Friday, December 16, 2011

Things That Fascinate me about My Culture

I have to start this article with a disclaimer, lest I be condemned for being un-African. I am an African and very proud of that fact but in my life, I have taken those bits of my African heritage that suited me and adopted them as part of my lifestyle, and decided to let those that I could not stomach lie. I have been very blessed in my life to be able to weave in and out of various cultural experiences, and in my day-to-day life engage with friends, family, acquaintances, colleagues and other people that continue to teach me their cultures and ways of life. Since I have been back to the land of my birth, Kenya, I have engaged, once again with the culture that I was raised in and this article summarizes some of the things I find strange as well as wonderful about my culture:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence

As the UN designated 16 days on activism against violence on girls and women comes to a close for 2011, I have been wondering what it actually means for most people, whether there are stories that I know personally of abuse, and what I can continue to do to help the fight. The reality is that we all know women who are beaten, sexually molested, emotionally abused, insulted, whose financial gains are withheld amongst other ills by their partners, relatives or other men in their communities. I did not realize how many I knew until I started thinking about it. Below are three of the examples of stories I know of (all names have been changed):

Monday, December 12, 2011

Appraising Kibaki’s Government

Ongoing road construction on Thika Road in Nairobi

In 2002, there was a landslide election in Kenya that toppled the one time dictator, Daniel Arap Moi and a rulership that was so detrimental to Kenya’s development and growth for 28 years. This election victory resulted from a coalition of a number of political heavyweights who had had enough of Moi’s rule and had selected the current President, His Excellency, Mwai Kibaki as the official opposition leader. Mr Kibaki has been in power for just over 9 years and I thought it may be a good idea to write my thoughts on his leadership.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Nairobi will Remain the Main Hub in Kenya for a while

I have very often listened to many politicians in Kenya, who always talk about the need to diversify and decentralise the business, administrative and political activities from the Kenyan capital, Nairobi to other parts of the country. Political reforms that took place last year, and that led to the formation of rather devolved governments (the litmus test for this will be after the general elections scheduled for next year, 2012), have yielded some benefit in exposing other regions’ (like Kitui) potential to contribute to the growth and development of the country. The only concern that one would have is that the services that are available in Nairobi may not be accessible in any other parts of the country.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Journey to Kitui

Landscape in Kitui

Nairobi was such a great experience for me and I had a wonderful opportunity to see my family (did i say i have a really big family) and spend some quality time with my sister (I have not seen her for over a year). But with all the traffic, pollution and just me being home sick, I decided to travel up-country to go see and spend time with my parents and other sister. As you have noticed, I keep referring to my younger days in Kenya when I am comparing things and I suppose that will not stop for the entire period I am here. While I was packing and getting ready to leave my very comfortable home (it has been for the last few days), I kept remembering how when we were younger, we would travel from Kitui to Nairobi and it would take us almost half a day (its ridiculous as Kitui is 130km from Nairobi), and I was very prepared to spend the same amount of time to get home.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Nairobi That Was

My first port of entry and where I have been for the last couple of days in Kenya is Nairobi. When I grew up, I used to really look forward to coming to Nairobi as it is the capital and centre of all that happens in the country. It is where all the skyscrapers are, where the Parliament, Supreme Court, stock exchange, central international airport, best hospitals are all based, and so it has always been central to any business that one needed to undertake.
View from my hotel room

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Disillusionment in the Land of my Birth

This last Sunday, I boarded a plane on a journey back to the country of my birth, Kenya. As you all know, I have rumbled quite a lot about the state of governance in Kenya. On the plane, I had the privilege of sharing a seat with a gentleman that was also Kenyan but that worked for one of the reputable banks in Africa, had lived out of Kenya for a long time in other African countries, and just like me, was concerned by the state of the Kenyan nation. There are a two things he mentioned that were absolutely interesting and I thought to share: