Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Najivunia Kuwa Mkenya: Westgate Mall Attack brings us closer together

62 people dead and 175 injured... and these people who call themselves warriors for an holy cause must be proud.

They should be ashamed - real warriors fight other warriors... like if they were real warriors they should have walked to the gate of DOD in Hurlingham firing not in a shopping mall shooting at children and shoppers.

They say for such deeds they get a reward in heaven with virgins - but surely even the most reasonable God knows if you did not appreciate this "temporary life" for its beauty then you do not deserve the "eternal life" if you spent your time hating instead of loving - how can you hope to live in a place where the language is LOVE. If you spent your time destroying God's beautiful presence here on earth how do you expect a reward of his eternal presence.

But anyway no terrorist will read this - and if they did being as brainwashed and caught up in whatever pain that makes them who they are... they will not see sense. How twisted can you be to shoot an innocent child?


But here is what the attack has done for me - it has helped me count my blessings. I am lucky to be in a country where people are brave to go on with their lives after they have been dealt such a huge blow - blood donations, food donations and people waking up to go to work - I Love Kenya I Love Nairobi

NAIROBI - we never say die
I like the bravery with which our forces Kenya Defence Forces and National Police took on the terrorists and the fact they finally subdued them.

I also encourage professionals in other fields to consider volunteering our services to especially the Police Force - by professionals I mean hackers, computer programmers, biochemistry experts, pathologists, forensic experts, criminology experts, forensic accountants.
This whole mindset of the Police force being for people who failed exams and only know how to shoot well and run after criminals is colonial and should go. We should be proud to work with the force.

Kenyan Security Officer rescues hostages

I didn't vote for these two men but now I realize what calibre of leaders we have in-charge. Kudos to President Uhuru and Deputy President Ruto.

I can't wait to see what they make of whatever number of terms they have ahead. As a word of encouragement when life deals you such bucketfuls of trouble - the test of who you are is staying the course... never giving up.

These two men have dealt with challenges of personal criminal cases, the challenge of a burning airport, challenge of rising consumer good prices, challenges of wayward politicians who only clamor for pay-rises and County money allocations but do not clamor to do the work and take the responsibilities that come with these funds and keep clamoring for referendums and now they are dealing with a terrorist attack.

If this is not trouble in bucketfuls I don't know what to call it. But my encouragement is if the airport burns then it is a chance for us to build better disaster preparedness - a fire department, police station and a hospital at the airport.
If the terrorists attack then it is time for Kenyans to realize the important things in life - like life itself... the drama of money allocations and power games should stop or should not interest us anymore.

To the President and Deputy President - take heart and may God give you strength.
President Uhuru and Vice President Ruto - the most energetic duo ever

I know one media house did disappoint us on Sunday by putting sensationalist and traumatizing pictures in their daily and I was really disappointed with that guy of "Ni kama video ni kama drama" for fooling around in a situation where his fellow Kenyans were losing their lives. Other than that I am quite proud of the kind of reporting our media houses did.

My heroine for the day was Anjlee Noorani Gadhvi of  K24 she was on the scene from day one - she truly empathized with the victims and did an awesome job of reporting

K24 - Anjlee Noorani Gadhvi - KUDOS
Anjlee back in the day used to be with KTN - always wondered why they never gave her a more prominent role as she was an excellent news presenter. She appeared sporadically in late night news and the longest periods we saw her on screen was during the 2007 elections.

Anyway that is her past - With her stint in K24 - this great news anchor seems to have come of age - Kudos Anjlee Noorani Gadhvi.

Song that is pulling my heartstrings right now


Sunday, 15 September 2013


Henry Raichena

RIP Henry Raichena

In life God's providence has ways of helping us out of our very "human fixes". God's providence sometimes works through people... sometimes works through situations. God's providence worked for me through Henry Raichena Chief Principal Mang'u High School - my Headmaster, Headteacher... Principal at Nkubu High School. So when he passed on this week - I do not know what to do to thank providence or to do the human thing - weep for loss.

Pretty uncommon I know - not many of us owe anything to our HMs maybe some caning... making life "unnecessarily difficult or interesting - tis interesting to have a "bad cop". Well mine is a different story and I owe this HM.

Raichena joined Nkubu High same year I joined in 1996 - so in a special way our class "Nkubu class of 99" were his first Form One class - he was new... we were new.

I owe Henry Raichena personally because I came into the school two weeks later than other Form one's reason - I didn't have money. He told my mum if we went home and came back with at least part of the fees we could talk... so that is how my four year story of a man who was patient with a financially challenged family begun... and so it stayed till I cleared my high school. So if I finished high school - I owe this man in a big way. God's providence brought him into my life - he stayed on in Nkubu only for one more year after I left - and he went to on to greater challenges "Mang'u Boys".

Raichena got the name Guinness as his nickname.
Teenage boys are a troubled age - and physical size is a big achievement for a teen. So I guess it was really esteem bolstering for the big boys to see they were taller than their Principal hence the name Guinness - since it was the shortest bottle of beer the boys knew about.

Anyway in retrospect I look back and think we may have unwittingly prophesied what Raichena was and what he would be - He was a Great Man and much later when I see the "Reach for Greatness" Ads I realize we had one such great man in our midst. The man we called Guinness

Raichena did what leaders do. He changed our culture, our expectations of ourselves, appearance of the school. He left his mark.
When Raichena came to Nkubu all our dorms and classes had "potholes". Okay this is not metaphorical - see the potholes you see on the road and pick that picture and put it in a dorm...that was Nkubu High. The school performed well in sports and academics but it was just guts and a great tradition - not infrastructure. We were so badly off and we assumed that is how things were supposed to be. Tree stumps were common in classes as chairs and sharing desks was common place especially for Form Ones. I had been to a posh primary school (story for another day) Consolata Primary School all my life - I didn't know sitting on a tree stump or a log could happen in a school.

Raichena changed all that - we had new desks brought in for all Form Ones - that didn't make us favorites with other classes "We were Guinno's Monos" (Guinness's Form Ones).

By the time I cleared Form Four in 99 I could not recognize the school I had walked in to in Feb 96 - transformation is the only word for what Raichena did. All floors had been repaired. We had a new one storey dorm complex - the first building in Nkubu high that rose above ground floor. The school even had its first computer (okay stop laughing - at least now you see from what depths we were at)

The dining hall which had a collapsing roof... flaky green paint that looked black and grey and something in between ... mega pot holes and tables that scared the hell out of the phrase "sit down to lunch". (Actually most students used to sit outside on the grass and eat - can't blame them). When I left Form Four our dining room could actually host district level events it was well lit, had a stage to convert it into a hall for such events. All tables were new - had red Formica you could actually sit down to a meal.

Somehow when your surroundings change your esteem is boosted - something about the way Nkubu boys carried themselves during his time was very telling about how they felt about their school. There was PRIDE.
There was pride in the way prefects carried themselves in their new blue blazers with gold stripes (I never was a prefect - but I saw pride). Even us the non prefects started wearing our ties religiously on weekdays - dressing down only on weekends (Nkubu High before "Guinness" didn't have ties). We even got school IDs ... somehow it was quite a bother to us then but in retrospect I see now why we had to identify with something or learn the feeling of being someone... and Raichena did that for us.
NKUBU ID - finally we identified with being part of an institution

VERITAS ET FORTITUDO - Truth and Courage

boys in ties - suddenly our mindsets changed about the sort of people we were

There was pride when the Soccer team in 98 in blue shorts and yellow T-shirts run down the steps of our tallest building (our one storey dorm) on to the field to win the Meru District Inter School sports which we were hosting and proceed to Provincial level as District Champions. There was pride in every event we attended because when you said "Nkubu High" you knew you were the best.

Our anthem used to be something like
Oh hail to dear Nkubu, school we all love
Truth and courage is our battle cry
St. Joseph is our captain, Christ is our King
We'll keep on fighting until we win
Success in our studies, Victors in sports
East of Mt. Kenya we are always top
You will know us always as Nkubu Boys

I think I forgot a couple of lines or the sequence.
Nkubu High Scout - Admin block in background

Nkubu High boys - chilling on a weekend

But in Henry Raichena's time we actually believed our anthem and this paid off when the class of 98 were the 28th best school in KCSE nationwide that year.

Many of us may not have understood what transformational effect Raichena had on schools until his former school "Terige High School" from the Rift Valley sent a delegation of students to see where their Principal had gone to. Suddenly we realized we had a "prize possession" in our midst and loud arguments were heard in dormitories against any imaginary "enemy" who wanted to take our headmaster.

I know by this time next week we will have laid him to rest - the man we all loved to call "Guinness" but today with a bit of angst - I remember this man who made us the men we are today - men who are proud of who we are... men who know how to fight to win... men who believe that things can be made better... men who decades later still come together because we identify with a Nkubu he built - this Giant of a man.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

About Me

My photo

Loving life and living it. “Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.” (Mary Anne Radmacher)
Give yourself completely in everything for that is love and only when we love can we find God.