People Still Wear This In Public?

shower cap in mat

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Drama At Work

Where do I start? Oh yes..let’s start with interns. I heard someone gave some interns in an un-named department a telling off. More like a yelling off.

“All you do is Facebook, and entertainment sites all day!”

“And entertain men.” This is to an intern who was very friendly to an intern in another department.

“And what is between you and MoneyMan?” This was to intern 2 who was seen smiling to MoneyMan. MoneyMan is married with two children. He says fat men are disgusting (he is more of rounded to me…talk about the log in his eye), also that he can’t allow his wife to trap him to have more children. Anyway, MoneyMan flirts with everyone. Maybe except the one giving the yelling-off.

The yeller was on my case this morning: “You are not good with user support. I wish Andy was here.” Ouch! That was after I had reported a user complaining about their Ms Word. Ms Word! I could write the program. So I went anyway and solved the problem in about…10 seconds.

“You must have struggled..” Yeller quiped when I reported that all was ok. Am not having the best of days. At least the supervisor is talking to me. Yesterday he just shook his head and said, “Just go back”. That was after I came late and he had been looking for me. He did not speak to me the whole day.

Which reminds me last week, I missed a whole day of work. I was called to school, something about a scholarship. I knew no details except to be there by 8 a.m. I thought by noon, I’d be done. Anyway, it’s a long story…something about the department nominating two of it’s best performing female students (yeah!), then they had to identify those who really needed help with paying school fees this year. So to cut the story short, it was 4.30 p.m. when we were called for the interview and Oh la la! Where has he been hiding all these years? I’ve just got a new crush.

Am sure you are confused. Ok, I did not get the bursary because there were others who needed it more. So he works in the Dean’s department and he was a part of the panel of interviewers. He is tall. He is dark. He is handsome and courteous. He said we should not worry about not getting the bursary..being nominated in the first place was an honour. He said we can pursue other avenues. He said he’s always there, any problems, financial or otherwise….am thinking of developing an addiction so I can go for counselling when we open for session. He made my day.

All this talk of crushes has reminded me, this fellow intern. She has a crush on The Light One. He is tall and yes, light. And very good looking, polite and friendly too. But it’s her crush not mine.

Today isn’t over yet and still…there is one more story to tell. I really should stop this joking around, because last week I jokingly said, “lunch?” and NA took that up as an invitation. As far as it stands now, it’s become a dinner. And it’s also become a “just between you and me” affair. It’s a dangerous affair. No, he’s not married…just a little bit older. Okay, just very much older.

Internship So Far

Recently, I got a FB message, from a classmate. He suggested we meet and catch up. I was all for the idea…I was going to reply when it occurred to me my credit was over. Safaricom reminded me of this a few minutes later: “Your balance is low again at Ksh 0.00 Please top up with Bamba 5 or request credit advance. Dial *131# now!” Well, credit advance cannot surf, and I can’t bring myself to buy Bamba 5 or 10. So I replied the following day at work.

We met up, after a flurry of messages debating on the venue. Guys refused this joint, saying it’s too cheap. We are working class people now…move on to bigger and more expensive things. You wish. This comes from an intern who is not being paid…but never mind.

View of Nairobi Streets from the 'cheap joint'

We eventually met at er..another joint where over pizza and soda, we caught up. Where are you doing your internship? How much are you being paid? What happened to those relationships you were pursuing in school? Have you heard from so and so? Where are the rest of our classmates doing their attachment?

Turns out some of us are doing attachment in places where they have no access to computers! And they call themselves computer scientists! Not that the rest of us are any better…in terms of relevance. We heard of those who wash dishes (don’t ask), those who are teaching (from 7am-6pm), those who have to make phone calls…few of us are doing jobs that are really challenging or fulfilling. Or relevant to what we are studying in school. Welcome to the real world.

There is a flip side to this though. There always is a flip side to any story, no matter how credible. If you are hoping for a lecture on the importance of gaining experience at the work place…well, it’s not what I had in mind. Just read on…things that excite an intern

i.) Automatic doors- this are those that open only with swipe of a card. You feel oh so important when you swipe the card and get swallowed up into the room, looking around at the visitors who have been made to wait to make sure they see you with the privilege of the card. This also applies to those doors that read: “I.T ONLY.”

ii.) The cleaning lady/guy: not in the way you are thinking. One of my friends had his phone also wiped clean as the lady thoroughly wiped his desk. Am thinking she has a crush on him. Even his phone? What next, tell him to take off his shirt so you can launder it? But he was excited to no end.

iii.) The tea guy/girl. Starts to feel kinda important to have someone pour your tea every day, after they have learnt how many sugars etc…not all of us have the privilege, we pour our own tea. I do know of other interns though, whose work description includes pouring tea for their bosses.

iv.) The monthly cheque. The money is quite little, that’s for sure. The highest paid intern earns 16K per month, as far as I know. But still, a cheque is a cheque. Or brand new notes. You feel like photocopying them and framing them…your first salary.

Feel free to add more…

P.S. Have the police changed their uniform?

Note the khaki coloured pants and the gumboots in January. Cop 1

On Another Day

Mind Your Garbage

One day I was in a matatu ….ok, this is not the way to begin this story. Am always in a matatu..it’s my daily means of transport. So on one of my daily journeys by matatu, I decided to sit in front, left. I think this is the most comfortable seat, and the one in the middle is the most uncomfortable. Am referring to the 14-seater Nissans. Not the mini-bus matatus.

Anyway, this gentleman in a suit decided to take the middle seat. He had on his religious white scarf on his head (mkorino…what’s it in English?). He carried with him a paperbag whose contents I did not know until the matatu started zig-zagging out of town. Out he took this big bottle of Yoghurt and a straw. I dont know about you, but there is just something odd about a man in a suit with yoghurt and a straw. It’s like a man in a suit chewing gum, or licking a big lollipop.

While we were nearing campus, the gentleman having sucked the life out of the bottle, he casually leaned into my face, extended his arm out of the window, and threw the bottle, the straw and the black polythene paper into the grass. I couldn’t believe it. I looked at him, hoping to see…shame? mortification? regret? But he was just casually glancing around.

There are many people who irritate me. Those who mispronounce my name. I’ve been called Sevvy..etc, the women who will take the whole sidewalk and you are in a hurry, those who call me mresh, the list is endless, but the worst are those who throw garbage anywhere.

I know I cannot save the world. And am not trying to. I just feel if everybody took responsibility for their own garbage, the world would be a cleaner place. I can’t believe I was so mad at that guy, I could not give him a lecture there and then.

The Walk of Shame

I am sure everyone has had one. A walk of shame that is. The walk of shame happens the morning after. Be it down the stairs with nosy neighbours peeping through the window as you walk to your car, or the stretch between the house and the stage, and if you are in campus, the path between his/her hostel to yours.

There are many tell-tale signs that one is walkee. The hair is messed up. The clothes are rumbled. Their steps are without confidence. Their head is not held up high. After all, it’s the walk of shame. They are not proud of the previous night, otherwise they would have stayed longer instead of slinking away early in the morning.

I remember having a roommate once. She rarely slept in the room..all she did was come back to the room from her boyfriend’s room, just as our early morning alarms were about to go off. Then she would shower before going back to sleep for an hour or so.

Hall six. Appropriately nick-named Hall sex. No need to elaborate, I’ve heaved similar-praises on it previously. A path runs directly to Hall 5, also a guys’ hostel. On a random balcony of Hall 5, one has a bird’s eye view of the walkees. The question of course is, what would you be doing on a Hall 5 balcony so late/early in the night? You’ll probably be doing the walk yourself much later.

Mostly, it’s the girls who do the walk. Because boys in campus walk around rugged day and night, and sometimes do not change clothes too often so you never know…

Recently, in a bid to enhance security, it was thought necessary to install floodlights at strategic spots in the campus compound. Strategically they were placed. One, flooding light at the path where the walk of shame takes place. Previously, it was a dark secure place, and now even when you are taking a normal walk, the everyone around will notice.

The other floodlights have caused light to shine into strategic places where lovers used to be one with nature. Now even the shadows of the trees are no longer sufficient, and watchmen have been enjoying the sights and sounds of those who don’t want to get a room.

If my former roommate there now, she might consider waiting for daytime when there is busy traffic so one can blend in as you walk back to your room.

This you?

Care to share your walk of shame experience?

Mariga's Gal

The couple in coast

The couple at home?

Looking like a sportstar

Anyone still doubting my paparazzi skills?

The Diary of an Intern

I apologize if I have had no internship stories to tell….the stories are there, but I realize they are not mine to tell. I could get sued, you know, now that am famous.

A day cannot start until I have snoozed the alarm at least three times, jumped out of bed in a panic and be on the dusty road (I know soon we will have a superhighway, but now it’s just a dusty mess). The fight for matatus begins. Because of the mega-traffic jams in Nairobi, most matatus will not reach the city center. Lucky for me, I don’t work in town.

So having elbowed my way into a mat (which I don’t actually do…but who’s to judge…), and settled in, I get out my phone to start early morning tweeting (on twitter, just in case you thought am a bird now). Almost always, the radio is tuned to Classic 105.

Mwalimu King’ang’i : Na unayua huyo mtu nilimweleza…

Maina: Heee heeee haaaa…

Mwalimu King’ang’i: Nakwambia huyo mtu..

Maina: You guy…heeee..haaaa..ha ha..uii….

Mwalimu King’ang’i: Nikamwambia

Maina: Uuuiiii hauiii haaaa haaa heeee heeee haaaa heee

Then the tastiest githeri advert comes on, so I plug in my headphones and listen to Breaking Benjamin screaming Dear Agony. Oh, the agony of public transport. Unfortunately for me, my (not so ) old man works in the opposite direction. Soon, we encounter a bumper to bumper situation. Fortunately for me, am in a matatu. The most recklessly driven vehicles. On earth. It feels like we are in a safari rally. We take corners, shortcuts, create our own roads, take diversions into estates with no roads, through fields, valleys and hills, and eventually join the main road after much dust.

I give up at tweeting because I cannot read while bouncing around. Most of my clothes are black…so am not worried about looking like I walked all the way from home. I switch on the computer and other accessories (like printers etc..you get my drift), stare out of the window (ok, not true but below is a view from my window over lunch hour day dreams), then log in to my gmail, twitter (they haven’t realized it’s the new FB so no one frowns much), blog (so I can see who’s commented then read their blogs, then get links to more blogs etc..) and am ready to start my day.

View from my office

Soon, workers from other departments will come, wanting some IT services or other. Young and old, cute and normal looking, mean and nice….which reminds me, because some of those senior people have been so nice, I had no idea they were so senior. I may have told big big boss to wait, so I can finish with big boss, and you see, the order of things is, big big big boss first, big big boss next, big boss..you get the drift. No matter who arrived first.

I’ll get called to sort out some issue..or help set up laptops/projectors for presentations and stuff. At the end of the evening, it will be my responsibility to un-set up. At which point I may pick one or two sweets leftover. I confess. So you see, I can help the cleaning crew trash the remaining stuff. Oh, whom am I kidding? Who wants to see sweets go to waste?

In-between, I may get called to test some in-house developed system or other. I may take one or two cups of tea or coffee. Flirt with an intern or two. Make friends with one new person or other. Go out for lunch (or fruits) with my skinny and not-so-skinny friends. I may decide to teach myself something new with computers. I could chat with someone, or just read blogs. My day is varied. I could also get sent to pick up stuff that boss forgot somewhere. Am happy to go…some stretching of legs and taking in the scenery. This is one of the greenest places in Kenya. I’ll put up a non-descript photo soon, watch this space.

The day ends..the working part. So you realize that what you are taught in school may not be what you are doing, but you know you’ll get there someday. A positive attitude will go a long way. So you say bye to your twitter friends, pick up your friend from the department downstairs..and by 5.20 p.m. latest, you are signed out.

You are in no hurry to take a mat this time…so you bargain with the conductor.

“Home ngapi?”

“Hamsini..fifty”. You frown, move back..

” 40 basi, kalia madam..”

“30.”

“Ingia gari…”he opens the front door. I smile and plug in my headphones. Time to check my facebook. I made a promise not to FB at work. Nothing in the inbox. Dusty bumpy road…oh, who’s going to do my laundry? Me, of course. It was a rhetorical question.

As I walk to the house from the stage, I admire the clothes by the roadside. I see a really nice skirt. I ask the price.

“Ngapi?” I put its value at Kshs. 150 at most.

“550.”

“Na mwisho?”

“450.”

I turn back without a glance and contemplate the flight of stairs facing me.

Weekends…that’s a story for another day. But here’s a pic I took on a very dangerous bridge while looking for a swimming pool this last Sunday.

beautiful waterfall at the dangerous bridge

Went to two places, found two similar notices of lack of water.
Place 1

Notice 1

Place 2

Notice 2