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Archive for July, 2011

The life of a Kenyan runner in Canada: day jobs and mediocre prizes

Posted by Administrator on July 31, 2011

Kenyan born marathon runners Evans Maiko, 29, David Karanja, 32 and Benard Onsare, 28 run in their neighbourhood in Hamilton, Ont., on July 28, 2011. Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail

Kenyan born marathon runners Evans Maiko, 29, David Karanja, 32 and Benard Onsare, 28 run in their neighbourhood in Hamilton, Ont., on July 28, 2011. Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail

Three of the best distance runners in Canada, all born in Kenya, live in a semi-detached house with yellow siding and a spacious backyard just a few blocks from an industrial sector in Hamilton, Ont. It is where they come to rest after a long run, and to unwind after a long shift at work.

Bernard Onsare, Josephat Ongeri and David Karanja may dominate races, but they still need day jobs.

All three men work in a pharmaceutical supply warehouse nearby, where they pack orders for hospitals. They train in whatever free time they have. Mr. Ongeri wakes at 4 a.m. to run before his shift begins two hours later, while Mr. Karanja and Mr. Onsare will run later in the day before their night shift starts at 3:30, or perhaps when they get home around midnight.

“In this country, the days are too short. We have so many things to do, so you’ve got to squeeze yourself no matter what,” Mr. Karanja says. “You have to have a strong mental attitude, otherwise there’s no way you can make it in this life.”

Many don’t. Plenty of runners from Kenya have arrived here over the past decade with great expectations, only to return home weeks or months later because life in Canada proved too difficult. Those who stick around have to deal with the language barrier, the country’s vast geography and the reality that there are very few races with significant prize money.

They also need to send whatever money they can home to their families, whom they often haven’t seen in years but hope to bring here one day.

“That’s the biggest reason that they’re here,” says Gord Dickson, a six-time winner of the Canadian Marathon Championship who represented Canada at the 1960 Olympics. Mr. Dickson has been helping runners from Kenya living in Canada for about a decade now, getting them registered for races, driving them to events and providing coaching advice.

“He’s like my father,” Mr. Onsare, 28, says.

Like his housemates, Mr. Onsare has not seen his family in a long time. “You can miss them, but you have to make a life,” he says.

Mr. Karanja, 33, has not seen his wife, 12-year-old daughter and three-year-old son since he moved here in 2007. “When I left, my wife was one-month pregnant, so I’ve never seen my boy,” he says. He hopes that he will be able to bring his wife and children here within a year. “I’m in the process of working it out,” he says.

Running is not a lucrative pursuit in Canada. Mr. Onsare won this year’s BMO Vancouver Marathon and was awarded a cheque for $2,000. “It’s not a huge amount of prize money at most of the Canadian races,” says Brian Torrance, the elite athlete co-ordinator at the BMO Vancouver Marathon.

And fewer Kenyans are now running in Canada compared to a decade ago, says Manny Rodrigues, the elite athlete co-ordinator at the Ottawa Race Weekend. The reason? There’s more competition. In the early 2000s, few top Americans would compete in the money races in Canada, opening up opportunities for runners from overseas, Mr. Rodrigues says. But now, with plenty of homegrown talent at the start line, it is much more difficult to score a top finish.

Some events will pay to bring in top runners. The BMO Vancouver Marathon footed the bill this year for Mr. Onsare’s travel, lodging and meals. Some events may even pay the elite runners upwards of $10,000 in appearance fees to participate in events. When it comes to big events such as the Boston, New York or London marathons, a select group of runners can make six-figure appearance fees, says Mr. Rodrigues.

But most runners are on their own, and some who come from overseas don’t initially understand the geography, Mr. Torrance says. “There are stories from back in the day in Vancouver of guys arriving in Toronto and saying, ‘Here we are to run the Vancouver Marathon.’ No, you’ve made it to Canada, but you’re not in Vancouver yet,” he says.

The Ottawa Marathon and Toronto Waterfront Marathon will pay to bring top runners all the way from Kenya or Ethiopia. And both offer the biggest paydays for marathons in Canada. This year, the first-, second- and third-place finishers at Ottawa took home $15,000, $10,000 and $5,000, respectively; while at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon the top three finishers this year will pocket $20,000, $12,000 and $10,000.

Those sorts of cheques are highly sought after by runners such as Mr. Karanja, Mr. Ongeri and Mr. Onsare, who will participate in six to a dozen events a year, mostly in 5- and 10-km races, which offer much less money.

Mr. Ongeri took home $500 for winning the Bread and Honey 15-km last month, the same amount for his victory in the Tim Hortons Peach Bud 10-km Road Race last month, and another $500 for a second-place finish in the GoodLife Toronto Marathon in May. Mr. Karanja received $300 for winning the Run for Water 10-km last year.

The money these men make go to paying bills, travelling to races and supporting their families back home. “We need a sponsor,” Mr. Ongeri, 32, says, and the other men nod in agreement.

And whether they finish first or not, after a race they go back to training, back to their jobs at the warehouse. They won’t go out and party, and whatever free time they have is spent tending the garden or preparing for their next race.

“It’s kind of boring, Mr. Onsare says, “but we like it that way.”

Source: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health/fitness/running/training-and-technique/the-life-of-a-kenyan-runner-in-canada-day-jobs-and-mediocre-prizes/article2114592/

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How Obama father’s dream was ruined by Nairobi’s happy hour and ethnicity

Posted by Administrator on July 31, 2011

Ruth tried half-heartedly to turn him away. But Obama charmed her with an onslaught of entreaties. He loved her to the core of his being. He adored their son and had yearned for them every day they had been gone. If she would only return with him, he vowed that everything would be different.

He would never pursue another woman again. He would not even look at another woman, he insisted.

What’s more, he had already lined up a new job. Starting in October Obama was to be the senior development officer for the newly created Kenya Tourist Development Corporation (KTDC), a high-profile government corporation charged with overseeing the blossoming industry and directing public investment in a spate of new hotels and parks. As the second highest-ranking employee in the organisation, Obama was to receive a handsome annual salary of 2,275 pounds.

Plum job

It was a plum job that put Obama squarely in the league of the government’s other ranking economists and at the forefront of an industry to which Mzee, the Swahili term of respect for an elder, Kenyatta himself was closely attuned.

It was not a permanent secretary’s post like Philip Ndegwa had landed or even the top job at the KTDC, but it was a good job nonetheless. And it gave him a much-needed chance to rehabilitate himself. Adding to Obama’s bounty, the job came with a lovely home in the exclusive Woodley Estate west of the city’s center, a neighbourhood that the Nairobi City Council developed expressly for Europeans in the late 1940s.

Since independence, however, a handful of prominent Africans, including members of Parliament and government ministers, had trickled into the handsome homes flanked by high green hedges.

Obama’s house was a welcoming stone bungalow with a red tile roof, complete with a separate servants’ quarters that could accommodate the trail of relatives that invariably followed him. Ruth soon abandoned her plan of staying in the United States and agreed to return with him to Nairobi.

But it wasn’t because of Obama’s promises of fidelity or even the goodies he dangled before her. “There was a connection between us, a passion, the type of love that holds a man and a woman together,” said Ruth.

“He loved me in a certain way, as much as he was able. It wasn’t just because I was white because surely that wears off. For myself, he was a man I had a very strong passion for.

I did not have that passion again in my life.” Once they were back in Nairobi, Obama’s promises lasted only as long as it took Ruth to unpack her bags. No sooner had the couple settled into their new home than Obama resumed his carousing ways, leaving Ruth to juggle her secretarial job at Nestlé and caring for his extended family with only the help of a housekeeper.

There were now three of his children living in the house along with a succession of visiting relatives.

Roy, his eldest son, who would later be known as Malik, attended the prestigious Lenana School, once exclusively for whites. Rita, later known as Auma, attended a day school before eventually enrolling in the Kenya High School.

Although Kezia regularly visited her children, bearing sweets and small gifts in the early years after they moved in with their father and his new wife, Kezia’s tearful demeanour annoyed Obama, so he had her visits abruptly stopped. Auma would not see her birth mother for nearly seven years.

There were also the young relatives who lived in the servant quarters out back. Not long after he returned from the United States, Obama had taken his first cousin Ezra under his wing.

Ezra was a clever and amusing boy whose father, one of Hussein Onyango’s brothers, was unable to pay for his son’s schooling. So Ezra moved into the squat servants’ quarters in 1967 and remained there for four years while Obama paid for his education.

He was not alone. When Wilson Obama, another cousin, showed up in similar need, Obama agreed to pay for his education and offered him a place to stay for close to two years. Amir Otieno Orinda, Obama’s half-brother with whom he shared the same mother, was in and out of the house as well.

Zeituni Onyango, Obama’s half-sister, stayed at the house for several weeks in the late 1960s and would later help to take care of Malik and Auma. As those and other Obamas came and went from the busy household, Ruth sometimes found herself passing people in the hallway who, she says, “I hadn’t the slightest idea who they were.”

Obama, meanwhile, had once again become a habitué of the city’s nightspots and would migrate from one elegant hotel barroom to the next.

Buoyed by his new post and the keen interest others took in his command of econometrics, Double-Double now had mingi—Swahili for “many”— drinking companions.

Flush with their new salaries and Harambee Avenue offices, a certain element of the new African elite cultivated a lifestyle richly steeped in alcohol. One of their favorite places was the bar at the newly opened InterContinental, called The Big Five in reference to the five most difficult and dangerous animals to hunt in Africa’s far-flung game parks.

The intimate retreat offered an eclectic mix.

Patrons lounging on the plush leather stools could as likely rub shoulders with a dewy-eyed tourist from New Jersey, a minister who had just strolled out of the nearby Treasury building, or a World Bank project manager making notations on his napkin, all under the glassy-eyed gaze of the lion and gazelle mounted on the walls.

It also drew from the senior ranks of the civil service and the top echelon of the business community. Some of the regulars among the African elite were Mwai Kibaki, Kenya’s current president and then Minister of Commerce and Industry, and Francis Masakhalia, Obama’s old Maseno School friend and by then an economist/statistician with the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development headed by Tom Mboya. Members of the nearby Parliament and a host of Treasury officers were often a part of the mix. When Obama tired of his double shots there, he often headed to the Panafric Hotel for a chaser or two of Chivas or Martel cognac.

To wrap up the evening he occasionally stopped at the Starlight Club for a spin around the dance floor before heading home to Woodley in the early hours of the morning.

Barely coherent

By the time he got there Obama was often stumbling and barely coherent. If Ruth or one of the children made the mistake of locking up before they went to bed, Obama would hammer loudly on the door and angrily demand that someone let him in. Gladys Ogolah, the next-door neighbour who knew Obama from their days at Central Bank together, heard every word of it.

“He would shout at Ruth, ‘Open the door, woman. Open the door,’” Ogolah recalled. “He would say, ‘Why are you sleeping when I am not back at home. Open the door now.’ And then he would beat on the door, boom, boom, boom.”

Ogolah was hardly the only Woodley resident keenly aware of their baritone-voiced neighbour. Even when Obama was sober, his thundering voice wafted over the hedges and shattered the neighbourhood calm.

Sometimes, he was just calling to his children without making any effort to keep his voice down. But on the nights when he and Ruth got into an argument, his domineering voice could be heard the length of the Loddon Grove road and sometimes beyond.

Not long after they moved into the house, the Obamas had become a regular topic of neighborhood talk, little of it good. “Barack would come back from work or wherever he was in the middle of the night and they would fight very loudly,” recalled Ndolo Ayah, who lived nearby. “Everybody knew about it.

I think we all worried a bit about Ruth’s safety. Barack was not a violent person, but he could be very violent in his language.”

Gladys Ogolah and her husband, Boaz, got to know the Obamas well and not just because of the couple’s ongoing fighting. Boaz Ogolah was also an economist who worked in the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development, and Obama respected his breadth of knowledge and experience.Sometimes Obama would drop in for a drink, and the two men would critique the other economists in government service whose academic credentials they considered inferior to their own.

Obama would also talk openly of some of the beautiful women to whom he was attracted.

“Barack was a Luo and a polygamist, and so this was no big deal to him,” said Ogolah. “He was very open about it.”

Just a few years younger than her neighbour, Gladys Ogolah grew to like her new American friend.

Ruth clearly enjoyed Kenya and appreciated many of its customs. Unlike some mzungu who tended to stick with their own, Ruth counted African women among her closest friends. She was also devoted to all of Obama’s children and even some of his closer cousins. She was the one who arranged their weekend outings swimming at the Panafric and Safari Park hotels or picnics in the countryside. And she was the one who drove them to their schools and doctors’ appointments and, at times, shielded them from their father.

“Ruth was a very great woman,” said Ezra Obama, sixty-one and a retired manager of market development for Coca-Cola living outside Nairobi. “She treated all of us children the same and I respected her very much.”

But no matter how much Ruth tried to make things run smoothly, Obama seemed always to have a complaint. And when his shouting developed into more aggressive behavior in the passing months, it was to Ogolah that Ruth often turned, running through the darkness to the safe haven of her neighbor’s kitchen. “Sometimes, when he came home late he would order her to cook for him in the middle of the night and if she would not he would hit her about the shoulders and neck,” recalled Gladys Ogolah.

“Ruth would run screaming down the road to our house crying. She was tired of being hit and tired of being called names. She had a very, very rough time and I was always worried about her.”

As a boy, Mark Ndesandjo was fearful of his towering father and tried hard to stay out of his way so he would not inadvertently trigger his rage.

“What I felt from him was coldness. There was fear. That is what I recall,” Ndesandjo said in an interview.

“I was physically afraid of him. He was a large looming man and you did not know what to expect. Is he going to hit you or your mother or other people in your family? He did not smile except when he was drinking or when he was with friends.”
Anxious as to what their father’s condition would be on his return home each night, the children passed the afternoon following school with mounting apprehension.

“Everyone in the house was totally on edge because you never knew when my father would be back,” Ndesandjo said in an interview.
“When he got there he would probably be drunk.

And then the light would go on and you would hear thuds and shouts and my mother’s voice rising and crying and screaming.

You would hear sounds like falling objects and it would go on and on and on and on. I instinctively bonded with my mother because she was afraid and she was also very protective of me. And that made my father even angrier.

He resented me because we were both now competing for my mother’s attention. I was my mother’s firstborn and she had shifted some of her attention away from him to me. Sometimes when she was holding me, he would shout at her, ‘Stop tending to that brat.’”
Nor was Obama’s abuse of Ruth confined to their home. As he became increasingly careless about shielding his attraction to other women, Obama repeatedly humiliated his wife in public.

“He would criticise me and flirt with other women right in front of me. Always, there were other women,” Ruth sighed.

“He took great pleasure in demeaning me because it made him feel better.” Ruth endured for two reasons.

The first was Mark Okoth, and the second would be named David Opiyo.

Within a few months of their return to Nairobi, Ruth learned that she was pregnant again and thus linked ever more inextricably to her husband.

Obama had made it clear to her that if she ever left him, he would prohibit her from seeing their children, and in Kenya’s patriarchal culture she had little doubt that he could do so easily.

Determined to raise her children as best she could while struggling to preserve the marriage that had produced them, Ruth took stock of her situation. Her job at Nestlé continued to provide both a professional outlet and much-needed emotional support.

Best of all, it gave her a source of self esteem that she was not finding at home. She also had an extensive network of friends, some of whom strongly urged her to take the children and flee under cover of night.

But Obama had never struck any of the children.
As long as it was only she upon whom he inflicted his rage, she felt she could manage. But it wasn’t easy.

One night Obama came home drunk as usual, but this time he had a pretty young woman clinging to his arm. It was not the first time he had done so. In the past Ruth had simply turned tearfully away as Obama and his woman friend slipped into one of the bedrooms together.

But on this particular night Obama insisted that Ruth leave their house so that he could use their marriage bed without her interfering. He was, after all, a Luo and had a right to any woman he might desire, he declared, his voice growing steadily louder.

But this time Ruth put her foot down. She refused to move anywhere, and as she screamed out her hurt, the neighbours, as ever, got an earful.

One of those neighbours was Achieng Oneko, one of the Kapenguria Six who were convicted in 1952 of supporting the Mau Mau rebels along with Kenyatta and sentenced to seven years in prison.

Oneko, who had abandoned his old cellmate to join Odinga and the Kenya People’s Union, was a legendary freedom fighter and a pioneering newspaper editor.

He was also a former Maseno student, although he attended many years before Obama.

Upset by the Obamas’ domestic furor, Oneko picked up the telephone and called his friend Ndolo Ayah. “He said, ‘You young people, you better talk to that friend of yours, Barack. He’s making a mess of himself,’” Ayah recounted. “So I got another friend of mine and we headed on over to Obama’s place to see what we could do.”

The situation was chaotic. Ruth was screaming so forcefully that it took her awhile to realise that there were visitors in the house. Obama was drunkenly explaining to her that, according to Luo tradition, “he could bring any woman into the house at any time.” said Ayah.

“I said, well, he comes from a different Luo group than ourselves because we are Luo and you don’t do this kind of thing. We tried to get Barack to come to Oneko’s place so we could talk it out but he just told us to go to hell, you know. And so we left. I suppose at some level we felt it was none of our business.”

Marriage strained

As his marriage with Ruth grew increasingly strained, Obama turned to his first wife, Kezia, for solace—at least that is what she maintains. While working as a waitress in a Mombasa restaurant in the late 1960s, Kezia says that Obama occasionally visited her when he passed through town on business.

As Ruth understood him, Obama’s reckless behaviours stemmed from a couple of sources.

The first were the rich and varied temptations of Nairobi life in the years after independence.  Although Obama had managed to curb his more extreme inclinations while under scrutiny in the United States, once he returned to Kenya in the heady days of the mid-1960s, it was another story. On a scholarship in America, she noted, “he was being judged on a daily basis. He had to behave properly. There were parameters. But once he was back in Kenya and all his friends are saying,

‘Let’s go for the drink, let’s go dancing, let’s go find some women, let’s do this and that,’ he couldn’t hold back. All those pressures were too much for him. He just didn’t have the strength of character to resist.

And the more he succumbed, the more he succumbed.”
But Ruth believes the greater source of Obama’s undoing lay deeply embedded in his gnawing lack of faith in himself, exacerbated by the perils of Kenyan politics. Kenyatta’s chokehold on matters of state meant that little could happen without his sanction or that of members of his inner circle.

Obama had already been blackballed for his aggressive critique of Sessional Paper No. 10, and his critical commentary at Central Bank hadn’t helped matters. Much as he yearned to be a Big Man, Obama was far from it.

That his fortunes were dependent on favours from others and the shifting sands of Kenya’s powerful elites made matters only worse. Indeed, since his collision with Harvard administrators, he had found the doors to power closed to him at almost every turn.

Uncertainty, coupled with the Luo habit of self-inflation, drove him to chronic exaggeration intended to compensate for his perceived shortcomings. Although Obama had abundant company in his heavy drinking, he was driven by more than the cultural excesses of the moment. Also contributing to his dark mood was the evolving cast of Kenyatta’s inner circle, ever more authoritarian and intolerant of challenge. By the end of 1967 the mushrooming political schism between Kenyatta and the radicals led by Oginga Odinga had distinctly worsened.

Between 1966 and 1969 Kenyatta moved to stymie the opposition and isolate his Luo challengers.

With Odinga now effectively marginalised, Kenyatta’s Kikuyu coterie began to look increasingly askance at Tom Mboya, who now stood as the likely heir apparent. Mboya was not only immensely popular among a broad swath of trade union members and members of parliament but was also believed to have the critical support of the Western countries, particularly the United States.

As the aging Kenyatta’s health began to deteriorate, many Kikuyus were increasingly alarmed at the possibility of the presidency falling to a non-Kikuyu. Rumours about Mboya’s political intentions were rampant. That he was interested in the presidency was no secret. Some whispered that he was forging a secret alliance with Odinga to assume a spot within the KPU.

Others suspected a more devious agenda.

Either way, the hostility of Kenyatta’s inner circle toward Mboya escalated rapidly.

Unlike many who threw their lot with either one of the two Luo giants, Odinga or Mboya, Obama retained ties with both political camps, as he was drawn to aspects of each of their platforms. As he had expressed so forcefully in his critique of Sessional Paper No. 10, Obama believed that certain socialist principles that Odinga articulated should be a feature of the country’s economic underpinnings.

But he also saw a place for the capitalist principles that the West-leaning Mboya espoused. He was particularly incensed at the factions within KANU that were seeking to undermine Mboya, their own party’s secretary-general.

Mboya’s exalted cyle

Although removed from Mboya’s exalted circle, Obama continued to look to Mboya for guidance. Their relationship had grown more distant over the years as Mboya’s star rose ever higher, but they nonetheless maintained a friendship throughout. Mboya’s increasing political isolation gave Obama one more reason for dismay.
Like others disillusioned with the government’s performance, Obama regarded Kenyatta as a bitter disappointment. In the months after he returned with Ruth, it seemed that much of what he had long dreamed for his country had failed to materialize.

Far from standing as a boldly independent African nation, dependence on foreign capital still hobbled Kenya.

At the same time, its domestic assets were being amassed in the hands of a privileged few.

Obama was an economist who believed that free enterprise played a critical role in a democracy, but he also had a deep respect for African communalism. He felt strongly that the majority should share in the country’s bounty. Instead, he saw unfettered capitalism and, increasingly, a rampant tribalism eroding the promises of uhuru.
Although Obama clearly had difficulty with authority of any kind, he was hardly alone in believing that his own Luo roots were coming to be a distinct liability. As he grew increasingly frustrated with the Kikuyus’ tight grip on the country’s politics, he began to drink ever more heavily.

His frustration with the country’s course coupled with his own personal failure to attain the heights that he believed should have been within easy reach were fast congealing into an acid stew of resentment.

To be continued tomorrow

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One more student in Meru accident succumbs to injuries

Posted by Administrator on July 31, 2011

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 30 – One more student of the Loreto Convent Msongari on Saturday morning succumbed to injuries sustained in an accident on the Meru-Nanyuki highway on Friday afternoon bringing the death toll to three.

Eighteen other students have also been transferred to Nairobi, 14 admitted to the Nairobi Hospital – some in critical condition and four others admitted to the Aga Khan Hospital.

According to Dr M. R. Khan, a consultant General Surgeon at the Nairobi Hospital some of the 18 patients are in critical condition and need specialised attention.

“We have received patients most of whom are between 13 and 14 years, the injuries are severe head injuries, scalp injuries, one had a traumatic amputation of the upper limb,” he said.

“One patient is already in the Intensive Care Unit while two others will head to the theatre for brain surgery.”

According to the Nelly Muluka of the Kenya Red Cross Society, three other patients are being airlifted to Nairobi while another six remain at the Level- 5 Hospital in Meru and the St Teresa Mission Hospital in Kiirua.

One other student whose condition got worse on Saturday morning is expected to be brought to the Nairobi Hospital.

“One student whose condition got worse could not sit on the plane and an ambulance has gone back to fetch her and we expect her in about four hours,” she told journalists at the Nairobi Hospital

During the accident, the Loreto Convent Msongari bus veered off the road and hit a stagnant bus at Subuiga black spot along the Meru-Nanyuki highway.

Buuri police boss John Ngare confirmed the names of those who died on Friday as Zena Flavian and Nanzila Okuthe both female and aged 13 years.

Mr Ngare also confirmed that the accident was caused by brakes failure as the bus descended a hill and abruptly came to a sharp corner.

The bus rolled several times before hitting a Kerugoya Boys High school bus which was parked by the roadside.

Mr Ngare said the accident would have been worse had the Loreto bus not rammed the Kerugoya bus.

“The Kerugoya bus certainly prevented the accident from being worse. It prevented the Loreto bus from rolling further and landing in a ditch,” he said on phone.

The Kerugoya Boys’ bus was ferrying members of staff from Isiolo and had parked their bus by the road near the Meru-Isiolo-Nanyuki junction for refreshment.

The Loreto bus rolled severally before hitting the Kerugoya Boys bus and injured three Kerugoya members of staff who were standing outside the vehicle.
The three are admitted to St Teresa Mission hospital, Kiirua in stable condition.

The school children were travelling to Samburu on an excursion.

Distraught parents and teachers flocked St Teresa and Meru hospitals seeking the transfer of their children.
A medic at the Meru level-5 hospital said the accident had overwhelmed the facility.

Source: http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/2011/07/30/one-more-student-in-meru-accident-succumbs-to-injuries/

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Bulls Eyes: No apologies

Posted by Administrator on July 30, 2011

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Take out some marital insurance

Posted by Administrator on July 29, 2011

An abundance of money can be just as much the cause of marital problems as the lack of it. Photo/FILE

An abundance of money can be just as much the cause of marital problems as the lack of it. Photo/FILE

Money can be a cause of comfort or discord in a marriage, depending on how it is handled right from the start of the partnership.

Worldwide, about 50 per cent of divorce cases are attributable to money, and even amongst the marriages that survive, money issues can be the cause of secondary problems such as abuse and neglect.

Often, the problem is not whether there is or their isn’t any money.

Even – and sometimes, especially – when the money is plentiful, there may also be shifts and rifts in the relationship.

Money makes some people change. A person’s true colours are often revealed, and very interesting aspects of an individual’s character are portrayed when vast amounts of money are involved.

Some plot all sorts of evil against their partners in a bid to lay their hands on their money.

Some men have a tendency to run berserk upon realising a windfall.

They buy a collection of cars to fulfill their boyhood dreams and date women whom they thought were previously unattainable to them.

Women too are not spared the temporary insanity that comes with sudden riches.

They may go on spending sprees in countries they previously could never be granted visas to visit.

While there, they might buy clothes from designers whose names they only come across in foreign glossies.

Pre-nuptial agreements remove the money motive from any malicious damage that might otherwise have been committed within the marriage for pecuniary benefits.

In marriage, a couple whose perspective of money is separate from the core of what brought them together will most likely survive the financial storms that are normal in life.

However, if one or both the parties entered into the marriage with financial gain in mind, the going will be rocky in case of any changes, whether for richer or for poorer.

For this reason, many couples are opting to sign pre-nuptial agreements before tying the knot.

Pre-nuptial agreements are not just for Hollywood movie stars and celebrities.

Professional couples who wish to bring up their financial cards before marriage are going for them like never before.

A pre-nuptial agreement is a contract between two persons planning to marry, which governs the financial rights and liabilities of the parties if they should happen to get divorced or in the event one spouse dies.

In a nutshell, the pre-nup agreement determines the rights of the parties to property, responsibility, or debt and may even determine whether spousal maintenance is to be paid.

Contrary to popular belief, a pre-nuptial agreement is not a negative statement of mistrust between an engaged couple where property must be kept away from the other; rather it is a safeguard for both you and your spouse to be.

It protects both your assets and may prevent expensive and acrimonious litigation if a divorce should occur, by clearly outlining and defining the couple’s rights in advance, which both of them have agreed to.

It is a very practical way of dealing with a situation that could get out of hand if not drawn out before marriage, as money has a way of fuelling conflicts.

With such an agreement in place, there will be no shocks and surprises, with one spouse committing all manner of atrocious acts such as lying, stealing, conning, and conniving for the family money.

It places money in its own place, with a well-understood and signed document, before the marital adventure starts.

It makes sense, and helps to avoid soap opera-style dramas among families.

In a real life case scenario, a 35 yr old Nairobi businesswoman known as Wanjiru stood to lose her real estate in a case that had several loopholes.

She was married to a doctor who was 10 years her senior, and who insisted on a pre-nup when they were engaged 15 years ago when she was only 21.

At the time, she did not know what she was signing, because her husband explained to her that it was just a simple document concerning his property, which was to go to her in case of anything.

She was naïve, trusting and penniless, and did not read the document. Besides, she was grateful to be getting married to him anyway.

Wanjiru went on to inherit a small parcel of land from her parents, and started a cake making business from home, which thrived.

At the time, her plot seemed to be of low value and her husband kept urging her to sell it since, he opined, it was located in a crime ridden part of town.

She held unto it, although she almost sold it several times. As the real estate boom gained momentum, the couple decided to develop the plot and build apartments.

They both contributed to this venture. He collected the rent for several years, since they agreed that he should re-invest the rent money.

Wanjiru’s nightmare began when her husband took a mistress. He changed overnight due to her influence, and plotted on how to throw Wanjiru out.

He falsified documents pertaining to the sale of her property, aided by the other woman who had friends in high and low places.

Wanjiru says that she fought tooth and nail to keep her property. At the eleventh hour, she remembered the document she had signed years ago at a certain lawyer’s firm.

The lawyer interpreted to her that she had signed a pre-nuptial agreement unknowingly, which stated that in the event of a fall out, she should not gain anything, and neither should her husband lay claim to anything she owned.

This is how she fought her case and won, despite the fact that her husband had placed a caveat on the property by saying it was he who built it up.

Wanjiru won because the title deed was still in her name, and the pre-nuptial contract supported her.

This is lucky for her, because today, the value of the property has increased a hundred fold.

According to Mr. Alban Nyangweso, a city advocate, it is important to ensure that your pre-nuptial agreement is binding. The following aspects must be included in it:

A full disclosure of the couple’s finances, assets and liabilities, including expected inheritance. It needs regular updating since there is bound to be increases in income and investments with time.

It should describe how the pre-marital debts will be paid, and whether either partner will be liable to pay the other’s debts.

It should fully outline what happens to pre-marital property when changes in value of the property occur such as appreciation, gains, rentals, and share dividends, and the proceeds of such property in the event of divorce or death.

Decide who will own and occupy the marital residence in the event of death or divorce and how proceeds from any other rental properties will be divided in the event of a divorce. This one is highly sensitive and is often at the centre of ugly scenes.

Maintenance or spousal support is a particularly contentious issue. According to the new constitution, a woman is liable to support her ex-spouse if he can prove that she has been providing or earns more than he does.

Once this is proven, she will have to pay him maintenance for the rest of his life. He can claim her house, even if it is in her name, and car if he has had access to and use of them, so that he may continue enjoying the lifestyle he has been accustomed to.

The same applies to women – they can claim maintenance to maintain the same standard of living they had. If, as a family they went on annual holidays to Mauritius, she has every right to insist on this, whether or not she is working.

Pre-nuptial agreements also help to decide what would happen in the event of a divorce with regard to medical care and disability.

The agreement must be made in writing; it should be executed in the presence of two witnesses, and acknowledged by the parties before a commissioner of oaths.

In some cases, a court may invalidate a pre-nuptial agreement. The reasons for this include cases where the full disclosure of what is owned was not made, where a spouse attained injuries from the partner, rendering him/her disabled, or where one partner has contracted a venereal disease from the other resulting in medical expenses and dependence.


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Tame that old flame

Posted by Administrator on July 29, 2011

Leaving a relationship is one thing. Dealing with your broken-hearted ex afterwards is quite another. They key to managing is to understand their particular mourning style. Photo/DENNIS OKEYO

Leaving a relationship is one thing. Dealing with your broken-hearted ex afterwards is quite another. They key to managing is to understand their particular mourning style. Photo/DENNIS OKEYO

Every break up is painful, both for the initiator and for the affected, although the degree of heartache depends on the circumstances under which a break-up occurs.

However, the more difficult part of the break up is deciding how to deal with your ex. Should you remain friends? Or should you spurn them forever after?

Many people in relationships, even marriage, will tell you that they still hang out with their former lovers.

Some will say that they have not seen their ex since they broke up. Many other are civil with their exes, but are not close friends.

This week, Saturday magazine talked to a several people about their relationship with their ex-lovers, and summarises the types of exes you may encounter.

Mrs Janet Mbogo a counselling psychologist in private practice in Nairobi, further suggests a few tips on how to manage the different types of exes.

The investigator

Can be either male or female. He/she would have made a very good career as an intelligence officer.

He/she polices all you do and always knows what you are up to.

He is the first to know that you have changed house, how you are doing financially or where your child goes to school.

When you start a new relationship, he/she knows with whom, and will find out what sort of person they are.

There is no reason for the information-gathering other than that they seem to glean a certain amount of satisfaction from simply having it.

However, he/she may want you to know he is abreast with your progress or failure.

Management: Ignore him or her, as there isn’t real danger here.

However, try as much as possible to keep your distance.

Also, avoid interaction with this ex’s close buddies or relatives, as they could be one of the agents of his intrusive behaviour.

The parrot

Like the investigator, this one is an intelligence gatherer.

The major difference is that the information he /she gets is spread to those who care to listen.

Nothing is sacred to her – not your the affairs that happen in your home, your workplace, church and love life.

Once he/she gets the story, it is embellished and disseminated mostly to people who knew your relationship.

Woe unto you if it is negative; they will imply all these bad things are happening to you because you left them.

They seem to enjoy it when you are undergoing tough times, and hope you will go to them for assistance.

And when you do, you can be sure that the story will spread like bush fire.

Management: Warn them that they are interfering with your life and you could take legal action should they persist.

Keep your distance and never seek their assistance unless you want “…everybody to know how desperate you are after you were booted.”

The shareholder

This one won’t let you go without a fight. Even when you have started a family, she believes she is part of you.

She is quite convinced that she can have you back, new family or not.

She claims a part of you despite knowing that you are already committed to someone else.

She is stuck on the fact that she knew you before your current lover. She uses her experience with you as her bargaining chip.

She can be intimate with you. She blames you for the break up, but she wouldn’t mind getting back with you even if it means ditching your wife.

Management: Remember, you can’t have your cake and eat it unless you want to a polygamous family.

Let him or her know you are already in another relationship and ask them to respect your decision and give you space.

An African proverb says two bulls cannot stay in one shed, and it applies in this case.

The bacon lady

She is a financial leech. She doesn’t mind playing second fiddle in your heart, just as long as you continue to support her.

She never interferes with your other lover or family and when you mention them, she isn’t irritated.

She seems to respect your decision not to make her number one.

Most likely, she has your child. All she wants from you is to take care of her and the child.

She is also available for intimacy with you if this means your continued support.

She may have another man to cater for her other needs, but you contribute to her maintenance.

Ever seen women who stay in more costly houses than their salaries can afford? They just might be the bacon lady of some former lover.

Management: There is nothing like ‘just friends’ with an ex. You are either in or out of her heart. Otherwise, someone is using the other.

Release her to find love elsewhere if you can’t be hers 100 per cent.

The blackmailer

She is likely to be a woman more than a man. She knows you are married, and perhaps your spouse does not know about your past affair with her.

She knows you are cheating on your spouse, and that if she spills the beans, your goose is cooked.

This is the weak point she seeks to exploit. She will use this information to blackmail you, mostly financially.

She is the type to say, “I will come to your house and tell your wife.” “I will bring this child to your office.” Or “Mimi nitaenda kortini tuone nani ataumia (I will go to court and we shall see who suffers more).”

The haunted man is usually a family man, well to do, or of high stature in society and a revelation of an affair is the last thing they want to come out in public.

Management: Do not let yourself become a victim of exploitation because you are too weak to face your mistakes.

If the blackmailer keeps coming back, seek police intervention.

The tick

This one will stick to you forever, and is perhaps the most awful character.

He/she refuses to go even after it is clear you are onto another love project.

He/she violently bulldozes their way back to your heart. She works hard to make life with your new catch difficult.

She will call or SMS at odd hours, call your wife and insult her, come to your office or workplace or ask your friends about you.

She likes to cause ugly scenes in public, and might even beat your new lover up. She won’t just let you go.

He/she believes no man or woman should have you as long as she is alive. This character may also be the suicidal or murderer type.

If not already hooked up, they will monitor you and harass you if they suspect any new love.

This lover can be intimate with you if you suggest you have softened your heart.

Management: Before taking a new lover, tie up all loose ends with your ex.

Ensure you have both agreed that your love can no longer work.

Be emphatic that you no longer owe them anything. With time, the ‘tick’ may accept the reality.

The busy bee

Like a bee, they work hard to fight off your rejection.

They believe you were thinking irrationally when you decided to break it off with them, and all they need to do is reason with you a little bit so that you take them back.

They are lobbyists and will mobilise resources, time and word of mouth to get the friends and relatives they know to support them.

They will speak to everyone close to you, in an effort to let you know how much they want you back.

Whenever they can, they will remind you of how good things were when you were together.

Their efforts border on either desperation or fear of failure.

They just can’t figure a life without you. Because of this, they are apologetic and always ready to talk things out.

The major problem is that it is not the first time they are playing nice.

Management: Do not be blinded by the ‘Mr/Ms Nice’ act. If you want them back, get to the root of the problem.

If not, be aware of the games they are playing and do not let yourself be played with.

The lone ranger

This one is independent minded. She does not believe in a stressful life in the name of love or marriage.

When you broke up, he/she decided there and then to forget you.

If she found out she was pregnant after you broke up, she will not bother you with the child’s maintenance.

She is confident that she can make it without you and your baggage.

He/she cares little about your new love life. He/she just wants to be done with you.

She will not seek you out and does not entertain your overtures.

Often, she is too hurt to reconcile with you, or is very unforgiving.

She will also cut off links with most, if not all, of your friends or relatives.

This ex also does not expect you to poke your nose into his/her life. There can be no intimacy with you.

Management: Reciprocate by allowing her to have her space.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/Features/saturday/Tame+that+old+flame/-/1216/1209892/-/11d94qrz/-/index.html

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The life and times of the bold but reckless Barack Snr

Posted by Administrator on July 29, 2011

Obama senior with his son, Barack Obama, who is now US President

Obama senior with his son, Barack Obama, who is now US President

The crowd at Makadara Hall had been waiting for nearly half an hour. It was a humid Sunday in 1957, and over a thousand men and women were eager to see their political hero, Tom Mboya, take the stage.

Craning for a glimpse of the presumed next president of the Nairobi Peoples Convention Party, the crowd churned against the sheet-metal walls that framed Nairobi’s largest social hall, chanting bits of song, ever watchful of the European police officers stationed at the doorways.

Mboya was often late, but he always showed up at this weekly event, easily one of the city’s most popular political meetings.

Just as the crowd was growing impatient, a figure stepped on the stage. But it was not Mboya in his trademark red windbreaker.

It was a woman. More astonishing, it was a mzungu. She was barely over five feet tall, her floral skirt falling just above her pale ankles, a tentative smile playing across her angular face.

The crowd grew abruptly quiet, uncertain as Mboya appeared on the stage behind her. What did this mean? Surely, this could not bode well.

But when the white woman began to speak, with Mboya acting as her interpreter, they listened. Her name was Elizabeth Mooney. And she had come to change their lives.

The 43-year-old Texas native was a literacy teacher who the Kenyan government had employed under a US-sponsored programme to teach Kenyans how to read and write.

In the four months since she had arrived, Mooney had had difficulty spreading word of her programme. And so when the immensely popular Mboya, an ardent advocate of education, had offered to let her appear on stage, Mooney jumped at the chance.
Impatient crowd

Mooney made good use of her few minutes, explaining to the impatient crowd how easy it could be to learn how to read and write and exactly how her classes were taught.

Although her appearance prompted much fluttering in the US Consulate office and a reprimand in one of the local papers — both parties were distraught at the impropriety of her appearing on stage with such a high-profile politician — her mission had been accomplished.

Her words that day turned the tide in her favour, and the numbers in her classroom tripled the following week. During her two-year stay in Kenya, Mooney would change the course of hundreds of Africans’ lives, but none so completely as that of a young man named Barack Obama.

In a matter of months, Mooney not only helped give focus to his wandering ambition, but at a time when many doors seemed closed to him, she provided the critical assistance that ultimately put him on a plane to America, thus planting the seed of a political upheaval to come a generation later.

They had crossed paths several times in the city, for Obama often attended Mboya’s afternoon addresses. But one afternoon, not long after her appearance at Makadara Hall, Mooney happened to visit the cramped office of the Indian law firm where Obama worked as a clerk typist taking dictation.

This time they began to talk.

Eager to staff her Spartan office on Ribeiro Street in the heart of Nairobi, Mooney observed that Obama was both fast and accurate at the keyboard as he worked. She promptly offered him a position as her secretary, and Obama started work for her a few days later.

Mooney was a colleague of world-renowned literacy expert, Dr Frank C. Laubach of New York, who had recommended her for the Kenyan post and helped to fund the project. After paying Obama for several months out of her office expense fund, she turned to Laubach for the money to pay him on a more regular basis. Mooney was impressed with his performance.

In a letter, she asked for $100 a month “for salary for Barack O’Bama for six months if possible,” she wrote, adding an Irish twist to the spelling of his name.

Laubach agreed. And early in 1959 Mooney wrote to thank him.

“Thank you so much for the secretarial help,” she wrote to Laubach. “Barack is a whiz and types so fast that I have a hard time keeping ahead of him. I think I better bring him along and let him be your secretary in the USA.”

Obama could not have had less in common with his new boss.

Sara Elizabeth Mooney, known as Betty, was the granddaughter of the cofounder of the Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. Single, she had spent virtually all of her life teaching.

At age 30, she met Laubach, a congregational minister and the father of a global literacy programme known as “Each One, Teach One,” a method by which each new reader teaches another person what they have learned, thus passing on the new skill one person at a time. Inspired by his personal faith in God and messianic zeal, Mooney committed herself to literacy.

For eight years, she worked in India, first running a mission boarding school and then teaching in an adult literacy center.

Before accepting the post in Kenya, she spent two years as the supervisor of a literacy training programme at the Koinonia Foundation in Baltimore, Maryland, at the time a Christian-based training center for literacy workers. Laubach served as president of the board of Koinonia.

Given up on idea of marriage

A straightforward woman with a tight cap of brown curls, Mooney was prone to prim cotton dresses and flat shoes.

A “spinster” in the jargon of the day, family members believed she had long ago given up on the idea of marriage. She was a deeply committed Christian who believed that God had brought her to Kenya on a “literacy safari,” as she described it, to empower people to read. She said devotions daily.

Then there was Obama. He was 21-years old, a racehorse at the gate, already sporting the “academic” look that was in vogue in some Nairobi circles. His jacket was finely cut, his glasses a donnish horn rimmed, and the occasional pipe provided the crowning touch. Never mind that once he put the pipe down he invariably resumed his chronic chain smoking.

On the brink of becoming a father for the first time, he was consumed with a single burning passion, which was to be a player in the development of a newly independent Kenya.

But with a record already marred by rejection from Maseno University and a series of small, short-lived jobs on his résumé, his prospects were moderate at best.

Mboya had urged Kenyans to think practically as they prepared for independence. He wanted them to get training in the fields that would be of service to the country, particularly in areas such as economics and administration.

With his impressive mathematical skills, Obama was convinced his calling was to serve as an economist who could help develop the country’s fiscal foundations and project its needs in the future.

All he needed to do was find some way to get a university degree, possibly even at a college overseas as some of his friends were planning to do.

Mooney was the first person who tried to channel his strengths in such a direction rather than punish him for his audaciousness. That she was a white woman only added intrigue to the relationship.

Literacy campaign

Mooney had been hired to help the Kenya Department of Education set up a pilot literacy programme, funded by the US International Cooperation Administration, then an arm of the US Department of State that administered aid for a host of development purposes.

Her job, for which she was paid $6,355 a year, was to develop a country-wide literacy campaign that would instruct adults how to read and write first in their native language and then in English. The first step was to assemble a skilled administrative staff and launch a series of classes both in Nairobi and in the field.

The need was huge. Eight out of ten African adults in Kenya could neither read nor write, a fact that loomed as a huge impediment to a nation fast approaching independence.

Political implications

Another one of Mooney’s tasks was to produce reading materials and primers written in the tribal languages, such as Dholuo and Masai, that could be used in the classroom.

The Laubach method used a series of familiar pictures coupled with related sound associations to teach words.

Once the student grasped the relationship between the sound and the thing, they could then master syllables and, ultimately, the words.

For the millions of Kenyans who could neither read nor write in the 1950s, the political implications of such a campaign were huge, as Laubach well knew.

“You think it is a pity they cannot read, but the real tragedy is that they have no voice in public affairs, they never vote, they are never represented in any conference, they are the silent victims, the forgotten men,” Laubach wrote in his 1943 book, The Silent Billion Speak.

Mooney launched the Literacy Center in a pair of rooms — No 19 and 20 — in Ribeiro House in the heart of Nairobi. She was soon assisted by another white woman, Helen Roberts, who had left her home in Palo Alto, California, in the summer of 1958 to volunteer as a literacy teacher.

Roberts, a grandmother of eleven and the author of children’s books, had heard Laubach speak and soon learned his method herself. Although Mooney was a skilled manager, Roberts, her senior by more than a decade, was the “people person,” and the two worked well as a team.

They were a curious pair — two middle-aged women navigating the crowded city streets in Roberts’s blue Volkswagen Bug. Undaunted, they soon managed to introduce themselves to an emerging group of Kenyans who had begun to address the country’s dire need for educational opportunities.

Mooney and Roberts also traveled widely “upcountry” to hold teacher training courses and distribute readers.
Although the Laubach method caught on quickly and Mooney’s classrooms were soon packed with adult students, getting started was not easy.
Deep-seated suspicion

In the beginning most Kenyans regarded Mooney with a deep-seated suspicion, wary of anything that hinted of the colonial government’s largesse, one of the legacies of the bloody Mau Mau years.

Although many Kenyans were hungry for education, they were fearful of the government publicity vans and radio announcements that broadcast the programme under the banner “Kusoma Ni Faida,” Swahili for “reading is profitable.”

Most were convinced it was all part of a scheme to raise taxes or move them elsewhere, just as they had been forcibly relocated to the brutal detention camps during the Emergency.

Indeed, Mooney’s appearance in the politically charged atmosphere of the day prompted a flutter of suspicion far beyond the audience at Makadara Hall as well. Days later a columnist for the Sunday Post, a Nairobi weekly newspaper, sniffed at the impropriety of her appeal, writing, “I know that Miss Mooney merely talked about adult literacy but a political platform is not the place for such talk by a representative of a Government department — particularly a representative of a nation who are on record as being against the idea of the Colonies.”

And a week after her address a member of Nairobi’s Criminal Investigation Department dropped by her office to “discuss” her breach of protocol. But Mooney, an earnest law abider, had acquired approval from educational authorities before she made her appearance.
Deeply moved by the plight of those who could not read or write, Mooney was sure that her mission was divinely led. In a letter she wrote several weeks after she arrived, Mooney described watching a group of illiterate women leaving a community hall and heading “over the fresh green hillside to their homes, some of them ten miles away. And at last I felt that my own trail had stopped going in circles and had led me to the reason for being here… I no longer doubt God’s time table. There is some reason for my being here at this particular time.”
Mooney’s efforts attracted the interest of two of Kenya’s most prominent college graduates, who were among a tiny handful of Kenyans who could boast of college degrees. One was Dr Julius Gikonyo Kiano, who had earned a PhD from the University of California at Berkley in 1956 and was the first Kenyan to receive a doctoral degree, and the other was Kariuki Karanja Njiiri, who earned a Master’s of Arts degree from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. Kiano, a savvy Kikuyu economist, helped Mooney overcome the Kenyan people’s widespread mistrust of government and guided her in the recruitment of teachers. Njiiri, the son of a senior Kikuyu chief who had his pick of jobs on his return in 1959, became her chief assistant. Both men would be instrumental in assisting Tom Mboya to raise money and select candidates for the student airlifts.
One of the names that would come across their desks for consideration would be Barack Obama.
In the crowded Ribeiro Street office, Obama started out as a low-level clerk assigned to basic office tasks. He took dictation, helped organize the office, and assisted with translations in Luo and Swahili. But he was soon promoted to the writing committee, composed of half a dozen young men assigned to write elementary adult readers in their native language.
Dressed in jacket and tie, Obama and the other writers sat at long wooden tables, carefully penning the pamphlets used as follow-up to the literary primers. If the high-arching Obama grumbled that the work was somewhat menial, he also realized that the job was a critical first step toward fulfilling his dream.
First, the work was exceptionally well paying. But more important, teaching literacy was a critical component in the advance toward independence.
In all, Obama wrote three books in Luo that employed “Otieno” the wise man as a model instructor.
The first book was Otieno Jarieko, Kitabu Mokuongo: Yore Mabeyo Mag Rito Ngima, or “Otieno Jarieko, the Wise Man, the First Book: Wise Ways of Health.” Otieno describes a variety of healthy foods, demonstrates how to use a knife and fork, and gives instruction in the proper way to build a latrine.
Wise ways of farming
The second and third books center on Otieno’s teachings of the wise ways of farming and citizenship, respectively. Obama worked on the three books almost the entire year and a half that he assisted Mooney, and he proudly included them on his résumé.
Working closely with the American women and a handful of their Kenyan assistants, Obama kept his bravado under close wraps and toed the line. The style in the office was highly cooperative and the staff represented a host of different tribes, due in part to the need for materials written in varied tribal languages.

To be continued….

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/oped/Opinion/The+life+and+times+of+the+bold+but++reckless+Barack+Snr++/-/440808/1210348/-/x2n7un/-/index.html

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6-6-3 proposed to replace 8-4-4

Posted by Administrator on July 29, 2011

Maseno National school students celebrate after their school produced the top six KCSE students in Nyanza province. Kenya’s education system could be changed from 8-4-4 to 6-6-3 if proposals by a government team are adopted. PHOTO/ FILE

Maseno National school students celebrate after their school produced the top six KCSE students in Nyanza province. Kenya’s education system could be changed from 8-4-4 to 6-6-3 if proposals by a government team are adopted. PHOTO/ FILE

Kenya’s education system could be changed from 8-4-4 to 6-6-3 if proposals by a government team are adopted.

Under the envisaged structure, pupils will spend six years in primary schools and sit a national examination at the end before joining secondary schools for another six years.

Students will then proceed to universities where they will spend three years pursuing degree programmes, having specialised in particular courses at the secondary school level.

The Task Force on the Re-alignment of Education Sector to the Constitution says the “6-6-3 (system) has provided quality education and training in countries ranked highly and have accelerated development”.

According to the report of the taskforce, the 6-6-3 system of education will allow learners to choose areas of specialisation and develop them early enough unlike the current 8-4-4.

“The proposed system of education will encourage high level of specialisation geared towards attainment of Vision 2030 goals of industrialisation and entrepreneurship,” it says.

The system will also improve competencies, skills and innovation for the world of work, says the  taskforce that is chaired by former Moi University Vice-Chancellor Douglas Odhiambo.

If adopted, the change will be the third after the 1985 switch from a 7-4-2-3 system to the 8-4-4 one following recommendations by a presidential commission.

Critics of the 8-4-4 arrangement argue that it is steeped in rote learning where learners are taught to pass examinations instead of going through a holistic education.

In reviewing the 7-4-2-3 system, the presidential commission had noted that it had created academics and theoreticians who depended on white collar jobs.

The rationale behind the 8-4-4 system was, therefore, to offer practical education, thereby produce self-reliant graduates.

The taskforce has also recommended that the free primary and day secondary school education money that the government provides be increased. A primary school pupil under the proposal will be allocated Sh2,371, up from Sh1,020 per year, while those in the day secondary schools will get Sh30,766, up from Sh10,260 a year.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/6+6+3+proposed+to+replace+8+4+4+/-/1056/1209798/-/9xrboy/-/index.html

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Kenyans in Diaspora respond to famine

Posted by Administrator on July 29, 2011

Malnourished children from Turkana County. Most families have nothing to eat and relief agencies in the area have stepped in to feed the starving masses.Pictures By Lucas Ngasike/Standard

Malnourished children from Turkana County. Most families have nothing to eat and relief agencies in the area have stepped in to feed the starving masses.Pictures By Lucas Ngasike/Standard

By Chris Wamalwa
in USA


“We will respond with a Big Heart!” This is the message Kenyans in Diaspora had for the victims of famine in Kenya when they joined their compatriots back home in responding to the call by the Kenyan media to come to the rescue of millions threatened by starvation.


By late Thursday, the social media in the US – Facebook, Twitter and other Diaspora web sites was abuzz with calls to join ‘Kenyans For Kenya’ campaign. Images of starving victims that have started to appear in the US media seem to have increased the urgency.


“I have hundreds of friends on my twitter and Facebook accounts and I’m forwarding the KCB A/c 11 33 33 33 38 Mpesa 111 111 that was given by the media to them and asking them to wire money now, not tomorrow.
It is an urgent and big need and we as sons and daughters of Kenya living abroad have to respond in a big way and urgently,” said John Wafula, a Kenyan resident of Pennsylvania.


Lauding the launch of ‘Kenyans For Kenya’ campaign started earlier in the week spearheaded by Media owners among them the Standard Group in collaboration with Kenya Commercial Bank and Safaricom Kenya, most Kenyans in the US who spoke to The Standard said the initiative opens up opportunities for them to be part of the campaign to help their compatriots.


“ We have been reading stories and watching heart rending images of our people back at home dying or on the brink of dying from hunger and feeling very frustrated and helpless because nobody has taken the initiative to coordinate our donations.


We therefore thank the media for launching the campaign and we want to assure people back at home that we are going to respond with a big heart,” said Denzel Musumba of East Africa radio USA.


Musumba who launched his version of the campaign through his online radio in the US said the response so far has been overwhelming among East Africans living in North America.


“People are calling in from everywhere and all they are asking for is the account number that was set up by the Media Owners, KCB and Safaricom and Red Cross. Diaspora’s are willing to donate the only problem has been a creditable organization through which they could channel their donations,” he said.


A coalition of corporations and media houses in Kenya launched a rapid response initiative early in the week to feed about 3.5 million starving Kenyans.


Dubbed Kenyans for Kenya, the funds drive, which would be administered by Kenya Red Cross Society, aims to raise over Sh500 million, in four weeks. The worst hit areas include North Eastern Province and parts of North Rift, among them Turkana, Pokot and Baringo.


Relief agencies have reported a rise in hunger-related deaths in camps within North Eastern Province.


Drought across East Africa and especially in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia, has left an estimated 10 million people in urgent need of humanitarian aid.


While the region suffers from drought regularly, consistently poor rainfall over the past two years has had a cumulative effect, and the land has been unable to recover.

2011 has so far proved the driest year in the region since 1951. As a result, families have virtually run out of food and water. Crops have failed and water holes are drying up. The drought has meant there is little arable grazing land or water for animals.


Families are having to watch the livestock they have invested in – their main way of earning money and feeding their families – weaken and die.


In New York, a group of Kenyans have organized a peaceful rally in Manhattan Times Square to highlight the famine. Announcing the rally scheduled to take place Saturday, August 6, 2011, one of the organisers Peter Kerre said the aim of the rally is to spread awareness about the humanitarian plight in the Horn of Africa, brought about by drought and famine.


“We would like to call on all Diaspora Africans, friends of Africa, organizations, schools, churches, and mosques to join us as we rally to spread awareness of the plight of our kin back in Africa.


Every minute, helpless children, adults and the elderly are dying. Drought is unpreventable but famine is. The effects of drought can be mitigated and famine avoided, no lives need be lost.
We need to come together to see how we can help,” said Kerre.


On the KCB website the account for this project has been given as: Kenyans for Kenya Campaign: Diaspora Swift: KCBLKENX: Acct: 11 33 33 33 38; Moi Avenue; Code:01100


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A touch of Switzerland in Nairobi

Posted by Administrator on July 28, 2011

Children play with hailstones after a heavy down pour in Kijabe on July 25, 2011. The rain caused a rare spectacle in the area, but farmers complained that it was wrecking havoc on their crops. The northern part of the country is experiencing drought that the United Nations on Sunday declared as the worst ever in 60 years. An estimated 400,000 people face starvation in Wajir and thousands of malnourished men, women and children have moved to camps to get relief food. PHOTO/STEPHEN MUDIARI

Children play with hailstones after a heavy down pour in Kijabe on July 25, 2011. The rain caused a rare spectacle in the area, but farmers complained that it was wrecking havoc on their crops. The northern part of the country is experiencing drought that the United Nations on Sunday declared as the worst ever in 60 years. An estimated 400,000 people face starvation in Wajir and thousands of malnourished men, women and children have moved to camps to get relief food. PHOTO/STEPHEN MUDIARI

Deep sparkling sheet of hailstones that covered a large swathe along the Nairobi-Naivasha highway on July 24, 2011. Photo/COURTESY

Deep sparkling sheet of hailstones that covered a large swathe along the Nairobi-Naivasha highway on July 24, 2011.



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