I love parting and socializing a lot not because am drug a dict but because i meet and get to know reality of my town and what my peers think. it was on this day on Wednesday night when a friend had called us in his house for house warming at first i thought it was much for me as it was a working day but again said i would not stay long to the party…hmm i decide to join my other friends who hail from the same town.
On arrival we met a group of young men and women who came from same and none was new to each other as we are common pals we drunk and ate among the crowd there were some female sex workers (fsw) and some men who sleep with men (msms) who had been invited to the party by the house owner being a guy who works for an organization which works with the same target group and could not leave them out.
As we socialized they erupted from a guy who seemed to be very much opposed to gay men and he said i was out on Friday with some friends when came some four young men in the same club to drink as we drunk they could go and dance and made the whole place look like they owned it at first i thought they were here to enjoy themselves like any other person and go little did i know they were here to get clients like female sex workers he said..
It did not take long before a descent guy sent them some drinks through a lady who was serving our table then asked one of them who looked pretty presentable to join his table and one thing led to the other these two drunk and left after some time.It was at this point that a lady female sex worker joined as and had this to say when he saw the remaining three guys nkt..these guys have made life difficult for us in this small city!!!!!!!!! they take all the good and rich men. We asked her to elaborate when she said if you want to know go to the following pubs bla..bla..bla.. she disclosed to us the names which i cant share for security reasons but why do men take them and leave you ladies?I asked her men claim they have less expenses as compared to us they also claim they are few unlike us who are many and keep changing clients she said .and where did you get all that information i asked . She said i have a personal friend who sleeps with men and that’s what he told me when i asked him of same she said.
It dint take long before these others get different men to treat them just like ladies in the same pub we also learn t that most men feel easy around fellow men and that one could think they are workmate friends or even cousins the lady said the msms have no fear especially when they get drunk.What do you think should be done to them i asked the lady said they are still our friends because at times we get men who want them and pay us to hook them up or they get men who want both and they also invite us but we feel very much worried she lamented.
It has been hell of time and some people with with ill motive have taken advantage of the recently anti gay law bill that was passed in Uganda since kisumu is bordering the country in question it has been hectic for msms in both regions who have suffered silently with no one at their aid.
It was on Friday evening as was going round as always having my storming sessions at health care providers facilities to my surprise what i heard i couldn’t believe that still exist in this current world.On my visit to one of the msms friendly heath care facility that cant disclose its name due to security reasons i met a clinician who took me through his records not disclosing to me names of his clients who did not turn up for their medication (ART)
We have suffered a big blow and it seems we were not prepared Hans said not his real name ever since the bill was passed in Uganda we have not been getting our clients for treatment and we are worried as we can not reach them on phone. I asked why and he said most of our target group is the msms community as we are a youth friendly facility most of our nurses,Councillors and clinicians are sensitized and work with them in Avery harmonious way he said.Each month we receive new and continuing clients who are either referred by fellow peer educators or some organization but for this month none turned up.
Luckily there was one who sneaked in for his medication and we had to have a private talk with him. bonny not his real name said they are threatened by their neighbors who know them as msms,they also threatened us that we are promoting western culture and that we should be burnt to death he said as tear rolled down his cheeks. It was on this note that most guys flee away for the city to go for hiding for some time.
As this happened to our own community the same facility recodes the highest no of foreigners who came for medication away from their country Uganda to me that was more sensitive than the bill itself we can not loose lives just because one is gay life is precious.It was here that we also realized that msms have particular hospitals they prefer due to security and privacy of same.The main challenge is most of this men no one knows if they are accessing drugs or not in whichever hiding place they maybe in.
We appeal to anybody who may be threatening these people out there to let course take its place the bill was passed in Uganda and not yet in Kenya its so unkind for us to threaten our brothers to the point of making them run away from health care facilities we also urge the same community to embrace peace among them always.thanks to KASH (keeping alive societies hope) for their hard work in making sure all can access their medications at all time and also protects rights.
It has been a debate that has always hit media houses about gays and one is left wondering if this is some thing new that can be stopped like once.it was on Sunday evening when i decided tour my home town kisumu with some friends from within and went to have a drink in one of the pubs in town to my dismay i realized there were many cars with strange no plates and there were many new faces that had never met before it was on this that i took initiative to inquire what could be happening in town as i thought maybe there was a function but was wrong.
As we enjoyed ourselves i spotted one guy that i knew long ago in Nairobi and used to work and reside in Uganda and so moved to ask what brought him here and to make my conscious clear.On asking he also remembered me and there we joined the two groups and had our fun. As we enjoyed ourselves i asked them what brought a group like that to Kenya which he said Fabian not his real name that “our country is not safe at all”here we find bit safe because you people are a bit enlightened he said in Uganda you can not trust even your next door neighbor because the anti gay law that was passed has made even the citizens become greedy and very inhuman Fabian said in disgust.
During all this time we all remained mum and wondered why one would be that unkind to his fellow human but we reserved our comments.Fabian had four other men who were from Uganda too and they also had this to say in Uganda the moment you are seen going inside a room with a fellow man the caretaker for the place will come and stand near the door and listen to your conversations and alert the bar or restaurant owner who will mobilize the police and media guys and break in to your room and that leads to merciful beatings and shame.to me that was wrong because i feel there is right to privacy why would somebody come to listen to me in aprivate room and break in?
Jotham not his real name from the same country also said that at some point your enemies who knows about your sexual orientation will also be used to trap you posing as new clients and on arranging for the date they expose you this is so hurting and has made many of us come here at-least to take a break from all that humiliation.I personally went through such and had to pay some guys a lot of money to save my reputation what we are left to wonder about is how can someone explain and convince you about what they feel can heart or feeling matters be explained? If you look at HIV prevalence rate in Uganda as compared to Kenya Ugandans is much higher and we suspect that larger number is contributed by unprotected sexual intercourse between the gay and bisexuals in the community i wish our president could hear as out and know that we are not trading or copying the western but being real…..look at me do i look poor to you i have my own company and employed straight men and women do they put that in considerations???? he lamented i could feel the pain but had very little to do and again the man looked stinking rich.
since it was getting late and our new friends were not very sure of their safety they asked to leave to go and have rest in one of the prestigious hotels in kisumu where they confirmed most of them love due to their good services and privacy.we left each other with nothuing but encouraged then and prayed that one day Uganda come to realize that threatening and harsh punishment will never solve any problem but should embrace dialogue and understating for the LGBTIQ community
It was Saturday one of my favorite days and decided to go out with some of my good friends in town (kisumu) we decided to visit anew joint which we were told is commonly loved by female and male sex workers. We left to he joint at 9.00pm the joint happened to be along a busy street in kisumu next to commonly known pub for female sex workers from allover the country.
On arrival we were welcomed by some men who took us in and made sure we were seated and got us drinks to take. From the entrance there was normal business happening out and one can not tell there is a pub inside because from the main door their is a shop where people buy normal household good but if you proceed through corridor there is a nice restaurant where people drink and have fun.
There were not very many people as the pub seemed to be accommodating particular class of persons we realized there were many white men,Indians and Arabs community than Africans it was on this that my curiosity rose and asked our host why so? he said this is joint where msms are linked to the top rich guys in the city and either have them for dates or commercial and that one had to be frequent client for such arrangements to be done.
I could tell it was indeed a high class place e looking at the kind of drinks that we were offered. our host Benson (not his real name) told us most msms who are in the closet love this joint because they meet high caliber gays who end up taking them away from Kenya to their own mother lands. He gave me a list of ten msms who in the last year traveled abroad with their boyfriends.
I asked why female sex workers were also in the same joint and Benson said they played big role as they were used as coverup for people who did not know the kind of business that runs there and again they at some pointy met with men who loved having men so they could link them up and earn their commissions for any deal they made we had fun and promised to go back again and again.
Benson confessed to us that through his going to the joint he managed to open boutique in town where he sells manes attires and can pay his bills he said he has met several good supportive men who brought him that far on asking if he could link us to the friends so that we could also invite them to our health talk forums that we do through our organization KASH (Keeping Alive Societies Hope) he said he was more willing to come with his friends but was worried about the clients whom he said are not blacks and are not ready to be identified.We left the joint at 2.00pm having had fun and met different races within that short time frame.
It was a day that had my usual time to relax in one of the pubs in kisumu commonly loved by kisumu msms i took rest after long week end in same. As my nature i like sitting at the far end of the place to enable me watch all that happens in the place as you usual i saw a man coming towards my seat and said hi to me and went on asking if am the one he was looking for in the pub at first i almost said yes as he looked rich and much more organized than the usual guys i ever see here but again said what if he relies that he would hate me for no a parent reason and told him am not and that was out to have fun just like any other person.
The man asked for my permission to sit next me and permission was granted then i started interrogating him.You look new here? I said yes..he replied yes you right but work here now am actually professor he said as gave me his job card with all other details to my surprise the card entailed name of a nearby university that i know pretty well. You can always call me when ever you are free he said. so what brings you here i asked him? He said he was transferred to kisumu and was waiting for his new friend whom he had never met and that they met on Facebook before he came.
As we talked he bought me few drinks and after some few minutes the man in question came looking for his friend. So since he had never met this guy he kept sending text messages as the professor replied and when they connected he joined us at first i thought they are village mates or something but again the boy looked younger than the proffer and could not connect the two as workmates or even peers.As they drink i could get most of the conversation as had already known they had never met before they were talking about their love trail.
The young boy drunk and got drunk fast the old man had to help him to their room which they had booked in one of the nearby lodges from where we were drinking as they went so many questions ran through my mind is it a common habit for this guy to buy young boys drinks and take them with him or what? does he do this to many guys or has specific boy?as was thinking i remembered he gave me his details and in case of anything i could get him traced on my effort to tell the young guy to resist going with him for the first time to his room the boy seemed was so in need of cash which the old man was willing to offer and was too drunk to negotiate for anything..
We urge all the msms who still don’t have peer groups to join some of our health talk groups as in these groups we learn a lot apart from talking about our health we also lias with KASH (KEEPING ALIVE SOCIETIES HOPE) through their legal officer who helps the msms learn and understand their legal rights in the community and how to behave in the society without infringing other persons right i also thought that if the young man had attended any of our health talk session he could not have gone drinking with stranger and with no one to care for him who know if that man had good intentions or not? but later came to realize that the old man loves taking younger boys who he buys gifts and drinks in exchange for sex and the young msms in kisumu love easy come things which puts their life and health at risk……
It was police training day in kisumu and being an organization that works close with msms we had opportunity to have some of them invited to the session thanks to to (KASH) KEEPING ALIVE SOCIETIES HOPE ……on our arrival all were ready to get it from the horses mouth and the session kicked off at exactly 9.00am.
We had opportunity for the two presentations from our brothers in MSMs community and when the first speaker stood up this is what he said…i have no re-grates and owe no one explanation as to why am gay..he said. I started sleeping with men when was in high school. I was only having strong feelings to fellow men and this kept growing as time went on during this period i used to engage into sexual practices with fellow male students behind the dark corridors in school this was practiced for a period of time and the number kept increasing i mean the men that i met on different occasions and this was through snow balling method.
As he did his presentation my worry was how safe were they during the sexual act??? And how many if had protection used them in the right was as one would wonder why a student carry condoms to school and to worsen the matter boys school???? Fabian ( not his real name) went on and said it has been a challenge for me beacuse i have been hiding practicing this with other friend and wonder why it should be other peoples business to know how and why i have sex with men when i don’t bother myself knowing them.
At first the crowd went on silent and after gaining momentum they started throwing questions to him. If you were given money can you quite the behavior?? What behavior he retorted its my lifestyle am sick and tired of people after MSMs back to telling them to stop their practices when will they understand that it is what they like and can never change…..Fabien said there are so many challenges that we undergo as MSMs and hope will one day be free men among them he said they are still discriminated in most of the community,suffer rejection when discovered by family members among others what Fabien said that caught me was the fact that their sex trail is chain whereby one get you and passes your contacts to other friends for same and this can circulate even 100 men.
Fabian concluded by saying it was important for people to try and understand them as MSMs community instead of rebuking them all the time he said no one can choose to be what he is not and stick to it he encouraged other peers to join health talk sessions that are organized by KASH organization which he said they discuss much issues with fellow MSMs peers and he also shared that through the same organization he learn t how to negotiate or condom use at all time.
It was on Thursday when i had a call in the office telling me had just lost one of my best peers to me it sounded a joke as had met him a week ago when went for my health talk session in their area.Kevin (not his real name ) was resident in one of the biggest slum ares in kisumu he loved heath talk sessions and open talk shows and was very vocal,he always advocated for msms rights and was ready to loose his life for same.
Having been known for such a few men in the same area who were also homophobic had wanted to eliminate Kevin unaware until the day he went to have fun in one of the local pubs in their neighborhood. sources said that Kevin was called by few guys who proposed that they go have drink in different joint and he gave in to their proposal having been associated with much drinking.
Before they could go far another group came following him and his friend who came for him fro the drink and was taken out from the motorbike and beaten to death same sources said that the people who killed Kevin claimed he used tom walk with bad people whom they did not want to come out clear about. msms within this are have now loved in fear beacuse this was the third incidence that happened when mob just kill their fellow msms without any proper reason. Kevin R.I.P