Till We Meet Again

You will be seated in the office on a cold afternoon. You will look outside and try to figure out why the weather looks like that in August. You will try to convince yourself that had the weather been warmer you would be in a better working mood. You will then remember that you would probably have been complaining that it is too hot to work. You will Smile at the fact that you are human and almost impossible to please.
You will reach out for your phone and log onto Instagram. You will marvel at just how much attention hungry people have become. You will shrug and keep getting entertained.
Then something will catch your eye. A friend will have uploaded a photo of a girl you went to high school with. The message that follows will make your blood freeze, your already cold hands will grow colder, you will stare at the screen for a while and nothing, nothing will make sense at that very moment.

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You will access your former schoolmates account and the RIP messages will keep streaming in. You will get upset at those just writing RIP, wondering why they even bothered to write in the first place. I mean if they were going to write a message, they would have at least taken their time? It is the least they would have done yes?
You will wonder what happened to her. She was so young. Young people do not die. You will remember the last time you saw her in high school. You will remember how she smiled and how her voice sounded. You will remember the people she spent most of her time with and her close friends from back in the day, and your heart will break.
Your heart will break for the parents who have lost of their daughter at the prime of her life. Your heart will break for her siblings who now have to grow up and live with the death of their own. Your heart will break for her current desk mate, her boyfriend, her roommate, and the people to whom the death will hit the most.
You will acknowledge that you were never really close to her, but the news of her death will break your heart, and at that very moment and the moments to follow, you will question everything you thought you knew or believed in.
Later that night, you will be seated in your house, and you will reach out to all your friends that you had not been in touch with for a while. You will set a date for that coffee that you have been procrastinating with your high school roommate and actually mean it. You will appreciate that you cannot afford to be too busy chasing life to forget to enjoy the people and things that really matter.
That night, you will draft a text message to each of your parents and siblings, you will tell that that you love them and that they mean the world to you. You will want to leave nothing to chance or take nothing for granted.
That night you will go to bed with a heavy heart, you will say a prayer and ask for better days to come.
On the 10th of August, Dorothy Nyariki, AKA Monda or Dotty, received her angel wings. She had been involved in a road accident on the 2nd of August and was admitted at the ICU. Sadly, she succumbed to the injuries she had received.
As we come to terms with her sudden demise, a hospital bill accrued and the family, both blood and otherwise, seek your help in helping offset the bill. The number to send your contribution to is as indicated below.when you read this, share with a friend and help us give this beautiful soul the send off she deserves.#2MForDottyMondaBill

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Monda, I hope you are smiling down at us. I hope you see how Sly and Leah keep rallying us together to pull this off. I hope you see the efforts of Musau and Aluoch in creating the awareness in our attempts to raise funds. i hope you see the many brainstormng conversations that people have had.  I hope you see the beautiful messages people have sent and just how much impact and just how many lives you touched while you were still here.
Most importantly, I hope you keep smiling.

Rest in perfect peace Monda.

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02/04/2015 MAY WE NEVER FORGET

A few days ago one of my friends celebrated his birthday. When I asked him how his day was and what he had been up to, he said that all he could think of the entire day was how he would wake up one day and he would be 40. He pointed out that he has been thinking about life and human mortality. Very depressing, don’t you think? But who can blame him? With the levels of insecurity our country has witnessed in the recent past, we are all in a state of paranoia.

Kenya has been at the receiving end of a number of terrorist attacks over the years. The first one that I remember was the 1998 bomb blast. Man, I was barely 5 years old when it happened. My dad, my brother and I were within the vicinity and as my dad well put it a few days ago, we cheated death. If you ask me, our lives were spared. Why? Only the giver of life can answer that.

Thursday last week, 02/04.2015, Kenyans woke up to the sad, wait tragic, no, horrific news of an attack in an education institution. I have been waiting till I figured out why this particular incident weighed so much on my heart unlike others before it. Then I realized, it is because it dawned on me just how real this threat is. That if they are attacking a school, it could have been me while or campus. It could have been my best friends or a member of my family.

You see the thing with human beings is that we have a tendency of ignoring things that do not affect us directly. But the truth is, this does affect us directly. Every single one of us. These monsters have unleashed terror on us. Taking the crème of society. Watching some of these families being interviewed on telly, I realize that most of these parents had made a lot of sacrifices to put their children through school and that most of them were looked at as their families tickets out of poverty. Now, they are no more. Some sick twisted person, believing that they are fulfilling some higher purpose, ended their lives.

On one hand is a failing government system and on the other hand is a group of misguided people determined to make us pay for it. Right in the middle of this however, is the citizens of this country who look away every damn time something bad is happening for a quick coin. To the police man who was collecting bribes instead of doing his duty of inspecting cars at a road block, to the immigration officer who issued documents when he should not have, to the guy who housed them and did not raise alarm. To me who is typing away on my laptop, furious and emotional, a key board warrior who feels helpless and unable to do anything. We are all right in the middle of this mess.

The truth is, I have no great suggestions to make on how we will curb these things. Today’s post  is for the mother who is mourning his son and daughter, we may have no idea on how heavy your burden is, but take heart and believe that time will heal and even if it does not, that it will teach them to deal with grief. It is for all of us to realize that 147 lives were lost are not just another statistic. It was someone’s son or daughter. The hope of a lineage or village. A soul that was denied the chance to live life to the fullest.

02/04/2015, May We Never Forget.

Love and Light.

MAY GOD HAVE MERCY ON US!

Wassup good people. A lot has happened in this country these past few weeks . Today’s post is more of a rant. A rant for my country and its failing government systems; a rant about a human race that has chosen animistic behavior; a rant about a need to change things because as it is, we are doing life wrong.  I hope you enjoy and share your sentiments with me.

Over the past few weeks, all manner of things have happened that have left me without an iota of hope about humanity. You see, I am a cynic. I will not lie and tell you that I always see the good in all people. I, for some reason, treat everyone I meet with a certain degree of suspicion. This therefore means that every time human beings outdo themselves by doing all manner of inhumane actions, my greatest fears are confirmed and my cynicism goes a notch higher.

We have witnessed all manner of things this past month ranging from terror attacks that left lives lost, stripping of women in the streets of this country as well rape in broad daylight. We have become a country that enables inhumane behavior by sharing it on social media as well as discussing it on the same platforms but doing nothing about it.

The question on my mind this week has been what drives such inhumane treatment. Take a terrorist for instance; what kind of rationale would a human being apply to come to the conclusion that it is okay to fight a government by using its people as collateral damage? Granted, acts of terror have occurred for as long as history can serve us. But no matter how many times a wrong action is perpetuated, no matter how many generations down an evil is passed, it does not make it right. Commit acts of terror over and over again, does not justify whatever twisted reasons the terrorist may have. I have friends from all walks of life. Different backgrounds as well as different faiths and I know for a fact, there is no society, no religion, that propagates mass violence and arbitrary mass killing.

Then in came the self-righteous breed of men, who have made themselves judge jury and executor over how the women of this country should cloth themselves. When a man, decides to strip naked a woman, without her consent, and in broad daylight, he ceases to be a man, and becomes an animal. Here is the thing, I think it is unfair to generalize and blame all men for the hideous actions we have witnessed these last few days. I know some extremely decent men who would go above and beyond to guard the dignity of a woman and you know them too. Therefore the few wayward ones who have chosen to embrace animal behaviors by lacking self-control, cannot be termed as men. I refuse to call them men. They in fact, do not even qualify to be boys. They are the lowliest form of creation possible.

I believe in decency. I believe in being presentable and self-respect. In addition to this, I believe in self-control and common sense.

Common sense will dictate that you do not kill innocent people to prove a point. Common sense requires that you do not strip down a woman in town because you are idle and your self-control is failing. Common sense will dictate that you respect yourself enough to protect a woman because it could be your mother, wife, daughter, niece, friend, in the hands of another bunch of predators!

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To the women who have suffered in the hands of these people, I hope time, will make things better. I hope you can rise again to show face in society, and although it will get worse before it gets better, I pray that one day, it does actually get better.

To the Kenyans who have lost family and friends in the cowardly acts of terror, I pray that you may find solace in the memory of your people.

To the government, which is by large failing its people, I hope that you recognize that you have a duty to uphold the oath of office you took to serve and protect this nation. As Mr. President said that the citizens have a duty to assist the law enforcers, I wish to remind him that that the whole essence of a government is that its people do not have to worry about protecting themselves. Long before human beings accepted to be governed by government, they governed themselves, and there was chaos. As a result, they agreed to have a social contract where they place the power on a government in exchange of protection and a working system. Mr. President if your systems do not work, if your systems keep failing, there shall be chaos.

May God have mercy on us!

21ST CENTURY INTERACTIONS!

Have you walked into a restaurant lately for lunch, or dinner, maybe even coffee with a friend?  Have you noticed that clique of girls at the corner or that guy sited by himself on the other side? Have you noticed what their first step is when their food arrives? Well, if no, you are probably the person I am describing.

A while back, while out for dinner with my girlfriends, I realized that the 21st century crop of human beings has developed a peculiar habit. This habit involves taking photos of their untouched well set food before digging into it. Why you may ask. Take a seat; let me give you my side of the story.

Well, it all started when this animal called social media had a new species called instagram.

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You see, evolution is a weird thing and every now and then, some weird species, with a longer nose or shape nails than the previous one is bound to come up.  So this species called instagram allows people to keep the world up to date with their lives from dawn to dusk. All you need to do is ensure that your smart phone has a proper camera than can capture all these moments well enough. In the unlucky event that your camera lets you down, worry not, Instagram comes complete with a feature they call filters. This feature will enable your dreams of looking like Eva Longoria come true.

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After you have taken these photos, the next step would be to upload them. For the seasoned ones, they make sure to capture all the moments in all this fancy places and put them up, well, my guess is because it boosts their ‘street cred’.  Start from breakfast  at Kladis, take a nice photo of your cappuccino with the cake of your choice, at lunch time, perhaps lunch at Big Square, a nice plate of obesity will get you likes, dinner should be nice and quiet, preferably with ‘bae’ and a nice chessy caption to accompany it. If you can succeed to do all this, relax my friend, you are well within evolution.

See, I have nothing against instagram or any social media for that matter. If anything, I am on too many of them, than is logically necessary. My problem comes in, when it appears like people are seeking some sort of instant gratification from social media. That judged by the number of likes or none thereof popularity is gauged. If the best part of someone’s day is determined by the number of likes on their photo on instagram isn’t that a course to worry? Life cannot be that basic.

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From my school of thought, the less about you that is on social media the better. This is predominantly because; you cannot lay your life bare for the entertainment of a bunch of strangers, who follow you out of curiosity and boredom. You do not want to meet a total stranger, or even an acquaintance who will narrate to you your life story because between instagram and snapchat they could write your biography.

But then again, that’s just me. I would love to know what you think.

PLIGHT OF THE ACCUSED

Hey guys. I trust the week started on a good note.

Do you ever just listen to certain people’s stories and thank God for your life? Do you ever have certain experiences in life and realize just how blessed your circumstances are? Well, today’s entry is a fiction guest post by one of my friend

I love the story. I hope you do too so you could help me encourage him to keep writing it.

6.00 a.m in the morning and the atmosphere in the house still very tense as it were last night. Eyes were barely shut; he couldn’t afford to have some shut eyes. He Stared at his iron sheet roof ceiling which he just noticed would not last a few more months without some replacement or renovation. The room was small a self-contained house where the kitchen, living room, as well as the bedroom were at the same place, what I would like to call a self-confused apartment. I am not sure if the bathroom was also in the same room but that would be no surprise in these shanties of Mukuru Kwa Ruben slums.

He turned to the other side of the small bed which he shared with his three children. They were all sound asleep like the little angels they were, not aware of the predicament that would befall them on that fateful day. He prayed to his gods; at this time a grown man would be inclined to believe in anything that would bring good luck upon him including the tooth fairy. He needed some good luck today. Above all things and he hoped that the gods would intervene to ensure the young ones had their way, they loved him. They say behind every successful man is a beautiful woman. Maybe encouraging the successful man on his way to success? No I don’t think so.  Probably squeezing all the juice out of the fruits of success as if they were hers? That is subject o debate another day.

These thoughts ran through his mind as he remembered the beautiful woman he once had in his house but left him to take care of these little ones. “No romance without Finance” he whispered to himself the last words his wife told him before she left. He tried not to remember the good days they both had while he used to work in the government before the good ripe orange turned into a bitter lemon. 6. 45 a.m he stared at his watch. He had to wake the kids up and take them to school. They had since adjusted to the sudden change of lifestyle and seemed to enjoy their new school. Victor still made sure he was top of his class notwithstanding the change of environment. He was proud of them and for a moment he almost cried as he tied his daughters shoe laces but he remembered telling her that men do not cry so he gave her a little peck on the forehead as he left them at the school gate.

As he walked back to the house he could see people staring at him. Some whispering some words he could not make out. “Dre! Dre!”  Someone called out his name. It was his next door neighbor who he had made friends with on his first day in the slums. He taught him the ways of the shanties where everyone is a suspect and everything including your wife is communally owned. “Usijali bro. Sir Jah atacome through” local slang for “Don’t worry my brother God will help you” he was told by his neighbor, he couldn’t speak on that day. He did not want to interfere with the tooth fairy’s work. He believed a large parcel marked ‘Good Luck’ was to land from wherever the gods reside. He just smiled and nodded his head.

8.45 a.m he walked into Milimani law courts, the atmosphere not very receptive. Cameras all over the ‘corridors of justice’ every journalist wanted to get his opinion on what would be the outcome of the judgment. The corridors were stuffy and a pungent smell of sweat as well as liquor filled the air. Many thoughts still crossed his mind; he could not stop thinking about his children. He had been charged with treason a year ago while he worked in the office of the president. Deep down inside him he knew that he was framed but he knew that today his beliefs would not save him. Only he who bore the greatest luck in the world would have his way, he had to be that person today. They say life is unfair but is it also true that every rule has its exceptions? He closed his eyes for a moment hoping, praying wishing that this would be an exception.

“Dre Swanyika?” The court clerk called out his name, he was bald headed and for a moment one could see his reflection on his well oiled head. He fumbled at the mention of his name as he made his way to the dock. Suddenly a wave of silence engulfed the room every journalist dying to get a shot through their cameras. Even those who knew nothing about the case had a feeling that it was a life and death situation.

The magistrate sat squarely on his seat with the coat of arms directly above him. Everyone entering or leaving the room had to take a bow. The magistrate cleared his throat he had a cold stern look with grey hair and a wrinkled face. He read out the facts of the case and how the proceedings were carried out. All along Dre was not listening he was deep in thought. The image of leaving his kids at school still vivid in his mind, the voice of his beautiful wife who left ricocheting in his ears, he was for a moment

“Looking at the evidence before me I have every reason to believe that the prosecution has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt” the magistrate read through his rather enormous reading glasses. Suddenly he felt some sharp pain run through him. All the eyes in the room were on him. The camera flashes now became even more frequent he just looked down still thinking about his children. He could not imagine what he would do without them. He knew he was innocent there must be a way he would have tried to prove this. Was it a case of too little too late?

“Mitigation?”  The court clerk uttered in a soft voice, he would be accorded a chance to justify himself at least if not for himself maybe for the young ones dependent upon him. Could he convince this court otherwise? Was this the moment which the tooth fairy would walk into the room and steal the show? Most importantly, were those three little angels going to be picked by their father in the evening from school?  “Maybe, just maybe”, he said to himself………………………………

Find the writer on twitter…@kabuguandrew

REFLECTIONS OF A CHOXXERIAN

KCSE began at the beginning of this week. I start by sending warm wishes of success and peace of mind to the hundreds of candidates sitting the exam all over the country. For all those who went through this torturous system, we understand the sleepless night’s restlessness that comes with this season of life. This is just one of those things that unless you have been there, and dealt with the pressure, right from your school cooks to your village headman, then it may be a bit difficult for you to comprehend the magnanimity of the matter in question.

I was fortunate enough to attend THE Limuru girl’s school. Arguably, one of the best girls schools around. Choxx, as the place is fondly referred to, was a den of drama from growing girls. There were all manner of people who attended this great learning institution, ranging from those who thought that carrying Nakumatt shopping paper bags was the mark of affluence, to those whose idea of revenge to a “rogue” prefect was cutting up their uniform while on the hanging lines. Good times I tell you.

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Then, there were those who were content with just being in school, because nothing else mattered other than the straight As that would be their gateway to “serious” courses at the university. Another interesting crop of choxxerians were the religious type. These were the kind who walked around with a judgmental air, and often openly condemned the rest of the population for their ungodly ways.  The last caliber of choxxerians, were those who simply decide to live their lives and have a good time while at it. The kind who would work hard in class, attend music festivals and “funkies” while maintaining a cordial relationship with God and man.

Different people found different survival mechanisms in different activities. Some found solace from nosing around other peoples businesses and running free non-profit making gossip networks, others found it in books; others found it in mischief while others found it in religion. Or spirituality, or both. Whatever worked, we clung to it, because we had to survive.

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Choxx was a weird place in its own right. It was a difficult place to stay yet at the same time, it was the one place that shaped most if not all of our lives. At the time, most of us hated the places.

The truth or at least my truth is that, the place made me stronger.  The crazy and even somewhat malicious happenings, transitioned girls into ladies, and women who were more than prepared to face the world.

Most of us, made some of our best memories at this place, somewhere between the tea plantations. We met our best friends there, and forged lifelong partnerships. I know this for a fact, because a good number of choxxerians, are still stuck with fellow choxxerians:-)

To the choxx class of 2014, we wish you guys nothing but God’s blessings and good tidings. The truth is, you will forever be a choxxerian. You may not believe this now but Limuru Girls School affects your outlook of life in a way you will never forget. It gets your prepared to face the world. IN FIDE VADE

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P.s while at it, vote for Sharon Kaari in the 2014 edition of Miss World Kenya. Go to www.missworldkenya.com and vote for Miss Nairobi County. In case you are wondering what’s the connection? she is a choxxerian

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OF CAMPUS ELECTIONS AND STUDENT POLITICS

its elections season in my school and with only a week to the elections, campaign are in high gear. Posters and banners everywhere, manifestos being distributed by various camps and the occasional “political gatherings” you encounter on campus as a contestant or two gather a group of people to sell themselves to.

Just to put things in a bit of perspective, student politics in my school are not as serious as what you see with the likes of SONU or KUSA. They are less vibrant and absurd with a little less side shows. They are conducted with a little more decorum largely because of the administrative regulations given on the same. That being said, the shenanigans that come with politics are the same. The propaganda, the “dirty-politics”, the ferrying of “supporters” motivated by incentives to cheer people on during the presidential debates etc.

Today was the grand debate. The 5 aspirants paraded themselves before a hall full of fellow students with the sole aim of selling their dreams and aspirations from this institutions as well as convincing the student body why they are better placed to head the student council for the next year.

Being on the spotlight has different effects on different people. To some, it boosts their confidence and gives them a platform to show case eloquence while to others it turns them into a ball of nerves unable to express themselves. Truth is, a lot of people make up their minds on who to vote for during this debate.

The ridiculous promises you hear from our national political leaders do not end at Nyayo stadium or at the Kasarani, now called safaricom? Sports Centre, they are extended to campus politics. Some of the promises you hear from these politicians are as realistic as cleaning Rongai by organizing litter collecting activities for a day.

One thing about private institutions is, they are the owners business. So you cannot expect to enter into the owners premises and begin riots and strikes as if it was your home or government property. See, the government owes its people, a certain duty to meet certain expectation for instance in government owned institutions of higher education. Think about it for a minute, why do you think you will not find private universities striking? Is it because people are not aggrieved? Is it because people who attend these universities would not wish to invoke the so called comrade power from time to time? Not at all. it is because, when you are dealing with private institutions, if you are not satisfied with how they run their entity, you move on to the next, providing similar service. You do not begin chanting and demanding. Well you could try, but I would love to see you succeed.

Thing is then, to those aspiring student leaders here who are making promises that touch on change of policy like change of university common courses and “overthrow” of the current transport contractors, think again.

Finally, to whoever wins this election, at various positions, but especially the presidency, you have the option of either doing something meaningful that the people of this great institution will remember you for, or you could fall into the precedent set and get too comfortable enjoying the trappings of power till your term expires! It’s your call!

P.S. the presidential election this time round is a close call….may the best candidate (read most popular, or the one whose supporters will care enough to show up and vote) win! Godspeed to all of you