Archive for January, 2012

Try Being The Government

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on January 27, 2012 by wyndago

Court of ArmsActually someone did try to play government. There was a drought in Kenya in 2011 and the media didn’t spare us the saddening experience of having to watch image after image of undernourished children and old people. It’s almost enigmatic to me how I didn’t see any youth in those images, a little voice in my head tried to convince me; those are not old people, what you are seeing are the effects of hunger. Nevertheless it was sad. The government was slow to act so a group of people decided they should do something to bring Kenyans together and do what the government won’t do- get food and water to the affected people in a timely fashion. A noble cause, it must said. Not to be condescending but those people will tell you today that its not easy acting the government in these here parts because they were not exactly 100% successful in their mission. About a week ago, tons of food was set ablaze because it went stale sitting in a warehouse somewhere, and before that some of the foodstuff was deemed unfit for human consumption so it had to be recalled. It didn’t stop there, some unscrupulous individuals were caught stealing some of this relief food for resale! It begs the question, how much money eventually went to waste?

It must be frustrating for the government when it gets bombarded with criticism from its citizens from every possible angle, I imagine. Sometimes the criticism is justified but sometimes it’s unfair. Challenges are challenges, and they are impediments even for a government- people stealing, poor roads, high cost of living, lack of funds etc. For an African nation, we have a good government! Be my guest and check other African countries, its only right for us to see the good (and there is no shortage of goodness) in our government and give a little respite for just a moment. I can’t help but wonder, why didn’t anyone go up in arms over the spoiled food (except for one angry tweep whose probably searching for any Red Cross worker to do them who-knows-what), that wasn’t tax money, should it not have been more enraging? Or did it have to be the government for people to consider it a wrong? Sometimes when things go awry, its no one’s fault. And sometimes it’s our individual faults.

The total amount of money that was raised by Kenyans was nearly a hundred million Kenya Shillings (or one billion, I forget). That’s a lot of money even in Zimbabwe dollars. People donated, even the poor gave the little they could. This was only the second time in my Kenyan life to witness masses of my fellow countrymen and women brought together and act as one. I mean people joyfully gave! It was a good campaign, it felt to me like a contest of who gave more. One was almost compelled to send cash since it seemed selfish and inconsiderate not to, especially when everyone else was doing it. It became a fad. Hypocritical. I’m inclined to think some people gave for themselves and not for the hungry, just so they could sleep well at night after seeing the devastating images on the nine o’clock news, neutralizing the guilt knowing they did something. But they gave nonetheless.

I say if you want to give then start with the needy that are close to you and make it a habit. And the most you can give is not just money, its the love and hope you give to another human being. I trust its what led this blogger to start a campaign to raise money for her friend who needs money for a new lower jaw. It is to me a good place to start this habit, where are all the good people at? The update so far here. I wish Savvy and her friend all the best.

PS: This blog’s third anniversary is this month, traditionally I drop a tiny post to celebrate it. But this short note is just fine for this year :-). Your good wishes are now welcome. *ululation*

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Hello, Do You Read Me?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on January 12, 2012 by wyndago
Picture of Books In a Pile

Ladder of Knowledge

If you are Kenyan and you read books, you probably have poor reading habits in my book, don’t take it personal it’s just a personal opinion. After about two days of contemplating what I should write about to make my much anticipated comeback to the blogosphere (I have fans who read me, what?), and because I just finished reading a book I would describe as quiet riveting, I decided I might as well teach folks good reading habits. Here are my fundamentals that I think everyone should abide by;

1. Ditch The Novel

Rule number one, if it’s a novel it’s a waste of time! You get much pleasure when you read but once you close the book there’s not much to show for it. It’s not how much you read, it’s what you read, can I get an amen? Okay, so you read for pleasure only, see that right there; that’s a bad habit. I do not refute, there are some good novels worth reading like I read Paulo Coelho again recently, good read, there is something more to gain than just pleasure in some of these novels but if you make novels your habit, you know what kind it’s going to be.

Novels’ shortcoming for a curious individual like me is that I’m compelled to take everything that the author writes as is. Whenever I ask myself ‘why?’, the answer is always going to be because the author wrote so. If you were anything like me in my reading habits, you would like to at least be presented with empirical evidence from real life experiences to make the fiction live, impossible! Fiction is dead, it cannot come to life. In a novel, even if the made-up story is credible, does it not make you wonder if things would happen in that exact sequence in real life? We probably will never know! And that might be my own bad habit, I always want to know.

2. Practice What You Read

You read something, test it. It will make you feel empowered and a better person. If it fails the test, dump it. On to the next. Wise men said; don’t believe everything you read, take a moment and digest this. In this era, it’s so easy to get a hold of a good book, one humongous reason why I’m glad to be living in it. Life is short, learn as much as you can, explore. There is no where a book cannot take you… I know, that sounds corny.

In the news this week, a woman was killed in a stampede in a Johannesburg university while scrambling for a chance to register for the limited spots (I guess they have not yet discovered online registration), that same day a debate was broadcasted on BBC’s World Have Your Say seeking to answer the question: is university education a privilege or a right? {To listen to that broadcast, download the podcast here, it had Kenyan contributors who misrepresented us (Kenyans) from my vantage point, the catch is that that particular podcast is available for download only for 7 days from the 10th of January 2012} It was interesting to note that education meant different things to different people, others considered online education as second class.. if not third, others considered education without certification as no education at all, check this story of students getting university education that they will not be credited for, they call it Freedom University. My point: when you read, you learn. And when you learn, it’s for your own development in the different facets of life. When you develop you become a better person because you think and understand things better, and there is some education for you.

3. Self-help Scrolls

Don’t even get me started, I’ll start by myself. Books that help you help yourself, read them in private and avoid sharing them with everyone. There may not be anything intrinsically wrong with these books, except for the fact that they can sometimes sap the excitement out of life by pointing out where the pitfalls are (or might be), I mean, noble but boring. But being spotted reading them is rather an admission of weakness, which is different and has nothing to do with the actual presence or absence of the said weakness. It’s like using a dating service.

Bonus

This week I learned about independent candidature in Kenyan politics, excuse my ignorance but I just recently learned that to vie for the position of  MP or senator, the constitution does not necessarily require you to  be a member of a political party. Well, I’d like to see an independent candidate win an election, that would be something to watch.

Today I remembered an awkward time during my high school days, I was in the company of two of my high school friends when we bumped into my mother, after she had left one of them told the other “His mom is hot!” I mean, what do you say to that? Awkward indeed. *shaking head vigorously*

Happy new readers!