Friday, August 04, 2006

R.I.P.

Thank you all for your concern.

It is true that Kachumbari, the kenyan villager, has passed on -he is dead. He was killed by a 'hit and run' motorist while on a visit to Nairobi City. As you may have read in one of his previous posts, he had recently set up a shop in Nyahururu town. The shop is selling a large variety of goods, mostly small fast moving items from China, like nail files, toys, cards, key holders, watches, sun glasses, e.t.c. Such shops are commonly called 'mali mali' shops. His wife has already decided to relocate the shop to Nyeri, Kachumbari's ancestral home where most of his relatives live, after some time.

On the fateful day, he had gone to Nairobi to buy mechandise for the shop. He had travelled on a Sunday afternoon so as to spend the night in the city, start shopping early in the morning and then return to Nyahururu in the evening. This was not to be. He arrived safely in Nairobi and decided to visit his brother-in-law who lives in 'South C' estate. While waiting for a bus to town at around 8.00pm, and in the company of the in-law, a car lost control and hit him and another person. Kachumbari died while being rushed to Kenyatta National Hospital by a good samaritan. The 'hit and run' car drove away and nobody was able to read the number plate.

Kachumbari left behind a wife and two children. I believe they are well taken care of. Shortly before his death, he had bought a life insurance policy and my wife is assisting his wife in trying to persue payment. He also had a personal accident insurance cover which contributed Kshs 20,000 towards the funeral expenses. They promised to pay the remaining amount in a months time. He never left a written will but had told me, his dad and several clan elders that in case of his demise, his estate should go to his wife. His family are honoring his wishes and we do not expect problems at all. People here are very superstitious and few would dare to cheat her -in any case, she was listed in the insurance forms as the next of kin and beneficially.

Kachumbari's real name was Anthony. Let's leave it at that.
He was 33.

I still can't believe he is gone -he was such a great guy. He loved his family so much and will genuinely be missed by many.

May he rest in peace.

(I will let this blog hang around for a month and before deleting it.)

Samuel (Cousin, best friend and confidant).

Friday, July 28, 2006

Till we meet again...

My name is Samuel. I live and work in Nyahururu, Kenya.
Kachumbari, the Kenyan Villager was my great friend. I knew his real identity and he had given me the password to access this blog, and four others on blogger. I also have his password for his e-mail, zaleo77@yahoo.com.

Why all this?

Kachumbari is no more, he is gone where we shall all go, one day...

Please join me in wishing him him well... and family too...

Thank you all.

Monday, July 10, 2006

South Africa 2010...

Congratulations to Italy on lifting the WC2006 trophy. Now that the sweet madness is over, we can focus on WC2010 in south africa. I was happy to have watched the matches from my living room but I hope to watch some ot the matches live in South Africa 2010. The preparation (the dream, at least) starts now.

With the curtains down on Germany 2006, my wife and kids are some of the happiest people in Nyahururu. They couldn't undestand why I was so selfish with the new TV -football, football and more football! My wife couldn't believe that a man would prefer to watch a world cup game instead of fulfilling his marital obligations in bed. I kept trying to convince her that the word cup lasts for one month every four years (not a few days every month... I didn't add this when talking to her!) surely, she can bear with that. Now I will have to suffer endless soap operas, low quality local gospel dvd's and those dreaded Nigerian movies (Yeah, I never mentioned the DVD before because I bought it last week).

At least I will have my blog for solace...

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Resolutions update, June 2006.

After mentioning my wife in the last post, I think It's about time for this update (knowing very well that at this time of the year, few people can spell the word "resolutions" correctly, leave alone remembering what they had resolved).

Resolution 1. NO DRINKING.
Drinking here means serious consumption of alcohol. I proud to say that I have managed to remain totally alcohol free up to now. I have not tasted any this year despite the improvement of my financial condition. My wife thinks its a miracle while my parents don't believe it.

Resolution 2. NO SMOKING.
I broke this resolution a long time ago. However, I've not gone beyond 2 sticks a day, on average. Sometimes I can go for up to a week without a drag. I am not scared of the new law banning smoking in public in Kenya because I never smoke in public anyway. May be I will quit once and for all next year, huh?

Resolution 3. NO PHILANDERING.
I am still clean, thank God. There's a problem though... My wife thinks I sleep around. Yes, I admit that I'm a little bit too social (especially with girls) for her liking but who said that a man sleeps with every woman he flirts with? I'm just an ordinary guy, the kind you wouldn't notice in a crowd, and I don't understand why girls (and quite a number of older women) seem so attracted to me. Sex has been offered openly and for free (in case you were thinking otherwise). There are times it got close... down to caressing an exposed "honey pot" once, but I always managed to keep on dry land. Hey, a guy can get tempted, you know! I secretly blame her for some of these cases even if there's no evidence because some of her close friends know that I'm big where it matters and that I can last forever... how could they have known? Problem is, they want a piece of the action! I,ve tried to convince my wife of my innocence but she doesn't believe (or so she says because we always end up getting jiggy with it). I will NOT break this resolution.

PS. My wife does not know of this blog. It is a deep personal secret and since none of you knows me, I'm safe. Did you say that this is not fair? You are right, but that's just the way it is...

Insurance against death?

Two days ago, I was involved in a minor road accident. I was in a bus on my way to Nyahururu from a place called Wanjohi, high up the aberdare ranges, when the front tyre burst and the driver lost control. The bus veered off the road, landing in a ditch. No one was injured. 30 minutes later, we were back on the road and my thoughts were racing... What if it had been more serious and I died? The faces of my wife and two kids flashed in my mind and I couldn't help wondering how their life would be without me. This is a thought that has crossed my mind so many times and I decided to do something about it while I have the chance since death is inevitable. The first thing that came to my mind was life insurance. I have a personal insurance cover that guarantees my family around KShs. 400,000 ($5,715) in case of my death through an accident (expires in July this year!), but no life insurance. The other thing that came to my mind was organizing my business so that it would survive after my demise.

The first thing I did was to visit several insurance offices to see what they are offering. Out of the five insurance companies, only two looked serious, and of these two (AMACO and CIC), only CIC offers life insurance. The guy at AMACO, who identified himself as "Githaiga, unit manager" was smooth and almost convinced me to take another personal accident on top of the one I have but I told him that I was looking for life insurance, period. He directed me to CIC insurance. I was introduced to a much older unit manager calling himself Kiarie, or something like that. They have good plans (as if anybody is planning to die), but do not have the unit linked products that my financial adviser is always talking about. (Maybe you need to know that my financial adviser doesn't even know me because he is only a name in a newspaper column!). I will shelve the decision on what "plan" to buy after looking at what other companies in Nyeri town are offering, probably next week when I go to visit my maternal grandmother -if I will still be alive then, anyway. Now, I could make up my mind to buy life insurance without the prompting of of a salesman, then why do people say that selling insurance is difficult? May be its a line that I ought to look up... What do you think?

The other thing I did was to about business with my wife who is currently jobless. Until a month ago, she was working for a Nyahururu lawyer and was earning KShs.3,000 ($42) per month, after putting in 9 hours Monday to Friday and 5 hours on Saturdays (and lawyers wonder why they are hated and distrusted!). We thought this was exploitation and she quit to join me in my business, "on the road". She however spends most of the time looking after our kids, which is OK. Anyway, after our discussions, we decided to open a shop in Nyahururu town wit the savings I have made. She will then operate the shop while I continue with my "on the road" business. This morning, we visited several real estate agents looking for a suitable shop to rent. The only good shops with the "TO LET" sign are too expensive for us but we finally settled for a small room on the first floor of a fairly clean building. At this point, we have no idea what we shall be selling but hope to have decided soon. I will keep you updated, of course. The saddest part of this part is that I might have to sell my new TV after the worldcup in a bid to raise more capital for the shop. But as they say, the struggle continues!

Friday, June 23, 2006

ON BBC.

When I said, in my last post, that the gods were smiling on me, little did I know how big the smile was! I have just learned that this blog was featured on the BBC. This calls fo a little celebration. Meanwhile, please check it out at... <http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/5084966.stm>

Thank you for your comments and keep them coming.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Step by step...

Despite everything you read here, Nyahururu is a nice place -very cool and relaxing. Life is very easy and if you have enough cash, very comfy. Problem comes when the cash is scarce, like in my case. However, the gods have been smiling at me because things are looking up lately -business is picking up well. After the prolonged draught, the rains are finally here and money is also flowing around. I've made good profits in the last several weeks and very greatfull to God for that. I even managed to buy a small colour TV in time for the world cup! If that is not "maendeleo"(development), tell me what is. I even transfered my kids from a public school to a private one, being very optimistic that I wont be going back to the bad times gone by... However, nobody should think that it was easy. I made it through sheer back breaking hard work and Im proud of it. I have many great ideas that I hope to implement. However, for now, its one step at a time.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Technology

I've received many suggestions on how to improve my blogging technics and several invitations to link this blog to other sites and blogs. Someone even suggested that I go .com! Thank you very much ladies and gentlemen for the advice and suggestions. I have been polishing up my skills on what I prefer to call computer and internet technology. Allow me to tell you how far along I am, but let me start with some history...

The very first time that I saw a real computer with my two eyes was in 1994. It was not until 1995 that I got to touch one. I was very interested in this intelligent machine and I started to learn about it bit by bit. By the year 2000, I could passably use Microsoft word, exel and powerpoint. Please note thet I did'nt go through any formal training on the same. In the year 2001, I discovered the internet and got hooked. I couldn't believe that this wondeful 'world' was always out there and I had no clue. OK, I used to hear about it but it sounded like science fiction then. I then signed op for a yahoo e-mail address and couldnt get enough friends to contact. E-mails then, consited of very short messages and dozens of 'fowards' that I find so irritating today.
I was fascinated by the amount of information on the web and would spend as much time on the net as my my very shallow pockets could allow. I used to visit cyber cafe's that had private booths so that people would not see me fumbling around with the computer like the novice I was. These cyber cafe's were also frequented by many people who as I was to learn later, were just interested in phonography. This was also a very new phenomenon to me. Naturally, I got curious and had my fare share of the same. I never got hooked though and was soon bored with it. During this time, I also got to know about dating sites. My curiousity got the better of me and before long, I was dating a rich 50-year-old sex bomb in Nairobi (but that's a story for another day).
I have now matured 'internetically' and interested in more positive and educative issues. One latter-day event was the dicovery of the blogging world in late 2005 and that's why you are reading this post.
Apart from what you'd call normal surfing on the net, I dont know really much. Thats why I havent developed this blog very much and haven't linked up with many sites. I have however made some positive inroads by successfully linking with global voices and the KBW(whatever its called). One of these days I will try to upload a photograph. A safari of a thousand miles starts with the famous step!
I know I should go to a class and learn these things only I cant afford it. Pride too has something to do with it.

Ps. I would like to have a really cool e-mail address apart from yahoo. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

EASTER EGGS

Hi everyone, hope you had a great Easter holiday. Mine was fine, very fine. I was very busy trying to earn a living while everyone else was making merry. Times are very hard for me and my family because business is not good at all. It was a struggle to pay KShs.2200 for April's house rent for my two bedroomed rental(rent is usually paid in advance because people are fond of doing the dissapearing act when times are hard!), not to mention many other obligations. Im NOT, however begging for assistance from anyone. I will struggle and work hard until I "make it"- just watch this space!
There was a get-together(a meeting of the very extended family held annually) at one of my aunties home on Easter Saturday and I didnt even attend. I gave some very serious excuses because it is like a taboo to miss these annual feasts. If I had told them that I was working, some of those patronising aunties would get a heart attack! Thew would wonder aloud what devil has gone into my head and they would keep calling to try and convince me to try and at least appear and take a bite of something. I kept my phone off to be on the safe side. I have never liked these meetings because they have become annual meetings to boast and show off to other relatives and to ensure that one's family is best dressed, unlike last year... Woe unto you if you are not very well off coz your wife always end up doing the mountains of dishes! The idea for starting these 'feasts' was noble: to enable the extended family to stay united and to be there for one another, and for the children to mingle and know one-another (Secretly, the older ladies think this is vital so that cousins do not meet and marry 'accidentally' in future). Last year, our eight-year-old cousin died maily because her parents couldn't afford proper medical care. I felt guilty like hell! During the funeral, I looked around at my grieving relatives and I was ashamed. Some were in outfits whose cost could have saved the little girl's life. Others came in flashy cars whose weekly fuel consumption (cost) could have saved the litle girl's life... Oh God, what a shame! Now I would'nt feel comfortable sitting in the same room with the whole lot feasting on nyama choma, mukimo and greasy chapatis. I would puke the whole lot.

Ps... By the way , what the hell are Easter Eggs? Can someone please enlighten this villager?

Ps... (again) When leaving a comment on this blog, one reader suggested that i configure my blog so that I can post from my mobile phone. Thanks, but that is still science fiction in the village. I can make and receive calls from my Alcatel phone, I can also send 120-character text messages to another phone- that's about it. I hope to get a phone that can connect to the internet sometimes in the next five years. Around here, guys who frequent cyber cafe's get all the hot chicks! Now you know.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

A matter of time.

I was to be right back after my last post. I guess I forgot to say that I would be right back -before the end of March! I got the newspaper I was looking for before it was "recycled", read the article, but do I say! Thanks to the writer, Ben Singer, and thanks to you dear reader. I hope to keep the Kenyan villager alive till the end of me. Karibu for the ride...

For a long time now, my posts have been few and for apart. Here in the village, the Internet is not as easily available as out there. In Nyahururu town, there are only four places I can access the net; Three cyber-cafe and the local post office. I don't know how the cafes link up but the post office uses the VSAT things. Yes, those things. The services at the cafes are fair but sometimes can be so slow. there are times it takes like ten minutes to load blogger.com, five minutes to sign in and another ten minutes to load the post page(or whatever its called). Add that to the time it takes to type a post and you are talking about at least 45 minutes (Im not very good at typing -I use one finger from each hand). The computers at the post office are no better. Add the poor attitude of staff there and you are in real trouble. The last time I was there, the comps were very slow. I tried to get someone to assist but they all seemed to be busy (I mean the computer literate ones). When one of the ladies became available, I had to wait until she was through with her obviously delicious cup of Kenyan tea! Of course I just walked out. I wonder why people complain when the government says that it will retrench these guys!

Sometimes I get carried away. What I ment to say is that the cyber-cafes have greatly improved their services and the internet speed is, well, fair. In now clicking away in my favourite one called clicks. They play nice background music (although some clients are louder than the music) but the privacy rating is zero. You can see guys craning their necks trying to see what other clients are doing online, especially the ladies -not to say the ladies are any more polite! Sorry, got carried away again! I just want to say that I hope to post at least twice every week, subject to availability of funds(as the government is so fond of saying). See you soon, ama?

Thursday, March 16, 2006

On cloud nine!

I've just returned from the bush. Going through my new mail, I learn that this blog was featured in the Daily Nation, Kenya's leading newspaper and I missed it (some villages see only the Sunday paper, the Kiswahili one- Taifa Jumapili! I now have to start looking for tuesday's copy hoping that snot all copies have been used to wrap meat at the butcher's or used for some other purpose I don't want to mention here... ok, some people here still dont understand why they should buy toilet paper while theybdon't need the old newspaper any more! "You just splash a few drops of water on the paper and its good to go!
Allow me to get the paper and then I'll be right back...
Before I go, thanks for the comments.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Church affairs

Nyahururu people are deeply religious. There are like 1001 Christian denominations (sometimes read sects), tradationalists, Muslims and other crazy groups which you cant place in any of the above categories. Walk around the streets between 1.00pm and 2.00pm and you would be forgiven to think that the small town was one big worship centre. There are worshippers in every building and street corner, screaming hoarsely into hapless microphones and amplifying the chaos over booming loudspeakers- you want to cork your ears! I think it's OK for people to worship in their own way, but they should also let others worship in their own way. I like to worship in a calm, serene envilonment believing that God listens even when we don't shout out to him!
Rumour has it that the Nation recentry ran a story about this new 'sect' whose ordained 'priests' (former Roman Catholic priests) are allowed to marry. This is a big deal to the villagers because priests (not pastors) are not allowed to marry. Pope Benedict the 16th recently signed a document saying that his priests will not be allowed to marry; that they should remain celibate for life. I am a catholic by virtue of birth but I think the pope and his followers are just burying their heads in the sand. Did someone ask why? I don't know about the rest of the world but the priests who serve here have always been the he-goats of the village- sleeping around right, left and centre. They don't seem to mind the age, marital status, class or religion of the women they go out with. By age, I mean they sleep around with old women all the way to underage girls. The number of babies and abortions around is evidence enough and also proves that these village bulls don't even use protection! The popular 'trust' condoms still cost KShs.10.00 for a pack of three (around 21 condoms for an American dollar)!
But remember the Catholic church teaches that the use of contraceptives is wrong, of course.
They also say here in the village that God helps those who help themselves...

Monday, March 06, 2006

Resolutions update...

I had forgotten about the resolutions made at the beginning of the year. Luckily I made only three: here's an update...
1. To stop smoking: I have dropped from ten sticks a day to only one. I usually take it in the evening after work except when in the company of my wife or in public.
2. To stop drinking: I have managed to keep off the bottle since January and this feels good! However I sometimes take the occasional glass of home-made fruit punch after dinner AT HOME. I brew the stuff and boy, is it potent or is it potent! My wife will not allow me to take more than a glass at a time and I am happy to oblige. I still frequent pubs but wont take any alcohol. My friends think Im loosing it but I don't care.
3. To be faithful: I have not broken this resolution and have no intention of doing so. It has not been easy, I can tell you (they say I look good, but do I say!). Dear God, help me to keep this resolution- and to you ladies out there, help me too by keeping off!
I wonder how you are doing with your resolutions?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Stop Press!

What's this we are hearing about the government shutting down the Standard Newspapers and KTN? I think this is crazy! I am a daily reader of the Standard And I really enjoy reading their scathing and cutting edge stories, commentaries and editorials. OK, sometimes they overdo it... other times you wonder whether they are not being instructed to write these things... but I dont think this is enough reason to shut them down. About KTN, I can't say anything because here in the village, the few lucky people with TVs only receive the government owned KBC.

Its really pathetic!

Home town..

I am now living in Core-site estate, Nyahururu - a small town in central Kenya. The town is dusty like hell in the dry season but lovely and very green in the rainy season. The Aberdare ranges lie to the west and southwest in magnificent slumber while Nakuru is 85 Kilometers away to the east. The most popular attraction around is Thomson Falls, a 75 meter (246.06 feet) water cascade just 15 minutes away on foot. The falls, locally called Kirurumo are a sight to behold. Sitting at the bottom of the falls on a sunny Sunday afternoon, sipping some exotic tropical fruit juice, and my lovely lady by my side is pure heavenly bliss….During the rainy season, the falls roars like thunder as the water crushes on the rocks far below. You don’t want to be down there, at the bottom – its not just scary, it’s dangerous! From a safe distance though, it’s a bewitching, sight that can never be forgotten. If you ever happen to be around, get In touch with me and I will take you there. You won’t regret.

Hi everyone, I am back.

Thank you for all your comments and good wishes for my new business.

Business is good, much better than expected. Allow me to start from where I left off in the last post….

I sold my cow to a local prominent farmer for KShs. 20,000. With this cash I was able to buy 15 goats from Maasai herdsmen driven from their rift valley grazing fields to the highlands by severe famine. Each of the goats cost KShs.800. I took the animals home to Ol’Joro-orok where there’s plenty of food. After a long spell of dry weather, the rains are here. The pastures are quickly turning from scorched red to lush green and the price of goats (and other livestock too) has risen dramatically. Today, I sold all the goats for KShs.1,850 each! If that is not good business, tell me what is!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Total balaa...

Its been so long since my last post. So much has happened since then...

First, I got a job. I'm now in marketing though my pals in the village would prefer to call me a broker (local definition of 'broker': A person who finds people willing to sell any item and then finds buyers for the same items... for a commission, preferably from both parties!). They however think Im crazy for taking up such an occupation believing that by venturing into this 'career', one automatically becomes a cheat, conman, thief... the description is endless! This is the only business that I could start with zero capital... all I need is to know the right people and to have special persuation abilities. The havest was poor, so poor that as at this date, my pockets are empty, and so is my bank account. I'm now a week old in this business and already, there are several exiting prospects. To set the ball rolling though, I will sell one of my two cows to the highest bidder. The cow is worth about KShs. 15,000.00 but I will try to get at least KShs. 20,000 from some farmer. You might call me dishonest but the buyer will be happy with the bargain- its a good cow, with lots of potential if properly fed (not that I was starving it). I have also been shopping around for a suit and was supprised at how expensive these things are!
Watch this space for what happened later...

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Beloved Kenya, are we going to the dogs?

I think Kenya is a great country. Im proud to be a Kenyan too.
Many of us Kenyans pray for peace, stability and prosperity. We have relative peace and stability but prosperity remains just but a mirage for many of us, especially here in the village. The politicians criss cross the villages promising heaven to hungry villagers during election campaign time only to vanish from sight aftewards. They crowd the bad roads with their big SUV's and generally cause confusion all over. The make inflatory remarks in public pitting their tribes aganist others. Their minds are focussed on the next general election and the huge amounts of money they stand to make by virtue of the power they acquire when elected. They dont care for the common mwananchi (citizen).

The villagers down here spend hours on end talking about these politicians and their 'antics'. They forget that the source of most of their problems comes from these wolves in sheep skins. I am tired of this misery. I am tired the endless stories of woe and suffering all round. I want to rise up and do something... but what? I have no resourses to conduct elabolate public campaigns nor will the people listen to my feeble voice. I dont know what to do, but the problems remain; Kenya rushes on to the dogs. All that rings in my mind is: I need to act, now! Who will join me, who else is fed up of these pigs (read politicians and their cronies)?

Monday, January 16, 2006

Resolutions

The three major resolutions I made for this year are:
1. To stop smoking,
2. To stop drinking,
3. To stop fooling around with girls (and other peoples wives!)

Progress...
1. I think I've finally quit smoking. 16 days without smoke is indeed a record! I will fight hard to extend this record to like forever.
2. I've not taken a single beer this year (largely because Im broke). I hope to keep this resolution even when Im in a better financial position.
3. I have never shagged anyones wife or any under 18 for that matter (since my marriage in 2000). Dont get shoked; underage sex is something normal here. Girls get married even at 16 years old. I will strive to stick to the one lady I can call mine.

Friday, January 13, 2006

KARIBUNI SHAGGS...

I have just put away my farm tools so that I can tell you how my day has been. It has been a long tiring day, like many other days before, and many more to come.

Today, I didnt go to work, or rather, I didnt secure any job in town. So I went back home - to dig in the dusty piece of land (shamba) that my father left to me when he passed on in the year 2001. I hope to plant some vegetables in the next two weeks or so...

Perhaps Id better tell you a little bit about myself. I am Kachumbari, a 30-year-old kenyan. I live with my wife and two kids in a real Kenyan village called Tetu, in the slopes of the Aberdare Ranges in central Kenya. I have no formal job but Im able to make a decent living from a number of activities that will become apparent in future posts. I have some basic education (of course you wouldn't be reading this if I wasn't!) and hope to further my studies as time goes by.

I love the village and I have no intention of leaving.

This is my personal space to write about experiences inthe village, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Life here is great- full of adventure...... You are welcome to shere in the fun...