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Archive for February 16th, 2011

His date made me hate Valentines Day

Posted by Administrator on February 16, 2011

Valentine’s Day takes the spot for worst day of the year for me. Not that I have anything against love, or lovers, or even the fact that it’s a forced display of love. I hate the day for its capacity to hurt, instead of being the celebration of love it is supposed to be.

I watched Phillip fall in love for the very first time. I wanted to warn him to be careful, but I also wanted to enjoy the feeling of being young and in love. He was smitten, and I only hoped the girl was as smitten and as deserving of him. He was a really good person.

As he told me about how great she was, how amazingly beautiful, how much he loved her, I hoped he would be careful. But I didn’t tell him my fears, believing that I was being a pessimist for nothing. Just because my relationships hadn’t been successes didn’t mean he would also have the same bad luck, or even that all girls were bad.

I finally got to meet the girl. She was a meek, sweet thing, and I had to agree that the two looked beautiful together. They could hardly keep their eyes off each other, and some of the unrest in me subsided. She didn’t look the kind that would break a young boy’s heart, and I felt a little reassured. Trust me to always expect the worst.

Valentine’s Day came round, and little brother borrowed some money from me to get something nice for his girl, take her out to dinner. D-day came, and having no one to express my “love” to, I offered to be the boy’s chauffer for the day. His excitement had somehow rubbed off onto me.

First, we had to pick the flowers, a lot of flowers that filled the back seat. The plan was for me to deliver them to her home while the two love birds had their dinner. Along with the flowers, was a poem I had helped him compose. That is what would be waiting for her when she got home from their dinner.

Time for dinner came close and I drove the smartly dressed Phillip to a classy cosy restaurant, him chatting non-stop. I went outside to wait. Twenty minutes later, I checked on him. She hadn’t arrived yet.
He had to text me when she arrived, so I could go deliver the flowers at her home. An hour later, he still hadn’t texted me. I started getting a bad feeling about the whole thing.

Another hour, and still no text from him. I headed back to the restaurant to check on him. I got there and found him all alone. He was no longer so talkative, and I could tell he was worried. I sat with him, and I ordered some food.

He refused to order waiting for her to come so they could eat together. But I knew she wasn’t coming. He told me her phone was switched off. I got suspicious, but I could tell he was worried she might not be okay, so I kept my suspicions to myself.

Two hours later, she still hadn’t shown up, and her phone was still off. He excused himself to go to the gents.
When he hadn’t returned after 10 minutes, I went after him and found him crying. Whatever reason that girl had for not showing up, Phillip certainly didn’t deserve this! We threw the flowers by the roadside on our way home, and as I watched him take off his suit, I hated her even more.

The very next day, she called him “apologising” that her phone battery had been low. But the way he answered, I knew he didn’t believe her either; something had died in him.

From then on, I have hated Valentine’s Day because every time it comes around, I remember watching my little brother’s eyes dart to the restaurant door every time someone walked in, hoping she would be the one. I know it is silly hating his heartbreak on a day, but if it had never existed, he wouldn’t have been so well primed to get heart-broken.



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Common Sense: Why we sometimes don’t understand women

Posted by Administrator on February 16, 2011

A couple enjoying last year’s Valentine’s Day. Men who fail to do such things to their beloved ones are not regarded as true lovers much as it is expensive. File Photo

A couple enjoying last year’s Valentine’s Day. Men who fail to do such things to their beloved ones are not regarded as true lovers much as it is expensive. File Photo

Whoever came up with this Valentine’s nonsense really hated men a great deal. Their hatred must have been deep, the kind some political candidates have for each other. I’m not mentioning names. Somehow February 14th is a day designed in such a way that all the love a man has for his woman has to be manifested on that day and that day alone. Failure to do that and your year has kicked off on a sour note with your partner. How sad for us the men folk!

Today’s man is facing momentous challenges. For example if you didn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day with your loved one, you could be looking at nights in the dog’s kennel for some time to come. If you forgot to celebrate her birthday, you’re treated like a rebel in your own house!

This is what I don’t understand about our women (and no I’m not ranting about them). Let’s use yesterday’s Valentine’s Day as an example. February 14th comes at a time when many are struggling financially. Many men out there would have paid millions in school fees for their children who would have gone back to school towards the end of January. Before January, there was that big money drainer called “festive period.” This means that for many, from December straight to January, the bank accounts have been on overdrive.

But somehow the woman never seems to notice that. If they do they will ignore it and instead add to your misery by throwing anecdotes at you of how they expect the heavens come Valentine’s. But where do they expect us to get the money from? I have paid the school fees, paid the rent, taken you to the village for Christmas where I gave money to your entire village, bought you a Christmas present, bought for the children Christmas presents, and you still expect more gifts come Valentine’s? Is that fair? Why can’t you cut me some slack? How? By ignoring days like Valentine’s!

Today’s society’s definition of a man is the person who has to do everything for the woman and family. This “everything” can stretch to even paying for the minutest of things like her pedicure bill. Somehow society has pigeonholed a man to represent moneybags. It’s this caricature that has young girls wondering whether you have a “ride” before they can even think of dating you. It’s this kind of mentality that has women insisting on exaggerated kwanjula ceremonies (introduction ceremonies) mainly funded by the man.

I know that our forefathers provided literally everything for their women and family. They did all the hustle and bustle while their woman looked after the young ones. But there is one big difference between that woman of those times and today’s woman. And the difference is scary. Those women of yesteryears were obedient. What do I mean by that? They listened to what their man said and followed it to the T. Nowadays women’s disobedience has been camouflaged to mean “women’s rights!” What “rights” when I’m the one paying for everything including your women’s night out? What a fallacy.

Secondly those women were very understanding. What do I mean by that? If for example, (imagining that they celebrated Valentine’s in those days) you told her that you wouldn’t get anything on Valentine’s Day, there were no hissy fits thrown around with ultimatums reminding you of how crappy you are as a man, no! That lot was made of mature women.

Those women were appreciative too. If for example you bought for the child a pair of shorts, they would treat such a gesture with all the warmth they can muster. Now, today’s woman’s warmth only lasts till she sees her friend’s child wearing the same kind of shorts her child is wearing, only that her friend’s child’s shorts have cartoons on them! That’s it. The moaning will kick in… “Honey I want those same shorts, the ones that Carol’s children normally put on.” So what happened to the ones I bought? What happened to appreciating what you have?

Yes times have changed and today’s man too has evolved. And many, not so nicely. Many men out there are practically useless. And they deserve all the moaning and grieve their women give them. But this is what I would want from some women. Instead of moaning about me not taking you on a holiday in Dubai, why don’t you stress me about completing the building of the family house? Instead of frowning because I did not get you roses yesterday, why not quiz me about the delay in buying a plot of land I was supposed to have purchased months ago? Why don’t you lose your head when it comes to serious matters and not trivial issues?

Do I sound like a male chauvinistic pig that you would love to slaughter? To some women, I bet I do. But that’s not what I want to put across. Women, this is what we men moan about you in bars. Actually what I have scratched is just the surface. We won’t talk sex. That will be for another day. What most men have decided to do is ignore you and answer to your beck and call just to keep the peace.

I know that not all women are as nasty though. Many out there didn’t throw a fit when their men came home yesterday with no funny roses in their arms. Many are content with travelling in a taxi until their husband gets a car despite the fact that her girlfriends all have cars. Many chip in financially even when the man insists otherwise. Many are angels. However many more are rogues that deserve to be taken away to some far off island, far away from planet earth.

Many stressed their better halves yesterday for not celebrating Valentine’s Day. Shame on you.

Posted in Analysis and Opinion | 1 Comment »

Microsoft goes swahili

Posted by Administrator on February 16, 2011

Microsoft has launched windows 7 in Kiswahili language on Wednesday, a move that is intended to allow over 150 million Swahili speakers in Kenya and around Africa access a broader range of its software programmes.

The windows 7 Kiswahili interface pack is available online for free.

This is according to Luis Otieno, Microsoft General Manager for East and Southern Africa.

”Over 150 million swahili speakers in Africa will now have access to technology in a language they understand better”.

”This   is a step towards maintaining the linguistic diversity of the world’s people”. He said

Director of Kenya Institute of Education Lydia Nzomo, said windows 7 in Kiswahili will offer children access to technology in a language they understand and this will help them learn computers faster.

The company is planning to launch Office 10 in Swahili soon.

Source: http://www.kbc.co.ke/news.asp?nid=68945

Posted in Kenya | 1 Comment »

How three books turned into a chain of bookshops

Posted by Administrator on February 16, 2011

When he started selling three books in a small shop in Muranga town in 1958, Mr Shah Sobhagayachand had only one dream — to establish a big chain of bookstores in Kenya and neighbouring countries.

At that time it did not matter to him that he had just three books in his shop Vidhus Books shop. He continued working hard, remained focused and increased his stock slowly.

Within two months, he had stocked 150 books in the shop. And in two years, he opened two other branches of bookshops in Meru and Karatina.

That was 53 years ago. Today, Mr Shah is the chairman of Textbook Centre Ltd, which he served as managing director for many years.

The bookshop, popularly known as the TBC, is an educational supplies conglomerate he established in 1964 at Kijabe Street in Nairobi, after renaming his former bookstore.

TBC is now one of the biggest booksellers in Africa. It deals with the supply of educational and general books and educational material to individuals, schools, business colleges, universities, government, non-government and international organisations.

We had a chat with Mr Shah, and he gave us his views on what it takes to run a book business in Kenya.

Does it reward to invest in book business?

Yes it does. But it takes a lot of patience, hard work and honesty to succeed. When I started, many thought I was taking a big risk and wasting time.

But now, most of them have come to realise that business is not just about making money but having the passion to run and sustain it for a long time.

What has it taken to get where you are?

Faith and passion for what I do. What one sets his or her mind on, will always give him or her good results. I loved reading books, I still do. I developed this interest when I was a young boy and I can now look back and say my dream has come true.

It is largely believed that Kenyans do not read, is it true?

It is not fair to say that Kenyans do not read. That is a general statement because we have a good number of citizens who love books. We sell books both in wholesale and retail. And every morning, we see people coming to our bookstores to buy them.

How many books do you sell in a day?

We can sell up to 1,000 books in one day. But this depends on certain seasons. If for example its time to for schools to open we sell many copies since most parents and children come to buy books.

How about pricing of books?

Those in the book business (including book publishers) will tell you that pricing books is a tricky affair.

If your book’s price is too high, you will be priced out of the market. If it is too low, your book will appear cheap and will not bring in the money you would like.

To calculate the best price for your book and one that is pocket-friendly to the customer, you must look at prices from bottom-up and from the top-down. You have to be very keen if you want to stay in book business.

What are your marketing plans?

We do our marketing plans by developing a good relationship with our people. We sponsor the prestigious Jomo Kenyatta Price for Literature, which is held every two years. We also sponsor drama festivals in secondary schools. We help students from poor families by paying schools fees and offer them reading materials.

Are you a spender or a saver?

When it comes to money one has to spend to earn more. But this does mean spending all you have with the hope of making a big buck. Its means spending carefully on things that will make you grow financially. I do spend and I do save too.

Do you use credits cards while shopping?

Yes I do. I think credit cards are safer than carrying big cash in your pocket.

What lesson has money taught you over the years?

I always think it’s easy to spend money than working hard to earn it. I have also learnt that when it comes to business the amount of money you have does not matter that much, what matters are your goals.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/Features/money/How+three+books+turned+into+a+chain+of+bookshops+/-/435440/1108802/-/4ph0oz/-/index.html

Posted in Kenya | 1 Comment »

She wanted challenge and fulfillment; she got it

Posted by Administrator on February 16, 2011

Having worked as a caterer for five years at Nairobi School, the urge to start her own business was so great that she called it quits in 1991, having joined the school in 1986.

“I was not satisfied with what I was doing and wanted to venture into something more involving; something I could call my own,” Mrs Betty Miriti says.

With a diploma in institutional management and food production from Kenya Polytechnic, she started Mika restaurant at Hurligham shopping centre, Nairobi.

“I started cooking ordinary food like githeri, beef stew and chapati in 1993, thanks to a Sh200,000 loan my husband took for the venture,” she says.

That was in November and in December when festivities peaked, customers who had tasted her food asked her to prepare food for their Christmas parties.

This led to the development of an outside catering facility, which now serves up to 1,500 guests at a single event.

The restaurant also supplies food to staff from various companies and is paid at the end of the month.

“However, if an individual orders food from our restaurant, payment is made on delivery,” she says.

“My business has 30 employees and I derive a lot of satisfaction from this, being a contribution towards wealth and job creation.”

Mrs Miriti’s business, which is now worth Sh5 million, has supported her children through university to start their own businesses, in the same line.

“An entrepreneurial spirit can only be honed if one identifies what to do to the best of his or her ability,” she says.

“I am not a rich woman but I derive a lot of satisfaction from paying all my bills on time and paying a salary to my employees. I am very happy every time I add an employee to my business,” she says.

Following in the footsteps of her mother, daughter Kendi Miriti has developed a great interest in cake-making.

She is now an elaborate cake-maker with her own business branded Kikiz Cakes.

“Our vision is to expand Mika Foods to other parts of the country, with an aim of giving quality affordable food to our customers and creating employment,” she says.

She urges new entrepreneurs to identify what they can do best and do it to the best of their ability, because every effort is be rewarded.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/Features/money/She+wanted+challenge+and+fulfillment+she+got+it+/-/435440/1108804/-/yoivynz/-/index.html

Posted in Kenya | 3 Comments »

Sad end to young man’s dream of joining KWS

Posted by Administrator on February 16, 2011

A young man lost Sh95,000 to fraudsters in a failed bid to join the Kenya Wildlife Service during a recent recruitment.

Moses Watoka Wakora, from Kimilili District in Bungoma County, told The Standard how four men duped his uncle into giving the money.

A sobbing Watoka said he was told not to join his colleagues on the routine vigorous exercise at the Kanduyi stadium as the recruitment went underway.

“I was informed by one of them to proceed to a hotel in Bungoma town to collect my appointment letter. And true to his word, I found the letter at the reception. I could not doubt it since it looked very authentic,” said Watoka.

Rude shock

But he got a rude shock when he reported at the KWS Rangers Training College in Manyani, only to be informed that the letter that he had was fake.

Armed with the letter and M-Pesa transactions between him and the tricksters, Watoka appealed to KWS Director Julius Kipng’etich to intervene in his matter.

“I come from a very poor family, and we did all that we could with my uncle in the hope of getting a job to change our lives. What turned out has really discouraged us,”said Watoka.

Listen to case

“But I believe the director can listen to my case and intervene,” he added

Reached on phone, Dr Kipng’etich advised him to report the matter to the police.

“I have heard of the case and it is very regrettable. Our recruiting officers were issuing cards, not a letter. And if the young man was given a letter after offering that hefty bribe, he must feel lucky for not having been arrested,” added Kipng’etich.

The KWS boss clarified that the people Watoka may have dealt with may have been fraudsters who capitalised on vulnerable Kenyans to get money by using known KWS officers’ names, but they were not his men.

Used his name

Kipng’etich warned Kenyans against offering bribes, adding that fraudsters had even his name as the recruitment went on.

“It was a very transparent exercise whereby all the new recruits were taken photographs at the recruitment centre and the photographs were then produced at Manyani to tally with the documents before a recruit was allowed into the college,” said Kipng’etich.

Source: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/InsidePage.php?id=2000029373&cid=159

Posted in Kenya | 1 Comment »

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