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'I would see couples walking in looking all dolled up, the man carrying the lady's handbag in one hand and holding an umbrella in the other.' Beryl Itindi, in last weekend's issue of Eve – speaking of her solitary visits to the ante-natal clinic.
Before I even begin on my own recent visits to the ante-natal clinic – (why do they call it that? It sounds like anti-NATO clinics, something Trump would love to attend) – let me reinstate that under NO circumstances should an African man ever carry his woman's handbag. It makes a fellow look gay!
Anyway, I have been accompanying a companion to this ante-natal clinics, which they call the ANC on those forms you tick at the maternity hospital.
The first time I went there, being one of those wunderkinds Wanga spoke about last week (never mind whether a man is there under duress, and the threat of death by starvation), I volunteered to fill the form.
"Tick ANC," said the hospital receptionist, seeing my puzzled face at seeing things like PDS, PCP, NBN (which I later learned were Post Delivery Service, Primary Care Physician, New Born Nursery)...
"But I don't want to vote for the African National Congress (ANC) because I no longer like Zuma, ghel," I told her with a stone-face and South African accent. "Where is the box with IFP – the Inkatha Freedom Party?" Instead of the laughter I expected, the receptionists gave me a look like a gunia full of lemons.
Wueh! They don't like jokes at the ante-nato clinic, my man friends. There, things are serious.
If you are a man and you get there early – what my friend Beryl calls 'hours when morning glory is still being defined' – whatever that means – you will still have to stand for hours because, being a gentleman, you have to give up your seat every time a pregnant woman walks in and begins to look around the room for one.
The end result is that you keep moving deeper and deeper into the inner sanctum of the ANC (the opposite of Julius Malema who found himself suddenly outside).
I was worried that, one day, I would move so far 'ndani, ndaaani, ndaaaaniii' (thank you bwana Salat) that I would find myself in the New Born Nursery (NBN), surrounded by a bunch of screaming and shrieking babies.
Then what is it with those expectant mothers who sit with their legs wiiiiiide open, in a decidedly exaggerated fashion in these clinics, as they wait to be attended to?
Granted, it must be a burden with belly bulging, but if you know you are going to sit like that, must you wear a dress that day with Grandma Union Underwear? (GUU). The sight is simply disturbing.
It is like those big men who sit with legs akimbo in matatus, and will not put them together to accommodate other travelers. At least not until the tout has insulted them to "nunua gari yako ndio ukae starehe hivyo kama mwana bunge, boss."
The other disturbing sight – (and this at a respectable hospital) – is of women roaming the corridors of the ante-natal clinic like lost souls with their steaming urine in cold metallic cups, as they walk from the lavatory to the laboratory.
The first time I saw this, I almost lauded the hospital (by sending a congratulatory message) because I thought – "how sensitive of them to provide expectant moms with hot soup, as they wait to be attended to!"
Then there's the ultra sound moment.
You go into this room that looks like Science Fiction and some totally bald chap with a sharp kisogo rubs jelly on a belly, presses a 'scanner' on someone's stomach and keeps saying: "You can see the baby?"
The truth is what you can see looks like those blob landscapes in Syria, just before the drone drops a bomb. But because your 'person' is so excited – she can see everything! – you nod hard and say 'yuh.'