Friday, January 15, 2010

When is the last time you bought a Condom and how much was it?

This is a question that I wouldn’t ask anyone in my physical life, simply because I would like to keep my sanity and reputation yet here in the cyber world, I have no problem asking it. It’s not a question that just popped in my minds but it’s a result of my inner struggle, desire and quest to find solutions to today’s most critical problems which the majority of my countrymen and women do not feel largely concerned about. These are the problems that makes me go sleepless for a full night and make my head painfully bump.

Over-population, new emerging safer contraceptives, abortion, sky rocketing prices of both commodities and services, high costs of living and, of course, human rights of all people including women, atheists, children and GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender) people.

Am a victim of overpopulation back to the time what I used to call my family where my father chose “creating babies” as his only hobby and as a result, he failed to keep the babies in school and none of them completed any form of education. When I grew up to my independent life, am finding it harder to find a simple fair housing, food, transportation of both public and private, medical services, education, water. Almost everything is in scarcity; and when you find what you need, it’s far too expensive. I cannot afford what I need in life, not because am so poorer but because the area in which I lived before and those where I have swifted are congested by overpopulation. Despite of all the hardships faced with many people here in Uganda, people are busy creating more babies and more babies and more babies at an alarming growth rate. These are families which depend on less than a dollar a day, they sleep on floors without any mattress; they live on less than a dollar a day. Life is very hard for them too, but then why do they created babies? Both their kids and themselves look hopeless and lost. It’s like they are deep in the desert and do not know where to turn for solutions.

Having lived in hardship for all my life as a result of the problem I mentioned above, I chose to spend most of my time teaching-- whoever I meet--about the significance of having less kids or not having any at all. I have spent more hours and days asking people why they do not embrace contraceptives? When men face this question from me, they always answered that “it’s up to my wife”, if she doesn’t want to use contraceptives, then why should I bother? My next question is always “If your wife cannot use contraceptives, "then why don’t you embrace condoms?" And the answer is known “my religion is against Condoms” they always answer calmly.

Apparently, most African countries--including Uganda--allow countries to dump the less improved contraceptives in our countries; it’s mostly because the countries making them are supporting the failing Governments with money in Africa, and so Governments in Africa are not mainly concerned about the health of individuals and their citizens. It's on record now that many African women have gone through strong and severe side affects of these contraceptives. With less support from African Governments, they stopped taking them. As a result, we are seeing more babies, more babies and again more babies. Just look around where you are and see if you can count the children between the ages of 1 day to 15 years. They are just too many!

This evening, I chose to spend it on the streets trying to buy condoms and what I found is frustrating. I wasn’t really in need of condoms, but I wanted to feel that strange anxiety of buying a condom in a broad day time. I wanted to use my experience to tell anyone that “Look, buy condoms and save the country from over-population”

I walked to the first five shops and none of them had condoms, yet located in prime residential locations where bodabodas hang in, many people do their work within but no condoms are available. Other shops simply had empty packets of condoms on display but none was in. Other shops had condoms, but from my observation, those are not the ones preferred by most men, so they are not buying them.

When I arrived to a shop which had one, it was selling it at 800 UGX from 300 UGX four years ago. This was almost my 15th shop. Likewise, drug shops and clinics had none. I continued to search and I came to a drug shop which had like three boxes of that brand on demand and she was selling a packet of three condoms at 1000ugx. This put my understanding on a pause, I couldn’t imagine a boda-boda man paying 1000 UGX for a condom, neither do I hoped to see a taxi driver walking almost a kilometer looking for condoms simply because he is going to have sex.

He will simply say, "After all, we will all dies" which is a common saying in Uganda. One drug shop attendant told me that condoms are not available or are very scarce, that’s why they're so expensive. I hope the Ugandan Government should still consider condoms as the only weapon available that can reduce AIDS/HIV and other STDs and in the same way reduce the populations.
The “get off sexual network campaigns” now runs throughout the media, in almost every 30 minute segment, cannot be affective in combating both HIV/AIDS/STDs and at the same way create an impact on overpopulation.

Until the society comes to its senses to know that creating babies means creating more problems for the future for both the country and the same family that is busy making babies, they should stop complaining to the sky rocketing prices of both services and commodities.

Sex is for pleasure NOT procreation


John Powers said...

In the USA a box of 12 condoms costs about $7.00, so 3 condoms at 1000UGX is very much less than condoms are here.

Choosing sex while preventing pregnancy and disease really isn't easy. I think perhaps more than the costs the problem is that we don't talk about sex. One reason we don't talk about sex more--at least in practical ways--probably has to do with wanting to act as though there is no reason in sex. This is especially true when we think there's some immediate possibility of getting sex, at least from a man's point of view.

On the other hand many studies show that young people who get sex education in school start having sex a little later and are more often responsible--things like using protection--when they have sex. I take from that people can reason about sex and it does us good.

A guy thinks "Everyone has to die." But what if you live? The costs of a condom are so much less than the costs of raising a child!

Esquire of the mountain said...

Thanks for this post but John, i think the cost of the condom at UGX 1,000(which by the way are 3 not 12) that the writer refers to is not to be seen in absolute terms, Shs 1,000 for many people in Uganda is their daily or even weekly income and so spending it on condoms becomes a more "serious" financial issue compared to the U.S where $7.00 is minimum wage per hour and so not so much of an issue, besides in the U.S there are loads of free contraceptives and minimum living standards are guaranteed with basics being affordable by everyone and at worst you have unemployment benefit...unfortunately for us none of those luxuries exist...its a "dog eat dog" world...every man for himself...and God for us all

John Powers said...

Esquire of the mountain, you make a good point about the relative costs of condoms. But even here in the USA many don't use them. Regardless of the price of a condom using them is in part a determination that condoms have value. It's the conversation about that value which entails concern for health of a person and partner and consideration of making conscious choices about bringing children into the world people everywhere need to engage in.