Culture, Life, Prose, Travel, Work


Today is a special day for me. It has been 10 years since I started working at Nielsen, to the date. December 1st 2010 was my reporting day. On the 2nd day I was off for graduation rehearsals and on the 3rd which was my first Friday I was off for my graduation at the UoN. However, because the stories and lessons from 10 years might be too much to write on, let me first take a step back to where and how this journey started.

My last month on campus was July 14th 2010. It was exactly one month after my birthday and meant having to study and clear my final exams at a time I would have chosen to be partying. But I was used to it. The Kenyan 8-4-4 system having exams or at least midterms in June was something I was used to.

After a few months of lounging, series watching and overall lazing around. Ok, I lie, I still had evening classes for my IT degree but for the first time in 4 years I had freedom during the day. This freedom proved too much for me to cope with and by October 2010 I was working as an online researcher at DAPROIM (Data Processing Information Management) Africa, the name may have changed since. I was a wage earner payable based on the number of validated questions answered. And this is where our story begins.

On October 21st 2010 at 3:29 PM (I still have the email to date), my elder brother forwarded me an email titled “Circulate Urgently”. The email originated from his best friend and roommate from his campus days. The reason I make sure to mention the time the email came in is because that vacancy was expiring the next day by 4 pm.

Now, these were not the days of smartphones, laptops at home or easily accessible internet. Even getting somewhere to type up a CV could prove a challenge then. Yes, I know I make it sound like 10 years ago was the dark ages, but maybe it was. More than half of these photos were taken on cameras not camera phones. However, because I had started my online research career where the personal email was used daily to share back the data, I did not miss this email. That night after I was done with work, I applied for the position. So quickly that I barely got the full info on the document correctly. I had never come across market research before then. The vacancy was a 6 month per rotation for 3 rotations young leaders program for a total of 18 months, basically a job. My understanding as I clicked send on the email was that it was a 6 month internship and we all know how much we are on the lookout for those after school. Before we have any proper experience in the job market. I just hoped they gave fare or lunch or something.

At the start of November I received an email from a company I did not know. Because how many in Kenya knew the name Nielsen then or still do? I had no recollection of my application due to the speed with which I had sent it in, to make the deadline. This was the first time I read up on the company properly. This time I included the full scope of market research and more as I prepared for the interview which by the way was just the next day from the invite email. There was therefore the small matter of attending the interview while still working elsewhere. My naivety or boldness led me to not my supervisor’s but the company owner’s office. Now deceased, his words remain the best push I could ever have needed at such a time. I was feeling terribly guilty to leave so soon. He said that my work for him was always meant to be temporary, it was a stepping stone to greater things especially for those recently out of school. He then proceeded to give me the next whole day off to prepare for the interview.

One face to face interview and two virtual interviews later, which included some parts in French because the role would require interaction with our Francophone countries, I was hired. With the requirement to get a passport as soon as possible. This is where the 10 year journey truly starts.

I could write pages upon pages of the lessons, the mistakes, the joys, the lows of the last 10 years but this post is just a celebration of time past. It celebrates the seconds, hours, weeks, months and years we have lived through, sometimes survived through as a working adult.

Most importantly, most people I know still make fun of not knowing exactly what I do. I have done loads and that might be the reason. Or I have done such specific work it is sometimes unknown to others. I will make sure to tag them on this post.

So for the last 10 years, here is a brief layman-termed breakdown of what I do or have done in the last 10 years.

  • Data Acquisition Specialist (DA Young Leader Program) – I managed projects including budgets, field personnel for fieldwork. I was learning the market research trade at the same time and hence the various trips for learning workshops. I completed my first BPI (Business Process Improvement) project by the end of the 3 rotations.
  • mRES Tech. Support Reach and Read E.A & C.A – Company transitions from Pen and Paper to Mobile Research. I become in charge of vendor training, technical know-how and online data quality analysis for East and Central Africa
  • Technical and Help Desk Manager, SSA (Sub Saharan Africa) – Same role expands further as more countries move to mobile research. I travelled to train new helpdesks to support the country. The French we might have forgotten comes in handy. Next thing I know, I am a manager by 25.
  • mRES, SOS & RRES Technical Leader; Back Office HHT support – More countries, more softwares, more data analysis, more people management.
  • Quality Management System (QMS) Lead – Emerging Markets – Provided insights for 64 emerging markets based on quality, cost, timeliness, productivity etc
  • Operational Insights Lead, Global Markets – All markets, any possible insight for operational cost effectiveness. Includes insights that could lead to enhancements to existing apps or new app development. Includes presentations on analytics and data studio dashboards.
  • Module and Process Owner/Lead, Navigator App – Liaison between software developers (Tech team) and user needs. Includes loads of documentation and follow ups to clear the product backlog. I get to learn and use JIRA as part of Agile product development.
  • Platform Support Specialist (QMS, GSR, GDA TM) – Analysis of root causes that make platforms and different modules unstable to the user. Document root cause analysis all the way to resolution while updating troubleshooting guides on a website that will guide the users in days to come.

All this while learning about work-life balance. Managing to keep my life of writing as intact as possible though the onstage performances may have suffered a bit. So as you enjoy my CV or decide to skip it, we come to the major question that reared its head even when I wrote my 5 year anniversary piece. “Why are you still in this one place?” The list is long and it includes many things from stability, excitement, innovations, use for this brain that won’t quit but my most important one is, managers.

There is a cliché that goes: “People don’t leave bad jobs, they leave poor managers.” As much as there is speculative truth in that for most people. It rings extremely true for me as I turn the page on this decade. 10 years, 8 titles and 11 managers later I am still here, having met only 2 of those managers face to face. It is great proof that a company is its culture. And there is no culture without people accepting and propagating it. Culture crosses borders, accents and screens. Culture makes employees feel needed and useful in their teams. Culture got me to a decade.

So this post is not only a celebration for me but an appreciation to those who laid the steps and kept me going for this last decade. My appreciation for that email forward from Pablo to Kevoh to me. My appreciation for the late Steve Muthee for the honesty and positive vibes he left behind and with me as I looked to start this career. My appreciation for all others who have made this 10 year journey not only manageable but enjoyable. And lastly to my Creator, who has seen it fit for me to see this day. Excelsior!!

#IAmKenyan, Culture, Hip hop, Kenya, Life, Politricks


Nilianza kuandika nikiwa form 2.
Enzi za ESir but nikakosa visa ya kustudy past the studio hii story ni true.
Nikarusha dice, nikaangukia ofisi kama kamari.
Lakini usanii hatutawahi sare.
Nitacontinue kushoot shots kama Alehandro lakini nitabakia mkarimu kama Benzema.
Nilitunga mistari kabla nipate ID lakini jina nikajipa sikuwa nameless.
Live up to the banditry najipox kila time ndio niwapee presha.
Shash ikareplace gomba kwa lyrics, maneno yanapaa juu sio moshi wicked.
Nimeflex kwa jua kali najenga future, it’s not all for the ladies.
Narusha macho kwa manzi wa Nairobi nasema rest in peace Lady S.
Pilipili hainiwashi bali yanipa morale ya kuknow nini ndio next step.
Tones ziko na genge mpya limemuok sio warazi tu wanarep.
Msanii ni kioo cha jamii, sauti ya umati lakini fikra za wengi.
Ndio maana artistes hukaa manarcissist juu lazima waiinsist.
Kubadili perception inayoharibu reception na kutoana rangi.
Ningekua reckless na message ya wakiritho lakini wako ritho.
Wanaeza ita SWAT na sio time yangu ya kulambana na the law.
So nitazidi kusema mi ni divine, “I’m a miracle, baby.”
Nimechungulia family nikaona hatutabaki kukohoa kwa Corolla.
Kama Femi tutawezana na wale wana vitambi Major?
Nani atatoa gang kwa boondocks and sail us kwa hao iko in a better state?
Juu maKartelo wamekuwa millionaire na pandemik, sealing our fate.
Nimenyongwa na ethics ndio nasimama kuchachisha.
Nitainama tena, haja ya haya maneno thao ikiisha.

#KenyanMusic #Genge #Gengetone #GengeNotes

Culture, Life, Love

#RedressForOurWomen “For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.” ― Virginia Woolf

I have tried to calm down on this matter for as long as I could. This was to ensure that my thoughts and my opinion would not be lost among a cacophony of irate swear words and insults. I have really tried but still I feel that in no way is this going to be pretty. If you try to say otherwise of my intended objective, there’s a possibility I will mow you down. Physically or metaphorically.

Today is The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. I am not just writing this piece because of this fact. I am writing because as of last night when I saw the third video of a woman being stripped in these very streets of Nairobi, I could not stomach it anymore. At first there was shame, shame that I had not talked of this sooner. Shame that I, like most naive Kenyans had believed the monsters and the hoodlums would be afraid of the law and not repeat such actions anymore. Shame that I had a belief in a system that has not given me any reason to trust in it. Shame, that I was a current generation man in this our beloved country.

Soon-after though, the anger came, the rage was boiling, my temples were pounding so hard and finally my ears became hot as if a true reflection of the white hot seething wrath that erupted from within the deepest of my element. I was angry and I still am. This last video, was a rape. How long ago was it that somebody compared the first video to a rape?? And now less than a week since #MyDressMyChoice the hooligans were at it in a worse manner. Inserting their fingers and touching a naked, bruised and beaten woman on the street.I am sorry but there are no better words to use and even if I did have them I would not use them. It is no longer the time to share videos that keep humiliating the victims. No, it is time to react, to fight back. If my writing annoys you as much as the videos would have, even better. She had to cower under a vehicle at which point they started yelling for the driver to move the car. These people are a virus. One of the men I noticed had a wedding band on his hand. His shirt was quite unique and I wondered; “Is there a wife somewhere watching this and knowing that that’s the man she chose to spend her life with??”

I am angry. At the person who just stood there recording these clips. At the men who were not part of the crime but just watched as all of it transpired. You will tell me that it is not safe for them to interfere. Did what was happening to the woman look safe to you?? Blows and kicks hurt and yes most are afraid of death. But be a man goddammit!! Stand up for the weak. This should be inherent in your nature. All you need to think of is how that person on the street could be your wife, your sister or your mother. And your fright will certainly change into fight. If you don’t do this, then the clips that will keep circulating will be of the despicable, implacable pieces of feculence winning and creating more fear in the society. They say the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. We are not even close to overturning this. But we have to try, one by one we have to stand up to these villains. The videos circulating must be of men and women standing up to face these fiends. One video will inspire some other people to do the same. We can use the same medium they have used to create something positive. Here is an example:

I don’t care if anyone stands with me. I shall stand alone. We are not so worse off that the evil people in the society have become more than the good ones. We are certainly running low on the brave. But we need to remember that courage is not the absence of fear but the ability to conquer it. We need to remember as one Desmond Tutu said: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”

You are probably wondering why I am angry at all of you. All of you men. Inclusive of myself. You will talk back and say, you have not been a witness to such and you would have helped if you could. But no dear brother in negligence of duty. You probably have been privy to either of the below:




  • A friend slapping a “rude” girl in the club or on the streets.
  • Your dad, uncle, grandfather, neighbour whipping his “manner-less” wife.
  • You teacher pinching the thighs or chests of girl students.
  • Your workmate or classmate “spanking” the behind of a female workmate.
  • You have walked by as street kids cornered a lady alone in the street so she could give money forcefully.
  • etc

These “cultural”, “innocent”, “disciplinary” actions are what has led to this. The belief that women are here to be controlled by you as a man. That men lead and women follow. That the only way to win an intellectual discussion against a woman is to make use of your stronger physical attributes. These men causing this current mayhem are just fully infected cells of the societal body. You have become a carrier. To heal the body, we will have to start by healing ourselves. We have tried peaceful protests. We tweeted and sent all manner of messages on social media. Now, we have to remember that it is faster to stop a bleeding wound with a hot iron than with bandages upon bandages.

I am calling you and you and you. I am an Alumni of the UoN and time and time again, SONU has been accused of conducting and effecting nonsensical strikes. At this point in time I wonder: How about we stand for something worth fighting for? Our women.




“Everyone has a responsibility to prevent and end violence against women and girls, starting by challenging the culture of discrimination that allows it to continue.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Culture, Life, Prose

Una Noche Loca – Part 1 The Ascent

I knew I had the story to write about way before I had the title. The events of the past weekend but one will remain etched in my memory. There was fun, pain (caused by old age and other organisms), fear, hope, desperation and prayer. At the end of the less than 24 hour ordeal. We were all a bit stronger than we went in. We were tired but we (most of us that is) made a promise to face the demon again. All tools required for the exorcism at hand this time. I have an inclination to melodrama and hence the introduction might read like we were the cast of a real great movie. But no, this happened. and I will try to narrate the events to as much accuracy as I can remember.

That Saturday started in a very different way than most. Saturday 6 AM does not normally find me awake, dressed and calling people to plan for meeting points, items of clothing and wake other people up. I sleep at around 4 AM on Saturday mornings, wake up after midday and spend most of the day in boxers and a vest. So you see the difference, oh and we all know how much I hate phone calls. Yet I spend hours on calls with her. (We are not going to discuss this. I have spiked your interest I hope.)

About 3 hours later, having fought the Limuru mist where the 50KPH speed limit in Nairobi seems like Need For Speed kind of movement. We arrived at the foot of the Aberdares. We got lost..twice. Our rental van driver is not the best at directions but he’s a real good human being. You’ll know why later in the story or in the next one. We had only 7 hours to go up and back down Aberdares Elephant Hill. 4 hours to go up, 3 hours to go down.

We started at a slow pace, waiting for each other at certain points. But with time elapsing and with the Central province clouds gathering. We realised some people were here for a stroll, others for sight-seeing and then there was us who were here to conquer the hill, nature and some of our demons if possible. When you have a brain that keeps you awake for 48 hours sometimes without a wink of sleep. You’ll understand why, I needed the body to be fatigued in all kinds of ways. Just to get some beauty sleep that night. We gradually left the others behind and with the first ranger (There were 2, one at the front, the other at the back.) we set our sights on being at the peak before 6PM.

Soon after, hell’s fiery gates were becoming a bit loose at the hinges. We just didn’t know it. We laughed on the way. I was feeling the sweat on my brow and enjoying it. I love sweating for the right stuff, not like the current Nairobi sun in which you yawn and your palms become damp and have to take another liter of water. We had been walking for about an hour now. I could feel no fatigue. My lungs were working exceptionally well. I must be good at this cardio stuff. 😛 What I hadn’t counted on was the silly legs giving in.

I play football when I can, I walk to town almost everyday from Riverside and do squats with dumbbells every week day. So it was a complete surprise when passing through some bamboos, my right calf locked in a painful muscle cramp that had me on the ground in seconds. I was hurling cusses that would make milk curdle. 30 seconds later, the peeping hole in hell’s gates was open now. I was covered in Safari ants. Something tells me laughing at Wanja’s ordeal the week before or is it after? (My Karma might be a real mean b**** to see into the future) warranted this punishment. Yes she was attacked by Safari ants. 😀

This time, the cussing took an almost medieval turn. I think I was insulting those ants in Ogiek and high Neanderthalish. And these were not small ants, the ants in the Aberdares are either GymRats or Ninjas. With the bamboo cover, for an instance I felt like I was in Crouching Stupid Hidden Stubborn. My woes did not end there. As I stood up to run from them, mind you my other foot was still cramping so I was half walking, half crawling away. The left foot got the same cramp at the calf. I know, this is starting to seem far fetched. But nothing could be closer to the truth. At this time I let out a universal and forest wide “F***************************************************K!!”. It’s when I heard the echo and no person answering that I realised I was alone. Bollocks!!

In my struggle, I had been left too far behind by the pacesetters and was too far in front of the the second group. So here I was under cover of the bamboo trees closely knit together. No one in sight. Barely able to stand and slowly removing ants from hair. (Where’s a nice grooming monkey when you need one?) It’s at this particular moment that my aforementioned overactive brain decides to think of any eccentric wild animal that doesn’t follow rules and is not nocturnal like it should be. Like a leopard maybe. I grabbed a broken bamboo (seen below, we were to be companions for longer than I ever imagined) and now limping with both feet, (How possible that is only remains to be seen) trudged uphill, my cusses now reduced to whispers and whimpers with every step and now suffering from pain induced perspiration.

All Moses jokes aside. See my staff. :)
All Moses jokes aside. See my staff. 🙂

I did finally catch up with the team. They decided to wait for me. And boy was I happy to see them. I made grinning from ear to ear very literal.

How little I knew, the day would be getting worse. Because of the guy in red next to me.
How little I knew, the day would be getting worse. Because of the guy in red next to me.

And here they waited for me. The Ranger having abandoned them and headed to the top.

My moods revived and a drink of water after. I was once again at the front. Leading the team to this goal that we were so intent on achieving. Do not ask me why they agreed to be led by a foul mouthed, injured and still ant infested Moses look alike. Oh the Moses part could have been it. Or maybe I just looked the most edible and of course the least capable of running away on the chance encounter with a wild animal. They’d take home a scapecoat of many colours to my mum if that happened. (Please, please tell me you got the genius of that statement 😛 )

If I fully describe the things we had to endure later on in the journey. These events might dilute the sincerity of the story. All I know is this. When the calves could no longer pain. Or my central nervous system just decided to ignore the pain. It was then that the cramps moved to my quadriceps (I can’t say thighs because for some reason that sounds lady-like. Worse in Swahili “Mapaja” Not a negative thing though). In the same order. My right quad then the left. At least no more ants then. But we would take a break every 1 minute, there was more rock than vegetation. Now with no more ability to lift my legs. I was wading through mud and water. The below is testament. Check the pants.

The thinking man pose was just to convince ourselves that we weren't idiots for having come this far.
The thinking man pose was just to convince ourselves that we weren’t idiots for having come this far.

I was the willpower despite the lack of the ability to walk normally anymore. And my friends had the strength to keep me up when I was almost falling down. And at 6.30PM, I stepped at that peak, as the first of 2 people in our group. The other being Cesar who had made sure I wasn’t left behind to be some animal’s dinner or an elephant’s rag doll.

We made it to the top. And with our perseverance as inspiration many more than we had expected made it too.  We smiled and laughed and lay on the grass exhausted. But a really cold fog covered us and we knew we had to get back down and soon. It would be a 2 hour descent. With heavy rain probably coming, animals waking up for the hunt and of course darkness and a very expansive bamboo forest to cross.

It got cold quickly at the peak. Gloves came out fast.

The A – Team

People holding each other up for a photo.. This is a perfectly balanced symbiotic relationship. 😀

Doesn’t this remind you of Munyao on that Independence Day moment?

This photo has no filter, no flash was used and no it wasn’t sunny. We were surrounded by white, cold fog.

Join me on part 2 – The Descent

Culture, Deep and overstood, Dionysus, Kenya, Life, Love, Lust, Prose, Travel

Monday..brrr….yawn…oh..a template… :)

Namaste bi…Wait that’s Kevin Mutua’s greeting on the Sanaa Whatsapp group. It’s been a cold 2 months and now we are on the 3rd one. Heed Eddard Starks words : “Winter is coming” and Ebola might be the Whitewalkers. Just thinking out loud.

I found it fun when I found this template. Seems people have direct answers for most of this stuff. But as usual my brain always reads too much into simple words so this is my version.


Making: Love? No? Ok, making time count. I am trying to get loads of things I have procrastinated on before done. Like editing my poetry script and hopefully publish the best 30.

Cooking: Way too many eggs!! I have them in everything. Rice, Toast, Spaghetti etc. But I am craving that protein and energy due to my new workout regime. Twice a day at 7 AM and 10 PM is hard work especially after a long day’s at work.

Drinking: Tusker. But that’s too common. So the new thing I’m drinking is Kate’s Organics Green Tea. I have had it in my work locker for a while now. It’s a great stress reliever, antioxidant and yes, that secret weight loss method I have used before. Dropped 5 kgs in a month. Now dropped 15 to date. Oh but don’t think that is the only thing you gotta do. I don’t take sugar at all and remember working out mentioned above.

Reading: Game of Thrones. Been at it on my phone for 3 months now. Had to find something to do once the series was done for the moment.

Wanting: To find a football pitch with a real organised team close to work. I am tired of my own where the pitch has so much gravel that every time I fall, I’m ruled out for 2 months. How will I ever manage to impress Wenger’s scouts??

Playing: I wanna say her but I am single so mmmhh let’s say Candy Crush but I got stuck at level 86 four months ago and I kind of gave up. I have therefore for the moment joined the bandwagon of hating on those who send requests on Facebook.

Wasting: Sleeping hours. I sleep for about 4 hours daily. Except on weekends when I overdo it. I need to sleep more. But that means I need to slow down my brain without using any drugs. Proving to be quite a feat.

Sewing: My vests?? I think I should just buy new ones or just stop working out. Or both. My biceps are 12 inches now. I think. I know brag brag brag…so my sleeved vests suffer.

Enjoying: Watching arsenal’s pre-season games. Sanogo is coming of age but that kid Bellerin is who I want to see more of. Damn that pace!!

Liking: My renewed OCD to clean up for myself. No more washing ladies and I have managed to do my washing and general cleaning 5 times now.

Loving: The fact that I found these bunch of misfits we met while in high school. All of them. There was Ann, Tracy and Nyambura. And all of us finally, all of us reconnected on Facebook. It has been a long 10 years.

Dreaming: Of Premier League glory. So close and possible I can almost taste it.

Hoping: That she understands my French. My words, my poetry, my only mastered language. 😀 Who is she? I have no idea.

Marveling: At these Dubai water fountains that dance to “I will always love you” in tribute to Whitney Houston. The science and the art that went into this is amazing.

Needing: 3 table spoons of codeine filled cough syrup so I can get some sleep. These coughing is making me lose so much sleep.

Smelling: Absolutely nothing. The almost 3 month cold spell has done well to work against my flu immunity and I get like a bout every 2 weeks. So now my nose is blocked. Food tastes like cardboard. (Don’t ask when I ever tasted it but I did.) But worst of all, I hate the coughing that makes girls shun you just at the moment when you need warmth and hugs. 😦 😛

Wearing: This awesome blazer. Well worth the price. Even the camera guys at the Heineken Desperado Launch could not stop taking photos of it. 😀  Thanks B.A.K.E for the invite again.


Photo Courtesy of Bundi Anassi Photography
Photo Courtesy of Bundi Anassi Photography

Following: @Jeanwandimi  of and  of One writes about wine and alcoholic events 😀 , the other about campus stories and puppy love poetry. 😛 Both read my blog. Great writers and great personalities.

Noticing: Despite my initial criticism of Instagram, 2 weeks without an android phone is killing me. I also miss Instant Twitter. Follow me at @TheDivineBandit and I won’t follow back today or this week either but I will when I come back to a 100+ notifications.

Knowing: I’m like 3 years away before the nudges at family events to “get married” become full on body charges followed by a scrum down and a neighbour’s daughter as a try. That sounded mean but I had to clear the sports analogy.

Feeling: Happy despite the blocked nose, inflamed throat and erratic coughing. I am alive and so is all of my nuclear family and my best friends and friends. Most that I know of are in good health. Feeling a bit sad when I think of Robin Williams. A little is an understatement.

Eating: P….Pus…It’s spelled Pistachios damnit!! I like indulging in some exotic nuts..Ok this keeps sounding wrong. So I guess I’m done. 😀

#IAmKenyan, Culture, Deep and overstood, Kenya, Life, Love, Politricks, Prose, Travel, War

The Man in the Mirror needs to be Kenyan

I had a harder time coming up with a title for this post than I had writing it. This is because I always knew how I would tell the story. How I would pass the story across. How despite my Kiswahili influenced phrase translation, I knew most of my audience would get it. That’s because they are Kenyan. When they read this, they don’t apply a particular accent to it. No, they use that familiar pronunciation that most are accustomed to. Yes, that way Kenyans speak that makes people always question where I’m from every time I travel. They seem to easily recognize the Oga and other Western African accents, I have been told the Tanzanian’s English is more sing-song than we can tell. And of course in Omugurusi’s country, they are easy to identify and well popularised by the hilarious Anne Kansiime.

Most of us especially writers insist on writing British English despite the fact that it’s harder to speak in the same accent. We have “U’s” in humour, favourite and all our endeavours. See what I did there? We also have “S” in place of “Z” in the past participle of most verbs. I actually forcefully use the S in my posts no matter how many red lines appear under my words. If you have been on my blog before, you will realise that these first two paragraphs are what I use to get my mind to focus. ADD is a bitter gift and a sweet curse. But I have the hang of it now.

About 3 weeks ago, I was to do a post that would have started with the simple phrase: “I HATE KENYA!!” My reasons would have been justified. As far as my perspective was concerned. See, I had been in Angola for just over 2 weeks. In those 2 weeks, I had to contend with knowing  blood was flowing back at home. My brothers and sisters were getting killed or maimed for life. And this had prompted quite an emotional post from the south side of Africa. Ironically, here I was in a country that had experienced civil war into the 21st century. They had obviously learnt their lesson from what I could see around. They all mostly speak Portuguese and marry without discrimination on tribe or colour bases. This is saying a lot. The country has a machete in its flag for Chrissake. And yes, I know that was not the intended meaning.

Cogs, Machetes and Stars. But still peace reigns.
Cogs, Machetes and Stars. But still peace reigns.

Back to why I hated Kenya at that particular moment. I landed on a Monday at 3 am. And I was still a bit sad from the news I had read while abroad. I was supposed to be off  work for the next 2 days due to travel and jet-lag. But I had a conference on Tuesday and so despite the fatigue, I was up by 6 am to pick up a Ugandan guest who was here to attend said conference. Long story short, by 8 am that day, I was not nodding off to sleep at Geographical Information Systems conference. I was standing in a stuffy, ammonia smelling, wall graffiti ridden room at Kibera Law Courts.

It’s still art no? #Scofield Moments

Yes, I had been arrested. For failing to use a pretty non-existent pedestrian crossing as I crossed Waiyaki way. Yes, I was at fault as long as the rule of law is concerned. But, yes I would do the same thing over and over as I told the cops as other guests at the back of the “Maria” tried to negotiate for their release. The thing is, on Waiyaki way, it does not matter where you cross the road, (that is unless you have a foot bridge close to you), you still have to rush across it like a demented oryx who learnt how to walk from Bambi to avoid getting hit by the onrushing traffic. See, no one slows down at the said pedestrian crossings. Some cars actually seem to speed up near them so as to avoid traffic that might be caused by people crossing. It does not help the case that the road is sometimes widest at these same points. I tried asking why not arrest the reckless drivers first who have made the pedestrian crossings unusable. I got comically stupid answers like “We will start with you today then we will move to the drivers.” Yes, you would have to use the Pedestrian crossing for the moment and if you got hit while following the law, they would make sure the driver paid heavily for your physiotherapy or your funeral. I had to pocket just to avoid slapping the tiny brain out of his ear.

But the arrest alone was not the reason I was so angry at the country. Neither the fact that I had to wait a whole day, standing till my old sports injured foot hurt like hell to pay a one thousand Kenya shillings fine. Nor was it the fact that some people charged the previous day with the same offence had been fined 20K or a month in jail. I thanked my stars I was not one of them. No, I was angry at the fact that in that one day, we were about 1000 people that were charged with such a minor traffic offence. I was angry as I saw a man arrested carrying business wares in a paper bag; weep at the fact that he could not afford the fine. Yes the poor would become more poor. But most of all I was angry at the fact the perpetrators of Mpeketoni attacks had gone through traffic blockades without getting arrested. I was angry that the grenade attackers had evaded these same cops. This great law enforcement order that could arrest 1000 people in one day for not crossing the road properly. Yes, they had missed an internationally re-known terrorist who would end up bringing terror and bloodshed at Westgate. Yes, my innate patriotism was gone. I could not afford to be loyal to this country. The next chance I got for better pastures, I would not even cross the border chewing cud. But that was 3 weeks ago.

My rationale is always too strong. So with time, love for my country has come back. As always we know who to blame. But we always forget about the man in the mirror. Yes, 26 years since the Michael Jackson hit. We still sing along without taking into account the lyrics. I will not adopt a holier than thou attitude and pretend I have not been in the least bit tribal before. But I have over time always worked to negate any history I might have had with that ugly attribute. I actually stopped using my actual second name so that one could not easily tell what tribe I was from. That way we could act with no prejudice. Be friends unconditionally. My 7 best friends are Kalenjin, Punjabi, Meru, Giriama, Luo, Kamba and Taita. I did not choose for them to be. No, their personalities are what makes them be accorded such honours. I have to state that I am Kikuyu otherwise this will not make sense. In that cell, my best friend was a Luo. Yes, in the eyes of our so-called leaders, we are supposed to be water and oil. They make jokes that never can you eat Omena with Githeri. Such shameless and archaic analogies.

We had been talking since the bumpy, overloaded, no-safety belt ride from Waiyaki way via Ngong road to Kibera. None was benefiting from the other. We just shared jokes and political quips. But by the end of the day, the relationship was forced to become symbiotic. He had no one to pay for his fine at the bank so I had my best friend do it for him. And with his knowledge of the Luo language he made sure he negotiated with the senior cop so we did not sleep in a cell. He was a brother in alms. (Yes I spelled that right). We even took the same cab to work from the hell in a cell. “Omera, Nyasaye ogwedhi”

I hope this is not the rapper, but it just might be..

I have written a post on how I was taught how to love growing up. One thing I was not taught is how to hate. I was actually taught of how evil that would be. How much of a sin that was. In later life when certain people have driven me to such an extent. i have only learnt of how consuming hate is on the person producing it than the one receiving it. It is a cancer. And its consequences are almost as deadly if not worse.

Yes, we called Luos, “Mera” growing up but that had loads to do with the repeated phrase; “Omera” . Which I later came to learn is one of the most endearing words in the language as it means “my brother”. I admired the Luo workers who used to live in Central Province then. This number has since significantly dwindled. They were hardworking, astute, muscular and if you know me then you would knowI kind of very much followed in these footsteps. (Just like being Luo, GymRat is a lifestyle 🙂 ) I have said before, I am a child of the world. I really do not care where my good qualities come from. All humans are my brothers and sisters. My enemies are those who try to oppress them or hurt them regardless of their creed, race or tribe.

Because whichever political rally you attend, whomever you vote for. It’s that neighbour you sell your wares too, that driver who drives your kids to school, that friend in your network who informs you of a vacancy at his workplace. That is your real friend. When in need, your wedding committees, your burial and funeral arrangements, your hospital bill Harambee does not have IDs being checked for tribal name tags. Yet, all and sundry who have known you, have respected you and have loved you will show up at your door.

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children

We are the perfect generation to exact change in this country. We are not the leaders of tomorrow but those of today. We can change two generations at once. We can change our parents and make sure our kids never learn otherwise. They learn nothing but love. They never learn to be Luo, Kikuyu, Kamba or Kalenjin. Teach them to be Kenyan. Yes I know it will be not be easy. Nothing worth it ever is. You cannot give up on this. The whole country will depend on you. Your heroism will be unsung. Not a single verse will be written in your honour. But I will stand too. I am sure as hell that I am not alone. My brothers and sisters from all parts of Kenya already ride with me. Are you willing to join me? I am not a Kikuyu, I am not black. #IAmKenyan

This will not be poetic, this will not be prose.

And for some time the thorns will outshine the rose.

The book will not be written. The history not recorded.

The wise will understand for the message will be coded.

The blind will hear the message and communicate it to the deaf.

The couriers will be the dumb so the secret will never be known.

We will have not seen, heard or said anything evil.

The war will be fought by the crippled, master minded by the bald heads of cancer patients.

You see the battle will not need brute strength.

The lid on the jar is already open and the concern will be how to get it back on.

The man in the mirror will already be one with his reflection.

The step of the Boy Scouts will sound like the army, but we will not hear it.

The bubble wrap around this new world will sound like gunshots but we will not fear it.

Peace, love and unity will be tissue thin but we will not tear it.

The struggle will be real but we will bear it.  

THE DIVINE BANDIT October 17, 2013

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Culture, French, Kenya, Life, Love, Prose, Travel

Odysseys, junkets and business trips: woes and pleasures

I try hard not to smile but I'm happy..clap ppshhhh
I try hard not to smile but I’m happy..clap along…no? ppshhhh

Ever had an idea hit you and actually makes you wonder how dumb you must have been minutes before it occurred? No? Happens to me every 6 months as I look back on my life. And I laugh at how smart I thought I was then. This is what recently happened when I realized that I have never written of my travels despite having visited a couple of countries. I am not yet the “Up in the Air” type but still I have been to India. Yes I like mentioning that because in my planned travels as I grew up, that was never in the plans. I have passed through some really hot (and not in the beautiful kinda hot way though they are) places like Qatar and the UAE. I left my jaw at the Ethiopian airport. I wonder how the Ethiopian men maintain their sanity with that much beauty floating around them. No wonder they are always doing long distance running. One has to get a way to get rid of the dhaaaasttt you know. 😉 And I have been to countries where my French versatility really came as a great help. But never have I ever been at a loss like I am where I am now. To be surrounded by people whose only knowledge of English are the words yes and no. Not really their fault. I should have learnt Portuguese. But for now I have to contend with loads of sign language and “Portuguese-lised French”.

My woes started as soon as we landed, it was funny at first but then it became very annoying. We landed in the middle of the airport. About 2 kilometres from the actual airport. (I am not sure about the distance, I have said before on this blog how messed up I am at estimating distances). You see the thing is, we had come in the huge Boeing 777-300ER and the Luanda airport could not accommodate it till some planes moved. So we had to stay right smack in the middle of the runway and wait. But tell that to the travelling group of about 40 Chinese guys. No. They stood up and started getting their luggage and heading to the exits. This was despite the explicit instructions from the pilot to stay seated. The flight attendants had to get each one of them back to their seats but 10 minutes later they were up again and at the doors. I laughed my heart out to the chagrin of the cabin crew who were very annoyed by now. I kept wondering why they were in a hurry to get off the plane. Was Angola moving and I didn’t know? I am rarely in a hurry when I have no control of the factors influencing time.


We finally made it into the airport and we got to queue as usual at the passport control/immigration. I have never really cared which is which. I had 10 of the Chinese clique ahead of me, fast talking in Mandarin, (I think) while carrying bags so big they looked like they were KDF in training. I try not to judge or be prejudicial based on race, tribes etc. But something happened that had me chewing on my spectacles (yes, I still say that instead of glasses) to avoid spilling the bile that built up in me. I had more venom on my tongue than a cobra that has its flute hypnotist playing the “Toklezea” tune. You see as we got in, they were checking for Yellow Fever cards before ushering you to passport control. Many of the Chinese guys did not have theirs or had put them way too deep in their big bags. (Yes, that happens to someone with so many fanny packs, they look like they have the Batman utility belt. 🙂 ) Anyway, most of them were behind the 150 t0 200 or so other passengers. Soon some of them started coming and checking with the 10 ahead of us (you know language barrier and all, yes I thought I had it bad till you see a Mandarin vs Portuguese conversation). I don’t know how it happened, neither do the other passengers as no one complained. But 15 minutes later, all the 40 Chinese guys were ahead of us. SAY WHAAAT??!! That single moment almost made me hate a whole race. But I am a pretty rational person so I simmered it down when I remembered just 4 years ago I had a really huge crush on one of their ladies. 🙂


That aside, for the first two days here, I had to drink juice yet I really wanted water at the hotel. You all know “Water thirst” is unquenchable any other way. Poor me. Only one receptionist speaks English and he works during the day when I’m off to work. Finally my Wi-Fi worked and I Googled the word. I felt silly. Again wondering how stupid I was 2 days ago. Aqua would easily become agua. SMH. But that was not to be the end of my woes, coming from the office very late at night one day meant, I had to take a motorbike as the actual taxis are very expensive, like a 100 dollar expensive and they offer no receipts. This would mean reconciliation wars back in Kenya so I opted for the cheaper 200 Kwanza option. A friend from work negotiated the price and told the driver/rider the hotel name then he left. So 5 minutes later, we are cruising on a highway, no helmets on and me holding the motorbike carrier so hard I almost pull off the mesh. My Kenyan man genes can’t allow me to put my hands around a man’s waist. I’d rather die (almost quite literally as that is what would have happened if we hit a pothole or bump). But I was more worried about the guy not having gotten the right hotel name and then I would have ended up disappearing in Angola and working in a diamond and oil mine to save enough money to get back to Kenya. Of course my family would want me back but I guess the more interesting search party would be Sanaa Book Club running tags like #BringBackTheMane #KeepTheBandit on Twitter. This might seem like a joke but it almost happened in Vadodara, India. Having been to more urban provinces like New Delhi and Bangalore. I ended up wandering past the “English literacy” zone. So I was stranded outside a market, jewellery, sun glasses, saris in a paper bag trying to explain to 5 tuk tuk guys where my hotel was. Never felt tears sting the eyes so much but I couldn’t cry. They finally flowed from relief later at the hotel as I hurriedly packed for a flight that was at 1 AM if I remember well. I had got back to the hotel at 11 PM having cleared at the market by 7 PM.

Is this what Anto Neo Soul is singing about?? lol.. Sari sari sari sari...
Is this what Anto Neo Soul is singing about?? lol.. Sari sari sari sari…

I got late being a celeb. They thought I was from the States. :)
I got late being a celeb. They thought I was from the States. 🙂











They tell you that certain gestures are vulgar in certain cultures. No one told me about English words (I thought they all meant the same everywhere) and so surprise…..surprise when everyone looked at me shocked and in disbelief when I asked about the clubbing scene. So apparently, a club in Luanda is a brothel or are brothel like. And not chips funga brothel-like. Like naked or 1/16th dressed people kinda brothel. House parties are the norm here for most young people. I am yet to confirm this. Nairobi men would thrive in this kind of environment. That is unless the below happens but I hear that is rare here. 🙂

Phone yake imeenda mteja... lmao
Phone yake imeenda mteja… lmao


One thing I have learnt from travelling is that home is not just where the heart is. No. Whenever I travel I miss my country so much and I’m nostalgic to the point that the “Bonoko” audio file I have on my phone provides solace. Home is where I’m understood.Home is where my jokes are laughed at. Home is where my family is. Home is where my best and oldest friends are. Home is where I love with a fierceness that scares even me. With the corruption, the lies, the blood, the tears, the potholes, the afandes. I love my home. Blood will flow for the moment but we shall be peaceful again. Home is in my prayers.  Home is where I love so many people even those I don’t tell, those I can’t tell, those I won’t tell. Home is Kenya. Home is 4 days away. 😀

And now for some shots of the worldly me. 🙂


MVP…. 😛



It’s like I fell in a Vaseline bucket… 😦

Awesome team...worldly..
Awesome team…worldly..

The gym does not know timezones..
The gym does not know timezones..

DSC00599 425681_10150596568743346_534088345_8892198_46006202_n

Never felt like such a pimp...hehehe
Never felt like such a pimp…hehehe