I Need Your Help

For weeks I have wondered if/when/how to write this post. If I do win the Kshs.50,000 in this video competition, I would use that money to help someone I know get a jaw. He is our neighbor in shagz/ocha/upcountry. His jaw was removed in an operation to remove a lymphatic cancer tumor that had grown so big, he could only be fed through a tube.

A few weeks ago, I went to visit him at Kenyatta National Hospital. I’ve been to KNH before but I have never gone beyond the parking lot. So this time I walked in around 4.20 p.m. My parents were already there. I found a crowd at the entrance where a guard was restricting their entry, saying it was not yet visiting time. Visiting hours start at 4.30 p.m. Seeing the crowd grow larger, he waved us through, and the swarm of people made for the elevators.

We were like 100 people in that elevator, I kid you not! I stood near the door and hoped not to get some kind of disease by the time we got to the 5th floor. I called my mum who told me to go to Wing 5B. There is some sort of reception with benches where my parents talked with the father of Maoga, the patient I was visiting.

His father looked like a heart broken man; he was confused at times and you could tell the stress was getting to him. Since my parents had already seen Maoga, he took me to see him. We walked a short distance down the corridor and turned into the ward.

I do not dislike hospitals. The smell of antiseptic does not bother me. I entered the ward, a large male word that had about 6 patients with curtains separating them. I saw some sleeping, one whose head was completely swathed in bandage… and finally took in the sight of Maoga.

He held a white cloth to his mouth, which was largely wet. That was the first thing I noticed. He was standing by his bed, and looked at you in the eye. It was hard to maintain eye contact, so I looked away from those sunken eyes. The last time I had seen him, he had a lump at his throat that was spreading to his jaw, but he had been otherwise healthy-looking. Seeing him like this, almost emaciated because all he could take for months was a liquid diet, was hard on anyone.

He shook my hand, saying he knew I am Samora’s sister. My brother Sam is a med student at UoN, and since they do all their practical work at KNH, had visited Maoga a couple of times. He had been worse off then, before the surgery, and was weak on the floor when my Sam found him and helped him back on the bed. To talk, he had to take the piece of cloth from his mouth, and it’s hard to form words clearly when you don’t have teeth, let alone a lower jaw. Drool fell on his clothes yet he maintained his dignity, talked without faltering and looked at you in the eye.

Tears were welling up in my eyes and I looked away, my eyes falling on his bed. On an Uchumi plastic paper-bag were scrawled Bible verses and some writing that might have been the story of his life. A pen and Bible were next to the plastic bag. His father noticed me looking at it, turned to his son and smoothed his shaggy hair told him not to worry, he’ll get him out of there. Maoga said he wanted to leave the hospital, it was cold at night. He’s around 25 years old but at that time he may have been 5. When his father talked to him, he (the father) smoothed his hair, patted his back, held his hand, touched his cheek… like you would a child.

His father then showed me a picture of how he looked like before surgery. The tumor had grown so much his face was distorted it. Thankfully his cancer is the local kind, so it did not spread anywhere. He then showed me another picture of him after surgery, and though the tumor was gone, so was the shape of his face.

Maoga said he needed to shave; his hair was shaggy. His father gave him 200bob and told him to make sure the barber who comes around does it. He told him just two more days and he’ll be out of hospital. I didn’t know how true his promise was considering he was having difficulty raising money for the hospital bill.

I removed a notebook and pen from my bag, tore out a few pages I had already written some notes, and gave it to him. His father prompted him to write his name, and since he had to let go of the piece of cloth to write, drool involuntarily landed on the page. His father wiped it away and smiled at the name he’d written: Gilbert Maoga. He then told him we had to leave but told him he’d be back the following day.

His parents organized a harambee to clear the hospital bill for the initial surgery, where my parents contributed what they could. Now that he is physically well, that sense of urgency may not be there. His poor parents cannot afford to pay for another surgery to fix his jaw. I want to do this for him, if only so he can smile again.

I don’t know if the Kshs. 50,000 will be enough, but I will find out. For now, I need your vote here. Yes I know the whole registration-verification-login-vote process is long, but you’ll be doing it for a worthy cause.

P.S. This was added after the post has been published

Turns out that even if I do win the 50K, and votes are alone are not the determinant of the winner, he still needs 100K more for the surgery which will cost Kshs.150,000. I am running a social media campaign to raise the funds to the MPESA number 0727832685

And as someone has commented, why didn’t I go to the media? I haven’t mentioned it but I did. Oh how I tried. I called, I emailed, I tweeted them, I actually met some of them… but they all said their editors have to approve, that they don’t do appeal stories anymore (and that same night you’ll see an appeal story).. This right here, this blog right here, is my media.

Read the post that follows

Nokia Lumia 710/800; Finally Nokia Launches The First (Real/Windows) Smartphone!

Just like the mythical iPhone5, I have waited for a Nokia Windows Phone anxiously.

The Nokia Lumia 800(left) and 710 that were launched by Nokia today

There is a friend of mine who has a Win 7 Mango phone, the user interface is certainly very different from the iOS/Android experience. While the iOS/Android devices are app-centric, meaning everything from calling to keyboards is an app(module), the Windows 7 phone integrates its interfaces (tile-centered UI) and takes a while to get used to. However, you can still do a number of cool things with it, and I’m sure Microsoft developers will now work on (quality) apps that will make users happy.

I can’t wait for these phones to hit the Kenyan market so I can test them (someone, anyone?) and compare with Android devices.

The Nokia Lumia 800 is touted to be the best Windows Phone yet. The Galaxy S II is the best Android phone. I wanna compare these two fairly, though I think the S II is already superior in terms of physical specifications.

When AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia Fans Fought

On Mashujaa Day (20th October), there was a match between AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia at Nyayo Stadium from 6pm. Chaos broke out during the match, which was then aborted afterward. This is not the first time fans of both teams have fought each other; the clashes go way back to the 80’s (maybe further back!). Sometimes fighting broke out even before the match began!

Recently, the most watched Kenyan derby has seen some peaceful times. This football season saw Gor win 3-1 in the first leg of the Kenya Premier League, and lose 3-0 to AFC in the second leg. Both matches were peaceful. There was respect among the fans. The ‘shemeji’ respect.

Now on Thursday, all that progress made in the peaceful matches precedent was thrown to the dogs. AFC Leopards was playing Gor Mahia in an FKL Cup semi-final. At half-time, both teams were 0-0.

During half time, both teams cheering squads danced around the field, and even when they met there was no violence as each dancing team wiggled its way through the meeting point. I have captured both clips…and will upload them on YouTube and on this blog.

Gor scored early in the 2nd half; and shortly afterwards Mike Barasa collided with the Gor keeper and stayed down for a long time, eventually he had to be carried off the pitch.

AFC Leopards beloved striker Mike Barasa is carried off the pitch. He was discharged later that night and he's back in form.

While he was down, Gor fans took the chance to celebrate, dancing around the stadium with flares and taunting(provoking) the AFC fans.

Gor Mahia Fans celebrating around the stadium with flares

At this point, some scuffle broke out at the Russia(the side opposite the main stands) side, as AFC fans turned back the Gor fans. There was tension at the stadium and even when the match resumed we stayed on our feet. I remember one Gor fan who was on the AFC side being pursued by AFC fans, and only cops who surrounded him saved him from a random beating. I don’t know why fans were in such a foul mood!

Like 10 minutes after the match had resumed, I saw something heavy being hurled from the AFC (not a stone though), which landed inches from a linesman and a ball-boy. A plastic bottle landed on the field, and objects (including stones) started flying. My friends and I hurriedly left the stadium.

From what I hear afterward, fans of both teams hurled stones at each other and towards the pitch. Police dispersed the fans with teargas, and the match was abandoned, and later the win was awarded to Gor Mahia.

Gor Mahia will now meet Sofapaka on Wednesday 26th for the finals of the FKL cup.

In Other News: AFC Drew With Mathare United in the KPL Fixture this past Sunday

Played in a stadium that was sprinkled with a handful of AFC fans, the KPL fixture of Mathare United vs AFC Leopards was slow-paced in the first half and quite entertaining in the second.

While our players seemed to lack a plan in the first half, Mathare Utd was very organized in its attack, and perhaps because they have very tall players, they scored through a header in the first half to put them in the lead.

Andrew Tololo of Mathare Utd heads in the first goal of the match

Still in the first half, AFC goalkeeper Matasi made a mistake that let the slum-boys take a 2-0 lead by the end of the first half.

In the second half, the tables turned around and it was now AFC players putting pressure on the Mathare side, until Llyod Wahome scored an own goal while he was defending his side. That made it 1-2!

Mike Barasa later shot in a penalty that saw the match end 2-2!

This leaves AFC Leopards 5th on the league table with 38 points. The next KPL fixture for AFC is next weekend against Chemelil Sugar at Chemelil. Which of the sugars is sweeter, Chemelil or Mumias? We shall find out this coming weekend! Stay tuned!

P.S.

Check out Inge Fan blog

Do not forget to vote for me here

All pictures used in this post courtesy of nation.co.ke

When Raphael Tuju Met Bloggers

The first time I heard of Raphael Tuju’s presidential ambition was through his Sheng video. I didn’t even know he had released English and Kiswahili versions! Anyway, his use of Sheng definitely brought a lot of discussion, and a reminder of some Sheng speaking ‘youth’ leader(idiot) whose very behaviour is barbaric. I hoped he had not inspired others to follow in his roots!

Politicians are discovering the importance of bloggers. Google and type a political name, and chances are you will get a few hits on news websites and perhaps a random, badly edited Wikipedia page.

What if you searched the internet, and landed on hundreds (possibly) thousands of results, all by local authors. The information will be seen as more reliable, and you will be able to get a clearer picture of the subject of your search. Now what if all the bloggers, online journalists in their own right, were writing something negative/positive about someone/something? Wouldn’t you be swayed by their opinions? Or be persuaded to listen to what the politician has to say?

Anyway, a few weeks ago, Raphael Tuju invited some bloggers to meet and discuss with him on his presidential bid. I went to the top floor of Laico (The Grand?) Regency with an open mind. We got settled in one of the meeting rooms and waited for him for a while.

A section of the bloggers at the table

I must say I was impressed. For over the two hours in which we interacted with him, he kept his cool and responded well. He has a deep understanding of national issues and is clear with what he wants to achieve if he becomes president. We asked him all kinds of questions, from where he will get his campaign funds from, to what books he reads.

It was an open discussion with no moderation, no shying away from questions, no censorship. We told him his Sheng was rather old school, and if he planned on releasing another Sheng video (maybe a rap too!) he should consult some young people in his campaign.

Raphael Tuju.. can he hack it?

We asked him to honestly evaluate his chances of winning this presidency. This is what he said: (I’m paraphrasing since I didn’t record it!)

“In terms of tribal voting blocks, my chances are zero. In terms of wealth (he’s not the richest chap, he says), my chances are zero. In terms of family history in politics (think Uhuru, Raila and Mudavadi whose fathers were political leaders), my chances are zero. However, if we can change people’s way of thinking, then I stand a chance.”

I am definitely willing to hear what Rapho has to say. Trouble is, can Kenyans change their way of thinking? Therein the challenge.

P.S.

Please vote for my video here. Spare 3 minutes to help a blogger out :)

P.P.S.

Read what Urbane Kenyan Wrote and What Archer Mishale thought.

How to Make The Most of Your Droid

I am talking about your Android phone/gadget, possibly a Huawei Ideos U8150 that you are using to read this post. A lot of people complain about the battery life of the phone, and the data-consuming nature of the device that can make it costly.

Android is Cool, no?

Saving Power and Data

  • Turn off background data: Go to settings–>Accounts and Sync–> and uncheck Background data. This saves your battery life and ensures no unnecessary updates will take place. However, to view your email if you are using the native gmail app, you have to refresh to synch mail.

    For someone like me with over 20 apps that always want to update themselves or send me notifications, background data is always turned off otherwise my phone will be buzzing constantly. Gtalk, market updates, facebook chat, Google+ notifications, foursquare pings etc

  • Turn off 3G Networks/Turn Off Data Mode: Go to Settings–>Wireless and Network–>Mobile Networks–>Uncheck Use Packet Data.

    You can turn off data mode so that even those apps that use the internet even with background data off will not do so. Or you will not accidentally download info, or when using an app that’s offline like a game, no Google Ads will appear.

    You can also set the phone to use 2G networks, which use less power.

    For the Galaxy S II, turning on/off data network mode can be done by long-pressing the power button, then selecting the activate/deactivate data network option.

Useful Apps
You have to have a gmail account to be able to log into the Android market. From here, the sky is the limit as to the number of useful, entertaining, useless but entertaining, cool but useless, uncool and uselful, informative apps etc. You can download anything.

Because of the amorphous nature of the Android market, some apps maybe of wanting quality, and some may be malware. Check out the publisher before installing an app.

Some apps come installed in the phone, others you have to download/buy. I find Google maps very useful. If your Droid has a flash camera, download flashlight, an app that lets you use the flash as a torch.

SoundHound is another cool app which identifies songs playing, searches for them on YouTube, fetches the lyrics and other information. You can even sing to it!

Other apps I have include: WhatsApp (awesome for chatting/texting), Facebook for Android, Twitter for Android, Foursquare For Android, Google+, Tumblr, linkedIn, QQ Player (for all your videos, plays most formats including avi), Angry Birds, Dictionary, Racing Moto, Bible, Google Sky Map, My Days (for ladies only), Tweetdeck, Skype, Talking Tom, Opera Mini for Android, Dolphin Browser, Workout Trainer, Wikipedia, Bartender, AroundMe, SDA Sabbath School, Zword, Matatu, Documents to Go, WordPress for Android, Pixlr-o-matic, WeAreOpen, Mocality, Racing Moto (an awesome game)… etc

Let me know in comments which cool apps you have/use. I’ll download them.

Upgrading the OS

You can upgrade your OS manually or automatically. To do it manually, you have to root your droid and go through some process I don’t want to try. Anyway I will get someone who has done it to do a guest post.

To upgrade your OS automatically. Go to Settings–>About Phone–>Software Update–>Check for Update. If there is an update for your phone OS you can then download it.

Make sure you back up any data saved before you try any upgrade.

Tethering

All Android phones are capable of providing internet to like up to 8 devices around them. So you don’t need a modem if you have a droid.

You can tether wirelessly, providing a wifi hotspot where 8 devices can connect to. You can also tether via USB where only the comp can use the internet on your phone and it drains less power from your battery than wireless tethering. Make sure you put a password for your wireless hotspot, lest someone snoops on your connection!

To tether go to Settings–>Wireless and Network–>Tethering and Portable Hotspot–> Choose your option whether USB or Portable Hotspot.

Once you have done this, go to Your computer and you can connect and start surfing. Make sure you have bought sufficient data bundles from Safaricom (actually this is the only internet I use on my phone)

In Summary

The cool people use Android
There is so much you can do with your Droid (doesn’t matter whether low-end or high-end), like editing photos/videos, editing/viewing office documents (Excel, Word, Powerpoint etc), please feel to explore your phone and make the most of it.

The native Android browser is one of the best mobile browsers around and you can even blog on it, though the screen size is a problem. Try out various keyboards and pick one you are comfortable with.

P.S.

As you have realized, I never end a post without a P.S.! Anyway, do not forget to vote for my video here. Please do me this favour, the registration process is a short one.

Tragedy as AFC Leopards is Held to a Draw At Naivasha

This past Saturday, AFC Leopards was playing an away match, a Kenya Premier League fixture against Sher Karuturi at Naivasha.

As usual, the blue and white army descended on the Karuturi Sports Ground in Style. We even had this guy whom I suspect was some kind of juju man?

The blue and white army at the main stand of the Karuturi grounds follow the match closely.

The juju man joins the dancing crew!

The play was even in the first half, but in the second half we (AFC) dominated the game. We missed two clear-cut goals, which was painful to watch!

The match ended 0-0, and we got into our vehicles to begin the 1 and half hour journey back to Nairobi. Some fans were in a van, making merry, blowing vuvuzelas, hanging on it and generally in a good mood in spite of AFC Leopards getting just one point. For one, Gor had lost its match to Bandari FC 0-1, so what do you do when your football enemy loses their match?

Who says Kenyan footballers can't be handsome? Pako with a young fan at the end of the match.

Anyway, as the van joined the main road to Nairobi, they were hit by a lorry! The tragic accident caused 3 confirmed deaths, and about 7 others injured in hospital.

I take this chance to pass my condolences to the families of the deceased. May the blue soldiers rest in peace, and a speedy recovery to those still in hospital.

P.S. Please take time to view my video here and perhaps vote for it if you like it, thanks!

World Food Day

In case you did not know, yesterday was World Food Day, coinciding with this year’s Blog Action Day. This post comes a day late; but it is never too late to highlight issues that have to do with food.

I think it is Wangari Maathai that said, “Mother nature causes drought; governments cause famine.”

I thought for a long about what to write. The perpetual famines that rock Africa, yet we have the capacity to produce and export food. The corrupt governments that rule us contribute much to our food insecurity. The multitude of NGOs that benefit from the so called ‘aid-work’, I mean if there is no one who needs rescuing, then there is no hero! The photographers who look for the skinniest and sorriest looking people so they can take that award winning picture. The photographers whose hearts break and they live haunted by the images of hunger they see.

In the end I have decided to keep this post short. I will write about my idea world, which is not so hard to achieve. I want a world where nobody sleeps hungry, ever. A world where the basic necessities like food & water, clothing, shelter, basic education are rights and not privileges. It doesn’t matter where on earth one is born, they are guaranteed these basic necessities. Human dignity is restored. No one has to shove a camera in a starving person’s face to evoke the emotion of the world for some alms to feed the poor.

This is my ideal world and I hope we can all work towards it.

BarCamp Nairobi, 2011

Check out BarCamp Nairobi

BarCamp is an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos, and interaction from participants.

I have attended like two BarCamps. It’s a forum where people get to meet and discuss a wide range of topics centered around technology.

I think registration may still be open. Click here to register.

This year, the event will be held at m-Lab East Africa, iHub and Nailab (all these places are in one building: Bishop Magua Building opposite Uchumi along Ngong Road.)

The event is tomorrow (15th October) from 9am to 6pm. See you there.

I Need Your Help

Dear readers and lovers of this blog,

I recently entered a video competition where I submitted a video that I recorded on my Galaxy S II.

I know it might be too much to ask, the process of voting requires you to register first so that it prevents multiple voting. However, it should take you less than 3 minutes on a good connection.

Pretty please... vote for me :)

Please do me this favour and vote for my video. Thank you and have an awesome weekend!

To Vote:

Register on this link

Then click the verification code in your email and log back into the system.

Click on the video to vote for it.