Tears know no boundaries
Tears know no boundaries

Tears speak of more than sadness,

Tears speak of passion,

Tears speak of gratefulness,

Tears speak of joy,

But tears also speak of pain.

I shed a tear,

Blissful that people care,

Humanity is alive and well,

Outstretched arms,

All willing to lend a hand.

I shed a tear for the past,

The people that fought for justice,

Only for the just to manipulate justice,

To justify taking a life,

In the name of protecting justice.

I shed a tear for freedom,

Freedom of speech,

Freedom to enjoy peace,

Freedom of information,

Why did freedom have to die so young?

I shed tear for compassion,

One hand with a flower,

The other with a machete,

Why hide your intentions?

Do you want to help or look helpful?

I shed a tear of joy,

Joyful that the kids are happy,

Happy to grow,

And show the love they were shown,

I’m happy to be alive.

The Nairobi Elegance Affair Story

The playground
The playground

Over a span of two years, I have shifted from a party animal to a domestic one. I still like to have a good time and see the clamour for freedom from different chest appendices but I lost the zeal I once had. Nowadays I can only go out once a week and be rest assured I shall not make many movements throughout the night. Most of it will be restricted to eye-feet coordination just in case I spot someone I know or should know.

So last week I got a random message from a friend I’d never thought I’d hear from. Unlike most friends who pop up after millenniums and ask for a favour, this specific one didn’t have the old friend syndrome. Instead, she had tickets for me to attend an event. To be honest, I’m not interested in events. Why? Simple. More than half of the attendees barely know the mechanics of a given event. I’m no different and for this particular event, I was more than clueless.

People go to events to show off new shoes, tattoos, clothes, butt cracks, thighs and cleavages. How do I know yet I don’t go to events? I know people who would kill for an event. After careful deliberation with myself and stars aligning themselves I decided not to let Charlotte down. I went for the event. Being a novice, I had to get back up to accompany me which was afforded to me by the aforementioned lady in the form of four complimentary tickets.

The event was at the Railways Museum and this was a bitter sweet moment for me because I share a deep history with the Railway Company. Well, not really, my grandfather does but you get the point, loyalty and all. This was my first time to access this historic site and tears gracefully rolled down my cheeks as I walked through the gate. I couldn’t tell if it was nostalgia, the hideous make up the ushers had put on or the tightness of the tag on my wrist.

Let me just say, from here on I won’t tell you much about the actual event because I found another event within the event. The first thing I saw when I approached the main event arena (it wasn’t an arena but as always, you get the point) was thighs. I’m a Nairobian, I’ve probably seen more thighs than a stand up gyno (Shout out to all the gynos doing their job right). All my eyes see are thighs. Thighs here, thighs there and thighs so far away we had to call it Thailand.

These thighs were not the normal thighs. I saw dark thighs. Like Lupita dark but a bit more fleshy and equally shiny. There were caramel thighs, not too light and nothing close to dark. I even saw milk thighs and had to confirm if she had stockings on because I could swear her legs were so white I got high just from looking at them.

Before my guests and I could settle down for a drink, I had said a few hi’s to some not so high profile guests. Then came Charlotte http://bit.ly/1LqmVNw and I’m probably the only person will the guts to say that she wasn’t showcasing anything on the runway (yeah, it was a fashion event, whatever) but she was a star attraction. There’s an onion booty, which makes people tear in amazement. This, this is the careless sleeper booty. You won’t even have the time to cry because you’ll be drooling.

Out of respect, I’ll stop at she had the best booty around (See how I played with booty and around? Nairobi’s next rapper). Unfortunately, there was two of us guys and a lady so we couldn’t thirst freely but we still managed to sneak in a few ooohhs and aaahhhhs. After around an hour or so I noticed all the models walked funny. Is it a thing for models to walk with slouched backs and throw their feet at the ground like they’re dipping it into a basin of hot water? That’s beside the point, ok except for this one designer that had a black top and no bra. I was against the Free The Boob Movement but after seeing how well her melons hang from her top, ladies, you can wear them as you wish.

As the evening progressed, the more people I knew started showing up. Some I expected like Cindy and Kimberly of StyleBuds, http://www.stylebuds.co.ke/ but others, not even if the event was dishing out free genitalia (female of course) did I expect to see there. I said I wasn’t going to say much about the event but my conscience won’t allow me to just talk about beautiful bums, chests and weird make-dos.

There were plenty of designers who brought out their models to strut out their stuff on the red carpet which looked purple from the strobe light’s reflection. One thing is for sure, I am no fashion guru, icon or emoji. I can’t tell a crop top from a rugged t-shirt. They’ve all been cropped in my eyes. What I’m going to write from here is purely from an observer’s standpoint.

Fashion is all about creativity and bar some Kanye inspired brothers, most of the work was either something I’d seen before or someone tried to peddle on my timeline. I know Ankara or Kitenge (I don’t know the difference) has taken the fashion industry by storm without a valid cause. As most designers do, the creators of these fashions simply saw CTRL+X, CTRL+V and CTRL+P.

I’m a proponent of trying to think in an open space and for the better part I felt only one or two designers took the risk of bringing something new and letting it speak for itself. I don’t think anyone other than the Kardashians, Kanye and Tyga will wear any of the rags Yeezy showcased but he still went all out and expressed a style we’ve seen on the streets but never paid much attention to.

The designers at the Nairobi Elegance Affair however, were more focused on whether the attires were marketbale or not. And the answer is most of them aren’t. You saw the human back packs at the New York Fashion Week. Nobody will buy a human back pack but a designer still got mad props for putting up such a bold statement on the runway.

All in all the vent was very well planned with stalls, a food and beverage stand, people with cameras asking me if I’m a Nikonite or Canonite (I’m neither, I just look good), models in all shapes and sizes and Charlotte. Ok, speaking of models and shapes and sizes, I really don’t care whether a lady is 80Kgs or 79.5Kgs but why are people starving models? I’ll stop at that let you know that if you see me in any fashion magazine, Ebony especially, don’t be surprised.

I have made my debut in the fashion world and the ladies went crazy just from hearing my voice. I booed a few models because they represented different fashion houses (I’m hood, we advocate for loyalty). My conclusion? Fashion events are my kind of gigs from now on. I’m not going for any event that doesn’t meet the threshold of 1:3. I have not been paid to do this either and I feel as if I should have at least been given two complimentary models for my loyalty to the show.

That’s all for today kids. Randy Orton out of nowhere! I’m done now.

What Next After School?

Where does your education lead you?
Where does your education lead you?

Life after school

“And with the powers vested in me, I charge you all with the power to read!” I walked out of that graduation square feeling like Drake after Back to Back. I had just completed my undergraduate studies and I had been let lose. At that point, I hadn’t paid attention to what the Chancellor had said. All I could think of was, “I’m not taking anything less than $1,000 a month.” I live in Africa, so that’s more than enough for a young graduate in Nairobi.

The first week went by and I was still reeling from the massive hangover of celebrating my ‘great achievement’. What was there to worry about? I had graduated with a 3.5 GPA and nobody would look down upon such brilliance. I mean, I was practically the icing on the cake and nobody likes cake without icing. I had sent out my CV to more than 5 major agencies and they all responded with the same line using different words, “We’re looking for a 70 year old, in a 22 year old’s body, with the enthusiasm of a 16 year old.”

The first month went by and I was getting a little bit bored. I had gone for one or two interviews and I think the connection in the country was bit poor because none of the companies ever called me back. That’s when it hit me. The Chancellor hadn’t given me the power to work, she instead handed me the power to read. If I only I knew, I’d have asked for better.

The science of the system

The education system barely prepares learners for the vicious world that awaits them once they hand in their school IDs. There’s very little in the Kenyan education system from early childhood to university that prepares students for careers. In primary school, you’re taught to get good grades or get whipped. Yeah, corporal punishment existed when I went to school and there was noting we could do about it.

Once you get good grades and win internal awards in school you’re set aside as the crème of the crop. The students that have talents in arts and sports are deemed as lazy and only interested in trivial issues. This cycle doesn’t stop at that level, it escalates to high school. In high school the teachers let you know that if you get anything less than a B you’re doomed to fail in life. Why would you soil something you’re expected to build?

Those interested in sports get a better reception but for most, it ends in their last year when no talent scout is interested in someone who doesn’t want to pay to make it to the top leagues in the country or region. The few lucky ones have connections with one or two rugby teams and join their reserves before making their way into the first team squads.

The bulk of junior stars that failed to make it venture into other activities, education, entertainment, crime or drugs depending on how much talent and resources are at your disposal. Does the education system do enough? The tests certainly come in droves. If tests would determine success, I’d be damned if Kenyan students weren’t the most successful professionals. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

The education system isn’t geared towards building professionals but rather churning out record seekers. “I was a Valedictorian.” It would have been worthwhile if the market valued the top achievers as much as learning institutions. But what happens to the average performers? Where do the students who are more creative than analytical go to?

Most of the creative students, including me, didn’t get the exposure we craved for in high school. I was good at Math but I knew I’d never have to use it at any point in my life professionally. I was already angling my skills towards art. The only challenge was that very few tutors saw art as a credible career path. The majority of them would push people towards law, medicine, actuarial science, engineering and not even pausing for a moment to think future learners need future instructors.

Who holds the stick?

Whose role is it to mentor the youth into the right professions? The government? Parents? The society? The list is endless but I believe it’s a collective responsibility. When billionaires proudly proclaim that they dropped out of college and still became successful, are they helping an already ailing industry? When employers ask for a Masters Degree for an entry level position, who’s supposed to pay the course for that student on scholarship?

What would I do differently? I’d introduce psychologists to the school system. You’re probably wondering; why would this psycho want to psycho-analyze my kid? Well, if you can determine your kid’s talents and affinities at a tender age, you’d be more likely to help them pursue their passion. Or, you could just sit back and let BET, MTV, E and other great sources of information guide their career paths.

Look at some of the people who do astounding jobs across the globe; it’s usually as a result of passion. To them their job is not an obligation but rather a lifestyle. They’ve managed to incorporate their lives into their jobs and unlike most of us, actually look forward to going to work. Do I love my job? I don’t think we’re discussing my professional life here but yes, I love my job.

What’s your role?

Guiding young people into the right career paths is a collective responsibility. My mother wanted me to become a lawyer. I probably would be making more money right now and driving one of those luxury SUVs that can drive under water but I chose otherwise. I still think I would’ve been one boss of a lawyer, but I’d rather sit under a tree in the afternoon after my bike ride and write love poems.

What can parents do? The saddest truth is that parents are the least involved parties when it comes to their children choosing relevant career paths. Doctors want to raise mini doctors while lawyers want to nab the criminal intent in their kids from their nascent stages. It’s wonderful that we see footballers nurturing their kids to full blown professionals but at what cost?

We have lawyers in the profession who have no clue about the essence of justice. We have doctors being sued left right and mostly centre for malpractice. We have security personnel at the heart of the drug trade. We have legislators outlawing prostitution but still getting caught in the red light district. If this doesn’t signal people in the wrong profession, I don’t know what does.

Parents need to understand that you aren’t in the best profession but the best profession for you. Your kids need to find what works for them and what they love doing. Circumstances in some systems like the Kenyan one for example may limit these options. However, you can always do what you love on the side.

How do you go about finding your ‘love’?

Some of you are probably asking; how do I know what I love? Well, the answer is there’s no science to it. You just need to do something that you look forward to every morning. Sleeping till noon and smoking a joint doesn’t fall into this category unless you live in Colorado or Uruguay and now Oregon. This is the case of many ways to skin the cat. Most young people look up to celebrities. Search for some of today’s stars and see how long it took them to make it to stardom. Some made it in their 20s while others were big since their teenage days.

The biggest dilemma comes when you have to choose between money and passion. The system doesn’t offer much when it comes to choosing between the two. I have no degree or professional training on career advising but there’s been enough life in my years to know what works and what doesn’t. You may not start with what you love but you can build your way into it. It’s hard if what you love is engineering or medicine but even that you can do with time and determination.

I don’t know what I wrote, but it makes sense

What I’m basically saying is that the education system in Kenya doesn’t do much in equipping learners with the necessary skills they need. Talent and wits alone aren’t enough to drive an entire economy. People need to learn and progress from one level to another.

If I was an education policy maker, kids would not do exams until they were 12, because the aim of education isn’t to weed out the dumb ones from the sharp ones. Education should empower and passing exams only empowers invigilators and exam markers financially. We ain’t about that life.

If the government won’t do anything then maybe you just need to try and find something you love and work towards it. The government’s poison is frying its citizens’ meat so you’ll have to tighten your belt or straight jeans and pursue your dream.