Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Fatherhood Life Role

I'm Masao and I'm father since a while ago. Until recently, May 29th 2008, my father who was pillar of our family, passed away at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center (KCM), Moshi, Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, the fatherhood reality set-through really fast. Why? I'm first born to my mother with 5 siblings, and i have other siblings who are step brother and sisters. We did not grow together but they visited and some i met them on my father's funeral. We really dont have that much connections but they are blood and I'm responsible to the some extent. All are looking up to my decision making because in my tradition since I'm the oldest son i wear my father's hat and they all get to come to me. I dont like very much, but hey, I got  to face-up what life throws at me.

His passing has dramatically changed and shape my life because now i have both ,responsibilities of my family and my father's responsibilities, siblings and relatives. I have a lot in my plate and that has changed my life and attitudes for better because now for sure every decisions I make has wide scrutiny and can change life or lives for good or bad. I use to think that i knew what it is to be father-figure and do fatherly duties, but now I get it and it is a commitment that never go away until death do you apart. Just to father my kids drains me, now to this big extended family, i'm totally overwhelmed. I tell you what life, is not the same anymore.We human takes for granted things that we enjoy every day, and fatherhood life is one of them.

The glitch to the newly fatherhood responsibility that i have assumed after my father passed is that I reside here New York, USA and with exception of my daughter and loving wife that I'm responsible of and lives with me, the rest of my siblings and kids that i'm responsible of as well resides in Tanzania. It is overwhelming and sometimes frustrating. But I’m very happy and proud of my father than ever I never knew how much was in his plate and how strong he stood firm on a such fragmented relations among family members all-together. His presence was very tangible and made life sound so alive. I can see what he went through to raise me and my siblings.

Guess what? Technology has been the major factor in my life. It has facilitate the fatherhood life role that i have in a very tangible and transcending ways. My mom calls me or I call her very often and discuss progress, and behavior shaping to both kids and littler siblings, whenever something happens or goes wrong. Likewise, i use technology, internet and phone to reward good behavior and success. In general I'm very involved and I'm proud of the new role if i can make a difference. Moreover, finally it feels that there is no power that can be taken for granted due to my father's passing. My mother, my siblings and my presence at a full blown response and it is encouraging for those who want progress and peace and it freaks out those who have ill deep seated wishes to my family. We pray God to have his presence and actively involved in the activities of this family day in day out and live in our lives in promotion of love and prosperity; because all these comes from truly his love for humanity and us human beings.
What many people don’t know is that, my father raised all of us in the order of seniority and respect bottom-up and up-bottom and most of all aspired his life and family to love God and understand Christianity. It was kind like military way but because both my parents were teachers, we ended up having also up-bottom respect and making it mutual respect to one another. They enhanced our mutual respect by variety of codes of ethics that are functional universal code of ethics. For those who are from Moshi-Kilimanjaro, or have parents who are teachers in Moshi-Kilimanjaro they know what I'm saying. As family we had conservative upbringing.

However, life to me is so fast, to the point that I see the world is spinning; and I see the daily fatherhood life with many diversified cultures awareness in my mind. It makes it even interesting and challenging at the same time, if not fascinating since i live here in New York where you can find people from almost every culture, creed, race and nationality. You know, In Kilimanjaro/Tanzania/Africa, if I say fatherhood people will think of male-head of his family who bares child/children and father to every child in his proximity. But here it means the weekend that the father gets his child/children from the shared custody with mother, for those millions divorced and single parents. Or father figure to ones family. What I'm trying to illustrate is that fatherhood life role differs depending culture, place and environment, but all in all fatherhood life is all the same and it has great responsibilities.

In all aspects fatherhood life means an engaging father that that contribute raising his child/children and not a drive-by-dad or part time father; let a lone the dead-bit fathers that make up huge number of single moms. This is to be done by bridging the gap of childcare's life between visiting mother and or father for the single parents and for all fathers to be full time engaging in the child's life 24/7. For the American life style, where both parents works 8+ hours a day and make the ends meet it needs a courage to fully engaged in a child's life. But if build a culture of doing so it wont be so difficult as it seems. It has to be an embedded culture to fathers, that the welfare of the child is at most priority and is a 24/7 responsibility; and to mothers as well. We are all to agree that money dont raise a child rather feeds into single parenthood as form of income to some. Therefore the community and society is not at all off-the-hock from this ill culture aether. My fatherhood combines my nuclear family, oriented family and procreated family and some clan members that they once considered my father a father figure to them. Take a guess of NY life style compared to what I have in my plate as package.

My father saw a shining star on my fore head, and bare my responsibilities of fatherhood to my children, something that allow me to be where I’m today. I owe him a lot, and I hope he is happy where he is. R.I.P. Sr. we love you and we miss you dearly, more than any one can imagine. As a matter of fact he waited to die for months so that he could see me, my wife, and my daughter Malaika. He died for liver cancer, and he knew I was doing my finals and waited until when I got done with them so that I could fly there to see him for the last time. I never knew how he sick he was because I always talked to him on the phone. Something had to do with spirit communicating because up to today i don't know how I arranged to fly there, it was miracle, and I certainly believe in miracles because my life is full of miracles since conception.

I last saw him September of 2002. Seen him at his dying bed, it frustrating and joy to finally lays my eyes on hims for the last time. The journey to see him was long but it was full of blessings. I consider myself the blessed one and I thank almighty God for that. He gave me a new life; he showed me the part of life that I didn’t know about and he lead me to live life like man and face the world as it is with enough tools to navigate through, education, respect for other, take responsibilities, play fair, love for God and family and never to back down on life or enemy of my life and others.

He knew that he was dying, he insisted about love, and family leadership. He was a secretary of our clan so he knew awful a lot about my clan that I don’t know much about except for the few that i interact with. He was worrying about my mom and I promised him that she is on the safe hands and no one will threaten, humiliate, degrade, stigmatize, or oppress her on my watch and certainly on God's watch as the master planner of all. My mom has gone through a lot; my father was the only one gave her strength, as I can remember our childhood, and now his is gone. Her only Hope is God and her children depending on what she encountered from so many relatives of mine at Uru. I always tell her that God is your only salvation and he cannot forsaken you because he brouht you this far. We human beings tend to ask question and questioned why this or that happened to me or people we love, but if we were to know God's plans we could never asked or questioned his decisions or whatever happens to us and our loved one as somehow a mistake. To my knowledge that's how God talking to us, we ought to learn, do soul searching and change the way we do the things we do. Ben Franklin said that to do same thing over and over and somehow to expect different result that is insanity. It is like planting corn and expect to harvest soy. It sounds strange? You are right it is, shake-up and change the way you do business if things aint right. If things are smooth, then dont fix what is not broken. I wish it was simple like that.

My mother is from different clan/tribe and location, Marangu, and my clan and people from my area had tribe wars and unresolved conflicts that impacts today’s relations between these sides and many Chagga dilects and the are located. In my father's (my area) no one likes my mom, neither me nor my siblings from my mother, because they say that Marangu people are stuck-ups and thinks that are well developed that Uru people. I dont know what this has anything to do with me since I'm Chagga from Uru with the mother from Marangu and I live and grew up in Uru, but that is how life is. We are like outcasts. According to them we don’t fit in that is what they say on our backs and do the things they do, especially to my mother. when my father lying in the hospital bed, he was terrified what will happen to my mom and us when he is gone. I could see his body signs and the way he was talking showing a major concerns and phrasing his concerns. But, you know what? I had to assure him that his vacuum is filled with love of God and no one can take advantage because God is watching over all of us under the sun.

Looking at the division of my Uru relative is so pathetic. How could someone dare to say that because some f my siblings and i are light skin we dont resemble my father and we dont fit? Some even dare to try to divide us by favoring my siblings who have darker completion and said that they look like my father and they are talented and can make it in life, but it did not work because God is great.  The people did and are doing this are credible people, some well educated. I hate no one as we were all created resembling face and God. I cannot hate a human being and pretend that I love God. However, i dislike what they do and for that I pray for them to see the reality on the light the very thing that they do in the dark or behind other people's back. All i can say is ignorance also can be found to educated people because formal education can lack vital information about vital aspects of life. Therefore, we all ought to educate ourselves consistently with vital information about life, areas we live, people we deal with, factors that lead to decision making, why thins are the way they are and so on. Information is limitless and transform every day depending on so many aspects that life rewards us.

Lastly, this is about the role of fatherhood life that i thought i knew well and after my father passed that role changed and transformed into a complex thing that i always have to navigate through. the trip to Tanzania it was very uncertain journey yet very blessed one thanks God that we made it. Not many people get a chance to go see their dying father and take care of them in the hospital for 2+weeks, I did get that privilege and thanks God.  R.I.P. Baba/Father. We miss you.

I can go on and on, and may be write books about the whole ordeal; because the real family shake-up started very early 1980, i was like 6 years and I remember like yesterday. I'm observer but i tend to fool people because first I'm talkative and opinionated. That, in my culture is double jeopardy and not smart, but what many people in the area don't know is that with these qualities one can also be a very good observer. No, they like to stereotype and psychologically shut you down, what they forgot is you cant shut down an opinionated person, because his/her brain sparkles out the opinions even when they are not talking. I love them because i can go toe to toe to the last breath and I'm a strait shooter, i tell like it is regardless of who you are and what you are; and I like me of such friends and not hypocrite who will tell you what you want to hear only. That is pathetic, excuse my language.

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