60 Seconds With Savvy Kenya

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

At first I wanted to be a pilot. When I was a kid, I used to watch the planes high in the sky, sometimes they left a trail of smoke behind, and think how I want to be high up in the clouds like them. Sad I’ve never actually flown, huh?

Then I went to school and I wanted to be a teacher.

Later, in primary school, I wanted to be a doctor/lawyer/engineer. It changed depending on who was asking me the question, but my heart wasn’t really in it. Though I remember Regine Re on Ommo Pick a Box, that program that used to air on KBC? My mum told me she’s an electrical engineer and for a while I wanted to be one.

Much later, in class six, I read Ben Carson’s Gifted Hands and I wanted to become a neurosurgeon. Tell me you didn’t dream of separating some Siamese twins after reading that book.

In short, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to be when I was young. I was fickle.

Now I still have ambitions of being a world renowned novelist and a sports journalist so I can attend a world cup sponsored by my media house, of course.

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

What’s the worst that could happen if you tried?

What’s the best piece of advice you ever gave?

If it was meant to be, it will. No point worrying about things you can’t control. Do what you can, you’ll know you did your best.

What do you most enjoy about your job?

Let’s say I’m currently jobless but we can talk about my most recent job. I was working with kids and I realized I’m not as bad with kids as I thought. I don’t mean babies and toddlers, but 9-15 year olds.

Oh, let’s not forget Friday afternoons. They were the best days in the office.

Who would you most like to have dinner with?

Paul Kagame. I got a number of questions to ask him, there was never time to talk a lot when I first met him.

Who is your role model?

This is a hard one. Most people just say their parents but it’s just an easy way out for answering this question. My parents inspire me, they really do. They both come from extremely humble backgrounds and they do the best for us. Wangari Mathai is another one, she’s my hero! Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison and came out with no bitterness, I don’t understand it! I’m not even 27 yet! There are many unsung heroes, people whose stories you’ll never see aired on CNN, let alone any local news channel, whom I look at every day and wish I could somehow acquire part of their character.

I had a role model when I was young, an older family friend. I went to the same primary school she went to, followed in her footsteps to the national secondary school she went, got the same grade in the secondary exam! She went to Moi University and got a first class honours degree in engineering. I went to JKUAT and got a first class honours degree in computer science. I guess you could say she’s one of my role models.

Another person who I’ve never met in person but inspires me online is Grace Mwaura. Google her!

There is no one person who is my role model; there are many from whom I’d like to copy some part of the character and somehow assimilate it in me. There is no space to name them all.

If you could be one person for a day, who would that be?

Barrack Obama. I would love to know how being the president of one of the world’s most powerful countries feels like. I hope no one tries to assassinate me while at it! Perhaps I would then get a chance to influence and change people’s lives in a big way. A lot can be done in a day!

Back in Nairobi

It is way past midnight-as I write this- and I don’t want to go to sleep, not just yet. I don’t want to lie awake for hours thinking, asking questions without answers. It’s the quest for the meaning of life; those are the questions I keep asking myself. It was easier when I was working because I had to sleep early, wake up early and there was many work-related things to occupy my mind. Now I’m kind of between jobs, you would say, so my day’s agenda consists of a little housework and which movie to watch afterwards. Sometimes I go to the cyber café and send out my CV plus application letter to places I dream of working in. Then the waiting begins. I want to do my Master’s Degree next year so I’ve also been doing lots of googling in that area.

I’m in a transitional period right now. I finished university a little less than three months ago (17 Dec 2010 to be precise) and I didn’t have a chance to cool down and think about what I really want to do in life. I got an internship opportunity in Rwanda and took the first bus out come January. I had the time of my life (cue for Greenday’s Time of Your Life) and would love to go back.

I want to travel, see the world. I don’t want a two-day, grab some souvenirs, sleeping at tourist hotels, stopover kind of travel, I want the 6 month or year long stay at a place where you get to know the real life there.

Anyway, there wasn’t much change in Nairobi in the two moths I was gone. There are now street numbers on buildings, which I started noticing sometime last year, but it will be a while before you tell someone to deliver something to 23, Moi Avenue. You’ll most likely still use the house name and colour amongst many other features. Few people even remember street names!

35, Tom Mboya Street

A street sign on Tom Mboya Street showing the address

Matatus are now required to have dustbins. The first time I saw a matatu with a dustbin, I was so impressed till I was later told it’s a requirement by the government. I suspect some people still continue to throw trash out of the window! My mum told me of this huge bus with a dustbin the size of a tea cup! I would think the dustbin would be proportional to the size of the vehicle!

In other news, it’s my friend’s birthday today. Happy birthday mon ami! On the exact same date next month, it will be my birthday too.