An egg and a bangle

There is nothing as satisfying as gradually seeing a child’s face go from “I really don’t know what you are talking about” to lighting up with understanding. To see eager hands raised ready to answer questions or ask some more. For anyone charged with passing out knowledge and skills, this (in my opinion) is the ultimate.

We were out on an education trip in Samburu County, an area called Chumviere. As usual, I was there to document, in photos and video, the mobile education lessons that Save the Elephants conducts up north.  My back was killing me, thanks to the rocky path that we like to call a road. I enjoy these sessions, but on this particular day, I simply wanted to get back to camp and rest. Just before we ended the lesson, my colleagues suggested I take over the question and answer session, to test the students’ comprehension and grasp of the topic. We had gifts too. So anyone who answered correctly got some sort of stationery item. Soon, the classroom was a delightful spectacle; with  hands flying, students running to the chalkboard to label something and trying to outdo each other on speed tests.


Photo: R.J Walters

It wasn’t long before we had run out of gifts. To wrap up, I decided to give a short pep talk on sharing and gratitude. I love it when I have a chance to impart more than curriculum to the kids. Values will take you further than anything you might learn from the normal school syllabus. I think.


“Teacher Trezer!”

I heard someone call out as I walked back to the car. I turned to see a tall, slender boy running towards me. I wondered what I had forgotten. I felt my pocket for my mobile phone and did a quick scan inside the brown box I was carrying; I couldn’t tell, so I waited.

He was almost out of breath when he got to me. I sensed some hesitation as he reached into his pocket and held out towards me a yellow bangle and an egg. I looked at the contents of his hand, then at his face. What was this?

As if sensing my unspoken need for clarification, the timid smile on his lips gave way to these words…

“I thought about what you said in class, about giving even when you could do with more yourself, and always saying thank you. Please accept this as my thank you to you for coming to Chumviere today.”

I stood there, lost for words, as his eyes pleaded with me to accept the gifts. I did. It took a lot not to tear up…(I can be a cry baby :D)…because this was, and still is the sweetest gesture anyone has ever extended to me. Raw and genuine. A bangle and an egg don’t seem like much, but coming from this young man, they spoke volumes. Eggs are such a luxury in these parts. I could even imagine the kind of meal he had envisioned  having after school, but here he was giving it to me. I don’t know why he chose the bangle though; maybe he thought the egg would be too little a gift by itself. Whatever his reasons were, I was moved.

I wore my bangle immediately and didn’t take it off for the duration of the week long trip. Every time I got frustrated about the heat, dust storms and long days, my yellow bangle would remind me about the ‘why’ and the impact on these great minds. This young man’s small act had succeeded in getting me to appreciate that what would seem like ‘just another day at work,’ is in fact an opportunity to inspire.

What a world it would be, if everyone of us was as receptive as this boy was! If each one of us acted out on what we know as right, and strive to see, do and commend the good around us. What a world it would be! How about I start practicing what I preach? Here, catch!

“Thank you for stopping by and taking time to read 🙂 I hope it was worth your time. Remember,  you’ve got the ammunition to make someone smile today. Do it! You will be happy you did :)”




Remembering Tom

Everyone knew Tom. He was the dark-skinned guy who sat outside a tailoring shop along the infamous Kanu Street in Nakuru County. He sat on the ground, always surrounded by heaps and piles of shoes. His little space was fenced by three wooden benches, where clients waited while he worked. Next to him was a shoe shiner.

Tom owned a bicycle, which to me was the only indication that he was not crippled. Not once did I see him up on his feet. He worked on the shoes throughout the day. His hands had over the years been darkened and hardened by the leather and glue. His index finger was like a glue stick, he could never wash that stuff off. I knew he came from my tribe, because sometimes, I heard him speak the same language my mum and dad spoke.

Tom was a constant. I think he went to church on Sundays… I am not sure, but other than that, he never missed a day of work. He would be there when I came home from school and on Saturdays too when the neighborhood kids ran round the dusty Freehold Estate. In the evenings, men would gather at his base and discuss politics. My father was one of the men. At dusk, Tom would pack all the shoes into a sack and store them inside that tailoring shop.

My family was neither poor nor rich. We were not average either. If there is a class between poor and average, we were it. My siblings and I would be required, by circumstances, to be extra careful with our school shoes. School shoes would by extension serve as Sunday best, especially for the boys. It was therefore paramount that they last till we outgrew them. We loved playing football, so we found a way to play bare feet. No hustle. But kids will always be kids, and we would forget and kick at rocks and climb trees till the shoes laughed. We would get a good beating, and then get sent to Tom with two shillings, sometimes more, depending on how hard the shoe had laughed. Our shoes survived the 90s because, Tom.

Once, my father, who worked for the government, got a transfer to Oyugis town. We parked our bags and moved from the Rift Valley to Nyanza province. When we moved back two years later, Tom was still there. For over 15 years, he sat with the shoes during the day, entertained guests in the evenings and then went home when the sun went down.

Then Tom died.

I was in the university when I got the news. I didn’t cry. I can’t quite describe what I felt, but if I am to try, I would say a profound sense of loss. When Tom died, he took with him a chunk of my childhood. He was one of the few connections I still had with a childhood I treasure so much. In hindsight, no one ever said they wanted to be Tom when they grew up. We all wanted to be doctors and engineers and pilots. We did not think anyone could do Tom’s job. It was his. Tom was an institution.

People like Tom are not supposed to die.

I found out today, while reminiscing about Tom with my mum, that he was Ja Kano (one from the Kano plains in Nyanza). That is where he was buried. My father is Ja Kano too, which makes me Nya Kano. Mum says Tom’s work was so good; there wasn’t another cobbler for miles. Everyone brought their shoes to him. He was diligent, faithful. During the weekends, a cobbler friend of his, Ja Alego, would move from his base in the Central Business District and come sit with Tom. The unspoken truth was that Tom was king, and he had quite a following.

Today, as I sat on a bench in Nairobi, waiting for Onyango to repair my blue sandals, I missed Tom. It is six years since he passed on. I see him now, his long experienced fingers intricately stitching my Bata shoes. He doesn’t say much. His short hair is brown from the notorious Nakuru dust. Now I notice the lines on his forehead. I think of his throne back home. His son sits on it. He lives.

Today, 20th October, is Mashujaa Day in Kenya; Heroes Day. Today I remember Tom.

#WorthMoreAlive: I like that we are talking about elephants, rhinos and wildlife conservation in general…

For about a month or so leading up to the April 30th ivory burn at the Nairobi National Park, wildlife conservation discussions have been trending. Local media houses have been assigning some much needed and deserved, airtime and attention to this important conversation. With increased coverage, came increased interest about human wildlife conflict, poaching, Eco-tourism and development. Kenyans started asking questions, giving opinions and suggesting solutions to identified challenges. I have always held the opinion that only a select few care about the Kenya’s wildlife heritage, so it was quite refreshing to watch as people actively partook of the conversation online. As the historic date drew near, the conversations began revolving around the ivory burn. Was it the best option? How was burning the ivory, rhino horn and other illegal wildlife products going to help stop poaching? Was it an exercise in futility?

When President Ian Khama of Botswana unveiled an elephant sculpture made of ivory in July 2015, it stirred up the conservation circles somewhat. Some thought it a brilliant idea that Botswana had decided to put up this monument, while other were of the exact opposite opinion. Botswana’s Minister for Environment is quoted as saying, “It serves as a reminder to people who pass through this building each day that conservation of this iconic species is our collective responsibility. Complemented with a conservation awareness message, we are saying that one live elephant is worth so much more than all the art made of ivory. The statue is a lasting memorial to raise local, national and global awareness of the devastating impact of illegal ivory and the determination of Botswana and the global community to put an end to it.” After about a fortnight of ensuing debate, the noise settled. The towering monument still greets guests at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport.

Ivory elephant

BOTSWANA , Gaborone 16 July 2015, Botswana president let Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama officially unveils the live size Elephant Sculpture of ivory at the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport in Gaborone on 16 July 2015. The ivories come from the elephants which died naturally. (PHOTO/MONIRUL BHUIYAN)

This week, almost a year later, the photo of the monument started popping up on my Facebook timeline with captions like, “This is very creative, maybe Kenya should do this instead of burning the ivory.” One particular post had over five hundred shares. The reactions were as varied as they come. Majority felt enlightened and immediately endorsed the idea; maybe a museum of sorts would work? Others said no. Then there was a group that said, “Why bother? Everything in Kenya is stolen. Soon, the only thing that will remain is the glass surrounding it.” Ha! There is always that breed of people, you know, ones who seem to have resigned to some sort of self imposed fate. Before putting my thoughts down on several posts, I just took a moment to be grateful the WE are actually talking about this! In mass! Now, we just need to arm ourselves with the right information.

It is now hours after smoke filled the skies at the Nairobi National Park as President Uhuru Kenyatta led his Gabonese counterpart Ali Bongo and other dignitaries in lighting up the 105 ton heaps of ivory, rhino horn and other illegal wildlife products. The debate is still as hot as the fire that still burns what is estimated to include the remains of 8000 elephants and 345 rhinos. Why burn? Why not a museum?

Gamzo on Ivory burn.jpg

I must admit, up until three and a half years ago, I was completely oblivious of the plight of elephants and rhinos in Kenya, and indeed Africa. As I took up an internship position at an elephant conservation NGO, I told myself that it was only temporary; that I would soon get bored an take up something better. I did not anticipate falling in love with elephants as I watched BBC’s ‘Secret Life of Elephants,’ sobbing as Maasai girl’s two calves nudged their dead mum to wake up. The roller coaster of emotions being extended to the field, looking in awe as they walked majestically into the sunsets or, in more tragic situations, staring at one lying in a pool of blood, half its face chopped off. I was never quite the same. I started caring. I caught feelings 😀

My interest grew with every passing day, discovering and learning about why we bother about saving elephants. Today, I speak from a point of information, and most importantly, I reckon, real experience. There are people who will speak about the economics of poaching, a really important aspect no doubt, but I like to appeal to the heart. Pick up a documentary that will show you uncensored footage and photos of mutilated bodies of elephants/rhinos lying in a bloody pool. Watch elephants mourn their dead. Then take a trip and see them, alive, in their splendor. If you still feel nothing…if you are still giving that ivory monument a moment of thought…Doing what Botswana did, I think, just makes ivory look attractive. It breaks my heart, but to other twisted people it displays class. I see no difference between that and a carved piece of ivory in a living room in China. I prefer a live elephant thriving in a national park, living to its old age. Now that’s a worthy monument.


Elephants at the Samburu National Game Reserve Photo: Daryl Balfour

We, Kenyans, have come of age, having such discourses. I hope the media does not stop with the coverage after the burn. Pray, we need to keep talking about this within our circles, engaging each other on how to make things better. Read about all the organizations working on the ground and read about what they are doing. I feel that if we, Kenyans, start caring enough we will hold our leaders accountable for things as corruption and consequently, poverty and other factors fueling poaching. We need to stop thinking about ivory conservation and re-ignite efforts aimed towards wildlife management and conservation. To purpose never to have a day like this one, because there will be nothing to burn. In a nutshell find a spot, in your own capacity and #Stopthekilling#StopTheTrafficking and #StopTheDemand for ivory and other wildlife products. The burn alone might not achieve the desired results, but with collaborated efforts between governments (this means you and I, as it does elected leaders) and conservation groups, as well as embarking on conservation education, I am confident of success. The economist will chip in. You will get involved. It will be a concerted effort, everyone doing what they can. This way, we will proactively work towards ensuring future generations SEE these species in their full glory, ALIVE, not lifeless, as a heap of ivory. That, in my opinion, makes more sense than an ivory museum. Otherwise, people will keep killing and we will keep confiscating and building ivory towers. It is pointless. As someone rightly said in one of the Facebook posts,

“Ivory for any other purpose than being on a live elephant is repugnant.”

Elephants and rhinoceroses may be large, heavy and thick-skinned, but they are being threatened with extinction in the wild by poaching for their ivory or horn, and by human impact on their habitats. You need to join the fight and help secure their future.

Pssst! I’ll start you off with sites you need to visit 🙂

  1., Save the Elephants on Facebook
  2. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
  3. Tsavo Trust
  4. Amboseli Trust for Elephants 

Musings of a professional bouquet catcher

I am a little bit over 6ft tall. It is a good thing, mostly, but what this means, (in a wedding context) is that I almost always catch the bouquet. Sometimes, I look around me and just feel like the Usain Bolt of catching bouquets. A win is assured, but winning can get boring (ha!) unless you break records or that sort of thing. So I purposed to challenge myself at every wedding. I either do not jump at all (see how bolt sometimes just jogs to the finishing line? Yeah) or try to jump higher than the other time. On rare occasions, I sit it out and let other ladies have the glory. You know, missing the World Championships for the Olympics (Logic: The potential Mr.Right grows taller…)


Anyway, I recently attended a rather unique wedding. At the end, when the bride is supposed to throw the bouquet to the ‘next in line,’ she made a moving speech instead and gifted the flowers to a woman who had been married the longest. It was such a beautiful tribute!! I loved it! I of course went on to update it on Facebook, and as I was just about to click post, it occurred to me that this bride had denied me an opportunity. How dare she? Doesn’t she know that our getting husbands depends her throwing that bouquet, us catching it and living happily ever after with our prince charming(s)? How insensitive! Now I am scared. If every bride thinks that this is a splendid idea, then #TeamSingle will keep growing (sigh! Is that such a bad thing though?) We shall discuss, but first, a little bit of history…


According to, the tossing of the bridal bouquet is a custom that roots in England and was believed to be a way for the bride to pass along her good fortune to others. Bridal guests would  try and tear away pieces of the bride’s clothing and flowers in order to obtain this fortune. In attempt to get away from this tearing of her gown, the bride would toss her bouquet into the crowd. As tradition says, the single lady who catches the bouquet has received the bride’s fortune and will be next in line to marry. The garter takes the place of the bouquet for the men. The groom is supposed to remove the garter and toss it to the eager single men and similarly, the single man who catches it would be next in line. I don’t think this happens in Kenya though. Which Kenyan man would willingly give a piece as intimate as his wife’s garter to another man? Hehee! Indeed, I attended a wedding where at the evening party, the groom removed the garter (with his teeth) and put it in his pocket. That was just hilarious! And of course disappointing to all the single men who now had to wait till the next wedding to get lucky. Pressure!

In light of this, I have a few questions, on behalf of the professional bouquet and, on the very rare occasions, garter catchers.

  1. Define single.

So now, does single mean not dating or dating but not married? Don’t you find it confusing? And unfair? Sometimes unrealistic? I mean, say ‘not dating’ catches the bouquet, will she pituka or get married before the ‘dating?’ Isn’t that unfair? Like someone overtaking Bolt from way back. It just seems wrong,  especially because the bouquet is supposed to quicken a man to proposing and then leading a delegation to your parents to formally ask for your hand in marriage. However, I think ‘dating’ catching the bouquet is pretty advantageous too. As we Kenyans are fond of saying, “Watatuondolea jam.”(They will remove the jam 😀 ) I also propose that these two categories be separated and the bride tosses two bouquets. Fair, isn’t it?

  1. How many?

Exactly how many times am I supposed to catch before I get lucky? I am no longer the tallest in the herd, I’m afraid. Just what manure are we feeding these kids these days? I never used to get serious challengers. But now a new crop of Yegos are springing up and setting their own records. I need to retire while I am still ahead…or I will never catch another bouquet. Pray, someone tell me if there are rules and regulations we have been ignoring. Wait! Here is a great idea! Both the bouquet and the garter are thrown at the same time and the two lucky winners get together. The priest and pastors present then lay hands and pray seriously and seal the ‘union.’ And what do you know? The union survives and they get to return the favor to the singles club. Genius, right? Terms and Conditions still apply though. Anything can happen. By the way, I may be holding on to someone’s ‘man’ going by the number of times I have made the catch. I would like to publicly apologize to whoever it is. If we ‘jumped with you’ at any of the recent weddings, please get in touch so we can sort this out and give you what is rightfully yours. First come first serve.

  1. Can people just chill out?

Do not approach me at a wedding and ask me, “Si wewe ndio ulishika ile maua ya last? Niaje umekam weddo pekee yako?” (You caught the bouquet at the last wedding, why are you here alone?) …or say to me,”Leo si utuachie tu” (Can you sit this one out today?) Maybe today I don’t need the bouquet for the same reason you do. Maybe I just like that the bride is not carrying the kawaida flowers and would like to keep that bunch on my table before I ask her where she got them as soon as she comes back from the honeymoon so I can buy my own. Phew!

  1. If you are single you are single (LoL)

Ok this is not a question, but, I have been to weddings where the MC or Pastor has had to say, “Hivi ndio watu hukosa mabwana, not heeding to the call…” then you see a flock of women or ladies, if you like, straightening their dresses and dancing to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.” There is nothing wrong with being single, I think.It certainly isn’t a disease! So if you feel it is not yet time (because if you catch the bouquet you are definitely getting married) just sit it out. Even if the pastor decrees it to be the final bouquet toss, for the next five years. Don’t panic. Know yourself.

So, upcoming brides (what?) please don’t substitute this tradition with the very noble and thoughtful gesture of gifting the longest married women. Si they are already blessed with a husband who can buy them flowers all the time? Have mercy on us. Make the right decision. We need you to uphold and preserve tradition. Thank you.


In my short professional career, I have not had many people or companies pitch ideas to me in a formal setting. Even so, being a Communications graduate, I have a pretty good idea of the kind of conduct expected. Some of these expectations also boil down to common sense and a general sense of respect.

I am quite sure that this sort of thing is also taught in Business School. So I would think that this is a skill that 90% of the workforce should have. I will take a chance and say the ‘professionals I am about to talk about fall in the 10% bracket. Please, humour me as I bore you with the details…

About two days prior to the meeting, I received a call at my place of work. The person at the other end of the line introduced herself and went on to state the purpose of her call. She was from the marketing department in one of the prominent media houses in the country. On the surface her idea sounded real good! I went ahead to give her my supervisor’s email address as well mine, so she could request a meeting officially. The call came through on a Wednesday, and the meeting set for Friday, 11:00 AM. Honestly, we were all looking forward to this meeting. We have been trying for a while to get the media to take an informed interest on the cause and it seemed like we were finally making headway.


Our guests call at 10:30 AM informing us that they are just leaving the Nairobi CBD. Our offices are located in Karen, the other side of town, so it would take them around 35-40 minutes to get to the office. They get lost a couple of times, and keep calling for directions. Never mind the ease of access to Google Maps these days. Finally, we see a car pull up right in front of the office. It is 11:45 AM. No apologies are made for the delay, instead when we show them into the meeting room; one of them spots a heater and asks, “Is this heater working?” It is a cold morning in Nairobi, so we offer the ladies tea and/or coffee.

The meeting starts. The team, two very smartly dressed ladies, introduce themselves and again, state the purpose of the meeting. They thank us for meeting them at such short notice, and we respond that we had sensed the urgency. My boss begins to tell them about our organization and what we do. One of them is on her phone replying to some text (I was seated right next to her) and the other one had back turned to the boss and her head buried inside her laptop bag trying to find something. I doubt they had grasped anything by the time they requested to show us a presentation they had prepared.

The presentation was painful. They had the right idea, but I think, no I know, it backfired. The first slide was meant to show us that they are up to speed with issues concerning our cause, statistics and all. Let’s just say they were misinformed. The lady charged with doing the presentation kept dragging her chair to and from the table where she had placed her laptop. It was just the four of us, so there was no table separating us, sort of like a semicircle setting. She was in the middle, so she kept going back and forth, like a kid who had just seen these types of seats for the first time. Midway through her presentation, her colleague decides to interrupt her to let her know that her tea is getting cold! Right!

They finish the presentation and drop the bombshell that they would like to partner with us, with a Ksh.4 million figure displayed on the laptop. Again, assumptions are made in a quest to convince us that we needed the airtime that their ‘CSR’ approach was offering us. So we were to brainstorm and let them know how much of the 4million we can raise by, wait for it, latest Tuesday morning. We tried to conceal our shock as we politely explained how things work and assured them that we would try and go the extra mile as to contact our partners for additional support.

I had had enough. I could not wait for them to take leave so I could tell my boss what I really thought of them and the idea. Long story short, we did not partner with them, but we did do due diligence and contacted our partners on their behalf. Waiting to see if they got them on board.

I am disappointed. Disappointed at the level of disrespect and assumptions made. Maybe we can make future performances better. Here are a few pointers to winning people to your side:

  1. Be Punctual. Always arrive a least ten minutes before the agreed time. This way, you are able to prepare any presentation materials before the meeting begins.
  1. Basic etiquette. The heater working is none of your business!! (I just had to throw this one as it is) Seriously though, your conduct, right from the handshake when you walk in, your presentation and behaviour during the meeting, will determine the end result. There was such obvious disrespect during this meeting, and the fact that the ladies did not seem to recognize this or bother to, is baffling.Until the host insists that you refer to them by their first name, do not. The pointer is usually at the point of introduction, “Hi, My Name is Trezer,” and “Hi, I am Miss Oguda” already tell you how the person wishes to be addressed. Alternatively, to eliminate any doubt, you can ask, “Can I call you Trezer?”
  1. If you are going educate experts about what they do, please do sufficient research. For instance, Don’t say Serengeti is in Kenya for God’s sake…Or that the organization is two years old while it is in fact twenty! Oh, this one’s important, GET THE COMPANY NAME RIGHT!
  1. Even in this age, I prefer a pen and paper as opposed to an ipad or computer to take notes, especially if it is a small meeting as was ours. It is less tempting to respond to texts or emails and you actually maintain eye contact. If you’re one of those big shots, do come with someone who will transcribe the meeting notes for you. Someone who will not be directly involved in the talks.
  2. If it is a last minute thing, as this one was, please please please get as much ammunition in your bag as you possibly can. I am talking personal charm and fascinating presentations of past successes.
  1. Oh, I must say this. It does not matter if your host met your perceived expectations or not. That same level of respectful tone you had on the phone should be transferred physically. Never let it be seen that you are ‘disappointed’ to be meeting someone smaller in frame or any other physical attributes that could cloud your judgment. Do your job and walk away.

You must be disciplined in how you prepare yourself every day. Don’t be careless or go into meetings unprepared. You must be serious, if you want others to take you seriously. And it all boils down to your personal discipline.

The Follow Through…

Kenyans, we need to stop with our hypocrisy.

Trust me. This is not just another tired rant.

44 hours. The amount of time The President of the United States Barrack Obama spent in Kenya, majority of which was spent delivering life changing, inspirational speeches. We sat at KICC and heard him talk about his belief for innovation and entrepreneurship and how Africa, specifically Kenya is a hotbed for all good things. Take that CNN! Mr. President then told off the opposition, something that earned him more Bonga points with a section of Kenyans. Finally, he spoke to a massive crowd of young people, encouraging them to secure Kenya’s future through integrity and hard work. Women, their rights and place in the society was discussed. Sauti Sol got him to do some Lipala, and he nailed it! Eh! By the way, tell me you did not “uuuuu” and “aaaaah” at how Mr. President hugged his sister Auma! So cool! Now our men even have pictorial lessons on how to hug a woman, I hear!

The infamous Obama siblings hug

The infamous Obama sibling hug

Every second and space the internet could offer was filled with quotes from #POTUS’ (President of the United States) various speeches. We put up posts on how President Obama’s visit to Kenya has touched us, and how we have been inspired to grab the steering wheel-URGENTLY-and LEAD this country to great heights! The Global Entrepreneurship Summit also got those of us who attended all fired up.

Let’s do this!!

I am happy that Obama came. I am quite excited about the GES and the resulting flourishing lives and economy. I may not have hung on his every word and gesture with pure unrefined, exaggerated delight, but I sure I’m glad he took his time and did this before his term ended. Save the best for almost last, ey?

Before President Obama’s feet even stepped on the beautifully presented homely red carpets in Ethiopia, Kenyans had gone back to the status quo. Oh, the internet was still awash with Obama praises and quotes alright, but trust me, nothing has changed. I don’t see or sense that palpable inspiration and determination that existed during the 44 hours POTUS paid us a courtesy call in the land of his ancestors. Maybe that just me, but indulge me a while.

I saw a lot of posts indicating change. Strict navigation towards goals, no stalls. Accountability as a human being first, then as a Kenyan. “We are going to change this country, one day, one person at a time,” we said. Well, the rate at which amnesia hits us seems to have gone up 100%. We have gone back to gnawing at each other on social media, “killing” everyone who tries to say that Obama lectured Raila, Kalonzo and theIr CORD counterparts. Dare someone say that Uhuru Kenyatta is not the best president Kenya has ever had!  We have gone back to our tribal cocoons, where we are apparently most powerful and vocal. Positive ethnicity is preached everyday in Kenya, nothing changes. A case of two steps forward, another four backward. In my naivety, I really thought hearing it from Obama would at least change something.

Sigh! I need to wake up!For real…

In traffic, we are still overlapping, creating our own filter lanes, in roads and insulting anyone who tries to tell you to be patient. Someone is still charging you 15bob for a banana that would normally go for 10bob, just because you look like you can fish out an extra 5bob just like that. Change my foot. Why is this guy in the matatu sitting with his legs apart taking up all my leg space? Come on….What time did you report to work again today?

Look, we need to stop embarrassing ourselves like this.

In basket ball, there is a vital shooting technique that every player worth their salt should practice and perfect. The follow through. In this technique, your arm finishes straight, your wrist loose and your fingers hanging down. Your fingers should be naturally hanging, not tight together or pointing. More important than the follow through, is the act of holding your follow through. By holding your follow through you are engraining it into your muscle memory, making your mechanics come naturally without conscious thought. In other words becomes the natural thing to do as and after you shoot a basketball. While the follow through may seem like a simple movement, it does make your shot go more to where you want it to go. The HOOP, or in layman’s terms, the goal. This technique is not something you need to master, but more like take a habit of. One can easily tell a sure shot from a fluke even before the ball touches the rim, just by observing the follow through. A perfect follow through often births an excellent sure shot. My team mates and I used to call it a swish!(The sound the basket makes when the ball goes through)

3.2.5 Release

Follow through, that is exactly what everyone of us needs engraved into our system You speak, you follow through. Act. Follow through gives you results. Favourable results most of the time. The steps need not be big ones, but they must be seen. The little things we do, positive or negative, blow up and determine the course and quality of life we live. I want to be hopeful that our dreams will not just flourish on social media, with numerous likes and shares. I am hopeful. Let’s do it!

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) shoots over New Orleans Hornets forward Anthony Davis (23) in the second half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Monday, March 18, 2013.  The Warriors won 93-72. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) shoots over New Orleans Hornets forward Anthony Davis (23) in the second half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Monday, March 18, 2013. The Warriors won 93-72. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Yeah. Let’s stop with this hypocrisy!!!

A lesson in dreaming

I treasure children. I love their innocence and all they can get away with in the name of being ‘children’, because when a grown up does them, they are branded childish. I love the genuinity(is that a word?) in their eyes; the windows to their souls. I can tell, earnestly, when they are happy, sad, bored or whatever other feeling. Being around kids is refreshing. I started accompanying the education team for documenting purposes, film and photography. Then, unofficially, hype man (woman) was added to my TOR-Terms of Reference. So whenever the kids look bored or are unresponsive, I am there to do an equivalent of ‘ikibamba sana wapi nduruuuu’! Anyway, so this one of those times, the Save the Elephants education team, is out in Chumviere, somewhere between Isiolo and Archers post. To get to Chumviere Primary School, you will need:

  1. A strong purpose
  2. One of those cars used by drivers in the Rhino Charge events
  3. Water
  4. A state of the art backbone.

There is a British Army barrack just off the tarmac. It is the only modern building you’ll see until you get to the school. The terrain is mostly rocky and thorny, and when its not, its very dusty. There are ‘manyatta’ villages scattered every few kilometers. Sometimes, you will see an old woman with her donkey carrying a jerry can or two of water and boys tending to goats. They stop to look at you and/or your car and the young boys run after you waving excitedly. If they see a ‘mzungu’ they will shout proudly “How are you?” and run away giggling at the response, “Fine.” Only, the mzungus are sometimes too eager to show off their Kiswahili skills, they shout back a “Jambo!”

We get to the school and its just perfect. Well, not perfect PERFECT, but it certainly beats my lowly expectations. I spot a water tank somewhere, and then classrooms built of wood and oiled black. The Kenyan flag is flying high on a high metal pole planted in the middle of a circle of well-arranged white stones. A few meters away, a stone walled toilet brightly painted blue and white. Some writings on it, I can’t quite make them out. After a briefing at the headmaster’s office, we head to the Standard Six class. There are about 20 of them, more girls than boys this time. There have been incidences of banditry and cattle rustling, and most of the boys had to go help their fathers with the herds. The girls stayed back with the women folk. Staff introductions and the lessons begin. “Living in Harmony with Elephants,” they are dubbed. The education team goes round schools built around elephant corridors and carries out lessons to find out the students attitudes towards the elephants and how Save the Elephants can help in areas of conflict.

The team concludes part one of the lesson and one of them whispers in my ear “enda uwachangamshe kidogo before we start part 2”) Ha! So I step up and ask each of them to tell me their name and what they would like to be when they grow up. Cliché, I know, but I love to hear that kids still dream in this day and age. I tell them to smile while at it because it makes it even more interesting, and I like to see happy faces (…also, we need to get really happy photos for social media and the website) I get a couple of answers; from doctors (of course) to teachers, pilots and even rangers, but nothing could have prepared me for this one. “My name is Raphael, he says, “…and I want to be a farmer.”

Source: Internet

A young farmer

I say a ‘wow!’ Careful not to sound too surprised. I tell him to keep working at it. I expected all the other answers. Almost all of them had seen someone in that career once. Pilots, they had seen flying planes over their schools. They have been through enough hard times to see soldiers and men in uniform around, so being a soldier or pilot don’t sound so farfetched.

Why you ask, did the farmer amaze me so? Picture the terrain I have just described. Nothing grows there except thorns and other random weeds. The livestock eat whatever they can find. On a previous visit, lunch was githeri (A mixture of hard boiled maize and beans-a Kenyan delicacy) No one wants to eat this everyday though, but to some of these kids its life. A hope. For Raphael, being a farmer represented people and green lush farms that he’d only seen in books. A farfetched one, but a dream nonetheless. It made me happy, that he wished to explore the world beyond Chumviere. He knew that to fulfill his dream he had to work hard to get out of Chumviere where farming doesn’t happen and who knows, come back and supply green leafy vegetables home.

Aaaaah! A lesson in dreaming.

“The size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve them. If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough. -Ellen Johnson Sirleaf