A taste of Kilifi – Mnarani Club

For the first time in a long time (I think a year and a half) I finally went on vacation. On the evening of the 13th of November with a number of friends we boarded a bus heading to Mombasa and on the 14th caught a matatu heading to Kilifi. Our final destination was Mnarani Club in Kilifi. Being the first time going past Mtwapa I was pleasantly surprised at how green the area is. My assumption has always been that the coastal part of Kenya is sandy and not suitable for agriculture. Rows and rows of sisal plants greeted my eyes before the landscape changed to undulating hills with neatly planted crops spotted with a few palm trees. The matatu we boarded was old and rickety. When it started raining we quickly realised that we hadn’t chosen the best seats. The three of us seated at the back had to hunch forward to avoid droplets of water seeping in through the gaps between the boot’s door and the roof. The guy seated next to the door was worse off. The huge gap between the door and the chassis let in a steady stream of dirty water. Weren’t we glad when we arrived at our destination!
Before we left for Kilifi I had spent some time on the internet looking up Mnarani. Immediately we got there it became clear that the photos I found didn’t do it justice at all. The first view you will come across is what they call the infinity pool. It isn’t called that for nothing, from almost all angles you would think it goes all the way past the ocean.
They don't call it the infinity pool for nothing, it seems to go on beyond the horizon

They don’t call it the infinity pool for nothing, it seems to go on beyond the horizon

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That is un-African

I love debates; I find it really hard to shy away from one. A debate will give you a sneak peek into how someone thinks. The way one articulates his/her points sheds a lot of light on his/her personality. People have different ways of justifying their opinion. Some draw on previous experiences, something they read somewhere, quote someone, quote a book (like the Bible) or just come up with their own “facts”. Often people who can argue without being emotional are able to drive their point across better. Unfortunately this is something most people have never understood so the debate usually ends up being a shouting contest.

Now there is one line which pisses me off during a debate; that is un-African. I almost lose it when someone uses that line. What is the meaning of this statement? What is African and what is un-African? How do we distinguish between advances on what we already had and that which is completely foreign? Before we were colonized we had houses which are very different from what we have now. We had a way of communicating, smoke signals and the rest, which is very different from what we have now. Where would we classify things like shoes, make up and all the things that we didn’t have before? Where would technology fall under? Would that be un-African too?

This would definitely be your digz were it not for the colonialists

This would definitely be your digz were it not for the colonialists

This line is used a lot when it comes to issues touching on morals. Recently Binyavanga came out of the closet and said he is gay. So many people attacked him claiming that this was un-African. Gado did an interesting cartoon about this (Thanks Paul for the link – http://gadocartoons.com/homosexuality-is-unafrican-and-foreign/). He was basically pointing out that Christianity is un-African too. I know a couple of things that are African: wife inheritance, FGM, cattle rustling and so much more. By using that line in an argument are you endorsing the above and the other African practices?

What is African and what is un-African? Share your thoughts with me on Twitter @kiruik.

A social experiment

The society in general has always fascinated me. As human beings we put a lot of value into what other people think about us. I do that too; it is only human. We always strive to best the best dressed, the most popular and generally just be the best in some way. The interesting thing then is what people have decided as the benchmarks for this. From how we dress to the car you drive the standard has been set by the society. KOT (Kenyans On Twitter) standards are particularly ludicrous but I digress. As a result we have a society that seeks to conform to a standard set by the larger community in general. Do something off the norm and you are termed weird, geeky or just uncool.

From September 2013 to January 2014 I decided to carry out a social experiment. I changed my look radically just to see the reaction of the people I hang out with. I twisted my hair resulting in a very rugged look as you can see in the photo below

With my cousin at our farm in shagz

With my cousin at our farm in shagz

The reactions were wide and varied. Some people asked me what I was rebelling at, others complimented my look, and others tried to find out the “reason” as to why I did it. Some asked if I had aspirations of being a musician. All the time the question I was asking myself was whether the new look made me a different person. Did it affect my work output or how I related with people? I am lucky I work in an unconventional environment which values what you do than more than how you look. We are allowed to dress the way we like as long as it is decent. I know of companies who don’t allow ladies to rock afros or dreadlocks. Who set these standards? Isn’t it about looking presentable? What is presentable?

Things got a bit more interesting when I travelled to my grandmother’s place over the Christmas period. No one had the guts to ask me a thing about my hair but I was informed later that most were asking as to when “niliharibika”. The interesting part is that my parents have always been cool about it. They raised me well and trust the decisions I make. They never judge people based on their looks but rather they judge you based on your actions.

My hair is back to “normal” now, they were turning into dreadlocks and I wasn’t so sure I wanted to spot dreadlocks so I untwisted it. I wonder what my next social experiment will be but I am definitely open to suggestions.

Is how you look everything? I guess there no concrete answer to this question but feel free to share your thoughts with me on Twitter @kiruik. The last time I checked the comments section works so feel free to share your thoughts here too.

Car things!

The new Subaru WRX, I would love to be driving this

The new Subaru WRX, I would love to be driving this

I recently had a very interesting conversation with two of my colleagues, Michael and Leonard. I am always amazed at the depth of knowledge my age mates have when it comes to certain issues. You will never know this without having such discussions. We discussed a varied number of topics ranging from investing to buying a house and more. Being boys the conversation naturally drifted to cars. It first started with the different cars available out there in the market and the different reasons why you would choose one over the other as your first car. I have always disliked Toyotas (Prado’s and VX’s don’t fall under this category for me) as I feel they focus on efficiency and completely neglect comfort. As a result my first car would never be a Toyota. They are pretty solid but they just don’t cut it for me. The conversation then drifted to how to obtain funding for your first car.

There is a time I swore I would never get a car loan. To me a car was a liability which I was going to be paying for a long time. Add the fact that bank interest rates are so high you feel you are being robbed in broad daylight. My plan then was to save money until I was able to acquire a vehicle with cold cash. My first car would be in the range of 650 to 900k at the most. Working with 900k I would need to save 75k a month to get the car in a year. This definitely is not possible for me at this point. If I was to spread this over two years I would need to save 37,500 a month. This is still a very tall order. Let us work with a cheaper car. With a car worth 700k I would need to save around 58k a month in order to get in a year and around 30k to get it in two years. I am not that patient; I can’t wait for that long. Keep in mind that I need to be investing in other things too so I would need some more money. Assuming I actually manage to save that money would I use it to buy a car? I don’t think so, at that point I would look into where I can invest it because that is a lot of money to give out at once and never see it again.

What is the compromise? Take a loan. Raise 60% of the money I need and top up the rest with a loan from a SACCO or family. For a car worth 900k I would need to raise 540k. This seems more manageable. Typical SACCO loan rates are 10%, that is workable too.

This is my theory, let me try it out. What are your thoughts? Please feel free to share them with me here or on twitter @kiruik

Oloolua Nature Trail – a hidden treasure within Nairobi

On the Saturday 9th November 2013 together with a number of my friends we decided to go for a nature trail. We didn’t want to do the conventional thing of going to the trail at the Nairobi National park and so we decided to try a different location. We discovered this gem Oloolua Nature Trail despite it not being marketed at all. It is situated in Karen not so far away from Karen Blixen Museum. This article can give you more information on how to get there and the fees to get in.

Oloolua has a number of attractions. We first passed by the waterfall. Compared to the waterfalls I have seen before this one was quite small.

Nothing beats a shady group photo at the falls

Nothing beats a shady group photo at the falls

A section of the trail

Between the trees

Between the trees

There is a cave too. I now know people who are scared of caves

Strike a pose, how else will people know you do nature trails and go into caves?

Strike a pose, how else will people know you do nature trails and go into caves?

Pit stop to recharge, many people are not used to doing such trails

Tweeting how "enjoyable" the experience was so far

Tweeting how “enjoyable” the experience was so far

There is a swamp too, a bit disappointed though because it looks more like a sewer plant than a swamp

More shady photos. What if you tripped and fell back?

More shady photos. What if you tripped and fell back?

And the last stretch heading back to the starting point.

final stretchI absolutely loved the trail. It is not too easy and neither is it too hard. The pathways are full of leaves and the landscape is just magnificent. I will definitely do it again another time.

Beware, you might just lose your laptop in a matatu

Last week I nearly lost my laptop in a matatu. A friend of mine had lost his not so long ago and I have been laughing at him all along. I mean it is so large, how would someone remove it from your bag without you knowing. It was a close shave, I was lucky I knew about the trick they use so I am going to share it, I am sure it will save someone from losing his/her laptop.

The guys work in a gang of at least 2 with cooperation from the conductor. One guys will sit beside you and another behind you. The guy beside you will always be carrying a bag which will totally obstruct his arms as he slowly opens your bag. At some point the guy behind you will pretend to receive a phone call about a crack down. He will then advice you to belt up. He will always do this just before a stage. As you fasten your seat belt the guy seated beside you will remove your laptop and put it in his. Before the fake call is made they make sure they have opened your bag. You will feel the laptop being removed but this is timed perfectly such that as soon as he has the laptop the matatu stops and they alight. Following them at this juncture is pointless as it is a gang, they might end up beating you up.

The sad thing is that passengers are so fearful they will not utter a word nor come out to help you. You should therefore be very cautious in public transport. Don’t pick any coins someone has dropped, it is always a ploy. Don’t listen to anyone telling you to fasten your seat belt, there are hardly any good Samaritans in public transport.

There is also another trick out there. You can lose your bag when boarding a matatu especially when people are scrambling to board it. The first guy will be the first one on the door and another will be directly behind you. The one in front will hesitate to climb as the one behind you cuts the straps of the bag. Since there is so much commotion you will hardly feel as this happens. You will be left there holding on to useless straps. The bus operators know about this but they can’t do anything about it. One tried to intervene and a day later he had acid poured on his eyes.

These incidences are particularly common along Ngong road and so be extra cautious when plying this route. Do you know any other ploy out there? Feel free to share it, it will go a long way in helping our brothers and sisters out there.

Why Pastors Shouldn’t Teach Tithing

Average Us

Were you taught the tithing system?

I was. I believed it, practiced it, and even preached it myself. But no more.

image of coins

The tithing system is what I call the modern teaching that if you tithe, God will bless you; if you don’t, He won’t. You know the Pastor is going to preach the system if the sermon text is this passage from the the Prophet Malachi:

“Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, “How have we robbed you?” In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing…

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