Thursday, 10 March 2016

Blog Closed? :)


It's crazy. How I get hits on my blog when I am not writing. I am trying to decipher what that could mean. Does it mean that I am being missed so that is a sign to let me know, or that my silence is more interesting, it gets more hits than an actual article?

I cannot tell. I can only hope it's the former.

Yes, I have been silent.

For a few weeks.

For a few months, really.

And I wanted to keep it that way for longer, but seems I cannot. I miss writing. I miss telling stories. I miss playing with words, and I miss clicking that 'share' button to reveal my work of art (hehehe) to the world.

I have had thoughts of closing down the blog. I have toyed around with it for a while. I have had thoughts of moving to a new domain that will include everything I want it to include. For a long time I have felt that I am limiting myself with this blog. Whenever I think what it is about, I really cannot tell. I love creative writing, where I can talk about anything. Share stupid stories. Stories that made me laugh. I also love Technology. I have written articles that have never seen the light of day, I only read them to myself. But that changed recently when I partnered with a friend from Nigeria and we started techinpink (show some support by sharing a post :D )

I also love Photography. I want to have an article that will have a story told by photos only. Show you the world through my lens, as cliche as it sounds. Finally, I am a Christian, and I have things I would like to write about my journey in Christ. Have a post that simply marvels at His Sovereign grace. Have another that tells of my total dependence in Him, and another to share my struggles. I want to write about that. I have written about that. I just...never share them.

For a long time, this blog was all about creative writing. And that's where the whole dilemma came from. What do you write about? A question I have hated for a long time. Whenever it was thrown my way I would hide under the answer... ANYTHING.

And that made me question myself so many times. What kind of a writer are you? A writer who does not know what she writes about. And so after many monologues in my head, I decided. I will not write anymore. I decided to give this blog a few more months, or years, just to remind myself of my works before I close it down to nothingness.

And it was going well.

until recently.

That I knew :)

I knew what I write about.

The answer came when I stopped searching. Maybe those words are actually true :D

I write about Technology, it is my passion and it has given me dramatic experiences. I write about Photography, because sometimes words simply fail. I write about my Spirituality, because it is the core of everything! It is my ultimate anchor and it is what I strive for everyday. At the end of it all, it's not my job that will be required of me. it's not the fancy glasses I wear or shoes I bought or the code I write or where I live. It's my soul.

And so, my blog is not closed.

Or maybe it is :D

But what I can say, I now know what I write about :)

It seems like a silly revelation, but it has been heavy on me for a while :)


See you in my next post.

Please ignore the dog in the photo, I just found it cute :)



Wednesday, 30 December 2015

This is how you travelled.


 It is on the 24th. Very early in the morning, let us say 5:45 in the a.m. You are walking down the streets with a bag pack on your back and clutching securely at your suitcase. It is the festive season, suitcases get stolen at a high rate, you make the assumption in your head. Maybe that is where the cheap January mitumba clothes come from. You are not willing to have your expensive coat that left you broke for a month get sold at a whooping 300 so you hold on tight. You are also holding a water bottle that you were gifted on your graduation because you might get thirsty along the way, or you just want to know what is so special about walking around with a water bottle.


A Matatu comes along and you quickly hop in. It is very full and hot and stuffy. Before you even get the chance to scan the seats and identify that there is none left for you, the Matatu is already moving. You almost feel confused for a moment with your suitcase and special water bottle in hand. The conductor decides to help you by taking the suitcase and instructing you to move over and stand on that famous pathway because you are in his space. Everyone in the Matatu is looking at you and there is almost always that feeling, that they are special because they have seats and you are the one, the one struggling to live life. You ignore the piercing eyes that you know will escort you for the rest of the journey and you feel  your water bottle, as though to tell it ‘Hold on tight, we will make it’ and you hold on to the famous rod for support.

You get to CBD and you breathe a sigh of relief. You grab your belongings and get into the streets. It is 6:15 a.m. Everywhere you look at there are bags and suitcases and traces of families, obviously travelling home, wherever home is, for Christmas. At the back of your mind you think of how Kenyans are last minute people, but you remember that you are also here struggling to get home on the 24th. You think if you didn’t have a job, how different it would be. Anyway, you shrug and keep walking, counting the number of children you see carrying heavy luggage and with eye bags under their eyes. You pity them but their eye bags remind you how early it is, and this leads you to think you will not find any madness at the Bus Station. The thought is comforting but a part of you is already on the drawing table planning out Plan B.

You get to North Rift Bus Station and Plan A automatically cancels itself. It is 6:30 a.m. but the place is flooded from here to Timbuktu. Apparently, people planted themselves there as early as 5 in the a.m waiting for a bus to take them to their destination. You look around and you can feel the hopelessness. Luggage has been piled, owners of the luggage are sitting on them wearing depressed looks, others are walking up and down, leaving one person to watch the luggage, and if they find a better situation, they will quickly twangia the luggage-watcher telefon. The famous North Rift Mukorino has already arrived and is shouting orders here and there. You decide to pause for a moment to gather your thoughts. You are still clutching firmly at your suitcase. You move aside and decide to simply observe before making any move. You decide to call your sister, who should have arrived here with you but she receives with that sleepy voice so you blink away all the hope you had. You know you are all alone in this. 

As you are still observing, a man beside you waves his hand and starts saying:

“Si mmpande ile gari pale! Kwani hamuoni?” (Board that bus over there! Can you not see?)

You have no idea where this man came from or how he knew that bus was to be leaving soon, but you involuntarily trust him, or maybe you just don’t want to listen to your inner self, an hour later, head hung in shame, telling you:

 “Ungeskiza huyo mtu saizi ungekua Karibu Naivasha”. (If you had listened to that guy, you'd be close to Naivasha right now.)

You hold on even tighter to your suitcase and head over to the bus. The closer you get to the door, the higher your hopes get because you can literally see the space inside and you are already eyeing a seat. Your heart wants to jump with joy at this incredible luck but you contain yourself because, you know, the chicks have not yet hatched. You near the door and there is a whole flood of people behind you, and as you lift your leg to enter the bus your heart calms down and your mind can now pay attention to what is happening around you. You begin to hear conversations that go like this:

“Si hawa watu wapanteko hii kari haraka chameni, tutafika saa ngapi kweli?”

“Kama uko kwa muliango si usongeko haraka tafatsali. Tuko wengi huku nyuma na hii kari pato haichachaa mschm”

You then remember North Rift also carries to Bungoma. You want to kick yourself. There are many people behind you, muttering and complaining. You almost want to convince yourself to just go to Bungoma, I mean that is still home and it would be lovely to visit your roots this year, but you know that won’t scale. So you turn back and begin alighting, pushing and squeezing yourself in their midst, hearing them mumbling their khandis and khatses and aii pwana over the block you have caused. You finally detach yourself from the crowd in, not embarrassment, but almost embarrassment. You decide to give up on North Rift and find other means to dear Eldoret.

You begin walking up, or rather away from the Station towards Afya Center. Before you even make ten steps you see a pink Matatu. It looks like one of those rowdy Matatus that go somewhere in BuruBuru. The conductor is shouting:

‘Kitale Beba!’. 

You look at him twice, and you look at the Matatu. You are standing right at the door, but you know, once bitten manenos. You look inside, it is literally empty. You just stand there and hear the conductor say very clearly two more times ‘Kitale Beba’ then ask him:

 ‘Ati Kitale?’

he says ‘Madam ni Kitale direct, usiogope’ 

You look at him annoyed because he has called you Madam, and also in fear because he has just told you not to fear. Why would he tell you not to fear? There must be something to fear then. You begin threading thoughts in your mind. You are awakened from them when he comes and asks you politely to board the Matatu, at least he calls you ‘Mrembo’ this time.

You get in but you are still doubting from here to Limpopo. You sit, but you are very ready to alight at any second. You give it 10minutes, if the Matatu is not full, then you and your water bottle will be out of there. 5 minutes later the Matatu is full. You calm down but not too much, you are still not too sure. The conductor collects your 1500Kshs and you now feel robbed and uneasy, what if they are Cons? Thieves? The Matatu, which passed in front of North Rift by the way, that is how it filled up real quick, leaves the stage and goes down Haile Selassie Avenue. Soon you are on Waiyaki way and your heart has calmed down.

Suddenly, just opposite Villa Rosa Kempinski, it stops and the driver together with the two conductors alight. They begin having an animated conversation at the back of the vehicle, most probably about money. You sit there, because you are at the window, you observe Kempinski. You know February is two months away and you wonder if you can afford that Presidential offer that had been offered early this year. The more you look at it, like the luhya you are, you begin to wonder what really goes in that kitchen that makes a cup of tea cost over 1000Kshs. Before you delve more into that thought, the driver comes back and off the Matatu drives, to your beloved destination.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Know your Support System

Support is one thing every human needs to push through life. It may not be the only thing, but it is one of the things that solidifies the backbone of a person's confidence and their source of strength. That's why we have friends and families, mentors and supporters, to establish a relationship with that become the root of our support system. We have all heard of people say they survived tragedies because, aside from the grace of God, they had a good support system (still God's grace)

I have learned over the past few months the importance of this. Stressful situations do bring out your desire and yearning for support from the people in your life or around you. Most times they are there, but other times, unfortunately, you get abandoned when you need them most. This could be because of mainly two things. It could be because you are not in good terms with the people who make up your support system or you built up your support system with the wrong material (read people)

For people to be in your support system, they do not necessarily have to be people who have gone through thick and thin with you, granted, most have, but sometimes it is just about people who support your goals and would like to see you grow. I learned my lesson when I realized that you can be blind to people you think are part of your support team, but are actually just trying to find your loop holes to take you down.

Lessons:
  1. Sometimes, it may look like you have a support team, but you actually don't.
  2. Building a new support system is harder than mending patches with the old ones. If you are not in good terms, you can always work things out.
  3. Be ready to fight alone sometimes. 
  4. A good support system is priceless:)


Saturday, 24 October 2015

Life. Love. Her. Technology.


Life is funny. I think I say that way too many times. Maybe it is because of how things happen unexpectedly to the unexpected. Maybe it is because of how quickly our confidence shifts, one day we are sure of something and the next day we are not. Maybe it is because our perspectives shift, what we were comfortable doing while we were 18 do not make sense now. The word for that is change. Or growth. We change and grow through experience. Experience is what happens to you, and most times, you do not decide that. But the change, resulting to growth is inevitable. 

Anyway, hello people! I am back, after many weeks of…not being back. My time and attention have been, for all this time, taken by Andela. Andela is that awesome place I call my workplace, btw. If you are a tech freak, or simply love code and want to solve problems with that, you should visit their site and increase the chances of us being workmates :D. That means I will share with you these blog stories first hand before they even see Microsoft Word (yeah, I start from there, don’t judge me). It also means you get to have access to smart minds that challenge you and opportunities that build you and lessons that make you grow at a level you did not in all your 8-4-4 years, and I have not been paid to say that. 

I am a Woman in Technology. Six months ago, I would not have been confident saying that. I studied a Technology course and a few months out of campus, I was sure as beans is beans that I was not going to land a job in relation to Tech, or it would take me a while before I did so. I was landing more social media/ blogging jobs than I was software development. In fact, I did not bag any Software Dev job. The closest I got to that was sending a cover letter accompanied by the CV, I had mastered the art. 

Being a Woman in Tech has opened my eyes to things, some of which I was experiencing, and I never even knew. Before I get to that let me share this. In my last Internship, before I started working where I am now, I was trusted more with tasks such as filing and writing articles for the website than coding and resolving hardware problems. I was uncomfortable, but I did not speak up. Why? Because I was slowly beginning to accept it as a norm. When I was in school, less than a year ago, I shared with someone my passion for code and I vividly remember being told to brace myself because it is tougher for women in this field. I do agree, and there are many reasons for that.  

Why do you think I did not have confidence that I would get a job in Tech? Because I believed I could not do it. Because there were very few women in the field that I could look up to and that could mentor me. Because I believed it is a man’s thing, I can never be good at it. Because I felt, oh well, I am a woman, they never pick the women.  

But that has changed. The past few months have shown me that I can do this. It has shown me that it is not a gender thing but a matter of passion and hard work. A good number of women graduate in STEM fields, but that does not translate into the number of women we see at the work place. Why? So many articles online aim to explain this. Some say women are a liability. Some say women are not smart enough. Some say women just have too many issues. Some say, some say, some say, but I say this, Women can do it. Women are smart too. Women can code too. Women can solve problems. For the record, I am not saying this with banners in my head shouting "Out with the men!". No, in fact, learning from men is a brilliant experience, I can tell you that for free. And I am also not telling women to leave their families, if you ask me, a woman who dedicates her full time nurturing her home/family has no lesser value than the other at the work place.

A few day ago, someone told me I share quite some personal things on my blog (she will know herself when she reads this :P). I was a little surprised, I actually began running all my post in my mind to see which one went overboard and I could not find one. When I started my blog, the reasons I had then are not the reasons I have now. Right now, every time I sit to write, I think, let me write this in a way that the future me can read and remember every single detail of my life now. And this is what may lead me to write articles that may seem personal to other people, which is okay. They may not be comfortable sharing the same information about themselves, but I find no problem doing so:)

Love. Love is a beautiful thing. No doubt. 10 months ago, I may not have said the same thing, but truth is, Love is a great thing. But the thing with love is that, many things can blind us. Desperation, Fear, Worry, Insecurity, Identity. All these Masquerade as Love for many people, myself included. It is easy to point out when someone else is acting out of the above emotions, but very difficult to see it in yourself. That is why the saying goes, we are good at giving other people advice but ourselves. I have learned that it helps to take a step back and simply look. And ask, why do I like this person? Being honest with yourself is not what many of us like to be. Nobody wants to tell themselves "I think I am with this guy because I am desperate", but doing this helps in more ways than you can imagine. 

Being single for the past ten months has made me see things in different ways. Most times you think that you only need to be disciplined when you are in a relationship, but I think you need to be even more disciplined when you are single. There is the tendency to emotionally attach yourself to different men without even realizing it, most times in the name of friendship. There is also the tendency to have an extreme wandering eye because you apparently don't feel accountable to anyone. Many people hurt themselves this way. Maybe most of you may not get what I am saying, but the point I am trying to pass across is, when you are single, guard your heart even more.

NB: There is an Annual African Women in Technology conference on the 14th of next month hosted by AkiraChix. Ladies, purpose to attend and learn a few things from other women about what it is like to be in this field. Read more here.








Thursday, 17 September 2015

When an African dances. Throw-back post.

From the plains of Timbuktu to the waters of Limpopo. From the city of Ougadougou to the King Mswati III celebrations down South. From the Juju man village in Nigeria to the boys chasing chicken in Kakamega, when an African dances, a true genuine African, everything else must come to a halt.

Whether you were pounding fufu or slaughtering a goat or in the middle of a juju ceremony, an African dance will have you stop whatever…and join in.

Any African event will never miss a true African dancer. By African event, I do not mean a formal event where you have to be dressed to impress and behave as if you bought shares from a company named Stay Classy. I also do not mean an event influenced by the West where the music and the dance symbolize nothing of African origin. Neither do I mean an event where there is no music, definitely not that.

So how do you recognize an African event? Allow me, friends, to take my time and narrate that to you.

First of all, it is easy to turn just about any event into an African one. Yes, all it needs is just a change of music and the presence of an African (s). It does not matter what his attire is, he will always find a way to adjust and move, jump, kick… whatever he has to do.

A true African Event will have the following characteristics:

1. African Music.

This is the compulsory part. There is no way an African will kill it dancing to a foreign song. The music has to speak to him, connect with him and beckon him to stop in his tracks and dance to Limpopo and back.

2. African Food.

Well, our enormous appetites are world-renowned; you do not really think we will be drinking tea in a 2ml teacup in an event that we have organized? Impress your date with that one. Jugs make more sense here.

There will almost always be a barbecue and in most cases they do not even call it barbecue, you’ll hear terms like ‘Nyama isaambe’ or ‘Nyama choma’ or ‘Rin’go mobul’ or ‘Suya’.

3. Dress code.

Even though it is easy to adjust regardless of what you have on, leave the short dresses and high heels back where you came from. The main purpose of attending these events is to eat and dance, your little dress will have problems with your stomach as it tries to accommodate the food and the music will have you considering throwing your shoes away.

4. There’s no designated dance floor.

Forget the formal events where there is a particular area for you to dance. In an African event anywhere is a perfect place to dance, when the music gets too good nobody has time to look for the dance floor, you kill it wherever you are. Yes, we do not have time to search.

When all these have been met we come to the dancer himself. Here is how you will recognize this true African dancer.

1. From the moment he walks in, there is a part of his body that is already moving. Either his head or feet or waist. He cannot start dancing immediately he arrives because, get this, he first has to scan and identify potential competition in the crowd and then align dance moves in his head. These moves are the ones that he will use it to dance better than his competitors.

2. Facial expression. If you know Clifford Owusu , you will understand what I am talking about. Take time to observe their faces while they dance. A vast array of facial expressions grace these events.

3. Dance moves range from kicking up in the air to rolling on the floor.  Basically it gets to a point where there is a thin line between dancing and madness. Fist punching, kicking, jumping, Shoulder shaking. This dancer is also very flexible, any area of his body can be moved. There aren’t any robotic or mechanical movements. You never see those in African events, we move with rythm.

4. He does not stop easily. To stop him you’ll first have to approach him from a distance because there is no telling what new move he will pull and thus what will land on you. When you finally get his attention, he will walk away still dancing even after the music has stopped.

That, friends, is how you’ll know you are in a true African event. You can now embark on a mission to attend them and either prove me wrong or right. Whichever way, there is no denying that African events hit the mark.

I wrote this last year June as a guest post in a friend's blog. There's no harm in posting it here this year:)

Saturday, 22 August 2015

AFRICAN STORY: It begins.

‘Mama. Mama! Open the door, mama. ’

‘My daughter what is it? Why are you not in your house at this hour of the night?’

‘Mama open. I’m pregnant.’

‘I will not open. Go back to your husband and give him the good news, Natanwe.’

‘Mama he beats me. He is not a good husband mama I have tried everything.’

‘I did not raise you like that my child. You are his wife. You listen to everything and do as he says. What will the people say when they find you here in the morning? I will not let them think I did not raise you well.’

‘Mama…mama…’

A wail pierces the door. Her water is breaking and the baby is coming. She cannot handle the pain. Her mother opens the door, out of pity for her daughter or because she had no other choice, we do not know.  She was a trained midwife. She was many things and the villagers respected her. She always held a position of reverence and was always in fear of losing it. The villagers’ adoration was what she entirely thrived on.  She brings her into the inner room, fetches hot water and a few clean cloths and draws back the curtains.

A few moments later, a baby cries and a mother weeps tears of joy. It is a moment filled with love, joy, hope and happiness. It is a girl, all that Natanwe had wanted. A girl to live the life she never lived. A girl to go where she never went. She holds her in her arms tightly as though she would be snatched the next minute. And she was, Natanwe’s mother took the baby and looked at her daughter with no emotion that could be traced.

‘Natanwe you must leave. You must leave before dawn.’

‘Mama, why? I am still in pain.’

‘Leave now. You will not embarrass me like this.’

‘Mama what do you think Papa will say when he sees you doing this?’

‘Leave your Papa out of this. His spirit rests, do not wake it.’

The wind blew angrily, wailing as if in war with the dead. It was pouring and the thunder deafening. The walk through the forest to get to the other side was long. The side where there was a tarmac road that goes to the city. That was her only hope, but she had no strength. With tears in her eyes and grief in her heart, she whispered something with her last breath and fell down in a stump.

The rain died down, the thunder cooled down and the wind reduced to a slight cry, as if mourning the immediate loss. She lay there, lifeless. In the far horizon, with its golden streaks, the sun welcomed a new dawn…

                                                                PART TWO
The car appeared from the distance, leaving behind a trail of dust. Slowly, it neared the village. It was midday, the sun was scorching and everyone was busy preparing meals. The village of Tambisu was a quiet village. Everyone lived their lives without change, no one bothered or cared about what happened to the outside world, No one but Bwana Kindio. 

To be continued... 

Friday, 21 August 2015

LIFE WILL BREAK YOUR HEART

You’d think that only love has the capability of tearing your heart apart like an excited child unwrapping his Christmas present leaving pieces tattered everywhere leaving you choking in pain. If you have loved before you know this, and you probably believe that it’s only love that can give you extreme bliss and before you know it, it turns against you and you are left in the air, falling thousands of feet from the high it had taken you. 

Love will break your heart, and so will your dreams, and your family, and things you are not even aware of now. Life in general will break your heart in one way or another, whichever age you are whatever position you hold, however important you are. 

Your dreams will break your heart. You will finally discover an opportunity that you are positive is your breakthrough, as is the commonly used term. You decide to pursue it and you are positive that you have everything, after all, it is your dream, your passion, you have basically been rehearsing for this from the minute you left your mother’s womb. Until a panel has to screen and determine whether you are worth it  and every minute of it feels like a resounding of the words ‘you are not good enough’. Yes, not good enough for your dream, not worthy of your passion, not deserving of the chance.

Your family will break your heart. You will sit together and laugh over those hearty meals that can only be enjoyed with family. You will talk about endless topics, mostly making fun of each other and sharing memories  on those group chats long enough to  regret it the following day as you struggle to get to work. You will cook traditional dishes using firewood, enduring a smoke-filled kitchen. You will dress in whatever manner around each other, outfits that will have you criticized on a fashion column. You will go hiking together and remind yourselves of the days you used to skinny dip in that river near your grandmother’s. You will do many things together until one day their laughter remains an echo, their presence remains a memory and their words remain only to be thought of.

You will break your own heart. You will be desperate in the wrong relationship. You will hang around in the wrong job. You will listen to the wrong words and you will suffer the consequences of your wrong choices.

Life will break your heart, left or right of the planet.

What I've been writing :)

Life. Love. Her. Technology.

Life is funny. I think I say that way too many times. Maybe it is because of how things happen unexpectedly to the unexpected. Maybe it ...

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Everyone has 24 hours a day, difference is how you use it up. I am a cocktail of a lady who loves art and is tech-savvy.

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