I wish I knew

What’s something most people don’t understand?

Especially because I don’t know most people. And even the people I know are not most people and it would be presumptuous of me to claim to know what they don’t understand when this hasn’t been made public. But maybe you know something most people don’t understand and I would like to know it too.

Any weather I can ride in

What is your favorite type of weather?

Shouldn’t be too sunny, too wet or too windy. If I can ride, I can run or hike.

Whenever I am out on a jog or a ride and it starts to rain, I keep going. I never however leave the house in wet weather for any activity. For some reason I have been lucky during my hikes. Never been rained in any of them. But I can’t say this about runs or rides.

What else is there to say about the weather? Only Mark Twain could describe New Mexico weather in ways that would me you laugh. You need to check that description out by the way.

Happy Sunday everyone.

My mother

Who was your most influential teacher? Why?

She was my teacher at home and in school. You see, I am a son of teachers. In my formative years, my mother was the lower primary school class teacher. Taught me to read. Write. Arithmetic. And I can’t recall what else. She was again my home science teacher in std 7 and 8. Introduced us to a survival skills like cooking, washing, ironing, and baking. My first time to bake was in school, not at home and then we would often bake at home.

We owned no oven. The national grid didn’t come as far as where we lived and schooled. Gas must have been in homes of just a few people. So, to get to a constant temperature for baking, we used silica. We would put sand in a container and heat it for a time, then reduce the fire. The silica would retain this heat until whatever you were baking was done and for some time after. But I digress.

Having mentioned my mother, I should mention my father, the other teacher in the house. Unlike mother whose lessons were on the practical side of things, the lessons from my old man have been subtle.

Other people have influenced me along the way, some very powerfully from chance interactions. I remember the mama who trained us as peer counsellors in high school. Or the government official/ preacher. Or our high school principal. My ceo has, in my adult life, been one of the best teachers I have got. And our late friend, that bird/ dino- had quite an influence.

I miss my first teacher, my mother.


What do you wish you could do more every day?

That would lead to ennui.

Unless it is living like i am dying the next moment. That’s the only thing I think we should do more every day. We don’t do enough of it and this is unfortunate.

But having said that, our days should be filled each day with occasions for learning, for being kind to those we meet, for making new connections, for enjoying good food. Especially good food. You saw that article about our gut bacteria and enzymes being related to our moods. So, yes, good food daily and more often. Reading a book.

Last few days, the clouds have opened and Nairobi is getting pounded with heavy showers. Sometimes the whole night. Or during the day. I don’t belong to any gym and I don’t have home equipment so no treadmill running. Or stationary bike. Getting time to squeeze in a run, a ride or a hike.

I would love to spend more time with my loved ones. And some friends. This is one that I would do more everyday. Though occasionally I would have to take a break from them to get air 😀.

So, there we have it.

It is not conceivable

What is one word that describes you?

That one word would describe me. Unlike a golf ball or a cork than can be described as hard, I can’t think of on one word that would describe me. Let’s consider the 16 personality types, as a start, and I bet any of the traits could be applied to me and that person wouldn’t be wrong by much. Maybe the only trait that anyone would least likely associate me with is being an entrepreneur. I don’t even think of myself in those terms.

Having said that, how we see ourselves is way different from what others see. Maybe, it would be best to ask those closest to me to answer this question. I might say that the word that describes me is easy but they would most likely disagree. They may say I am difficult. Complicated. Stubborn. Sometimes irritable. You know, anything but easy. And they could be right.

My colleagues at work or on construction sites may also disagree with me if I said I was easy. Some would think of me as being bossy. And I would disagree. While yet others would have different words or adjectives to describe me and in their view, they would all think themselves right.

While I prefer anonymity, some say I am loud. I know you are wondering how could one whose thoughts are all over the web talk of preferring anonymity. I don’t know the answer too. But that is just how it is.

Maybe, you, my regular audience can tell me what word you think describes your genial host.

On the happenings at home

For those of you who still watch news or listen to newspapers, there have been four demonstrations in Africa today that are worthy of note. There is the shutdown in South Africa led by Malema. Ark should tell us more on this. A protest in Tunisia, Nigeria and Kenya. In Nigeria, the opposition believe the ruling party engaged in electoral malpractices and are not legitimately in office. In Tunisia, the economy is going south and with it, people’s livelihoods. In Kenya it is a mixed bag.

It is the mixed bag in Kenya that I want to speak to. I should declare on the outset that since I don’t read news and watch the newspapers, I may be the least informed on such matters. With that behind us, what’s in this mixed bag

  • The composition of the electoral commission
  • The high cost of living
  • The weakening shilling against major currencies
  • State appointments
  • Unresolved issues around the election

I could have left some issues out, but these are the main ones. The protestors I heard wanted to go to statehouse to remove the sitting president. You and I know this would be insane. The state would do everything in its power to stop this from happening. It has the police and military to defend it against external and internal aggressors. Anyone stupid enough to attempt to do this would be looking for a quick send off to the maker and they would have themselves to blame.

What is to be done? I would fall back to some feminist writing and Frere’s pedagogy of the oppressed. Educate. Agitate. Organize. On educate,it is important that we all share a common vision of the future we want. To risk people’s lives in demonstrations that would bring no lasting solutions to the serious crises of our time is irresponsible. As others more eloquent than I have said

The aims and objects of the Democratic Federation are before you. Success can only be achieved by organised effort:

Educate. We shall need all our intelligence.
Agitate. We shall need all our enthusiasm.
Organise. We shall need all our force.”


Lenin in conceiving the same idea, put it thus

In speaking of the necessity to concentrate all Party forces—all literary forces, all organisational abilities, all material resources, etc.—on the foundation and correct conduct of the organ of the whole Party, we do not for a moment think of pushing other forms of activity into the background—e.g., local agitation, demonstrations, boycott, the persecution of spies, the bitter campaigns against individual representatives of the bourgeoisie and the government, protest strikes, etc., etc. On the contrary, we are convinced that all these forms of activity constitute the basis of the Party’s activity, but, without their unification through an organ of the whole Party, these forms of revolutionary struggle lose nine-tenths of their significance; they do not lead to the creation of common Party experience, to the creation of Party traditions and continuity. The Party organ, far from competing with such activity, will exercise tremendous influence on its extension, consolidation, and systematisation.


My point being that Raila’s party to have a long lasting impact on how we see and relate to the state must go back to the drawing board or canvas and restrategise. It must educate its people on the why of change. Then agitate and finally organize. Until then, it will appear that the movement is a Raila problem not a mass problem. And finally, for a peaceful demonstration or mass movement, i am reminded of the conditions to be met as set out by Dr. MLK.

Just in case you are wondering. Yes, me and mine are safe and well.

Am I alone?

You’re going on a cross-country trip. Airplane, train, bus, car, or bike?

Or with a group? Is there a time or resource constraint?

I would travel by bike. When one travels by plane, you hop from one place to the next and cannot really say you saw the place. You could say you were in this town and that town but not really getting to see anything.

Bicycle is different. You have to stop regularly to add supplies. To sleep in the middle of nowhere. To negotiate for safety. Fix a puncture here. Repair a chain there. And you are flexible enough to tour the countryside. If you see a signpost of a land feature, off you go. Riding a bike for these many days means you get to lose weight and stay fit. Which is a good combo.

Car and train can be both interesting. Fast travel. Varying levels of flexibility but you get to see the countries you are traversing without getting too tired. Only thing is you get butt sores but not compared to how your butt will be feeling after riding for 30 days.

Pick your struggle.

Happy Monday.

Depends on the weather

How would you rate your confidence level?

And also on what I am doing.

For example, I am at 10/10 that I can boil water, rice and make tea. Good tea.

I am at 10/10 I can initiate a project, execute and conduct a monitoring and evaluation exercise. Why don’t we as architects conduct life cycle exams of our buildings to determine for example whether we delivered value to our clients or was it just a waste of everyone’s time?

I am 9/10 I can write a blog post. An interesting blog post, that is. The one I have left out is for haters.

Since it’s a Sunday, I don’t want to take more of your time than is necessary. Happy Sunday everyone.