“I am turning 40 in two months. I am a single father of two children, both boys. I want a good life for them. I work hard so they can live an easier life than the one my parents gave me. I want them to be comfortable and get a decent education that will make it possible for them to become anything they want.
I would be so far ahead right now if my parents had at least planned their family. They had 12 children even though they were not well-off. We grew up in extreme poverty and my siblings and I were the victims. We had few opportunities growing up, which meant we couldn’t make much out of ourselves. We were doomed from the start.
The difficulties we experienced growing up inspired my decision to have only one child.
But life happened. In my late twenties a woman I was seeing moved in with me. We were just cohabiting, we never discussed marriage nor a serious future together.
We didn’t use birth control and she became pregnant. I was not ready to be a father but I accepted the child and told her she had to get on birth control. But she had a terrible experience.
Every birth control method she tried had extreme side-effects. I got worried, so I told her to stop. We used withdrawal but she became pregnant again, with our second son.
I thought of getting a vasectomy at the time but kept putting it off. A few years ago she left me and our children. I haven’t had a constant sex partner since then, and I don’t want another unplanned pregnancy. I am not ready to care for more children.
I visited several clinics in Nairobi asking about the cost of the procedure, and the average was Ksh 11,000. That was too expensive, I could not afford it.
Then a miracle happened. I was watching the news and learnt about the free vasectomy initiative by Family Health Options Kenya (FHOK), in collaboration with No-Scalpel Vasectomy International, Inc (NSVI) and thought, “Here is my chance to finally do it”. Now I don’t have to worry about more children again.”–Maina, 40, Nairobi, Kenya.
- This post was intended for World Vasectomy Day last Thursday but I had traveled and didn’t have internet. Details about my fun trip in the next post.
- I interviewed Maina in July this year at FHOK when the clinic was offering free vasectomies. Each year, FHOK collaborates with No-Scalpel Vasectomy International to give free vasectomies. Dr. Douglas Stein of NSVI told me men travel from as far as Western Kenya for the procedure.
- Because of the negative perception surrounding vasectomy, especially in Kenya, Maina declined to give his complete name nor have his picture taken. He was one of only two men that were open enough to talk to me.