Thursday, May 2, 2019

LINI


picture by soniamag.com

“We are approaching the Tsavo National Park, on your right is the Tsavo East National Park and on your left is the Tsavo West National Park. Tsavo is nearly 22,000km2, being the largest national park in Kenya.” The SGR hostess is heard, explaining history as we cross the Tsavo. I stare at the screen we are now travelling at 100km/h; Nairobi seems so far today. The screen indicates that its 32° outside, days are getting hotter, “the two lions of Tsavo, were responsible for the deaths of a number of construction workers on the Kenya-Uganda Railway between March and December 1898, they claimed over 135 lives and were killed by Lieutenant- Colonel John Henry Patterson,” she continues. I recall our primary GHC which was later called Social Studies tell our class that the lions were magical preventing invasion by colonialists.

I think about colonialism and where our country Kenya is at now, I mumble a word I commonly heard amongst the residents of Chaani, Migadini as they complained of few officials in the current government registration process, Huduma Number, “Ukoloni Mambo Leo”. The journey was quiet the cabin that had four strangers, wait the two ladies, call them X and Y seemed to be close, relatives I assume the man next to me Z was always on call, but right now everyone stared outside at the vast land.

“You know how they can decongest Nairobi, they should bring all these housing schemes here in between Emali and Athi River that will do the trick," Man Z breaks the silence. I nod. 

“Mimi sioni nikikubali hio 1.5%, that’s too much, we have so much important needs, see where this new projects that don’t involve the Mawananchi have resulted to. Give a child a laptop or give them, a cure for jiggers, give the common mwananchi a job or tax them for a housing project? Lady X argues. Lady X hair is fully grey, her hands shake as she talks, her tone is indisputably in anger.

“Aunty,” calls out Lady Y, now I affirm their relation. “I can’t have my first pay slip taxed this brutally, we have so much money missing in so many government scandals, why add more? Mimi I’d love to see those who are corrupt dealt with before I toa a single bob to this falling nation. Fact ni we should go benchmark Zimbabwe, see the poverty levels because that’s where we are heading,” I chuckle staring at her, she speaks with so much vibrancy. “Is there hope for us?” she continues.

“Well, our new generation of youth leaders will improve this situation, I have no trust in some of this ones mentioned every day in corruption cases,” Man Z adds on.

“There was this young man who joined with strength to reform after one year of being radical, he died out. If you can’t beat them join them. Once you are in the system you become part of the system. They might pretend to be part of the solution but come in with some political vendetta,” Lady X says.

“You know yesterday some group took to the streets of Nairobi, on corruption but it ended before noon,” I tell them.

“Do you think Kenya will ever be like Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt? Are we organised enough, we break down people on Twitter but take no action, I wish we’d have mighty brains that would hack the system.” We all laugh. Lady Y goes on, “Those guys coordinated and led to the fall of oppressive systems, we should be like them, or nothing will change.”

“This time we should elect, a new leader, someone visionary,” Man Z says. “Hakuna cha mtu wetu, this time we should be more united to make a difference.”

“Sasa tu keti tungoje 2022 ama and the common man is miserable, is there no hope for us, who will fight for us,” Lady X ends the conversation, everyone looks back at the vast land but this time with thought and each having the sad expression on their faces.

Nobody speaks till the end of the journey, in my mind I think of the tale of Robin hood who stole from the wealthy to feed the less fortunate, I wonder who will be our Robin.

“Welcome to the Nairobi Terminus, we thank you for choosing to travel with us.”






Monday, April 15, 2019

THERE IS LIFE AFTER LOVE




This past few weeks or maybe months have been sickeningly catastrophic , mostly I’d give one passionate story that would beautifully translate to a whole topic that we are experiencing as a nation, well I’ve been stuck for weeks with a lot of anger and I always feel as a writer bringing whatever anguish into the ink isn’t as per.

Well I have to speak up whether short, I have to say something, regardless of everything there is life after love. Well some of us might not relate to the current cases of femicide happening all around Kenya, but we have to make it personal, the victims of such monstrous deeds are a part of our community, someone’s daughter, someone’s sister and someone’s friend.

What happened to all lives matter, well the disgust continues when social media comes in, never have I been so disturbed by some influencers and bloggers justifying to one’s death where did our African Culture go to where evil was vibrantly condemned by the society.

Well today a Kenyan girl has no right to consent over preference because apparent rejection would be one’s death note.

Over 35 female lives lost this year to relationships' misfits, is our reality now justifying some sort of gender killing…….. Well, why?

We have to say No!

No justification whatsoever just No!

Say No to femicide!

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

OUTRIGHT CON



Pictures by BENJOSTORY.COM

Waiting, waiting, waiting, in this hot Kisumu sun that now reads 29˚c according to my android, waiting for one honorable ng’anene, with my black lada, rubers from the words of my people, which are now roasting my size 43 feet. One hour later of trying all the human postures showing am relentlessly out of patience and by now I can do an advert of the products advertised along Varsity way, Jameson- Triple Distilled Twice as Smooth, UAP – Better Simple Life. I almost forget how tired, upset and dehydrated am getting.

I can’t take it no more, I chuck a boda from varsity way head to United Mall, just behind it are streets that lead to the legendary Mama Hassan, next to me is a plate of one of her delicious coasto viazi karai “bhajia”. Getting good Swahili dishes in Kisumu is a hustle but highly recommending Swahili Dishes Kisumu and Mama Hassan, once in a while when I get homesick I go for a biryani, pilau or the bhajia.

After am done with my meal that’s cost 50/=, I sit glaring at the handful people either eating or gossiping, I notice that this place that normally flocks is very empty, all the high-schoolers and varsity students are nowhere in sight, utajuaje ni week ya exam, then I get a message from an unknown number.
 “Dear applicant, I am glad to inform you that you qualified to work with KNBS following your application. Kindly check this link for more information (http://tiny.cc/n6wx3y) and comply with our requirement before 12:00 Noon tomorrow. Thanks.”
Being the unemployed Kenyan I am, I am obviously excited by the words dear applicant I am glad……. clicked the link it directs me to a site, one KNBS ENUMERATOR JOBS 2019, walahi am excited the way I heard those jobs pay, I already start picturing me getting a new pair or a new hair-do. The site has details this seems legit, I read through to regards by one Dr Kabongah and nod, the Dr name sales the deal, filling the last details I notice a request for payment at the end (scum alert), I go back read the whole thing word for word.
“Your medical assessment costs KES 5,400. The organization shall pay for you KES 2,700 (half the cost). You are supposed to pay the remaining KES 2,700. You are therefore required to pay KES 950 either to our Nakuru branch office situated on 2nd Floor, AFC Nakuru town or send through MPESA to 0759393382 (Safaricom line) -Denis Mwangi (Supervisor).”
Pictures by BENJOSTORY.COM










At this point I am utterly shocked and mind blown.
“This payment must be done by latest 2nd April, 2019 (Tuesday) at 12:00 Noon. The remaining KES 1,750 shall be deducted directly from your first salary. This partial payment will secure you a chance for medical assessment and must be done within the time frame allocated. Please note that this exercise is coordinated only at our Nakuru branch offices and not at the headquarters. If you pay through MPESA you shall immediately receive a scanned receipt in out email for the payment.” 
OUTRIGHT CON
Scum! Scum! Scum!
To anyone whose experiencing this or has received such messages, I denounce them. Yaani sisi the ordinary mwananchi having helb officers looking for us to now joint forces of Tala, Branch and Fuliza, then a fellow Kenyan or say two or three want to fish the little out of you. How many people have they targeted so far with that scheme of KES 950 and KES 2,700.
Then I remember early Monday morning, busy hearing the children from Kings and Queens Academy sing the national anthem, while seeing my neighbor run out of his house late again, Mse ni Monday, I get this call from one Michael Wandira who claims to be a journalist at Nation Media Group and heard that I was a communication student and that there was an opportunity for me, he’d call back in 30 minutes. That day my voice was as smooth as the voice over artists at NRG Radio, finally my breakthrough, the guy call says he’ll connect me with his boss. Aaaahhh am like oooh okay cool, anyway ain’t the Kenyan job market about connections. Me and my mouth I text my good friend Mavo whose an intern at the supposed same NTV, tell him of the great news he’s happy but reluctant asks me who recommended me to the journalist, I tell his friend Mr. X, huyo ni mse wa “booty call” he laughs.
Pictures by BENJOSTORY.COM
The conversation about my opportunity goes on for hours until they ask for my CV and Cover letter, I comply send it to the email they sent me, now apparently they inform me its not NMG but an NGO called Life and Hope International Kenya, now my bells ring, I go back to Mavo tell him to drop everything and head to NMG human resource who denounce knowing such people, on this other side, they notify me it is possible am a highly qualified candidate but being an NGO I need to register in the NGOs Board of Kenya and it required an amount of KES 4,800, see one thing about today is that technology has made things easier, I didn’t have to tie a note to a bird to get the information I needed.
I got on phone texted one of the best PROs of Kenya and he sent me the number of NGOS Coordination Board of Kenya, because of continuous crimes I will leave it here +254 202214044, spoke to a lady from the offices and all that I heard were;
 "OUTRIGHT CON"
Now I honestly have heard cases where people were conned to their last bits and all I can say today is we have to stay woke, be on the constant look out for such crimes and not easily fall victim to these schemes.
 Just saying, what happened to the mwananchi earning his or her own hard work money, we have to be on the know con is real from business, to our politicians even the relationships we value. Lets not fall victim of outright con.
 
 

Monday, March 25, 2019

KOT THE KEYBOARD WARRIORS



So here I am awake at 3 in the night, well sleepless nights are common when staying in hostels full of university students from the racketing music to the late-night staggering Kenya Cane crew, unlike most nights, this time a couple just outside my window, so loud well judging from the smell of the great plant cannabis sativa, I understood. From one topic to another they critiqued and laughed be it abortion or relationships in campus, well I dint feel like I was being nosy listening to their arguments but they woke me up…. attention seekers…….

So, they go and on, laughing and I cuddled up in my bed, when a good laugh comes along the way I chuckle too. Then the lady appreciates the Madaraka Express SGR train and says how its Mombasa Terminus is upholding with the view of the ocean, then I remember my experience, thinking out loud like the third party I was, once being in the train each compartment would carry 6 passengers but that day it was just the two of us, me and some mzungu lady, her eyes blue and hair oooh her hair, well my hair was great too having stayed with my braids for three months, you can picture that, then I think about seating in the compartment with my headphones listening to Bensoul’s song Lucy  while trying to grasp the lyrics…… mtoto mtoto mdogo amevaa ngoloba…… coming back to reality, I noticed the couple were long gone and one hour had passed. Thinking of it this is how Kenyans are on Social Media inconsistent like a small toddler grasping one thing then swiftly on to the next or like a man suffering from Attention-deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).


The Arab Spring of January 2011, resulted from corrupt oppressive governments, high unemployment, poverty rates and low higher education opportunities in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria. The revolution started when one man, Mohammed Bouazizi, a young merchant in Tunisia lit himself on fire in protest of the corrupt dealings of the police who asked for bribes in order to sell his merchandise. The movement was done by the youth who used technology against their oppressors, they utilized social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in order to organize themselves so that everyone was on the same page, the messages spread to the whole world and they received support.



Well Kenyans are always known as Twitter gurus with the phrase Kenyans on Twitter (KOT), the explosive radical sentiments about oppressiveness, corrupt governments and issues on human infringement waken up the beast that is KOT, with harsh messages and aggressive hashtags to put their message across. At times seen as a platform for hear says and exaggerated critiques.

Are KOT just keyboard warriors?

Are Kenyans organized enough to actually start their own “Arab Spring” or are they loosely overwhelmed by one rising issue then quickly distracted by another forgetting their main goal.
#tags like #WeCannotIgnore and #RedCrossTumechoka should trend so much that we get answers and results, helping our fellow Kenyans in Turkana. Other hashtags on corruption too, are supposed to be over shared till we are actually heard, the Kenyan cries and pleas on social media should result to something better than being number one trending without getting action from it.

Does the Kenyan Social Media play a crucial role in the type of system we long to have in our nation, a less corrupt Kenya, with higher job opportunities, with actual developments that have no loopholes, or one that is able to manage food resources from every part of the nation preventing starvation of fellow citizens or a Kenya that is free from police brutality.
 

Monday, March 18, 2019

Our Nation is bound to protect each citizen of Kenya



Pictures by Boniface Mwangi

In the ancient Luo culture narrative, there was once a village in Homabay that had a feast on one particular day and on the same day an elderly woman, a traveler crossing their village, went to seek for food and shelter from the community. The chief and the tribe’s men were dining and drinking when the old woman asked for a place to sleep and something to eat and they all ignored her needs. A lady amidst the activities heard the plea of the old lady, gave her some food and a place to lie. When the old woman was about to leave she told the lady to gather her belongings, get her children and leave the village warning them of a violent storm that would hit the community. The lady heeds the old woman’s warning and ran away from the village. The village then disappeared in a violent storm because of the greed and arrogance of those who refused to shelter and feed the old woman, creating a large depression that formed the Lake Simbi Nyaima.

"Our Nation is bound to protect each citizen of Kenya."

Pictures by Boniface Mwangi
12 Counties mostly in Northern Kenya are staring at severe drought and lack of water. On the 14th March, 2019, Devolution Secretary Eugene Wamalwa revealed that an estimated 160,000 people are facing imminent starvation.

The current drought epidemic in Baringo and Turkana, has resulted to loss of lives from hunger related complications from these parts of the country, with families merely surviving on poisonous wild fruits that require women travelling very long distance to acquire and after that to get rid of the poison the fruit requires a minimum of being boiled for a whole day.

The harsh weather conditions have persisted for months with temperatures being as high as 40˚and has left many opting to move from their homes in search for food and water.
Pictures by Boniface Mwangi


Turkana in Kenya is the cradle of mankind, the recent discovery of oil, still the locals in Turkana are among the ones constantly hit with drought, with pasture drying up and livestock dying, families are left struggling with the environment that has dried up with no source of water or food, while the death toll from starvation rises.

"Our Nation is bound to protect each citizen of Kenya."

Preventive measures dealing with such extreme conditions are supposed to be implemented, the local and the county government should be prepared, after all prevention is better than the cure. No Kenyan should starve, promotion of climate resilient seeds, resolving to climate change mitigation as nation where we focus on creating more environmental policies and finding ways to cut pollution from our livelihood.  Just Saying.

"Today we are faced with a challenge that calls for a shift in our thinking, so that humanity stops threatening its life-support system. We are called to assist the Earth to heal her wounds and in the process heal our own - indeed to embrace the whole of creation in all its diversity, beauty and wonder. Recognizing that sustainable development, democracy and peace are indivisible is an idea whose time has come."
Wangari Maathai
Pictures by Boniface Mwangi




Thursday, March 14, 2019

CALL A FRIEND





The constant posts of call a friend, check on them and say hey some see a clear gimmick not an actual call for help. In extremes some will wonder why you didn’t reach out, say something or give a sign and why you let it get that far.

Over the last three decades, there has been a marked increase in the number of men accompanying their partners in hospital labor wards, feminists might argue that this is a clear sign of domination and power trait but we can’t argue with the positive and emotional uplifting experience of having a teammate with you and a friend who would embrace the pain with you.

“Stare occasionally at the world, seeing everyone else living what appears to be their best happy lives, while I feel trapped in a black hole, numb and paralyzed, trying to call out but nobody is listening.”                                          
                                            

The assumption that we have that depressed people are mostly sad is a misunderstanding. Depression is a mood disorder that unlike sadness which twinkly changes when you cheer up, stays with a person 24/7. The numbness to life and emotions, the feeling of being left alone but the fear of being lonely, wanting friends with no urge to socialize, the fear of failure without even trying.

I am tired, meaning you find escape in sleep, even at the prime times of your day, or the insomnia that keeps you awake. Memories of when days were better and how you were fun to hang around, but now you feel like you’ve lost yourself. The worst moment is the smile for the camera moment, when you have to pretend that you are not depressed but your soul is in tears.

         “I may not be able to understand what you are going through, how you feel but I care about you and want to help.”

Hold a friend’s hand, be compassionate, listen, tell them, “you are not alone in this I am here for you, I care about your life.” You might not help them solve their depression but you will uplift and motivate them, giving them a feeling of someone cares. Just saying.




LINI

picture by soniamag.com “We are approaching the Tsavo National Park, on your right is the Tsavo East National Park and on your left ...