I am thinking of a title for this post

The last few weeks have been interesting. For some inexplicable reason, time seems to be moving faster than usual and catching up with my favourite blogs has been in the back burner. I wanted to say life has happened but I realise even blogging and reading the different blogs engaging with different people and thoughts is part of that life.

This year has been interesting. I discovered I could listen to podcasts. Strike that. I can binge listen, if that’s a thing. I have found a few podcasts that are just the right length and with content that I like which makes me wonder I didn’t start this much earlier.

We don’t have control in this life and I think this is quite freeing. You can eat healthy, exercise, manage stress and still fucking get cancer. This is not to say we shouldn’t try to live healthy or make plans but to be open to these plans and goals being upended when life serves you a curve ball.

Make plans, set goals but don’t be fixated on achieving them. Allow yourself room to miss these goals, to fail, even to do something different. Most of all, enjoy life. We are here to be a happy. If what you’re doing is sucking happiness out of you, maybe you should quit and do something else.

Happy weekend everyone

Random things

To live up to the moniker of this blog of random thoughts, I have to occasionally mix unrelated events in one post or to just write randomly. So this is one of those days.

My friend Pat (atheist meow) lost her partner of many years last week. She tells me she is keeping well even if a bit lost.

The last 3 weeks, Cop27 has been on in Egypt. My brother was one of the participants and I hope he will send me a report of the deliberations especially on areas to deal with human settlements. While on the subject of climate change, I listened to a guy not long ago who persuaded me that in most cases the approach is wrong. You can’t sell an EV to a poor guy. To get the poor guy to use alternative green energy we must get them outta poverty. In essence, one of the most important approaches to climate mitigation should be addressing poverty. What do you think?

Your sometimes genial but mostly loud host is looking for scholarship to cover tuition and research for his next academic year. Any pointers to funding organisations or wealthy donors would be highly appreciated.

The world cup begins today and I am no football fan though I am looking forward to the opening ceremony. I consider the opening ceremony the most interesting session of the world cup. Russia did a poor job at it though.

Talking of Russia, is the war ending soon?

Finally, I hope you all are keeping pretty well. Have a pleasant week ahead, everyone.

Resilience

Merriam-Webster defines it as capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress. You wonder why I bring this up, but hear me out.

In many fora, I hear people say Africa is resilient. Speaker after speaker talk about how Kenyans are resilient, that we manage as a people to recover after tragedy but I disagree with these speakers. They are spreading a gospel I can’t consciously agree to. I am not in any way opposed to resilience, not at all. So I hope I am not misunderstood.

My argument here is that as Africans, generally, and Kenyans in specific, we have learnt to survive. There is nothing great in surviving bad leadership. What choice have we? We must keep surviving or we perish and I don’t want to call this resilience. It is just basic common sense.

I have mentioned the drought in parts of north eastern Kenya and other semi arid areas. Drought is a natural phenomenon but famine is not. Famine points to a failure of societal structures to ensure food and other produce reach the intended users at all times. Where the government has failed to make this happen and instead asks for relief aid, shows not resilience but a case of poor governance. But we will not hear this in the press. Every speaker shall be talking about resilience. No, we can’t continue like this. We must demand better.

Let us first, as Africans demand that the state system that we pay for works, delivers service and then we can talk of resilience when there is calamity. As things stand, we live in a continuous calamity and we can’t take credit for mediocrity.

Maybe the only time we came close to resilience was surviving the pandemic but at what cost? Many businesses closed. Many people lost jobs. Relationships were severed. Maybe many lives were saved too, I don’t know. Maybe, given that it was expected that we would die like flies during the pandemic, and since this didn’t happen, some have taken this to mean resilience. I wish I felt the same way.

Maybe some day, we will really be resilient. At this time, we will have systems that work and our resilience will be tested when one part of it fails or is attacked by external forces. Until then, don’t call us resilient. We are survivors. We want to be more than survivors. We want to live. If you ask me, maybe we don’t even want to be resilient. A good life, a beer here with friends and bbq with enemies would be a good place to begin.

Maybe I am not making any sense.

Have a great week everyone. Be resilient.

I have beef

There is some form of racism or neo- colonialism or I don’t know what that is practiced by universities in the west that I don’t understand and that should end. I apply for an admission to a university say in Melbourne for a PhD and one of the requirements is an English language proficiency exam. Now, I would not have a problem with this if my education had been in a language other than English. But this is not the effing case.

The language of instruction at the university is English. It is the same in primary and secondary school. Why then would someone think that after writing and defending a thesis in English I can’t speak or understand English and must prove my proficiency by taking an exam that costs 240 USD?

If this is not a form of systematic racism, then I don’t know what is. Or maybe I am wrong and that we who were colonialized by Britain and adopted their language as a method of instruction can’t speak it, can’t write it and maybe, can’t read it.

Or am I missing something?

On this world teachers day

I want to send a shout out to my good parents, teachers per excellence.

Then to all the other teachers who I have interacted with ans have contributed in some way to what I have become.

Finally to those teachers forming others to be good and responsible citizens.

And finally, a prayer, that the education system will change from a mass factory to a more individualised training. With this, we hope we will not blame a fish for not knowing how to climb a tree. But maybe this is too ambitious.

To the teachers!