Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Not yet alien

I had a somewhat frustrating time in Nairobi this morning and am, as yet, not yet fully an alien in Kenya. My registration card still isn’t ready. Even if it had been I would still have had a frustrating morning because of a paper work issue. In keeping with my positivity policy (outlined in yesterday’s blog) I will not dwell on the downside of the situation. The guy who issues the cards was very apologetic about the problem and said that he wished the process could be made more flexible.

I was able to make it to Kisumu this afternoon and am writing from St Anna’s guest house (a previously advertised establishment). I’ll be travelling to Kosele first thing tomorrow.

It’s been a fairly slow news day from my point of view today so I thought I would share a couple of snippets from The Standard, one of the national daily newspapers. This might take some time as there is a power outage locally following some recent work on an electricity pylon and the generator that the guest house is using keeps tripping in and out.

Snippet one is about a fairly common occurrence in Kenya and a cautionary tale for any would be thieves. This is from the Quick Point section of the paper.

The headline reads “Gucha Suspect burglar lynched. A suspected burglar was lynched by the public in Ogembo town, Kisii county, while two of his accomplices escaped narrowly. (Kisii is a town about 45 minutes drive from our place). The suspect had allegedly broken into a house belonging to a policeman in Ogembo town and stolen eight chicken, sugar and bulbs. The officer is said to have woken up the following morning only to find the poultry missing. Residents later recovered the chicken from the suspect’s house before setting him ablaze. Gucha OCPD (Officer Commanding Police Department) warned Gucha residents against taking the law into their hand.”

The second snippet is a spelling mistake that is probably an accurate reflection of the current graduate employment crisis that the world seems to be facing.

The headline reads “Coffee fund unveils new employment initiative for youth………..The idea entails establishing coffee shops in major urban centres. This will assist in expanding the local labour force market by targeting young people to work in the outlets. ………. The various jobs to be created in the coffee shops include coffee barristers who prepare and serve espresso based coffee drinks.”

If these young people can get away with charging the same hourly rate as lawyers they should be set up for life!

Monday, 29 April 2013

Looking forward ......

It’s good to be back in Kenya again. Post-election Kenya seems much the same as pre-election Kenya and I’m hoping that the work we have to do this year will go smoothly. Talking to our friend Sam (owner of the Rusam Villa where I am staying tonight) in the taxi to the Villa from the airport it sounds like there is a good deal of optimism about the prospects for the future. It remains to be seen how far the new government is prepared to go in advancing a new kind of democracy in Kenya but I feel it is important to be positive. It’s easy to dismiss politics in much of Africa as corrupt and ineffective but that would be to marginalise real potential for change. From the perspective of most of the rest of the world Western political practices don’t exactly look squeaky clean. The plank and the speck parable springs to mind.
 Anyway. I am determined that this year I will look for the good in everything and everybody and try as hard as I can to avoid dwelling on anything negative that would spoil my outlook. I’m booked on a return flight back to the UK on December 15th and really want to make the most of the rest of this year. Having faced numerous challenges in my family circumstances last year I am upbeat about the task ahead of us. My wife Judi is thriving post-cancer treatment and is looking forward to joining me in Kenya in July at the end of the academic year in England. She will then retire from her paid employment and join me in ‘volunteering’ full time for Hope and Kindness. I can’t wait and neither can Judi.

I will be in Nairobi tomorrow hoping to obtain the alien registration card that I applied for last year. I’m praying that the procedure at the immigration office goes smoothly tomorrow so I can head for our place as quickly as possible and avoid being stuck in Nairobi for a few days. I will be interested to see how the card is presented – it will be something of a novelty being a legal alien. (First musical link of the current blog below).

I hadn’t planned to write much tonight as I’m very tired. I always find it difficult to sleep on overnight flights so have been up for quite a long time. Those of you of the praying disposition might like to pray for Judi as she manages being in England on her own for a few months keeping home and family together. Being in Kenya always adds a sense of urgency to my own prayers. Depending completely on my own wit and sagacity out here is a spectacularly foolish thing to do.

I hesitate to make too many predictions about the next eight months. Our difficult year came full circle early in March this year when my Dad died very unexpectedly. The blog has one less follower now. Dad always encouraged me to do the right thing and was an indefatigable optimist. His spirited approach to life and belief in a better future rubbed off on me in many ways. When I was at school he cheered me and my team mates on from the sidelines of the rugby field. He continued cheering when Judi and I started Hope and Kindness and we were always able to count on his enthusiastic support and counsel.  He and I would stay up until the small hours of the morning sorting out the world's problems. It would be unbearably dull if the future was completely predictable. Faith and a spirit of adventure would be the first casualties of such a state of affairs. That said I do hope the road ahead is fairly straight and that any potholes are clearly signposted and are, ideally, avoidable.