Caroline

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I choose Sarova Stanley’s Exchange Bar because it’s a Sunday and I want to drive into town and feel the absence of humanity, the open-armed parking slots and the absence of incessant blaring car-horns . Plus there is something very hoary about that  traditional English gentleman’s bar; like it froze in 1954: Its decor is flaming red without being fiery, the voices of the British occupiers still trapped in the thick rich carpet. I get there 20mins before Caroline Anyiso, Head of Certification – Kenya Bureau of Standards.

On a Sunday the Exchange bar is a hinterland of hedonism. Gone today is the hubbub of the tenderpreneurs in their terrible suits,  sunk chin-in into the rich brown-tan leather couches, sipping expensive cognac. Gone are the grinny tourists probably looking forward to a safari the next day. Gone is their pensive Wednesday pianist who plays such beautiful music yet you never want to know his name. You want him to remain the pensive virtuoso with honey on his finger-tips.

But I’m here, hoisted on their comfortable lowback leather seats at the bar counter noticing, for the first time, their centerpiece  art holding court in the heart of the room. I have visited the bar countless times but I’m surprised never to have noticed that copper sculpture of a naked woman frozen in a stretched stance, seated on a fountain supported by gawping fish, her small breasts glowing like a mysterious meteor. She looks like a teenager.

Near the bar are two tanned caucasian tourists having coffee on low stools. One is reading a book while the other, with a safari hat dangling on his chest from a string, is talking the ears off a waitress in a cap about the diversity of California. Ahh, American imports. Above the room,  two gothic-looking, wrought iron fans chop the air in a soothing murmur.

I climb down and walk towards the statue framed by two vases of fresh flowers for a more intimate inspection. She’s not a teenager, just a petite woman. A little firebrand. A troublemaker. A sliver of loincloth drops between her legs naked legs. The tips of her tits look like snub-nosed bullets. She smells of coppery youth.

Back at my perch I order for water and a slice of lemon.  Then I wait.

Exactly two minutes to 2pm, Caroline struts in. I love when people keep time  – it says more about them than what their lips say. I know it’s her because she’s standing at the entrance looking out for me, or someone she thinks is me. I let her for a few seconds as I bask in temporary anonymity before I raise my hand to identify myself. She’s wearing a loose bright orange top, black tights and black shoes. She has on a nice looking watch with a blue face but when she sits under the light of the bar the colour seems to change to purple, so really, don’t take my word that it’s blue. The waitress who was talking to the Americans shows up all smiles, energy bouncing off the walls. Her name tag reads Mercy. I will call her Happy Mercy.

“Did you learn anything exciting about America?” I ask her.

She doesn’t lose the smile. “Yeah, it was quite educative…people live so differently.”

“Funny, I was almost nodding off just listening to him,” I say and she titters.

Caroline orders for fresh orange juice. We talk about all the mountains she has climbed. She talks about climbing Ngong hills the previous day. She talks about some people called Hike Nation and how organised they are when she climbed five hills in six months with them. Happy Mercy sits her juice before her and I ask her to go check the title of the book the American is reading.

After Happy Mercy retreats she talks about her crossfit exercise at the gym in Boma Hotel and how fitness now is at the core of her being, how she now chooses hotels while on business trips abroad based on the facilities of the hotel to provide gyms or its proximity to a place she can run. She mentions how Geneva hotels aren’t any good with gyms but great for outdoor physical activities.

Happy Mercy shows up and informs me that the book is called An Innocent Abroad by John Berendt and Dave Eggers. (It’s a compilation of travel writing by famous travel writers. If you are into such things then buy it. I bought it on Kindle later that evening. It’s first few chapters are interesting).

Then she tells me about her uterus.

In 1998 she went for routine pap smear. The results showed that her uterus was enlarged and she was sent for an ultrasound at some place in Hurlingham. “This guy was so shocked when he saw the results that the first thing he asked me was, ‘My God, this is bad, do you have children?’ and I was like, “What? What have you seen?”

He had seen these large fibroids the size of pawpaws. OK, they weren’t the size of pawpaws but in my head I sort of pictured them as two bad pawpaws just sitting there in her uterus.  

“I completely freaked out, because of how that radiologist reacted, ” she says. “I didn’t have any children and here I was with big fibroids.”

“What’s the difference between cysts and fibroids?” I ask.

“I think cysts are like really small and fibroids are like really big.” She says. (So yeah, pawpaws)

Her doctor stressed that she had to have them removed immediately but she was in no hurry. She left for a business trip overseas. When she came back she went “under the knife” and had the fibroids removed but they left this one fibroid…

Hang on, let me Google how fibroids look like…

So, I’ve seen. They look terrible. Like offals.

Anyway, so they had left this one big fibroid that they couldn’t remove because it was sitting on a blood vessel and removing it would mean her bleeding to death. “You have to get a baby quickly.” her doctor advised her.

“So from 1998 to 2000 I was very busy trying to get a baby.” She says with a smile.

“Hmm.”

She laughs. “My brother who is a pastor would pray for me because he thought I was getting on a bad tangent.” She says. “I would call my boyfriend in the middle of the day and tell him that I was fertile and he had to come now and he would drive from his office to come and take advantage of this window.”

I picture him closing his notebook in a meeting saying, “Sorry guys but there is an emergency I have to attend to immediately. I won’t be long.”

She continues. “But you know what?”

“What?”

“I’m so glad I didn’t get pregnant with that man. For that I thank God all the time because he was a bad man.”

Anyway the baby doesn’t happen and she stops  trying. Years pass and one day in 2004 her pal notices that she would take so long in the loo peeing. “I thought it was normal, but when I went to the doctor she was  aghast at how big the remaining fibroid had grown!” She says.

“It was the size of an octopus.” I murmur.

“It was huge!” She shrieks. “It had grown ten times it’s size, filling my uterus, blocking my easy passage of urine, risking my kidney. They had to remove it or I would lose my kidney.” She was 35 years old. So she went to Aga Khan hospital a few days later after being counselled and straight into theater. Outside her two ride or die friends, – Judy and Susan – and her mom waited as they removed her uterus.

It takes only an hour to remove your uterus. Then they plop it on a silver bowl. Maybe they incinerate it later.  

“How did you feel when you came to after the surgery,” I ask her,” knowing that they had permanently removed the one thing that spoke into your womanhood and the finality that you would never have a baby?”

A fridge door slams shut. There are staff voices in the inner bar area.

“It only hit me later, after I had been discharged,” she says. “I was so saddened by that thought. Really saddened.” But the sadness didn’t go, she only sunk deeper into it, gagging in it. Then came the migraines. She stayed indoors. Soon after she was diagnosed with depression and put on tranquilizers.

“How’s depression,” I ask. “Can you describe the feeling?”

She’s quiet for a tad. The sound of the fan occupies the silence.

“How do I describe depression…” She has a faraway look then ventures cautiously. “It’s like darkness…this feeling that there is nothing good in the world….that nothing matters, everything is pointless. My friends would come and try and be with me but I hated having people around fussing around me. In retrospect I’m glad they did.”

Thankfully  she recovered and went back to work and the first day at work she sat at her desk and thought, Gosh, I don’t have a uterus. I ask her if through that there is anything positive that came out of the experience of having her uterus removed.

“Well, I stopped having my periods which was great because I’d have really painful ones. I really don’t miss my periods. I also stopped spending on sanitary pads. That money went into doing my hair.” I chuckle at that and I want to comment but the Lord holds my mouth and says, “No, child. Don’t comment on women and their hair.”

She started dating again. She made a conscious decision to tell the men she dated right off the bat that she didn’t have a uterus so that they don’t come in with expectations. “Can you believe I’d go on a date and say, ‘Hi, I’m Caroline and I don’t have a uterus….”

“Yeah,” I chime in, “that’s right. If you are thinking there is a uterus on this table then you are in the wrong party, baby, because  this here…” I make a circular motion with my hand, “Is a uterus free area.”

We laugh.

“How did men take it when you declared that?”

“There is a particular guy who I can’t forget. He told me, ‘Look, I’m the only child of my father and he isn’t getting any children at his age and so the heritage of my family rests with me getting babies to further the name of my family, so I’m afraid this won’t work.”

“Can you blame him?” I ask.

“No I can’t.”

Across the room a man and a lady walk in and sit next to a big potted plant. The man sits so close to the lady I suspect he can smell her liver.

Being childless, she reveals, wasn’t so desparate because she already had her small sister’s child who she had adopted. “My small sister got pregnant when she was very young, in high school and she came to me and said she wanted to abort but I told her not to.” She explains. “At this time I had already started struggling with trying to get a baby with no success so I told her that she should bring the baby to term and I would take care of her. And that’s what happened. A few years later we agreed that I would adopt the child and we went through the process of the adoption interview with Little Angels Network and finally she gave up her rights for the baby.”

“Wait…” I say confused. “You adopted you sister’s daughter who is alive?”

“Yeah, my sister is a bit of a sanguine. She said that I had paid her school fees for her and took care of the child so she I could be her mother.”

“That’s crazy.”

“Is it?” She laughs.

“Yeah. I mean…does your daughter know that your sister is the real mom?”

“She does, she says that she has two mothers.”

Pause.

“How do they relate? Do they see each other?” I ask.

“Yes, they do. They are happy when together but are also okay when they are not.”

“Wow, I need to wrap my head around that.” I say. “ What does your sister do?”

“She’s a big chef here in the city.”

“Kids?”

“No.”

The man across the room is now bringing the glass to the lady’s lips, feeding her wine. Like she’s an invalid. It’s a dark afternoon for romance, it seems.

After the uterus extraction (that word makes it sound like it was a spy being removed from enemy territory) her 30’s were mostly defined by climbing up the proverbial corporate ladder and looking for a man to marry. Every wednesday at 5am her and her two best friends Judy and Susan would meet at Susan’s house in South B to pray for prosperity in their careers but also for husbands.

She talks about the disillusionment of that period defined by wanting to settle down so badly. They went on dates and used each other as accountability partners. No men worth marrying came up but they continued to meet every Wednesday until she later turned 40 and lost taste for marriage. “You get to a certain point and you just think, ‘you know what, maybe marriage is not for me,’ and you leave that space.”

“But where were you looking for a husband, in church?”

“I’m what Sheldon from Big Bang Theory would call a Bible Thumper,” she says with a laugh. “ I’m a staunch member of Mavuno Church…”

“Oh, are you?” I ask. “I don’t know why I keep meeting people from Mavuno Church lately…everywhere I turn I bump into  someone from Mavuno…”

She laughs. “It’s very intentional on our part.”

When she was around 34 a friend  told her about a very poor family from Kawangware who had a daughter who was pregnant and was looking for a “God fearing person” to adopt the child when it was born. Caroline debated about it, asked the mom, prayed about it and finally agreed. She took care of all costs from that point on until a “most wonderful boy”  – Baraka – was born in 2004.

“I don’t know if you should include this part of adoption.”

“Why not? How old is he now?”

“Baraka is 13.”

“Does he know he was adopted?”

“Yeah, I had a conversation with him when he was 5-years. Maybe he was too young and I should revisit that conversation.”

“Maybe. How exactly do you break to a child that they are adopted?”

She sighs.

“I told him that his original family wasn’t able to look after him because they couldn’t afford it. I told him that I didn’t birth him but I chose him. That he was a gift from God.”

“How did he react? What did he say?”

“He hugged me and asked if he could go out and play.” We laugh.

Anyway, she turns 40’s gives up on meeting a husband,  but then at 41 she meets someone who -ironically – runs a children’s rehabilitation center in Kisumu. A friend – Enoc – connected them. His name’s Ishmael.

“I got married at 42, which is late. We dated for under a year. ” She admits. “ In Mavuno we have this program called Ndoa, which suggests that dating should be for at least two years before you marry. I think this has merits but it only applies to people in their 20’s because at my age you know what you want and it’s not hard making such decisions. You meet a guy and you know he’s kosher…”

“He’s what?”

“Kosher.”

“Like the Jewish Kosher?”

“Yes…”

“You call men Kosher now? Like food? Is this some sort of 40’s slang?”

She laughs. “It’s what we say, he’s Kosher. He’s good, the real deal. Kosher.”

“Geez. How old is Ishmael?”

“He’s 42 now,”

“Why did you say 42 with that sneaky smile?”

She laughs hard.  “Most people my age tend to marry younger men.” (She’s 47)

“Was it a problem, his age?”

“It was a problem first but not anymore. Not for him at least.”

Happy Mercy shows up and says chirpily, “Excuse me!” We turn to look at her. “My shift is ending, so I have to leave you guys now..”

“Oh come on, don’t leave Mercy!” I whine dramatically as if her impending departure has completely changed my emotional composition.

She giggles like crazy. “I have to leave but my colleague will take good care of you guys.”

“But it won’t be the same.” I say with a horse face. Caroline laughs and thanks her and she is gone. A lady comes and says she will be serving us. Would I like some water? (Caroline is hardly drinking her juice) I say no. I want to tell her that the gentleman across the room, the one with his nose on the lady’s cleavage might need cold water though but I don’t say it because Caroline might find it crass and I want her to think I’m a proper SDA guy.

“Doesn’t Ishmael want kids?” I ask.

“No. He has two children with two different ladies.” She says. “You know, when I met my mother-in-law, who I love so much, I told her while we are cooking mandazi that I couldn’t give her any grandchildren because I was coming to their boma without a uterus and I thought it would be a problem but she said that having a uterus is not a guarantee of having children. She has been so gracious, that lady.”

I ask her if she has a relationship with his kids.

“When we got married I wanted to know those kids. I like the idea of blended families, it sounded romantic,” she says. “I reached out to their mothers but I was snubbed.”  She shrugs.

“What do you think we learn about your life up to this age of 47?” I ask her.

She thinks about it. “Ladies should do their pap smears, it’s very important,” she says. “Also, there is a tendency for women to hit their 30’s without finding a husband and think life is over. It’s not. Trust and have faith knowing that everything works out eventually. There are certain things that happen to us, bad things, disappointing things, but we might never really appreciate them at that moment but I believe they are always for the best.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah,” she ploughs on. “ If I hadn’t lost my uterus maybe I wouldn’t have had my son and I wouldn’t know the joy of adoption. I also certainly wouldn’t have met Ishmael.”

“You had your two adopted babies yet you still nursed the urge to get a husband, didn’t they fill some void with love and affection, these children. Why weren’t you content?”

“Because children can’t meet the same needs a man does.” She says as a matter of fact.  “As little girls we have dreams to meet a husband and have a family. Those dreams still stay with us into adulthood and these dreams never die even in the face of despair. For any young girl searching all I can tell them is not to listen to people who talk about how time is running out etc. I had two children and there was talk of ‘ what Kenyan man will marry you with two children? Maybe you should go for a mzungu, and not just a young mzungu but an old widowered mzungu…can I tell you something you can’t write?”

I say sure and she tells me something funny which I still can’t write.

“Do you think you used God as a crutch?”

“How so?” she asks.

“I mean those days you used to pray every Wednesday with your pals for a husband, you were in your 30’s and you needed something. Do you think you were more spiritual as a result of those needs?”

She thinks about that.

“There are days when you need a crutch. And I think it’s fine…”

“Consider this,” I say. “Would you say that you are closer to God now than you were back then when you used to pray at 5am every wednesday with your girls?”

She chuckles and says, “Well, I’m ashamed to say that I was closer to him then than I am now.”

“Exactly. You now have a husband and two children, you really don’t need a crutch, do you? I think we all just lean on God when we want something from him. God is like that seasonal friend…”

“I’m really not proud of that but I think I have done more to get closer to him this year than I did before, and I’m happy with the progress.” Then she adds with mischief in her eyes.” But also having a husband and taking care and respecting him is a ministry in itself according to the Bible.”

“Right,  your own personal ministry.”  I say and we laugh.

I ask for the PDQ machine. She’s going to pick Baraka from a sleepover, I’m going to buy bananas and avocado. This is useless banana information, of course.

“Is your 40’s happy?” I inquire.

“Yes. I’m exercising a lot and I love my job, I have a great husband and I have two wonderful children. I think adoption has given me great joy, it’s a special kind of love, a love you chose. I don’t think you love your children any less because they didn’t come from your womb.” Pause. “Yes, I would say my 40’s are working for me. I think in life some bad things happen to you and then some good things happen to you, and sometimes you have to wait a little longer for those good things.”

The PDQ spits a roll of receipt.

I’m looking for men and women in their 40s who have lived richly and are willing to unpack their lives for us to learn from. Know anyone like that? Or maybe you are the one? Please  email me on biko@bikozulu.co.ke

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180 Comments
  1. Indeed in life some bad things happen and some good things too and sometimes we have to wait longer for the good things.
    May God give us the grace to wait. Great article Biko!

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  2. Yet another excellent piece. Loved the Stanley memories as I opened the hotel. Loved Caroline. Loved that Ishmael is kosher. Keep them coming.

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  3. Carolyn’s life experience has inspired me.She made me realize that not having a uterus can’t make one less of a woman.There’s a special kind of love that comes with adoption,because it’s a love you choose.God bless your family Caro

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  4. Wow, my heart sank when her uterus was removed. But it came back to life, when I realized how she took that in stride after the depression period. Surely all things work for good for those who love the Lord and those who are called for his purpose. Quite an uplifting story

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  5. Would still wanna know the secret she shared that you wouldn’t write……

    Always a great read Biko motherhood is clearly not defined by just having biological children. Salute Caroline !!!!!
    having being raised by an adoptive father I have nothing but mad respect for people who can love and nature children so well even when they aren’t biologicaly theirs…..

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  6. A good read as always Biko, almost hitting 30 and still single and all i hear is get a baby but you read something like this and you filled with hope, doesn’t matter what age you will get married or you ought to get babies.

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  7. wow, I want to have the strength, courage and acceptance that comes with 40’s …. “There are certain things that happen to us, bad things, disappointing things, but we might never really appreciate them at that moment but I believe they are always for the best.” http://www.shesatomboy.com

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  8. I’m starting to believe you have a thing for statues.
    I’m loving this 40’s series. It’s made me realize that you’ll get over what you are going through stronger than you were before.
    I want to know what secret she shared with you.
    Great read Biko!

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    1. Words come from the depths of my heart, I open my mouth to speak but the roll up and just sit on my jaws. Comfortable. Not moving.
      They just won’t come out.

      Biko, smell her liver,really?
      Ati the boy was gon’ need cold water let people love in peace

      Now, i really have a burning question. Since we have an unspoken rule of no judgement here, right?

      And i am asking this with utmost genuinity.

      What is placed in her womb place once it is removed. ? Is it a vacuum? Or is the place sewn together right atop the cervix? What happens when the husband cums inside? The semen just slides off immediately??

      Really curious. Again, asked in my most genuine self.

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      1. I thought I was the only one who got curious, although mine was about what she told Biko not to write. You have taken this curiosity thing a notch higher by this cum story.

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      2. The husband cums inside the vagina. The uterus is just a potential pocket INSIDE the vagina. The uterus holds the baby. The vagina is a passage for the baby. Her vagina is still intact.

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        1. Yes yes we get that. But what about beyond the vagina? Aren’t sperms supposed to swim to the uterus? So the place is closed atop the cervix? Or is it hollow now?

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          1. The top of the vagina is stitched, heals and seals off. The Uterus is removed and the space it used to occupy (a small one by the way in a normal size uterus) is filled by loose intestines that occupy the rest of the abdomen. The sperm ejaculated is usually about a teaspoon or so. it will eventually come out just like some of it does in women with a uterus. Not everything makes its way into the uterus.

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  9. A great read indeed and good to know that it’s never too late for anything as long as we keep working towards our goals. Thank you for sharing.

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  10. This right here is great. Good work. It is for everyone, not just for the guys occupying the fourth floor.
    Biko, you could write bad things about golf. Write and listen and even think about stuff that is so not ‘SDA-like’. Describe men’s abs at the locker rooms with questionable mischief, and even wear a owl print undergarment. You could even finally come out of the closet and confess that you think batman is real. It’s OK, it’s upto you. We’ll grin at that and drool at how eventful your life is.
    But when you come and give us such awe inspiring stuff about people on their forties, you’ll be pardoned. We love the series. Thanks man.
    PS. Caroline’s story makes me feel like a privileged kid who wants to whine about petty stuff. Now I can say I’ve heard it straight from someone who has handled life in quite an exemplary manner. Kudos Caroline.
    PSS. Could we get a pic of happy Mercy? Asking for a friend

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  11. Caroline is an amazing woman. Very inspiring. That tangent on spirituality and closeness to God is a conversation that haunts the soul. Every person should have it. Thanks Biko.

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  12. Speaking of Fibroid. I had a colleague about 30 never married and actively sexually. She was diagnosed with strange growths in her stomach and the doctor advised that she should conceive ASAP. And she told me. That was funny because my mum had or has fibroids and her sister, my aunt called me to cool me down that it was manageable if she was consistent with some herbs from GNLD or something Tianshi?. I was scared because my mother had her knees swelling by the day and she couldn’t walk. Reading Caroline story now makes me connect the dots. My colleague went through the knife and my mom didn’t they are both alive.

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    1. Your mom reached menopause and that helped. After menopause, the fibroids shrink and symptoms improve. Also, not everyone needs surgery. Treatment options are increasing with technology and small, slow-growing ones are left alone.

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  13. Biko you’re such a story teller: this remark, “I picture him closing his notebook in a meeting saying, “Sorry guys but there is an emergency I have to attend to immediately. I won’t be long.”, and the octopus/pawpaw-sized comments made my morning.

    Sometimes I feel that while we put timelines in our lives, some things just happen at their own time…no matter how hard/well we try. But this is only certain viewed from the rear mirror. I however don’t know of another way except to keep doing what we need to do and hope for the best.
    Nice, inspiring story. All the best Caroline

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  14. In the beginning i didn’t know where you were going with this story. But it turns out to be one that has resonated with me the most.

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  15. I want to know what she said that you cannot write… You need to write some of these ‘unprintable’ things people say… It would be interesting to read…

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  16. I think humans grow deeper roots in spirituality during dark times.I would not take away any experiences I have had even the bad ones which almost broke me. They have helped me grow.

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  17. Inspirational piece……My take home from this……………I think in life some bad things happen to you and then some good things happen to you, and sometimes you have to wait a little longer for those good things.

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  18. Ignore what everyone says and have an independent space to make your own decisions. Less regrets and heartache. Marriage and kids should be when you are ready not because you age as ascribed by society.

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  19. Very interesting read and full of hope happy for you Carol. God bless you and your family. Good work Biko deep insight on life.

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  20. what an inspiring story, very uplifting. Thank you carol for sharing , bless you on your awesome journey. Biko , you are hillarious, how do you manage to bring out laughter in a somewhat sad story? Kudos to you, great read as always

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  21. Dear Biko aka Chocolate Man aka 40’s people,
    We the 20’s people are feeling a bit left out. “We have started catching feelings”
    I think you should write something about those people who write, “first one to comment” something tells me they are in their 20’s

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  22. “I think in life some bad things happen to you and then some good things happen to you, and sometimes you have to wait a little longer for those good things.”-so true!!Never give up..

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  23. I think in life some bad things happen to you and then some good things happen to you, and sometimes you have to wait a little longer for those good things.”

    awesome

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  24. Was told to conceive ASAP at 22. I did not. 5 years later, I still believe that only God has the final say. Happiness will not be dictated by anything bad or good, just the total belief in God that it will be alright. I salut Carol and wish her many better days ahead

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  25. This has really got me thinking…sometimes I take for granted the things that many people around me are yearning for. Secondly, my relationship with my God is seasonal and I really should change that by praying unceasingly!

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  26. Some things that happen to us. You realize later is because God needed to use you for the benefit of others and for your own happiness.
    Great read!

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  27. I read the article to the end curiously speculating what she might have told you not to write, and you heeded. Could it be that she has flesh and blood and these feelings that drive her up the wall in her closet, and need to be quenched? Other than that, a very good article.

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  28. How do is share this with a friend who is in her later 30s and is really in a hurry to find someone.plus i dont want her to know desperation is all over her talks

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  29. Boss, today you were in the zone, the writing has some chirpy phrases warming this cold July morning. Barcelona and the Spanish riviera must have done you a lot of good…today is a literary master-piece. Hats off.
    The 40’s series is the best thing to happen in 2017.

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  30. Wow! Great insight. Motherhood is much more than pushing a kid out of one’s hoo-ha, so I’m glad Caroline isn’t letting that define her.
    I wish our mind sets as Africans can change with regards to having little ones with our blood flowing in their veins. If one isn’t able to have kids, it would be nice to consider helping out a family in dire straits by adopting one of their kids and giving the child a chance for a great future. Kudos to Carol for this.
    “The idea of blended families sounds romantic,”..true that, but depending on how one’s partner broke up with the mamas of the kids, that will likely cement the possibility of future relationships as a ‘blended family.’
    Some break-ups are plain nasty and there can be little hope in this area, with women being women, “Whatever you give a woman, she multiplies and gives back to you..so if you give her crap expect a ton load of shit.”

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  31. This 40s series has made me realize ( I am in my 20s) that life will get tougher, stale, draining, happy and a whole lot of other things. I hope I learn to be certain in this uncertainty that it’ll all work out for my good.

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  32. Carolyne is truly inspiring.she is one if the happiest people I know.I’ve always wanted to adopt but my hubby is against it.we have one kid and I did not want to birth another.I think the most selfless thing you can do is give a child a home.its been my dream for the lingest time.am still hoping he comes around.Bless all people that adopt.

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  33. Dreams dreams dreams, as Paulo Cuelho puts it in his books,irrespective of when you start dreaming, persue them to their reasonable end for you never know what awaits you on the other side.

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  34. There are certain things that happen to us, bad things, disappointing things, but we might never really appreciate them at that moment but I believe they are always for the best.”

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  35. for a better part of the text you were sounding in my head like Sheldon of Big Bang Theory, and then pah! you mentioned him.

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  36. Your comment*I am still in my 20s but I have been diagnosed with fibroids too… Huge ones. When I went for my first ultrasound scan I was told I needed to get pregnant. Fast. And 4 months later I conceived. This was last year. And nobody told me the said fibroids would cause a very problematic pregnancy withp increased chances of miscarriage in the 2nd trimester. 21 weeks later I lost my twin girls, early this year in January. Now I am told I need to get the fibroids removed first before I attempt another pregnancy. The struggle is real. And the periods are still freaky painful. Caroline, stay blessed. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

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    1. Hi Wahito, had that surgery at 28 it needed to be done because I was constantly weak. All will be well may you find comfort and peace.

      2
  37. Biko, the way you use the fridge door and the fan and the PDQ receipt is simple beautiful. Now that’s great writing.

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  38. “Also, there is a tendency for women to hit their 30’s without finding a husband and think life is over. It’s not. Trust and have faith knowing that everything works out eventually. There are certain things that happen to us, bad things, disappointing things, but we might never really appreciate them at that moment but I believe they are always for the best.”
    this is soo important to me!!

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  39. I am now wondering if there ever was a man who would wake his two other guy friends at 5.00 am to group-pray for their future wives…Ladies,we are taking this husband thing too seriously methinks.

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  40. The 40s stories are an inspiration, whatever happens to us now,we will look back and see the lessons and reasons we were supposed to learn

  41. Thanks for sharing your story Carol (we know each other well). As your age mate, I agree that in the 40’s one tends to move on from the life wish list that hasn’t materialized and just get on with the business of enjoying the blessings one has – and they are many, if you care to count.

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  42. I’m the Judy in the story.
    Carol, are you going to tell me what Biko didn’t write or will I have to call Biko up?

    I know the story but it still made for captivating reading because Biko is so good at his job!!

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  43. This was a really awesome piece. The punch lines were hilarious… You actually sent happy Mercy to find out the book title for you… and she did… you should have given her a generous tip… I love your hunger for knowledge and love for books… when i grow up… 🙂
    Then the guy who was trying to be romantic and you’re just busy watching him… let lovers be… haha!
    I’m in my 30’s and what this series has confirmed for me is to appreciate every season… live life to the full… take what comes in it’s stride and above all, to have fun. My mantra… Don’t take life too seriously, no one gets out alive.
    Happy Tuesday people.

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  44. I am those that enjoy stuff from your side notes more than even the story itself. I am a sucker for your distractions and interludes. Great piece.

  45. I enjoy your side notes even more than the story itself. I am a sucker for your distractions and interludes. Great piece anyway.

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  46. “I want to tell her that the gentleman across the room, the one with his nose on the lady’s cleavage might need cold water though but I don’t say it because Caroline might find it crass and I want her to think I’m a proper SDA guy.”
    This passage had me in stitches. I do concur about the SDA type behaviour, am not one though am married to a staunch SDA lady and I must say there’s something about that church that makes dudes so prosaic, but not you chocolate man, you rock.

  47. People go through lots of stuff in life. Staying focused and keeping the eye on the prize is the ultimate goal, no matter the setbacks. Good read.

    1
  48. Caroline has shared her story that’s so close to my heart. I’ve been under the knife once and still at that stage where the doctors tell you to get pregnant and fast. Caroline is a victor and she’s spoken to many of us who’ve been fighting in silence. I’ve blocked all baby and marriage thoughts because I’m scared today I’ve gone back to that place I pray I find peace.

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  49. There is something about hitting thirty and not having settled yet that drives the pressure meter up. I am in my early thirties, and last year wasn’t i obsessed with settling down. The roller-coaster that was, hehehe I came to my senses eventually at the very end(in december actually) and decided to have a baby. A gift to me for making it out of that crazy experience. I say i shall get married when the right guy comes, whether at 40 or 70. I made my peace…

    1
  50. I also love and have always loved the idea if blended families.I can’t remember since when.
    May God bless you.Your story is so inspiring at least to me.

    Of course,blended families sound romantic…

  51. Wow! What a journey. I’m so impressed by Carol! I love this 40s series. I have also realised that the decade 30-40 brings with it a lot of life defining moments.

    I’ll be turning 30 in a few months and I have recently started entertaining the ‘settling down thoughts’. Perhaps I should first find myself some single thirty year old (or soon to be 30) lady friends.

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  52. What do you think we learn about your life up to this age of 47?” I ask her.
    She thinks about it. “Ladies should do their pap smears, it’s very important,” she says.
    ….i totally agree with that, very important….

    Also….Dear ladies, I think this “husband” thing we are taking it a bit too far, i doubt there are a bunch of men out there waking up at 5am to pray for their future wives–regards Married Woman 😀

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  53. If you can afford to have a Pap, please do. I know it is intrusive. Just go and play dead. It can safe your life. Same for mamo. Don’t say you will go. Call your doctor and make the appointment.

    And as for guys , if you have a girlfriend, a wife, a sister… encourage them to go. Accompany them, if they need the support. Because, God forbid- if they ever were diagnosed with cancer, it will affect everyone.

    4
  54. I love how authentic the 40’s series is, makes me understand that life has it’s hurdles but we figure it out eventually.

  55. Am 34 yrs turning 35 in sep. Was diagnosed with fibroids last yr. Was to go for surgery as soon as possible but I chickened out the last minute called the doctor and told him am not going through it. After three months I stopped having painful periods and my life went back to being normal. But the thought of going through the surgery freaked me out and God knew how scared I was and made those fibroids disappear. Losing my uterus wasn’t as scary as waking up in the middle of the surgery. I couldn’t sleep coz of nightmares. Anyway i am so grateful to God coz the last ultrasound showed that the demons had shrunk. I didn’t take any drugs. I just prayed.

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  56. Oooh uplifting.

    Am the Susan in the story….Oooh I bless the Lord and as I say “it’s been part of the process”

    Judy…Carol missed a very important part of in the story….The tea and Ugali moments..I truly miss but most importantly I miss the Wednesday morning prayers

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    1. Biko you make 40’s sound like a table full of goodies in the middle of the dessert after a Iong walk. God bless you Caroline for being the voice of many women out there.

      1
  57. “How did you feel when you came to after the surgery,” I ask her,” knowing that they had permanently removed the one thing that spoke into your womanhood and the finality that you would never have a baby?”

    The one thing?
    Ai.

  58. You should have asked the waiter to take some cold water to the Guy-sitting-to-close-to-the-chic he he he. That would have been something. Loved the story though, maybe my fourth floor will be filled with joy like hers.

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  59. Wow! This is nothing short of excellent. I really wonder why some of those radiologists react like idiots! They break very sensitive information with utmost insensitivity. Me thinks that needs to change.
    ‘This guy was so shocked when he saw the results that the first thing he asked me was, ‘My God, this is bad, do you have children?’ What!!!!????
    Looool to this ‘Oh, are you?” I ask. “I don’t know why I keep meeting people from Mavuno Church lately…everywhere I turn I bump into someone from Mavuno…” but it true!

    This is profound! “I told him that his original family wasn’t able to look after him because they couldn’t afford it. I told him that I didn’t birth him but I chose him. That he was a gift from God.”

    Yes yes yes adoption is truly a love you choose. .

    “8I think this is also true. But also having a husband and taking care and respecting him is a ministry in itself according to the Bible.”

    Kudos Biko!!!

    1. True Miriam, results like those need to be broken with tact. Was working in one of our neighboring countries, when a gynae broke ultra sound results exactly like that. He added that I would never have kids. In mad panic jumped on a flight to Nairobi for a second opinion. Got a gynae who first tried to manage them with monthly injections, then eventually went under the knife to get them removed. Now I have 3 beautiful children.

      1
  60. I know Caroline! Her story is amazing, isn’t it? She is a wonderful person. I can guess what cheeky thing she said that was unprintable- LOL!

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  61. “Across the room a man and a lady walk in and sit next to a big potted plant. The man sits so close to the lady I suspect he can smell her liver.”…. what happened to Susan and Judy? Did they finally get husbands or Caroline abandoned them after her Kosher came through LOL.

  62. Awesome piece! nostalgic moments, challenges but all in all life is not that serious, I love my fourth floor Choclate man

  63. And I’m soon reaching 40 to give you the snippets of my life. God bless Carol and her Kosher Ishmael and their 2 kids.
    ohh and that gracious mama in law. BIKO! how old are you? those things flying off your mind as you have conversation with her are crazy like 20 year old “teenagers”.

  64. “Across the room a man and a lady walk in and sit next to a big potted plant. The man sits so close to the lady I suspect he can smell her liver”
    This made my day. My purpose in life now is to use that phrase “smell her liver”

  65. A great lesson and very encouraging piece. Learnt a lot from this thanks Biko, thanks Carol for sharing your story, indeed bad things happen to you and then some good things happen, and sometimes you have to wait a little longer for those good things.”

  66. I read this yesterday but couldn’t bring myself to comment as it touched a sensitive spot in me. My mom passed away as a result of those things… *sighh… she never went to work during her time of the month as the pain was unimaginable…I took care of her during those times the best way I could’ve. Went for surgery the first time to have them removed and the doctors said they would never grow back, or if they ever did she would’ve already hit menopause which would’ve never had any effect on her. A year down the line they came back multiple folds, with a vengeance…she had to get her uterus removed, they said!
    She breathed her last soon after that second surgery, hadn’t even left the hospital. She’d be 48 this year.
    Keep being victorious Caro.

    1
      1. …the curve balls life throws at you make you strong(er) by default. The hard part is choosing not to let them break you.
        Thanks though.

        1
  67. This one spoke straight to my heart…. I am a firm believer in the fact that motherhood (or rather parenthood) is a relationship choice that one makes and not just the ability to fertilize an egg or birth a child…

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  68. This 40s series is my best. It feels like i have a life class every Tuesday. Thanks to all the brave souls who keep sharing their life stories with us and thanks Biko for narrating them so beautifully!

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  69. At only 29 years, I think am very jealous of those people in their 40’s who get to have their stories re- written all over again. They get to be humored by you #Biko. There is this power you have worked so hard to perfect, and it’s the power to bring a story/experience to life hence Telepathing myself to your space every time I get to read your articles. You don’t need superpowers, you OWN SUPER POWERS by the balls. This is why I look forward to Tuesdays.

    FYI: Just in case you need to take your mind off things, here is my food blog: http://www.tastiedine.com

  70. Lovely, wait till i get to 40.. I’m only 6years early, I most definitely will call you.. I’ve enjoyed every bit of this narrative.. kudos BikoZulu

  71. Nice read, Biko. I want to cruise through these uncertain, precarious 20s as fast as I can and hope I will have a story in my 40s. A quick one though: Can you get someone who is really screwed up? Most of these stories have happily-ever-after sort of ending. I would love to hear a story from someone in some real, deep shit in their 40s.

  72. This is encouraging. Started reading on Tuesday, just finished it today. Had a crazy day: am pregnant, and found out that the dude has been cheating with another.. it will not be easy, gotta go home at 5.00 and pack up my things and move on.. back to mum’s.. Its these kind of encouraging pieces that keep me going.. all i will say is.. BUT GOD…

    Thanks Biko..

  73. Nice piece Biko. I waited breathless for that funny unprintable joke Caroline told you. What I know is that you could have played with words and still pass the joke. Or probably their was no joke at all. I love the suspense though.
    Talk of using God as a crutch. We all do. At some point in our lives. And God allows it. For God is God. Unlike us humans. Today am very pious. Thanks to Caroline.

  74. I thought this deserved to be read on the weekend when I have time to take almost three hours to read and go through every comment from the gang. Sometimes the comments make more of a laughter than the post itself. But today Biko you have conquered the writing world. I would love to write like you in future.
    Caroline is so bold and gives chance to other possibilities like adoption. I always thought if everyone adopted at least one child, then we would have made one more child happy. Many of them are in a state that needs saving.
    Ati the man was so close to the lady that he could smell her liver! Biko you are an entertainer. Those thoughts in your head are the ones that make me coming here every other week.
    Now I’m jealous of the 40s people… we will have our time the 20s people haha!

    1
  75. Awesome read… Felt Sorry for lady Caroline, at first, but boy what a strong woman she is! It is important, however to mention that Fibroids (there are 4 types of them) can affect anybody- with 70-80% of women over 50 years of age being too susceptible. The cause is still a subject of research, but hormones, family history and pregnancy play key roles.
    Funny though, but, did you know that being of an African-American descent puts you at a risk of developing fibroids?
    Thank you for sharing Caroline

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  76. Inspiring post,caroline is a strong woman,taking away her womanhood and having the courage to talk about is no mean feat,she is my hero.

  77. The questions you ask Biko… “How’s depression,” I ask. “Can you describe the feeling?” .Its waking up in the morning and wondering why you should bother leaving your bed, its feeling really hungry and wanting to wake up and go get yourself something to eat but you lack the energy or drive to do so, its spending days on end without even showering and combing your hair or even brushing your teeth cos why bother. Its many things Chocolate man. Hope I have helped answer your question. Depression is living everyday in a dark cloud and faking smiles and answering “I am fine” when your entire being is screaming not. Its living life convinced you are a waste of God’s earth.

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  78. This is an amazing read and inspiring I would really love to taste life in the 40’s. In life some bad things happen to you and then some good things happen to you, and sometimes you have to wait a little longer for those good things.”
    Great work Biko.

  79. Excellent piece Biko.A correction FYI, Cysts cN be really massive and destructive as well.Sometimes even more silent than fibs.I had a humongous 4kg cyst removed 2years ago and it’s the scariest thing you’ve ever seen.I have pics 🙂

  80. Inspiring…i like Caroline’s positive outlook. She is so brave.

    I lost two pregnancies before i went under the knife to remove fibroids.

    And have had to go under the knife again between my two babies, when the fibroids grew again.

    Besides the heavy bleeding, (that embarrassingly goes through your clothes every 30 minutes) the opportunistic infections because of low HB makes you go nuts. Woolly mental faculties and unending fatigue. It is terrible.