Saturday, December 29, 2007

Proudly Kenyan II - Pray Now.

Oh God of all creation
Bless this our land and nation
Justice be our shield and defender
may we dwell in unity
peace and liberty
Plenty be found within our borders.

If you are a Christian, you ought to be praying for the country now - the election is too close to call and there's allegations of rigging and delays. We are praying every 30 minutes.

Join up on your knees.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Proudly Kenyan

Yeah for real

About the Elections

I have no political affiliations. The only affiliation I have is with Kenya.

I once told someone that I will decide whom I'll vote for president on the date of elections. As a friend always says, after 'consultations on my knees' I'll go vote. That has not changed yet.

I think it will be a close race, whoever wins will still need to be able to negotiate so as to get stuff done and move things forward again otherwise things will be in limbo policy wise.

Whoever wins:

I want transport/roads totally sorted out. Bypasses, overpasses, the works - I have had enough with promises. Hence my not watching news too much - i watch i think 15 minutes of news in a whole week. Come to think of it I do much more CNN and Sky News. I read my papers from the back too :) ) No more craters and potholes or jam. I don't see whats so hard with designing proper roads. The stress from the weather that roads outside of the tropics undergo is much more than in Kenya (though i guess our roads have too many cars). And guys must obey traffic lights and zebra crossings.

Telecoms and IT looks promising and the momentum needs to be maintained by the next government. I'm eagerly waiting to see Telkom Kenya in 3 years.

Education - we clearly need more teachers but also more schools and materials.

Security - like the most important thing. I think enough has been said about this. We need a larger, much better paid, trained, siked and equipped police force. I don't think I'd want to hear about more cattle rustling or land related deaths too.

Corruption needs to be dealt with decisively and in such a way as to discourage it.

Some other things that I know will take a while to have

Courtesy: funny that when you are in a lift and are about to disembark, a good number of people would enter it, even before those disembarking are out. Actually slows down things.
Driving habits. why on earth do people get off the road to overtake a car or two when cars are gridlocked. Someone special tells me they are usually in a hurry to get to the toilet.
Kenyans love shortcuts, making killings financially (short term gains with no regard for the future) - maybe thats why we tend to succumb to the easy bribe to get out of trouble. Needs to change.

Move the capital city out of Nairobi. I've blogged about that too. Take what brings people to Nairobi to each town. Or have each town be known for a particular industry - e.g. Kericho is tea country among other things, so a commodities market located there, with all the technological mumbo jumbo. Mombasa, the tourism capital - so the ministry of tourism should be headquartered there.

But there's lots of positive things to look up to. Its a lovely country too. Excellent weather. etc - si baridi kama Helsinki or St Petersburg where a cold coke could be regarded as warm :).

What's your mentality? (Abundance or Scarcity)

My milestone 200th Blog Post :)

I got a second opportunity to listen to Eric Kimani, CEO of Sameer Group as well as founder of Palmhouse Foundation.

Eric Kimani is a highly successful Kenyan, and is becoming someone I would like to emulate in many areas of my life. There are very few people in Kenya, who having made great strides in their careers and callings, find time to share some of their experiences.

Back to Abundance vs Scarcity Mentality Talk. Eric Kimani had already made this presentation sometime this year( to a gathering of bankers I believe). Googling around, there's quite abit on the subject available online from different people.

He started by giving an interesting story about two monkeys, both of which were caged and one well fed, the other underfed. After a period of time they released the monkeys and each monkey was given a number of bananas to eat. The well fed banana peeled banana after banana and ate them up, which the other banana scurried from end to end, stashing away bananas - and did not eat a single banana. Interesting.

He then quoted Marianne Williamson:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

He then defined the abundance mentality with a couple of words and sentences:

There is enough for all - think jobs, opportunities etc.
Thinking big and expecting big

The scarcity mentality:
Your success implies that someone else must fail - success in a job.

This made me think of the land grabbing problem - it's all about me me me me ...
He noted that this mentality is one of the biggest challenges facing Kenya. I agree wholeheartedly with this. Look at how we drive in Kenya, the land grabbing, the selfishness and me-attitude that is very much present, the 'its our turn to eat' politician thinking.

Some of the things about the abundance mentality aree some areas that I have personally been working on:
value systems - what are your standards. One needs to have principles that govern your life. I ought to say some thing today and stand by it tomorrow because its part of what I believe in.
Internal Security

He also mentioned an interesting anecdote: a manager wanted a raise - he was actually about to leave the company. His immediate superior didn't want him to get a pay hike, get this - because he would be earning more than him. That Eric called the scarcity mentality. So true. the senior guy ought to have used that to validate getting himself a pay hike.

One cannot excel at what they do not enjoy - this is so true and is something I very much believe in. Personally I do not think I can last for more than a month doing something I don't like - even if I get paid for it.

Eric Kimani also mentioned the visionary thinking and problem solving nature of those with an abundance mentality. I like the term problem solving. Usually in a good number of organizations, far too much time is spent apportioning blame instead of solving the problem. Jim Rohn says - Attack the problem not the person.

We are undergoing what Eric called the Wisdom revolution. I think our economic systems are moving towards a Knowledge Economy. He said that none of us should anticipate working at the same place till 55. There is nothing like a permanent job. Instead we should consider everything as a project to be done meticulously and with excellence.
I concur - everyone is self employed, even if you work for company X.

Palm House Foundation
This is an educational trust run by a team brought together by Eric Kimani and his wife and have impacted positively the lives of over 100 students by providing for their secondary school education while mentoring them.

This somehow reminds of how Starehe started and now currently runs. I am absolutely thrilled that there's more people setting up endowment funds which more or less can guarantee that a certain number of needy students can get access to education regardless of their circumstances in life.

Was an evening well spent. Visit for updates on his next talk. Also consider partnering with the Palm House Foundation.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Flying Blues and Woes

I have not done a blog post for the whole month of December, mainly because I am planning on a whole new platform...

But for now, a bit of a rant:

My bro came in on a short holiday via KLM (in partnership with KQ and Continental Airlines).

Gets to the airport in Nairobi. Waits for 2 hours for his luggage.

He gets 1 piece only. The other they say has been 'left behind'. He is not the only one missing luggage. Anyway, since its already close to midnight, we decide to go home and come the following day for the remaining luggage.

He gets home and finds that his luggage has been rifled through and a gift box that a friend had asked him to deliver for Christmas is missing (there was an custom iPod inside ).

Next day, he calls to find out if the luggage has arrived. They say it has. We are at the airport early afternoon. He goes in to check his luggage. Finds the 'remains' of his luggage wrapped in plastic bags. Inside this bag were his books (he has a project due early Jan as well as exams) and most of his clothes. The books (being specialised books) cost more than the missing ipod.

Needless to say we were rather mad (and we were not the only ones). Apparently when he went to collect his 'luggage', there were several people who were on the same flight with a similar story.

I suspect that if this is not handled well by KLM, they shall lose at least 2 customers for life.

Funny though that the thieves that did this left his cashflow 101 game intact (electronic version). It might have been more useful to them... getting out of the rat race etc....

My bro has decided he's getting a proper suitcase set complete with biometric scanning, running SELinux and with 1024 bit encryption software. And when checking in, it will be wrapped with reinforced plastic paper (where available).

Some travel tips:
  • Never check in small electronics stuff (e.g. an iPOD :) - he was in a big hurry and probably forgot)
  • Have a solid, not easily breakable suitcase
  • Travel light where possible
  • Do the secure plastic wrap. At least that way it makes it harder to steal from. (in Johannesburg's Oliver Tambo Airport, they actually ensure that you do that - whether u want it or not.)
  • Keep your important docs and stuff in your carryon
  • Don't overshop :) - I learnt that a few years ago from a friend of mine whose bag literally disintegrated under the weight of his china shopping.

More updates to follow...

Now I think I've calmed down.

Mungu ni Mwema lakini.