"Wewe ni nani wa huyu mtoto?" (How are you related to this baby?) she asked.

"The dad."

Mama yake yuko wapi?” (Where’s the mother?)

Ako mbali kidogo,” (She’s away at the moment.)

"Wababa hawapendi kuleta watoto hospitali pekee yao." (Dads are not known to bring their children to hospital alone.)

There were three other young bedridden patients in the cubicle. Beside each bed sat a woman, most probably mothers to the patients. Three pairs of female eyes stared blankly as father and son assumed their new home for days only the medics knew. They may not have said what was going through their minds, but I could tell we were in an unwelcome territory.


I was confused on whether to strike up a conversation or sit back and join the game of staring at each other with big eyes like owls. As I settled into his bed to rest from the day’s activities, I asked myself whether I would honestly have spent the night beside my boy in a hospital bed if his mum was around. I did not do very well at answering myself.

By the second day, the women and I were sharing fruits and cereals, that is when they openly admitted to being shocked that I chose to stay with my son.

Two wished that the men in their lives had taken turns spending at the hospital. One of them was however of a totally different school of thought. According to her, she did not feel comfortable letting her husband sleep over in hospital with their child because her conscience would not let her sleep at home.

The question I kept to myself when she said that was why she was married to a man she could not trust to care for a baby he fathered.

I do not have the statistics of men who were requested to take turns in staying with an admitted baby and they said yes or no, but men and paediatrics is a phenomenon that needs to be researched.


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