Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy ever after


These past few days I have spent quite some time at home and this inevitably means TV and even gotten addicted to Indian soaps thanks to Mresh and Murshid who know each story line to over 10 soaps.

Mostly there is the theme of some guy and some girl work together/go to school together/see each other often,they grow to like each other and then get married and live happily ever after(maybe) or something close to this.In the case of soaps complications!!! like the guy being the lady's brother and she doesn't know and other related complications. Most movies end with happy ever afters,at least a good number of those I watch do........case in point those guys getting the jobs at Google  'Welcome to Google'(handshakes) .If Google is anything close to what its portrayed as in this movie all of us should get jobs there(The Internship).

Sometimes you watch stuff that you can easily relate to ............Winnie Mandela amongst others things got me thinking that seriously nowadays nobody struggles that much for a girl/lady's attention and I also think/have realized I'm the old fashioned kind of person and would love for a guy to put in some effort and not this issues of today someone calls you for 2 days and expects you to be running towards him on the third call seriously!!!!.Maybe just maybe I should have lived in another period in time and not this one.

All men should watch Winnie Mandela and see how 'Mandela' puts in effort to get Winnie and when he finally gets the chance to talk to her.He impresses(I know the movie its fictional but still!!!)

'Mandela':You

Winnie:Yes me Winnie

'Mandela': Namzamo Madikizela,Daughter of a teacher,son of a chief from the village(I can't remember name) where my ancestors are buried.

Now that is a winner wacha this mamboz of people who don't even know your second name months after you've met.

Well there are certain persons I know and love very much who recently got married this is to you may this mark the beginning of your happy ever afters :-) :-) and finding out all there is to know about each other so that in the very near future you can pull a' daughter of a teacher who is son of a chief from the village............





Monday, December 16, 2013

Kwaheri Dadaab-Its been real

I sit on my desk thinking what!!!!!!!!! so this is goodbye and the way I love this desk (although my back is to the door and I can't get away with doing my own stuff at work as everyone sees my computer screen) this has been a really beautiful/happy time in Dadaab (with a few tears but mostly joy). When I was coming here I did not know what to expect but had very low expectations and to say I have been pleasantly surprised will be a big understatement the DMO is a  city on its own.

What I have learnt in these few months is a lot and truly different from what I knew before and most importantly that not everybody that smiles and laughs with you has your best interests at heart,people are so hungry for praise and will do everything to be seen(poor me who is much of a background person)

With this said I'll miss the place/people so very much................dangers of getting too attached too easily.I will miss the following things the most(in no particular order)

The ice-cream place at IOM will be deeply missed really nice ice-cream and at affordable(read cheap) prices and the friendly guy who sells them who also can  make some really nice cakes for any occasion of course it can't compare to those fancy cakes made by cake houses in Nairobi but it still serves the purpose like Bye Rehema(in Pink no less). The beautiful chairs and outside sitting arrangement where we would mostly sit to discuss crazy stuff like the way we must bring the driving school quicker to Ifo 2 than LWF and hence shinda them,which agency has the nicest guys and prettiest ladies UNHCR/DRA and Redcross wins hands down respectively.

Free zumba classes:Yes free zumba classes for an hour everyday Monday-Saturday and I have learnt to 'dance''and that there are some things that should be marked female only like zumba because I feel its not a manly thing to belly dance and especially in public.Also that I'm pretty inflexible and happiest during the parts of the class that involves jumping :-).

House parties:People here love parties and will mostly invite you....................I have seen crazy dance styles,shisha, and stuff I had never seen before and eaten more cake than I have in a long time,witnessed drama like the lady who locked her boyfriend's room plus the room of the lady she suspected he was cheating on her with and they remained stranded outside at 3 am :-) I have no idea how this ended but would really love to know and the guys who drink each day of the week and come to the office drunk and smelling of alcohol on Monday morning but they still are able to work and achieve their targets some how!!!

Generous dudes from agency X otherwise known as the refugee agency:The number of free juice/sodas and lunches/dinners that we have been bought for are just too many considering I used to hang out on my own a lot before I came here lesson learnt be a lady never pay your own bill if you are with a dude that's why they are men its part of their responsibilities.

The convoy:So many cars!!!!!!!!The convoy leaves to the camps everyday at 8am which means you must leave the compound at 7:50am and with all the items/papers you'll need to use in the field.To see some people who are late each single day run around unfortunately this includes me some days and I was actually left by the driver some day and had to walk/run to catch up with him and then he goes like learn to plan your work!!

The opportunity to meet programming legends:I have had the opportunity to meet some of the best programmers ever who'll tell you stories about any kind of programme you ask about and have been to so many places that I feel its unfair to the rest of us.They should be stuck in one place for sometime and us guys be given the chance to go to different places(wishful thinking is allowed)

Dagahaley: My beloved camp will be missed a lot the demanding camp leadership that once even asked for laptops,the beneficiaries who threaten you by telling you we will report you to UNHCR for not including us the minorities,the awesome incentive staff and even the long camp coordination meetings

The fries and chicken at grease pit:The guys there have some serious skills and I love love their fries but considering how much weight I have put on these cannot be good for me but life is short right eat all the things you love :-) :-)


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The home of meetings

If there is a place that there are so many meetings and if you are not careful you'll end up attending a meeting each day of the month and forget about the real work  that place is Dadaab a record 19 coordination meeting at the camp level in the monthly calendar for the camp I work in and meetings at the office,reviews,coordination at DMO and the boss who wants to always hold meetings because I'm assuming they are too lazy to read reports and want to hear from you or maybe I'm this awesome story teller and make work seem fun so its easy to listen to me(highly unlikely) most of the time during this meetings I'm wondering why are we wasting time fighting about un-met targets and 50% of the time we spend talking to each other could have been spent atleast covering the gaps.

They aren't a total waste of time though and I have made some really good friends and learnt a lot  out of them,drank a lot of free sodas,teas and came  up with this summary of the kind of people who come for meetings :-) :-)

The show offs:These are those people who'll come with a 10 page type up just to present updates at the monthly inter-agency and bore all of us to death,by the time they finish nobody has a question because we all got lost somewhere or they have spent too much time and nobody want to ask any question lest they go into another long explanation.

Those who'll have a question to everything and they are mostly from a certain agency X otherwise known as the refugee agency and they'll stress you on issues like how many minorities and PLWDS have you targeted not that they'll remember once you leave the meeting

Then there are those who have to talk about places they have been for example when I was in Djibouti we did a very successful village savings and loans project,I just came from Garowe,so most of us don't care just tell us how to do better program from the lessons you have learnt and we are happy.

The legends(according to me):In some meetings you meet some of the best programmers ever and they make you realise how little you know, but they are the ones who most of the time will listen to all your stories and then finally give their input and everyone is like yes we love you point of view why because they know this things(and do not feel the need to show off) case in point Zulu protection guy for agency X dude contributed to the sphere handbook on protection and to me this is a very BIG deal.

 Those who light up meetings:Then there are those who are the life of meetings they make us laugh and make the most boring of meetings fun and those who just come in and make you happy by simply being there.Writing you crazy texts(like that dude seated next to you is hot please copy his number from the attendance list-which I never do,stop pretending to be listening............) and equally crazy notes and supporting everything you say of-course me supporting them if the need arises.

 The brief people/those who never speak:Those who show up for meeting unprepared and therefore when its their time to update they give a one liner-All activities are ongoing and are on schedule(I love this people so much) all of us should borrow a leaf and forget about being show offs.
Then those who never say a word because they are sitting in for someone and just came in to ensure they are represented and to carry home their action points(a few times I have sat in some meetings for people and it was awkward you have no idea whats being discussed so you pretend to be writing just in case someone feels the need to ask you questions they see you are busy taking notes-this trick works all the time)

and of course there is  me professional note taker and rapporteur par excellence the number of times I have taken minutes and have had to write workshop reports too many and I must say its the most boring thing to do,everyone else has forgotten about the meeting/workshop and you are here struggling writing their thoughts but I look at all the reports so far and I'm thinking I have some serious skills but I'm too old to be doing this so next time I'll forget so many action points and discussions mpaka no one will let me write minutes/workshop reports for them again and I'll jut be going for this many meetings to talk and wait for the reports/minutes to see if my thoughts/updates were captured must be a happy feeling for all these peeps whose work is just to read and 'edit' reports.





Thursday, November 7, 2013

Somalia-Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaay

For the longest time ever I have wanted to go to Somalia,finally prayer has been answered  and I'm going in early December(Me doing my happy dance :-) :-) ).But so much to do before then top on the list get over and done with this research thing for school(there are days I sit and wonder why I decided to study agriculture and rural development(too complicated for me) when I could have other far simpler courses and reduced the time I spend on Google looking up -sustainable agriculture solutions for arid and semi-arid areas,livestock production to make pastoralists rich,changes in policy to make pastoralism in Northern Kenya viable source of income for the pastoralists and such topics very interesting to read but putting them into one idea and convincing some old guys read lecturers that this is good enough to earn my degree is another story and saddest part(for now,I'm sure will be what makes me proudest when I graduate) is that this is no theoretical research you have to either do some farming or rear livestock!!!!!,finalise the remaining activities in the current project at work,go to Kambioss,attend inter agencies for all camps(highly unlikely but its good to dream),take pictures of the watch tower and many other things.................and all this will be done InshaAllah.

Normally Somalia is very nice and interesting until you tell people that you are going and will be based in Somalia 100%............Then the horror stories begin to roll in picture this a colleague(the security focal point) sits with me at lunch and goes like I hear you are moving to Somalia kwani you don't know how insecure that place is,just the other day the al-shabab be-headed two people in that region you are going!!! seriously show some support but also there are people who tell you the most encouraging things like that place is rural and with a lot of Somali Sijui's(Kenyan Somali) so its not so bad,buy big hijabs this mambos of wearing buibuis and chunis ends here :-)

There is no way I'm going to depend on hear say so I have done my research on the region I'm going to and its the second biggest 'city' after Mogadishu,downloaded a map of Somalia with accessibility levels and things don't look so bad and of course for me I have to visit Mogadishu  InshaAllah so this particular research covered Mogadishu also,its marked as 10-20% accessible and people work and live here surely 45% accessible can't be too bad.

The countdown to Somalia is on and to say I'm excited will be an understatement all relevant documents on Somalia and the project will be read and conversations with people who have been there will be had in preparation to kick ass on this new assignment.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Time Flies-Six months already

Me:You know I'm still very new in this place why do these people make me work while I'm on leave

Mresh: Kwani you'll be new mpaka when you have been there for six months.

Mresh always giving me reality checks and it finally sinks in yes I'm old here 6 months!!!! there are guys who just joined those are the truly new ones :-) :-)

Six months equals half a year if someone had a baby when I joined(May) then baby will be sitting and officially starting on weaning then I'm truly old here but relatively 'new' considering I came from somewhere where I had been for four years and I know their theory of change,how many countries they work in,when it was started by heart............and I still refer to them as us.

I have learnt so many new things in these six months that I have been 'new' and still haven't gotten around to saying us when speaking about the place I work (some serious lack of loyalty here)

Beneficiaries are now called persons of concern and these people are the most difficult to deal with.First of all so many committees and leadership structure(over all camp leadership,youth leadership,section leaders,block leaders,minority leaders,disability leaders,livelihoods committee........) community sensitization and beneficiary selection is a NIGHTMARE.All of them have vested interests and I also have who I think should benefit based on the criteria hence my perpetual conflict with these guys.They keep on calling my boss to tell him this girl you have working here doesn't want to work with us  and my boss always telling me you know these camp leaders are powerful and you must work with them(no ways). If I have a say about this the fights have just began and they'll continue until we agree on only the deserving people benefiting(95% and 5% the people they suggest)-Prayers needed.

Protection is the key word here.Some how before I came to Dadaab I only knew about child protection and I never thought its anything major but I have learnt that all we do is some sort of protection and yes livelihoods support is a protection tool and now I know why IRC does Women protection and empowerment as one initially I thought how the hell can you do women protection and empowerment as one project especially amongst the pastoralists.You empower women you expose them to risk of  violence at home due to issues of resource control but I have learnt livelihoods is a protection tool and protection is much more than child protection.Very important lesson.

To listen and ask questions.Microfinance support looks and sounds very easy but its super complicated to implement so over and above reading all the implementation guidelines that exist ask people who have done it before and you'll be surprised at how much easier it is to listen and laugh at crazy implementation jokes than it is  reading implementation guides but also read it makes you do an awesome job if you add a bit of what is in the  very many guides and a bit of all the lessons learnt from previous implementations.

That work is a battle field.There are 2 kinds of wars one is between us(working on my loyalty) and other agencies we have to do better than them,be more visible,the beneficairies should speak highly of us(the most up hill task to do) and generally be the best.This is a war I'm ready to fight.The second war is internal wars about who controls what,who goes where, one that I cannot truly engage in as it makes no sense how do you 'fight' your family.So I have resorted to sitting at my desk and minding my business and watch all these as it goes on.No fighting back its just not worth it(maybe this is me fighting back)

That you can be very happy with very little thanks to my very noisy neighbor for making Dadaab one big party and when I'm too lazy to go for their very many eating out or something with them they always bring me food these girls are the bestest neighbors ever and they come and tell me how it went and show me pictures :-) :-) and most importantly they have taught me to have a sense of adventure and they are trying to get me out my shyness.

I want to go to Somalia really I do and somehow, someday InshaAllah I'll go and visit Hamar (Mogadishu) that the PoCs I hang out with everyday speak so highly off.




Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Losing my phone

Losing my phone felt like losing a friend(maybe not a human friend but most definetly its absence is felt). That phone was my best friend considering how much time we spent together and I even slept with it under my pillow and it woke me up on so many days.

We had memories(SMS trails that made me smile and laugh out loud),Pictures of people I love so much: Mum and her pose which she looks at and goes like I was so pretty then, my cousins wedding pictures when Hemedy was much fatter,wedding videos of us dancing to mormi shuba.(awesome wedding song),Wajir photos,Slyvia and Hibo striking poses during a communications training and most recently my Daima yoghurt milk 'advert' photos and to think the person who took my phone will delete all these photos.

A lot of telephone numbers now I have only numbers of my family(see they are the most important people) in the next few weeks I'll have most definetly collected a lot of numbers but still most of these people have to call me for me to get their numbers.

Now I have a Mulika the joys of this phone,no need to charge it everyday,it has a torch(comes in handy for people like me who are scared of darkness), there is no need to check e-mails,FB or chat with people when on the road or waiting for meetings so I have to up my social skills and actually start talking to people when usually I just hang out with my phone.One slight problem though everyone has an iPhone/Samsung/smart phone where do I hide this Mulika of mine.

 And finally I have learnt nobody cares apart from your family.So don't bug yourself telling people your issues most of them are unconcerned they have their own issues to deal with or they are just sadists who'll give you a lecture on need to be careful instead of being sympathetic/or atleast saying sorry.

Monday, October 7, 2013

My crush is getting Married(sob sob)


So the guy I have this huge crush on is getting married to some girl.Note to self make sure I see her and see if she is worth him.Does my opinion in this matter though no as it will always be biased or not after all I'm an adult and I know I can't always have I want.

I'm seriously thinking why do I like this guy and I hardly even know him.We have seen each other in coordination meetings and I have spent some time thinking/talking about him.

I first saw him first in the section leaders meeting and felt no attraction just thought this dude has such nice eyes!!!! and I had a really bad cough so I kept on walking out to get water and cough probably the people in this meeting thought she has the dread TB we are always talking about.

Second time inter-agency meeting and as usual he comes in late and asks this many questions after all he represents the donor here and asks about the fresh fruits and vegetables project(what!!!!!!!!! he means fresh food vouchers) but no one notices this apart from me.FFV clearly means different things to different people and this is why acronyms should be banned or used only when truly necessary.

The next time I see him is convoy travel to Nairobi and his is convoy leader and sits infront of us and he kinda chats to us and he doesn't know my name(seriously) my heart is crying but well now he knows me and will not forget my name fingers crossed.

Then the mid-year reviews and he calls/e-mails often yaaaaaaaaaaaaaay to find out about performance/impact and we report our progress.We get to hang out in the mid-year review meeting and sit in the same group(because we work in the same camp) pure joy for me and this is the last time I see him because after this  I'm too occupied and mostly unable to attend any meetings :-(

Me and my friend talk about people we like and give them some nickname based on what we agree on to describe them best and after a lot of discussions we agree he is most definitely a beautiful red sparkling vintage car and in brief we call him Red.

Now Red has been taken by some girl its time to move on(from this craziness) and get an actual person and maybe get myself a husband or someone who will be more than someone I see at meetings and talk about.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Elections

Voters lining up to vote
Elections for refugee leaders will be held the whole of this week before the elections people have to be trained on how to facilitate the elections.

The training was divided into three sessions.Session 1 was on safety and the facilitator was really nice she made the session really interesting and fun.........'if your instincts tell you that the situation is unsafe just stop the process and leave' the guys seated next to me are thinking if we get tired will just use our instincts feel unsafe and leave(how they wish this was possible).The second trainer had the most  difficult time as he tells us our work will be punching ration cards and I guess people are feeling offended what!!!!! with all these things we know how can our role be punching only The third facilitator tells us about the schedule and numbers.

After the training the elections kinda escape my mind and Monday morning first thing I see is the list of all the elections duties,polling stations and cars that will transport people crazy logistics involved (  31 land-cruisers,4 buses,2 pickups,11 portable generator and 2 trucks ).Monday Ifo 2 elections go down and over dinner the people who were in Ifo 2 tell all these stories about the election and that the person who has the hardest job is the one who'll be guiding the voters and especially for block and section leaders thank God I'm ballot issuing clerk,me being me I print out the election room flow chart,copy my radio call sign for the election and the vehicle I'll travel with,charge the radio and sleep early( we are all expected to assemble at the assembly point by 6 am)

Tuesday morning me super excited and ready for the election so as we were told carry water and something to eat and some cash(water,soda,cake and some cash all carried just in-case you never know but I'm trusting my instincts and I know everything will be fine).

Around 8.00 am we arrive at Wathajir primary school and the team leader does a de-brief and we discuss lessons that were learnt in Ifo 2  and how to do the process better today.We arrange ourselves and the elections begin.

The voters  line up in the lines according the sections/blocks that they lived in the camp and they get verified that they are in the register,their ration card is punched and they collect the voters card and  go to the voting rooms to vote
        Each voter got three ballot paper to vote with-block leader,section leader and camp leader.

Voting room drama

After an hour of giving ballot papers I figure let me see how the voter room is.Once I get in I'm unable to get out as apparently the people who were doing the voter assistance need some more people.So I spend a big part of the day doing voter guiding.
Most voters are not sure who they want to vote for as block and section leaders so they'll come and ask for names of candidates who aren't vying then they'll always vote  for the person who had more ballots in their box :-) tyranny of numbers in play .Others wanted their candidate to win so badly and they would try and stuff all their ballots into their box and its for me to explain that all those ballots will be spoilt except for 1 and from the look on their faces it didn't look like they were convinced.Then there are those tricky candidates who'll stand at the door to ensure everyone they knew voted for them.

We close the polling station at around 6 PM and we are all so tired but happy.I pity the people who have to do this everyday of the election period but I'm sure at the end of the elections they'll be the proudest for making this event a success

Saturday, August 10, 2013

My Nairobi Half Life experience



Nairobi half life the movie is beautiful I have watched more than once and had fun each of those times.I have been lucky enough to watch it with different people each of the times.Hemedy who loved it and almost cried when Oti died at the end of the movie,Mresh hasn't let her opinion of this movie known to us she kept quite through it,Abdimalik and Mum who loved it because it was in Kiswahili and the latest people I have watched it with are Murshid,Keno and Lula.Murshid who started complaining after the first few minutes hoping that the whole movie won't be in Kikuyu and the the rest of us had watched it before so we reassured him it'll get to sheng he won't understand :-).

Always after watching the movie we have these discussions along the lines kumbe hivi ndio watu hukuwa wakora and pity the village movie guy who gets mugged at the bus station.I have always wondered why the onlookers did not help him and I love the people I get to watch movies with as we re-make scenes and talk about the people in the movies like we know them!!

So the other day I travel to Nairobi and the villager that I am I'm too happy........the big city and all(Nairobi is the heart beat of the nation,city in the sun,economic capital of East Africa......). As I decide on what to carry home and size of  luggage I want to carry I figure to reduce on it I carry a bag back so that I have only one bag ( poor decision number 1). We arrive at around 3PM and the vehicle drops us at Kencom and there are so many people( why are all these people in Nairobi???). I remove my wallet and put it in the outer pocket so that I can easily access it when I get on the bus to go home(poor decision 2).

I happily walk towards the bus stop/queuing area for the buses that go where I live.I get into the bus and as I'm sitting I realize my wallet is gone!!!!! and my bag is open :-( .So I get off the bus and call Mresh to M-Pesa me some money as I curse who ever stole my wallet.I get home and we talk about how I was stolen from and I get dissed for how rural I am (Hao waizi wanajua wariya ndio huweka wallet kwa mifuko za nje) and I'm wondering someone must have seen this guy take my wallet why did they not say something.But this is Nairobi for you everyone minds their business

Now I'm stuck with no ATM,NSSF card,NHIF card and School ID and as I had misplaced my national ID earlier I'm officially starting the process of getting new identification documents.Lesson learnt Nairobi half life has some truth in it and never carry a bag back in Nairobi on your back that's why I sometimes see people with back packs carried in front.






Friday, July 19, 2013

:'-(

This week has been one of the saddest ever. Abo Ibrahim fondly called Leyla (may Allah  grant him Jannah and protect him from the punishment of the grave) my aunty's husband passed on last Sunday and to think I thought of calling him to check on him and ask about his health  but I figured I'll call later in the month when idd is about :'-(. Still in my head/heart I think I'll go visit my aunty and find him at their home :'-( :'-(

His memories will forever remain with us.The happy moments we shared(he actually travelled to Isiolo for Mresh's wedding despite his poor health at the time),the jokes,advise and him standing by us during difficult times.

Memories of his love for soup,coffee(with a lot of milk) and chapatis.

Everytime we met we talked about stuff(none I can think of now) but all I know is that I loved him very much.

He loved and respected everyone and treated all his visitors with so much respect.Every time you visited his home you'll be treated so nicely.

His strict abidance to salah and always praying all the salahs at the mosque and waking his household to pray salatul subhi in the mosque.

I always knew life is short and death comes unannounced but this has made me realize that I should cherish my friends and family more,spend time with them as much as I can and call them often and respect Allah and do good deeds.



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Friday, July 5, 2013

Convoy travel to Nairobi

I'm going home on Saturday(jumping up and down in my head) but how do I go(obviously Sabrin to Nairobi but I have to explore all other options first).

The agency I work for is currently not getting free ECHO flights so no chance I might get a free flight out of here.I ask around to find out if any agency is sending their vehicle to Nairobi for any reasons, unfortunately none but a lot of vehicles going to Garissa over the weekend.I could get a ride on one of them and get a bus to Nairobi from Garissa.Problem with this is I have lost/misplaced my ID and getting to Nairobi with all the police checks on the way will prove to be a challenge for me but I have my voters card,ATM,NHIF,NSSF cards  and a couple of other documents showing I'm truly Kenyan and Kiswahili :-), it is proof of your nationality considering how many times the police/AP say habari yako? to people they suspect aren't Kenyan on the bus going to Nairobi from this side.

Happy news!!!! when I come from the field and check my inbox amongst the e-mails there is one that carries the bestest news for me-ROAD TRANSPORT TO NBO (Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay am I lucky or what).I book my seat on the UNHCR bus and wait for Saturday to go home.

Saturday morning 6 am I'm at the car park thinking the bus leaves at 6 am but I learn it leaves at 6.30 am no worries at least I'm early.I'm expected to go with two lecturers and 2 scholarship beneficiaries to Nairobi and I had contacted them the previous night telling them about the travel.

Disappointment-1 student says he can't travel and that  he is not interested in the scholarship anymore :'-(  all I'm thinking is  why is he wasting his future the other one is leaving home at 6.15 am no way he can make it in time but atleast he is still interested.The 2 lecturers over nighted at a hotel outside the DMO compound.The hotel is on our way as we leave Dadaab town towards Garissa and I had told them we will pick them from the gate of the hotel.I ask the driver if we can pick 2 people on our way and he says no.'But the hotel is far and its too early for anyone to walk to the DMO' I protest. 'We will wait for them let them walk' says the driver.  Poor lecturers, I call them to inform them they have to walk to the basket ball pitch as this is where all the vehicles in the convoy assemble every morning before leaving either for the field or any other convoy travels.Luckily they make it in time.

At 6.30 am we leave and I sit next to Katra(my office mate) and she makes the journey really interesting she tells me all kinds of stories and we listen to music on her phone (I deleted any kind of music from mine-Me working on being good muslim). I guess now I have a good friend in the office thanks to this trip home :-)

The convoy leader for this trip was awesome and apparently knows Radio language really well(I thought he didn't) 2 vehicles get punctures before we reach Garissa and I appreciate Radio communication as everyone in the convoy knew what was happening as they could all hear when any driver in the convoy contacted the convoy leader and there was a total of 7 cars in the convoy.

We stop over at Mwingi for tea/lunch it really depended on what someone wanted to eat (and now my addiction to coffee/tea in the morning is confirmed.I had this headache and 1 cup of hot tea later it goes away).

We reach Nairobi at around 2 PM and I have this long to do list: catch up on school work,some TV,family and friends.6 days is all I have hoping to fit all this in.




Sunday, June 9, 2013

APTC-Embakasi stories

Most mornings I have to go to the camps to work(field work) and we share the vehicle so many of us and on some days very interesting stories are told.This week as we travel to Dagahaley a colleague tells us of his time at the Administration police training centre in Embakasi and the small part of me that thought maybe being in the army would be interesting died forever.

Day 1 you arrive at the training school first you'll have to have shaved your hair bald and in case you did some fancy 'hair cuts' at home all the hair will be shaved off in the most crudest way.Once you are checked at the gate and allowed in you'll carry your luggage on your head and you'll shout your new name(mimi ni kurutu)  and the name of your Barrack(Naishi Kenya Barrack) hoping that one of the officers in the camp will hear you and direct you to your barrack.So you'll be shouting Mimi ni Kurutu Naishi/natafuta Kenya Barrack until someone is kind enough to show you and no you are not allowed to ask for directions.

Once you are settled in you'll be introduced to becoming an officer(kutoa uraia ndani yako) so you'll be asked to cut grass with your bare hands,do very long morning runs, be taught how to do drills and such military stuff.If you are a trainee(Kurutu) you have no opinion what so ever and you cannot ask any questions.Anything you are asked to do you'll answer at the top of your voice YES SIR and do it everything is possible and no can never be an answer.The trainers have every right to beat and abuse you and you can do nothing about and no you can't quit once you are in you'll have to finish the training afterall wewe ni mali ya serikali.

So he graduated as an AP cadet and the trainers were so impressed that they gave him an inspector rank however this required him to go back to APTC in Embakasi for another 6 months.He couldn't handle 6 additional months of training and he quit and I ask after all that suffering 6 months couldn't have been so difficult.He says he couldn't imagine another six months of being a kurutu and anyways he is much happier now than he could ever have been being an inspector or something like that.

Everything works out for the best in time now he is this awesome programmer and soon to be Livelihoods advisor for some agency............... who would have been  maybe in the very far future inspector general police.

Truly valuable lessons taught at the APTC(very many) but for me bestest lesson learnt is crowd control.If there are this striking/ demonstrating people and they are making so much noise all you have to do is to look for the crowd leader and hit him a bit on the head with those anti-riot police rungus when he reaches to touch where you hit him,hit  his hands and he'll feel so much pain and be weak so you put him down and handcuff him.The crowd seeing their leader in handcuffs will automatically(Or so its hoped) disperse.

If he ever uses any of what he learnt at APTC I'll be sure to  find out on those morning rides to the camps.


Dadaab Beach Resort

I never knew Wilson airport had more than the usual terminal we sit at when waiting for the ECHO flight back to work on Mondays and Thursdays mostly.From watching the Saitoti's story on Jicho pevu at least I know there is a VIP waiting lounge and now I know apparently there are also other waiting lounges and I get see one when I was traveling to Dadaab.

The flight I was on was scheduled for 2 PM(good I get to stay home longer) I wondered what humanitarian flight leaves Nairobi at 2 PM on Monday but was quite happy that I didn't have to be in Nairobi overnight :-). I arrive in Nairobi at 11 am from Isiolo and check in is at 12 noon so I have a lot of time to get to Wilson.Time that I should maybe use to just sit and have a look at Nairobi for sometime.

The villager in me always loves the streets and the beautiful buildings in Nairobi and every time I'm in Nairobi I always think this place is soooooooo beautiful.I keep on asking the driver if he knows the ALS terminal and he says yes but kumbe he is not so sure where it is but at least we both know where Wilson is. we can always ask for directions when we arrive.

After asking around we finally reach the ALS terminal and it's a bit classier than the one I'm used to for boarding ECHO flights and the people sitted here look like tourists.Picture this like 95% have sunglasses and are wearing very casual outfits(Jeans,shorts, tights,t-shirts,canvas shoes and for the ladies sleeves tops- mostly really casual outfits).

I'm looking at all these people and I'm thinking they surely can't be going to Dadaab there has to be other flights they are waiting for and to my shock most work for different agencies in Dadaab.Some are going to Malindi and Mombasa but very few(I know this because their flights were before ours)

So the call for boarding the WFP flight is made and all of us carry our carry on luggage and go to board as we are walking people start asking each other-so since most flights are going to Mombasa and Malindi where is ours headed (just playing because we all know where we are going) after some discussion it's settled that we are heading to Dadaab beach resort.If the dress code and the general look of the people boarding this flight is anything to go by then Dadaab might just have an element of being a beach resort(even if it's in just in our heads)


Monday, May 27, 2013

My life in 5 lines

So I was reading this blog Things I did project-your life in five lines and me being me I figured I should do my own five lines.

1) I have travelled in most of North East Kenya thanks to the kind of job I have.

2) I've lived in the village(very remote village) for most part of my life.Walked to the market on Tuesdays and Thursdays,swam in the river and had a lot of village fun.

3) I'm the true patriot at heart and have watched so many speeches during public holidays and deep within my heart I believe we will achieve Vision 2030.

4) I have pulled so many all nighters and especially just before exams.

5) I am a gold award holder in the presidents awards scheme and yes this involved 2 expeditions in Taita and Machakos.



Friday, May 24, 2013

Wings out of Dadaab-Scholarships for refugee students

Evening before the trip as I leave the office:

Feisal:Rahma tomorrow we leave at 6am

Rahma:Yes I'll be in office by quarter to six.good night

6 am the next morning Feisal calls and I'm not ready(me and my poor sense of time) but almost ready so I say I will be there in five minutes and rush through last minute packing.I finish in record time and run to the car pack and the vehicles to be used during the journey are not there !!!!!! and I'm thinking this guys have decided to leave me  and I quickly call Feisal and he says they've gone to pick the students from the camps and they'll pick me finally as we leave Dadaab for Garissa.

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaay I can finish my handover notes,float accountability and take some breakfast before they are back.At 8 am they are in Dadaab and they call and I'm ready once at the gate and we are ready to leave the driver asks where is the escort.God I forgot/didn't know we needed escort to go to Garissa.Frantic calls to the security focal point and half an hour letter we are on our way :-).

3 hours later we are at Garissa for a break and all the students are given their pocket money and shopping allowances.We eat early lunch and we are on our way to Mombasa where the 24 students will be benefiting from trainings on automotive mechanic and electrical fittings at the Mombasa industrial training.The are excited but scared of going so far away from Dadaab and for some of them it's their first journey out of the camps.

What is the name of this village?? who leaves here? how far are we from Mombasa? are we about to arrive? and so many other questions are asked and are mostly answered by the driver and their shock when they see tents somewhere on the road as they think tents are only found in the camps.

After a long time we are at Masalani and to our disappointment we can't cross the River Tana as the bridge has been carried away by the floods (serikali ya Jubilee we are counting on you to fix our infrastructure). Everyone starts complaining how tired they are.After some consultations we decide to go back to Bura and cross the river Tana at the bridge there.

After a long and really tiresome journey(the road between Bura and Garsen is one of the worst I have ever travelled on and considering I travel on very poor roads this takes the cup) we arrive at Garsen town at 11 PM and overnight in Garsen.To continue the journey to Mombasa the next day.

This trip taught me that we can always share the little we have as one of the students who had bought somali cakes shared with all of us when he realized we might not be eating any supper because of the long journey and no centers to stop over for eating at that time of the night and that they are so many good people out there like the guy from Bura who helped us by acting as a guide for the driver from Bura bridge to the Hola Junction.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Daadab!!!!

This is my first blog post one of many to come I hope :-) and to think I created it over a year ago.

With all I had heard and seen about Dadaab nothing compares with being here.You just have to visit so as to have a feel of what the world's largest refugee camp is like.I have been here one week and I feel like I have been here longer.

So this past one week I have learnt so many things like which agency rules in Daadab,attended so many coordination meetings and a record 3 trainings in a week. That beneficiaries are now called PoCs and what we truly want is either to resettle,repatriate or reintergrate them (words I somehow never used to use). I have had to look at so many guidelines and feel like I have just gone to school and exams began on day 1.

It's not all been work though I have met so many people from school and guys I worked with previously and I have realized I know so many people which is a good thing I suppose.Watched the naming of the cabinet with some of the noisiest people who'll have their own crazy comments on each nominee.Got to wonder at exactly how many land cruiser some agency owns and the compound fence is the ultimate security measure what!!!!!! with two walls and sand/soil in between the walls to ensure I assume no bullets in case of an attack can come in.

This feels like the beginning of a very beautiful learning experience-Dagahaley.Hagadera,Ifo1,Ifo 2 and Kambioss are my 5 new villages :-))))