When I was in my 3rd year of university in Saint Petersburg, Russia, I was required to do my final Russian language exam. It had been 4 academic years of studying Russian. One year before joining Uni and 3 years in Uni. As part of the final exam, students were required to write a paper on a Russian historical figure or event.
I decided to write a paper on the siege of Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg), the 872 days siege by the German Nazi that is regarded as the longest siege in history. Leningrad, being on the gulf of the Baltic sea and the Russian window to the rest of Europe was very strategic for Hitler and he really wanted it, at any cost.
As I was doing my research for the paper, I realized that the topic was too wide and so I decided to focus on the state of the children during the blockade.
Writing that paper was an emotional rollercoaster. It was quite difficult to read about the suffering that befell Continue reading
As the government and other organisations try to find ways to help to the needy during these hard times caused by the Corona virus pandemic, one organization is approaching the issue in an innovative and empowering way.
Lifesong Kenya is a Community Based Organization that is committed to empowering at-risk male teens through mentoring, coaching, character formation and restorative justice. This enables male teens to thrive and live life to the fullest.
One of the places where Lifesong has its programs is the Kamiti Youth Correction and Training Centre (YCTC), the juvenile section of Kamiti Prison, where they hold ICT/ Entrepreneurship classes, coaching and mentoring. I had the privilege of visiting the centre together with James, Earnest and the team over a year ago. You can get a glimpse of Lifesong’s prison work in the story I wrote after that visit as well as on their website. The links will be at the end of this article.
In the wake of Covid-19, prison visits have been stopped but Continue reading
The Late President Moi’s legacy is a complicated one, split between the good, the bad and the ugly. On one hand you have a man who attended church religiously, openly loved children, gave them free school milk, built schools and universities and did much more recognizable good. On the other hand, you have a man whose government had a torture chamber, who exiled people, enriched his associates through corruption and land grabbing and more that I might not know about.
There are different levels of Interactions with Moi. There are those who suffered or benefited directly because of his actions. There are those who suffered or benefited courtesy of their family members’ good or bad experience with Moi. And then there is the rest of us, who were affected positively or negatively by his policies and whose perception of Moi was mainly carved by the media and other people’s experiences of him.
Clearly his presidency and personality had many faces.
And what are we supposed to say when such a man dies? How are Continue reading
“In life there are many challenges, and challenges are good, because when you overcome them you grow.” Those were the words of the last elderly man I spoke to when we visited Thogoto home for the aged in Kikuyu a few weeks ago. Slender, tall, constantly adjusting his belt, donning a yellow cap pulled slightly to the side, he cuts the figure of an old man still in touch with his youth. But the smoothness of the queen’s language that he speaks is something else.
He wanted to talk more but our time was over, all members of our bible study group were already out of the gate while I still chatted with the wazees. When I said to the old man that I had to leave, he asked me if I have a curfew.
I must have looked at him in a peculiar manner, prompting him clarify his words. “It’s like a curfew” he reiterated, adding that he didn’t mean a real curfew ‘but something like a curfew’. I can’t say that I completely understood what he was saying, and maybe that is why he wanted to continue the conversation.
“When you can come back, Continue reading
Opinion is colossally divided about what we have come to know as ‘gospel music’. There is a big concern that most of the new school kind of gospel music is not really about the gospel. Many argue that it’s about performance, showbiz, fame and money. The old timers, especially in church are particularly disturbed, they don’t understand the ‘perversion of the sacred’ that is going on. Even people who vaguely understand Christianity have an opinion on this.
But I think we need to take a step back and think about the definitions, which is where we got it wrong in my opinion.
In all other professions people go about their business without being labelled Christian, gospel or secular except in music. There are no gospel lawyers, gospel teachers, gospel doctors, secular engineers or secular writers. But we have gospel musicians. Why? Continue reading
James is the kind of guy who can crush your party and then give you a good reason for his action. Spontaneity runs in his veins. He is that guy who is not afraid to knock on doors and push for what he believes in.
He calls me one Saturday afternoon and informs me that he is on his way to my place. He arrives about 30 minutes later. He informs me that he has been going to bike shops asking for support towards the half way cycle (James and crew are cycling from Nairobi to Kisumu this December to raise awareness and funds for his work with boys in juvenile prison).
And he got support, one shop owner donated Continue reading
The fight against corruption in Kenya (and all over the world) is first and foremost a moral one. There is a legal and physical aspect to it, but morality is the most central question in all corruption cases. It is a fight between right and wrong, between darkness and the light.
Getting married comes with its changes and adjustments, like having breakfast at home. I always had my breakfast in the office prior to the ‘friendly invasion’; am not a morning person and that means that I used to wake up just in time to refresh and be at the office just barely on time. Having breakfast at home means having all that is necessary for a good breakfast and honey is one of them. One morning as I enjoyed my tea and honeyed bread, I took the honey bottle and started reading the sticker. I noticed the halal logo on the sticker and wondered why it was there. I always thought halal was about meat since I have seen it mostly on restaurant posters in town and in butcheries.
Questions welled up in me; what really is halal? Is it some kind of Islamic spiritual cleansing? Have Islamic prayers been spoken Continue reading
I watched a documentary about 2 years ago on one of the international TV news channels. It was about the American juvenile justice system. Typically I don’t believe everything I watch on TV because I know it is never the whole story, it is just a story as wide as the camera lens are and as true as the reporter’s perspective and opinions. Being that as it may, this documentary just caught my attention and from what I saw Continue reading