Will You Help Feed Kenyans?

Reblogged from Crazy Nairobian

Kenya is such a beautiful country. We have amazing wildlife in our national parks like the Big Five and an even better offering of beasts in parliament which include vultures, fat cats and snakes. And what makes parliament even more interesting is the presence of clowns in the midst of all the animals I mentioned above.

And while they are busy playing politics and scheming on how to enrich themselves, a disaster looms in Northern Kenya. A dark cloud is hovering over our beloved country.

As we speak, Kenyans are starving to death. I know. We should NOT be talking about such a thing in the 21st century but here we are. Its the harsh reality. And all because our country is being led by wild animals who cannot take the time to plan to ensure we have food security in this country. Luckily for Kenya, these wild beasts are only about 220. That means the rest of us still have some common decency left because we are human. And I believe we cannot just sit and watch as Kenyans die of hunger. You and I have to do something.

My grandmother (who passed on earlier this year) told me the most challenging words some time back regarding food and sharing. She told me that if you have something in your plate, then you have something to share. And if you let another human die of hunger because you are unwilling to share what you have, then the only difference between you and a murderer is the weapon used, and the time it takes.

She was a wise woman, my grandmother. She said the beauty of giving away food to the hungry is, while you will be filling their stomach with food, they will be filling your heart with joy and your life with blessings.

And so today, I send out a passionate appeal to each and everyone of you. It does not matter who you are or what you do. If you have food in your plate, you have something to give. Lets share the little we have with the hungry children whose smiles and laughter has been masked by the hunger pangs they feel. Lets share with the desperate mothers and fathers who have no idea where the next meal to feed their families will come from. Let no Kenyan die when you and I can help. If we can all sacrifice a meal in order to help starving Kenyans, NO OTHER KENYAN will have to spend another night on an empty stomach.

From as little as Ksh 250 onwards, you can help fill a fellow Kenyans plate with food and their hearts with joy. And remember a wise man said there is more joy in giving than in receiving.

An initiative started by @ahmedsalims and running in close collaboration with Kenya Red Cross has collected Ksh 140,880/= as at 26th July 2011 from 172 donations from Kenyans just like you and me. But a lot more needs to be done to ensure the 3 million Kenyans facing starvation can have some hope of a better tomorrow.

So my fellow Kenyans – brothers and sisters – lets extend a helping hand. Take the initiative right now and help a starving Kenyan by sending a donation using one of the following ways;

1) On M-Pesa Paybill to ‘10000’ Acc ‘feedke’
2) On Airtel nickname ‘REDCROSS’ reference ‘feedke’
3) Online: kenyaredcross.org

All funds collected are directly given to the Kenya Red Cross and a report is available on request. This will ensure ALL DONATIONS get to the people who need them the most. So go ahead and make your donation today.

There are more ways to help. You can help spread the word by talking to your friends, family, neighbors and basically anyone willing to listed. You can also spread the word online using one of the following ways;

1) Sending out twitter messages with a plea to your followers to help and using the hashtag #FeedKE.

2) Updating your Facebook/Google+ status with a plea to your friends and acquintances to help.

3) Sharing this link on your twitter, facebook or Google+ account.

Go ahead and share. Make our motherland proud.

My Five Links

I’ve been blogging here since December 31st, 2010. This post here offers is a reflection of a number of 5 posts fished from the archives. I was tagged by @dyrants and Joliea.

Most Popular Post

This was when I met President Paul Kagame back in March, through twitter. You just have to read it to believe it. I want to thank the awesome president because if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be as famous as I am now 😉

Post That Didn’t Get The Attention It Deserved

I feel like my post on mountain gorillas didn’t hit that much. You have to visit them to feel what I felt for them, I love them!

Post Whose Success Surprised Me

This has to be my recent review of the Nokia X2-01. I finally realized most searches for the images of the phone land on my blog.. the hits are still coming. Over 1000 and counting 🙂

My Most Controversial Post

A recent one I did on Men and Paying Bills. The debate is still open!

Post I Am Most Proud Of

I spent an entire weekend coming up with the A-Z guide to a successful life in campus! Lessons I gathered from my four years in a public university in Kenya.

Enjoy, ladies and gentlemen.

Any blogger reading this is tagged!

AFC Leopards: Ours Forever

I promised the editor of the Ingwe Fan fanzine (a magazine by fans) that I’ll do a post about the magazine, the club and my love for both.

That's me holding up my copy of Ingwe Fan

This is the second edition of the magazine and it featured a history of ALL the matches that have ever been played against Gor Mahia, since 1968 when Gor was formed. There are stats from way back then (a lot of research must have gone into this), snippets from newspapers of famous matches etc.

Sample Some

The inaugural match between the two sides was played on Monday May 6th, 1968. I just love this writing:

“William ‘Chege’ Ouma, Gor Mahia’s mercurial leader in attack, blasted two crackerjack second half goals to send reigning National League champions AFC to defeat in this action packed encounter…”

In 1975, Otieno Ndege was arrested by the police because he nearly caused a riot at Nairobi’s City Stadium. Nothing out of the ordinary, except Otieno Ndege was a dove! He was later arraigned before a Nairobi court. Excerpt:

“Otieno Ndege, a bird of no fixed nest, yesterday appeared before a Nairobi court charged with inciting the public to violence during the Kenya Football League match between Gor Mahia and Abaluhya on Sunday.”

Pick up the mag to find out how the story ended!

The magazine has some information about infamous defectors, player profiles, pictures from league matches, quotes from coaches, the club’s kit (home and away), and so much more (to use a cliché)!

There are also dates of the remaining AFC match fixtures that will be played this year!

There are pictures of fans, kid fans, footballers, anything related to AFC, and on that inner page of the last cover, a picture of an Ingwelet ( a female fan). Maybe someday I’ll be the featured one 🙂 I do have a shirt, check it out… only that it’s not printed Savvy at the back, but the next one will. Get yours from Jawamed Store located at the Mezzanine-2 floor, Afya Center, Nairobi; Imbaare Stores at Kawangware; Buru Buru Tens in Eastlands and Pitson Grill in Langata next to Uchumi Supermarkets.

That's my AFC shirt right there

To finish off, lemme quote the editor:

“In this issue, we trace the history of our rivals (Gor) in an age when MOST journalists spend oodles of time talking about the English Premier League. “ If you’re a journalist who falls in this category, be ashamed!

“We fill our pubs while they fill their stadia” (English Premier League).

The editor says it’s ok to watch the EPL and other leagues, but we must not forget our own local teams just because they have been going through tough times- bad leadership, bad results, unmotivated players, brokenness.. even Sir Alex Ferguson says:

“Success in football comes and goes. … Real fans stick with their teams through thick and thin. It’s not just about winning, it’s about loyalty.”

You should be ashamed if you keep saying “Arsenal damu!” “Man-U damu” and you don’t even know who won the Kenyan Premier League last season. Let us develop our own league.

AFC Leopards. Ours Forever.

Here is the AFC Leopards website: afcleopards.net

Recommended Reading to catch up on the local football scene:

Sportskenya.blogspot.com Follow on twitter @sportskenya

On Sunday, AFC Leopards lost to Gor Mahia 3-1. A moment of silence.

Bragging Rights: First Class Honours

If there is anything getting a first class honours degree has given me, it is bragging rights! This being July, my graduating month, allow me to bask in this moment. The graduation ceremony is on Thursday the 28th, and so tomorrow(Wednesday) is rehearsal. Whenever I’ll be meeting my comrades (fellow graduands) I’ll wait for them to say “Second class, upper division honours” before pausing dramatically and saying “first class honours baby!”

I had dreamed of this blogpost over and over again. I had the perfect title for it: Yeah Baby, First Class Honours! I was going to put a picture of myself in the graduation cap and gown, starting straight into the camera, looking beautiful, solemn and intelligent at the same time. Ha well, dreams change!

Graduation gown, hood, cap

Graduation gown, hood, cap

In the seven months since I finished my undergraduate degree in computer science (on Dec 17th, 2010), I have been up and about.

I spent most of the first 3 months of 2011 in Rwanda, where I worked with a small INGO in the Northern Province where I had the pleasure of meeting President Paul Kagame. I made many friends there, and when I get time I hope to go back and visit.

I came back to Kenya in mid-March and like most of my former classmates, asked myself what it was I really wanted to do. I applied for a number of jobs/internships and did one interview. I knew I wanted to travel and I later got an internship with a research institution based in Nairobi but with offices in Ethiopia and I was going to go there for a month. But then something else happened and I had to put that on hold.
I got a scholarship to do a master’s degree at the Safaricom Academy/Strathmore University, starting May this year. That’s what I’ve been up to. It’s a very hands-on kind of course, and I’m loving it.

The course is structured into modules (as opposed to semesters) and we’re currently in the second module. For the past one-an- half months, we had instructors from MIT/MIT-Sloan Business School who taught us both technical and business stuff. If you want to see what we were doing, check out this page. Our project is E-BIMA and we’re still in the early stages of development .

About a month ago, Google called me offering me a software engineering job, but because they realized I’m now back in school, they said an internship offer would still do, where I take 3 months off and then come back to continue my course. I have done two over-the-phone interviews, passed the first one and waiting to hear the results of the second one. If I get the internship it will be the icing on my graduation cake! The perfect graduation present.

I’ll be walking on sunshine during my graduation as my three names are called and I’m conferred with a first class honours degree in computer science.

The Samsung Ch@t 322 – My Review

I’ve had this phone for just over a week now. So my review may not be complete, more like a general look and feel of the phone.

The Samsung Ch@t 322

Unlike Kachwanya, who thought it looks like a candybar (in what world does that phone look like a sweet?!), I think it looks like just another QWERTY phone.

So here is what makes it different from the phones within its price range (7500-8500):


It’s really hectic walking around with two phones: one cool one with a Safaricom line, and one shady one for the other line (Yu/Airtel/Orange).

Finally, Samsung have caught up with the Chinese who have been making those low quality dual-sim phones.

Raised QWERTY keypad

Maybe because I’m so used to touch (well, the Ideos), I find it hard to use keypad phones. But this Samsung has raised keys that are soft and easy to type with, which means faster typing, of course.

Optical TrackPad

At first I didn’t know what that meant! Anyway, the scrolling/navigation/menu button in the middle uses a light sensor (like some Blackberrys) to track the movement of your finger. Scrolling around is smooth and seamless.. I loved it.

Standard Audio Jack/USB Cable/Bluetooth 2.0

With the USB cable you can transfer data to/from the memory card. The phone comes with a 2GB memory card.

The audio jack (3.5mm) is standard and you can connect your phone to standard speakers and listen to your music/radio.

Which reminds me, the music player sounds really good, better than the Ideos’. The radio reception is also quite good, I could receive the X FM signal anywhere. X FM’s signals are the weakest among the channels I bother to listen to.

The Social Media/ Contacts Shortcuts

Now that everyone is into twitter/facebook, there are native apps already installed on the phone and there are shortcuts on the home-screen. However, I never got to tweet/facebook with them because the phone refused to accept internet settings. The SMS from 445 said I should go to the nearest customer care center. I pictured the lines there and gave up.

There are also IMing apps: Yahoo Messenger and MSN Messenger, among other apps/games.

However, for others who’ve used this phone, they say it should automatically figure out the internet settings for you.

You can also add your frequently accessed contacts on the home screen.

The Downsides

It uses an EDGE connection for internet, but so does the Nokia X2-01, and for most people the only difference between Edge and 3G is the name!

It has a 1.3MP camera, but it produces better quality images than the Ideos with its (supposed) 2MP camera! At least this is a better camera than the X2‘s VGA camera (I’m just being honest here)

Unlike Nokia with a strong OVi Store presence for apps, the Samsung market is er.. it is there but who’s ever shopped for apps there? Now that Samsung high end phones are using the Android market it seems the lower end phones have been forgotten?


This phone looks stylish, is semi-smart and dual-SIM enabled. The music quality is awesome. Texting is fast. If you’re tired of carrying two ‘stupid’ phones, upgrade now!

Men and Paying Bills

I admit times have changed. Just as women demanded equality, men did too. If there are bills to pay, the cost is shared between the man and woman in the relationship, be it business, marriage or dating.

I’m going to blog about restaurant bills today.

I do not have a problem paying my bills, which is why whenever I meet up with a friend/potential date, I always make sure I have at least enough money to pay my part of the bill.

However, there is this crop of men emerging in Nairobi. Men who expect you to pay their bill too. They will not only expect you to pay yours, they expect you to pay theirs as well. With the exception of those older career woman-young college man relationships, I really think men should pay the restaurant bills for their women.


It’s never about the money. I have met men who did not have much money but will gladly pay the Kshs. 1000 bill at the coffee house. I have met others who earn upwards of 100K a month but expect you to pay their Kshs. 200 bill, considering it too small a bother. This second group does not flinch when the waiter brings the bill, and while you fumble around for your wallet, they sit tight, relaxed.

Restaurant bill

Restaurant bill

The least a guy could do is pay his half of the bill. The LEAST. (Unless it’s one of those older career woman-young college man relationships, as I said.) Especially if the guy earns more than the girl. It’s just basic manners.

In Other News: The Polygamy Bill

If MPs want to pass a bill to legalize polygamy, let them be my guest. However, polyandry should also be legal.

Let’s take an example of a man with 10 wives. The 10th, 9th, 8th wives will probably get ignored as time goes past. It should be possible for them to be married again to any other men they desire, without losing the privileges associated with the first marriage.

My humble thoughts.

The Google Interview: Telephone Interview #1

Remember this post?

So after a number of emails were exchanged back and forth, setting the date/time for the over-the-phone interview was done. Date was 6th July, time was 1pm BST, British Summer Time. Translated to 3pm local time. I had been advised to get a stable internet connection because I could be asked to write code real-time onto a shared google doc.

I did the interview @mlabeastafrica, using the meeting room. I have to thank @mtotowajirani and @jessicacolaco whom I displaced during the duration of the interview. Also @gmeltdown, the mlab manager.

Using an ethernet cable I borrowed from @mmuendo, I plugged into the network, closed all other windows apart from the ones I required on my laptop and opened the blank shared document. I had my Ideos nearby for back-up internet in case the internet went down for some reason.

About 4 minutes past 3pm, the phone rang. I was using the Nokia X2-01, earphones plugged in so I could be hands free.

Having googled ‘Google Interviews’ and got these two interesting insights (Steve Yegge’s blog and this blog), I was ready for the call. It lasted about an hour and I’m sure you are curious what was asked, just in case you are called someday.

Updated Post

I’m sorry, having researched a bit, I have realized it is better not to divulge interview questions. This would mean the interviewer will have to come up with a new set of questions for future interviewees and they want to get a feel of how candidates perform with the current questions before moving onto the next set of questions.

We said our goodbyes and he told me to expect a response in 3-5 days.

On Monday 11th, I got an email telling me they are progressing with the next step, which is another phone interview in a similar format to the first one. So my next interview is on July 18th.

Guest Post: Peter Njenga

I rarely do guest posts on my blog. In fact, I’ve been the sole writer on this blog, and I don’t think I did guest posts here either.

Anyway, Pete requested a guest post, and how can I say no this nice guy?

CAMPUS: Memories and Life Lessons

“On this day I see clearly everything has come to life
A bitter place and a broken dream
And we’ll leave it all, leave it all behind”
– Alter Bridge [Metalingus]

I was allowed to blog about anything here, much unlike the topical stuff I write on The Walkabout, Complit Design, Green Initiatives, Connect eMagazine and Pete R Njenga on Books. So here we go.

Campus Memoirs

Savvy is more than an awesome tweep, she invariably reminds me of a place where I spent slightly over five years [thanks to a lecturers’ strike during our sunset days]. A place where I got much more than a Bachelor’s degree. A place that ultimately got me ready for whatever life throws my way.

I remember the good old days when some guys, suddenly overwhelmed by unfettered college freedom, would spend vast amounts of time getting drunk, getting healthy [taking drugs] and getting laid… but would still work hard and pass exams.

Six, Sex

I first experienced a University students strike barely a month after joining campus. At the time, The Daily Nation carried an “investigative” piece about wanton indiscipline, moral decay and drug peddling in JKUAT’s Halls of Residence, specifically Hall Six, which they [in their asinine opinion] labeled ‘Hall Sex’.

As expected, JKUAT students raided Nation Centre. The JKUSO Chairman, one Adrian Ouma, told the media that we were merely “registering our displeasure” at the untrue reporting. “We are not sex maniacs!” [insert jang’o accent] he shouted while addressing Capital Newsbeat reporters.
Newspapers were burnt in Nairobi CBD, one student died, guys were arrested when they stole sodas from a Coca-Cola container right outside Muthaiga Police Station, several others were shot by Police from Juja Police Station… we were sent home for six weeks and came back for a crash course in a significantly shortened semester.

I tell you things were tight, even the ‘elite’ Architectural students whose course takes six years started wondering if they’d ever be done with college.

Discoveries & Melodies

The rest of my five years were quite eventful, involving things that would take an entire book to detail.

Several things however, deserve a special mention. I do realize that they may also characterize others’ lives. Following are just three:

1) I realized that schools kills creativity.

Yeah, this sounds ironic, given that the discovery came while I was in school.
No worries, the realization that I was pursuing a course I wasn’t passionate about actually opened my eyes to whatever else I could become. “Say what?” you ask. Yep. I was passionate about computers, not Engineering. And I’m glad I ended up in Computers [design & writing].

To better understand my sentiments, watch the following TED Talk by Sir Ken Robinson:

2) Be Yourself Always. Be Different.

The very enduring words my friend, and Our High School Captain wrote me in those Form 4 “autographs” was this:

Be Yourself Always

While it was gradually reinforced by other factors, the ability to not give a rat’s ass when others found it odd that I dared to be different ultimately saved my ass and continues to do so in life.
Peer influence was something I often read about, and gracefully managed to resist… to this day 🙂

I would go on and on about it, but I believe Steve Jobs says it more succinctly in the following commencement address at Stanford University:

3) Make Your Own Kind of Music

Barry White says that you should let the music play. But Madonna goes ahead and tells you that music makes people come together. It may even make you high, a la Lost Boys.
And when you dare stop, Jennifer Lopez will firmly remind you to play her *expletive deleted* song. Whatever the case, you gotta play that funky music.

That said, music enhances my life. It plays every time in my bachelor’s pad. I’ve no idea what I’d do without my music box. For this reason, I’ll share with you Sara Jorge’s song ‘Let Your Heart Go Free’ It’s greatly uplifting, and also serves as an enduring tribute to Mr Thrill [RIP], whose Club Mix on Dec 31, 2005 introduced me to awesomeness in taking responsibility.

There comes a time in everyone’s life
When things don’t go the way you planned it
But don’t you know,
You take the blow it all works out.
There comes a time when all that you want
Just sails away, goes down the river
But don’t be sad, coz all of that just disappears.

If every step is taking you back
And you never see a way around it
Just close your eyes and realize it’s not too late.
If every dream is shattered in two
You’ll find a way to pick the pieces
Just lift your hands and understand it’s up to you!

Have a lovely and fruitful week good people 🙂

Funerals, Kenyan Style

If you are looking for a sad tale of tears and grief, I will not offer one today. Instead, I divulge into the phenomenon that is rural funerals in Kenya.

They can last anything from a week to a month or longer! So here it starts:

News of the death
So a person dies, through whatever means. The story starts spreading. Mourners troop to the home of the bereaved to comfort them, where they are fed, watered and given a listening ear for their unsolicited advice about life and death.

The story of how the death occurred will be retold over and over again. For instance, I heard quite a number of colourful tales explaining how my grandfather died. Almost all accounts I heard were first-hand, everyone seems to have been an eyewitness, which I highly doubt.

The closest family members who are affected meet and begin to plan the funeral, after the initial wave of mourning and acceptance. The funeral has to be set at a date convenient for those important to be informed in due time to attend the funeral.

The Funeral Procession

Unlike in Nairobi or other places all around the world where the body is fetched from the mortuary and buried on the same, in Kisii (and perhaps other rural places), the body is brought home the day before. If someone knew as many people as my grandfather did, the number of vehicles taking part in the funeral procession will be long.

Most people who had forgotten their grief in the helter skelter of planning the funeral now face the reality that their loved one is actually gone. They see an empty shell instead, a cold body lying in a coffin, still and unmoving.

I must admit, the few corpses I have seen have been scary. Not my grandfather though, he looked like he was just sleeping.

There were so many people at the funeral procession, coming to fetch the body from the mortuary at Keroka.

We met long lost relatives, with whom we would at first hug with joy after going for years without seeing each other, before starting to cry for our loss.

Back Home

Now that the body is back home, the crowd that has been hanging around the homestead of the bereaved swells incredibly.

First, there is a brief church service at the homestead, where people are allowed to view the body, prayers are said, songs are sung, and elders/important relatives allowed to speak. The grave is dug and covered so it will be ready for burial the following day. The body is moved indoors for the night.

Now, all these people who’ve come for the funeral (some important relatives from far away, others from not-so-far away) need to be fed, and provided with a place to sleep.

The crowd that turned up at my grandfather’s pre-funeral was huge. There was hardly any room to sit in any of the houses in the compound. Hired help prepared food and served guests, over and over again. Family members worked almost all night to make guests comfortable. If you ask me, the guests really, were a burden to a family already stretched thin by grief.

Funeral Day

My dad says we have become like Luos. When someone dies, and people come to comfort you, the first thing you give them is food. They enter the compound, you greet them and direct them to a table of food before they can sit down.

It’s like you are hiring mourners!

In our case, some of those who came for the funeral, in addition to being fed, expected to be given fare back home!

On the day of the funeral, a field is set aside for the congregation to sit. The church usually takes over the MCing roles, testing mics, providing a choir. Someone prints out the schedule of the day and hands it round, which usually includes a brief bio of the deceased.

People start streaming in around 10am to around noon. The choir sings, and ‘important’ people are given time to address the crowd.

These important people include close relatives, the chief of the area (who thinks the time is all his.. and in turn may invite other ‘important’ people), the chairman of the local sacco, the headmaster of the high school around, the director of the tea factory around there… and so on.

There is blantant and shameless campaigning and marketing that goes on during the funeral. I remember one guy who was asking to be voted MP/Senator/Governor I don’t know which. I hated his very guts.

The chief made a few community announcements.

The director of the local SACCO took the time to explain what his SACCO does, how to become a member, what are the benefits etc

The guy from some institute not only talked about his institute, he actually handed out brochures!

The MC deemed it important to announce the contributions people were making for the family.. “Sabina, 10bob. Joy, 300bob. Mogaka, 20bob etc..”. He did this in-between-the talks.

The preacher will then give his/her word of the day, comforting the family of the deceased and then introducing them to the congregation.

By this time, it’s already 4pmish so time to do the actual burial.

After the Funeral Service

This is the time for socializing. Relatives who haven’t seen each other in a long time catch up. People marvel at how much you’ve grown, the last time they saw you you were “this high”. There is the pesky cousin with a videocam walking around shooting videos, I know I don’t wanna watch that. The random aunt who will tell you to get a job quickly so she can send her kid to live with you so you can pay fees and bring the kid up. Pause.

Pause again.

How about I pay the school fees, but you stay with your child?!

There are a number of people who extract promises of invitations to your graduation. The problem is, you have to provide them with transport to Nairobi, house them, feed them, do shopping for them and give them fare back home.

People drift slowly to the graveside. Someone says a last prayer. The coffin is lowered into the ground. Family members break down yet again. They do the soil-throwing ritual. Young men cover the grave, family members put flowers on top. Photos are taken. Tears are wiped. A life is over.

Death is sad, isn't it? And yet there is no life without death. No death without life. They're one, you get life you get death too, So live your life!

The Aftermath

Most guests leave after they are served some meal. A few linger around, the closest of family members. Three days later, there are probably no guests left around. Life has to go on. The family adjusts to life without the deceased.

Life goes on.

RIP Granddad

This Friday, the 8th of July, 2011, we will lay to rest my grandfather. As such, I will be missing bake bhh but you all have fun!

This song by Hoobastank seems just appropriate:

Did You?

would you say everything you could
do the things that you thought you would
did it ever occur to you that this could be your final day
did you go where you wanted to go
learn about what you wanted to know
did you ever really give something back instead of always taking it

did you find what you’re looking for
did you get your foot in the door
can you look at yourself and feel proud of all the things you’ve done
did you inspire the ones that you knew
make a difference to those who knew you
did you finally figure out what it is that makes us who we are today

don’t waste another day
you never know when you’ll get one
don’t waste another day
to do anything you haven’t done

did you always give it your best
is there anything you regret
if you could have another shot at it all would you do it just the same
was it all that you thought it could be
are you the person you thought you would be
or did it feel like you were spinning your wheels instead of moving forward everyday

don’t waste another day
you never know when you’ll get one
don’t waste another day
to do anything you haven’t done
don’t waste another day
you never know when you’ll get one
don’t waste another day
to do anything you haven’t done