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Archive for August 20th, 2011

Kenya’s most beautiful woman is Susan Anyango

Posted by Administrator on August 20, 2011

She is 6 feet tall, slight in weight, very soft spoken (a little coy even),ever smiling and is the proud owner of not only the most coveted beauty crown (which she probably will keep for a year)in the country but a prestigious title as well. She happens to be only 19 and the Miss Kenya 2011 -2012. Susan Anyango is her name and one thing you should know immediately is that she is not your average 19 year old. Within a few minutes into the interview I learn that this beauty seated right in front of me has been through a lot in her 19 years of life.

First of all I had to stop her from apologizing too much. She was just a few minutes late which she explained was from traffic jam (always a bummer). Her smile greets you from whatever corner you are in and smile she loves to do. She is warm and polite. Someone you can see as being friends with instantly. It’s no wonder she won the most covetedcrown… this girl is loveable! I’m guessing life is always supposed to change and become overwhelming  for someone who holds such a prestigious crown in her hands but Susan is not really fazed by all that, she is comfortable with the little things that life brings her way. This you can see right from the start by how she is dressed. So simple in a check pilot shirt and skinny jeans. She looked effortlessly good.

Susan, the last born in a family of three has been forced by circumstances to grow up. For a 19 year old you would expect some jumpy, hyper girl but she is so humble and lady like. She smiles a lot (a beautiful smile that she uses to hide all the pain I guess) which is a good thing. It helps bring out her warmth even more.

The touching story is that Susan lost both her folks at a very tender age. She lost her dad to liver complications at age 5 and her mum to leukemia at 12. I guess she has now come to terms with everything because she is so much at ease talking about it. She believes that life happens and shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Humbled by the fact that she is alive Susan takes everything as it comes. Her friends had been urging her to try out the Miss Kenya pageant so she decided to give it a try. However, by the time she was deciding to have a go at it the Nairobi finalists had already been picked so she did the next best thing which was to head off to Githurai and try out there. Luck was on her side as she was picked as a finalist for the Nestea Miss world Kenya. From there she went into the modeling Academy where she called a shared homefor 5 weeks  and beat 33 other beauties from all over the country to be crowned Miss Kenya 2011. Never was she put on probation during her stay in the Academy and thankful she remains. She is grateful to have been at the Academy because she learnt so much while there and she met amazing beautiful people too.

Now she waits for the final Miss World round which will be held in London in October. Meanwhile she undergoes beauty pageant coaching as well as researching more on cancer as she founded a Cancer awareness foundation project which is something dear to her heart. She is also involved with the jigger campaign which is a former Miss Kenya’s initiative.

Susan hustles her way through life just like us to pay bills. The only difference is that she is too young to be having such responsibilities but she embraces it all as part of her life script. After cancer took her mum away, Susan was left at the mercy of her relatives and two brothers and this in some way made her what she is today. She helped send herself to high school (Kerugoya Girls) after which she decided to try lifeon her own. She rented a small apartment in South B just before she cleared high school two years ago and has lived there since. Through life’s little mercies and a bit of inheritance she got from her folks Susan is paying her way through University as she strongly believes that education really matters.

Susan looks up to Tyra Banks as her overall role model. She explains that her choice is because “Tyra is smart and she does what she believes in no matter what people say or think of her. She does what her heart desires and she does it with a passion and I love just that.” She knows only too well that this is just when life is staring but she prays that one day she will get to where Tyra is. Her number one role model however  remains her mum, because “she was an awesome woman” she explains.

Miss Anyango  is a first learner and you don’t have to explain something twice to her. I bet school work must come easy for her. She takes direction easily and her shoot goes ever so smoothly. She doesn’t seem to mind photos of her being taken. She is very confident in front of the camera and the camera adores her. She would love a career in media production and hopes that one day she will be the one behind the video camera.

As for now, she has to take a break from school (which she pays for) and deal with the duties that come with the crown.

Being so down to earth Susan insists that nothing much has changed, only that people who she hasn’t talked to in ages are now looking for her suddenly. She can’t wait to go compete in London and get a different experience altogether. We believe she has what it takes.

“It feels great to be Miss Kenya. Certainly didn’t expect it as I gave it a try just for the sake of it but everything happens for a reason. “

If Susan ever bumped into a genie and had one wish at stake it would be to see her parents alive again.

What you should know about Susan

*She is half Kenyan half Russian

*She prays, reads a lot and plays basketball (it’s called taking advantage of theheight)

*She has two older brothers

*She has featured in a Safaricom advert

*She was once Miss Kerugoya for two years

*She owns a car (which she loves) which came with the crown. She says “at least no more matatus”

*She is studying Journalism and Communication at KEMU (Kenya Methodist University)

*She will participate in the Miss World competition in London come October

*She would love it if you voted for her when the time comes.

Source: http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/lifestyle/2011/08/20/kenya%E2%80%99s-most-beautiful-woman-is-susan-anyango/

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Kenyan lady car mechanics outshine the men

Posted by Administrator on August 20, 2011

Teach women to repair cars and encourage their husbands to practice safe driving. That’s the goal of a training course for young women in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. The initiative is welcom in this east African country, which has one of the highest road accident rates in the world.

By Ruud Elmendorp, Nairobi

“I will teach my husband safe driving”, says Donna Mulingi with a smile. With a spanner in hand and wearing a uniform with a Lady Mekanika logo, Donna (25) is one of 25 women taking part in the car mechanics training course of the same name, organised by the NGO Project Africa.

The classes are held in a garage, in Nairobi’s suburb. On a plot the size of a football field, small improvised garages have been set up, some in wooden shacks. The place is teeming with men in worn uniforms working on car engines.

Aligning, balancing, adjusting
The women of the Lady Mekanika project are crouched around a Volkswagen, practising brakess adjustment. The instructor, Anthon Wainana, explains that the ladies are learning all aspects of car inspection: “Adjusting headlights, aligning wheels, engine balancing and of course adjusting brakes”. The women also take classes for a driving theory test.

In Kenya, there are 3,000 road casualties on average every year, mostly pedestrians. Ill-maintained roads and rickety cars are among the chief causes. Efforts by the government to improve conditions have failed because of the complexity of the situation. Women are tired of the waiting and the accidents, something that sparked off Lady Mekanika project.

Irresponsible men
“No more deaths in road accidents”, says Donna, with a firm tone. “I want people to be serious about road safety and wear their seatbelts.” Seatbelts were made compulsory a few years ago, but only a few drivers bothe to use them. “Men drive irresponsibly and expose us, as well as our children, to all kinds of dangers”, Donna explains, pointing to a minibus that was involved in a head-on collision.

A group of men observe the women from a distance. They don’t really appreciate women invading their territory. Most of the men refrain from commenting, but one of them praises the female mechanics: “Our culture teaches us that women are not able to handle cars, but they seem to be better at it than men”. The instructor confirms: “Women concentrate better than men. Men are very distracted.”

Better than men
“My dream is to recruit more women and open my own spare parts business,” says Donna. She is not the only one who cherishes a dream. For Linda Wafula, the founder of Lady Mekanika, the goal is to see women contributing to road safety.

“They are aware of the dangers on the roads. I am convinced that they will take the message home, to their husbands and communities,” she says.

It’s lunch time for the ladies. The men are watching as they proudly proceed to the canteen. At the end of their six months’ training, these women may be recruited to work in the garage on a permanent basis. “Women are better than men”, says Donna, laughing.

Source: http://www.rnw.nl/africa/article/kenyan-lady-car-mechanics-outshine-men

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Boda Bodas: Kenya’s latest death trap

Posted by Administrator on August 20, 2011

‘Boda-bodas’ are fast becoming Kenya’s most popular means of transport. But could this cost effective mode of transport be a death trap in disguise?

By Caasi Sagalai, Kenya

Doreen considers herself fortunate to be alive. She survived a near fatal motorcycle accident sustaining serious long term injuries. She injured her legs and developed breathing complications after falling off a speeding motorbike, which had lost control and tumbled over.

At the time of the accident, she was travelling with her 6 year old daughter, who miraculously escaped uninjured. Doreen has been in and out of various hospitals and she now walks with a limp.

“If it was up to me I would have the government ban the boda-bodas (motorcycle taxis), they are an ominous death trap. Look at me, it will take me close to a year to walk properly again due to the carelessness of some individual, I am lucky to be alive though.” She says.

Boda-boda death trap
Doreen is referring to the ‘boda-bodas’ as they are commonly known. The most popular means of transport in most parts of Kenya, especially outside the capital Nairobi. They provide cheap and reliable transport to areas that cannot be easily accessed by larger vehicles, and they avoid traffic jams as they manoeuvre through traffic. However, these journeys are quickly becoming death traps.

The number of motorcycles rose sharply in Kenya since the government abolished the tax on vehicles under 250 cc in 2008, almost cutting their price in half. The move saw many Kenyans jump at the opportunity to purchase a boda-boda with a view to starting a motorcyle taxi business. Kenya’s Economic A survey in 2010 indicates that the number of bikes rose from nearly 4,000 units in 2005 to over 90,000 as of last year.

Accidents on the rise
However, the number of accidents and deaths from motor cycle accidents appears to be spiralling out of control. Insurers in Kenya claim that for the same distance travelled, the death rate in motor cycle accidents is nine times that of car accidents.

So dire is the situation that hospitals in parts of Kenya have dedicated entire wings to motorcycle accident victims. Those lucky to escape with their lives nurse fractured bones, spines and skulls or life threatening injuries. The Rift Valley province in Kenya recorded an average of 30 to 40 deaths in a month according to traffic police sources last year.

Untrained riders
These accidents are attributed to untrained riders who hit the road, after experimenting with the bikes in open fields, under ‘ dubious’ unlicensed trainers. The illegal training sometimes lasts for as little as two days or even hours before they pick up their first passengers. Riders have little or no regard for traffic rules. No helmets are worn by the uninsured riders and passengers.

It is recommended that Kenyans train how to ride motorcycles using 90 kilogram weights before undergoing a police driver’s test and getting a temporary riding permit. This rarely happens.

“I have no licence because this (riding a motorbike ) is not rocket science, it’s all about balance and I trust in my abilities, why waste time and money going to train. I’ve done it for two years accident free.” Poses Odwori, an operator.

Government crackdown
The government is taking measures to crackdown on unscrupulous operators and is insisting on helmets for both drivers and passengers. However it is difficult to catch boda-boda drivers as they are able to slip down alleys and side-roads where they disappear until the next accident incriminates them – hopefully without killing or maiming the passengers.

Source: http://www.rnw.nl/africa/article/boda-bodas-kenyas-latest-death-trap

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