The Highs and Lows of My Life in Campus

The highs:

First day in campus- definitely a life changing moment. I was so excited to be joining campus, though the queues to register and what not were the longest I’d ever seen. Campus meant new relationships, another chance to shine academically, the pursuit of computer studies, fashion etc. campus was everything.

Numerous crushes. I think I lead the list of the highest number of boys I have crushed on. And when they responded I was the happiest. At least for the week or two that it lasted.

Babaroa announcement in 2008. Babaroa is the award for being top of the class for your course. What do you know, working hard actually pays off. I was a diligent student in the first year and was rewarded with a trophy, certificate and 10K in cash. I bought a phone, Nokla 95, which was stolen from my room about a year later. Sadly, Babaroa has eluded me in subsequent years. Blame it on my competitive class.

Nokla N95

Writing/blogging contract- this came in June 2009. I signed a contract that would pay me about 10K thereof per month, and they used to delay payment, so after three or so months, you got yourself a nice fat cheque. For a student, 30k or more of your own cash, awesome. Sadly, it was not renewed come June this year.

Hanging out with my friends. One night in particular stands out, sometime when we were in third year. It’s my first ever twitpic.

My crew

The class trip to coast in third year. Our trips are purely un-academic.

Traveling to Uganda in September this year. I just packed my bags, called my ex-high schoolmate over there and off I went. I used my own hard-earned cash 🙂

Internal attachment (internship in campus) at the beginning of 2009. It was the most idle time of my life. I watched so many movies and series.

The day I bought Z (sometime in 2009). Z is my laptop.

Zee

The day my blog got a mention in Zuqka.

Getting a place for internship at the beginning of this year was not hard. In fact, I had two offers and I chose the better one. Turns out everyone else who was interning there knew somebody, but my papers spoke for me.

And now I have two job offers out of .ke, of course am yet to do even do my exams, let alone graduate. Decisions, decisions, don’t know which job to take. Hope I make the right choice.

The lows:

Having this fight in third year. I still bear the scars 😦

Soon after, somebody stole my Nokla and wallet. They didn’t just take the cash, they took the wallet and all my IDs, school, national, ATM card etc. I had to struggle to replace them. And I know it’s those chicks in the next room who took my stuff. Am watching you, if you’re reading this.

Every year, whenever the Babaroa list is out, and everyone is making comments like “Savvy, am sure you’re getting it again” and I just wish I’d never got it in the first place so guys don’t have to remind me every time of my earlier successful days 🙂

I’ve ever had a bad experience with Naps. First and last time to take it. Enough said.

Had a disastrous last day at work during my internship (Jan-April 2010). Almost got in the middle of some office politics, ended up not going home that night and got lectured the following day by my dad. He said stuff like, “if you want to get married, just tell us. You’re an adult now.” I’d never felt more of a kid.

Also during internship, I met a tweep who borrowed me my savings, to invest or so, I was stupid and all yeah. Anyway, it was hell getting it back but after a long struggle bravely borne, he finally MPESAd me the cash and I erased him from my phonebook. So long, sucker.

During internship yet again, I went to Naivasha for a weekend, and on my way back, my wallet was nicked by a pickpocket. I had to start replacing IDs and ATM cards all over again.

Last month, I’d just had a new Nokia C3 for about six days when yet again I was pick pocketed.

And so many more, the good and the bad, these are just but a few highlights of my adventurous life in JKUAT.

DEACONS REACHES OUT TO HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS WITH A TOUCH OF BREAST HEALTH AWARENESS

Nairobi, 10 November 2010: Lifestyle brands retailer, Deacons Kenya Limited, has partnered with high schools in a breast health awareness initiative that is poised to change the lives of young girls in Kenya.

Training the Trainer - Edwinah Combar of Woolworths Village Market teaching a student at Kenya High School how to go about reading the Bra Measuring Chart

The campaign, since July last year, has enabled the company reach out to over 2,500 girls in an enlightening breast-health initiative that has so far covered four city schools in the last one year.

Deacons Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Muchiri Wahome says the company has invested over KShs 1 million in the last one year seeking to educate school girls and to boost awareness of their breast health at an early age.

“Our focus is on a relevant, untapped and vulnerable age group made up of young girls between 14-19 years. We realized that this age group had been left out when various campaigns based on breast health and care especially because these initiatives are normally targeted at an older female audience. Most students are also in school when these activities are taking place and that’s why we decided to take this initiative through school visits,” said Mr. Muchiri.

Mr. Muchiri said Deacons intends to extend the campaign reach to 6 schools beginning January to December next year with the hope of netting a larger number of schools in future. The initiative is helping girls to understand various aspects of breast health awareness including knowledge on their correct bra sizes, how to detect signs of breast cancer and how to seek medical attention if any signs are detected. One in nine Kenyan women are diagnosed with breast cancer annually, health experts say.

In order to offer breast care and prevention knowledge from a medical perspective, Deacons is in partnership with the Nairobi Women’s Hospital who accompany the corporate on all the school visits imparting knowledge and spreading breast health awareness. Media personalities and motivational speakers also join the team and address issues of self esteem to the students.

Health researchers say 80 percent of women wear the wrong size bra, indicating a low breast health awareness level. Still, in addition, there is low awareness on breast cancer detection and treatment.

“This should be boosted because health experts say early detection of breast cancer improves survival chances of breast cancer. The experience at these various schools has been phenomenal since most of the students are unaware of the importance of wearing the right size bra.

We have had the opportunity to do free bra measuring for the students, and in addition to that trained the class monitors so that the service can reach all the students – and this is greatly helping to shape these young women look at their breast health more seriously,” said Olive Gathinji, Marketing and Communications Manager.

In the first year of inception of the Deacons breast health initiative – July 2009 up to August 2010 – Deacons has reached out mainly to girls’ high school in Nairobi such as Buru Buru Girls High School, St. Georges Girls Secondary School, State House Girls High School and Kenya High School.

The Princess Project ~ Flight or Fight

The last few weeks have been the kind when I know I am alive because there’s so much going on but I can barely feel my own skin.

It happens, to everyone, at some point. If you are like me, you’ll get a chance to stop for a moment and pinch your own cheek, just so you can feel the blood flow back, affirmation that you are alive. Sometimes I wish I knew a better way to get the same results.

My body seems to shift from severe neuropathic pain – periods when I experience severe pain as a result of both my illness and the medication I have to take to control it – and Peripheral Idiopathic neuropathy, periods when I cannot feel my extremities or experience pain in those areas. It can be a vicious cycle, one that is confusing even to me.

While all this is happening all the other stuff in my life; work, writing, friends, even faith seem to be some kind of routine just to keep me going. If I let it go on too long, then everything can be about my illness and lots of important stuff is neglected.

That’s why I need to stop for a moment and pinch my own cheek. I am glad that along with everything else that I was given, I got a bunch of special people to remind me when it’s time to pinch my own cheek.

Sometimes, I might ignore even them, in which case, we have a pre-arranged agreement that they will pinch my cheek for me. I might flare up, and maybe huff around for a few minutes, but deep down inside, I know that ‘my special people’ love me and only want the best for me. So I’ll probably calm down and start to listen.

I hope you have your pinch-your-cheek routine and your ‘special people’ too, because there is nothing so bad as being engrossed in your own thoughts and worries that you can’t stop to smell the flowers, and to make the world a better place.

I stopped to take in the beautiful scent of two flowers in the last two weeks.

I realised how very much I am proud of my daddy, his strength, his unique perception, and his choice to share his mind with me.

And then I met Catherine Wanjohi, well met virtually, a lady who is doing a great job of educating commercial sex workers in safe practices, as well as helping those who chose to leave the industry find stability and self-sufficiency. You can find out about Catherine’s work on her organisation’s website.

My mum always tells me that I should use what I have to make the world, my little corner of the world, a much better place. And I will. I have my pen, I intend to use it as far and as much as I can.

In other news, Gaby, is going through a Flight or Fight Situation. Which got me thinking that we are always at a Flight or Flight crossroad. Should I leave or should I stay? Should I do it now or later? Should I talk back or hold my tongue?

I think the same thing happens when a child is born and the doctor slaps the bum. Reality kicks in and the baby realizes that there are only two options, fight or flight. Flight at that point is a bit tricky,(unless fate and God had that in mind in the first place) so the tot decides to fight…We all decided to stay in this big bad world and for our places. What about Gaby? What will she do?

“Yeah. I don’t know you very well, figured it would be easier and safer to chat with you. ”

She paused and Gaby smiled feeling incredibly blank.

“See! You haven’t asked a question or given me the disinterested look I get from my friends in the lifestyle.”

“Like you said I don’t know you very …”

“It’s either you are too cynical for your own good or you are a very intelligent babe.”

“Babe? Me?” Gaby laughed as she handed a waiter a tray of drinks for Table No. 12.

“Yeah, babe. Hot one, too. Anyway, have you ever thought of getting out of this pub and maybe doing something ‘better’ with yourself?” She rolled her eyes in a Gossip-Girl kinda way. “Forget about you. You look comfortable here. I have been thinking of getting out of the agency. You know, down my tools and do something that I can tell my children – if ever I have them – about. Well, maybe not give up the whips and boots completely, but you know, not sell the lifestyle. ”

What in the hell makes the Blackberry Princess think that I’m was comfortable working in a hole with drunk yuppies as the main attraction and a patron who kills, deals and threatens? Comfortable?!!

Read The Rest Here.

The Princess Project did interview Catherine Wanjohi and she has spme very profound information on Life Bloom Services International, the organization. Check out how she helps these women Lead Blooming Lives.

The Lybelious Punk did not post any poetry(so to speak), this week. She’s fed up – I know she’s always fed up but this time it’s a bit more constructive- and she is sending all of you to Boot Camp with a poet of old, Rev. Samuel Wesley. Read and learn.

The Global Peace Convention will be held in Nairobi in December and we have all the info for you. This year’s theme is ‘conflict resolution; peace and development’ . Read More on the Convention here and then get to know Where The Truth Is with Imani Opar. Tomorrow she takes us Back To The Basics.

Lovely week.

Where is that campus-to-do list again?

It’s time I updated you on my progress. I still have around one and half months more of campus, so if there is anything left, there may still be time. Let’s see what I’ve done of recent.

I got a tattoo

I tore down papers from the notice board and climbed the water tank at Studiz. I wasn’t drunk when I was doing this, au contraire mon ami. I had just had a few shots of vodka and smoked some tobacco and something else. Just a little. So I did both of these on the same night. I was with my friends when we relieved the notice board of its burden, just for once we wanted to be young again. To do something silly because we can.

Now as for climbing the (I think 30m high) tank, the only thought in my mind as I gripped the ladder was, I hope to God I don’t slip and fall. So I climbed ever so slowly and ever so carefully, and when I got to the top, the view was well worth it. It was at night, and you could see for miles on all round.

The campus was looking beautifully lit during the night, and I shouted to one of my friends who was waiting for me at the bottom: “It’s breathtaking. It’s so beautiful up here.” And so encouraged, he joined me up at the base of the tank and it was a beautiful moment, and for a time, we were flying, we were superheroes with the wind beneath our wings.

Ever so carefully, we made our way down and I ticked one more thing off my list. However, there were no pictures because my phone couldn’t take photos at night, and some moments just can’t be captured on camera, you know? If you have a fear of heights though, this may not have been your cuppatea.

Towards the end of the month, (24th of November to be precise) we are going to coast for a final class trip. It’s going to be so much fun, because we are almost under pressure. We have so much to do: a very demanding project and the usual course work of 7 other units, so this break will be good for us. It’s supposed to be an educational trip, but it’s going to be beach time during the day and club time at night. Will keep you updated.

The Storymoja Hay Festival Kenya

The post that came one month late!!!!

The Storymoja Hay Festival Kenya took place between 1st and 3rd October, 2010 at the Railway Club in Nairobi. I attended the festival for the three days, and I didn’t even manage to catch all the events! There were over 90 events lined up, and the who’s who in the literally world was there. From local (Kenyan) to international authors, poets, journalists, playwrights and artists, the public was spoilt for choice. Kids too, had numerous activities that they could get involved in, including a chance to publish their own book in two hours.

The events were scheduled to take place between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and the evening sessions were taking place from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. There were various tents pitched on the Railway Club grounds where the sessions were taking place. There was the U.S Embassy Tent, the Kwani Tent, British Council Marquee, Tandaa ICT board Tent, Africog Marquee, Storymoja Tent, Kenya Buzz Tent and the Transparency International Tent among others.

I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

Marjorie Oludhe McGoye was in attendance and here she poses with some fans who probably used her book as a set book.


Some attendees of the Hay Festival go crazy at the camera at the end of the day. Am there somewhere. Let’s play spot me!


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Nokia C3: My Review

My heart is breaking because I lost the Nokia C3 I had had for barely a week. How it got lost is a story for another day.

Have you ever been in love with a phone? I thought I loved my Nokia 2700 Classic when I bought it with my own savings in December last year. It was my Christmas present. It’s a sleek, chic phone with a decent 2.0 megapixel camera, ability to support java applications, edge connection etc. however, this post is not about the 2700 which served me well for almost a year. This post is about the Nokia C3 which I’m now in love with.

The Nokia 2700 classic

Here is why I love the C3 (am comparing it to my Nokia 2700, it’s only natural).

Reason One: QWERTY keypad
I knew my next phone after the 2700 would have a QWERTY keypad. See, when you tweet a lot like I do, or when you read a lot of emails on your phone, you need to be able to type a fast response and trust me, even with the T9 prediction on, a non-qwerty keypad limits your speed. So I had in mind an E-series phone, but those are expensive. The cheapest is the E63, which goes for at least Kshs. 16, 000.

The Nokia C3

The C3 goes for Kshs. 10, 000 and that’s pretty affordable. In fact, when Nokia first launched it, it was on offer for 5K! Please Nokia, have an X-mas offer so I can buy the C3?

Reason Two: The Camera

While it’s still 2Megapixel just like my ex, its picture resolution can be as high as 1280 by 800, while the 2700 had a high resolution of 800 by 600. Coz of this, pictures appear smoother and of higher quality, so when viewed on a computer screen or any smaller screen, they look better that those of the 2700.

There’s a new snaptu version (snaptu is a mobile app for facebook, twitter, news channels etc.) available from http://m.snaptu.com/alpha which allows you to twitpic (post pictures on twitter) directly from your camera. This came in very handy, as previously I had to take the picture, save and upload it later with another application or via the computer. By then, it may have been overcome by events and lost its relevance, or I’d have forgotten the witty caption I had in mind. Am sure this snaptu could still work with the 2700 and other non-vga cameras but tweeting had become a blissful experience with the qwerty C3 and new snaptu. Deadly combination.

Reason Three: Limited multi-tasking

I need to warn you guys; the C3 is not a smart phone. It’s way too cheap for a smart phone really. So it does not support multi-tasking in the real sense of the word. If you were surfing on opera mini, snaptu or any other app, and you want to minimize it to make/receive a call/text, you can’t. You have to close that app first.

However, if you are using the phone browser, and you go to the menu, you can make a call/text and pretty much access the main menu. So there is limited support for multi-tasking, albeit with the phone browser. If let’s say you were using snaptu and you click on a link that opens in the phone browser, voila, you can then make calls/texts from there. Hope you find this helpful.

Reason Four: @ application

Push email. Or its equivalent. There is an app labeled @ already installed for mail. All you have to do is sign in with your yahoo/gmail or whatever mail server you use, and every time a new mail arrives, you get an alert. That way, you don’t have to keep checking your mail manually like I used to do with the 2700 (polling vs interrupts, he he. It’s a computer joke. Or analogy, rather.)

Reason Five: Ovi Store

There is a direct link to the ovi store and I admit though I resisted the idea in the first place, this is where I was on another night shopping for apps for the phone. I got the opera mini 5.1 something (the latest latest) and was still browsing for free games/apps etc when I probably fell asleep. I think the Ovi store is a great idea from Nokia. Wonder why ovi though. It’s the plural of ovum. That’s why am wondering.

Reason Six: The whole shebang

The usual expected functionalities and ports. It has a slot for a micro-SD card (memory card), micro-USB? Slot. It’s the small sized port so I didn’t have to change data cable from the 2700. The small pin charger, and the standard earphone port so you can connect the phone to multimedia speakers and play your radio/music. There is the usual video/audio/notes/to-do list/ alarm clock/calendar/countdown timer/calculator/reminders/games/extras etc. they are all there and they look nice on the large screen. Which is reason 7.

Reason Seven

I know the 2700 was small and sleek, but the C3 is a lighter and more chic phone in comparison with the E63. It has a wide screen with high resolution which makes viewing of anything on it, be it text, images, video just awesome. It also looks really great and you look quite classy typing away on it, who knows it ain’t that smart? It looks smart.

Reason Eight

Texting. Remember when you have been text chatting with someone the whole night and you want to go back and read the messages? You have to change from inbox to outbox to inbox to outbox. However, the C3 automatically marks any reply as a chat. So when you go the chat folder, you can see the back and forth messages sort of like a wall to wall, know what I mean? And now that I had subscribed to the Masaa ya SMS from Safaricom, I was enjoying text chatting so much, I had almost forgotten to tweet.

Reason Nine: The Main Screen

It has three customizable ribbons (if I can call them that. Or bands. Or sections. Sort of like shortcuts.) the first short cut is to the phone book, and you can place your favourite/most called numbers on it with their pictures for faster dialing.

The second ribbon/section/band has communities: facebook and twitter. I did sign in and it was more like a bad browser for tweeting/surfing. I did not really like it that much. However, another tweep said if you quit the communities to call/text, when you go back, you find it in the same state you left it. Kind of like an earlier paradigm of multi-tasking where they freeze the apps you are using, save the state and when you go back to them, they resume. Did I lose anyone?

The third section is more like a go-to. It has shortcuts to camera, web etc and is customizable.

Reason Ten: You Tube

I could not play you-tube clips with my 2700 no matter how many apps I downloaded. Maybe I did not try harder. I think the C3 has support for you-tube and other videos from the net, e.g. like videos posted on facebook. However, I never got the chance to try this out. Phone got lost before I could. 😦

11. Wi-Fi

I had forgotten about this one! But thanks to kirima (see comments below) who reminded me. The C3 has support for wi-fi so whenever you are in Java or any places with free wi-fi, you can browse worry free.

I only had the phone for barely a week, six days to be precise, and am sure I’d have discovered more gems with time. Sadly, it was not to be. Hope I have given you enough reason to go out and buy (me) a Nokia C3.

Remember that time I had a weird Monday?

I’m sure I’ve now disappointed a number of people. One of them being the patron of the SDA group. See, I had a supper invitation to his house on the day Ugandan cranes were playing the Harambee Stars and tickets were already bought. I attended church for the first time this year that Saturday 9th October and left just before the main preaching could start so I could make it to the match in time. I made it in time, finding the teams warming up on the field before going to the changing rooms to change into their official kits.

Holy Bible

I texted David Samson (the patron, not his real name) and told him I’m sorry I couldn’t make it for supper, I’d already left school and to thank his wife for me. He replied, asking me if I had attended Friday night vespers. I told him I hadn’t. He asked me, why? Where was I? And I felt I owed him no explanation. So I did not text back. Part of the reason I prefer to live in campus hostels even if home is like 20min away is because of this freedom thing. You just don’t want to be explaining to anyone what/where/with who/why you are doing, whatever it is you are doing.

He called me the following weekend but I had left for home so we were to meet when I came back so we could talk some more. He didn’t call me until the Friday 22nd of October, asking me where I was. Had I been honest, I’d have told him I had just finished getting my tattoo at a parlour in Westlands. I told him I was at home and would be coming back to school on Sunday and he said we really do need to meet and talk. I remember that particular night too, because it was on the same night that my one-month-long relationship ended. Okay, one month is too short to be a relationship but whatever it was ended then. Details withheld.

I’ve disappointed some tweeps too, who wanted to know how my talk on the 29th would go. I was to do the ‘preaching’ for the Friday vespers. However, my spirit just wasn’t in it. You know when you’re forced to do something you don’t really want to do? Not with a gun to your head but with compelling words. Or did I just escape my responsibility? Is this what responsibility is about, doing what you gotta do?

Anyway, on the said 29th day of October, I lost a new Nokia C3 (review coming later) I had just had for about six days. At the time David Samson was calling me asking me where I was, at the same time I was supposed to have finished my preaching, I was in a matatu headed to town to rave; celebrate a friend’s birthday. As usual, I said I had gone home and as usual, he said he’d call me we talk when I get back to school.

So someone pick pocketed me the phone at a club in Westlands, and thus I pause a little in my tweeting career. (I’m a career tweep, but I moonlight as a student some days.)

I’m sure David Samson has been calling me and finding me ‘mteja’. He probably thinks am avoiding him.

FYI, I did have a sermon in mind. Coming from Ecclesiastes, chapter 9: 10-15 (thereof). Maybe I’ll still preach.