Monday, May 21, 2018
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Life After Campus; Reality VS Perception- Victor Kegengo’s Story

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‘We all have big dreams of life after school. I thought it would be easy, and looked forward to a well-paying white collar job. A big surprise awaited me.’- Victor Kegengo, a graduate of Business Management.

…..

In 2014, just a few months to completing his Degree course at Masinde Muliro University, Victor Kegengo did what every other soon-to-be graduate does, send out mass job applications. He was excited about the new phase of life that awaited him, the future looked bright, and he felt ready to tackle the job market.

‘It never crossed my mind that getting a job would be too hard. I was hopeful. I had no worries. I maintained a positive spirit with every email I sent out to prospective employers.’

I was hopeful. I had no worries. I maintained a positive spirit with every email I sent out to prospective employers.’

Then last day of school came, and out into the job market he went.

Victor, far right, with friends during their graduation ceremony in 2014.

 

‘The first six months gave me a quick reality check. No positive response whatsoever from all the thousands of emails I had sent. I decided to take a driving course to while the time away. I was already getting a bit frustrated, as my family was really looking up to me. Here I was, 8-4-4 completed, but what do I have to show for it?’

Here I was, 8-4-4 completed, but what do I have to show for it?

Victor also took up jobs as a waiter at local cafes, which brought in very little income, and he had to seek an alternative.

‘I opted to try my hand in horticulture. I planted cabbages, kales and onions which I sold in local markets in Kisii Town. The first harvest was good, but in the second planting season the rains failed and nothing came out of the toil. I was back to square one.’

Just as he was on the verge of giving up, he got called for a job as a tutor at a college in Kisii Town, where he taught business courses for six months, from June 2014 to Jan 2015. This new job however, could not settle his basic expenses, sometimes not even his Kes.3,000 rented room in Kisii.

‘At some point my landlord threw me out because of accrued rent debts. My mind was working at 300KPH, I desperately needed a way out of the mess of a life I was living. I tried my hand in football gambling and would use any money won to settle debts. I also tried online academic writing which really helped.’

I tried my hand in football gambling and would use any money won to settle debts.

None of these things Victor was doing to make ends meet were what he’d studied for, nor what he wanted to do with his life.

‘I am the first child of my parents. My father is a teacher and my mother did not have any source of income. She had a small farm where she planted food for consumption at home. I have two siblings who are much younger than me. I was the family’s hope.’

Victor remembers that at that time he would look up what some of his campus friends were up to, and would find that some got jobs immediately after campus, others had traveled to other countries for further studies, some were married with stable families while there were those just as jobless and searching as he was.

‘I think just like our fingers, people can never be equal. We are served different dishes at different times in life, and at that time, life had chosen that dish for me.’

I think just like our fingers, people can never be equal. We are served different dishes at different times in life, and at that time, life had chosen that dish for me.

What did he try next?

‘I got an opportunity to do marketing for Keroche Breweries. This was however short-lived after the boss swindled all my dues. I had worked for 3 months without pay. I quit and was back to square one.’

This happened to be last stroke to Victor’s misery and bad luck in the job market.

‘I applied for a job at Tusker Mattresses Limited Trading (brand name Tuskys Supermarket) and started off as an intern, with duties such as assisting around the supermarket, receiving clerk handed to me. I was so determined to make this work and put my best foot forward. Last year I was promoted to supervisor  and currently being trained for a managerial position.’

Victor at work!

This opportunity has definitely been a great relief to Victor Kegengo, but his journey does not stop there.

‘I definitely want more from life. I am currently pursuing my Master’s Degree in Finance. Hopefully I’ll be done by the end of the year. I am grateful that life finally smiled on me and I can pay my bills, I do not take it for granted.’

A word for the young people who find themselves in the same situation today?

‘The days of Serikali Saidia are over. The one million jobs promised by the government are a fallacy. But we would appreciate if it(the government) provides an enabling environment to do business as most youth have now embraced entrepreneurship.’

Victor emphasizes on the importance of embracing Internet use in seeking opportunities.

‘There’s so much one can achieve with Facebook and Twitter, including managing such accounts for brands. That is a source of income as you await better opportunities.’

When he’s not busy doing his part in building the nation, Victor Kegengo enjoys  watching wrestling(WWE) on TV.

‘In another life, or maybe just in this one, I would love to pursue Journalism. I have great interest and passion for the media.’

Parting shot?

‘Success is 30% effort and 70% attitude. Work more on your attitude towards life, it could be what’s holding you back.’

🙂🙂🙂

I Went To Rwanda, And Met Someone!

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From left, Aswani, me, Osbert, Shehu and Anne Marie.
Lovine Mboya, (as in me) first morning in Rwanda!

Hello, thank you for falling for this clickbait title😝

No, wait, honestly, I visited Rwanda recently, and yes, I met someone amazing. Just not in the way you think😜.

First things first, SOCIAL MEDIA HAS TAKEN OVER. Social media took me to Rwanda. How amazing😉. Like, I first got to interact with the organizer of the event on Facebook, last year, and at that time he was running a competition asking those of us who use WordPress to say something about our blogs, I think. I can’t remember exactly what the competition was about but I won those sexy WordPress shades anyway.

Later on he mentioned organizing an event happening in Rwanda and my curiosity was piqued. I had never been outside this country and I really wanted this opportunity! So I looked up the event and the company behind it and came up with a few things I can do for them. He said I send an email to the team and they said YES! You should have seen how super excited I was.

Jagero(Founder CMS AFRICA SUMMIT), Anne Marie and myself at Marriot Hotel, Kigali where the summit happened!

Rwanda is so clean. I know you know that. But I was there and you were not so I’ll tell you. Ha!

It’s also a very interesting country. That is, if you’ve lived in a fast-paced super busy and full of life country like Kenya. It is kinda like going to shagz and having a ka-small but really developed town where you can do things like banking and eating hot samosas in nice resturants and stuff.  Like, it’s a bit silent, playing cool and charming. I think. No one shoves past you in the streets, no bodaboda men yelling at people, no motorists disobeying traffic lights, no matatus zooming past each other with loud music blasting from the speakers. Rwanda to me was like that clean, nice and suave young man trying to woo you. He’s not rich, but he has a plan and a bright future ahead. He also won’t cheat (Insert evil laughter). Kenya is a boy that will openly and thoroughly cheat on you, also very rich but it’s his dad’s money and very disrespectful of elders. But he’s got game so you won’t leave.

See how I decided to slay at the summit! Ha!

The airbnb we were staying at was amazing! Then I didn’t take pictures of it. Because I’m such an amazing journalist and did such an amazing job of not covering my experience. SMH. So disappointed with myself on that front.

Anyway. One of the things I was doing was covering the event LIVE for the company on their social platforms, and also interviewing speakers and other delegates. Basically source content, get content, edit content, put it out there. You can hire me for that 😉

Amazing discussions with the panel at #CMSAfrica18!

I met so many amazing people. From Solomon from Uganda who was also the MC, a very funny guy. What comes to mind when I remember Solo is when we were on our way to their airbnb and our driver plays Asa’s Jailer. In that song Asa sings, ‘I’m a prisoner, you’re a prisoner too. I’m in chains you’re in chains, your’e in chains too. I will die, but yourself will die too…’ After listening to the song for a while Solomon says, ‘That song is very petty. So what if I will die too?’ HA! I found that really funny. I have never laughed so hard. And I’m yet to hear a crazier review of Asa’s jailer.

Meet Solomon.

Me and Solomon Alvin in the streets of Kigali.

Then there was Sheriiff Balang’ Nyakim! He, this guy. Anne Marie (hey Anne, another amazing person I met from Uganda!) can remember the time Nyakim called us to the bar counter where he was standing, and we wondered what he wanted to tell us because he looked super excited. We get there and Nyakim starts with ‘You know you feminists, let me ask you..’ WHAT?! Yaani Nyakim had called us all the way to start an argument on feminism😂 No way did I come to Rwanda for this. We laughed, and had to leave. He’s an amazing guy though, with interesting tales, and arguments on feminism. Ha.

Meet Nyakim.

Me and Nyakim in the streets of Kigali!

I did not get to take individual pictures with every amazing person I met, but Rwanda was amazing. Okay, I use the word amazing a lot. Promise I’ll drop it in my next post. There are people I met (amazing people)and we didn’t get to freeze the memories in pictures, but know you are all dear to my heart. You made my first time outside my country all so worthwhile and very memorable.

From left, Aswani, me, Osbert, Shehu and Anne Marie.

All of you, are the ‘someone’ I was talking about in the title.

Thanks for passing by here 🙂

 

 

#QUICKTEN With Uganda’s Media Strategist Osbert Mwijukye!

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My name is Osbert Mwijukye. I am a Web Developer, Digital Media and Brand Communications junkie. I work with Uganda’s leading media house Vision Group as a New Media Executive and Web Developer. I also freelance as a web developer in my extra time.

Osbert(in white) at #CMSAFRICA18 in Kigali, Rwanda.

You recently attended CMS AFRICA SUMMIT held in Kigali, Rwanda, tell us about that… I have attended CMS Africa Summit from its first editions. As a young University student, I was seeking what direction my Computer Science career would take, and happened to learn about CMS Africa Summit during Joomla Day Uganda, 2014.  Fred Abunyanga, CEO Webstar Uganda, was talking about it and said he could talk to the founder, Jagero, on the possibility of a sponsorship. I immediately contacted Jagero myself and he was glad to support me.  This opportunity opened doors for me and I got to participate in the 2015 Joomla World Conference in India on a sponsorship. Events likes CMS Africa Summit are always a learning experience for me, and an opportunity to network and build new relationships.

This opportunity opened doors for me and I got to participate in the 2015 Joomla World Conference in India on a sponsorship.

I think social media is… important to brands for purposes of making sales, growing audiences, informing and educating the public. Also for entertainment purposes. I have been managing brand accounts for 5 years now, currently working as a Social Media/New Media Executive with Uganda’s leading Media house.

On Cyber Security… I think security measures to counter Cyber Attacks are created by human beings and so they can easily be breached by same humans. We are not really safe.

Life as a young person in Uganda… is a bit tough, just like anywhere else. Few job opportunities, high cost of living, and growing life demands. Many look forward to the white collar jobs but are not lucky. Truth is even those of us with those jobs don’t feel as lucky. We are battling financial frustration, dissatisfaction.  There is hardly any job that can satisfy all of one’s needs. I want to create opportunities for those coming after me, so no one feels the need to turn into criminal activities because they can’t get a white collar job.

I am proud of the fact that… I successfully finished School, and graduated with a First Class Degree in ICT. Also proud when I get positive client feedback on my work. I am happy when they are happy. Also happy about the opportunities that enabled me make friends across the globe, and still counting.

Osbert with his Dad on his graduation day.

Away from work… I enjoy networking, making new friends,, sharing knowledge and challenging myself.

What I love about Kenyan youth is… how they are very aggressive, innovative and resourceful. I appreciate the no need for a VISA to connect to Kenya and vice versa. We can work together and do so much!

Three words that describe me… optimistic, respectful, excellence!

🙂🙂

***Osbert was one of the delegates at the the just concluded #CMSAfrica18, details of the summit coming up in next post!

NEW MUSIC ALERT! ||What I’ve Come Across/Listened To.. ||

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I have been listening to some new music lately, by amazing young Kenyan artists.  First, I have surprised myself because a few years ago, you would NEVER find me listening to hip-hop music. Who is this girl? I blame my campus housemate Daisy, who had Hip-hop running in her blood and transferred this craze to me.

Today I confidently play and enjoy Hip-hop all by myself!  And look at me even finding upcoming amazing artists to share with you!

Note; Not all the music you are about to sample is Hip-hop😉

They are;

  1. D_bleque

Omoooooosh! Aki I love this guy! Peruce, not in that way 😜 but your babe is churning out fire music! EISH! Aol.

No honestly, I can talk about D_bleque paragraph after paragraph. First starting by the fact  that I never knew, when we were still in campus, that this guy is interested in music! I never saw nor heard him come to class and do some freestyle, so it caught me by surprise that just as we were winding up our studies, he sends me a link to his music! That is not even the main shocker, I played the song, and I was SOLD! Or bought, haha. D_bleque is quality. Finesse. He’s about to cause massive waves in the rap scene in Kenya.  I said it. Wait for it.

Have a taste of him;

2. Myq Tweest

So my cousin Manu hits me up one day and says, hey! Listen to this song. It was Umenimurdah by Twist. I was busy at the time and never really got to open the link. Then a week later he shows up with friends at my place, and introduces one of them as Myq Twist. I catch myself just as I’m about to say, ‘I know you!’. I know he’s an artist, but I hadn’t yet got down to playing his music. They play it right then and there. I think Myq Twist has talent, and I love the fact that he’s churning out new music consistently. Consistency is key. It shows commitment. Here’s what he’s been up-to;

3. G-BOY

G-BOY works so hard, that I must give to him. I haven’t met a more focused, dedicated individual than this guy. Not just in his music, but generally  in all projects he undertakes. He schedules meetings, follows up and shows up. Please tell me what else a man has to do to show the gods he is ready and wiling! Song after song after song. I have been following. And G, you’ll get there J

Oh, he recently just collabo’d with a Zambian artist on a new song and I’m looking forward to the video for that! Sample Gboy here

4. Ben Cyco

I saw Ben in a YouTube video of a vlogger I follow, and I thought he’s cute. HE IS HER BOYFRIEND. That was all I knew of him then recently, I was watching TV and saw a familiar face saying, ‘You can now find my music on Viusasa’. What?! I know this guy! I thought. Of course, not personally. I tried to remember where’d I’d seen his face and remembered the girlfriend! First I was shocked that he sings! Since when? Second, GOSPEL MUSIC?! I quickly typed his name in my YouTube tab. Guys, he has GOOOD music! I understand he might not be an upcoming artist per se, but to me he is because I’d never heard of his music anywhere and I live in this country! Lol. He has been interviewed on KISS FM and HOT 96. Probably has received even more media coverage.  He deserves it. My favorite from him;

 

Who are you listening to currently? What do you think of these new artists? What would you recommend I listen to next?

SHARE!

 

Distractions; a Guide to Escaping Toxic Relationships- GUEST POST/REBLOG by Clarie

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I have been reading new material, scavenging for fresh content to feed my mind in the last few days. One of the new blogs(new because it was my first time reading it) I came across is Clarie’s(https://clariesramblings.com/). The last time I saw a blog post from Clarie she was on a WordPress free site, glad she moved to .com! Haha. Anyway, Clarie writes so deep, so raw(I understand I have described another writer using these very same words, but-) that I can feel her words in my blood(I did it again, same words😁😁). But Renee and Clarie write beautifully! Anyway, lemme not steal the show, here’s a piece by Clarie; ………………..

But the thing is, I couldn’t be anybody, or potentially have a child with somebody, who could abandon his child. That was my personal boundary, and I had finally found it.
-Tiffany Haddish-
The Last Black Unicorn

You guys. This isn’t about absent fathers. I wanted to quote the part about boundaries but I couldn’t do it without context.

***
You are watching New Girl at one am on a school night. You can’t fall asleep because every time you close your eyes you remember something he did and your throat is dry from all the crying you’ve done today alone. Besides, Schmidt is hella funny. Your phone chimes, it’s a text from him.

Hey you. I love you. I miss you, have a good night.

You throw your phone against the wall. Your nose is on fire and your legs are trembling. How dare he? What part of your frayed heart is that text supposed to mend? Does he even know how to love people? You should ask him that. You go to pick up your phone and right there on the phone screen, is an accurate representation of your soul; darkness and a big ass crack.

Do you even know how to love people?
*Delete*

Do you realise how insulting this is? Thinking some generic text is going to erase years of emotional abuse?

*Delete*
He really is a good guy, he didn’t mean to hurt you.

I know you don’t do it on purpose, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt.

*Delete*
At this point, you’re not even sure he gives two shits about your feelings.

I’m so tired of your bullshit.

*Delete*
You don’t want to aggravate him. You want him to reply. Because when all is said and done, he’s the best relationship you’ve had. You just want to talk it out. Because maybe, just maybe, if he sees how badly he’s hurt you, he’ll remember he loves you and will stop doing it.

Hey. I love you. Do you think you can make time to talk?

*Send*
You both know he isn’t going to reply. Not tonight, not in the next few days.

Your thumb is bleeding when you lock your screen and put it under your pillow. Like everything else you’ve done today, you think if you can just bandage it, if you can avoid aggravating it, maybe it’ll stop hurting. Either way, your pillow is wet and you have a headache when you wake up three hours later.

***
You’re seated at a restaurant, pretending to read a book but mostly using it to hide involuntary tears. He should have been here an hour ago. You knew he’d be late. You want to choke it up to human error but deep down, you know it’s because he doesn’t value your time. He knows you’ll be there, smiling, when he shows up two hours later, just like you’ve been there for years when he’s disrespected and taken you for granted.
You text your friend:

Do you remember when Schmidt was planning his wedding but he was burnt out so he had to hand Jess his flash drive full of wedding ideas? “Do not reach for it like you’re Winston reaching for a woman’s breast!” I die.😂😂😂

You are laughing so hard, you’re out of breath when he shows up, him, the other reason you’ve been so out of breath lately. He’s with his with friend and without even realizing it, you’re already shrinking yourself to take up only as much space as a third-wheel should.
You speak three words the entire time.
No when he asks you if you want to go somewhere else. You picked this corner table for a reason, damnit!
No when he says you hope he doesn’t mind that he brought along his friend to this private conversation you had to beg him to have.
No when he jokingly asks you to foot the bill.
You pay your share of the bill and when he hugs you and says it was fun hanging out with you, you want to kick him in his balls. Instead you smile and ask him to call you later. You know he won’t. You know you’ll stay up all night waiting for him to.

Schmidt cramped at an anti-gang initiative.

***

Schmidt is cheating on Cece and Elizabeth. Cece found out.

If you take anything from this, know I didn’t mean to hurt you.
Is that the best you can do Schmidt?

You finally told him how you felt. How loving him has drained you empty. He hasn’t spoken to you in three days. Even after all these years, that still blindsides you. It feels like a fat man is cheating on your chest.
You’re not even worth a text back. All the years you invested in him and in the end, you still don’t deserve a text back.

Schmidt’s new tailor sews like an army medic. He is not being overdramatic when he says he’d rather sit naked on a hot grill.

Your phone chimes. It’s Airtel telling you about the 1GB data bundle for Ksh.99. Your heart plummets. Your hands are shaking. You can feel a panic attack coming.

Please just text me back, even if it’s just to let me know we’re done.
*sent*
Silence. Screeching, deafening silence.

You suspect that if you were done, he wouldn’t even have the courtesy to tell you. He’d just let you figure it out for yourself.

Schmidt wants to know in what scenario did Winston only touch one of a certain girl’s breasts.

Your phone chimes.

You and I can never be done.

It feels more like prison sentence than an assurance.

You’re not enough. Everything you did and somehow, you’re still not enough.

Schmidt’s is wondering how Winston doesn’t know if he’s made love to a woman.

***
Here’s the thing about love, you assume it’s mutually exclusive with hurt.
He can love you more than life itself but it doesn’t mean he won’t hurt you.
And the thing about heartbreak is you could be busy as fuck, minding your own business, battling your demons, when this smile like feels like home struts up to you. Before you know it, years have gone by and most of your nights are spent howling at your pillow, clutching your chest wondering why it feels like a bottomless pit of fiery hell.

I’m not a ride or die kind of girl. I refuse to gauge my loyalty by how much bullshit I let slide.

Schmidt’s first name is Winston.

 

Taking Stock .1

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It has been ages since I was here.. I know 😥

I’m just glad this space has been waiting patiently…

Thank YOU too for being here. I appreciate you!

So, I want to take stock, which is an idea I picked from TheVeon(Hey Veon! ShoutOut. Fan here 😌 ) it is my first time doing this I’m not so sure how to title this post numerically but oh well, we’ll focus more on keeping it real, aye? I found this idea really important for keeping track, every month, and also noticing the little things that matter. Let’s go;

Making more deliberate choices, only first two months of this year have gone and I’ve had to make THREE major very tough choices! One was walking away from a relationship/situationship that was tearing me apart bit by bit, day by day, until all that was going to be left of me was an angry black woman who’s out to destroy y’all. Ha-ha. Okay, I exaggerate a lil’ bit. But I’m glad for the courage  to say NO and walk away, it was not an easy choice because it was with someone I  think I felt something genuine for, deeply cared about, and would have loved being with, but not all things that look like they can work out really work out, aye? I had said this is my year of saying YES but started with shouting NOs. But you know what? In saying NO to one thing, you are actually saying YES to another. Like, saying NO to disrespect, you say YES to self respect.

Cooking so much flavored tea. Let’s say boiling so much water to make so much Kericho Gold Strawberry Flavored tea! I intend to try out new foods this year, a couple of eat-outs and some try cook my own damn self, so I’m also currently looking up recipes for easy to create meals, then will later graduate to more complex dishes with names I can’t pronounce. My cooking has been for survival for the longest time (apart from my bomb chapoz), but I’m trying to stretch myself a little bit (Oh I went and climbed a mountain to the top! See, I’m really all about stretching myself this year).

Drinking beer. To be honest, I’m in between stopping imbibing on beer to loving my strawberry tea. I don’t so much enjoy beer, I was just at a point where the 10% alcohol content on the label got my attention, and kept it. I’m moving past that.

Eating a lot into my own time planning things over and over again. Why am I trying to perfect a skill in my head? I’m talking about my YouTube. So I’m just gonna get back to it and do it. It will perfect itself along the way.

Reading The Keys by Dj Khaled. I haven’t started yet. I saw a friend share snippets of quotes from the book and got interested. He(my friend, not Khaled, but hey Khaled, would you like to  be friend too? 😌) asked I give him a good reason why he should give me the book and I thought, well, I feel stuck right now, I want a way out(not out of this life. Just this little mess). So I would really do with a book titled THE KEYS. I need these doors opened mahn. Ha. My solution could be lying inside the pages of Dj Khaled’s book. I will tell you guys all about it after I finish reading.

Wearing red undergarments(see me trying to be polite. It is red bras and panties! HA). I have been for the longest time. My favorite color is red, but then also because red undergarments are super functional. Like, they can be for anything, any occasion. Bored, just wear red, Auntie Flo came to visit, red is perfect, matches the blood. Thinking of getting stroked down low today, shave, and wear red. Perfect. See how super functional this color is? I recently got a pair of red shoes to match my red undergarmentrs on the outside, and I was all mushy about them when a male friend commented, ‘red is a flattering color’. I was like YAAAS! That’s what I’m saying (I had to mention he is male because it is generally assumed men are color blind and don’t care about colors. His favorite color could be magenta, or fuschia. I don’t know what those are).

Wanting to travel so much! And I’m glad from December last year God has granted me the opportunity to travel around Kenya a little bit. Just a little bit, but more than I have in a span of 3 months ever! We toured Homa-Bay County with family and our journey got featured in Silverstone Air’s in-flight magazine(WOOOOP!), then we went down(or up? Ha) to Soysambu Conservancy, and most recently to climb up Mount Suswa. I’m grateful. I don’t take it for granted ❤️️

Playing Simi’s music! Thank you Jesus for Simi. Bless her soul. Bless her voice. May she live long. My favorite tracks have to be Smile For Me, Gone For Good, Complete Me and Love Don’t Care.

Listening to Simi. Please do as well. Thanks.

Loving my curtains! This is so petty haha. But everytime someone comes over to my place, the first thing they say is how much they love my curtains, and where they can get some like these. I never really thought they were super good at first, I was just like, these will match the seats perfectly so… Apparently they are bomb? Fantastic! What annoys me a little about them now is I moved houses and the walls here are pink and the curtains contrasts SHARPLY against that pink so they kinda look a bit weird but I’ll  survive. I’m also not about repainting walls and wallpapering yet cz I haven’t lived in one place more than 3 months, yet. Modern day nomad. If I last here (I’m praying I do), Ill see if can redo a few things(will share why I’m always moving soon 🙂.

Dreaming of blogging consistently this year. And also doing YouTube consistently. And seeing good results!

Enjoying my friends’ and family company more. I used to be quite the loner, like, I’m fine on my own, I want to be alone type of person, but lately I’m really enjoying spending time with a few close people. Talking about things with them, sharing, eating together, laughing together, travelling together, sleeping next to each other. I find that I’m appreciating the people in my life more this year. I am not an island, I don’t want to live like one.

Needing money. Even a little of it. If you owe can you please pay back? 😜 Thanks.

Smelling rain. It’s been pouring a lot lately, and I leave my windows open so the breeze can flow in. Sometimes I smell the sand, sometimes it’s just dust, but it’s all rain at the end of the day.

Following BLAZE BYOB Tv Show. Isn’t this the best thing to happen on Kenyan TV this year yet? So informative, educative, eye-opening, challenging(like I feel those challenges in my blood and I’m not even a contestant), and the best bit is that it is for us the millennials, by us the millennials. I love it! I can totally relate with those young people going through the tests and trials to prove they are the ultimate boss!

Appreciating family and friends. Especially family. When all is said and done, they’ll be the ones left for you. Most of the time.

Understanding God’s plan for my life. I don’t know what it is exactly but I feel God is trying to speak to me. I am  paying attention.

Feeling grateful! I don’t take anything for granted.

So, this is it.

I feel so much better having put everything into perspective. I could do with this activity ever month really. We’ll see how that turns out.

 

See you in my next post, sawa? 😉

 

 

 

All I Wanted Was The Free Soda, Until My Test Came Back Positive- Phenny

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It is a cold afternoon in 2009, girls at Asumbi High are streaming slowly towards the school clinic which has now been temporarily set up as a testing center. The counselor is ready, kits neatly arranged, everything set.

Like many other girls going for the test, Phenny hasn’t thought much about the procedure, because she is not expecting any surprises. When it is her turn, the counselor asks her casually, ‘Do you have a boyfriend?’

‘No’

Her blood sample is taken, and she sits to wait for the results. Phenny is calm, with really no reason to worry about anything.

A few minutes in, her results are ready, and the test reads positive.

I did not understand how, and did not know how to react. I was just sitting there, my head suddenly blank.

‘But you said you don’t have a boyfriend?’ the counselor said.

‘No, I don’t.’

‘Nothing else was said to me after that. That was it, no counseling, no words to tell me it’s okay and here’s what you can do. Nothing. I was 16! I left for class; My mind in a haze. How was I HIV positive? When did this happen? I did not understand.

I didn’t know what to do. I needed to talk to someone. My world had suddenly become so small and dark, I was going to go crazy if I did not talk to someone. So I confided in my best friend at that time, who was very understanding and supportive at first.

A few days after disclosing my status to her, everyone in the school was whispering about me. Even teachers would pass by our class to see who this girl with HIV is.

I had suddenly shifted from being Phenny, to Phenny the Girl With HIV.

I was traumatized.’

Phenny decided to call her family about it. She talked to her big sister Viola, who also doubled up as her guardian ever since their parents died.

‘Viola came to the school and we sat down to talk. Her response and generally my family’s response was very different from my friends’ and schoolmates’. She was very calm about it. Viola told me our parents had died of the virus, and that I had very possibly been born with it.

I am the last child in a family of six, and at that time was also a virgin.’

Over the August holidays, Phenny started taking her ARVs, and though that was not the very beginning of her journey with HIV, it was different, in that now she knew her status.

‘It took me a while to adjust to this new lifestyle. My body at first refused the medication, and I would experience nausea, drowsiness and loss of appetite. Over time, my body and mind became one with this new lifestyle I had to live.

Five years after her diagnosis, Phenny met someone and got married.

‘He was HIV negative.’

Phenny explains, ‘I met a number of suitors who were interested in a relationship, but the moment I disclosed my status, they never stayed. I made it a vow to always disclose my status to someone keen on us dating, so that they make a conscious and informed decision to stay, or not.

My now ex-husband came, and stayed, even though he was HIV negative. Our relationship was made possible by the fact that I had a low viral load, which basically means the amount* of HIV detectable in my blood cells. When the viral load is low chances of infecting another person with the virus is very low, almost impossible. I would do these tests three times a year just to be sure. At first we would have protected sex, and then he felt ready for us to start having unprotected sex.’

Phenny got pregnant with their first child, Emmanuellah Faraja, and soon after, Ahadi Mor followed.

‘Things started getting rocky in our marriage when I was pregnant with our second child. My husband was cheating on me, and he later confirmed it. This was a deal breaker, as it was a door to HIV re-infection and other opportunistic infections. We split ways and I dedicated myself to taking care of our two little girls.’

Phenny currently works as an online writer, and also runs Taji Foundation, an organization geared towards raising awareness on HIV/AIDS, and working with people living with the virus, discordant couples, on how to better manage their health, and society stigma.

‘I started Taji Foundation in 2016, but launched operations in 2017 after I came out publicly about my HIV status. We have partnered with a number of organizations including NEPHAK, to ensure a wider reach.’

What can we do to support your cause, I ask.

‘It is important that people are re-educated about HIV again, in 2018. A lot has been unsaid, and unlearnt, like safe sex practices. We need to go back and start re-educating ourselves. Also just as important is stopping stigma, which plays a big role in the spread of this virus. People don’t get tested because they are afraid of what will be said, and even those who know their status and are positive are afraid to get ARVs. What will people say? We need to put an end to stigma.’

This year, Phenny Awiti clocks 10 years since she tested positive.

 

I’m Not About That Life!

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I’ll start by judging you, if you’ve ever said ‘what does it matter the choice I make? Si shit will just happen if shit’s meant to happen?’ Because that’s not the point of making choices in life. No, wait, that’s the point.

I’m already blabbering.

Here’s what this piece is about; a few days ago, I got involved in a heated debate (I hate debates, arguments, verbal contests; generally, I’d rather keep my points to myself and write them down here). Someone said she cannot date financially unstable men, coz she wanna secure her future, that she wants comfort, and stability. That she is tired of being the woman who prunes and moulds men into, you know, gentlemen/better men, only for them to end up with another woman altogether. That she now wants to be the woman who gets the already pruned, polished man, ready for consumption! I was like, YAAAAAAAS GIRL! Then the debate started.

Person 1: No! Dating a well off man does not guarantee you a happy marriage! Well off men also have issues! You should not base your choice of man on what he brings to the table in terms of wealth/money/goodies! You might think things are great where the grass looks greener but you DON’T KNOW!

Person 2: WTH! Both sides of the divide have BS! I’d rather take BS from a well off man! Yes there’s no guarantee, and I’d rather take my chances of the fat side of the divide. Too long us women have taken it upon ourselves to bring up men in the name of ‘through thick and thin’, do you think there’s a man who ever marries a woman because he sees potential in her? DO YOU THINK THAT HAPPENS? NO! They select the best product of their heart’s desire. But us women, ati oh, lemme grow him, we grow together. Those men I’ve pruned, where are they? Am I married to them? Are they not now married to other women who didn’t have to grow them up? Am I less of a woman than those women who get the finished products? MSCHEEW. I will place my bets on the fat side of the divide!

ME: First of all, guys… wait… Shhh, si you keep quiet I say my point. Ah.

I might not have said my point. Or might have but not very well because it was FIREEE in that room.

So here goes, (disclaimer, totally unrelated directly to rich and poor men); we all get opportunities to make CHOICES in our lives, but we don’t really get to choose the aftermaths of those choices. AND THAT’S OKAY.

When you make a choice to go to school, you don’t know if your education is going to help you in your future, or you are going to be begging people for handouts/opportunities the rest of your life. But you will still make the choice TO GO TO SCHOOL. The better option, nah?

When you go out for lunch, you will probably choose a clean, well maintained restaurant with good service. That does not mean the food will sit well in your stomach. Next thing you could be in a toilet, tears in your eyes, your behind so painful you wish you’d rather die. But you will still make the choice to eat there. It was the better option, yes?

When we make these choices, it is as a vote of confidence in good results we potentially foresee. We make the choice that IS BEST FOR US, AT THAT TIME.

That is why I don’t see a problem with person two saying she would rather place her bet on the fat side of the divide. Things might go well, or not. At that point, she feels the choice she is making will serve her more.

I disagree with person 1 simply for the fact that I think it’s BS to tell people not to make choices they feel are best for them simply because ‘you never know what will happen’. SO WHAT? Do YOU know what will happen, from where you stand, on the other side of the divide? NO!

None of us have that power in our hands.

Like telling me not to sleep early coz I might still wake up tired in the morning, not wanting to get out of bed for work. That could actually happen (happens all the time, hahaha) I’ll sleep a little early anyway(before 1AM), the better option for me.

Or telling me I shouldn’t bother cutting down on sugar coz I might not lose some kilos anyway. Kwenda! The better option for me, again (I haven’t lost, yet. Going strong, haha!).

We don’t know tomorrow. But we have full power, and full rights, for the choices we make today.

Whatever happens tomorrow, if you made the choice you felt was best for you today, you won’t weep.

Trust me.

With Top Emcee Warren Ligare!

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(Disclaimer: Interviewee switches to Sheng’ in some parts of the interview)

  1. You are a jack of all trades, tell us about all these amazing things you are doing

I am a journalist by profession, also a producer, director and presenter for TV and radio, screenwriter, actor, online content producer (because the future is online), video editor, event emcee and a Manchester United fan.

  1. You are quite an original, having conceptualized a number of ideas and brought them to life. One of them is Warren TV. Tell us about it.

Warren TV ni space yangu ya kujiexpress. Niliianza coz for now content yangu maybe haitaget airplay kwa mainstream TV na I want to get my ideas out there. So I created the channel on YouTube then nikaanza kuproduce content. So far we have three programs up and running; TALENTED, YUT ZONE and THE 254 SHOW.  More content coming up.

“content yangu maybe haitaget airplay kwa mainstream TV na I want to get my ideas out there. So I created the channel on YouTube”

  1. You had a not-so-short stint at MMUST FM as a radio presenter, where again, you conceptualized an amazing radio show, The Hangout. How did this new venture come to you?

I joined MMUST FM in 2013, in my first year of college. I started off by hosting a reggae show with K-Wan, then over time I wanted to focus on more Kenyan music. I talked to my bosses at the studio over a possibility of switching to a more Kenyan show, and The Hangout was born.

  1. Na sasa uko KTN, opportunities just seem to follow you!🙂 What is the secret?

Acha niseme Grace ya God ni sufficient sana. God ndio secret ya success. Hapo KTN niko show fulani ya investigative journalism inaitwa Top Story sn2, as a contestant representing Masinde Muliro University. Top Story ni program ya Africa On Air na ni competition amongst 20 public universities from across Kenya. Check it out every Thursday at 7:30pm on KTN Home.

  1. Do you think youths in 2017 are now better placed to pursue and achieve their dreams?

I think we are better placed coz we have the freedom to experiment with anything. Bora tu you believe in your craft.

  1. What are some of the struggles you’ve had to deal with in your journey?

The struggle has been real I must confess, kwanza kuna challenge ya kuget wasee kubelieve kwa kitu unadu juu wasee wanadai sana story za majina biggy biggy kwa industry. Alafu pia kuna struggle ya finance, unaneed cheda wewe kama creative, like when am shooting episodes for Warren TV nahitaji cash to hire a quality camera to get the work done. Ni challenge kiasi keeping in mind am still unemployed.

“challenge ya kuget wasee kubelieve kwa kitu unadu juu wasee wanadai sana story za majina biggy biggy kwa industry”

  1. You were nominated for the KTCA Best Radio/TV Host 2017, how did you receive this news?

To be honest I never expected to be nominated juu in my mind I thought iyo award ni vako ya jeshi ya kisumu tu, so getting nominated I was excited coz it means somebody has recognized the hustle.

  1. How can we vote for you?

You log onto www.vipajikenya.com them you scroll down hadi category ya KTCA Best Radio/Tv host where you will get my name WARREN LIGARE. Vote and don’t forget to share.

VOTE

  1. Who do you look up to in the industry?

I used to look upto Mzazi Willy M. Tuva coz manze this ninja managed to connect East Africa through radio and music. He is a true manifestation of how powerful the entertainment industry is. Currently, I look up to myself coz I can only become a better version of myself.

  1. Parting shot?

To my beautiful country Kenya, ‘tibim’, ‘tialala’ na ‘wembe ni ule ule’ ni slogans tu but Peace ni fom fiti kuruka.

Of Marriage, And Why She Thinks It’s Not For Me

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Today, I remember that time a woman shouted at me, saying, “With that mouth, you will never get married!”
Let me tell you how we got there with her;
My ex-boyfriend had suggested we drive down to his shagz, he’d just gotten a new ride and was excited to show it off to the family, or something along those lines. So we drove down to Kamba-land. On our way back, the car couldn’t survive the rocky terrain, and broke down. It was around 11AM in the morning. We had to call for help, and a friend sent a lorry(LOL!) to come pull us to Wote town, where we were to find a mechanic.

We waited for a mechanic for hours. I was hungry, and nothing had been done on the car yet. It was a Sunday, and apparently most people in that town close business? We waited, and waited some more. Until a man with a classic 80s car of a model/make I can’t remember (yeah, now you know I didn’t really know cars then, but imagine I’ve improved!) offered to tow us(tow is the right word? Like a tow truck?) to the next town to see if we’d get a mechanic. By this time we’d spent almost all the money we had on us, paying the lorry, and now paying this guy, and still the costs for repairs were estimated to be slightly over 10k, cz a car doctor had diagnosed there’s something we needed to replace in the car. Money we didn’t have, really.

So the classic man takes us to the next town (I think it was Makueni town itself) and luckily we get mechanics who are still at work. They diagnose the same thing. Problem comes in when they say the part that needs to be replaced can only be found in Nairobi. The owner of the garage is in Nairobi but will be traveling to the town in a few hours, so if we can wait, they’ll be able to sort us out. It’s 6.30PM!

We looked for the nearest fast food joint and grabbed something. Then slept in the car doing the long wait. We were actually mentally prepared to spend the night in the car, only for one of the mechanics to tell us it’s not safe. That we should get a hotel for the night, they’ll take care of the car. We didn’t even have extra money for paying hotel accommodation, LOL, that car was taking everything! (And to think that I’d said no to buying a car when we are not ready! I really wanted to give ex-bae a piece of my mind that night but I could see he was depressed enough).

So we got a cheap lodging, with dusty bed sheets and cold shower and those cheap, dusty toilet papers that come in different colors. SIGH. It was so bad but I was so tired and just wanted to rest. And here’s where the loud woman comes in.

The morning after, ex-bae woke up very early to go check on his car. I slept a little more, like 30 minutes more, then woke up to prepare. This woman I don’t know, but who apparently comes every morning to clean the rooms, asks me RUDELY to vacate the room. My craziness alarm goes off, but I ignore her. I wanna be a good person cz we in a town I don’t know and we having problems. She is with other women now, I’m in the room dressing, the she says, ‘were toka nje nifanye kazi yangu! Si umeshalipwa!’

It dawns on me. This woman thinks I’m a prostitute and wasting her time to clean up after me. But even if I was, why would you talk to me like that? Who are you, woman?

Mahn I was down for this war. Ex-bae had to be called to take his girlfriend away. If that is what that town wants to remember me for, then let it be, because that’s bullshit. You don’t even know me, why you start hating and attacking me? Imma drag you down the streets by your hair, woman.

I felt bad afterwards, really bad actually. Cz I don’t like wars! Why can’t we just be peaceful and respect each other? Why can’t we be polite, even if you think the other person is doing a job you totally abhor? Like so what if she’s a prostitute, is your dudu missing and she might have took it? Don’t you think as a parent, a sibling, a people we might be playing a big role in people ending up how they are?

Anyway, the woman said what she said.

I’m getting married soon. Whether she likes it or not. I just haven’t found the ONE 🙂

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