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On average I have at least 2 nylon papers in a day – one packing a fruit or a small shopping by the mama mboga, another carrying some item I need fixed on the way home. The day I am having anything from the butcher, I have at least 5. This is because the butcher will wrap my “kaburungo” twice (I don’t know why they do this), then, the mama mboga will wrap everything else separately. The price is quietly included in my pay.
When I get to my house, I unwrap my small luggage, roll the reusable papers into a ball, then dump it somewhere in a corner of the kitchen. They come in handy when I have left-overs, a shoe to repair or just a day when I have stuff that needs wrapping separately.
When I clean the sink and the ugali sufuria, I use some of these papers to wrap up my bad accounts before writing them off against the big dustbins along the stairs. It’s the recommended way of disposing litter in this flat. Otherwise, Miriam will make a lot of fuss when cleaning (read flooding) the flat. She was supposed to be using other large nylon papers in the dustbin so that the chokoraa who collects the dirt and does the dumping will not have a hard time. Apparently, the rent we have been paying is not enough to sustain this kind of generous gesture to the boy.
Some of the lazy nights when I have been watching horrific movies I just open the door, slip the wrapped nylon paper outside the door and hope to find it intact in the morning so I can walk the few steps and dump it in the bins. I don’t know if it is my neighbour’s cat or there are real rats that come and tear it apart over the night. Somehow I just had to stop. The mess outside my house the following morning is nothing bearable. Though I bought it.
When Miriam is about to clean the apartment (flooding the verandas and staircase), she calls the dirty chokoraa boy who hangs around this region to empty the bins. It’s like these street families have territories. The boy carries a dirty sack, he has no gloves or gumboots, he has no overalls or nose masks, he just carries/bites a plastic bottle with some volume of sniffing glue in his mouth.
Then, the gruesome work starts, separating the plastic bottles from the rest (I understand these are somehow valuable to him), the rest of the mess goes into his sack. His precision is not very good though the sack is very big. Also, the matter is not all dry because not all my neighbours did physics. You can imagine how the place looks like by the time this miserable fellow has done his part in the apartment cleaning process. Miriam floods it off anyway.
Behind the apartment, on the way to the shop, the butcher and the mama mboga; between two tall flats – is a small swampy undeveloped plot. After a short rain (which is the most rain in Juja) this kaswamp fills up with water and new overgrowth. At the edge of the swamp the chokoraa has found a dumping site. Small enough not to cause any alarm. We have however purchased, rolled, binned, glued, flooded and dumped so many papers lately that the swamp now is a sizable dumping site. When I walk past the spot late to the house in the night, I have one or few papers sticking at the edge of my shoe by the time I reach our gate. The swamp is overflowing.
The municipal council in Juja is not very active. Only two faces are common: the lady at the main stage collecting fees from the matatus and a random sweeper on the other side of the road to Nairobi. None of these knows about the progressive piling of the mess behind our flat. But what would they do with it anyway? Do they have an incinerator somewhere in Thika? Or just the large culverts emptying the town sewage into Chania river? By the way, where does Juja sewage go?
So these days we have to buy a mosquito coil, a mosquito net or one of the well advertised spray pesticides. The bins on the staircase have become bleeding grounds for the roaches, while the swamp/dumping site has all sort of rodents. This is what we are doing in our apartment. There are thousands of them in this town, tens of thousands in Thika and then the slums. People in estates have organized/uniformed garbage collectors who meet with the chokoraas at the dumping sites. They don’t see much of the mess we are all actively buying, paying and dumping. Silently.-1.274359 36.813106
There are enough nice things to say about Rwanda when you visit for the first time. It is that ideal place where the government is so visible, active and progressive – or so you are made to believe. The ladies are all beautiful, streets are clean, there is order (especially with the coasters) and the presence of uniformed men makes you feel secure. So, when Martin arrived yesterday evening from the land of a thousand hills, he was full of short African stories.
It is these stories and my money-changer bargains that made him over-sleep this morning. And now that I remember, why did the Ugandans put pi in the 2,000 note?
You don’t want to cross the line of a Kenyan soul that is sobering back to the Kenyan rough days. So when my lazy waking friend came from the kitchen with a red tomato. I just turned and continued tapping on this machine.
“Ngai! What is this?” he wailed.
“What?” I asked.
“You have roaches in the kitchen! Do you know what was WHO’s theme this year?”
“What? Who?” I should not have asked this question. The answer was one “enlightening” lecture.
I have always cleaned up the house every weekend. These small insects thrive in my neighbours’ houses-SRSLY! There are ten or so young families living in squeezed-up rooms. Then, there are the bins on the staircase. Every floor has one. They are rarely empty. Martin will not take any of these.
It was only when he left for this month’s Kieran visit that I Googled a bit to update my ignorant self. The hackneyed WHO’s theme was “small bite, big threat”.
Vectors spread diseases: Mosquitoes, flies, ticks, bugs and freshwater snails can spread diseases that cause serious illness and death. (what about the common house gecko?)
Diseases are preventable: Diseases such as malaria, dengue, leishmaniasis and yellow fever are preventable, yet they have the biggest impact on some of the world’s poorest people. (Did Martin categorize me here?)
50% of population is at risk: More than half of the world’s population is at risk of these diseases. Increased travel, trade and migration make even more people vulnerable.
Protect yourself: You can protect yourself and your family by taking simple measures that include sleeping under a bed net, wearing a long-sleeved shirt and trousers and using insect repellent.
When Martin is back we’ll definitely have more meaningful talk than why Rwandese wigs market is very small and the weird haircuts.
If a dog was your teacher,
these are some of the lessons you might learn…
When loved ones come home, always run to greet them
Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face,
to be pure ecstasy
When it’s in your best interest,
Let others know when they’ve invaded your territory
Take naps and stretch before rising
Run romp and play daily
Thrive on attention and let people touch you
Avoid biting, when a simple growl will do
On warm days stop to lie on your back on the grass
On hot days drink lots of water and lay under a shady tree
When you’re happy dance around and wag your entire body
No matter how often you’re scolded,
don’t buy into the guilt thing and pout,
run right back and make friends
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk
Eat with gusto and enthusiasm
Stop when you have had enough
Never pretend to be something you’re not
If what you want lies buried,
dig until you find it.
When someone is having a bad day,
…sit close by
…and nuzzle them gently.
Team Partnership for Child Development (PCD) is working in Ghana to improve the school feeding program. PCD is a nonprofit organization centrally coordinated at the Imperial College of London that uses a network of experts, academics, and civil society organizations to influence policies on child education and nutrition. Our team’s goal is to examine how the country’s strategic grain reserves (buffer stocks) fit into school feeding program and identify ways to strengthen the connections between local farmers, the government, and school caterers.
No amount of research could have prepared us for Ghana. On paper, Ghana is a prosperous nation in West Africa, a model for economic growth and stability in the region, and a poster child for school feeding programs. Located on the Greenwich Mean Time just above the Equator, Ghana is quite literally at the center of the world.
The reality is that Ghana is still a truly developing…
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Howard County Sheriff Jerry Marr got a disturbing call one Saturday afternoon a few months ago. His 6-year-old grandson, Mikey, had been hit by a car while fishing in Greentown with his dad.
The father and son were near a bridge by the Kokomo Reservoir when a woman lost control of her car, slid off the bridge and hit Mikey at a rate of about 50 mph.
Sheriff Marr had seen the results of accidents like this and feared the worst. When he got to Saint Joseph Hospital, he rushed through the emergency room to find Mikey conscious and in fairly good spirits.
‘Mikey, what happened?’ Sheriff Marr asked. Mikey replied, ‘Well, Papaw, I was fishin’ with Dad, and some lady runned me over, I flew into a mud puddle, and broke my fishin’ pole and I didn’t get to catch no fish!’
As it turned out, the impact propelled…
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Today I write to honour one Antony. We did not know his other name but we all agreed he was a generous, easy-going and brave man. We who had the privilege to be served by him as a care-taker. Whether he was knocking at your door to ask you to collect your clothes from the hanging lines when it started drizzling; or if you “forgot” to clear the house rent.
Life is but a dream…the last line of a nursery rhyme we used to sing in nursery school. It spoke of rowing ones boat gently along the stream,and I presume to be the stream of life.This past week being Kenyan has shown how patience can be the best virtue any man can embrace. I however wonder why for some people it does not come so soundly.
Its so sad when you wake up one morning and realize someone you knew just lost their lives because someone became impatient with them. Meaning the plea that made the waiting just a little longer was all that brought their lives to a demise. It so sad..
I wonder how often God has been so repulsed by our sin, so appalled that he turns away..yet in His great mercy does not treat us as our sins deserve. He forgives us so willingly, He receives us back again into His loving arms as if we never even wronged in the first place.
Cant we just for a minute think of the sorrow it would bring such a person’s family, cant we just embrace the sanctity of life..Oh God it pains me to realize how short we are when it comes to dealing with the other person..Oh teach us how to love and to see that each life is sacred and oh let not our hands be quick to shed innocent blood..
Rest in peace Antony,you dint deserve to die that way at least in my point of you..may God avenge your death and bring those perpetrators to book..
Earlier this year when I started researching the African ICT sector I came across an item that caught my attention. Carnegie Mellon University, one of the top ranked schools in the United States and the world, was opening a campus in Rwanda. Like many others the only thing I knew about Rwanda prior to this were the horrible events that took place in 1994.
This news made me want to dig deeper, and on further research I found out that Rwanda has undergone an incredible transformation over the past 18 years. Today, Kigali is one of the cleanest safest cities in Africa, if not the world, and has been ranked the #3 best economy to do business in Sub-Saharan Africa (behind Mauritius and South Africa) in 2012 and again in 2013.
I got an opportunity to come and visit the school to see for myself this week while…
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Wasn’t it a glorious day when I was born! In the African culture, when a child is born, women celebrate by ululating. A boy child receives five ululations while a baby girl gets four. Of course this happened because a boy was esteemed than a girl and that was way before civilization and equal rights set in. I wonder whether the number of ululations is now equal for both genders.
In case you are wondering, no, this is not an ululation class.
So life begins. Gradually, the child opens his/her eyes, start to smile and recognize people, cry, wean, cry a whole lot more and the process of knowledge acquisition continues. Ever noticed that since you considered yourself a grown up, you haven’t stopped doing some of the things you learnt when you were little? Say, talk, eat, walk, see, breathe…
True, life has thrown you uncountable curve balls and hurdles but never have you ever stopped breathing since you received the first slap right after your mother’s body got tired of hosting you. Or have you? Holding your breath doesn’t count.
Similarly, there was a party when we gave our lives to Christ – became Born Again. Gradually, we got to learn (still learning) our way around this new home. Basics like;
1) Reading God’s Word
Just as our parents or guardians sit us down and give us counsel or guidance, God does the same through His scriptures. 2 Timothy 16 ‘All scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right.’ (NLT)
King David echoes the same sentiments in Psalm 119:105 when he declares that God’s word lights his path and directs him. He also says that with God’s word in his heart, he can be able to stay away from sin. God affirms us through scripture time and time again. Better still, scriptures are full of all genres of literature for our entertainment and tease our imaginations.
It is said ‘communication is a two way traffic’. Our heavenly Father loves it when we talk to Him. A prayer is just that – talking to Him. We not only get to tell Him how we feel or what we want but also thank Him for the numerous blessings He keeps showering upon us. Ephesians 6:12-18 cautions us that we are against mighty powers of darkness. Paul reminds us to pray at all times and on every occasion. He makes the same reminder on 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
There are lots of results when one prays but let me give a few of my own experiences.
- Praying helps me recognize my weaknesses and acknowledge God’s might in many situations.
- Praying calms my spirit and helps me be joyful and peaceful in any situation. Philippians 4:6
- Praying gives me the confidence that I will overcome and that victory is already mine In Christ Jesus.
3) Fellowship with Believers
There is a reason the church is called The Body of Christ otherwise we would all be many bodies. Each member of the church is a part of the body according to Paul in 1 Corinthians 12: 12-27. As such, each member needs the other for the body to function well. As much as salvation is an individual decision, we need to meet with other believers so that we can ‘encourage and warm each other’ according to Hebrews 10:25. Some of my most memorable times are those spent with my Christian family because they build me in amazing ways.
Before Jesus vanished into the clouds, He commissioned us to ‘go and make disciples of all nations’ Matthew 28:19 and ‘tell people about me everywhere…to the ends of the earth.’ Acts 1:8
Contrary to most people’s school of thought that the only people supposed to fulfil this command are the clergy, we too have this assignment upon ourselves. Witnessing is basically telling anyone and everyone about Jesus. I mean, it is simply difficult to keep your mouth shut about anything or anyone you love. Right? Same case here. You want everyone to know about this great love of your life and what He has done for you. Check on YouTube Cam (The Platform), Lecrea (Beautiful feet) and/or Lecrea feat MaliMusic (Tell the world) among other videos.
All that said, we are in the continual process of learning these concepts. However, no amount of pressure, pain or pleasure should make us unlearn them.-1.274359 36.813106