Monthly Archives: June 2011

Merchants of Death

Tears stream down my face. I close my eyes and listen to The Fray. I can’t hear what they are saying but it sounds really sad.

I got the text this afternoon after class. From my dad who rarely texts me. You have to come home early, it said. I had a group meeting to discuss our project and a dinner meeting afterwards so I called back to find out why.

I had a bad feeling something bad had happened. The feeling had persisted during the day. He didn’t pick buy he called me back shortly … I was thinking please don’t be Sam or Albert, my bros. Or mum. It turned out to be my grandfather, on my mother’s side. My paternal grandfather passed on three years ago.

He was going to come for my graduation … that’s what I keep thinking about. He was going to wear a suit and tie and well shined shoes. He was going to wear his godfather hat and pose with me in my gown.

My grandfather loved suits.. and his godfather hat. I was going to be rich so I could charter a helicopter for him to fly around. He’d always wanted to do that and I was going to keep that promise.

Earlier I’d kept wiping the tears but now I let them flow.

He was an elegant man. Very neat. Polished. He was born poor, he didn’t die rich financially but he leaves behind a wealth of people.

I keep imagining how it happened. It wasn’t a long illness bravely born. It wasn’t old age… he was about 70 [Learned that he died at 78/79]. It was a motorcycle accident. Those boda boda operators riding recklessly. The merchants of death.

He’d just gotten off one motorcycle and was about to cross the road when another bike came from the opposite direction …

Did I say he was gonna come for my graduation?

I feel for my mother. Her dad would walk for miles to come see her in boarding school. He’d wear torn shirts just so he could pay school fees for his 12 children. He’s the type of man who took responsibility seriously … he was.

We didn’t talk much but we had a basic understanding of each other. We’d sit under a tree and listen to the portable radio whenever I was in shagz, which is not too often. It was never often enough.

I left school this afternoon in a haze.. wiped the tears streaming silently in the mat. Later I didn’t care, I just let them flow. The.conductor tried cheering me up but I couldn’t even speak.

Now I’m feeling better, I have to be strong for my mum.

I’ve been tweeting whenever I get any free time… but I just can’t tweet a death. It feels like Twitter is for trivial news like “just won a lottery! ” “just married”. Not any amount of sympathy will bring back my grandfather.

If only we could sit under a tree one more time and listen to Egesa FM. If only I could buy him a hat, suit, shirt, tie, shoes and socks and take that graduation pic with him. If only I could charter that helicopter and give him that ride he always wishes for. If only wishes were horses …

We’ll travel to shagz as soon as we can. We’ll reunite with all the people whose lives my grandfather touched. We’ll curse these careless merchants of death. I’ll wonder if there are stats indicating the number of accidents caused by the recent influx of Chinese motorbikes ridden by untrained merchants of death.

We’ll bury our grandfather and come back to our lives. We’ll be sad for a while, and sad on some lower level for life.

With time we’ll move on. People are born. People die. Every second. Before my time comes I’ll take time to live. I’ve been thinking of writing a will to ‘dispose of’ my online accounts since I have no financial wealth … YET.

As the French say, c’est la vie.

In the meantime, I’m letting the tears flow. Flow for my grandfather. For the boy he was, the man he became, the old man he was before the merchant of death knocked him off this earth.

I’ll miss him.

BAKE HH: Blogging for a Cause

The question is: would you tweet, facebook and blog to save Mount Kenya?

The next BAKE Happy Hour is on Friday 8th July, from 6pm. Please sign up so we know who is coming! I think there might be a surprise (shhh.. maybe a free drink). The tentative venue is Secrets Lounge. Get your groove on and see you then!

Oh right, about Mount Kenya.

Would you tweet to save the Mount Kenya? Would you Facebook (just clicking on Like)? Would you blog about this initiative to save Kenya’s largest water catchment?

With over 7 million Kenyans online, Africa Point through Tupande Pamoja and partners strongly believe they can bring on board 100,000 social media ambassadors to help raise awareness about this worthy cause within a period of two years and subsequently plant 100,000 trees in Mt Kenya Forest over the same period of time.

Just How Important is Mount Kenya?

Batian Peak in Mt Kenya, Africa's second highest mountain. The glaciers are melting at a worrying rate.

Mount Kenya is Kenyan’s largest water tower whose underground lakes and a large network of rivers supply water to more than two million people living in the surrounding areas. It also provides about half the flow of water into the Tana River _Kenya’s largest river, which produces 50 per cent of the hydropower generated in Kenya. Mt. Kenya is also the source of the Ewaso Nyiro River, the only river supplying water to the arid Laikipia and Samburu area to the north of Kenya. In a nutshell, Mount Kenya Forest alone is estimated to provide more than 40% of the country’s water requirement. But deforestation – a major contributing factor to global warming – is threatening to destroy the globally recognized tourist attraction and Kenya’s major water tower.

So as we come together this coming happy hour, kindly take the time to tweet the link on this page, and like the facebook link at the bottom of that page. What a joy it would be if the Tweet Count reads 100,000 retweets!

Then if you’re a blogger, and your answer to the question is yes, display the banner on anywhere your blog.

Would you? Will you?

See you on July 8th! Let’s blog for a cause, let’s do this!

P.S. The hashtag for this is #TupandePamoja and #saveMountKenya

If Mount Kenya Forest goes, we all go!

Wally B

This is the first time I’ve dedicated a whole blogpost to one person. But if ever someone deserved one, it’s my friend Walter. He’s one of the most patient people I know.

Walter and I during his graduation at the Hilton

I’ve known him for five years now though I can’t remember my first meeting with him. We’ve been classmates and friends throughout our time in undergraduate in the small dusty town that is Juja, in the mostly-male university nicknamed Juja Boys and One Girl. We’ve spent days and nights debating politics, analyzing algorithms, arguing about the weather, copying assignments, studying for exams, watching movies, swimming at The Hotel Senate, raving in various night spots, having meals at the Hall 7 mess, walking the then freshly-painted-pink corridors that joined Hall 6 where he stayed and Hall 1 where I stayed most of the semesters.

Last year, I had a to-do list. Kids, don’t try this at home, the list that is. It was all about the things I should do before I got old. Once you’re done with undergraduate you’re ‘old’, doesn’t matter your real age. Some things you are not allowed to do. Ask me, I’ll give you an example. Like for instance ‘privatizing’ wine glasses from The Senate Hotel, or sneaking into the swimming pool area with ‘unauthorized’ drinks. On my list was climbing the water tank at Studeez.

Image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Wauwatosa_Water_Tank.jpg

At about 30 meters above the ground, I was the only courageous one to have made it up. My friends all refused/chickened out. I removed my shoes, cautiously I went up the ladder, pausing every so often to take in the view and not to look down. I finally made it to the top. The tank is placed on this mesh, around which is a rail. I stood here and looked at the campus, knowing I would not be enjoying this place much longer. Then I heard someone call out, “Savvy!”

That’s the other thing, Wally B calls me Savvy, even if my real name is Harriet. He was here! He finally made it.

In the silence, as we stared at the starts twinkling in the distance, the peaceful campus (it was around 3am) glowing softly in the security lights, we shared a moment I cannot describe. That silence that connects two people in the only way that silence can.

Thought heights don’t scare me, I didn’t relax until I was safely on the ground.

Walter is the last man standing among my group of friends from college. By last man standing, I mean he’s the only one I know who never touched alcohol or smoked cigarettes/the_other_stuff. He’ll be the quiet guy in the corner taking pictures and enjoying seeing us making fools of ourselves. Not a sadistic joy, no, he’s not that kind of guy. More like an indulgent kind. Because at the end of the night, he’ll be the guy we’ll rely on to get us home safely. We’d dump on him our phones, wallets and valuables and trust him wholly.

That’s another thing about Walter, or Wally B as he likes to call himself. He’s reliable. Trustworthy.

He’s not just another nice guy, he’s intelligent. We’re graduating with first class honours this coming month. In my class, I was in this group of friends we called the G8. Wally B, Monch, Emily, Mwema, Kriss and I. Pato and Phyll were in another course but in the same department. We hang out together whenever we could. We revised for exams and did group assignments as G8. Monch and Emily are also graduating with first class honours, the rest second class upper division. Sorry readers if I come out as proud, but heck, I’m proud of my friends :-) We’re still close. We’re all in Nairobi but we’re so caught up in our lives that it’s hard to meet all of us at once, so the next time we’ll be meeting for sure is rehearsal day. (Rehearsal for graduation)

G8... only person missing from the pic is the one who took it: Walter!

Walter is the go-to guy whenever you need anything. Want the latest cracked edition of Windows 7? Call Walter. Want any software? Walter. Tutorials? Walter. Revision papers? Walter. Need help installing and running software X? Walter.

There is so much more I could say about Walter, but some stories are better half-told. For who knows, someday I will run out of stories to tell and I will remember Walter and dedicate another blogpost to him.

He was one of the first to get interested in the mobile apps development craze. Long before we woke up from our theoretical haze (comp science can be very theoretical), he had developed a J2ME app for this and that.

Recently, he was among the students selected for the Java ME training by Nokia. I can’t wait to see his app on the Ovi Store. Tomorrow, Tuesday 28 June, they graduate from their training. I have been invited by Nokia as a blogger, but that is not the reason I am skipping class to attend the event at The Hilton.

The reason is Wally B. Congratulations mon ami!

P.S.

You can follow him on twitter

When G Came Calling

G is er.. a major international company. It’s everywhere you go. Just Google it :)

Background
Last year, I saw a notice on the announcements board. The Google-Anita memorial scholarship. For those who don’t know she was a great woman in tech. In 1997, Anita founded the Institute for Women and Technology.

So I applied for the scholarship … even though I was yet to finish my degree. I was hoping to be a finalist at the very least so I could attend the convention in Zurich.

This year when I got a regret email, I was a bit deflated, but lots of other exciting things were happening at the time .. so yeah I kind of moved on.

The Email
So when I applied for the scholarship, I checked all optional checkboxes: newsletter, news about opportunities and internships at G .. of course I was interested!

Then I received an email some time ago, saying some opportunities may be available and if I was interested I forward my CV. Immediately after reading that, I did a little excited chance .. then sat down to edit my CV here and there and sent.

The Reply
Yesterday, I got an email. Could I call you to discuss your application, G asked? the time was set. Three thirty PM this Thursday afternoon.

The Preparation
I immediately went into panic mode. What it it’s an impromptu interview on the phone? What if I can’t understand G’s accent? What if they can’t understand mine? What if BI (Black Ideot) dies mid phone call? What if I lose my voice overnight? Should I drink lemon and honey to make my voice smooth like those soprano choir girls in high school? Or should it remain husky like it is naturally (I wish!)

Then I remembered to breathe. I did what I do everyday. School, study then back home. Tweeting throughout :)

I had indicated an interest in software engineering. So I said let me refresh my memory but I couldn’t go beyond Wikipedia’s page on software Eng. I did recall the story of the software crisis, I can imagine those times when only the programmer could understand their program! He probably didn’t even know what the program did!

I heard when G calls they ask you technical questions like how many bytes is the HTTP payload. But I thought that that wasn’t the time to start reading on network details, if what I already know isn’t enough then…

The Call
3.30 pm. No calls yet. Classwork all done. Python code running smoothly though it’s not doing anything meaningful yet. 3:31. Phone starts ringing with a strange number … can only be G.

So without divulging too many details … turns out though I did not mention that I’m back to school on my CV, I did give a link to my blog. And we all know the story of my life is out here :)

I was asked a technical question: what’s the average running case of a Quicksort algorithm. I knew the best and worst running times. So I said those. She prompted me for the average. I tried to think. Anyway, it’s of O(n logn), the average running time. Worse case scenario: O(n squared)

I was asked if I know of data structures and algorithms.

How about how many lines of code I’ve written in the last 6 months? He he can I remember? What about my final project? I had at least 10 class files, if we say an average 500 lines of code, that’s 5k lines of code.

Etc etc

What Next?

So G does not want me to quit school, that’s neither good for G nor for me. They can wait till I finish but in the meantime there are internship opportunities, the next best thing. For three months.

No, there are no G software engineering projects based in Kenya. All are in Europe or Middle East. G will take verrry good care of you for that period. Europe? Middle East? Hell yeah.. keeping that traveling dream alive!

So What About School?

Currently, we’re in the second module. There is a group that has just begun their first module but they do evening classes. If I do leave for 3 months, I could come back in time to join them for the next (third) module! Guess what? There’s someone who joined our class from the evening group so there’s a slot there … for me perhaps?

All I have to ask is for permission for 3 months off. Let’s hope whoever is in charge will grant me this wish.

Is It Real That Easy?

No, nothing is ever that easy. I have to pass two over-the-phone coding interviews! Now where are those data structures and algorithms books of mine? Hmmm.. Do I remember the recursive vs iterative implementations of the Fibonacci series?

The Waiting Begins

  • To talk to the course administrator/supervisor
  • To pass the interviews

Fingers crossed, prayers being said.

Pivot 25- The Winners

During the conference...

Pivot 25 is an mlab initiative to bring focus on the Mobile developer and entrepreneur community in East Africa. It was a two-day mobile apps competition and developer conference held at Ole Sereni Hotel along Mombasa Road.

I couldn’t make it to the first day of the conference, unavoidable circumstances you see (okay, lunch with a CEO, that’s what kept me away).

On the second day, I was assisting in blogging the event live at Afrinnovator

At the end of the day, the winners were announced, and the event declared a success! It’s supposed to be an annual event so we look forward to next year.

So here are the winners (copied generously from Afrinnovator)

Category winners ($5,000 each)

Mobile Payments/Commerce: mShop by MTL Systems (Kenya)
Mobile Gaming, Entertainment and Utilities: Whive by Space Kenya
Business and Enterprise: Uha$ibu by PlusPeople
Government, Agriculture and Education: SchoolSMS by Tusqee Systems
Health: (Overall Winner) MedKenya by Shimba Technologies

P.S. The new phone has a name. BI. Black Ideot.

Replacing Ideot and Lunch with Safaricom CEO

If you are not aware… I lost my phone in a traffic-snatching #Nairoberry incident. Thanks for all the sympathy that came my way, as you can see I had integrated Ideot into my everyday life. It was a part of almost everything I did.

I saw a comment from Bob Collymore, the Safaricom CEO, on Sunday that made my day:

Touching tribute to the humble Ideos indeed. I doubt that Huawei themselves could have envisaged such a eulogy. Swing by our offices this week, ask for me and we’ll have a bright new shiny one waiting for you. HOWEVER, don’t y’all be thinking I’m gonna replace all your stolen phones…..learn from her and stop tweeting in traffic!!

So today I swung by their offices. I asked the watchman at the gate where the CEO’s office was (there are two adjacent buildings at the Safaricom center) and he almost directed me to MJ’s office! Apparently, he comes in once in a while, I guess he still maintains some space there.

After leaving my ID at the reception, getting directions and a visitors card, I made my way to the lifts. I noticed I was the only one headed to the top-most floor (executive suite, sweet!). Alone in the lift, I stared at my reflection in the mirror and decided I was presentable enough. I didn’t wait for long once at the top, I was warmly welcomed by Wangari, the marketing manager who ushered me into Bob’s office.

Hmm.. should I describe the office? No, that will rob you of your imagination!

So he got up from his seat and extended a hand, and welcomed me to take a seat. Playing cool is hard unless you’re already cool, like me :-)

We went to the cafe(s) at the ground floor for lunch. We discussed X and Y stuff, general stuff, etc. I talked so much I hardly touched my food…

As we left the office to go for lunch, he showed me two boxes containing Ideots and asked me which colour I wanted. My Ideot was blue but there was only pink and black. I chose black.

In the lift going down, at every stop along the way, the doors would open, and you would find someone hesitating and putting on their poker face on seeing BC! He then ushered them into the lift. He’s a really cool and friendly guy, in my opinion. All I had asked for was 5 minutes of his time, and I got a whole lunch hour instead! He reminds me of Paul Kagame, whom I met while I was in Rwanda.

It was definitely an awesome moment for me. Since it was not an interview, I had not prepared any questions to ask him…. but I found myself being the one answering questions!

So I know some of you might not believe me when I say I had lunch with the Safaricom CEO and head of marketing. I’m putting up an image of our lunch date below:

Wangari, Bob and I having lunch.

A toast, to the new Ideos. Life goes on.

A Tribute to my Ideot

As I type this my hands are shaking. My heart rate is somewhere around 1000 beats per second. I cannot relax. I get up and pick some fruits from the fridge. I don’t feel like eating them so I wonder why I did that.

My world feels like it’s spinning out of control. I am like a fish out of water, literally. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I am not doing either as I sit here typing this. My heart is bleeding, my head wants to start aching.

The cause of all this misery is a man. A man in red. A man currently taking apart one of the things I love most. A man causing my heart to bleed. If I ever see a tire around him, I’ll buy the fuel. I am replaying it over and over again. I can see him run and weave through the vehicles stuck in traffic. The dust he raises as his shoes strike the road. The crowd he melts into too soon before anyone realizes what is happening.

My heart feels constricted. I hope I don’t get an attack.

My lovely Ideot is gone…. Gone with the wind! The fucking guy in a red jacket stole it from me in traffic at Githurai, just 3 minutes from home.

I feel like shooting somebody! I’d give anything to have it back intact with all my data & contacts. Contacts I can get from Gmail though, they were synced automatically.

huawei-ideos_1
The Ideot had a blue cover

I was stupid, tweeting like that. I had relaxed. The fact that I was near home made me drop my guard. We had already passed the blackspots, especially the darkest one at Ngara. The window was closed. However, the guy behind me had not closed his. The thief came from behind, I couldn’t have seen him. I had Ideot (that was her name) firmly held in both hands. I had earphones plugged in and I was listening to X FM. I was just about to hit reply to a tweet.

The hands came from nowhere. In a flash, I was struggling with the guy for the phone. He had the advantage of surprise and the Ideot is shiny smooth. It glided off my hands before I could scream thief. It felt like the wind had just been snatched from my sails, like a bird whose wings have been taken away and it’s a free fall to hell. The earphones dangled uselessly.

I turned after the man in the red jacket.. helplessly I shouted, “My phone! My phone…” but it wasn’t a cry for help. It was an involuntary cry of loss. I am overwhelmed. No, that is an understatement. I feel like dying. [I no longer feel like dying by the time you’re reading this! It’s never that serious!]

It’s not just about the monetary value of the phone. Though it is cheap, I cannot afford to buy another IDEOS right now. I am that broke… so if any of you was looking to date me for my money, now you know there are no prospects here. I am digressing.

The phone has soooo much of my data. Not just information I need but information about me.

I had pimped that phone with applications. Media applications, internet applications, Bible applications, the SDA lesson app etc. That phone reads Savvy Kenya in every screen. Last I remember was updating all my apps on Thursday evening at The Mug, just after checking in on Foursquare. They have free wi-fi.

I was going to buy airtime and call Idd Salim (whose blog I sometimes read with one tab open on a Google page) to inquire about something. I was going to call my bro and ask him what time he’s coming home. I was going to call my mum and tell her I’m almost home. I was going to read my emails and check out the timetable for the next module. I was going to login to foursquare and become mayor of Thika Road, I was one checkin away, you see. I was going to transfer data from the SD card and update my playlist. Bon Jovi was getting old, wait, he’s already old. I was finally going to look at that LWUI pdf I have been carrying around and see what I could come up with. I was going to watch movies on Z my laptop and tweet about them. I was going to read a report on the mobile tech scene. I was going to do so many things with Ideot. I was going to start writing Hello World for Android, my first app in that platform. Oh, I wasn’t going to do that on the phone. Now, no more.

Sigh.

Another big, sad, sigh.

I keep remembering the things I had done this morning with the Ideot. I also keep imagining the things we were going to do together. The places we were going to check out and check-in on foursquare. The music we were going to listen to. The movies we were going to watch together on the QQ player I downloaded, if her battery lasted that long. The conversations and flirtations we were going to have with online people. The girl who likes girls that we were supposed to meet. The chats that I was going to have on WhatsApp with my close friends.

I keep imagining these things and torturing myself. I remember all the files, images, music and videos and my heart bleeds yet again.

I shall be more careful from now on. I can’t promise I won’ tweet in traffic, but I will try. I will start reading novels instead of blogs, meditating and sleeping instead of tweeting. I am an addict and I admit it so I will try to suffer through the withdrawal symptoms. If the temptation is too much, I will avoid window seats. You can never be too careful.

I have the best parents in the world. My dad has just come home while I was typing this. He has listened to my story with sympathy. He has reminded me of the number of times he tells me to keep my phone away. He has told me to look around for the cheapest phone with internet and he’ll get me one. There’s an internet-less phone lying around but he knows I cannot do without internet.

I am thinking Kabambe 3G.

Just for a while, till I can buy another Ideos. But it will never replace Ideot. Wherever you are dear, I hope your new owner treats you with the respect you deserve. I hope he/she does not misuse that information about me. I hope he/she doesn’t use my passwords and accounts that I’m already logged into. I hope they format the SD-card so that they cannot use my files. As for the one who took you away from me, may he meet his fate at a burning tire. Whatever he did was cruel but not unusual.

P.S.
Just finished typing this and I’m headed to the cyber to put it up. Problem is… where to get a flash-disk? I was really dependent on Ideot. With an IDEOS you don’t need a modem. You can surf the internet without a SIM card.

P.P.S
This is not the first time I’m experiencing loss of a phone. My Chinese N95 got stolen from my room in campus, together with my wallet. The C3 was a Westy incident. The replacement wallet got nicked from my bag last year. I have replaced my nationa & school IDs &ATM cards twice.
Looks like I’ll be Mteja till Monday morning. Adios mes amigos.

What To Drink? For The Upcoming Kenyan Lady

So you’re a young lady just out of college. You’re probably still looking for a dream job, but meanwhile the peanuts are trickling in. You can afford to buy yourself drinks whenever you go out. Now the question is, what to take?


Smirnoff Ice is a tired drink... for college girls!

Smirnoff Ices are a college girl’s drink. In fact after a while you get tired of them. Beer is not so tasty, and I’ve heard it gives you a beer belly and we don’t want that now, do we?

So in my short career sampling liquor, here is a few recommendations:

Wine

Red wine

Either red or white. I prefer red, white just tastes bland… Wine can also be sweet or dry. Or somewhere in between. If they have no semi-sweet wine ask for the sweet one. Well, I prefer my wine sweet.

Now, don’t ask me about the difference between Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon! Surely you can Google :-) You don’t have to be an expert in wines to enjoy them. If you’re at a fancy restaurant, you could always let your date choose the wine, or ask the waiter for recommendations of the unpronounceable names!

If you start a home collection, then you can learn more and come up with your pick. In the meantime, enjoy. One more thing, the wide glass is for red wine, the narrow one for white, and the narrowest for Champagne.

Gin and Tonic

You can never go wrong with this. Make sure you ask for Ice cubes & lemon slices. If it’s not a night out with your best friends, go easy on the gin!

Gin and Tonic... That pic has me salivating already!

Cream Liquors

Amarula.. the spirit that binds us as Africans.. so they say!

Amarula, Baileys etc.

Ask for Ice Cubes and see how they go down smoothly…

Cocktails

Cocktails!.... a girl's best friend!!!

They generally have one or more strong liquors (vodka/gin/tequila/rum/whisky). So as you look at the fancy names of the cocktails, make sure you check out the main ingredient to see if it’s something you are compatible with!

If you’re a techie lady, check out cocktails apps for your phone! Experiment with them at home and see what great combinations you can come up with!

Whiskeys
I generally stay away from brown drinks but if you feel you want to ask for Johnnie Walker because it is the most expensive thing on the menu and you’re not the one paying the bill, be my guest!

Make sure to sip slowly though. You’re supposed to savor the slow burning down the throat!

Other options

So you don’t want any of the above? Try Redds. Or Tusker Malt, I heard it’s a ladies’ beer. If you ask me what beer I’d take as a last resort–> I’d toast to Arthur anytime.

For shots, try tequila (but only if you’ve been drinking mild stuff like Redds or water), vodka (so clear!), Zappa (if you like the minty flavour) etc.

As you can see, you have quite a wide range to choose from.

Non-Alcohol Drinkers

I haven’t forgotten you.

Let’s see what can be on your list.. we have water, juice and more juice. Pick your brand. Maybe some energy drinks like Redbull and Fanta Orange (the sugar rush).

Kenya Vs Angola: Africa Cup of Nations Qualifier

So a number of search queries about the Kenya Vs Angola match have hit landed on my blog, and on the old post about the first match played in Kenya.

The Stars won 2-1 back then! It was a thrilling match!

I’ve decided to blog about the latest match, which I watched on TV.

In summary: Angola won 1-0.

Manucho, who at one time was at Man-U.

Harambee Stars, heart-breakers extraodinnaire, went to Angola and took on the Palancas Negras. The match results will eventually determine which between Kenya, Angola, Uganda and Guinea Bissau will make it to the Africa Cup of Nations next year (around January) that will be hosted jointly by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon

They played beautifully. It was Kenyans leading the attack in the first half but they were shooting blanks. The match was at 0-0 half time. We hoped The Stars would be encouraged to give us a goal in the second half.

And by God they scored! Rangers FC forward Kevin Ochieng scored Kenya’s first goal in the 60th minute!

Only it was offside!!

That offside rule needs to be revised, surely…

10 minutes later, Manucho equalized for Angola.

That is how we lost 1-1!

So here are the standings:

1. Uganda- 10 pts
2. Angola- x points
3. Kenya – 4pts
4. Guinea Bissau – 3 pts

Anyway, for us to qualify, we have to beat Uganda away, and GB at home by many goals. Then we stand a chance of competing for the few slots available for the number 2 teams.

If I were you, I wouldn’t start putting up the pieces of my heart together, I can feel heartbreak in the near future.

Maybe in readiness for the 2014 World Cup?

Kwani? Open Mic

“Established in 2003, Kwani Trust is a Kenyan based literary network dedicated to developing quality creative writing and committed to the growth of the creative industry through the publishing and distribution of contemporary African writing, offering training opportunities, producing literary events and establishing and maintaining global literary networks. Our vision is to create a society that uses its stories to see itself more coherently.”

Any creative writer/wannbe writer/poet/actress should know about Kwani?. Also Storymoja but that’s a story for another day. If you’ve ever dreamed of having your work published, these are among the local publishing houses that you should get in touch with. Kwani? is a non-profit making organization, as I understand it. I haven’t written any stories of late, but I dream of writing that award-winning novel someday.

On the first Tuesday of every month, Kwani? holds an Open Mic session at Club Soundd in town. From 7pm to around 10pm. It’s a platform for emerging poets to showcase talent. The seasoned poets come too, so it’s chance to interact and learn from there. There are books Kwani? has published that are available for sale.. they go for anything from Kshs. 200- Kshs. 2 000.

This past Tuesday, after my first MSc exam, I made my way to Club Soundd. I was meeting my friend from back in undergraduate. I must admit it’s hard to catch up with stories from our lives over the music that marked the interval between one poet and the next.

The host was one lovely lady whose name I didn’t get.. and performance by poets was alright. From first timers to oldies, you had to listen to their words. Sometimes you forget the beauty that is poetry and these people remind you of that! The poets that performed included Sitawa Wafula, TheBogof, KennetB and Smitta Smitten (or Tony Mochama as he was going by that night).

It was the first time I was seeing Smitta perform so I didn’t know his style.. bold language right there( I remember this line in particular “.. going to Java to drink coffee made from the testicles of child molesters).

Looking forward to next month… hope I’ll see a budding poet perform after reading this?

Pictures from the event are full of darkness! The IDEOS has one of the worst cameras I know, the lighting was club-like (it’s a club after all) and no flash!

Two actors (they do theater) on stage during a performance. I think it had something to do with gender wars.