The have not(s)…

Well, I’ve read a lot of some guidelines to have a happy life and most involve the do(s). They vary from interaction with others and some narrow down to a personal life. I came across a poster with some simplified guidelines which I find relatable. I talked mostly of the do not(s). I’ll share to how it was quoted:

 

  1. Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.
  2. Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.
  3. Never spend your money before you have it.
  4. Never buy what you do not want just because it’s cheap.
  5. Never do anything against your will or desire.
  6. Never allow evil to push or pull you towards pain.
  7. Never speak or react when you’re angry.
  8. Never underestimate your opponent in your life activities.
  9. Never make a judgement from the first impression.
  10. Never make an assumption without a verification.

 

Hoping that, if not all, some of them will be relatable.

 

Cheers!

Kevin

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Stop hitting that backspace…

The amateur blogger or editor involuntarily finds the backspace button a friendly key to him or her. Reasons being, they usually are not sure whether the readers will be much interested in their work. I too get to hit that key and go blank for a minute or two before I get the words to type again. The key problem is under-confidence. This kicks in doubt and lowers morale. When writing an article or blog, try not to over think. Remember, it’s your article. Get to picture it and write it down as you want to. Make it interesting a you can to yourself. Remember, if what you’re writing down is boring to you, it will be twice as boring to the one who’ll get to read it. So don’t shy away, don’t over think, just let it flow. Be there any corrections, the readers will correct you. The more you get to write, the more you get to perfect. So don’t ditch that article in the bin.

 

Cheers!

Kevin

The controllable flood

Recently there have been floods on the roads of Nairobi. Not that there are no drainage systems along the road but because I’ve come to notice something about it… human irresponsibility. Trash is being damped on the road by motorists and the passers-by drop them along the road. On the dry season this may not look like something tragic but to say, oh this place is dirty! But all changes when it starts raining heavily. Upon heavy rains, the soil gets saturated enough to absorb any more water. This leads to pools of water being formed and eventually small streams. Basically, water flows downwards along gravity and drainage systems are best suited in managing water clogging.

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Photo courtesy:  nyumbanitv.com

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Photo courtesy : jambonewspot.com

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Photo courtesy : ghettoradio.co.ke

As this small streams intersect down the slopes into the drainage channels, the small chunks of plastics get carried along with it. Too much accumulation of it in the drainage lines lead to blocked drainage‎ resulting in water overflow and eventually flooding on the roads or streets.

Much of it has been addressed by environmentalists and taught in schools about waste management and control. It’s sad that people have become arrogant about it and we’re now facing the consequences. Flooding due to human activity is controllable. Let’s not blame the rains. Don’t dump wastes in the environment expecting someone to come and collect it for you. Take responsibility and some of this things will come to change for the better.

Yours,

Kevin

Introversion, it’s not a self-indulgence

Introversion is not a self-isolation.

It’s not something that one chooses to be.

It’s not something that one seeks.

It carries its own burdens.

 

You don’t get to make much friends.

You also don’t get to know how to keep them.

You get stuck somewhere, but you don’t know how to seek help.

You make mistakes, people get angry.

But you don’t know how to explain yourself.

All you thought was the right thing.

 

You meet someone, you avoid them.

They show interest in you, and you give them your attention.

You fall in love; it becomes a battle of judgement.

It’s your first time.

So you open up your heart, and finally say you’ve found someone.

It gets broken, and you sink in pain.

It gets all quiet.

You get to tell yourself never to fall in love again, but it’s not how it works

No one told you not to fall fast in love.

 

You sign up a social account. Nobody knows me here.

You get to follow people, some follow back.

And say you’ve got a sense of belonging.

Let me post something, you say.

But then, what will people think about me?

It’s the cautious you.

So you keep hitting the backspace and log out

No one told you that it’s a free world.

Your voice fades away.

 

You’ve finished school and your all grown up

Mama and Papa tell you that you have to craft your life

You get out of your cocoon and meet the world

It’s all hazy and frightening. Where do I start?

You make it to your first interview, and questions pin you down

You didn’t score the point on communication skills, and that call for a job doesn’t come in.

Maybe employment is not for me, you say.

 

You start to craft your life.

Too many dreams, too many opportunities to choose from

Maybe this, maybe that, will get me there

You scroll the web and find links to guide you

One by one you subscribe, and emails start coming in

You get to read them daily; man never runs out of options

The advices get immense, confusion kicks in

Your dreams, your hope start fading

It’s not long before…. you get lost in you.

 

Stress kicks in, I have to do something you say

You look at how far your friends have gone

Some are lost, some are like you, others are successful

You start living other people’s lives, emulate others, is what you’re told

But everything doesn’t work for you

No one told you,

The world is a stage; you have to play your role.

 

Many in the world may be like you

Some have found their purpose in life

Others have stepped out and made a difference

Others are changing the world

All you need is to listen to yourself

Remember, you don’t need a thousand candles to battle the darkness,

You just need to light one.

 

 

Cheers!

Kevin

On the rugged edges of the Menengai crater

Hold my hand, hold my hand! The grass roots gave in, I tumbled down the rugged edges and fell on a tree shrub. I lost consciousness.

 

Ken was getting excited to go for that academic trip to visit one of the passively active volcanic mountains in the Rift Valley. It was something he had planned for in two months since they re-opened school.

 

“Wake up, wake up! It due day. We’ve got to be ready for the school trip.” My classmate woke me up that morning at five O’clock. I was in my second year at high school. Things like this got us excited as I was in a boarding school. Quickly I prepped myself and went to the dining hall to have my breakfast. In everyone’s chatter, it was about what they expected to unfold in the day. Little did I know my fate.

 

Our academic trip started off at six in the morning. It was still dark, but who cared as long we’ll be travelling a distant place away from school. That is what got us thrilled. With soft music playing in the bus and watching the distant trees which seemed to be moving along with the bus, I gave in to a nap. After some hours of travel, we stopped at a nearby gas station to fuel the bus. Everyone was told to take a stretch, walk around and buy some snacks if need be and shortly we resumed our journey. Finally, the Rift-Valley. A scenery that cannot be forgotten. The steep slopes of the escarpment and a fairly flat ridge that stretched out at the bottom. It almost looked as if it was hand crafted.

 

It only took us two to three hours to get to the crater. It was like a steep climb up, volcanic stones scattered around, some large some small and small gravel-like volcanic rocks loosely laid on the road. A couple of times the wheels of the bus skid on this rocks. Finally, we were at the top. The huge crater which circumferences on a huge diameter. It has some steep banking on the side and on the bottom, you can see smoke spewing on different spots of the crater. I stood on the edge of the crater and looked down. It’s a far drop to the bottom with vegetation like small tree shrubs growing on the sides, all the way to the base. On the highest point, there was a pole with many arrows pointing to various cities around the world. We were not the only school or people to have visited the site. On count, there were also some local and foreign tourists around.

 

We had a 45 minutes’ lesson from the local guide on formations of volcanic mountains and craters in the rift valley and when they stopped being active to passive or dormant. It was now time to take some photos of the landscapes and us as a class. I remember we took a couple of them until I decided to take one on the edge of the crater, just to have a clear view of it in the background. ‘Snap, snap,’ “Oh wait, I want to move a little closer to the edge,” I told my friend. I posed, putting one leg a little back and that it when a turn of events took place.

 

I slipped over loose gravel and lost balance. I tried gripping myself on the ground but there was nothing to hold onto. I was on a quick drop! Luckily, I held on to some grass which had grown in tight clusters. It didn’t matter to me if it was going to let go as long as it held me to a stop. “Hold on Ken, am getting help,” said my classmate. There were some bruises on my arm and legs, a little bit of scratches on my face. “Help, help!” I could hear people calling on. Two men came down the slope, cautiously watching their steps. They didn’t want to make the situation worse by adding more casualties. “Hold my hand, hold my hand!” he said. I tried to stretch my arm but the grass started to give in. ‘Aaaaaarh’

 

I woke up, not knowing how long I’ve been unconscious. I was being pulled up by a rope. My whole body ached. What happened! “Don’t move,” I heard someone say, it almost sounded like a murmur. A sheer pain came from my leg. “Knot it tight to stop the bleeding,” I heard a man say. Through blurry vision, I saw a stick had pieced though my thigh. I gave in again; this time I woke up in a hospital emergency centre. What happened next, I can’t recall. I only woke up the following morning heavily bandaged but still in agony. “It took me a couple of months to heal completely but the scars I got remind me of that moment I escaped ill fate,” concluded Ken with some balancing tears in his eyes.

 

Cheers!

Kevin.

When the lights of the night sky were shut out

I flicker my torch on and off in the dark night and point it out to the sky just to see how far the light would go. It may not be pretty logical considering how far the sky is but in the moment it was worth passing my time in. The lights had gone off for some 30 minutes or so due to a faulty electric line. It was a cloudy night as far as I could tell and nothing much to look around at only for the passing cars and a group of children playing near the block. “One, two, three, four… nine and ten” all the children had scattered away to hiding and it was his turn to seek. I chuckled. “Funny how children can play hide and seek in the dark without the worries of this world,” said my neighbour as leaned on the barrier railing on the roadside.

This were the worst of my nights. My phone’s battery was critically low, I had not charged my laptop in the last two days and my favourite show was live on air. I felt as if I was being cut off from this world. “Got you, it’s now your turn” said the seeker. “Oh, look! Doesn’t it look amazing. I bet I can count more twinkling stars than all of you can,” he posed another challenge. I looked up and the clouds had broken through for the stars to be visible. Ten of them lay in a circle on the ground and they started counting, each of them pointing their tiny fingers to the sky.

“You see my ‘son’, over the years, man has advanced in many ways that they have forgotten the wonders in this world. You can tell the time by looking on the watch, seasons by referring to the calendars, travelling by locking the GPS on your phone or other electronic gadgets. That was not in my days,” he paused before continuing, looking at the stars as if he’s been caught by some Deja vu. ” In our time, we looked onto the night stars to know when it was the season to plant, harvest, go to war, hold a festival or even navigate our way away from home and back. We could travel great distances by looking onto the sky. I used to be the messenger in our clan.” He smiled.

He went back to the house and came back with a piece of paper and a pencil. He was an old man and he walked with a slightly bent posture. “I am an old man but it doesn’t mean am way beyond reasoning,” he laughed a little almost sounding as if he had a dry cough. “We didn’t have schools in our village, not like today where you can find them on almost every corner. School then… was for the rich in the society. But it wasn’t a shortcoming to me as missionaries came and I was lucky to be educated.” “But I heard many people were not all that welcoming to the system of learning,” I told him. “I had a strict grandfather who valued education and all it came with. He would smack me and I would burn the midnight lamp studying if he happened to see any signs of play with books. But that’s a story for another day,” he finally said.

He sketched some figures on the piece of paper and lifted it up for me to see. “This is what the Englishmen called Orion, to us it signified the season of hunting. You can see it just right above us. Other stars as these signified it’s time to plant, this one was for harvesting season, we held our festivals when we saw this kind of stars…” He showed me a couple of them, like 5 constellations, some of which had funny shapes. By how he talked passionately about the old days, I can say times have changed. More and more of the historical cultures are being forgotten. Technology has locked us to our screens, the night street lamps are brighter than the night sky. Who can blame anyone for not even noticing the stars?

As much as we’re all modernizing civilization, I can say it’s best to remember the traditional heritage. It’s what kept our ancestors going. Studying the sky was like studying an astronomical blueprint. It was that important to them. I can say, through their astronomical ventures, it is then that we came to know our world much better. Some of the festivals are still being performed in different parts of the world today, wearing the same costumes as they did. Astronomical structures they built then still exist today some dated back to thousands of years ago. Today they stand as museums, artefacts, or tourist attraction centres…all but to remind us of their great works. Let’s not blind the night sky.

 

Cheers!

Kevin.

The Buffalo Mountain

The wind gently blew past my face. I could feel the dew as I ran my fingers on the tall green grass and the sun was rising on the horizon behind the pale blue mountain. On the distant land I could see antelopes and zebras grazing all mingled up with the herd of cows and also goats of some local pastrolists who camped nearby.

I paced up my little steps down the hill to see the great river which quietly flowed on the gentle curves of the hilly banks. What a view! There were some fishermen fishing in the middle of the river. They didn’t have a boat. All they used was what they could find locally. Some logs of wood, cut to some length and tied together with a home threaded sisal rope.

“Mto huu unaitwa Athi,” said a man behind me. (This is called Athi river). I looked up and back to get a better view of him. He was fairly an old man with wrinkles on his face. His skin looked dry probably due to the extensive time he spends under the sun. On his right hand he held a long stick and with the left hand he pointed to something across the river. I looked over and saw an animal drinking water on the river bank.
“Je, unajua jina la yule mnyama?”
(Do you know the name of that animal?)
I shook my head to say no.
“Anaitwa nyati”
(Its called a buffalo)

Then we both looked up to the pale blue mountain.
“You see that mountain, it was named after that animal. Its called Kilimambogo, the Buffalo Mountain,” he finally said before a long-quiet-pause.

That was 18 years ago. A very young boy I was.

“Kuna mtu anashukia Kilimambogo?” the bus conductor shouted. (Anyone dropping off at Kilimambogo?)
Quickly I stood up and headed for the exit door. Whoa! The sun was too hot. Cattle were grazing along the road and I could see houses built in close ranges. This was not the kind of view I could get in my child days. You could only point your neighbor to a distant away. Your finger almost seemed as if its pointing upwards towards the horizon.

Two days later, and its was time to head down the hill to get the familiar view of the river. Pretty much it looked as it used to but not as much. The path down the river had changed. This was due to cultivation taking place near the river banks and the rising number of settlement. It also didn’t take a long time to know why the wild animals are no longer on sight. I dipped my hand in the water. It had some strange smell. The water was polluted. There were no longer fishermen nor the wild goose on the water or hippos on sight.

Suddenly, a young man came to fetch water to cultivate his crops. He was in his teenage, tall and happily whistling his way down to the river bank.
“Excuse me,” I started out, “Do you know where I can see the hippos? And what happened to the wild animals?”
“The wild animals you can find them in the game park. The hippos you’ll have to travel upstream along the river, just a few kilometers away”
“And where’s the game park? ”
“Its on that mountain you see there”

Two weeks later, it was time to face the Buffalo Mountain.

Mt Kilimambogo. Surely, who wouldn’t want to conquer the mountain to its summit? 6:30 am was the time I was advised to be at the park entrance. After the custom checks and regulations we were summoned on an open ground and given the precautionary measures as we were likely to encounter wild game. Finally, the green flag. Accompanying me were my kins and a game warden.

He was a sturdy man very upright and energetic. You could easily mistake him for being in his 40’s but he’s in his 60’s. That was some challenge of physical fitness to me. But the hike was part of getting to know what happened over the years. I pretty got the answers needed.

“Due to the increase in human settlement, wild animals were slowly being pushed away from their natural habitat. So they came to settle in the mountain area. The reason as to why the mountain is also part of the game park is not only to protect the game animals but also the natural forest habitat. With increase in population, charcoal business grew. Charcoal was considered as an alternative source of cheaper fuel. So the trees on the mountain slopes were being unnecessarily cut down. There was need to protect this natural vegetation. There are a couple of wild animals in the park but the most distinctive one is the buffalo. Wondering in this mountain without a warden can be seriously dangerous if you encounter with them. Due to their apex temper, a short encounter with them can be a matter of critical life evaluation. The population of hippos in the river dropped. This can be attributed to the increasing pollution levels in the river. Most of the hippos are moving upstream to safer waters. We need to create proper management of waste and chemicals disposals.” Warden X.

Atop the mountain you can see the massive deforestation. On one side of the mountain, bare land stretched out on an extensive area of land. The side facing the river, most of the natural vegetation is still preserved. Officials in the park hope to recover most of the tree cover through reforestation.

Don’t get the park as a nasty view. Its a place I’d recommend one to visit. On the mountain top is this large field of clearing with cool temperatures. You can play some outdoor games, picnic, take self or group photos and if you used a vehicle to get to the mountain top, there’s a good spot for viewing the buffalo. I never got the chance because I hiked my way up. There are also historical sites to get knowing.

As I close this story, lets all protect nature and make it better. We want the younger generation to experience as much as we do or even more.

Cheers,
Kevin

In the world of self-centeredness lies some agony.

I switch on my tv, all I see is rioting, war, riches, politics. I login to my social media sites; everyone is bragging, others complaining in distress or pain and others talking abusively of others. I log out and decide to walk around the streets. Maybe the world will give me a better view of humanly as we are. All I get at most is disappointment. I see a man, holding out a plate, begging for help…at least a coin my brother or sister will add up to buy a meal. All I see are people passing him or her one after another.

 

I took a corner around the block and found a man being harassed by the enforcement arm. Some were able to take flight, the unlucky are facing the wrath. All they did was legally wrong but in the eyes of humanity it is right. “I don’t have enough money to start-up a shop and pay taxes. I have a family looking up at me for their daily bread. All I can do is to sell some little stuff on the street and hopefully get enough to buy some bread and milk and take home,” he kept saying. But all his words fell deaf on the law enforcers. People crowd around, watching him being harassed, but no one dares to raise a voice at least to see the man treated fairly even if his acts were lawfully wrong. Then they start talking within themselves saying how wrong they mistreated him and something to be done but nobody stands out to talk.

 

Walking down a little further, the weather begins to change. The cold strikes in, it almost looks like it’s about to rain and people start to hurriedly walk past me. Further down the street was a cafe. Quickly I got in, ordered some tea and cake hoping it will warm me up. Upon being placed on the table, I said a little prayer and began to eat. On my right was a window. On quick glances, something caught my attention. In the midst of people on the rush just on the opposite street, I saw a woman, curled up in a corner, tightly holding something wrapped in a lightly embroiled cloth. Curiously, I looked on to see if I’ll get a better view on what she was holding. She made a slight move as if to comfortably adjust herself on that small spot that I noticed something, there on her arms was a child. With one hand tightly grasping the child, the other was lifting a plastic cup persistently begging the passersby for mercy to offer something to sustain herself and the child. My heart sunk. A question popped in my mind… if this child grew and saw how much people can be selfish, what path would he/she decide to take?. Surely, it may not be that of generosity knowing its a culture of every man by himself. And seeing her mother beg, he might wonder if it’s the only way to get compassion.

 

I quickly got up, left the unfinished snack on table, paid my bill and quickly rushed to a nearby supermarket. On the shelves, I grabbed some bits of snacks and drinks and headed to the counter. What a queue! Trolley after trolley fully stacked up, people anxiously waiting for their turn at the counter to be attended to. On the counter, there were tin cans with some narrow slot on the top with some printed paper on the side…Red Cross, make a little donation to help a person in need. The slot was neatly cut to fit coins and not necessarily notes, meaning it only takes a little of your money to help. I saw no one drop a coin in the tin. Heading over to the woman encroached in a corner, I handed over the snacks and in return she gave me her blessings and many thanks. Surely it feels good to know you did an act of charity out of a heart of giving.

 

At home, comfortably seated on a sofa, I started recalling all that happened during the day. I switched the tv on and the same negative news was going on. A positive story came up but all it could occupy was the passing words at the bottom of the screen. Logging back to my social sites, it was still the same buzz. Surely if this keeps going on, we’ll plant hate even to the generation of the young kids in this world. The word peace, love and kindness will soon start fading away. Trust and respect will be something people will have to earn or otherwise you will be treated as a foe. Humanity as we see it, where will be heading? As of now it looks as if its heading south.

 

As much as we are busy with our own lives, remember none of us has made it this far alone. For there to be peace, there has to be love. Even for the hard at heart, there’s always that bit of humanity crying out in their hearts, only that they choose not to express it. And if you feel that compassion is hard thing for you to do, at least teach it to your kids and also fellow-men to show it to their fellow beings.

Do unto your brother…

We most tend to look upon others whenever we need any sort of aid from them but whenever we’re better off, we tend to forget what another did to get you where you are. It’s often that we learn to criticise people when we really need their support but they turn their back to your pleas. And yet, when we are looked upon to, we tend to forget that once you were in the very same position as the person looking up to you. We live in a diverse world and relate with different kinds of people. We all lean towards someone for our betterment but tend to get selfish when it comes to lending a hand back. And when we’re pushed to the wall, we tend to do it as a favour in expectance of something in return in the coming future. How selfish do people grow when they have more that they lose their humanity. I recently saw a physically challenged person, desperately asking for whatever help you might offer just to keep him going. Be it financially or in the very less, feed him. As he was trying to walk with his hands, since he had no limbs, he approached a man with a sleek car and raised his one arm opening his palm, seeking help in the formal way he can without using words. One arm he used to support himself on the ground since he had no limbs to stand upon. On his hands he wore slippers to avoid the blisters that can be caused by the hot tarmac or rough grounds. He couldn’t see well the person inside the car and since I side-lined the sleek huge car just a metre behind, I could tell he really considered the man could offer him much better help. What I saw made me feel sorry for him. With is palm open and wearing a desperate face, even though the traffic was still immobile, the man slowly drove his car forward keeping only a few centimetres from the car ahead of him just to avoid him. Words could do better if only he could just open the window and if he couldn’t offer any help just make him understand that he’s not in a position to help today. Simple words and it could have made the desperate man feel better with compassion even without being offered anything. Its only that he turned and approached me and quickly offered the little that could help him, even if it’s to buy a cup of locally cooked tea and cake at a cheaper price. Moral is, we’re not born in this world with all that we need, its only through mutual understanding with people and self-commitment that we get to where we are today. Business people rely on their customers to keep their businesses growing. What happens when he tries to be gluttonous and the customers come to know, one by one, his loyal clients will break from them and the business will be doomed for failure. You may look down upon someone today because they solely rely on you for their daily upkeep but if you mistreat them just because they’ll do nothing in return, remember no one is ascertained of the future, you may find yourself in a position where you desperately need their help. A watchman may earn little compared to your earnings, but you don’t look down upon them because you rely on them to keep you safe. It’s said, don’t go stepping on people’s heads to get to the top because on your way down, you’ll be sympathising with them and it won’t be easy if no good relations were formed. We should always tell ourselves, I’ll do unto my brother, what I’d want my brother to do unto me. As his Holiness Pope Francis said, “To those whom much is given, much will be demanded.”

Yours Kevin

Cheers!

Into the mental realm

Thinking is healthy. Over thinking is harmful. Where do we cross the line to unhealthy thinking? Personally, we tend to stress more on thoughts which are of almost non conformity. Overthinking mostly is involved with a combination of emotional distress of an unconfirmed probability mixed up with fear. Healthy thinking mostly comes out factual, assumptions are mostly neglected unless confirmed. With overthinking, most assumptions are made with fear of confirmation, fear of any outcome that may come about. Take an example, why do some or most of us fear to live?…and yet they comfort themselves with too much expectations that may come about in their life bringing a much significant positive change? Yet they fear on what they may do to bring out these changes. A step at a time is what we’re always told. Break your bigger expectations to smaller, more accomplishable tasks. Reason is, we tend to get more stressful when trying to accomplish a big task as a whole than when we break it down to smaller manageable tasks. Lets go to relationships. Where’s there’s mistrust, insecurities are bound to tag along. What happens?… the brain fires up to any doubts be there between the couples, be it an unanswered call, delayed or unresponsed text among others. This is as a fear of loss.

To summarise it, overthinking leads to complication of situations or events, stress, disconnection from reality, difficulty in social engagement among others. To practice thinking is healthy but don’t let it get above the bar.