Tuesday, October 3, 2017

An Ode to Ka'aba

Everything I know about life and survival, I learnt in Ka'aba. At this address, Form One students (104s), were initiated into the wonderful world of High School. #TeacherNumeroUno!

So your decker-mate on the top bunk wets her bed, what is my 13-year old self to do? Ka'aba taught me the art of negotiating my way to a reasonable deal.  How else does one survive the deluge of everyday issues that come my way? I learnt how to not only persuade the sister to air the offending beddings, in a manner that allowed her to face face. Of course, we also swapped beds. #ThinkWinWin

So, the weekend visits by friends and family meant that food and drinks flowed freely on Sunday nights. We learnt the art of sharing as well as the science of food preservation to within an inch of expiration or decay. #ResourceManagement101.

So exams were round the corner, and we were raw to the core in terms of preparedness.  Because academics generally interfered with the smooth running of our social lives, we generally put off reading until the exam timetable sobered up my young mind. During these ruffling times of trials and tribulations, Ka'aba taught us to panic slowly. We were introduced to trans-nighting in study groups, where we compressed the entire examinable content into mental capsules that would be released at day-break.  Ka'aba opened my eyes to the fallacy of 'self-sufficiency'.  We won whenever we dealt with the 'rabble-trouble' that seemed to stalk us, as we fumbled our way through the fog of our adolescence. #Strategic Alliances.

So we were herded together in 'open plan' sleeping quarters, where we lived in each other's spaces, recycling each other's air, stepping on each other's toes, and generally being all over each other's business.  We hang in there though.  We knew that decongestion would happen when we transitioned from the bottom of the food-chain (Form One) and move into the partitioned dormitories of the Form Twos, which would usher us into privilege and privacy. #EarningYourStripes.

So life roughed us up sometimes.  There were moments of home-sickness.  There was also this animal called duties. Woe to you if you were assigned the duty to maintain 'law and order' in the ablution quarters.  Without running water, there were days it felt like Labour Camp.  At times like this, I learnt to look to God to help me navigate the complexities of my changing world.  #FactoringGodIn Life'sEquation.

Ka'aba was a rite of passage that weaned us out of our childish ways and thrust us into young adulthood.  We came away with a great sense of ourselves and others. #HandlingLifeTransitions.

So many years later, Ka'aba goes up in flames. Our hearts are heavy, but we rise.  We draw from the bond of friendship that was formed in those formative years in Ka'aba. We pull together. The lessons learnt find their expression in our every-day lives.  Ka'aba was not just another hall of residence. It was a 'state of becoming'.  our lives are richer for it! #MatchlessGratitude. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Tongue Biter

Understanding is a gift I give myself

...I'll be gracious enough to receive it.
how I need it!
whenever the urge to speak descends upon me,
or I feel pressed to give life to my words
because the water of my unborn words breaks,

I'll labour to stop!
I'll grope till I find,
excavate deeply where I must,
bit that tongue till it bleeds
and refuse to utter a word
if unaccompanied by understanding


Monday, June 19, 2017


If Martin Luther King Jnr. had been told that though wrapped in diapers, there was a toddler, alive in King's own lifetime, who would manifest the realization of his, ‘I have A Dream'  speech, would he have believed it? #BarackObama.

If he knew that the seed he was watering was already sprouting into a mighty oak, would it have strengthened his resolve that much more, on the days it must have felt easier to quit than fight another battle? #Keep@It.

Faith is…. doing what must be done: through the obscurity, improbability and even cluelessness of the next step.

It took a King to lay the foundation for an Obama. Whose way am I paving?

The answers to my prayers are bound up in nondescript wrappings of action and endurance.

Off my knees and on my feet....., I go!

Post Script: Whose answer to prayer am I?

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Annual Endorsement Meetings (aka AGMs)

Who will deliver the Kenyan shareholder from the glaring ignorance that is the staple of corporate AGM meetings?  I have attended a couple of these meetings and they all seem to be reading from the same script.  After the mandatory verification and check in, shareholders make their way into the conference room armed with a glossy copy of the Annual Report and Financial Statements in hand. The Chair welcomes us, introduces the panel, and we get busy with the day's agenda.

The Managing Director gives his views, defends the accounts and few minutes later, we have a hit-and-run Q & A session.  Shortly thereafter,shareholders are asked to endorse the content in the Report. I am not too sure how many of us understand the intricate balancing act that is the Financial statement.  I am not sure how many even bother to go through it. Besides the line that reads: Earnings per Share, who can tell the stuff staring at us through the accounting crevices right in front of the shareholders' eyes?

For every item on the agenda, there is a Kenyan who proposes and another who seconds.  The choreography of this window-dressing sessions borders on the hilarious.  Are these fellows corporate stooges, propped up (or hired) to execute the will of the Board and management? could it be?

Then, what really matters to the rest of us shareholders comes to the fore. Our singular agenda is two-part: the freebies and the dividends.  Speaker after speaker talk about the smallness of the dividends and the fact that the freebies are of the wrong quality and quantity. ....could this too be another agenda item designed to distract the focus of the meeting from the core business? Are shareholders simply pawns spectating in a game of numbers beyond their league? could it be?

Who shall deliver the shareholder from this myopic view that focuses on peripheral matters instead of the corporate governance that steers organisations?

In their present configuration, the AGMs epitomize corporate felony. Beyond the auditor, there needs to be a body (either out-sourced or informed shareholders) who help shareholders interrogate the books and ask the right questions.  

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Woman of Great Worth

Hold up..... who do you say I am?

Before we go there, 
I have to ask the more pertinent question: 
Who am l?

I look ordinary, 
....dress ordinary,
..... talk ordinary, 
But, beneath this cloak of ordinariness
is a Woman-of-Great-Worth!

I don't always feel like it,
I sometimes look far from it, 
I don't walk the talk often enough,
But, I am not deceived.
Beyond the apparent ordinariness,
is a Woman-of-Great-Worth!

I'm unfolding!
What I have become is now playing catch-up with who I am.
I'm stepping into myself
becoming the full expression of who God created me to be.

So, as I come to,
and take my place,
it gives me great pleasure to introduce me......
Hello world!


Monday, June 5, 2017

Pits and Falls of Building on Another's Foundation

After toiling tirelessly at 'another man’s' enterprise, my friend Tendwa was requested to take her labour and passion elsewhere. The suddenness of her firing, has left me sad and awakened to the fickle nature of twenty-first century employment.

You see, Tendwa is a pro. Her peers look to her to catch a glimpse of where the industry is going. She has clocked the mandatory 10,000 hours that experts say is required to make one a guru in their field. That, coupled with the fact that she is endowed with killer talent makes her a deadly weapon in the competitor's hand. So, if anyone's job was secure, hers was..., or so we thought.

Her career , began to unravel when a new ‘pharaoh' came to town. His efforts at re-deploying, taming or at least reconditioning her were thwarted and out-wiggled by her clever maneuvering. Eventually, the boss unleashed his ace -termination of contract.

Her scarlet list of corporate sins was long and unpardonable. Under the new regime, she had fallen into the pit of overconfidence and over-competence. On the omission spectrum, she had trespassed by not understanding the reality of the boss’ insecurity and thereby overlooking a fragile ego that needed periodic stroking.

In the end, a cock-and-bull story about why they were letting her go was concocted. It was said that the company could no longer afford her. However, they were also not willing to let the fact that she was ready to take a pay cut bother them.

In the absence of proper communication from the higher-ups, the rumour mills in the industry are churning speculations by the day. The staff are looking to jump ship and take their labour to less turbulent waters.  Their own insecurity has them asking: ‘If they did this to our captain, what will they do to us, mere mortals?’.....

The Bottom line:
As you serve your employer diligently and whole-heartedly, never lose sight of the fact that as long as you are building on another man’s foundation, you are only a signature away from the Pink slip! Think about your future. Hone your skills and competence to ensure that you are easily absorbed into the job market, or are marketable enough to trade your sweat with the highest bidder. Dear employee, options belong to the enterprising and competent souls.

..... Thankfully, Tendwa shouldn't have a hard time going either way! #DivineDiversions!

Friday, May 12, 2017

surface living

....i'm drained
from all the peripheral baggage
picked up from living on the surface.
i'm out of my element.
the winds, the heat, the rain
and the traffic of everyday living
have left me scourged, bruised and thirsty

skin-deep living doesn't come cheap
i've paid way too much already
its sapped a lot of my time and energy.
i refuse to fork out any more loose change
i'm giving it everything i have, and some

when i'm done expending my life energy
i want to be extracted from the deep
not swept or blown away from the surface
i'm all in!