The Nairobi Initiation 2: "I Walked to Rongai!"


I was telling you the other day of some villager's(aka yours truly) 'soft'  landing in the largest metropolis in Eastern Africa-Don't we love bragging with our city, Nairobi? Being the most intelligent monkey in a group of apes makes you number 1 by design.

Anyway, here I was, on the morning after. Duwano was actually a five star hostel, by my standards, maybe. There was a good breakfast ready-eggs, sausage, toast and tea-this was the life, baby! Then there was hot shower... Now, that was bliss! Water heating within half a minute! This is Nairobi.... No blowing into the firewood to warm water and carrying to the bath place. I had started enjoying the fruits of education. That first shower was a long hot one. Okay, it was enjoyable, and still, the water would get too hot, so I kept switching it on an off.. I could see the adjusting knob but I wouldn't dare touch it! My Physics teacher had taught me better-water and electricity + your body = death by electrocution!

Moving on, after breakfast I left the hostel like a boss, trudging after some other 'inmate' who I had overheard saying he was going to town. I made sure I got into the same matatu with him and sat strategically to see his every move. There was no way he would leave me in that matatu! He alighted at some point and I also stepped out, wondering why I couldn't see KICC which was the ultimate landmark!

I followed him at a distance into a building I had heard about... At least I knew Visions Institute! I had actually been looking for it when I had come to register for my CPA. I had been told that it was better than KCA but my dad had insisted that I go to KCA because it was a "Government college-their courses are recognized by the government and they must be cheaper than the premium private college" Out of curiosity, sorry, I followed this guy in because I didn't know the way to town and hoped he was making a stopover into Visions.

The guy went into the lift, and I followed right in. At this point you may be thinking this was my first time in a lift... No! I was a town person! I had got into a lift back in Class 8 when we had gone on a class tour of KICC! But at this point, I wouldn't know what to do inside, so I waited till everyone had pressed their floors and leaned back... Waiting for whatever. I decided to stick with my guy after some other people alighted at the second floor.. to third floor.. Which turned out to be the Visions reception!
I walked in like I knew what I was doing and asked for a brochure (I knew these since I had carried home a paper load of brochures for every college I had come across in my registration trip.. and doesn't Nairobi have colleges in every building!)

Shockers!
The fee was less than half KCA's!

My mind was on an overdrive. Here I was saving a cool Sh.17,000, the college was within walking distance from the hostel, it was the better college and most importantly, I could wear and sag my jeans as much as I wanted! On the other hand, I would be disobeying my parents (I had had a quiet childhood with no major drama,  quite disciplined). But then, this was my life and no one would know anyway! I decided I would change colleges!

I still had cash in my socks, so I went to the washrooms to get it out! I still laugh when I remember the washroom debacle. They are standard office washrooms, where you enter the main door and get all these toilets and urinals... They are located right at the reception and there were many students milling around. I went and knocked on the door! And stayed there to wait for whoever was inside to get out! Now, that's embarrassing!

When I got over these fifth world problems, I got into a toilet and counted off the money and went back to the cashiers... Shockers again! They couldn't take cash! In a panic mode, I asked where the nearest bank would be and they said "pale Moi Avenue" How the hell would I know where Moi Avenue was!

But then, I couldn't show them that I was a village cock. I just said, ooh, and walked down the stairs into the road below and bounced off to the general direction of town, clutching my pockets, round Globe Cinema roundabout, past the street families into, God-is-with-me, Moi Avenue's CooP bank! I just paid the fees and retraced my steps back to Visions. I queued for twenty minutes and when I got to the cashiers, someone asked for my passport photos! And the closest I could have them taken? Town!

I looked at her jawline, looking for a spot to break and after a full minute, of course making sure there was no girl nearby, told her I didn't know town and that I would bring them the following day or that afternoon after I had figured out my way around. She had to accept. There must have been a hint of tears in my eyes at that point!

The rest of the day was uneventful. I just took my books back the way I haf come in the morning, to Duwano Hostel, and in the comfort of my room, called dad.
"I have to tell you something"

"Did you get robbed?"

"No, I didn't go to KCA"

"What?"

"Yes, I went to Visions Institute"

"Really? And where did you get the extra money"

"I figured it out. Visions is the better school and I just had to get into it"

"Okay. Just don't get into debt. If you are sure this is the best choice, do what you want"

Phew! It wasn't as dramatic as I had thought! The good thing is that my parents have always trusted me to make my own decisions. No one ever told me, even advised me, which career path to take. I always asked for money and I would get it, as long as I affirmed that this was, indeed, the right way. I was half way college before my mother knew what I was doing!

Pic: Kenyanlist
Later in the day, my cousin, then our MP's secretary, called me to inform me that the MP's nephew would be joining me at KCA the following day and I was requested to assist him settle down! I was becoming a baller now... I would be a chaperone to the MP's nephew! Of course that would mean I would be seeing the mheshimiwa frequently. He would be a buddy. My life was taking a perfect turn!

The following morning, I woke up and decided to walk around Nairobi while waiting for my ticket to the throne.Like the good scout I was in school, I noted my landmarks closest to Murang'a Road, and did it block by block-I would go round a block, then two,then three...and soon, I had covered what I thought was the entire city of Nairobi. I even walked to Rongai! I was in the Rongai Market when my guys arrived.

"Hi, we have arrived"

"Good, wait for me at Tea Room" I knew places, man!

"We have strolled a bit since you were mteja, we are now at the Total Petrol Station" The Mheshimiwa people were so daft, I thought.

"Which Total, which other building can you see opposite?"

"There is nothing opposite, just an open fileld" This was proving difficult.

"Okay, walk a bit, and tell me the tallest building you see" This was my defense mechanism, a landmark I could see from the Rongai flyover.

"Yes, we have seen I&M Building"

Phew! That was easy, I had been at I&M that morning, and I could see it-from Ongata Rongai!I told them not to move an inch... I was on my way, and walked like a wizened city boy towards the direction of I&M.

From Ongata Rongai? Let me tell you about that...There is a flyover connecting into Muthurwa Market. At that time, it had an advertisement for something like Ongata Engineering ahead, so I thought I was actually in Rongai!

Stop laughing!
Look, you can see I&M! Pic: SkycraperCity

I did make it to I&M in one piece, with a bounce in my step, and Kero, short for Kerobin, aka Kelvin,our MP's nephew, came into my life, for the first time, never to leave.
Now, Kero was a yo-yo in his own right. He had a red Ferrari jacket and shiny trousers with several guns and a 50 Cent impression at the back.He had this bewildered look about him, and the first thing he asked me was:

"Murume, when did you come to Nairobi? Were you born here?"

When I asked why, he said "From what I have seen and heard, to know Nairobi, one has to live here for at least ten years!"

"Don't worry, I will take you around Nairobi one of these days"

But I was already wondering why the MP's nephew looked so confused. He was with an uncle, who I assumed was the MP's brother, equally confused. Someone joined us a  few minutes later and the uncle told me to take the kijana to where I was staying, as he had some business to handle with the other guy. We were to look each other up the following day. That was my first let down, I had imagined with the MP's DNA and money, I would have lunch at a Five Star Hotel, and get some pocket money. Now, this was becoming a thankless burden.

Kero, like me, was coming to KCA-the one with hostels. Within five minutes, I had convinced him to save the cash and join Visions...plus Duwano Hostel(At least with Duwano, I got a cool Sh. 500 introductory commission-the first money I made in Nairobi). I had become an instant influencer to my new fan.

Let's drift abit. In high school, while I was in Form 2, I had a girlfriend in Form 4! Seriously. Her name was Makena and she was one of the best badminton players in the country, if the number of Nationals competitions appearances is anything to go by. Makena trained me how to treat girls. I would be stuck talking to her, always staring into space and keeping a distance. Makena taught me that I have to look into girls' eyes when talking to them..that I should hold their hand in public, and hug them when we meet. We would walk hand in hand during school funkies, and eat biscuits under a tree at the farthest corner of the field. Once, a Form 4 who was interested in her almost gave me a beating after a funkie-she had snubbed her terribly in public and ran to me.We were in love! When she finished school that year, we lost all contact-she disappeared into thin air.

I bumped into her at Visions....and a new life started. I will tell you about that next time.

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The Nairobi Initiation 1: "I Will Be Your Host Tonight!"


The year is 2008. It is first of July and I am at the bus office bidding my mum goodbye. I am going to the big city alone for the first time,for a long time. Going to college.

I see a flash of tears in her eyes and she looks away fast. Tells me in a croaky voice to call her when I arrive.
"And keep the money safe" I am carrying cash.

Off we go. The bus literally crawling up those Meru hills. I wish I took a miraa pick up...I wouldn't endure all this stench in the Kensilver bus. But then, I am going to Nairobi...and I will now be a cool guy...coming during the holidays and commanding respect among my peers in Maua. It is not my first time in Nairobi, but I am now going alone... To stay.

Not on a school trip. And not like that time I came a few months ago to register for CPA. I am coming to stay. The excitement is building, can't wait to reach the city and leave that mooing cow.

The bus trudges on, the boredom is too much. My Walkman gets noisy, a book I had carried becomes blurred. I sleep for ten full hours and wake up ten minutes later...in Embu! Again, I should have taken that miraa truck lift I had been offered! We eventually reach Mwea and I buy those chipo mwitu, packed donkey meat and a yoghurt to boot. That's my lunch.... Could be my supper- I have no idea where I will sleep tonight!

I catch 38 winks and wake up in Thika. People have started alighting.. So I go close to the condaa and tell him "Usinipitishe KCA". He tells me we are a bit far, but I know KCA is on Thika road, can't remember where. So I go closer to the driver and warn him the same...for insurance. Have you met a trustworthy matatu crew? So I tell an elderly guy to look out for me.

Finally, I see that drive-in board and remember KCA was just next to it....can't recall if it was before or ahead, so I shout to the driver to shukisha like a wizened city boy. They let me off and I can't find KCA's gate...so, like dad had said, I ask a traffic cop who points at a general direction and tells me "That way" I do not wait to be asked for a bribe so I pull my huge bag and walk...and walk for several minutes. Ujuaji ain't good, kids.

Finally, I arrive,wipe my sweaty face,roll up my bag into its wheels and walk like a boss to the gate.

"Wee, no caps and sagged trousers allowed in here!"

Was that guard kidding me? This is a university in Nairobi and he doesn't dig my swag? I choose to ignore him....and he comes after me shouting something to do with me being deaf and dumb....and drags me back to his sentry, ranting. He tells me to belt up well and leave my cap and bag at the gate... My protests of being new, him being rude, how I will report him fall on non existent ears, so I concede-against my Meru orientation. I should have fought him! Not concede, am I Wenger?

I go to the office and proudly present my forms, passports and all the requirements till the clerk asks for the deposit slip and I stare at her. I thought they would take cash since I have arrived late and the bank near the entrance is already closed. She doesn't heed to that and says I should go home and come back tomorrow.
Go back where? Home is a day away and you tell me to go home? I expected to sleep in the college hostels tonight and you tell me to go home?

" We have no hostels "

"But I was told you do when I came for the forms!" Panic sets in.

" Sorry about whoever said that, but we don't have hostels "

I stare at her with my mouth.

"Please wait for me outside, you are a nice,lost kid.... I will show you a place"

I walk doggedly, thinking how God provides for his people... I have found a Good Samaritan lady to assist me. If it was now, I would be having very ungodly thoughts..Anyway, she makes the call and informs me that someone is coming to pick me.

© Booms Beat
And come she does...a voluptuous(what's the real meaning of this word,by the way?) chic. She has this midsection that makes me drool...nowadays, not then...She has this huge smile on her, and I feel like I could just walk into her and lay my head on this soft bust...Again, not then(in the village, hugs were considered kissy, adult things you do when you are married, and in the bedroom)

"Hi Frankline...my name is Ann and I will be your host tonight"

Have you seen those WhatsApp emoticons with wide eyes, a wide mouth and some sweat on the forehead? Yes. That's me now. Host me tonight? Wow!

I barely reply, and follow her like a Zombie as she pulls me suitcase towards the gate....she could have kidnapped me!

We go to the highway,take a matatu...which she pays for..to Ngara! Son of Maua may enjoy some warmth tonight....from a Nairobi cinderrela. How will it be like? Is this how Nairobi girls are? She is so cute and has no madharau like those dumpass girls with Form Four Certificates in Maua.

Before I know it, I am paying Duwano Hostel fees and I am drafted in.What a strategy!

Tomorrow, I am roaming the City in the Sun, alone!

PIC: Nairobi Half Life: www.hollywoodreporter.com

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Throwback: 1983's Laptop



We were reminiscing about phones the other day with my friends. How mobile phones were huge just a few years ago, then started going smaller and smaller-the smaller it was, the more expensive and classy the mobile phone was. In standard human weird trends, the size started getting bigger again-now everyone wants a big phone!

Computers, on the other hand, have gotten smaller and smaller over the years-remember Main Frame computers? You don't, that's something you only read about. Laptops were a welcome development-a small computer you can carry around-who would have thought that would be?

So, as I was scouring the internet, I chanced upon a peculiar flash video. The first laptop!

Weighing only 13 kilograms, the thing looks like a combined microwave and typewriter!

Introducing 1983's Portable LCD Computer!


Source: Yahoo

Whoa! Now, start imagining how this jumbo shrank to your palmsize-tablet! BusinessWeek has this post on the evolution of laptops that will make you drool. Your beloved laptop was once a knitting machine! How about that for making you feel better, at least you evolved from a monkey. 
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Blame these politicians for the terror

Bad things are happening to my country. ...very bad things, of serious insecurity types.

Kenya has been known as the island of peace and economic stability in a region under siege....we have been brokering peace around us since independence.

Now,the tide has changed.  We are on the receiving end of the very things we have been consultants against. Insecurity topping the class.

Previously. , we only knew of bombings from international media: the Palestinas, the Iraqis, the Somalis, etc. Not any more.  We now know the smell of explosives, gun powder, and definitely the smell of blood. Innocent blood flowing in torrents....every other day.

Kenya is crying. Deaths are too many. Tourists are fleeing. Investors are cashing their investments and leaving in a huff.

And most sadly, politicians are taking advantage of the debacle.

Granted, the government of the day is a joke, the intelligence situation is foolhardy, the Minister of Security is a caterer, cameras are being installed everywhere and our troops are still in Somalia.

BUT. But politicians are to blame. Why?

Where is our security policy?  The parliament is busy plotting how it will force us to call its occupants Honorable!
Why are the same things happening every time?  We almost expect them to happen. Our Intelligence Service is busy looking for people's academic papers.

Why are we out of ideas?Because we aren't united to one cause at all.  The Opposition is busy holding rallies and fathering crowds. Because the government of the day stole an election.

Then, why are we being attacked every day?  Because of illegal immigrants?  Because Muslim youth are being radicalized? Because IEBC failed in the last election? Because the father was away? Because we don't have enough policemen? Because of corruption? Because the government has kept the soldiers in Somalia? Because County Commissioners were empowered? Because Anglo Leasing was paid out?

I am not an expert in matters governance, security or politics....but I think those aren't the reasons.

I think it's because one part our divide thinks the acting side is doing a bad job, and the other part is busy depending itself.

I think it's because we are too busy talking about dialogues that we can't focus on the real issues.

I think it's because we are too divided.

I think it's all down to politicizing a national scourge.

I think it's because someone can't hold someone to account to maintain political ego.

I blame politics and the holding politicians.

God help Kenya.

Pic: How it started. 1998 bomb blast. Telegraph
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A-Z: 26 Tips For Building Powerful Personal Brand Online


Everyone has a personal brand. Do you know what yours conveys to potential employers? When your name is Googled, what comes up? If you haven’t given much thought to your personal brand, here are a few ways to start building it. There are numerous reasons that having your own brand strengthened by your content strategy benefits your business. Everything that you do demonstrates your personal brand, from the way that you represent yourself online to how you treat people at the grocery store. Because a personal brand is built on your true self, you need to be aware that the totality of your actions makes up your brand.

So, how do we create a strong personal brand online? Here is an infographic by placester.com that gives you the A-Z of Personal Branding Online:

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10 Corporate Social Media Mistakes

You are likely well aware of how powerful social media channels have become for Corporates and Brands. When used correctly and mistake-free, you can successfully promote yourself, brand, or product.They can also harm your reputation, big time. Let us look at 10 Mistakes you are probably making on your Corporate Social Media efforts and how to avoid them:


1. Just plain boring.


Being boring could ‘kill’ your Social Media following. It will make people perceive your brand as a super duper boring brand. Therefore, you must think of some interesting content that can make people like it, comment on it as well as share it among their friends. Think out of the box or look for ideas in other brands’ circles so that you could come up with something more interesting of your own.

2. Overdoing Freebies!!


Using free gifts, cool contests and lucky draws to entice people to like your Facebook page may be a good idea. However, don’t overdo it. It will make your brand look like a sugar daddy who always like to give away freebies.

There is a saying, “you’ll harvest what you sow.” By overdoing the freebies marketing, you will get a lot of non-loyal fans who are there for your free stuffs only, and not because they love your brand’s products and services.

3. Going Totally Out Of Point!


Your Social Media theme must be closely related to your brand. It must reflect what your brand sells or market to the world. Always share content related to the things in your industry. If you sell shoes, your content should be about shoes and not about food or other things that are completely alienated from what your brand really is.

When it comes to business, stay focus. Funny, cute and unrelated stuffs, please stay away from it.

4. Lack of Interaction


There is only a one way speech and not a two way dialogue. Brands would just behave like news anchor persons disseminating information. And when people gave their feedback, only the positive ones stayed and the negative ones, banned. There is hardly any dialogue between the brand and the fans.

Social media is a two-way street. It can’t be just one person talking all the time. It’s a conversation. You need to be active on all platforms. Don’t just talk about yourself or only share your work. Post content that will generate discussions. Pay attention to the people in your network. In other words, show people you care about them, and not just yourself. You’d be surprised how this type of interaction pays off.

5. Advertisement Galore


Facebook gives your brand a personality or a voice in the social media world. Your brand speaks and interacts with your clients and prospects. You educate your fans on the benefits of your brand so that it would position your brand well in their minds.

Don't constantly ask people explicitly through online offers and sales discounts; shouting them out in each and every single post of yours, to make people buy your stuff.

Educate, don't hard sell.

6. Boss’ Birthday? No one Cares


No one cares whether today is your boss’, your boss’ father’s, your boss’ brother’s or your boss’ cat’s birthday? Talk business and give your clients what they are looking for in your page. People just want to know how your product or services is going to be of benefit to them.

If you have to share, don't make it a ritual.

7. Not Monitoring your Social Media for Negative Comments...all Comments.


Monitor your social media regularly. Check all the comments, all the tags..etc. Negative comments can bring down the credibility of your brand. Hence you to constantly manage the brand reputation.

If the negative comments are proved to be genuine, it is ok not to delete or hide them as spam. You could simply publish your apology openly to the said user so that this will make others perceived your brand as honest and transparent. Who in the world has no flaws?

Sometimes you will get companies advertising on your Page or competitors putting nasty and untrue comments about your brand on your timeline. Put them in their place. Be alert. Block, Ban and Report!

8. Too Much Technical Jargon


By putting too much technical jargon or scientific terms is a bad strategy. It is not a PHD textbook, you know. And unless you want to make your fans and followers professors and doctors, refrain from using complicated jargon.

9. Tag or RT to Your Friends NOW!


Never ever try to ask people to tag their friends to your pictures. Worse still, don’t give them a specific number of friends to tag in order to exchange some kind of gifts from you. Tagging and RTing is good as it can increase the brand’s exposure virally but let them do it out of their own wish.

It is very irritating when that funny “spammy” picture just appears in your profile page without your permission. I block the company’s facebook page immediately.


10. Not Taking Advantage of The Bio


The first item for visitors to spot on A social media page is the bio(About on Facebook). You must complete this section with vital information, like location and website [URL]. It should look interesting, too. Have a little fun with it. If you’re creative and interesting, it will give more of an incentive to follow or like you.

What other mistakes do you think Companies do with their Social Media? Add in the comments section below.
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KIDS AND THEIR CLASS ANSWERS


I adore babies, I really do. So, when my times comes, I will have a dozen

I dislike viral forwarded messages on email, text, WhatsApp and wherever. So, if you send me such a message and tell me to forward "to get blessings", I won't.

But when the forwarded message is about kids, and it is really fun or helpful, I get that juxtaposing feeling. Bitter sweet. I received this message via WhatsApp and I think I hear a rib crack! A couple of jokes about kids' answers in class. They are old school, but, well, we are old school at heart.

See what I was laughing about:

Children Are Quick and Always Speak Their Minds
____________________________________ 

TEACHER:    Maria, go to the map and find North America . 
MARIA:         Here it is. 
TEACHER:   Correct.  Now class, who discovered America ? 
CLASS:         Maria. 
____________________________________   

TEACHER:    John, why are you doing your math multiplication on the floor? 
JOHN:          You told me to do it without using the tables. 
__________________________________________ 

TEACHER:  Glenn, how do you spell 'crocodile?' 
GLENN:      K-R-O-K-O-D-I-A-L' 
TEACHER:  No, that's wrong 
GLENN:       Maybe it is wrong, but you asked me how I spell it.   

(I  Love this child) 
____________________________________________

TEACHER:   Donald, what is the chemical formula for water? 
DONALD:     H I J K L M N O. 
TEACHER:   What are you talking about? 
DONALD:    Yesterday you said it's H to O.   
__________________________________ 

TEACHER:   Winnie, name one important thing we have today that we didn't have ten years ago. 
WINNIE:       Me! 
__________________________________________ 

TEACHER:   Glen, why do you always get so dirty?                 
GLEN:          Well, I'm a  lot closer to the ground than you are.   
_______________________________________ 

TEACHER:     Millie, give me a sentence starting with '  I.  ' 
MILLIE:         I  is... 
TEACHER:     No, Millie...... always say, 'I  am.' 
MILLIE:         All right...  'I am the ninth letter of the alphabet'       
________________________________ 

TEACHER:    George Washington not only chopped down his father's cherry tree, but also admitted it. Now, Louie, do you know why his father didn't punish him? 
LOUIS:           Because George still had  the axe in his hand......     
______________________________________   

TEACHER:    Now, Simon , tell me frankly, do you say prayers before eating? 
SIMON:         No sir, I don't have to, my Mom is a good cook. 
______________________________ 

TEACHER:       Clyde , your composition on 'My Dog' is exactly the same as your brother's.. Did you copy his? 
CLYDE   :         No sir, It's the same dog.     

(I want to adopt this kid!!!) 
___________________________________ 

TEACHER:    Harold, what do you call a person who keeps on talking when people are no longer interested? 
HAROLD:     A teacher 


Day made? I bet.
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