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Why Giving Birth Is the Most Selfish Thing for Humans

Nyamweya is a columnist with a Kenyan print media.He is also a freelance writer with various online and offline media platforms

Sometimes I see a mother beating the hell out of a child or applying pepper on her nipples to discourage the child from suckling and I wonder, did the kid apply to be here. Don't get me wrong. I believe the human experience is worthwhile. When kids laugh or smile or say insane things, when we have a drink, when we laugh, driving along listening to Madilu, that first sip of beer in the Kitengela sun, all these things are worthwhile. But overall, it is pain. You see kids being washed by force, being forced to eat, being woken up at 5 a.m to go to school they hate, being disciplined to behave in a certain way. All for what, to keep our lineage? That is some ego. Sometimes, while on Muthurwa, the Nairobi sun angry as hell, I see those sinewy men pushing the cart, sweating, condemned to do that job, to buy cheap liquor, or to send some upkeep to the wife. Or I see those kids in the streets begging in the rain. Or some beggar with an open wound that I can't look at twice.

Ever boarded a matatu with a young woman, with a sick child, and looks like she is up to a long-distance journey and looks like her boda boda boyfriend or husband clobbered her and she is going back to her parents? The other day on a long-distance journey covering one half-breadth of the country, some young Kisii girl, from Mogonga, Bomachoge was traveling with her mother, a stroke victim. It was a pitiable sight and I wondered did she sign up for that when she was born. Did the mother sign up to get a stroke in order to 'burden' the daughter, taking care of her in a matatu? I tried to engage the girl, but she was curt in her responses and I left her alone. Not that I would have helped much.

When I see a man dressed in dirty jackets, sleeping in a treeless part of the park, under a scorching sun, I wonder what is going inside their heads. What keeps them going? At the same time, I think of someone who just sold a stash of heroin and somewhere in a Kilimani Airbnb with hot girls, having fun. That some people are able to live like gods in the world. And some suffer from the time they were born to die, which is something that rarely sits well with me. That I can leave a slice of pizza to throw in the wastebasket and someone somewhere is sleeping hungry sometimes bothers me. Something crazy is that some people are able to sit down, agonize about their lives and decide to end it, but we condemn them. It takes special courage to see how pointless life is and decide to end it there and then.

Earlier today, I was in a huge facility. Impressive. I wonder when it was built. I imagine it is men who are no longer here who built it. I told myself, whether I ever lived or I never lived, that facility would have been built. The SGR would have been built. KICC would have been built it. Sabina Joy would have been built. Great novels would have been written. Great music would have been made. I understood my smallness in the universe in a very Carl Sagan way. Nobody knows engineers at Boeing. Nobody who will drive on the expressway will know the men who you to build it. We don't know who built the pyramids. We don't care who Charles Dickens was. Maybe you enjoy Bach. Maybe Tupac rattles you. But that is just about it.

But overall, the human experience is an underwhelming thing.

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