Monday five – 31/10/2011

There are times I feel as though the blogging mojo is kwishaing. But I refuse for it to go until I finish my one year of blogging in February 2012. Feedback seems to keep me going. Very few people comment but I have met many people who say they have been blessed by the posts and songs here. So I will keep at it.

1. Gaddafi

The guy who is said to have once proclaimed himself king of kings met his sad end on, ironically, Mashujaa Day. I feel God always has the last word. It may look like you are beating God and it may even look as though He is just about to give up, then boom! “in your face…”. As details emerged about the way Gaddafi died, people experienced mixed feelings as I am sure many would have preferred for him to be captured alive and face trial like Mubarak. Mob-justice always leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Then later even more details emerge about how the Libyan government would meet many expenses for its people that in the rest of the world you have to ‘jipanga’ ie sort yourself out.

It seems there are only two ways that the life of a dictator can go. Either in death through illness that people do not show mercy about, or ultimately a humiliating assassination, or a prolonged court trial in which eventually the judges throw the book at you. Ok so I can’t count! It makes you appreciate true African statesmen, even if they only became such later in life, like Kenneth Kaunda, Festus Mogae, Joachim Chissano, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, Nelson Mandela and at the risk of completely messing up the list, Daniel Moi.


One hopes the likes of Mugabe, Museveni, Meles Zenawi and others are watching current events carefully.

2. Imitation is flattering

Recently I received a pingback from a blog. This usually happens when some other blogger adds a link to a post in your blog. I could have ignored it but curiosity got the better of me. What I found was an amazing display of blogging plagiarism with impunity. Some idiot calls himself/herself/itself a blogger, yet all they do is pick posts from other bloggers, claim it as his/hers/its own. My post, he even thought he would give it a better title. The rest was copy pasted from this blog. On reading the blog I was amazed to recognize posts from other good bloggers I know. I am tempted to name and shame the person yet I feel if I was to do that then I would be driving traffic right into his/her/its blog and therefore playing right into his/her/its hands. After cooling down and realising the irony of it all, I decided to just let it slide. I even tweeted my fellow blogger victim and they seem to have decided it is no big deal. I even felt kinda honoured that someone would find my content worthy of stealing. What do you think I should do?

3. The Standard Chartered Marathon

I am so proud of my wife for participating for the first time this year. She was so committed to it she practiced very hard for the big day yesterday. And she managed to finish the women’s 10km portion of the marathon. Of course it will be a while before we begin making a living from her winnings but hey, it was a good start and it was all for a good cause. Who knows, maybe one of these Octobers, I may even join her. I mean in more ways than just praying for her and denying her busfare so that she can practice! Lol!

4. Bata T-mall

Now I normally do not zusha about bad customer service anymore, but this one was just classic. We went to buy shoes for the marathon and the lady who served us at the till was on the phone the whole time. Here we are trying to ask questions about the purchase and she is busy yapping away in kikuyu on her phone. Before I could tell my wife to “hold my weave”, lucky for her she hung up. I decided I just had to tell her how rude I found her behaviour. Her response? “Sorry”, that’s it. She then tried to lie to me that it was the bata office she was talking to but I really struggled to even listen to her leave alone believe what she was saying.

5. StumbleUpon of the week

I love StumbleUpon. It is so good to literally stumble upon some really interesting web content. I have posted my best one for the week. Enjoy.

I have no more words. Except maybe, don’t try this at home.

Tuendelee kuongea

When Love Calls You Home – Commissioned

This is an old song but its message is fresh all the time. I love it, this is the true forgiveness God invites us to.

Enjoy,

See you Monday

Tuendelee kuongea

The lyrics

Waiting on the edge of your prodigal heart
Wanting for someone to save you from yourself
Out there on the edge dangling somewhere in the darkness
Doubting if anybody really cares
But when Love reached through the shadows
Whispering your name
And nothing will ever be the same again

Chorus:
For when Love calls you home
Forgiveness embraces the past you once owned
And all the mistakes that carried your name are gone
Cos that’s what happens when Love calls you home

Cradled in Your mercy that has no limit
I’ve finally found a place where I belong
Now I can’t imagine one moment without you in it
It’s hard to believe I tried to make it on my own
But You picked me up from the ruins of my broken life
And when every chance was spent You gave me one more try

Chorus

Let us pray for our country

This is a very sad day for our country. This evening the second grenade attack in less than 24 hours has been reported in downtown Nairobi. It is scary and possibly a consequence of Kenya’s entry into Somalia in pursuit of the Al Shabaab terror network. Even though casualties and deaths are being reported, these two attacks seem to have been carried out using grenades and not bombs.

Terror is not a easy thing to fight as the police cannot be everywhere at the same time.

We need to pray for our country. Let us also pray for our army troops inside Somalia this week. It is going to be a tough war.

Tuendelee kuongea

Of Wangari Maathai, Wood and Jesus

Today’s is a wooden post, don’t worry, you will understand it later. The pictures may look irrelevant but look again as you read and you will find an interesting connection.

1. Creation vs. Creator

Some of the random thoughts I have been having lately surrounding Steve Jobs and Wangari Maathai revolve around this concept.
There is little doubt that God is the creator of all things. Many times we receive the things God created and we end up worshiping/appreciating them more than we should. We think more of the gift than of the giver.
As for Steve, it is unlikely that though he is gone, he will be forgotten soon or easily. Every time I pick up a call on my iPhone, post an item on my blog using my iPad, check my mail etc, I find myself thinking about Steve Jobs. how long this will last? Sijui. On the social networks I have seen people commit themselves to plant many trees in memory of Wangari Maathai. How long this will last? No one knows. These two are no doubt creators in their own right and it is important to think of them that way and appreciate the gift they gave to humanity, but let us also appreciate them. However, while we are at it, let us also thank their creator, God for them. I don’t want to get carried away but I think you get my point.

2. What is a Woodist?

I have used this term so many times in my life that I assume everyone does. I call some people wooden and some people go, what? On my phone I have people I have saved as Jeff Woodist, James Woodist etc.
In Kenya there is the expression “kutupa mbao” literally translated, to throw wood. This talks of a major blunder. When you make a big mistake, a really big mistake, you are said to have “tupad mbao”. There are times this expression is used to even imply going crazy or mad. In IT one can make really costly mistakes like short-circuiting a client’s motherboard, losing equipment, sourcing parts that are expensive instead of shopping around first, promising to be somewhere and either forgetting or getting there hours or even days late. So IT is one industry where you will find many opportunities to “tupa mbao”
When a person forms a habit of “tupaing mbao”, and I have met plenty. In fact some people are so committed to it that they earn the title “Woodist”. These are guys and girls who do it so effortlessly. A woodist can “tupa mbao” more effortlessly than Kiraitu Murungi shrubs.
In being a woodist, as is the case with any gift, talent and ability, there are those who excel. They not only proficient in throwing wood, but they also ensure that wood is thrown everywhere. Some even have a team of woodists reporting to them, these are known as Arch-woodists. They are few but since they are so good at what they do, you will be forgiven to think they are all over the place. Anyway, enough about woodists.

Enter 3 uses of wood that one would pick up as they read of the life of Jesus.

3. The Manger

Simply put, a manger is a trough-like container that is used in livestock raising for feeding animals. The word comes from the french verb manger meaning to eat. A manger can be made of wood or clay or carved out of natural out-croppings of rock. For purposes of this post, without getting into theological arguments, I am going to keep in mind the idea of a wooden manger. This is where God, the all-powerful, all-knowing, almighty God decided that he would begin His life among us. There is no greater humility I can imagine. The King of Kings was born in a manger. Obviously I was not consulted on the issue, but if I was, then thoughts of the Laico Regency, Sankara and other posh places would come to mind. For a King, money is no object. I sometimes wonder how Uhuru Kenyatta feels counting notes bearing the picture of his dad. I can imagine him walking over to the teller in a bank and saying, “I’d like 200 brown pictures of my dad please…”
Anyway, God, in His infinite wisdom, chose the manger over the posh crib. Makes you wonder doesn’t it. Especially when so much of my time and that of many others is spent trying to acquire the comfortable things life can afford.

4. The wooden boat Luke 5:1-11

Jesus was a carpenter. Acquainted well with wood. He knew a fine wooden boat when he saw one. Jesus borrowed a boat and taught from it. Come to think of it, Jesus borrowed lots of things. He never seemed to want to own things. Even his grave was borrowed. I suppose only Jesus could borrow a grave, knowing he would only need it for a while. Anyway, after teaching from the wooden boat, he then asked Peter and his guys to cast their nets. They were tired, having tried almost all day but catching nothing, nevertheless, they obeyed. And boy were they surprised.
Could it be that after listening to Jesus teach, you can trust Him, then obey Him and then be amazed at the result? I need to find Jesus, on a wooden boat, daily.

5. The wooden cross.

This is one of the most cruel uses of wood I have seen. Again I am just amazed at God’s humility. Philippians 2:8 says “He humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross.” His birth was humble, his life was humble, his death was more than humble, it was humiliating. God! Aiii. And here I am trying to ensure that the birth of my kids, my career, my business etc is posh and ‘befitting’ my status, that my life is comfortable, posh and having an ample supply of the ‘finer things in life’, and hoping my death is dignified, and honourable. Have we completely missed the plot? Have we ‘thrown wood’? Have we become woodists? Arch-woodists?

Tuendelee kuongea.

Barlow Girl – No one like you

This is one of the many songs I love to listen to on long road trips. Full blast and almost banging my head to the dashboard. I just love it.

Enjoy. See you Monday.

Tuendelee kuongea

The lyrics…

You are more beautiful than anyone ever
Everyday You’re the same You never change no never

yeah yeah yeah

You are more beautiful than anyone ever
Everyday You’re the same You never change no never
And how can I ever deny the love of my Savior
You are to me everything all I need forever

How could you be so good?

[Chorus:]
There is no one like You
There has never ever been anyone like You
anyone like you

yeah

Everywhere You are there earth or air surrounding
I’m not alone the heavens sing along
My God You’re so astounding
How could You be so good to me
Eternally I believe that

[Chorus]

How could You be so good to me
yeah yeah
How could You be so good to me
yeah
We’re not alone no, so sing along
We’re not alone, sing along
Sing along, sing along

Here we go!

[Chorus](repeat)

Random five – 10/10/11

Ok so today’s post is late. If you have a problem with that go sit at the corner over there. After cooling off come and read the rest. In case it still bugs you repeat the process until you can read on without fussing. Ok? Good. Welcome back.

Now most of my posts I write of either my laptop or the iPad and mostly in or very near bed. Today I can say I am “on location” at a nice resort in Kisumu called the Duke of Breezes. I am enjoying free wi-fi off their fancy roof-top restaurant. It is all that and a bag of chips I tell you. Great view, great music, great ambience. Ok, so here are my random thoughts for this past week.

1. Steve Jobs

This last week saw two apple related events happen that have shaped tech news. One was the death of Steve Jobs. He died of pancreatic cancer on Wednesday. This disease seems to hit only really great personalities. Remember my post about Randy Pausch? These two have changed the world in their own way and they also have beaten a diagnosis that gives them 6 months to live and they have surpassed that by far. I was pleasantly surprised when I visited an apple store at Galleria and saw a condolence book. I have a feeling that it won’t reach Steve’s (look I’m on first name basis with him) family, but I signed it anyway.


Steve was an awesome guy and will be missed by many. I was however a bit shocked though not surprised by the tributes some of which put him right up there with the saints. The tragic thing about what I believe is that no matter what he accomplished on earth, if he did not accept salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, let’s just say he won’t be making apps in heaven. We can discuss it but hey, that’s what I believe the Bible says.

2. iPhone 4S

This was going to be the big news of the week but it was over-shadowed by Steve Jobs’ death. However, it was still big in its own right. It was initially quite ‘underwhelming’ and would have ended up being quite a disappointment given the anticipation and speculation that preceded the launch. Many were expecting the iPhone 5 to be launched. I will not put a picture here, though you can google it, since there is not visible difference between this iPhone and the iPhone 4. The difference is on the inside. A better camera, faster processor, the 64GB option among other hardware improvements over the iPhone 4. The software, iOS5 which will be available from 12th Oct. also is quite something. The greatest taunted feature of the iOS5 is Siri, the voice operated personal assistant. I found it quite cool, to be able to tell your phone to read your texts, schedule meetings, call contacts? Aiii, what’s next? “iPhone, go to my office, do my work and confirm that everybody is convinced I am the one who did it?”

I had decided that this launch was going to determine whether I was going to ditch apple for Samsung. I have decided to stay. Apple continues to make great products. iOS5 also has an interesting feature called iCloud. This will ensure seamless synchronisation of my iDevices. For example, I take a picture on my iPhone and the picture immediately appears on my iPad. With no action required on my part. How cool is that? Let’s wait and see.

3. Wangari Maathai

She was cremated this Saturday. There is no doubt that she was passionate about what she believed to be her purpose in this world. Some random thoughts. There is a lot of stuff you can find on google about her and her life, so I will only out my thoughts here.

It was interesting to see her ex-husband at the funeral. I would give a bit to find out what was going on in his mind. At the funeral service, Uhuru and Raila hugged, Kalonzo and Ngilu refused to shake hands. One of these two things involving politicians was extremely childish and disrespectful. You decide which one. It was a good thing Moi honoured her by not turning up. TV news showed a clip of Moi talking badly about her when she almost single-handedly stopped Uhuru park from being raped.

Cremation? Well, I suppose to each his own. I have no issue with being cremated myself, just be completely and absolutely sure I am dead. That’s all.

I was awed by this article about the events that occurred two days before she died.

4. Undercover Boss

Today I watched an episode of this show. It is an interesting show where a CEO of an organisation goes undercover and gets a job in his own company to see how life really is for his staff. It is usually mind-boggling the things the bosses discover. Almost every episode, the boss is moved to tears when they realise the amount of sacrifice and passion their staff exhibit as they work alongside them. After that they reveal themselves and make major changes in the lives of their staff and in the way the companies are run. It is an interesting concept. I wonder if it can work in Kenya. I’d love a chance to shout at Bob Collymore at an M-Pesa agent’s shop. “What do you mean you have no float?…”

5. Visa incident

Though this place is very nice. I almost ended up not being allowed to get a room. I asked if I could pay by Visa card and they started telling me that they would charge me 5% more for that. If I was a Kenyan chick I’d be like “What? Hold my weave…”

This is not the first time this has happened to me. There was another establishment that even had the audacity to put their rate like M-Pesa. For 1000 – 3000 we charge 300, for 3000 to… What? I was so angered I called KCB Card centre who said it is illegal for any establishment to charge for the service. The most they can do is refuse to take your card, or deny you discounts, they cannot charge you for the service. Lucky for the receptionist I was not in my “Okoiti Omtatah” self. You would have seen me in the news tonight. Aiii, I am even glad I left this for the last item on this post. ArrrGGHHHHh!

Tuendelee kuongea

Travelling all over the place?

This last week was the busiest I have had in a long time as far as travel is concerned. I drove long distances to far places and had a lot of fun and interesting experiences. It was all mostly local and had me thinking, is this how the rest of Kenya is? Then it takes a long time to develop a country. It can not be done easily as there are so many variables to deal with. Spending so much of one’s life in Nairobi, Facebook and/or Twitter sometimes blinds one to the surrounding world and can make one begin to think that the rest of Kenya is like that or that the rest of Kenyans think like them. It can also make one have a messed up view of how the problems of this country and indeed the region can or should be addressed.

1. Arusha via Namanga, Tuesday

It has been a long time since I last went to Arusha. I had no idea what to expect. I was afraid I would find the place has changed so much that I would struggle to get around. I was aware that the Nairobi-Namanga road was now near perfect, having gone there with an amazing bunch of bikers last year. However, the last time I went to Arusha, the road on the TZ portion from Namanga to Arusha was terrible. Potholes like you wouldn’t believe, diversions with lots of dust. So I was not in a hurry to begin this portion. The border procedures were very fast and simple. Easier even than crossing to Uganda at Busia. It was also interesting to note that TZ and UG immigration authorities have embraced technology more than their Kenyan counterparts. As I left Kenya all they did was to make me fill a line on the records for my car and stamp my passport. At the TZ counter I had to step back in front of a webcam, put my fingers systematically through a finger print reader. As I passed through the border I was also surprised that I was not harassed as I had feared about the requirements that every car in TZ must have the ‘LifeSaver’ triangle and a fire extinguisher. After leaving Namanga for Arusha I was pleasantly surprised to find that the road was so smooth and even better in some parts than the Kenya portion. It is just not marked. So you have no idea where the sharp turns are, what towns you are passing through or the speed limits at all.

I also love the view of what our family calls the “Teletubbies” Hills just outside Arusha, with their golf course-like, almost velvet green covering. This time though, it is so dry and brown, still velvet but brown. One thing I did not like that is different with Arusha this time, a common phenomenon in all major towns in the region, the worst being Kampala and possibly Kisii, is the proliferation of boda boda motorcycle taxis. Any drivers nightmare. They are like flies I tell you, just more annoying. By the way Arusha is not far. It is actually like going to Voi in terms of distance. I think it is a mind thing that makes you think you’ve gone far. I was actually back home by the end of the day having left at 10am.

2. Gucha District via Narok, Wednesday

In my last post, I talked about the Narok road. It is so good. This is a wonderful, stress-free drive. It was fascinating to see an often missed landmark, I have no idea what this place is called. But spending a few minutes there in solitude was divine. It is a river just before Keroka.

One fascinating experience in Gucha was when I asked a guy about a place to sleep. He directed me to some establishment in town. When I asked him how the rooms were he was very surprised. “Oh you mean you also want to sleep there, I thought you only wanted a place for your car to sleep! Then you need a hotel!” The highlight of my evening in a budget (read cheap) hotel room where everyone was overly concerned with Todo Sobre Uhuru/ICC, was a call I got from my little sister, Mueni saying she would email me a draft of her upcoming book which I read with joy. Great book. My sis is going places with this book. That is all I will say about her book. I asked her to ensure that she mentions this in the “Acknowledgements” section but I am putting it here just in case she forgets.

3. Awendo, Thursday

I don’t think I have spent enough time in Awendo to give it a proper review. This time I was there for about 2 hours. I was actually upset when I got there as there was no power. I was afraid that my trip would have been in vain. We IT guys tend to feel unemployed where there is no power. I even started contemplating going back there in about a week. But miraculously, power came back just long enough for me to do what I had gone to do and then it disappeared again. I left Awendo for Nairobi at around 6pm

4. Narok, Thursday

I had thought I would make it to Nairobi in good time but it was raining heavily and I was so tired. I decided to spend the night at Narok. I checked in to what was a nice place and after being shown a nice parking spot behind the hotel, unpacking and preparing to shower, I decided to plug in my phone to charge while I was in the shower. To my shock (not electric!) the socket was dead. I walked down to the reception to “cause”. The manager apologised. I thought he was just going to assign me a different room but alas! He pointed out that they all had problems with the socket. Deal-breaker right there. I checked out and he had to refund me my entire 850/- (USD 10 until recently) that I had paid. I found another place with a working socket. By this time I was so tired, it was past midnight and I had a long trip in the morning.

5. Nairobi, Kerugoya, Kagumo, Kenol, Friday

In the morning I made it to Nairobi around 7:30 and then my wife and I had to go to Kagumo for the funeral of the dad of a friend of ours. The trip was uneventful (the way I like them) and the maps app on the iphone was a great time-saver. “So how was the funeral?” Why do people ask that? What answer can one give? One of the interesting bits was when during the sermon, the speaker talked of how people get religious when a member of their family dies. They even insist on taking the body to church, of someone who had no time for church in his lifetime. What would happen if the guy was to suddenly wake up and find himself in a church? What would you do?

We spent the night at a town called Kenol. I did not ask but I suspect it is named after the petrol station there. What would they call it if Total or Oilibya bought that station? Just a thought.

When we got back to Nairobi I saw the new Honda Accord. It is fascinating that Jesus and all his disciples could fit in such a car. And, following Jesus’ lead, the Apostles car pooled in a Honda… “The Apostles were in one Accord”.

Interesting week of travel. How was your week?

Tuendelee kuongea