website TMZ.com, which first broke the news of Jacksons death, reported that the second autopsy took place at an undisclosed location in Los Angeles on Saturday afternoon, on the orders of the Jackson family.

Did he inject him?

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who has been serving as a spokesman for the singers family, told ABC News the family also had questions for Murray. Jackson is not related to the singers family.

When did the doctor come? What did he do? Did he inject him? If so, with what? he said in an interview with ABC. Michael Jacksons father, Joseph, issued a statement through People magazine, calling his sons death one of the darkest moments of our lives.

He added: We miss Michael endlessly, our pain cannot be described in words. … But please do not despair, because Michael will continue to live on in each and every one of you.

He reportedly sent moving vans to empty his sons mansion in the upscale Holmby Hills neighborhood, concerned that items would be stolen. The singers younger sister, Janet, spent several hours at the estate, which city records show is worth $20 million and owned by a trust linked to apparel mogul Herbert Guez.

Jacksons parents, siblings and three young children were in seclusion at the family compound in the Los Angeles suburb of Encino, as distraught fans from around the world gathered outside its brick walls.

Jacksons body is being held at an undisclosed mortuary after the coroner returned it to the family on Friday evening. Funeral plans have not been announced. We need something where we can mourn and celebrate his life, say our goodbyes, said Donna Green, a 44-year-old resident of Las Vegas who once ran a Jackson fan club.

source.nation.org

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Posted by African Press International on June 28, 2009

ByABDULKADIR KHALIF, SUNDAY NATION

WASHINGTON/MOGADISHU

The US government has provided about 40 tonnes of weapons and ammunition to Somalias embattled government in the past six weeks to help it fight Islamist insurgents, a senior US official said on Saturday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the United States spent less than $10 million on what he described as small arms and ammunition as well as on payments to other nations to train Somali government forces.

While the State Department confirmed on Thursday that it was providing weaponry to the government, it had not previously provided details on the type, cost or amount.

The senior State Department official told reporters the United States began providing the arms soon after Somalias al-Shabaab insurgents began a major offensive against the fragile transitional federal government (TFG) in early May.

Al Shabaab, which is seen as a proxy for al Qaeda, controls most of south Somalia and all but a few blocks of the capital Mogadishu. The official said Washington feared that it could destabilise the region and turn Somalia into a safe haven for foreign Islamists and global terrorists.

Weve shipped probably in the neighbourhood of 40 tonnes worth of arms and munitions into Somalia, the official said. We remain concerned about the prospects of an al Shabaab victory, and we want to do as much as we can to help the TFG.

The United States funded the purchase of arms for the Somali government and also asked the Ugandan and Burundian troops in the country to give the government weapons and then reimbursed them, the official said.

He said the United States also set aside money to pay the Ugandan and Burundian units to train government forces rather than having US troops conduct the training.

When a moderate Islamist was elected president in January, there was hope he could end nearly two decades of bloodshed in Somalia by reconciling with hardliners who want to impose a strict version of Islamic law across the country.

But al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden declared Somali President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed an enemy in an audiotape released in March, calling on the insurgents to topple the government and for Muslims around the world to join their fight.

The US official said he had heard estimates of between 200 and 400 foreign fighters in Somalia but that his personal view was that the figure probably was less than 200.

Meanwhile, Sheikh Musse Abdi Arale, a Member of the Shura (Council) of Hizbu Islam, the Islamist group opposing the TFG, told the local media that the US is responsible for the mayhem in Somalia. He justified his remarks, insisting that the US has always intervened in the internal affairs of Somalia.

For half a century, the US has been following plans to harm the Somali people, said Sheikh Musse. He added that the American governments exploited Somalias natural resources by employing local stooges.

Sheikh Musse was reacting to news that the US had delivered arms and ammunition to the TFG. This delivery of arms and ammunition to Somalia is an indication that the US is not interested in the stability of Somalia, said Sheikh Musse.

Separately, an Al-Shabaabs top official in Mogadishu, Sheikh Ali Hussein Mohamed, condemned the US action to send weapons to the TFG. He said that a delivery of arms and other assistance only shows that the TFGs claim to have an Islamic agenda is phoney.

The US has recently announced that it delivered arms, ammunition and other military supplies to Somalia to the tune of 40 tons.

source.nation.ke

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Posted by African Press International on June 28, 2009

ByMURITHI MUTIGA

In Summary

  • How climate change threatens coastal towns 800,000 people and tourist wealth

Mombasa is known all over the world as a city of sun-kissed beaches and luxurious hotels packed with tourists having the time of their lives.

But in just 20 years, this world-renowned tourist haven may become an island of misery in which vast stretches of land are submerged in sea.

Salinity will make the water unfit for human consumption, it is feared, and local agriculture will collapse due to excess salts in the soil.

That is the grim projection of scientists who are now warning that authorities must take urgent steps to save the coastal city from collapsing under the weight of the effects of global warming.

We are already seeing adverse climate change signals. Some hotels at the South Coast are building sea walls to deal with waves, something we have not seen before, says Dr Samuel Mariga, assistant director in charge of climate change at the Kenya Meteorological Department. All our models indicate that temperatures will continue going up and we must put in place adaptation and mitigation measures to deal with the problem.

Dr Marigas views tally with those presented in a new book focusing on how cities can best cope with effects of changing climactic conditions.

The book, “Adapting Cities to Climate Change“, highlights challenges facing Mombasa, Dhaka, Cotonou, Mumbai, Rio de Janeiro, Shanghai and Durban.

It is edited by experts from the London-based International Institute for Environment and Development and was released two weeks ago.

It warns that Mombasa, home to approximately 800,000 people, is especially vulnerable to the effects of rising sea levels due to its low altitude, and high temperature and humidity.

Mombasa is on the coastal plain, only about 45 metres above sea level.

The scientists predict that unless urgent mitigation measures are taken, a sea-level rise of just 0.3 metres will see 17 per cent of Mombasa (4,600 hectares) submerged.

They warn that large areas of the island will be rendered uninhabitable and unsuitable for agriculture due to salt stress and predict frequent flooding.

Sandy beaches and other features, including historical and cultural monuments such as Fort Jesus, several beach hotels, industries, the ship-docking ports and human settlements could be negatively affected by sea-level rise, says the report.

Other potential impacts of sea-level rise that could affect Mombasa (are) increased coastal storm damage and flooding; sea-shore erosion… contributing to loss of biodiversity, fisheries and recreational opportunities.

The Kenyan section of the book was authored by Cynthia Brenda Awuor, a research fellow on climate change at African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS), Nairobi, Victor Ayo Orindi, a researcher at the International Development Research Centre, and Andrew Ochieng Adwera, a former researcher at ACTS who is currently a graduate student in the UK.

The scientists do not offer a precise timeline when the worst of these effects will take hold.

But, according to the Kenya Meteorological Department, some of the dramatic changes will be seen in as few as 20 years.

According to the new book, Mombasa faces significant challenges due to the failure to enforce physical planning by-laws down the years, which has resulted in mushrooming of illegal structures and blocking of access roads.

It calls for swift action to ensure that the city is spared the worst effects of climate change, due to its economic and strategic importance.

Mombasa town clerk Tubmun Otieno told the Sunday Nation on Saturday a number of steps hade been taken to open blocked drainage pipes, which have long been blamed for floods in the area.

It is true that the drainage system in Mombasa collapsed a long time ago. But we have recently taken a number of measures to address this. We have unclogged drainage pipes. It rained last night (Friday) but if you come to Mombasa, you will not see stagnant water, he said.

Mr Otieno said the council was working with the urban planning department of the ministry of local government to develop a masterplan to improve the towns drainage system.

But the town clerk admitted the city does not have a climate change policy or a budget for mitigation measures.

He said a climate change strategy should be formulated at the national level and then implemented in partnership with local authorities.

Dr Mariga shared those sentiments.

Scientists say human activities such as driving cars and using coal-powered plants to derive electricity contribute to global warming because they release carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. These gases act like a blanket which traps heat that would have normally exited into outer space, contributing to rising temperatures on earth.

The effect of the accompanying climate change is particularly acute in coastal areas, because of the rise in sea levels triggered, scientists say, by the melting of continental ice sheets and thermal expansion of water.

However, this is a gradual process, estimated to be happening at the rate of a few millimetres a year. Despite this slow rise, scientists project that the long-term impact may see entire islands such as Zanzibar disappear completely in 100 years.

Mombasa is the main sea port serving Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, Southern Sudan and parts of Tanzania.

It is also one of the main magnets for tourists choosing to spend their holidays in the country. Mr Khalid Salim, head of public relations and corporate affairs at the Kenya Tourist Board (KTB), says 65 per cent of tourists visiting Kenya go to the Coast.

He said KTB was working with other government agencies to ensure steps are taken to preserve the city.

The book proposes a broad range of measures to help cushion Mombasa against the worst effects of the rise in sea level.

It urges authorities to seek a solution to the problem of land ownership, arguing the large number of squatters makes it difficult to have planned settlements and provide basic services to reduce the risk of flooding.

The authorities should repossess all public utility land and beach access roads that have been allocated to private developers, the scientists recommend.

In addition, they should construct and maintain drainage facilities in estates in low-lying areas and with poor water seepage to reduce prolonged flooding and its resultant side effects.

The building code in the area, say the scientists, should also be reviewed to promote building standards that can accommodate future climatic conditions such as high temperatures, humidity and flooding.

For example, it would be useful to construct buildings with strong, unoccupied open spaces on the ground floor; these could avert damage and loss of property and life during floods. Also, buildings could be designed and constructed in ways that promote natural air circulation and cooling to reduce temperatures and high humidity indoors, the scientists say.

Other measures urged are reforestation to ensure a healthy sea wall and early warning systems for climate-related disasters.

The Kenyan chapter primarily focused on Mombasa citys four divisions, Mombasa Island, Kisauni, Likoni and Changamwe.

Dr Mariga says the effects of climate change will be felt acutely not only in the island but further inland. He says measures should be taken to help locals adapt to changes that will affect agriculture, considering many areas at the Coast already experience low productivity.

Considering some agricultural land will be covered by water, there should be an effort to help people grow salt tolerant crops and also engage in activities such as fishing, he says.

source.nation.ke

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Controversy over inclusion of tribal identity in census – Donors do not understand African culture and the need to know your tribe

Posted by African Press International on June 28, 2009

Knowing ones tribe is bigger than the donors! Donors have a problem to understand and accept the African person’s values on culture and traditions. They want to dictate everything simply because they fund the exercise. That should not be allowed. Kenyans need to know their real identity and that is by accepting and singing as loud as possible about the tribe one comes from.

Are the donors trying to force Kenyans not to speak their tribal languages too now that they try to refuse Kenyans to say the tribes they belong? Or is it due to the fact that some of the donors do not have tribes in their countries and now through jealousy want to dictate for Kenyans?

For a Kenyan, it is not difficult to know ones tribe by simply reading the name. This is what the donors are blind to see! (API)

BySAMUEL SIRINGIPostedSaturday, June 272009at21:03

In Summary

  • The question of tribe in the forthcoming national population census has put government officials and donors on a collision course after the officials defied the donors who have demanded that the question be struck out of the questionnaire
  • Government ignores donor concerns that ethnic question in August population census will derail efforts towards national healing

A spirited attempt to block a census question that would make it possible for Kenyans to know the number of people in each of the countrys 42 tribes has been rejected even as it emerged that the government was planning to deploy monitors to help prevent rigging of the August national census.

Donors wanted the question dropped from the official census questionnaire on grounds that it will frustrate efforts towards national healing after last years bloody post-election violence.

The donors argued that the question will evoke memories of the killings, many of which were attributed to tensions between tribes following the disputed presidential election. Some 1,300 people were killed while 350,000 were displaced in the violence.

Ministry of Planning officials have decided to press on with the questionnaire bearing the tribe question, arguing that fears that it was too emotive were overblown.

Kenya National Bureau of Statistics director general Anthony Kilele confirmed the donor concerns.

They thought it might not be good for us to ask people about their tribes when they have not healed (from the deadly post-election violence), he said.

But Mr Kilele said the donors fears had been proved wrong since the question had been answered well during a pilot census survey ahead of the Sh7.3 billion national count.

We have established that all Kenyans are comfortable with answering the tribe question, he said.

The data (on tribe) is of good statistical value, he said. It will allow us to know better who we are, rather than relying on generalities.

The donors had argued that it would be difficult for the results to be trusted if some of the results on the tribe numbers were disputed.

Their case was based on the reasoning that politicians and their communities would want to show that their tribes were more populous than the rest, in a bid to benefit more from devolved funds such as Constituency Development Fund, which are calculated on the basis of the number of people in each constituency.

So great are rigging fears that the government recently called on interested international and local firms to apply to monitor the exercise.

No census has been overseen by independent monitors in Kenyas history, meaning stakes in this years exercise are high especially coming so soon after the controversial 2007 General Election.

The Kenya 2009 Population and Housing Census will be held on the night of August 24/25.

Tensions over the numbers of each tribe are not new. In 1999, the question was asked but data on the findings was not made public.

It is also expected that results of the census may guide the creation of new constituencies ahead of the 2012 General Election.

The donors concerns are similar to those recently raised by former Kenya National Commission on Human Rights chairman Maina Kiai who called for postponement of the census on grounds that the high political temperatures in the country were unsuitable for collecting population data.

There were also fears that there could be rigging in the exercise, with people deliberately distorting the count to inflate figures of their regions to benefit from higher allocation of devolved funds and get new districts and constituencies.

Allegations have been made that leaders in some parts of the country were preparing to import outsiders to their constituencies with the aim of boosting numbers to show a surge in their population.

But Mr Kilele pointed out that questions on identity were common all over the world. He cited the US which collects data on the number of African-Americans, whites and Hispanics.

He said there was danger that Kenyans will continue using data from the 1989 census to estimate numbers.

It is dangerous for us not to provide the (tribe) figures since they are important for statistical and cultural analysis, he said.

Data on tribe was last provided in the 1989 census.

Out of the 1989 figures, it is estimated that the Kikuyu comprise 22 per cent of the population followed by the Luhya at 14 per cent.

The Luo are estimated to make up 13 per cent with the Kalenjin constituting 12 per cent of the population. The Kamba form 11 per cent while the Kisii and Meru are at six per cent each.

Its these figures that the controversial tribe question seeks to confirm.

The question reads: What is (your) tribe?

Mr Kilele said data on tribe for the 1989 censuses and those before were all released.

According to the 1989 census, the Kikuyu comprised 4.5 million, the Luhya 3 million while the Luo were 2.7 million.

The Kalenjin were 2.5 million, Kamba (2.4 million) while Kisii and Meru were 1.3 million and 1 million, respectively.

The importance of collecting data based on tribe was also underscored by the director of the National Coordinating Agency for Population and Development, Dr Boniface KOyugi, who said it was a good measure of socio-cultural identity.

There was a feeling (among donors) that the data was not needed given the current (polarised) situation in the country but we think we should have the information so we decide what to do with it, he said.

It is understood that Planning minister Wycliff Oparanya intervened to have the donors back down. According to National Bureau of Statistics official Christopher Omollo, the donors were asking what the value of the numbers on tribe will be for the country.

The government side argued the data was important to reveal fertility behaviour of different ethnic communities, their education levels and other relevant facts.

We are looking beyond just numbers. The donors were opposed to the question so we had to explain to them the reasons why we wanted to collect data on the issue, said Mr Omollo.

The Sunday Nation learnt from one of the donors United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) that they were initially insistent that the question be dropped.

But they were later persuaded on its importance after talks with the government.

Some of the donors, under the banner of the Donor Consultative Group, that are jointly helping to fund the exercise include UNFPA, UNDP and western missions.

Moi university communications lecturer Julliet Macharia said there was no need to drop the key question since avoiding it would not help heal the wounds of last years General Election. She said Kenyans have been so divided that they would go to any lengths to know anyones tribe through their names.

We should face the reality and sort out the problems that come with ethnicity rather that mess up facts in the census, she said.

Information that comes from regions of the country is necessary for various statistical analyses. For example, data collected during the 2003 Kenya Demographic Health Survey showed that some regions had high fertility rates than others.

Although the national average number of children per woman was five children the average in North Eastern province was 7.2 children.

Western and Rift Valley had the second highest total fertility rate of 5.8 children per woman followed by Coast with 5.6, Nyanza (5.4) and Eastern five. Nairobi province had the lowest fertility rate of 2.8 followed by Central recording a rate of 5.0. Mr Omollo said collecting data on tribe was important to help in analysis of fertility behaviour.

The debate on whether to retain the tribe question represents another twist to the census debate, which has already been dogged by fears that people may interfere with its findings.

President Kibakis frequent creation of new districts, the scramble for devolved funds and current political polarisation are all factors that have triggered debate.

source.nation.ke

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Love is truly colour blind – Albinism is no obstruction

Posted by African Press International on June 28, 2009

Albinism no wrong

James, Pamela and their daughter, Avril. Photos/Jane Atieno

ByBENEDICTTA NYAKIVIA

In Summary

  • For this couple, the attraction was instant and they went full on to develop a relationship that culminated in marriage, despite what people said.

It was a lazy afternoon and with no customers visiting the kiosk, Pamela Mukami decided to sit outside and wait patiently for business to come her way. An avid reader, she kept herself busy with a novel.

For a long time, there was just Pamela and her book, then she heard footsteps approaching. Looking up, she saw friends of hers coming her way.

Among them was a face she was not familiar with, but there was something about the young mans looks and warm persona that struck a cord in her heart. And judging from the secret glances he kept throwing her way after the introductions were done, Pamela had no doubt the interest was mutual.

The friends engaged in conversation for a few minutes and then turned to leave. Pamela felt a tinge of sadness, fearing she would never see her new acquaintance again. But her heart skipped a few beats when he returned stealthily after the others had gone.

He came back and said, I see you like novels, recalls 25-year-old Pamela of the man who would sweep her off her feet and become her husband a few years later. He said he had a whole collection and asked if I wanted to exchange a few books with him.

Elated, she agreed and true to his word, the man visited her at the kiosk the next day, novel in hand. That was the beginning of a romantic relationship between Pamela and James Mutai.

James, 29, continued visiting Pamela at the shop where she helped her mother sell various provisions. As they more spent time together, the two discovered their shared interest for certain things. Besides being avid readers, we discovered that we both liked country music, says James.

Sparkling eyes

He admits he was attracted to the polite, soft-spoken woman with the sparkling eyes and could not stop thinking about her. Similarly, Pamela could not get her mind off the young man, an aspiring musician with a deep, musical voice and sense of humour.

And she also liked his shiny blonde hair, which she says made him very attractive.

Jamess hair colour is as a result of albinism, an inherited genetic condition characterised by little or no pigment (melanin) in the skin, eyes and hair. The low levels of melanin cause a very light skin tone, which can sometimes be very pale, as well as white-blonde hair.

Since melanin protects the skin from the suns ultra-violet rays, people with albinism are more easily prone to sunburn. Lack of melanin in the eyes also results in eyesight problems, as the eyes do not develop properly without this pigment.

The last of 10 children, James has six other siblings with albinism (although one is deceased). Neither of his parents have the condition although they are carriers of the gene that causes it.

Jamess condition, which carries a lot of stigma and superstition in some communities, persons with albinism are considered a curse or bad omen, and many of these children are killed at birth mattered little to Pamela.

Indeed, each day she yearned for the moment she would meet her newfound love interest and spend time with him. She did not want to be away from him for even a minute.

He was romantic and he made my heart flutter, recalls Pamela. I especially remember Valentines Day of 2003. It was the best day of my life.

On the day set aside for lovebirds, James took her for a picnic beside a waterfall on a family friends farm in Nkubu, Meru. The landscape was beautiful there was lavish vegetation all around us. We sat on the rocks, listening to the sound of the rushing water and savouring the picturesque scenery, she says.

James, who Pamela describes as a wordsmith, romanced her with all the sweet nothings a 23-year-old man (at the time) could think of. There was more. He had carried his guitar along and hummed romantic tunes while strumming. I was completely smitten!

Great chemistry

From that moment on, Pamela, a nurse at a hospital in Thika town, knew James was the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with. It was the same for James: Something in my heart just clicked, he says. And as we spent more time together, we realised that we connected both intellectually and emotionally. There was this great chemistry between us.

Because of the social stigma attached to albinism, it was only natural that their relationship came under thorough scrutiny and was a major subject of discussion among family and friends. While some did not mind the choice she had made, others did not mince their words.

I had relatives openly question my choice of partner. One even asked me whether I was serious about my decision to have a person with albinism for a boyfriend. She felt it was wrong for me to date such a person, Pamela says.

Even more hurtful was a suggestion by one of her closest friends to take the time to meet someone else. My friend said I was not being wise in dating James, she recalls.

However, she refused to let peoples comments deter her. She knew what she wanted and she went for it. Thankfully, her parents never took issue with her relationship. They told me that if my heart was happy, then they were happy too.

What Pamela loved most about James was that he was a good person at heart. While many girls dream of partners who are tall, dark and handsome, all she ever prayed for was a man with a good heart.

Physical beauty or an acceptable outward appearance does not make one happy. What matters most is what is inside, what is in the heart. James fulfilled me and made me happy.

James credits his family for their open-mindedness. They did not mind his choice of partner. As he was growing up, he desired a woman of average height with chocolate skin for a wife. But I got more than that. I got a beautiful woman with a warm and pleasant personality.

Even after she enrolled for a diploma course in nursing at the Kenya Medical Training College in Kakamega, Pamela maintained close contact with James, who was then studying for a degree in French and Special Education at Kenyatta University. Upon graduation, he started teaching at the Amboseli Training Institute in Thika. The two maintained their long distance relationship, with either one travelling frequently to see the other.

In 2006, Pamela discovered she was pregnant. She recalls that day clearly. I took the test at a health centre in Kakamega town. When the results came back positive, I did a small celebratory dance that lasted about three minutes. People around me thought I had gone crazy!

Why was she so happy? I was delighted because I wanted James to be the father of my children. I had no doubts about that.

James received the news of her pregnancy with equal delight. When she told me I was going to be a father, I felt profound joy in my heart, he says.

But the question many would ask is whether the couple had even talked about having a child together. And more importantly, had they discussed the possibilities of having one born with albinism? Had Pamela thought clearly about this?

James and I had discussed the issue at great length. I was aware of the possibility that I could have a baby with albinism. But that mattered little to me. I was prepared for any child, whether born normal or with the condition, she says.

Although James was ready to accept whatever happened, he leaned more towards having a child with normal skin.

Besides the social stigma and discrimination that persons with albinism face, there are also the physical problems, such as frequent sunburn and eyesight problems. I would not wish my children to experience the same difficulties I have had, he says.

Number of children

The couple, who were married under Meru customary law, welcomed their daughter, Avril Ntinyari in 2006. She does not have albinism. Do they plan to have more children? Yes we do! the couple responds in unison.

However, they cannot seem to agree on the number of children they would like to have. Pamela wants to just one more child, while James is insistent on having two more. They lovingly argue about it briefly before agreeing to discuss it later.

The two have faced their fair share of open stares and whispers, but their relationship continues to thrive.

The bottom line is that James is an individual and my relationship with him is no different from that which I would have with a person of normal skin, says Pamela confidently.

A man is a man at the end of the day, whether he is tall, short, dark, light, slim, huge or whatever. But society must keep reminding me that James is different. When we walk on the streets and people openly stare at us, or when people make comments and ask me questions about him, that is when I remember he has albinism. People are obsessed over my relationship with him.

James, who is also a musician with the Savanna Maestros, says at the end of the day, people will always have something to say about you.

Even if you are perfect, they will have an opinion about you, both good and bad. The best way to go about your life is to live it as normally as possible, because people will only treat you differently if you allow them to.

Of his relationship with Pamela, James says: You will always know when the right person comes along. We experience the normal ups and downs of a relationship, just like any other couple. But our love is growing stronger, as we keep re-discovering ourselves each day. We have found true happiness in each other.

living@nation.co.ke

source.nation.ke

SEE COMMENTS BELOW: People’s ways of looking at things differently!

  • Submitted bycomprah
    Postedjuni 27, 2009 03:03 PM

    What is this story meant for? Whose love is blind here? There is an element of discrimination in this story (my opinion). Does is qualify to be a blind love when an albino is readily accepted and loved by this cute lady? What does this story mean to other albinos who are still searching?-that they can only get married to ladies whose love is blind?… Something is being violated here.

  • Submitted bylouiseboke
    Postedjuni 26, 2009 11:49 AM

    the babies might either be carriers or albinos..go girl’after all you will not stop loving some one because of your babies will be short right?

  • Submitted byjeff1
    Postedjuni 26, 2009 10:33 AM

    i have never seen kenyans concode in unison lie this we all wish u well james and pamela remember one takes the form of ones tru love meaning that James is noonger a mutant but became normal in pams eyes and pam to james was nolonger normal but became mutant to james eyes take care of each other Coz true love is hard to find…

  • Submitted bykamwara
    Postedjuni 25, 2009 07:46 PM

    This article should be sued under the act of discrimination. Albinus are also human beings. why write this. What is unique that the writer wanted to show.That they can be disciriminated?

  • Submitted bymzee_moja
    Postedjuni 25, 2009 05:48 PM

    Awesome family and cute daugter. I wish you love till end of time. But thats Kenya and stay hapo hapo tu! Dont come to USA coz our ladies have subsituted LOVE to working DOUBLES!! Wish you God’s blessings.

  • Submitted bydrg
    Postedjuni 25, 2009 04:48 PM

    great story. we can all learn. well, the baby will carry the gene from the dad but unless she marries another carrier, she wont have albino kids because you need two genes to express the character.

  • Submitted bystitch_mn
    Postedjuni 25, 2009 03:08 PM

    A wonderful family

  • Submitted bynyanks
    Postedjuni 25, 2009 02:03 PM

    iam not negative but will their child carry the gene for albinism

  • Submitted bykachubari
    Postedjuni 25, 2009 12:38 PM

    God loves You.Keep up the blissful and nuptials.

  • Submitted bykyakam
    Postedjuni 25, 2009 08:51 AM

    One in a million couples. God bless your marriage Pamela n James

  • Submitted bymusembisix
    Postedjuni 25, 2009 08:23 AM

    Good for you both. Thank God for the Daily Nation for just printing something so positive aint no SORRY KENYA POLITICS.

  • Submitted bymkigunda1
    Postedjuni 24, 2009 06:52 PM

    Mutai my very dear friend, I am glad to see your great family!

  • Submitted byvgogero
    Postedjuni 24, 2009 06:08 PM

    the lady is indeed one in a million she does not just look at at the outer image but also the inner man .She also seems to have a heart of gold .

  • Submitted bywaguras
    Postedjuni 24, 2009 05:26 PM

    This is cute! Pamela you are awesome! and James you are the new voice of those that are set aside because of unrealistic cultural stigmas!

  • Submitted byKU1978
    Postedjuni 24, 2009 04:48 PM

    Like the story but who hired this editor/author. The title just makes it a little awkward to want to read the story, I actually thought they were going to a story of an interracial couple…how about a simple title like “Love against all odds”. When he talks of color blindness it doesn’t suit the story…

  • Submitted byyesuwangu
    Postedjuni 24, 2009 04:28 PM

    its called true love

  • Submitted bypeterstags
    Postedjuni 24, 2009 04:27 PM

    In the quest to find a nice heading, am afraid this one is chauvinistic. its a bit disturbing to see it published.I am glad someone else has raised the issue. Best wishes to the happy family.

  • Submitted bynarano
    Postedjuni 24, 2009 02:14 PM

    That is a very wrong title for a wonderful story. The couple is happy. Period. Think what you want.

  • Submitted bykagush2005
    Postedjuni 24, 2009 02:10 PM

    Yes,many of us ladies are getting lost because we are looking at material wealth as a condition for love later to realise it is not a source of happiness.What matters most is personality.

  • Submitted bywangulu35
    Postedjuni 24, 2009 12:36 PM

    the lady is one in a milion and a rare quality in kenya

  • Submitted byDiroh
    Postedjuni 24, 2009 12:10 PM

    Very beautiful daughter u have there. Am happy for you. I wish we had many ladies like Pamela. Always let us be who we are. May God continue Blessing u each day.

  • Submitted bykatenm
    Postedjuni 24, 2009 12:03 PM

    Love is truly blind and that concludes that everyone out there has someone for him/her!God bless the couple.

  • Submitted byLinxzy
    Postedjuni 24, 2009 11:38 AM

    Awesome;God Bless your family greatly!!

  • Submitted bypatrick_milo
    Postedjuni 24, 2009 10:05 AM

    I like the lady. Very strong in mind, a strong personality who is not deterred by opinions from others.

  • Submitted byknjami
    Postedjuni 24, 2009 01:10 AM

    Thats a great couple. What matters most is the love for each other and your happiness. Forget what others say.By the way, I heard you sing at rock city and was thrilled.

  • Submitted bymwanoo1
    Postedjuni 23, 2009 10:37 PM

    beautiful daughter there!! God bless the couple

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