Should Alcohol Manufacturers be Allowed to advertise on Television?

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That is a big HELL NO!!!. I say this because one doesn’t need to go far to see the devastating effects alcohol has caused in our lives. Am not in any way trying to condemn alcohol consumers. However, when our TV sets make you crave for something you may have no idea about without warning you on its excesses then I will have to quote from the movie Apollo 13 ‘ Euston, we have a problem’  From broken marriages and families to road accidents and poor health you name it. Neglected family responsibilities; it is right there before our eyes. Yet this is something we want to give it more advertisement space on TV.
First and foremost, teens and young people spend alot of time watching television. There minds are being fed on a daily basis, with how sweet and juicy an alcoholic drink is. Unfortunately for some of them, alcoholic drinks are readily available even in the comfort of their homes. With alcoholic ads on our TV sets, non-alcoholics are tempted on a daily basis to test the brand being advertised. People drinking alcohol are made to appear happy and having a lot of fun. Our teens, pick this cues from them and start over.

Secondly, alcohol is a factor in the four leading causes of death among them car accidents, homicide and suicide, unintentional injuries. This means the more the TV advertisements on alcohol, the more the number of deaths in a nation or a given country. Unfortunately, young people view close to 20,000 commercials each year; out of this, 2000 are for beer and wine. This therefore has a direct effect on how people perceive alcohol – it’s fun, helps you forget your problems, feels good to be tipsy. Stop alcohol advertisements on our TV sets stop high number of deaths.

Thirdly,  morals and decency of a  society or nation are eroded through TV commercial advertisements on alcohol. Take for example, half-naked women drinking themselves over and dancing blissly to the tune of music in a TV commercial. Over time, our daughters and sisters would want to do the same thing. Anything watched that touches on our deepest human feelings always creates a hunger or invokes feelings for the same.  Unfortunately, such TV commercials come when the whole family is having dinner. To maintain and promote morals in society, let’s uphold the right values even on our TV sets.

Furthermore,  if tobacco, a product with addictive tendencies and devastating social and health effects was banned on TV why not alcohol??. In the United states, excessive drinking is responsible for 1 in 10 deaths among adults between the ages of 20-64 years old on average. This is a worrying trend that can be taken care of by reducing the number of TV commercial. Worse still, the number of people who own television sets in their homes has increased over the years, giving more room for TV commercial advertisments to reach a large number of people. Such advertisments should be banned.

Our lives and health are more important to be made shorter by the wrong commercial advertisments. Businesspeople and the party lovers will argue on the contrary but the fact remains that television advertisements by Alcohol manufacturers should be banned for the general well-being of every single individual.

Citation:
Strasburger, V.C., and Donnerstein, E. (1999). Children, adolescents, and the media: Issues and solutions. Paediatrics, 103 (1): 129-139.

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Naturally Sweet.

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    Water melon ( Citrullus lanctus) is a common fruit in Kenya grown for its nutritive and market value.
    Varieties grown in Kenya include
    -Sugar baby.
    -Pato F1
    -Sukari F1
    -Zuri F1
    -Charleston gray.
    Watermelon is a warm season fruit, it therefore requires a lot of sun and good drainage to develop optimally.
    Watermelon thrives best in temperature ranges of 17°C – 20°C
    Soil pH for watermelon should range between 6.0- 7.0.Soils that are highly acidic do not favour watermelon growth; this can be corrected by use of basic fertilizers such as gypsum or lime. The soils should also be well- drained and rich in organic matter.
    Recommended spacing for watermelon growing is 90-120 cm between seeds and a range of 150 – 180 cm between rows.
    Given that watermelon has a deep root system crop rotation should be done with crops that have a shallow root system such as maize.
    Watermelon is sown directly into the soil, however, transplanting can also be considered.
    In hot regions such as Embu, Machakos and other Eastern regions water melons are bigger and sweeter. An acre of land under good irrigation and management could yied 20- 25t which translates to ksh 500,000 given that a kg goes for ksh15-20.
    A watermelon nutritive value cannot be overlooked. More than 90% of watermelon is water; it quenches thirst and hydrates your body.
    The fruit is rich in vitamins such A, C, B6 and antioxidants. Watermelon fruits are ready for harvesting when the tendril close to the fruit dries up and turns brown. The fruit gives a hollow sound when tapped.

    Common Pest and Diseases.
    Diseases

    1. Anthracnose
    Anthracnose lesions could form on foliage, rind, fruit or stem.
    Symptoms include:
    -Angular dark brown or black lesions on leaves.
    -Elongated and sunken lesions on fruit and stem.
    Anthracnose is spread through wind and rain.
    Anthracnose can be controlled through rotating them with crops not from cucurbit family every 1-2  years. Seeds should also be treated and disease free.

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    2. Alternaria leafspot
    Appear on foliage and leaf of watermelon.
    Symptoms include:
    Irregularly shaped dark brown lesions on leaves. Lesions could also be circular black.
    Spores on plant debris are transmitted through wind and rain.
    Control and management include
    – crop rotation
    -use of drip not overhead irrigation
    – Field hygiene ;bury crop debris deep into the soil.
    -Apply appropriate protective fungicides.

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    3. Blossom end-rot; caused by a nutritional disorder.
    Symptoms include:
    – First appearance on immature fruits as small, light, brown spots close to the blossom end of the fruit.
    – With fruit growth the spots also enlarge turning into dark leathery lesions sunken on fruit.
    Watermelon varieties with long fruit are more susceptible to blossom endrot.
    Main cause of the disease is lack of calcium on the developing fruit brought about by disruption of nutrients uptake through root damage, soil salinity, excessive application of Nitrogen fertilizers.( encourages vigorous vegetative growth but reduces calcium in the soil)
    Can be reduced through even and regular watering.

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    Pests
    Thrips
    Insect is 1.5mm in length and slender
    Adult thrips are pale yellow to light brown.
    Nymphs are smaller and lighter in  colour
    Symptoms include:
    -Distorted leaves
    -Leaves appear silvery speckled with black faeces.
    Control is achieved by avoiding planting of watermelon close to crops such as onions and garlic.
    -Use of  reflective mulches
    – Use of appropriate fungicides.

The Gap between Academicians and Practitioners.

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First and foremost I want to sincerely laud former president of Kenya Mwai Kibaki. Upon taking the reigns of power  after the general elections of 2002, Kibaki (and his government Narc) forever changed history in the Kenyan education sector. Millions of Kenyan parents with school going kids breathed a sigh of relief when Kibaki announced free primary education to millions of school going children. For sure, that was a milestone in Kenya’s education history. For sure, it was a far cry from maziwa ya nyayo.
In that year alone (2003) public primary schools flooded with pupils as enrolment skyrocketed almost to the high heavens. The world was pleased with a nation that was ready to educate it’s children, as such foreign aid was readily granted by the UK government.
Children hungry and thirsty for an education couldn’t have been rewarded more. It was a success story to say the least.
However, somewhere along the way cracks started forming on a wall  well-built and with so strong a foundation. It wasn’t long before it was alleged that their was massive misappropriation and embezzlement of funds meant for free primary education by top officials in the education ministry. It was sad, pathetic and a stab in the back of school going kids. One of the local dailies then screamed the headlines ‘A tale of two professors’ The then education minister Professor Sam Ongeri and his permanent secretary professor John Ole Kiyiapi were put to task to explain how the money had been misappropriated by education officials….
One other thing as a writer was to later write is the fact that the Narc government never foresaw the danger that loomed ahead. Education facilities in schools and institutions of higher learning became congested and flooded with students thanks to the double intake programme. The double intake programme began in 2011, the year I joined University in the month of August. Having sat my Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education in the year 2009, I had selected four and revised the courses I intended to pursue. The exercise had been conducted at the Western education provincial headquarters in Kakamega. Thereafter I was to await my admission letter to campus for one year 6months. In the time in between I engaged myself in tertiary courses like computer in addition to running my uncle’s businesses. At the time I joined university,  a degree took four academic years to be completed which is still the case, however today unlike then,long holidays come after a semester instead of one academic year. This had been announced to us after we had completed our first semester to our consternation. The main reason given was that there was going to be a double intake and the school could not accommodate that large number of students and therefore one group ( K.C.S.E candidates 2009) had to go for a long holiday  and allow the K.C.S.E candidates 2010 to be enrolled in January 2012. This happened in the University I was. There were other scenarios different from mine in other universities. The 2010 candidates were lucky; thanks to the double intake they had not been at home for long waiting for admission to University.

I was  highlighting a situation that had been brought about by free primary schooling in Kenya over the years. Institutions of high learning as I write this are flooded with students who are under facilitated and with less materials, laboratories, libraries and workshops for research and innovation. Adding insult to injury lecturers in both public and private universities have been periodically complaining of poor pay forcing some to skive lecture sessions. It was only recent when Moi  University KPA campus students in Eldoret rioted over lecturers not attending lecture sessions when they had payed their school fees in full.Due to strained resources and large number of students in universities, (five students sharing one computer -case scenario) quality of education and that of graduates is beginning to dwindle.

After independence, Kenya only boasted of 8 major universities, currently their are 31 universities registered with the Commission for Higher Education (CHE). Despite this being progressive, that number still can’t measure to the large number of students joining University yearly. Amongst universities counted, some are private and only afforded by the well-off in society. Private universities seem to be better equipped and facilitated compared to public, however, few are the number of students who attend private as compared to public universities.
Employment in Kenya is also becoming a tricky affair in Kenya given the large number of universities holding graduation ceremonies for their graduands every year; with some even holding two graduation ceremonies in a year. As I write this, am not formally employed and the number of my course mates who are employed can stand up and easily be counted. Unfortunately, this is a reality that the economists, policy makers, strategists and researchers in the government were supposed to foresee and create measures that would ensure such large number of students are accommodated  both in government and private sectors where their skills are much needed.
It’s a pity that many are still on the job search without any experience. It’s only experience and what you are good at that employers want to see. Some  careless about the papers and recommendations you carry. This begs the question, how can the government transform it’s top cream ( fresh graduates from universities) from being academicians into practitioners who can solve the present world problems in their area of study. In my opinion, the government owes it’s graduates big in terms of making them relevant and practical in their careers.
Nevertheless, it should not be forgotten that the government has also played a big role in ensuring that it’s students are able to complete a university education through the Higher Education Loans Board ( HELB). That is much appreciated though not a beneficiary myself. In most graduation ceremonies graduants are encouraged to be job creators and not only seek jobs. I believe in creating a job , one needs to possess the relevant skills that will put him /her in a better position to create the job but here is a scenario where a half -baked graduate with little exposure ; who even securing a good place for their field industrial attachment wasn’t easy owing to the large student population is expected to be skillful and well oriented upon leaving campus. The government I believe should link up with private individuals who have set up companies that nurture graduates in their field of interests to help them nurture students from being academicians to practitioners with hands on in solving problems in their field of endeavour.

The chancellor of Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Dr. Mwai Kibaki while addressing students in a recent graduation ceremony at the institution encouraged  every stakeholder on board including lectureres, professionals, economists, researchers, policy makers to not only equip students with knowledge but a possible reflection and a true picture of the job they are studying for. He encouraged them to make their students also love and enjoy what they do. He emphasized that institutions of higher learning are meant to be centres for research and innovation by world class standards and therefore the government should put more funds into developing our institutions of higher learning.

Kirimari, Kenya

Kirimari

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is a word coined by the Aembu people in Kenya, meaning land on top of the hill. You would still be right to title this blog post as Embu, Kenya.
It is a now a month since I landed in this economically vibrant town in Eastern Kenya. Born and raised in Western Kenya, Embu to me was yonder and a place I had never been.

I am here to do what people do – work. Given that it’s an agriculturally rich county you would be forgiven for thinking am an agriculturist. Embu is in a  semi arid area with high temperatures that make you sweaty and thirsty; if you actually find it hard to gobble 6-8 glasses of water a day,Embu is the right place to change that. I myself have been doing with 4litres of water  half a day given the hot working environment. I find myself taking shower two times a day to relieve the body of heat and sweat. For the hydrophobic guys, this is not your place, flee away very fast.

So what does my job entail!? I work in a growers farm majoring in the production of horticultural crops namely Demon chilli ( kanyenje) for local name, French beans ( mishiri), water melon, bananas and onions. My typical day begins at 5 a.m. Wake up hot or sweaty shower up, prepare and take a hurried breakfast and jump on the next motorbike to my place of work. By the time am leaving my place of stay  it’s 6a.m  so I arrive at my place of work at about 6:30a.m thanks to a bumpy 11km ride over a rising and falling terrain with roads that are quite unfriendly, showering you with dust in a dry weather and  slippery, sticky mud on a wet season. By virtually 7:30 a.m almost all employees and workers have reported for duty. A normal working day usually begins at 8:00a.m. Walking on gumboots the whole day is now a part of me; I work in the production department and my key responsibilities include supervising labour in blocks, supervising bed maintenance and general routine management practices on the crops in various blocks. By 4p.m am done working but due to the distance,  transport logistics and sometimes the nature of work on a given day I arrive  at my place at about 6 or 7 p.m.

Here in kirimari,  two local tribes exist the Aembu people and their cousins the Mbeere people. I am in Mbeere south, Kiritiri to be more precise. Though other tribes have also found Embu hospitable and liveable such as the Akamba, Agikuyu and Abaluhyia like me. The Agikuyu resonate well with the Mbeere people and therefore can communicate effectively. The dorminant economic activity is agriculture with miraa being the main cash crop that sells like hotcake. On entering a pub or a club one would mistake revellers as people suffering from mumps. Their left or right cheeks can be seen bulged with shovings of miraa (muguka) accompanied with roasted groundnuts ( to make it tastier) , taken down by a bottle of beer and wound up with smoke puff from cigarettes. What a stuffy and breath taking place to be.

Given the side effects the sour or rather tasteless plant may have on your health young men and women consume it with relish enjoying every bite that goes by. However, it leaves behind a wake of irresponsible father’s and husbands that lazy around making their unusually beautiful women more productive than men; no proclivities here, save me your curious mind. Women walk as far as 11 kilometres to go work to and fro something I have not seen in Western Kenya. Most women there would prefer to stay at home doing house chores or be forced to stay at home by  their husbands who go to work instead. A lazy,irresponsible husband will be harangued with an avalanche of insults and contempt from an irate wife.

In Kirimari, agriculture thrives more so because of River Thiba backed by the seven folks hydroelectric irrigation schemes namely Kamburu, Kiambere, Kindaruma, Gitaru, Masinga ,Mutonga and grandfalls. The last two are still not operational.
To anyone with misgivings about this place I would advise you on the contrary that it’s a place to be. Tourist attraction sites within include  the 7 folks, Mt. Kenya and the Karue hill picnic site off Embu- Runyenjes road.