Monthly Archives: May 2011

How I Almost Got a Job

Last week, I received this SMS:

Hi, am x I work with an international NGO, u were recommended in our company by ur friend xx of xx company (phone number). Am urgently looking for 10 ambitious, hardworking and aggressive pple 2 work with on part time and full time basis. Salary scale is between 30k to 70k full timers and 15k to 30k part timers. If interested Call this no to book a spot.

I’m sure it’s hard to turn down such an offer, especially if you’re a student like me. I was already imagining how I was going to impress them with my ‘ambition, hard work and aggressiveness’. I had considered the part-time option and could see myself making some pocket money in the evenings after class. I have a long-term imagination too, so I could picture when I’d start working full-time and make big money. I could also picture saving for that motorbike I keep dreaming about.

Were there any reservations? A few. First of all, a few typos in the text but I shrugged them off because it’s a text. Second of all, an INGO would use better recruitment ways, like newspaper/online ads? But my friends told me to just call and see what it was about.

So I made the call.

The guy who answered told me to come to their offices for briefing/training/orientation, I couldn’t decide. He told me their offices are near Nation Center and then when I asked for directions he told me, “Just come to Nation Center and call me when you’re there.”

So after class I made my way to Nation Center and called him. Before I could ask for directions, he said he’s on his way and I should wait for him. I wondered what kind of INGO this was without offices?

He came soon after and led me to this house called Kimathi Chambers, just at the end of Kimathi Street. We went up to the second floor and I was ushered into a room full of young-ish people. A saw a couple of ladies with eyebrows totally shaved off and repainted with eye-pencil. Here and there, people sat on plastic chairs talking in little groups.

So they guy finally pulled a seat and sitting very close to me (knees touching!) started telling me about the International NGO.

He told me many, many stories. How it was started by a 19 year old. How their products help ladies like me not to have mood swings during those monthly times. How we young ladies love fries and sausages, and don’t eat any fruits. How with some magical supplements, I will stop wearing glasses and eventually I’ll have vision 20/20. He asked me if my parents pay my school fees and how would I like it if I could pay for myself and drive myself to work while at it.

All this time, I had noticed a clip he wore and the company stationery bore some logo, initials of Get a New Life Dear. I have heard of them before. Their products are awesome but expensive.

So with that long talk, which would test anyone’s patience, I decided to check into foursquare and earn some points. I noticed Kimathi Chambers is not mapped and added it. It’s hard to do that when you’re having a one-on-one talk with someone. Not to mention that it’s also rude. But after 40 minutes of being told how Get a New Life Dear was going to improve my life tremendously (I’d be driving a 4×4 vehicle in 6 months), I can be forgiven.

He then went on to explain how money is made in the company. Through network marketing. He talked of Facebook and said he could see I was addicted to Facebook (I was actually on foursquare). He told me there is something new called Twitter (Dude, I’ve been a member since ’09!). Explained to me how social networks function. Told me how easy it would be to make money by just introducing the business to new people and how easily I could climb the ranks to Ruby Director and earn 100k per month.

If I hadn’t heard of Get a New Life Dear., I might’ve been convinced to join. However, I know about it and my thoughts? It’s a pyramid scheme. A legal pyramid scheme.

In Other News
There are a number of interesting pictures that I have seen this week:

This is a reflection of Langata Road (at the T-Mall roundabout) in a classroom at Strathmore University. I still don't understand how that image is projected in space, as it were!
Nairobi is beautiful, no? I love living in Nairobi.

P.S.

The venue for the next BAKE BHH is KP’s Lounge. This Friday, 3rd June, From 6pm. See you there. You don’t have to be a blogger, aspiring bloggers are welcome.

17 Tips To Boost Your Productivity!

I received this in an email forward and thought it’s worth sharing. No wonder my productivity is so low!

Though I am not really into all this guru stuff, this rings very true. It’s by a guy called Robin Sharma.

1. Turn off all technology for 60 minutes a day and focus on doing your most important work.

Err.. I use technology for my most important work!

2. Work in 90 minute cycles (tons of science is now confirming that this is the optimal work to rest ratio).

That could work. I usually do 15 minute cycles

3. Start your day with at least 30 minutes of exercise.

Showering, brushing teeth, dressing.. do those count as exercise? Plus the long ride to town in the morning

4. Don’t check your email first thing in the morning.

Is what I do before I even get out of bed… how did he know? Can I check my tweet, DMs though?

5. Turn all your electronic notifications off.

I get a notification every minute: foursquare,tweets,whatsApp,gmail,text,call etc

6. Take one day a week as a complete recovery day, to refuel and regenerate (that means no email, no phone calls and zero work). You need full recovery one day a week otherwise you’ll start depleting your capabilities.

Sundays will do

7. The data says workers are interrupted every 11 minutes. Distractions destroy productivity. Learn to protect your time and say no to interruptions.

I should get a private office.. or simply earphones would do. Does music count as a distraction?

8. Schedule every day of your week every Sunday morning. A plan relieves you of the torment of choice (said novelist Saul Bellow). It restores focus and provides energy.

But..but.. I like spontaneousness and random plans?

9. Work in blocks of time. Creative geniuses all had 2 things in common: when they worked they were fully engaged and when they worked, they worked with this deep concentration for long periods of time. Rare in this world of entrepreneurs who can’t sit still.

Oh.. the day I shall be called a creative genius. I better go work, and with deep concentration starting now!

10. Drink a liter of water early every morning. We wake up dehydrated. The most precious asset of an entrepreneur isn’t time – it’s energy. Water restores it.

A liter? Maybe a just a glass to start with?

11. Don’t answer your phone every time it rings.

Good thing my phone rarely rings anyway

12. Invest in your professional development so you bring more value to the hours you work.

13. Avoid gossip and time vampires.

What if they can’t avoid me?

14. Touch paper just once.

This I don’t get. What paper are we talking about here.. money? I can see how that can motivate productivity!

15. Keep a “Stop Doing List”.

Great idea.

16. Get up at 5 am.

Unfortunately I have no choice but to do so

17. Have meetings standing up.

Of BAKE and BHH

Sometime ago, Kenyan bloggers decided to come together and form what is now called the Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE). This is good news for bloggers who want to do something useful with their blogs (read make money). Individually, it’s hard for one blogger to convince advertisers that they have the numbers it takes, but together we can make a difference. There is also the issue of plagiarism where mainstream media copy pastes content from blogs without as much as an acknowledgment. BAKE aims to help identify these instances and look for the way forward.

So the site, www.bake.or.ke will aggregate content from all bloggers who have signed up (basically your RSS Feeds) and then from there advertisers can choose the relevant blogs they want their ads to go into.

Let me not go into details, there are people working on that nitty gritty stuff but you can ask me questions in the comments section and I’ll try to answer them as best as I can. Issues of content, control, censorship, committees etc.

It looks like BAKE is ready to go, and bloggers were invited for a meeting yesterday evening (Friday 20th May) during which the website was launched.

Anyway, so yesterday I, together with Seth Kigen, was among the first people to arrive, and I found Kachwanya, the ever cheerful organizer/coordinator/don’tKnowHisTitle of BAKE and Wamathai the poet. Shortly after, we were joined by @mawazo_mengi, @anyixbaby, @IddSalim, @wiselar, @roomthinker, @kahenya, @bankelele, @martingicheru, @nj3ma, @shiruakams, @dy-rants and please-forvgive-me-if-I-have-not-mentioned-you-Just-tell-me-and-I-will-add-you-here-immediately.

So business was discussed and beer was ordered. I left early though and wish I’d stayed to chat a bit. It was agreed that we have monthly social meetings/drink ups/BHH. Blogger Happy Hour.

I look forward to BHH. As far as I can remember, Ugandan bloggers have always had a HH and wondered when we’d start having ours!

The next BHH is set for June 3rd but it could change. I’ll keep you updated and I hope to see you there!

Technology and I

Warning: this post might be long

Many have asked why the name Savvy Kenya? Well, a few years back I wanted to be computer savvy. When I was in high school I studied computer studies dropping French in the process. I just couldn’t deal with pronouncing r as eerrrrgh! Like it’s something disgusting! I remember doing my form four project in Pascal, and the days when we’d make the console beautiful by displaying green/yellow text on the black background. There was no internet connection in the labs those days, so there was no place to copy paste code from! How things have changed in just over 5 years!

We were only six of us taking computer studies, and we’d spend lots of time in the lab, experimenting with the console while playing Mario Mike, Dangerous Dave and Pacman. If you never played these games you’ll never know the joy of real gaming!

Image from guestgarden.com

So after form four, I finally got an email address. That was in 2006, the same year I got my Safaricom line which I retain to this date (you know the trials and tribulations of Kuhama, I could write a book about this). Of course those days, it was all about Yahoo!.com. If you needed to join Gmail you needed an invite. I became a frequenter on Yahoo! Answers where I called myself Comp Savvy.

I started blogging in 2007 when I met this guy on whose programming ground I worshipped. He could code in all the languages I knew and he had a really funny blog. He’s the one who sent me an invite to Gmail. Anyway, in May 2007 I was finally admitted as a regular student at JKUAT to do BSc. Computer Science and started blogging about my campus life in 2008. I still used the name Savvy but someone at wordpress already had that ID so I chose savvy08.

I joined Facebook, but it has never really caught on with me. When I did join twitter in 2009, I found someone already using Savvy as their username so I decided Savvy Kenya. Well, enough history. So, am I really computer savvy?

Booksmart Vs Streetsmart

When you go to study computer science in university, you go to learn the mathematics and the science behind computers. You learn about how the first computers were designed on pen and paper theoretically long before the technology to build them was created (think Turing Machine). You learn to understand how operating systems work, how to evaluate the running time of an algorithm (big O notations and such) etc. To assist you in visualizing all this you have to do a number of mathematical units including Calculus, numerical linear algebra, scientific computing, probability and statistics etc.

You’ll be introduced to the basics of everything- computer technology is a wide and growing field- so you’ll be introduced to the mother(s) of all current programming languages- C, C++ and Java. If you’re doing IT, Visual Basic (got to make it soft for the er… I better not complete this). You’ll get to know networking concepts, hardware (switches, routers) and software(protocols). You’ll be given the basics in databases and you might be given an assignment in Ms Access (who uses that anymore?). No, you will not be taught Ms Word, try XYZetech College maybe.

After this, you will be given at least 3 hours per unit to do your lab work. For most students, they will take the time to look for the latest website that will allow them to bypass the proxy server so they can log onto Facebook. For a few, they will sit down and do some assignments. Some will Google, copy, paste and run the code.

Usually, university work is 90% theoretical. Assignments (if and when marked) carry only 10%. The continuous assessment tests (which you write on pen and paper) are about 20% of your final and the final written exam is 70%.

Should this system change? Should students learn more practical stuff so that they can be ready for the industry out there? Are there people who score highly in exams yet cannot do anything practical? What about modern technologies, should they be incorporated into the curriculum?

Incorporating modern technologies into the curriculum in university is like writing a book in Sheng. In a few years, it will be obsolete. So they syllabus should be based on the ‘science and mathematics’ behind computers, subject to regular revision, of course.

Should students learn more practical stuff? Yes. I would suggest the practical assignments be made to contribute at least 40% of the final score. Do away with CATs instead and let students do projects. Let them do their own research and develop a new method/application/anything useful.

Are there people who score highly in exams yet cannot do anything practical? Is the reverse possible?
Yes on both accounts. There are people who get first class honours degrees but cannot code and do not know how a crossover and straight through ethernet cable looks like except on paper. There are people that can code in languages like prolog but cannot hold pen and paper straight during exams.

My Advice?

Technology is a field of passion. If you do not have the passion for it, you’re in the wrong field! Unless you want to get stuck giving ‘user support’ to Ms Word users in government offices, I suggest you choose a different career path. If however, you are satisfied with working the phones at an ISP then go and do your Diploma in IT in peace :)

Does it have to be coding?

No. There are many computer-related jobs out there that do not require your coding. They however, need your brilliance, creativity and analytical skills. Database administrators, network specialists, software engineers (believe it or not, these guys are important), system analysts…. The choice is yours. Just because coding is not your first choice does not mean you suck at computer science!

Is Computer Science and IT the same thing?

It’s like saying Landscape Architecture and plain old Architecture are the same thing. Ask an Arch student in JKUAT and they’ll explain the difference to you. It’s like saying a Mercedes Benz and a Toyota are the same, iPhone 3Gs and IDEOS U8150 are the same thing. I could give you more examples but by now you get the difference. If you don’t you’re an IT graduate. IT graduates help users understand systems that computer science graduates develop. IT graduates install the OS, comp science graduates build the OS.

That’s not how it works in real life though! In the IT field, it’s a level playing ground. As I said, passion will get you anywhere.

So What About Me?

No, I am not totally clueless when it comes to coding. I understand all the intricate stuff. Trouble is, when in school, I did the minimum I needed to do to pass (okay, so I got all As in my math units). I mean I didn’t go the extra mile to learn stuff outside the coursework. I have a basic understanding of a number of languages but I am not a pro (for now) in any. I needed to find my niche. Will I specialize in network programming? Web programming? Mobile programming? Should I branch into networks? Databases? Security (na si G4S)?

Then this course chose me. I made a hurried application last minute and here I am!

I proved myself on paper when I got a first class honours degree. I did make a 2D game (desktop) for my final year project in Java and here, click to download and play it for yourself I hope you learn/remind yourself of some HIV/AIDS info from the background images.

It seems I am headed into the field of Mobile Programming (and telecoms in general) and this time, I go hard. Look out!

A Student Again, but Campus Girl?

So I am a student again. I started a Master of Science degree in Telecommunication and Innovation Development. I’m sure you’ve never heard of it before, lie to me and say you have! It’s a new course started at Strathmore University in partnership with the Safaricom Academy. It’s offered on scholarship and I couldn’t turn this opportunity down.

This is certainly different from undergraduate! I was excited to be going to campus back then! I was going to be a part of the young and exciting group of campus girls. I was going to do all I wanted to do: such is the freedom in a public university in Kenya. You can attend classes whenever you feel like. You can wear what you want, when and how. You can choose to stay up all night and sleep during the day. You can choose to drink all your school feels. You can choose to get pregnant and ask your friends where to get an abortion. You can choose to keep the baby. You can choose to join the puff puff pass guys who never seem to get any sleep.

There are rules in public universities, but it’s like all are meant to be broken. The only rule is not to get caught! In short, you have the freedom to do whatever you want… including studying and passing well. You can decide you want to get a first class honours degree and get it. You can decide you don’t want academic honours but practical knowledge. If you’re in computer science/IT you know what I’m talking about.

That was what being a campus girl was all about. About having fun and studying when you take a break from that. I was young and carefree.

Now? Not so much.

The general plan was to get a job before finishing campus, work for a few months before moving out, work for a year then go somewhere like Oxford/MIT for a masters degree.

Then I got this scholarship and it’s a full-time course for the first few months. There are definitely many differences between my alma mater, JKUAT and Strathmore University. I will be blogging about my life as a student again, but I think I did all the crazy stuff I needed to do as an undergraduate!

Here is what I don’t like so far:

Commuting:
If this is what people who work 8-5 jobs go through everyday, I’m not looking forward to that! My commuting day is 5-8!
I have to be up at 5am if I am to make it to school by 8am, and when I leave at 5pm, I arrive home at 8pm! I spend at least 4 hours daily on the road, what a waste! Hopefully, I will move nearer SU soon. I cannot wake up early in the morning to do any meaningful work, and by the time I get home in the evening, I’m too tired to do anything constructive. I wonder what time I will have to study!

Did I mention classes are Monday to Saturday? And strictly the whole day. Attendance is compulsory.

In JKUAT, I lived within the campus… and classes were spaced out widely between Monday and Friday. Never had a Saturday class!

Apart from time spent in traffic to and from school, there is also the matatu woes. I should do a post on this. Matatus are Kenya’s main form of public transport.

A matatu in Nairobi. Image from wordpulse.com

Dress Code

So SU has a dress code. All clothing must be fit loosely. Emphasis is on loose. Skirts’ hemlines should be below knees. No sleeveless tops. No jeans. No rubber shoes/slippers. Etc. There is a fashion cop whose work is to stare at you (and all you got) and decide if what you’re wearing is inappropriate. So I wore my most decent clothes.. even went ahead and bought new ones.

So far I’ve been turned away once, my trouser being “too tight” and on another occasion got a warning, my skirt too “short”. I’m learning to adapt.

Back in my undergraduate days, anything goes. You could wear bathroom slippers and pajamas to class. I shall miss those days.

Small campus
SU has many buildings all in a small space. It’s not really their fault, there is no land in Nairobi! I just miss the wide spaces, trees, grass, paths that was in the main campus of JKUAT. You could take walks (to as far as the farm) to clear your head, sort out issues with a friend, bond with a lover etc.

Rules, rules, rules
Here, rules are set and they have to be followed. Do not hug too tightly, male and female should not hold hands (!), rules of etiquette, punctuality and attendance.. almost like being in high school again! I can’t complain though, I’m done being a renegade!

What I like so far:

Professionalism/Politeness
You know how government workers are stingy and rude with information? How serving you feels like they are doing you a favour? Workers here are polite and helpful. Most of the time.

Internet and Electricity
They must have a back up generator for the electricity, I’ve never even seen the lights flicker! This was a daily thing back in Juja! The internet is fast and stable most of the time.

Free Food
So in addition to the free tuition, we get free tea breaks and lunches at the cafeteria. Good food. No need to resort to vibandas (roadside shacks) for cheaper meals!

So remind me to do posts on matatus and coding later.

The Kenya National Archives

Click on the pictures to open the full sizes. I took them with my IDEOS phone, and combine that with the lighting and lack of flash, you might want to excuse the quality of the pics :-)

On Monday morning this past week, I was early in town for a breakfast meeting, which I found out had been canceled. So I had a few loose hours, and since it was too early in the morning for internet chatting, and I was standing right outside the Kenya National Archives while I figured what to do, I decided that was the time to explore it. It costs only 50 shillings.

I always used to be fascinated by the building. I imagined dusty documents piled in all the rooms on whose doors marked the era the documents are from. That was before I read about it in the newspaper and saw some pictures. It’s not actually a repository of documents from Kenya’s history but a museum of sorts.

It’s not made up of small tiny dusty rooms but it’s a large airy space building with good lighting. There is so much artwork, mostly donated by the Murumbi Trust. Joseph Murumbi was a vice president during Mzee Kenyatta’s time, although I think he only served for a month! There are paintings, religious and cultural artifacts, sculptures, pictures, books, letters, etc from all over Africa. I was fascinated by everything I saw. I stayed for over 2 hours and still I didn’t see it all!

The Kenya National Archives is not a place you go once. You have to keep going back in order to exhaust and savour all there is. If you do it all in a day, you’ll need about 8 hours, and you may miss to appreciate some of the work on display there. So this first time, I just skimmed through.

The place has 3 floors, most of the artwork is on the ground floor. On the first floor are lots of historical pictures and a huge stamp collection from all over the world. There are also a few other items like flags and books.

On the 2nd floor, there is a reception room of sorts with a flat screen TV mounted on the wall that was showing Naija films on Citizen TV at the time. I think films are watched here. The rest of the places on the 2nd floor are offices though I think I saw a library.

You can step out of the 2nd floor onto the roof but you’ll not see much, maybe because I’m short.

Despite the warning sign asking us not to take pictures without permission or to touch anything, I did both. I was the only visitor at the time and nobody was watching. Okay, I didn’t touch brittle looking things, and the few pictures I took are not for commercial publication so it’s alright? I hope I don’t get sued.

I’ll share some of the pictures:

This is a picture of a Luo elder. Reminds of the days when men were still men, whatever that means. Anyway, it was an impressive painting and I could picture living in those days, when I could go gossiping with the girls at the river and someone would abduct me and take me and make me his wife.

Luo Elder

This is a beautiful painting, I just felt drawn to it. If it was on sale, I’d buy it. It looks alive somehow… a camera cannot capture it. Maybe it’s just me.

Painting of man in the first two decades of last century

This is another painting of the colonial scene that captured my imagination. This was a collection by John Boyes, so called “King of the Kikuyu.” He apparently “owned” Mt. Kenya for a number of years!

painting of a colonial scene

This is a collection of jewelery from some Kenyan tribes and they’re locked in a glass casing. I would’ve been sorely tempted to pick a souvenir!

earrings

This is a picture of Ethiopian story told serially. Just like a modern comic strip. This tells the story of King Solomon when he visited Queen Sheba in Ethiopia, and their son established the Menelik Dynasty. It’s fascinating. There’s even a ‘sex scene’. Just click on the picture to open the full size and prove me wrong(or right)!

Ethiopian artwork

There was some weird art by some artists. I would love to see how their minds work, their morbid and disturbing thoughts that put grotesque images on canvas. I love this kind of art.

Below is kind of abstract art. Looks uber erotic if you ask me.

weird art

In the picture below, there are four canvases on which are painted giraffes. Some realistic art is beautiful too. The picture does not do it justice. I can’t remember the name of the artist though, so I will go back and note these names.

More weird art, I couldn’t figure out the meaning of this painting. Anyone?

more weird art

So I saw this little latch on the floor, and I thought what if I open it? Will I go spiralling back into the past? Future? Some morbid room of torture where a serial killer traps his victims? So I opened it anyway. It turned out to be a socket so you can imagine my disappointment.

socket

I ventured upstairs and here are some more pictures:

This is a letter Dedan Kimathi wrote on the eve of his execution. I shudder to think what he was going through. It’s a rare glimpse into the mind of a hero dying for his country. Tears came into my eyes when I read this.. like seriously. Just read it for yourself.

Dedan Kimathi's last letter on earth

I moved on to portraits of Kenya’s historical figures, and one captured my eye. Pio Gama Pinto was Kenya’s first political assassination. Sad, huh? He looks so young and handsome in this picture.

Pio Gama Pinto

This is a view of the ground floor of the National Archives. I was on the first floor when I took this. So much history down there.

view of the ground floor

The last photo here shows Jomo Kenyatta during his days as a student. No one can deny Uhuru Kenyatta is the son!

Jomo Kenyatta

Next time, who wants to come with?

Keeping Away The Blues and the Finnish Lady

The blues...

Like every normal person, I have my down days. Days when I don’t want to get out of bed, days when I don’t feel I can face the day. I question my very existence and wonder if there is anything of worth I’ve done. I ask myself if I’m good enough at anything really, if I should even be living at all. I ask myself what kind of blogger I am etc. I like the feedback from readers, because most people say nice things ;-)

Sometimes if I get a task and immerse myself into it, and if I achieve something by the end of the day, I will feel good about myself. Other times, I may do that and still go to bed feeling like a failure! Yes people, I have bad days too, dark stormy moments. I know I sound bright and cheery on this blog but that is not always the case.

So I trawl the interwebs googling myself to see what the internet can tell about me. Don’t act like you’ve never done that. That is how I landed on this blog: Southern Blogosphere, Interesting Blogs From The Developing World. Guess the first blog she ever reviewed! Mine. The Diary of a Kenyan Campus Girl.

Here is a couple of things she said about me that lift my spirits:

…is a narrative of a brave, cheerful student girl. Savvy (the author’s name in the blog) studies at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Kenya. However, the blog is not about her studies but about all other interesting things. And this girl definitely knows how to write! Her style is daring, descriptive, open and full of wonderful self-irony.

Well, I can’t argue with that!

Savvy goes clubbing with friends, observes life and people around her, writes about idlers on street corners, sugar daddys and Chinese copy phones. One of my favorites is a blog from her weekend trip to visit a friend in Uganda – I felt as if I had been there with her!

I’m sure you all felt the same :-)

I loved the blog Harambee Stars vs. Ugandan Cranes, in which Savvy sneaks out of church to be in time for an important football game:

“I’d bet heavily on the game: I was going to change my twitter name from Savvy Kenya to Savvy Uganda, and possibly my nationality too if the stars lost to the Cranes.

Having left church around noon, and changed from my dress to jeans and carried a borrowed vuvuzela, I got into a matatu around 1p.m. to town. Now, my small brother was in possession of the tickets and had been at the stadium since noon. He was giving us (my other bro and I) one hour to get to the stadium or he’d sell our tickets. I kept telling him am almost in town even when I was stuck in traffic because the Chinese constructors (contractors?)had decided Saturday was the best time to divert traffic to roadside paths.

By the time I finally got to the stadium, it was 3.30pm and my brothers were already inside. Somehow, we managed to communicate and they wrapped my ticket around a small flag they’d bought and threw it over the wall of the stadium. Of course, there were few spiderman wannabes who scaled the wall but since I had my ticket no need to resort to desperate measures.”

I couldn’t miss that match now, could I?

And on and on it goes, I definitely wrote a thank you email to this lady who made my day then, and still continues to do so whenever I re-read it.

She concludes:

Savvy is a middle-class, well educated African, who clearly wants to do something meaningful in her life. What will become of this interesting young woman?

How about the president of the East Africa Republic 20 years from now?

Here and There: A Picture Story

Hint: click on the photos to open a bigger and clearer version. All these were taken through my trusted and much loved Ideos phone.

I get around in Nairobi much, mostly running errands on behalf of parents, brothers, cousins etc. One time, I was near the Kenyatta National Hospital and there was this fleet of vehicles running funeral services. I couldn’t believe when I saw one written “LOL Funeral Services”. Was that some kind of sick joke? So I moved in closer for a paparazzi shot because the driver was chatting with someone and I didn’t want to be seen taking pictures of them.

However, on closer scrutiny, it can be seen that the O is in fact a B. Someone should tell these people that there are other font options available!

LOL Funeral Services
LOL Funeral Services

A second image that made it to my camera this past week was of a guy with a padlocked bag. Not those stylish, small and decorative suitcase padlocks but one of those we used to lock our boxes with in high school.

Two flaws with his logic: if someone wanted to steal stuff from his bag without alerting him, they’d take a razor blade and slash the bag.. easier than breaking the padlock. Two, if they were to take his bag by force, the padlock is not going to stop them.

Moral of the story: put a padlock only on non-slashable bags!

Padlocked bag
The padlocked bag

Now if you must know, I’m an amateur photographer. I love taking photographs of anything interesting (or sometimes not).

The Cooperative Building is next to the site of the former office of the US Embassy. When the embassy was bombed in 1998 by Osama bin Laden and his people, over 200 Kenyans died and thousands more were injured (I hope these are the exact figures). The Cooperative Building is made of glass on the front and back side (the photo below is a side view) and you can imagine what happened! All that glass shattered and flying around, lodging into people’s throats etc. The horror.

The building itself however survived and was repaired. Now it’s as magnificent as ever.

Cooperative House
Cooperative House, which suffered a major shake up during the bomb blast of '98

Nightmare

Found this poem in my cousin’s computer and thought I’d share it. Author unknown, unless he/she comes forward to claim it.

I have been told the author is a 15 year old whose name I didn’t get. It was first published in Buzz. Talent right there.

I am that breath
That just won’t go through your nostrils
I am that last sight before blindness creeps in
I am that lover who introduced you to hate

I am that piece of vegetable
That sticks in your teeth
I am that breeze
That turns into a chill
I am that extra air through your windpipe that gets you to choke
I am that extra fat that clogs your artery

I am that extra line
That destroys a compliment
I am that dream
That you let turn into a regret
I am that “one last beer”
That causes you to crash
I am that “one last dip”
That brings you AIDS

I am that poop
That stinks up the whole house
I am that drop of rain
When you are walking out of the salon
I am that gush of wind
That sends your sunny dress flying
I am that step you miss before going down

I am that fly
That won’t zip up in public
I am that technical hitch
During a live braodcast
I am the writers block
When you are filing a story
I am the loose button
That pops when you sneeze

Yes,I am the dream away from becoming your nightmare