THE MYSTERIOUS JEFF ODAGO…

Truth be told, I find you Jeff to be a little bit intimidating, despite having known you for over 10 years! And whoever knows Jeff knows that he is a deep thinker. He is smart, bold, opinionated yet calm. He’s the kind of guy who thinks through before saying anything. Or maybe it’s a façade he puts up when he doesn’t know what to say! Haha! Nevertheless, Jeff is the kind of person to say it as it is without sugar coating. A part of me hates him for that yet likes it at the same time. Ultimately, he is one of the most fascinating people I know. So with that in mind, I just had to get him to share a bit of his life thoughts and ideas with you guys. It wasn’t easy though! Enjoy, and take notes.

  1. What’s your favourite Beyoncé video and why?

It’d have to be Party. Simply because it seems (at least to me) to have a timeless sound about it. The video could also be pulled out of anywhere from the 80’s right up to the 2000’s.

party

  1. The Kardashians or The Real Housewives of Atlanta?

That choice is akin to picking the lesser of two evils. However, for pure entertainment value, I would have to go with Real Housewives. I have never watched more than three of four episodes in total, but from those I can’t help but be impressed at how dysfunctional grown up people can be.

  1. Will Smith or Idris Elba?

Idris Elba edges out Smith in my books. I say this based on the kind of films and shows he’s done. Most recently Beasts of No Nation. He was captivating enough to inspire some resentment and pity at the same time. His role as Mandela as well as the small roles in some Marvel movies, series like Luther and The Wire show him as a character with more gravitas and charisma than Smith.

  1. Modern Family or The Big Bang Theory?

I probably watch Modern Family exclusively for Phil and Cam. They’re over the top and still so convincingly sincere with their emotions, facial expressions and remarks. Sort of what we all do on the inside when faced with the kinds of things that elicit such reactions. They feel like such genuine people I’d like to hop out of the screen and into life.

silly

  1. Java or Art Café?

Java for the food because it’s more flavorful, although I admit I am tired of their menu after so many years. Art Cafe for the drinks, since their food is comparatively bland or rather toned down. Perhaps my African palate might just not be sophisticated enough to appreciate it.

  1. Ever since I’ve known you, I’ve always thought you were this tall glass of confidence. Have you always been that way? How were you as a kid?

I am not a confident person. I am, however, a perceptive one. Or at least I try to be. I grew up in a house of strong minded people, with unbuckling tendencies and who are very “real”. I suppose I learnt (from simply existing around them) how to handle people and situations on the fly, and that in turn made me slightly more comfortable. Confidence comes about from knowing what your insecurities are and owning them.

  1. What is your biggest insecurity and would you say you’ve grown to embrace it?

It would have to be making everyone happy. I had a fear of making enemies once upon a time. Those group exploits or activities where I had to do something with a number of people were especially agonizing. As kids, we’re as diverse as ever and not all of us quite embraced each other’s differences. So in that space of time, I was unable to keep all parties satisfied. Growing up, I’ve learnt to let people take their own grief, since we have a lot of compromise in modern day diplomacy…”give and take” as they call it.

  1. What’s your fondest memory growing up?

Ironically, it was trips to the country with my folks. I can’t say exactly why.

  1. What’s the biggest thing you miss about being a kid?

I like Kanye West. I remember at some point in 2010 it’s like he woke up, logged on to Twitter and posted, “I have decided to become the best rapper of all time!” So few adults can embrace their whims as fully as he has in the past couple of years. So I think the biggest thing I miss about being a kid is the innocence and naivety when we all wanted the impossible, but also marveled at the mundane. Kanye said it best:

“I believe in myself like a five-year-old believes in himself. They say look at me, look at me! Then they do a flip in the backyard. It won’t even be that amazing, but everyone will be clapping for them.”

  1. What’s your favorite Kanye song by the way? And what are your thoughts on him marrying Kim Kardashian?

My favourite Kanye song would have to be Good Morning from the Graduation album. It has the feel of a wake-up call, more relevant today what with the various ways we can lose focus. As for Kim Kardashian, as much as I’m not a fan, I think it was okay marrying her. I don’t quite have an opinion worth sharing.

  1. What were your perceptions of adult life back then? Do they match up with the reality now?

Adult life was a complex idea back then. So much so that I never thought about it much. The grown-ups seemed to have their shit together. Now, I’m not nearly as impressed by some of the things adult life entails.

  1. What’s the hardest thing about adulting for you?

In Lord of the Flies, (a highly recommended read) there’s a part that goes,

“The half-shut eyes were dim the infinite cynicism of adult life”

The statement refers to the fact that the head represents the evil inside of all people. The “infinite cynicism of adult life” means that there is no end to the lack of belief in goodness; that adults know that people are not good and that they do not act without selfish motive.  The Lord of the Flies tries to poison Simon with this belief; that all adults think this way and that all people are bad.  Simon realizes though that knowing that there is an evilness inside of each person is the first step in preventing that evilness from coming out.  He sees that if they are aware of the presence of this natural tendency, they can stop the tendency and stop the beast. So in my own way, I try to have a little more faith in people, as undeserving as they are.

  1. How would you describe your high school experience?

High school could easily be amongst the best experiences I’ve had so far. A sentiment more than a few of my mates could express. Strathmore and the people I met there shaped a lot of the views and opinions I have today. I also got to meet people from varied walks of life, both directly and indirectly. Through those four years I actually enjoyed myself and became a better person all in all.

high-school

  1. If you could write a letter to yourself when you were in high school, what would you say?

I would say have an open mind and take interest in people.

  1. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt transitioning from the teen life to the young adult life?

Friendship. I’ve gotten a better appreciation for just how much the people you surround yourself with can contribute to your personal growth.

  1. How would you describe the young adult life to be like?

A constant state of second guessing oneself and not knowing what the hell I’m doing. Basically half-assing it on the regular.

finally-just-winging

  1. If you could equate young adult life to a song, how would it go?

Best combination I could think of would have to be Appalachian Springs by The Verve.

  1. You have one of the most interesting philosophies on school. What do you think about going to Uni?

I believe education should be just that… an enlightening experience. More than just the acquisition of grades and knowledge, the application and execution should also feature. So, Uni is supposed to be the place where one makes a conscious decision to do anything and everything of interest that’ll lead to one’s ultimate goal, be it wealth, knowledge, wisdom i.e. fulfillment of any kind.

  1. What’s your take on the education system in Kenya?

My thoughts on the Kenyan education system are not an easy thing to articulate. On one hand, it could be worse. We could all have had experiences epitomized in charity adverts; sitting under trees, scrawling in the dust on our knees. Our teachers would be wholly untrained and learning material absent. Though it still happens here, there are countries where this is the case for majority of the population. This is not to say that we should be indebted to the “gava” for our decrepit system. On the other hand, we have a literacy rate of about 78% according to UNESCO, which is not the best, but far better given what Kenyans have to do for an education.

  1. What’s the biggest lesson about life that you’ve learnt in your Uni experience?

That life is fair; in that it’s unfair to everyone indiscriminately. People from many different places can be afforded the same things/benefits, but not all will have the opportunity to exploit it as fully as others for various reasons.

  1. Do you think there’s anything such as failure and how would you describe it?

Failure is the point at which all is lost. No hope of success. So there is failure. However, it can be a mutually exclusive event, so failure doesn’t mean one can’t make other similar endeavors.

  1. In your view, what is your outlook on success?

Success is achievement of personal goals, which include career goals. However, the reason behind working towards one’s goals is what determines whether it’s real success or just another notch in the belt.

success

  1. What does happiness mean to you? What has been the happiest moment of your life thus far?

Happiness is a state of wellness and contentment. And so by that definition, can be fleeting and periodic in this life. I’ve had a lot of happy moments, but none I’m particularly keen to tag as the happiest. I don’t have one particularly happy moment.

  1. What are your thoughts on love and all its manifestations?

In a general sense, it’s great. If you split hairs, it’s amazingly less so. True love is supposed to be selfless, and despite mankind’s best intentions, we love other people partly for our own fulfillment, because they make us feel a certain way. It’s not an entirely bad thing. However, I’m skeptical about how much love means when the tough situations and decisions come into play. I don’t truly believe in love as a romantic concept, but more as a level of concern we should all have for those we truly care about, family or otherwise.

  1. What’s your stand on social media? Do you think it’s brought the human experience closer or further apart?

Social media definitely brings some people together, enabling quite a lot of interactions that would have otherwise never happened. We no longer have to wait 7 to 10 days for Mama Boi in the next town over to send pictures of her latest baby. That is good. On the other hand, we no longer have to wait 7 to 10 seconds for Mama Beibi to post pictures of her latest baby. Social media has the succinct ability to water down experiences that would otherwise have much more significance in our lives. We now have updates and photos that would otherwise have been conversations and stories told over a cup of tea. The human experience is supposed to be a bit more personal in my opinion.

  1. If you could meet anyone in the world, living or dead who would it be, why and what would you ask them?

I would want to meet quite a number of people. First, and certainly my favorite, would be Pope John Paul II. The why; because he lived through one of the times when the world was changing as rapidly as it ever had. I’d ask him about his interactions with people such as world leaders and public figures over the years, since a man in his position would probably evoke real reactions from at least a few of them. Second person I’d like to meet is Angela Merkel. Simply because as the German chancellor, she’s become one of the leaders the world looks to, particularly in the EU. Third would be Elon Musk. He’s an incredible innovator looking to make real applicable changes to the world.

  1. When all is said and done, how would you want to be remembered? What legacy do you want to leave behind?

I’d like to be remembered more for my works than anything. As a civil engineer, that would encompass any projects I might undertake. We’re often called upon to do assessments of the concerned society our work affects… from HIV awareness and civic education to maternal/infancy care. As a benevolent cynic, it would be acts of good that may change a few peoples’ outlook and perspective on what life’s supposed to be. What use are you to the world if your name and life cannot give back to the world, even in small seemingly insignificant ways.

  1. Complete this sentence, “If I could be a female pop star, I would be… “

Florence Wench of Florence and the Machine. The flame-haired singer has a richly textured voice, as well as a dramatic performance style. Back in 2008, Lungs was pretty awesome to me, given I’m generally not a pop music fan. She’s got a unique musical sound, straddling the genres of rock, pop, soul and even a wee bit of gospel.

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THE COOLEST, NEWEST ENGINEER IN TOWN, MR. RYAN OMBARA!!!

Ryan! So I’ve been trying to think of a really cool way to introduce you to this interview. I’ve been wondering whether I should plug in the fact that you run a really funny blog (www.ryanombara.blogspot.com) or I should mention the fact that you’re just about to graduate as a Mechanical Engineer or the fact that I was a better player at volleyball back in high school. I’m so spoilt for choice. I’ll settle for the fact that you had a growth spurt and clearly do not need heels to be taller than me! 😀 Now that we’ve gotten the intro out of the way, let’s jump into it! But first, the five most important questions that are either a make or break in pop culture.

1.Beyoncé or Rihanna?

Until Rihanna drops a massive album bila notice and breaks the internet all in one go, it’s Beyoncé for me.

Beyonce Grammys

2. Taylor Swift or Katy Perry?

Taylor Swift for days. (Hums along to Bad Blood).

3. Celine Dion or Mariah Carey?

Tough one. Celine…if only for that Titanic song (holds back tears).

4. Lady Gaga or Christina Aguilera?

Christina for vocals, but I much prefer Lady Gaga.

5. Fries or a burger?

This is a weak spot for me… fries win out though. #teamviazi

6. Now that we’ve gotten the questions that hold the key to world peace out of the way, tell us Ryan Ombara, how would you define yourself?

Hmmmmm… the funny thing is that I’ve never really taken the time out to define myself per se. I sort of just ‘exist’. But to answer the question, I’d say I’m a smart, sensitive, quasi-Type A personality.

7. I’m so curious to know what kind of kid you were. Nerdy perhaps or am I just stretching it?

You guessed right! I was a huge nerd, just bila glasses. Right through kindergarten, I just loved reading. That love stretched right through primo. I remember being in class 3 and having teachers randomly give me class 4 exams. Plus, in primo, it was either be number one or be deemed a failure… so I pushed myself to always be top of the class, and I invariably was. So I was definitely the class geek.

8. Growing up, how did you view adult life to be like?

I always thought that when I became an adult, I’d have my whole life sorted out and all I’d have to do was get money and enjoy the rest of my life. Fairly simplistic, I know, but I think every kid has looked at adulthood in that way.

9. Would you say your thoughts then and your reality now match up? In what way is it different?

Nope. And I’m glad they haven’t matched up. Thing is, adulthood isn’t this final state where your childhood/adolescence has set you up perfectly to cope with everything life will throw at you. I’ll define it using something I heard on Community: “You’re entering the next chapter of your life. Sadly, it’s the final chapter, but it’s also the longest, and if you play it right, the best.”

Adulting Adult

10. If you could write a letter to yourself when you were a child, what would you say?

Don’t lose your spark, kid. Don’t change for anyone, just be yourself (there’ll be people who love you for you). Oh, and growing a beard? Such a let-down.

11. How was the high school experience like for you?

Academically, a success. Life-wise, a bit of a wasted opportunity. I mean, I did make friends (some of whom I’ll have for life), but to be honest, I spent too much time trying to fit in. I know, it sounds cliché, but I lost sight of who I really was. So finishing high school, it was essentially a case of “I’ve got my A, but who am I? What do I stand for? What do I believe in?” I didn’t make full use of the support system available to me. And I also failed to get a proper grounding in my faith, which would have been so helpful when starting out in uni.

12. If you could go back to high school right now, what would you change or make different?

I would’ve tried out for more things: music, sport and hobbies. I would’ve left the comfort of my house and socialized more. I’d have cared less about how people perceived me, and I’d have been more honest with my mentor.

13. What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt transitioning from the teen life to the young adult life?

The thing is, I thought my teens would last forever, but then *bang*! I’m staring 20 square in the face. I’ve learnt (the hard way) that if you’ve not cultivated yourself (principles, habits, beliefs) adequately, you’ll waste your young adult life essentially fire-fighting.  

14. The hard way? What happened? What experience prompted you to step back and reevaluate yourself?

*opens Pandora’s Box*

I think for me, it all started with that completely unnecessarily long after-KCSE holiday. In the midst of the “I’m done with school” euphoria, I really failed to take the time out to develop myself. And here I’m talking about the seemingly silly/simple (take driving lessons, for one) to failing to address more serious stuff (say addictions-to porn, for example). See, I lived a fairly sheltered life right through high school, and that period after had me thrust into the real world without so much as a user manual/point of reference. I basically underwent a crash course in life (relationships, independence, etc). That did create a bit of an overload for me, ’cause there I was experiencing life without knowing who the hell I was/what I believed in/what I stood for… Life will absolutely take you on some crazy roller-coaster if you’re not properly grounded. And I went through that.

I don’t want to overplay it, but this whole thing did leave me on the brink of a full-on depression.

I don’t want to say that something made me snap out of the funk I was in, but I’ll say I reached a point where I realized that I’d slip further down if I didn’t change my approach to life.

*closes Box*

15. You talk about experiencing an overload which you were not prepared for. And in a sense I understand because we were in the same high school and that was a different sheltered reality. What are some of the harsh realities that you experienced at that point in your life?

I think the major reality I faced is that inasmuch as I had my support systems and guys around to help me, I couldn’t expect them to hold my hand through every little problem I was facing- ’cause everyone is facing their own battles.

16. What is the biggest lesson you learnt from this period of your life?

Accepting that sometimes I need to face my problems solo was a harsh, but necessary lesson.

17. How would you describe young adult life to be like?

Full of uncertainty. Which isn’t all a bad thing, but I realize now more than ever that every decision I make has repercussions (good and bad). So this is basically a time to learn and make mistakes, in preparation for full-on adult life.

18. What is the one thing you miss about being a kid?

The wide-eyed joie de vivre. The world was my playground, and I wanted to consume as much info about it as I could. I think it’s one of life’s great tragedies how we just suddenly lose that.

19. Do you think there’s anything such as failure? And how would you describe it?

Failure totally exists. Simply, I’d define failure as “not doing you” (so much for a meaningful definition, eh?). And by that, I mean we get so caught up in trying to live up to others’ expectations and trying to fit in that we forget the point of life is to find and live by our purpose and enjoy ourselves while at it.

We think success is defined by wealth and prestige. But on the contrary, wealth and prestige are forms of success. Success for me is being healthy, having healthy relationships, constantly growing in my faith, constantly striving to achieve my goals and at the end of it all leaving a positive impact on my society. If I make money along the way, even better. *cheeky smile*

20. What would you say is the biggest failure you’ve had thus far? And what did it teach you about yourself and life in general?

Okay, this isn’t ati some BIG failure, but I’ll say that I failed to accept how different I am from others soon enough. From about the end of primo right through high school, I didn’t take pride in my quirks and eccentricities. In fact I was ashamed of them. And I think that really damaged my self-esteem, but also really made me look like someone who was trying too hard to fit in without really succeeding at it either. I can count quite a number of friendships and relationships that never took off because I wasn’t being myself at all.

What has that taught me? To love and embrace myself (weirdness and all) and to focus more on those that accept me.

21. What has been the happiest moment of your life?

I can pick so many memories from my childhood; it was just amazing (but who doesn’t think that of their childhood?). But, I’d like to think my happiest moment is yet to come. I mean, I’m finally embracing my life according to my own rules and principles. It’s a process, and there are moments of despair occasionally, but in truth, I know that I’m on the road to self-actualization. However long it takes, I don’t really mind. 

22. And what does the destination of self-actualization look like for you? What do you visualize? What do you see?

Okay, I don’t want to go all Robin Sharma on you… but for me self-actualization can be summarized in one word: balance. I want to be able to give my all to my family, career, hobbies, interests and not feel burnt out in the end. I don’t really have a five-year plan, so visualizing is a bit of a no-no. But I want to think that my SAS (self-actualized self- catchy, no?) is someone who’s found his niche in the world, has at least two (fiction) books out, hasn’t been arranged-married and is inspiring others by his example.

Better

23. What has been the lowest moment of your life? And how were you able to grow from it?

I’ve alluded to it above (Q14). It was a really frustrating period of my life, which slowly worsened from August-November 2014. Thing is, I kept it very much under-wraps, even from family. Plus I was living in hostels, so I could easily lock myself up, shut out the world during the week and then appear to people on weekends with a smile and a hallelujah. At my lowest, I kept having these intense bouts of frustration and helplessness. My relationships were going to shit, my grades were following suit, and basically my life lacked any sort of sense or purpose.

Again, I wouldn’t say my life magically changed, but I deeply believe I was saved from full-on depression.

In hindsight, I see its significance now. As contrived as it may possibly sound, that moment of despair helped me finally embrace and live by my faith.

24. Earlier on you mentioned faith, and how you failed to get a proper grounding which would have been helpful starting out in Uni. What role does faith play in your life right now and would you say it is an essential makeup of who you are today?

Simply put, faith is my starting point. It isn’t some coping device or magic pill that ‘got me out of despair’, but rather it’s the one thing that I’ve rebuilt my life around. When I say that I failed to get a proper grounding in it, I mean that it didn’t inform my life. And that’s the case for many “Christians”-we’re Christians in name only. But now, it is an essential part of who I am. My purpose is to live in a way that glorifies God (this is where atheists roll their eyes! Ha-ha!)

Can I be really honest? I really dislike those “Turning Point” testimonies that go “my life was sooo bad, then I got saved, now my life is A-Okay”. My life isn’t A-Okay by any means, and it’s a damn struggle trying to live by faith every day. I’d wager that I have more doubts and moments where I question my faith now than ever before. But I’ll say that when I look back, the decision to live by faith is the best decision I’ve ever made. (Did I sound too preachy there?)

25. In what way is faith informing your existence at this point in your life? (Non-believers can look away at this point!)

Initially, it started legalistically- “I have to do good or I won’t go to heaven”. But over time, my faith has become more and more of a guiding principle. So for me, it holds up an ideal (Christ) and urges me to strive for that ideal in everything I do. But at the same time, it grounds me in knowing that I’m human so I won’t ever be that ideal; and that acts twofold- it encourages me when I fall, and it stops me from developing a God complex (Kanye style). It’s hard, admittedly, ’cause I do swing between both extremes. But it’s incredibly rewarding.

26. If you could meet anyone in the world, living or dead (you can definitely choose me if you want!) who would it be, why and what would you ask them?

SO MANY PEOPLE. Let me answer that question by giving those ‘if I could have six people for dinner who’d they be?’ type-responses. My late grandfather. Malcolm X. Einstein/Newton (either would do). President Obama. JK Rowling.  

My grandpa because he passed on before I could interact with him proper.

Malcolm X, Einstein and President Obama, if only to pick their minds for a while.

Newton, to give him a piece of my mind for making Uni hard for engineering students.

Miss Rowling, to thank her for capturing my imagination and helping to push me into writing.

Sorry, you just missed out on the guest list!

27. When all is said and done, how would you want to be remembered? What legacy do you want to leave behind?

I’d love to be remembered as a man who was flawed, but who did his damn best at everything he did. I want to be remembered as someone who helped whoever he could in whatever way he could.

Legacy… I’ll put it this way. Leaving behind a legacy is no small task. Thing is we all want to be remembered forever for doing something great or whatever other reason. For me, it’s no different, but I would love a scenario where I’m associated with the traits/principles that I lived by. So ideally, 50+ years after I leave, it’d be great if someone said, “You’re a very (insert adjective) person. You remind me of Ryan Ombara.”

Plus, there’s my blog… that’s gonna hang around for a while. *shameless advertising* *coughcough*

28. Complete this sentence, “If I could be a super model I would be….”

Naomi Campbell: At the very top-end of her field, prone to bouts of craziness (she is PSYCHO!!!), stubborn and self-confident to the point of near-delusion but ultimately, fierce (as in ‘Sasha’ fierce…).

Ryan

 

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ITALY vs. KENYA

It’s funny how the title alludes to soccer yet I don’t know shit about dribbling a ball or what offside even means! Oh yes soccer fans, I did pull your leg on this one! Ballsy, right?!?!? But it’s a growing trend of women especially between 27-35 marrying guys of the international stature and moving abroad to live happily ever after. Which makes me wonder, are Kenyan guys just that kawaida until they don’t spark the interest of Kenyan women anymore? Are the days for “Your hips sway like a deer in the night & your milky white teeth make my heart melt” all gone? Is the average Kenyan man that unromantic, that uncaring, that unproviding (excuse my English!), that sexually unfulfilling? Let’s face it, what essentially every chic wants ni chali “mdark, mtall, mstrong, mcharming, msmart , mplayful na akue na dough!” It’s a universal need. But what gives Italian men an edge over a kawaida Kenyan man? Is it the good looks (of course it is!), the swagger, the seductive masculinity, the silly & sexy nature, the sense of humour, the arrogance, or the sex? What exactly lies behind Italian men? I’m sure many Kenyan guys are itching to find out! So let’s explore the secrets behind, The Italian Guy!

Strokes Eyes

1. He’s A Flirt – You remember that R. Kelly song, “I’m a Flirt”? These guys are the total embodiment of this word. Kenyan guys tend to just drop shady pick up lines mpaka you’re like aaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiii!!!! Like this one, ati “You must be a ninja because you’re so fly!” or “Your daddy must be a baker, cause you’ve got a some hot buns” As in “da faq”? Who would want to date a guy with such rhymes yani? Ni wanaume wameisha kwa hii dunia? (The perfect response I’ve ever heard though is Boy: “How would you like your eggs in the morning?” Girl:”Unfertilised”! Ooooooooooooooh!!!! Touchdown, she scores!)

Italian guys never rely on looks alone. They charm the women. They are sultry, suave & flirtatious. (I don’t know why a visual of dark flowing chocolate came into my mind at this very point!) They aren’t afraid to tell a girl she is beautiful while being gracious & not super pervy about it. They lock you in and engage you fully. They want to know more about you & what you like. And the complements! I mean which girl doesn’t want a guy who’ll say how pretty your hands are while kissing them? (A Kenyan One!) Italians nakwambia! They are funny and love life. And their pick up lines, nothing short of poetic unlike Kenyan guys who think rudeness is some sort of turn on. Italian guys literally use everything to woo their women. EVERYTHING! So Kenyan guys, just because you buy her a Smirnoff Black Ice doesn’t mean she owes you shit. A little charm & a little flirting goes a loooooooooooooooooong Italian way!

Community Robert Joey

2. Romance Aaaaaaaaaaaah, the number one reason why women watch soap operas. Yes one could argue that that kind of love doesn’t exist, but trust me, a version of it does. With Kenyans? HaHa, maybe! Italians will tell you that you are beautiful; that you have the most stunning eyes they’ve ever seen. That your hands are the softest thing they’ve ever touched; that you lips are nothing short of perfection. They will make you feel like you are the exemplary creation from heaven. In that very moment, they will make you feel like the only woman in the world. They will look at you like a wonderful dream, like honey that flows beautifully while it glistening in the sun. They will take you out for dinner and then you’ll go for a romantic wander in each others arms while speaking the language of love. They will look into your eyes and delight in every moment that they spend with you.

Now you tell me, can you imagine a Kenyan guy like that? Ati all mushy mushy like “Babe let’s take a walk in the park!” The jamaa will pull a Muliro Gardens on you so hard yani! A Kenyan guy will be like, “Hiyo dress ni poa, ulinunua Ngara?” And if you’re waiting for complements, don’t hold your breath. Instead of saying you’re pretty he’ll be like “I like your makeup!” The complements if they come through usually sound fake or forced or come out so rude. A typical example “Aki umebeba!” “Si ukam nicheze na hizo mandyalala?” *Shock face!* How is that meant to make a woman feel special wajameni? And then Kenyan dates! Honestly speaking I’ve never heard anyone tell me they had an awesome experience on a date! Most people will arrive late, text during the date and afterwards, instead of spending a little more time getting to know the other person doing a different activity, say walking, they are in a hurry to leave to their other mipangos! It’s crazy, this fast pace to nowhere. Kenyan guys should take more time to seduce, to woo and make that special girl feel unforgettable.

Allison Pressure

Birdy

3. Unforgettable Lover – Mmmmmmmmmm… I just slowly melt at those words! Who wouldn’t want that for those fantasizing moments when you’re bored out of your mind in the office or in class or in a mat ride to tao? Italian men are very confident and according to rumors, wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiild in the sack. (Now that’s a cause for celebration!) In addition, Italian men worship the female form and pay attention to detail, and I mean, every detail; from sweetly caressing your cheek in a passionate moment to playfully twisting your hair (I know black women will be crazy at this point, cause they’ll be like “Don’t touch my weave!”). This is the one time where reality is even better than the fantasy. If you notice, Kenyan men just want to do it and get it over and done with. 5 minutes and you’re out. Mambo ya foreplay pelekea wazungu! As in who would want the 100m dash when you could take it nice and slow with 10,000m? Did you know that you can turn on someone without even going all the way? (I probably should write an article on that by the way.) And even if there is foreplay, it’s not well executed. I have a friend who once told me she was making out with this guy and the guy kept on eating and trying to swallow her lips! The shock! The horror! Save me! Naomba serikali! (Insert funny pic at this point.)

Sex to the Italian man is like a hobby, a vocation and they make a career out of it. Now how enticing is that? They tend to make a whole ‘spettacolo’ (performance) of making love.  It is considered an art form and given time, energy and thought. Italian men are also simply more affectionate. They kiss, cuddle and hold hands more. (I’m trying to imagine holding those scaly hands of that Kenyan guy…sema indirect exfoliation!) There is simply no loss of masculinity in showing your feelings. So do Kenyan guys need a class on Passionate Lover & Sex Ed? You tell me…

Gaga Moment Gif What Happened!

4. The Morning After Gentleman Get ready to be slapped in the face by those scaly handed Kenyan guys! For an Italian man, a one night stand is just not a one night stand; a objectionable venture filled with “I hope I’ll never see your face again!” For him, it is a beautifully constructed experience, part of the passion and romance that is an Italian guy. Believe it or not (believe it!), you will always get breakfast in bed! *Jaw drops!* And yes, we are still talking about a one night stand. He’ll make sure you are well fed the morning after by cooking it personally (eish!!!) or takes you to grab an espresso at a coffee shop! I know, dreamy!!! Wait, am not done! And then he’ll either drop you home, (ahem) or makes sure you get on the bus or taxi that’ll take you home! Sema awesomeness!!! And while you’re on your way feeling all giggly and special, he’ll send you a text along the lines of “Seeing that taxi drive away was heartbreaking, but spending the night with you was magical!” Sema points! And he’ll make sure you’re home safe like the gentle flower that you are. Haiya, can you picture a typical Kenyan guy being that way?

That guy will make sure that you’ve come to his house under the cover of darkness like the ninja that you are, do you while he’s all tipsy or drunk in those 5 horrid pukeable minutes, mkate ya Blueband hutaona ng’o, gives you 30 bob in form of 1 bobs from the random change ya mboga on his bedside (that’s if you’re lucky, otherwise utajisort!) for fare, and he lives in Kitengela mind you. And once you’re out of his house, the transaction is a done deal never to be looked at or relived again. Kama utafika home safely or not, that’s your own ish! And you still ask why a chic would rather remain single than date a Kenyan guy! Habari ndio hiyo!

Pretty Feelings

5. Loves All Sorts of Women in All Shapes & Sizes – Can you honestly imagine that! You don’t have to try to fit into a size zero or buy fake hips and chemicalised lotions which add more booty, allegedly, in order to be appreciated by these fine gents. And there’s nothing sexier than a man who wants you as much as you want him. Kenyan men can be a bit choosy knowing full well they are not exactly Michael Ealy or Idris Elba, sadly! They want a beautifully curved chic when they themselves don’t even have a one pack, let alone a zero pack! Italian men are strong willed and always strive for more. That ambition surfaces even at the very start of a romance. He’ll continuously work hard to improve himself and to let the object of his affection know that she is the one. When an Italian man meets a woman for the first time, he discovers her greatest attribute; her smile or her generosity or her long legs, and applauds it as though he was the first to do so. He makes a woman feel as though she is special and full of potential just in the way he looks at her. The reflection she will see of herself in his eyes will leave her full of desire and breathless with anticipation. An Italian man always gets the girl because he makes her fall in love with him as much as he makes her fall in love with herself. (I just had an ‘Aha Moment’!) Now that is what you call a real gentleman! What of Kenyan guys? Wanatosha mboga? I’ll let you judge.

Amazing

So there you have it; The Italian Recipe. Because let’s face it, passionate, confident & oh so sexy beats the indescribable bland nature of the typical Kenyan guy! Hii mambo ya 30 bob fare, kataa hiyo! And hey, who wouldn’t want a jamaa who just throws you complements left, right and makes you feel like the only girl in the world? You want that? You like that? Ever dated an Italian guy? Share! Ever dated a Kenyan guy? (Probably!) Share! Ever been chucked out of the house bila mkate imepakwa Blueband? Share! 🙂

Cheesy Kanye

TWO & A HALF GRACE!

Grace Ngatho is one of the most amazing people you guys will ever get to meet on my blog! And guess what? Today is her birthdaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!!!! 🙂 Join me in wishing her an explosive HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAPPPPPPPPPPY BIIIIIIIIIIIIIRTHDAAAAAAY!!!!! 🙂 I sat down with her to pick her mind on different aspects of this thing called life! And boy wasn’t she engaging and delighful! Enjoy the read! And no you cannot have her number! 😀

Birthday

1.Let’s start off by getting to know you a bit better. How would you describe yourself?

This is such a mouthful of a question, Billy. I consider myself the sum of my experiences – that have yet been so diverse and have nurtured me; and when I whittle into a single breath it sounds like this – ‘princess cut from marble, smoother than storm’ (thank you Yellow Flicker Beat). Basically, zany, strong willed, passionate, a big dreamer and hopeless optimist.

2. What was your childhood like? Any fond memories?

On a scale of 1- abnormal, my childhood was quite ordinary. I remember loving to read, anything and everything really. Tom and Mary, the stories of Daedalus and Icarus with my mother, her cookbooks, everything! I was that quiet kid lurking around the teacher’s desk at break, to dust the chalkboard and whatnot. 😀 Being an only kid and not living around that many children meant I had a lot of improvising to do – playing ‘tennis’ against a wall (which I later came to know as squash), having the help tie one end of a skip rope to a tree, card games with my dad and playing board games against myself (read imaginary friend).

I have plenty! Get-togethers with my cousins (all of whom I’ve grown up referring as brothers and sisters) were (and still are) such a treat.  ☺

3. What is the one thing you miss about being a child?

Believing in the truth of the fairy tale – that was so much easier. At 24, I find the need to recondition self every so often to not lose that.

4. How was high school like for you?

High school was a rat race – one to get excellent grades – which in itself is a wonderful goal – amidst all that, however, I lost the chance to develop my other faculties.

I did meet my maid of honor (when the time comes) in high school though, so yay!

5. Given the opportunity to relive it, would you go back?

Not really, no. If I were to write my 14-17 year old self a note though, it’d read something like this:

Dear me,

I’m writing to you from the cusp of adulthood. Our quarter-life crisis has been such a rollercoaster thus far, but we’re handling it quite alright (most times anyway). No spoilers, I promise.

Only a quick note. Love, savor your little experiences now – they might not seem like much – but let them sit with you, let them teach and mould you. Suck the marrow out of life. One last thing – that big ass mane you hated and tamed with relaxer is back. It’s not yet so big ass, but we love it & are getting there! (I know, I know… no spoilers)

Love,

Self.

6. What is the biggest failure you’ve had in life? And how did you get through it?

Whew! It’s one of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt yet & if I could quote one of my favorite authors, Cheryl Strayed – ‘hell is other people’s boyfriends’. Mine was a moral failing. I acted in ways that were unbecoming of me – my judgment rendered cloudy by butterflies, goose bumps and all those giddy feelings, leaving behind me a trail of hurt and mistrust.

How did I get through it? I had to face it, to live through my mess, endure it and trust that I’d come out of it better, healed. So I sought forgiveness – asking it sincerely from those I’d hurt & most importantly the forgiveness of self.

Then I found solace in books and music. Dug deep for answers on life, love and spirituality. That’s when my crusade (that I’ve since dabbed-My Happiness Project) on self-love, happiness and fulfillment began.

Above all else, I had amazing friends to lean on – friends like you who took the time to listen and walk with me through the murk, knock sense back into my noggin, laugh at and with me, recommend books, all of it. ☺

7. Do you believe there’s anything such as failure?

Oh absolutely, like we need darkness to be aware of light – so we fail to appreciate success. What matters is to treat our failures, big or small as lessons- as stepping-stones to greatness.

8. What’s been the happiest moment of your life so far?

That time I realized I wasn’t owed a single damn thing by anyone (or anything)  – rather it was solely up to me to create the beautiful reality I wish to live.

9. What are you most passionate about and why?

Well that’s easy! To live my purpose wholly and truly – through my work, relationships (everything there is to me) for the glory of He who put me here.

10. What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?

Just sweet little one liners from my favourite books this year:

“You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.” – What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey

“That acceptance is a small, quiet room.” – Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

“The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.” – What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey

11. How do you want to be remembered?

If I could quote Ralph Waldo Emerson (not verbatim), I’d like to go down in the books as one who laughed often and loved much; won the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; earned the approbation of honest critics; appreciated beauty; gave self to leave the world a better place; laughed and played with enthusiasm & sung with exultation; and to know that a life breathed easier because I lived.

12. If your great-great grandchildren could listen to this years from now: is there any wisdom you’d want to pass on to them? What would you want them to know?

I’ll probably record this nursery rhyme and leave the CD for them (will they have CDs then? A hologram perhaps? {These things keep me up at night}) “The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. And the way to be happy is to make someone happy and we’ll have a little heaven right here.” Basically, spread kindness around like confetti!

13. If you could honor one person in your life — living or dead — by listening to their story, who would that be, what would you ask them and why?

Without a doubt, my late maternal grandfather. He lived such a beauty-full life, a life of love and selflessness – although he wasn’t a man of great wealth.

Where would I begin? How did he pull off ‘kidnapping’ a Nyeri woman (girl at the time) and make her his wife? Did he know she was the one from the sway of her hips, or her choice of water pot (considering they’d never spoken before?)

Also grandpa, what drives you?

14. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

Roused by purpose, not supposed tos. To do what I love (currently, watching a space I’ve conceived in my mind come to life before my very eyes), learn something new (I’m so pleasantly surprised by how unexpected these sources have become lately), make someone smile, share a hearty laugh and at day’s end, take stock of all these things with gladness- over a lovely book and soulful music (the Lianne La Havas kind that you’re so resistant to :-P).

15. What are you most grateful for?

The gift of life and all the strings attached.

16. What are you proudest of?

The woman I am becoming.

17. What are you thankful of?

Life, love, family, friends, dreams and the will & strength to pursue them

18. Do you think there’s anything like true love (and not the magazine!)?

Is that not what you meant? 😀

Oh absolutely! It’s the greatest gifts bestowed to us. To love wholly and truly, you must first love yourself. Love yourself more than enough, so much so that your springs overflow – for others to drink of this abundance. To inject love in every aspect of life – to let it ooze out of all that is of you. That for me is true love.

19. What does love mean to you?

Love is not only a feeling, but also a way of life. It’s a conscious choice we must make and it takes work – so do the work.

Love always, all ways.

20. Complete this sentence: ”If I could be a rapper, I would be…”

HORRIBLE AT IT! 😀

”

WHEN B MET BK… :)

How long have I known you again Gash? Fun fact, did you know you were the first person to ever give me a CD randomly as a gift back in the day? Look at me being all nostalgic and making us sound like some old dinosaurs! Haha! I’m sure you don’t remember that moment! 🙂

So Gash, or should I call you B.K. (ahem Beyoncé Knowles), I find you to be an interesting, intense guy. The way you think and the way you express yourself shows a level of maturity that is not so present in our generation, especially guys around our age. So I’m more than honored to have this opportunity to pick at your brain and get to find out more about the man behind B.K.

1. How would you describe yourself Mr. Brian Karanja?

I dislike that question: It’s said that there’s a difference between what we think of ourselves, what others think of ourselves, and our actual selves. At the risk of saying something vastly different from the reality – my true self – I would describe myself as driven, ambitious and brave. Ambitious because I am a dreamer, driven because I do and brave because a whole lot of what I do is “crazy” and it requires me to be courageous enough to do.

2. Oh really? Crazy? In what way?

By crazy I do not mean mental. I mean “crazy.” You see, there seems to be an invisible set of rules that we should follow in life, especially if life has been kind to you and you are generally pretty okay (come from an “okay” or well off family, good parent(s), did okay in school, have a degree, have a job etc.). It seems you are meant to glide along that corporate life, enjoy the perks, do the time, be grateful for all you have and for fuck sake, don’t rock the boat. At the appropriate time, find a great girl (or guy) who is cut from the same middle or upper class cloth, have a wedding, make brown babies who shall go to pretty good schools and develop great accents. Wake up. Repeat. Die of a lifestyle disease. “Crazy” is deviating from the script. Acknowledging that you have your own diverse interests and actually being bold enough to pursue those interests, however they may be packaged. To illustrate my point and I admit that this is not a good analogy: You have a degree in something pretty structured. If it was a box it would be nice and rectangular. Like the ones Toughees would come in. How do you think your father would look at you if you told him that you wanted to become a contortionist for a living? In our social and cultural middle class context in this country today, I imagine that your father’s eyes would bulge so big and fast that they would seem that they want to fart. Heck, one would think that he was a contortionist as well.

Open Mouth Nene

3. Who or what would you say is the biggest thing that has helped define and shape who you are today? How so?

I am not yet my best self. I am working on myself; I actually have a BIP – Brian Improvement Plan; I’ll send it to you, for your eyes only.
Love. I have received love when I least deserved it. I have given love when I shouldn’t have. I have given unrequited love, and received love that I did not return. I have turned away love and changed myself because of it. I have lost loved ones. I have read books (written with love) that have totally shifted my mentality. Of course I do not necessarily mean romantic love, but love in its many faces.

4. Let’s take it back to your childhood. How would you describe yourself as a child?

I was a happy but insecure child. I had things pretty good: school was pretty easy and teachers, especially in primary school, generally liked me. I didn’t have a problem making friends. I had several love interests along the way. But I was insecure – I didn’t have a strong sense of “I.” Hence I was socially bi-polar – an amazing person to some but a complete douchebag to others. Those experiences with others had absolutely nothing to do with those people but were manifestations of a boy who didn’t know who he was. Oh, and I thought I was fat. That probably didn’t help much.

5. Taking all these insecurities into consideration, how then did you cultivate a strong sense of self? Was it an easy journey for you and others around you?

Frankly, I’m working on that. I am well away from a place I would say that I have a strong sense of self. What I can say is that I am a lot more self aware than I was even earlier this year. From my ramblings all through this, I guess it’s pretty clear that it’s been hard as fuck.

6. What is the fondest memory you have of growing up?

They are so many. My childhood was amazing! From running after goats with my cousin, hanging out with my cousins almost every weekend, Mombasa every December with my family, going to Karatina every Easter with the entire family to visit my grandma. They are many.

7. High school. How would you describe that period in your life?

High school was a blur. I would describe it as a missed opportunity. I didn’t really live- things just used to happen and before I knew it, it was over. I feel like I would have done so much more in everything – school, friends, girls, sports etc. – but instead I was just there.

8. What is the biggest lesson you learnt about yourself (and even other people) during that period?

Oh, that’s easy! I have learnt that with people, everything matters, so be fucking kind. I have also learnt that there are truly angels out there. Most of the people I call friends I have stood by me despite the numerous clusterfucks, and they have been there for me.

9. Would you say high school helped shape who you are today? And if so, in what way?

Absolutely! Most of the friends I have today I met in those days, they really know me and more importantly, have helped me. They have been there during my fuck ups and downs; they have always condemned my bad behavior and eventually, the message got home. If I am to be a good thing, I would pay homage to those people. Also, through the school environment I was in, I was moulded in some ways and forms and it has really helped along the way, despite the pomposity many of us Strath guys developed.

10. In retrospect, when you look back at your life, what are you most grateful for?

I am grateful to people – particularly those I have crossed hairs with, those who defended me when I did, those who corrected me and those who forgave me when they didn’t have to.

11. What are you most thankful for?

My family and my friends. I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more for them.

12. What are you proudest of?

Who I am now.

13. What do you think is the key to happiness?

I think… acceptance. Of everything. Especially, yourself. Exactly as you are.

Acceptance Accept

14. What would you say has been the happiest moment of your life so far?

The very happiest, hmmm… ask me that next time. What comes a close second though is the moment when I resigned from my job. I loved the job and the people there but I knew what I wanted to do with my life and that wasn’t it. But the instant I told my boss that I was resigning, which was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, I knew that I had expanded my universe – I had done that which took every ounce of courage in me. Pursuing one’s dreams is an act of courage I think.

15. And what is your dream Brian?

I don’t just have one. But at this moment in time, the brand that I am building, my business, to see it off the ground and to be amazing at what we’ll be doing. We’re almost there.

16. What has been the hardest moment of your life and how did you get through it?

Hmmm… This too, ask me the next time. Basically, it was in January of this year and it really fucked me up. How did I get through it? I just did. I didn’t die, my friends didn’t die despite me taking my time off from life, the sun didn’t fall from the sky, and my loved ones didn’t stop doing what they were doing because of me not being “around” anymore. The days passed by. Eventually I realized I was getting actually better. I am still getting my head wrapped around it though… It was horrible for me. Great for me as well. Horribly great.

17. What legacy would you like to leave behind when you leave this earth?

I want my funeral to be a social event. Thousands of people at my burial, in mourning, with the earth soaked by their tears. I want each and every person there on that day to be there because I have blessed them in one way or another. I want them to say that that man truly loved. I want to leave a legacy of love. Of an extravagance of love – through generosity to people, through believing in people, through being a great friend to people, through being a great writer, speaker and walker of streets, through being a great entrepreneur, through being a great brother, husband and father, through being a great student, schoolmate, colleague, employee, boss, through being a great good Samaritan, through being a great ex and greeter of strangers, through being a great forgiver and quick asker of forgiveness, through being open to opportunities and a smiler at wait staff, watchmen and police officers, through being a great tipper and a generous giver of compliments, to be a giver of positive feedback and to be an encourager, to be a great understanding of people and of emotions – for each of those are avenues in which we can demonstrate love.

Why Love

18. And lastly, if you could be any cartoon, who would you be and why?

I would be Ed from “Ed, Eddy and Eddy.” The one with the mono-brow and the sleepy eye. Ed was awesome! And I love buttered toast almost more than life itself.

Brian

… OF KISUMU AND FISHING ASS!!!!!

Anyone who knows me can tell you how much of a city kid I am! When you tell me about cows and goats and manure and farms and getting water from the river I literally cringe! It’s safe to say the farm life is not exactly what tickles my fancy!

So two weeks ago, my friend Alice challenged me to visit the Western part of our beautiful country, from which I hail from btw (shocker, I know!). You should have seen how my face contorted like when your mother hears you refused to do the dishes! I was up in arms, excuses at my fingertips at how I’ll get sunburnt or how I hate being chased by ducks (which happened to some kid in our esto!) etc etc! Finally I gave into the dare, lest I be the one to lose at such small small things! So I packed my rucksack, hopped into a shuttle, game face on, with a mission to prove to her, and myself that I can actually do this! I can be a farm boy! You see the things an ego can make you do! After all, milking a cow ain’t that hard! Surely, just pulling the titties in the gravitational direction for some drops of liquid gold can’t be rocket science!

Cows Cat Milk

Anyway so when I spotted an overloaded mat written Nile Perch Sacco whilst hearing my fellow “matmates” korogaing that luo with its heavy “Bs” and “Ds” (take your mind off the gutter!), I knew I had arrived in Kisumu City! The city famed for its finger licking fish and women who can literally break your neck with their ginormous cakes (I wanted to say their “sianda madongo madongo” but it just sounded nasty! #teammafisi). So yeah, while being in this city where sweating is as ordinary as eating roasted maize by the roadside, (catch me dead sweating in Nairobi!), I picked up some pointers which seem to clearly define this metropolis!

1. Your Ass is Our Ass – Not to sound profane, but men in this city are all about that sianda life! And get this, they aren’t ashamed to say it, sometimes in the crudest of manner! I remember some chic was passing in front of me and a random guy shouted “Sweetie, ebu come nishike hizo ma%$#&* nione kama ni soft venye zinakaa!” I have never been so shocked to hear such words in broad daylight at 4pm on a Wednesday! Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!!!!! Did I actually hear those words? These things actually happen? In real life? The guy just couldn’t keep his urges to himself and had to let the whole world know he is horny? My gosh! I was just speechless! And funny enough, I seemed to be the only one in bewilderment! So is it like a thing here to crave publicly for someone’s ass? I even thank God it was daytime ‘cause I can imagine what would have happened if it was night time! That was the extreme case though! Most guys were like “Eh Mungu kumbe anajua kuumba nyaber!” “Hawa warembo watatumaliza aki! Atimang’o yawa!” “Kuja nikupeleke kwangu nikuonyeshe mazuri!” “Eh kweli wewe umebeba soko yote!” Now I was just stunned that these things were being said so openly and carelessly and casually like buying bread at the shop! You know those videos on YouTube of “Walking As A Woman In NYC”? Someone should definitely do a Kisumu version! Vera Sidika are you up for it?

Bongo drums Ass Staring

2. Luo Women Are All About That Weave – Now I’ve seen plenty of weaves in Nairobi but nothing beats the multicolor and layers that awaited me in Kisumu! Whether it’s real, fake, Brazilian, Eurasian, Malaysian, Abuja, plastic, shiny, blow in the wind, thick, sultry, rainbow-coloured, “akya ang’o” etc etc, it is in the thousands in Kisumu! Believe it or not, you can’t walk 10cm without spotting a weave! But I love how they style it with such swag! Some had half bald heads with weaves taking the other half, some had accessories clipped up in there while others just looked like they borrowed that weave from sixty decades ago! Either way, Kisumu women got their weave game on! 🙂

Weave Game! WEeave Snatch Weave Steal Ostrich Waeve

3. Luo Women Are All About That Outfit – Now this is where I was just in awe the whole time! Blame it on that summer time weather! Those women dress to kill, like for real (you see what I did there? Am I rapper right now? No? Arrrrgggggggg!) What fascinated me the most was sometimes they dressed up but they weren’t necessarily going anywhere! You know how in Nai you dress up when you’re going for an event or meeting up with pals or for something special? There it’s dress up all day, everyday! Like you’d find someone with a killer sequined crop top or a high low and a form fitting pencil skirt accessorised in multicoloured beaded bracelets and ankle boots. And when you ask them where they are heading they’re like “Naenda tu kwa duka!” Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!!!!! People these days dress up kununua kitunguu ya 10 bob na cabbage ya 50! What world I’m I living in? I clearly have been wearing the wrong apparel when going to buy that Royco sachet! It’s official…am dumping my blue slippers and torn shirt (Don’t judge me! I was going for that distressed kinda swag! Haha!) and my short shorts when I get back! Ready-to-Wear Givenchy tank tops with summer shorts and leather boots, here we come!

Werk Shade

4. Luos Are Not Angry Looking, It’s The Heat – I’ve always wondered why luos tend to grimace and contort their faces especially at the eye brow area! And I finally found my answer… THE HEAT! (Thanks Toni Braxton! You had the answer all along!) Now that heat ain’t no ordinary kinda heat! Let’s just start with how that sun always seems to be overhead! I don’t even know how light skinned guys manage in Kisumu yani! That sun chapas you at certain unavoidable angles mpaka you just turn black! And remember that time you’re in a vest, so prepare to turn 30 shades darker! Imagine walking through a tarmacked city that is sweltering whilst your blood is boiling trying to look up to see where you’re headed. Somehow you’ll just have to kunja that face to avoid the sun getting into your eyes! The result? A roasted, contorted, angry looking dark face! Mad respect if you live in Kisumu! How you handle that heat every day, coupled with mosquitoes and sianda-hungry men is beyond applause! #winning And don’t get me started on the body evaporation a.k.a. sweat!!! You know how in Nai you mostly sweat in the armpits, if you sweat at all! Haha! There you have a variety of options, of which you have no say over! We’re talking eyebrow sweat, boob sweat, eyeball sweat, ass crack sweat and the list just keep on going! Antiperspirant is certainly not your friend in Kisumu! 😀

Oh God Britney

Fanning Sweating

5. Makangas Get The Best Views & Aircon – So after visually sampling the delights of the city, I decided to hop on a mat and head to shagz! Shout out to Nile Perch Sacco again! That is just the coolest name ever! I even had to look out for Omena Sacco just incase it was carrying gunias of omena on the roof for that IG moment! #anythingforsocialmedia Anyway so I board the mat only to be told to move a little closer to the window! Me am thinking maybe the woman next to wants to adjust her seating position but no! Another person joins us on our row! Now in Nairobi, guys normally seat 3 guys in a row, but here, 4 is the standard and if space allows it (what space? From where? Is it that they’ll put half our ass on the roof just to accommodate more people?) they’ll sit even 5 guys! So me am shocked, stumped, but what can I say! Everyone’s facials seems to be unmoved! So I squeeze a bit towards the window, skin on glass, sweat dripping down my arm, grinding on it as the mat begins to move and praying to the Lord the plump lady next to me doesn’t suddenly move to the right when we turn the sharp corner ahead! And the thought of her sweaty armpits leaving some sort of odour on my clothes from all that heat! Then I have to reluctantly convince people that I really had a bath in the morning and that ain’t my sweat on my own clothes, only for them to throw me side eye shade of disbelief! Ah ah now! I ain’t going through this trauma! Not me oooooooooooooooooh! So get this, we’re sitting more or less 4-5 guys in a row and the makanga will hang out of the mat the whole way! As in whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!!!! What if that car breaks? Won’t he be thrown into Lake Victoria and be devoured by hyacinth! Oh well, at least I won’t have to pay fare! #shade And every mat that passed us in the opposite direction seemed to be adopting the same travel arrangements! With even grandmothers hanging outside ’cause the mat was so packed! How I wish my Nairobi diva side came alive but when in Rome! Mind you we passed police checks and the cops seemed unfazed! Plus who wants to argue in that heat and contort my unsunscreened face further! So along the way I saw the old Peugeots acting as mats, carrying people in the boots, the bonnet, the roof, on the wheels, literally maximising the available transportation space! And there was still left over space to carry chicken, maize, goats, cows and a donkey in that very same Peugeot! Eh, that was quite a travel experience!

Air Speed

Cow Ride Bananas

All in all I did enjoy my adventure on the rural side of life! Riding that donkey to the farm was all sorts of awesome coolness! And hanging out with family is always a blessing. Such moments bring you priceless peace and joy. Did I get to milk a cow or slaughter a goat or kill a chicken or wake up to go get water from the river? Hell no! My grandmother insisted I should continue sleeping! And you know what they say, grandma is always right! 😉
For more awesome travel pics and stories and unwritten fun times on the road, check out my IG @billyoncemckenzie. Oh and btw, sianda madongo madongo means big ass! 🙂

WORK B!*$#!!!!

Lord knows how much I love this jam by Britney Spears! I’ve played it over 200 times in my phone and it’s the number one song that gives me inspiration when I’m burning the midnight oil (Diva by Beyonce is a very close contender by the way!). This up-tempo song talks about working your ass off if you want anything in this world. “You want a hot body, you want a Bugatti, you want Maserati, you better work bitch!” The beats are dazzlingly and energetically captivating while the lyrics make you strive for better in life.

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I was reading some lawyers blog sometime back and the guy really came down on the people of my generation! He said that most of us don’t like working; that we are lazy and expect things to be handed to us; that we don’t believe in struggles hence we want to acquire things fast with minimal effort; that we think that the world owes us something when in fact it doesn’t. He went on and on and on on how we are the lost generation and that someone needs to slap the reality back into us. Those were some tough Mohammed Ali punches he was throwing and I just had to call a timeout to catch some air from these brutal hammerings. He does have a point and not have a point at the same time. But are we really a lazy bunch? Do we really just get things handed to us?

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If there’s anything I’ve learnt in life is that time waits for no man. I am hungry, I am aggressive, I am ambitious and I want to be successful now! You can’t compare a 20 year old of 1970 with one of 2015. We are hungry, we want in and we want in now. We ask questions, lots of them for that matter and aren’t apologetic about it. And why should we be anyway? Sometimes we are arrogant and that’s where I can allow an older person to smack us, but nonetheless we are hungry now more than ever. So if that is the sign of a lost generation, then I guess we do match the description.

Furthermore, I find it so insulting for someone to call us lazy. Who said, just because you’re working a 9-5 means you’re more productive? Actually I know a lot of office folk who spend a great deal of the day wasting time! Someone gets in the office at 10am, goes around ‘chapaing stories’ with their colleagues and before you know it, it’s lunchtime. After lunch they try do an hour of work with surfing moments here and there and voila, the day is over. So between that guy and us who are going to classes, slaving and interning our asses off, who’s lazier? As I said, we are an ambitious lot; we want in like yesterday and are willing to work like dogs to make it happen. So this whole “we are lazy” campaign might as well be shoved down the toilet.

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The only point that I may agree with him is that we want things fast. It can be a good thing as a driving force to one working hard or a dangerous thing as it can result to one doing anything in order to acquire material things. I mean, look at how many college chics have sugar daddies to finance their lives in order to buy cheap 50bob tops at Ngara or apartments in Kileleshwa! Look at how many chics are now aspiring to be famous by just showing their asses and twerking all over social media! Look at how many guys who have decided to sell drugs or cause chaos on behalf of politicians just to fund a debt-filled lifestyle. And the worst thing is that people in our generation tend to think that it’s ok! No biggie! As long as the cash is flowing in and I can dress like I own a country then hakuna shida. The end justifies the means! But the question we as a generation should be asking ourselves is, when all this is said and done, are we going to be proud of our actions? Does the end really justify the means? When you’re older, would you be content telling your kid that you acquired that house through drugs, corruption and throwing your ass out for the whole world to see? Is this the kind of footprint you’d want to leave on this earth? Would you want to be remembered as that guy who worked his/her ass off or that guy who took shortcuts? Who even wants to associate themselves with a shortcut guy? Look at the most of the celebrated CEOs and Innovators. They’ll tell you that all good things don’t come easy; that you have to work every day at perfecting your skill in order to make it a brand. And I believe us as a generation should be inspired enough to follow that route. This is not to say that hardships will not befall us, but then again, the mighty shall rise like the phoenix from the ashes. You are defined by your actions after a fall and you’re molded to be resilient and even braver after a challenge is thrown at you. So don’t be scared Generation Y. If Steve Jobs can do it, Maya Angelou can do and even Barrack Obama can do it, so can you. And you know it! Create your own reality and success and absolutely live it!

So, what is your dream if I may ask Generation Y? What do you see yourself doing passionately for the rest of your life? You have to create that vision, and be very clear about. It may be blurry right now but try focus on it like a microscope until you see exactly what you need to see. If possible, create a time machine and go into the future and SEE IT. Once you’ve done that, come back to the present and start creating a roadmap towards reaching that target. Say you want a car, what do you normally do? Check it out online, get the specs, go to the showroom, take it for a spin, if they allow, and once that’s done, you start saving up until you have that Range Rover on your front yard. It is a big dream, but you’ve taken small steps towards achieving that. And that’s what we have to do Generation Y; take small steps, perfect each small step until you reach the big dream. Greatness is a lot of small things done well. No one ever becomes an overnight millionaire unless they’ve won a promotion of sorts. Which essentially is one in how many people in Kenya? What are the odds of you being lazy and winning verses you working and actually winning?

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And it is scary in this world because your ideas and even your very nature will be rejected. Especially when it is a consistent rejection, you start doubting yourself and your capabilities. But the difference is what you do with that rejection. Do you wallow in self-pity blaming the world for all your problems or do you rise up like the lion that you are? Tyra Banks was rejected 6 times before getting a modeling agency. J.K. Rowling was rejected 12 times before getting a publisher. Now how many people have the resilience of going through rejection 12 times? That’s like being dumped 12 times, consistently! And look how epic the Harry Potter brand came to be. Sometimes you’re just a step away from reaching the finish line, a step away! But most of us will fall just at the tip of that marker due to sheer cowardice. And then you start living a life of should have, could have, would have. But when you get such a blow in the face, recollect yourself and clean up the errors that may be. Always remind yourself what your goal(s) is in all that you are doing. What is your drive? What is the target? What will I ultimately achieve if I persist at what I’m doing? What is the end product? What is the light made of at the end of the tunnel?  You can also look at it this way, what will I achieve if I don’t keep at journeying on my dream path? What are the consequences of taking the high road? Will I be happy if I left it all behind? Will I regret it? What are the costs of not taking action vise vie doing something? With all these factors in mind, you can be able to take the next step toward realizing your objectives. Whether it’s saving up or putting extra hours at work or taking up a course, it’s all up to you. The path to getting there may be muddy and you may fall in one, too many times! Even Jesus got persecuted while spreading the Good News! But at the end of the day, DO YOU, with no apologies whatsoever!

But Generation Y, as Caroline Mutoko always says, never ever arrive! Never ever become comfortable! Never ever become complacent! Because once that happens, you stop growing; you stop being hungry and you reach a level of inertia that is suicidal. Always challenge yourself to reach the next best level. And once that’s done, on to the next one. That way you become a visionary, a leader and a pioneer in your own right. Look at how Microsoft keeps evolving! No matter how much stash Bill Gates has in his account, he keeps on taking his company to the next level, thereby challenging his competitors. This is evident even in the mobile industry as there are always new and improved devices churned out from companies like Samsung, Nokia, Sony, Apple and the rest. Never ever be satisfied. Yearn for more. Dare for more. Challenge yourself. Harness your will. This will take you out of your comfort zone and make you grow as an individual and by extension, those around you. By the way, can I tell you a secret? No one remembers what you did last week or last month or last year! It’s about making that bold impact today, at this very moment, to create a better tomorrow!

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So Generation Y, they say we are lazy… prove them wrong. They say we get things handed to us… prove them wrong. They say we don’t work hard enough …prove them wrong! If your boss tells you to work 8 hours, give him 12! If your boss wants that report by 5pm, give it by 3! If you’re expected to be at work by 10am, be there by 8! Supersede what is expected. Take this opportunity in this life time and milk it for all that it is. I dare you to go beyond the imaginable! And I promise you, you will be rewarded.  Life truly gives you what you deserve, and you get out what you put in. Be phenomenal in all that you do. Live up to and beyond your potential. Make every second, every minute of every day count by doing your very best, no regrets. Listen, learn and grow. And all will be well by the work of your hands. Make certain that by the time you leave this earth, you have done all that you could with no left over agendas. That you have lived, and killed the shit in all that you did. From this moment on Generation Y, you better work bitch!

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