Posted in adventures, nature, tourism, Travel

Enkong’u emuny Hills

Hip hip hurray…the month comes to a closure today and i kicked it off by hiking at the Ngong Hills on Saturday. With the right gear, drinks, snacks and company on check we took a bus number 111 at Nairobi Railways where we paid fifty shillings to Ngong town. On arrival at Ngong we had to border motorbikes that charge 100 per person but since we were many we each had to each part away with 70 shillings ( the power of bargaining) to the Ngong hills entrance gate. At the entrance gate charges were 200 per head for adults, 50 shillings for children and 600 for foreigners.The good thing about been in Peace Ambassadors Kenya and having policemen and women in our midst is that we had to only pay 50 shillings each. (Lucky us). Security guards escort individuals throughout the hiking at an extra fee of 1,500 but for us we didn’t want one and we were not told to hire one.

The first thing that welcomes one here are big windmills used to generate power and they give a cooling effect in this hot region. The Maasai community live here and this was proven by the number of goats, cows roaming about in the bushes with the escort of dogs and young Maasai boys. One would tell they were not lost as a bell tied across the leading animal would guide the rest in search of greener pastures.  More so, the friendly pastoralists would sell sweets, water, beaded Maasai chokers that ranged from 600-900, Maasai bangles at 200 each, Kenyan key-holders at 200 each, beaded necklaces just to mention but a few to showcase their culture.

The Ngong hills has 7 hills each different from the other as others were rocky, steep, sharp and bushy. First climb involves a view about the community, radio repeater station masts and it is one hilly, dusty, rocky path till you come across a Kenya Forest Service barrier. It is here that we though we had finished the first hill but that according to a guard was a warm up. He pointed to a hill 30 min walk as the first (we thought we were 1 down, 6 to go). My bad. The journey to the 7th hill was the most risky as buffaloes thronged the area but we didn’t see even one which made me ask if indeed it was true or false. Beautiful landscapes, terrain, trees, thorny bushes, getting a glimpse of Nairobi, Kiserian and Rongai made the hiking more memorable with strong winds hindering our walk as we approached our finishing point. It all started at Ngong at around 1 (African timers while we had planned to start at 10) and in 4 hours we had completed our hiking at Kona Baridi  where wind strong enough to carry you and cold enough to make you get pneumonia turned us into pale beings. As they say the higher you go the cooler it becomes and we were at 8070 feet above sea level.

Going back was not our cup of tea and from the top hill we could see our route to border a matatu. Downhill  it was and in about 45-60min we were at Kona Baridi where after 30 minutes of shaking a matatu made its way and paid 50 shillings to Kiserian.   Here we had to take another matatu to Rongai and from there another to the city.

Did i tell you i was the first lady to finish all 7!! Now you know.

What to carry:

  • Lots and lots of water
  • sunglasses
  • hat
  • snacks
  • energy boost drinks
  • binoculars
  • camera/fully charged phone (mind you the network keeps on disappearing inside the bushes)
  • money to buy Maasai items

What to wear:

  • hiking shoes/ good comfy shoes for climbing. No heels
  • light clothing and no skirts or tight trousers due to friction
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see the beautiful landscape
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a jump for the finish
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buddies and club members
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hill 1 behind me
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me and what i wore
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rocky hill
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with my brother
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with my bff see as we cooled down ready for hill 1
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the windmills once you get in

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in #life, community, development, personalgrowth, photography

Voice of a Volunteer

My  life has seen me volunteer in organizations especially those that cater for the vulnerable. It is not about the money since most never come with a pay cheque and those that do am glad i got to see my first volunteer pay day. I think it is in my bloodstream not really a hobby but passion. It is in this platforms that i have interacted with people from all walks including foreigners who turn their holidays into helping communities in different arenas. From them i got to hear tales about their nations, got to learn a language or two, got the opportunity to take them to see our beautiful country and i longed for longer stays with them. However, this are always cut off as they go back never to return.

I have met children who have been rescued from the snaring eyes of beasts who kill them for their body parts; talking of albinos. Only the skin color makes them different from the normal you. I have met week old babies who are left abandoned by their mothers in hospitals or thrown away in garbage pits to the mercies of nature to take care of them. In my walk i have gone to police stations and interacted with corporals, gone to chief camps all in the name of case follow ups. I have seen sorrowful faces brighten for example, some children in a rehabilitation center had a court hearing for them to be granted as beneficiaries of the institution when after vigorous follow ups there was no trace of their families. In another case a crying grandmother was seeking for justice when her daughter had decided to leave her children to her while all she did was prostitution, giving birth and coming home to abandon them. She needed her daughter to carry her cross and be a responsible woman. The old lady gave me fifty shillings and after i refused she really begged and insisted i take it as a thank you.

I have met children who can neither see, hear, speak nor talk. All in one combination.I know you asking how they survive but God always has His plans. There was one in particular i took to a special institution. That was one tough journey boarding buses in the city, carrying him on my back and of course carrying extra clothes to change him as he was so hyper and stubborn at the same time. At times he refused to walk, whined on the road and everyone was looking at me with the ” what is wrong with you and do something” look. I remember i almost cried. Luckily he got to be admitted to a special school and i was there to witness his first day in school.

Sign language was one thing that made me even happier. I met a boy who used sign language in the entire organization and i think he found it hard to communicate to other children with no one to understand him. So everyday i was free i would call him with a pen and paper in hand write the simple things i needed him to teach me. Then in a bubbly face he was my teacher and mind you everyday i arrived at the organization’s gate he would run and we would start our sign talk of good morning, how are you and i was so impressed at how a quick learner i was.

Disability is not inability and in one institution me and my club members dedicated our Saturdays to it. In wheelchairs, walking sticks they did their chores so well that i just sat back and marveled at how they did. The only tough part was shower time and this is where we came in handy. Having divided ourselves the boys went with the men and girls with the ladies to their respective dormitories. In the bathrooms we had to change them, wash them, carry them, lotion them and change into clean clothes. For others that was the day to undo their shaggy hair and plait them. Every Saturday they eagerly waited for us and some even pointed out that they wanted so and so to wash them. It is in this platform i met kids with cerebral palsy and other abnormalities in a special unit. Some could not be classified as children due to their age. The only challenges in such scenarios is getting adult pampers which are expensive, parents abandoning their loved ones for fear of stigmatization and getting proper care for those with cerebral palsy.

Currently am dealing with normal children who behind their normality are faced with so many abnormalities in the society. Taking one step at a time i am becoming the change agent that i always wanted to be. I now can afford taking my parents for lunch or siblings for an outing. Now am one independent lady all thanks to volunteership.

Let me not bore you with my volunteer experiences but challenge you up to the task. I have heard youths say they can’t volunteer. It is a waste of time and resources. What do i gain from that you ask? Some even before volunteering ask if there is money to it and if there is no they walk away. What you do not know is this is the platform you learn to exercise whatever skills you have to young ones. This is the only place you  get links from, learn from others, build your confidence, make a change and makes you to be thankful at all times and not be a nagging fool. This is the only place that will make you go up the ladder in that job hunt. Which organization wants a person who has gained nothing apart from their educational certificates? None trust me.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/volunteer/

Go out there and be useful. Now let me share some pics i have ever since i started volunteering in various organizations.

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during the global handwashing day 2016
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service to the disabled
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community service at a blind school
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during a chapati forum cooking for the elderly and street families
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rescued babies from wks old -6months

 

 

 

 

Posted in #life, book review, inspiration, my library, personalgrowth, reading

Finding Me: A Decade of Darkness, a Life Reclaimed

PS: This book is not for the emotional people because you might cry in between the pages and might lack the courage to read it. People write about how they rose from ashes to riches in their lives but no one ever speaks of that dark moment that grabbed you your life and somehow you have to live with it each constant day.

….. So when i started reading it Michelle kept me glued to each page wanting to find out more of what happened next. I felt like going into the pages and beat the crap out of the Castro.   Poverty defined her from the environment she lived in, the clothes she wore and no one ever wanted to be associated with her. At 5yrs she was repeatedly raped by a family member, became pregnant when she was of age giving birth to a bouncing baby boy, Joey. She needed to find a job and left the child in the able hands of her mother but one day her drunk mother’s boyfriend fractured the boy’s knee making her lose him to foster care under “not in a safe environment rule.”

Little did she know that her journey to fight for her son at 21 years was where her darkness would begin. She was running late for court as she did not know the direction to it and her pal’s father offered to drive her there but instead drove to his house where he raped her and made her his prisoner. The psycho made her do things that only monsters do. She was chained like a dog into a dungeon in the basement of the house, never showered, only ate McDonald’s junk, was raped each day and seasons came and went while she was in that pit hole. The most painful thing was no one ever looked for her whereabouts and this was made clear to her by her abductor.

One year later, she had her first bath was taken out of the dungeon into the upper floor of the house where she could see the sun rays penetrating into the windows but that was blocked when every inch of her room was added more card-boards so as not to attract attention. For the first time she was given a radio where she felt at ease that despite her mishaps she would reconnect with the outside world. She also had a dog Lobo that was killed when it prevented him from assaulting her. Seasons came and went, she missed her son but only the cold engulfed her as she stayed naked with no garments to warm her up. The beast would bring people to the house like his band or family members but no one ever noticed something was a miss with the so many padlocks locking doors to several rooms in the house.

Two more girls were abducted and brought to the house and each had their hell share. The funny thing was that the 3 of them were his daughter’s friends and he kidnapped them at the same place where he pretended to ask for directions. The story was the same as Michelle became pregnant severally and the demon would ensure he beat her up till she bled to lose the child. She was the most hated by him, always beaten unlike others, and although they had their notebooks to write and draw their minds out, it seemed they were here to stay.

Michelle longed for God’s miracles and it is depicted in the book but it seemed His response wasn’t coming soon. Amanda, one of the girls became pregnant but unlike her, she was allowed to keep the baby. This somehow lightened things in the house as the baby brought more joy and some freedom. As Jocelyn grew, the devil ensured he  wouldn’t chain them so she was not affected, they had to change their names to avoid identification and she was taken out most of the times. From the dungeon, cubbyhole, pink room, white room, backyard and van, hard labor was another thing he loved to make them do in the backyard.

How did it all end? Relax…Amanda decided to take it upon herself to save them when she screamed her voice out when Castro was not in and a concerned neighbour helped her. She was able to call the police and that was how their eleven years of darkness came to an end. Michelle was the most affected and this made her stay in hospital for longer. She was able to testify and on 937 accounts, Castor was sentenced for a lifetime but a month into his term he committed suicide. With the help of a facility and counseling she was able to pick up her pieces but it was not easy. She lost her son since the 11 years made him forget her and he had a new family which she did not want to ruin for him. She however could not bring any other child into this world as that was taken away by the devil himself.

This is one heartbreaking book and to imagine how one can kidnap you for 11 years and no one ever minds about your disappearance is an eye opener to our societies. If you think you can handle torture in a book and imagine that is not any fiction but the story of one lady who is finding her way into life after the ordeal, go ahead and grab a copy and you will learn a thing or two about how one picks themselves up from such trauma.

“Every time i see a butterfly, it reminds me of how precious life can truly be. To be able to turn from a caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly and fly away so freely and gracefully wherever she may please, without no one in the world to tell her what to do. I wait for that special moment in time when I get to live freely, without no worries, pain or tears. I just want to be happy. I want the laughter in the air without all of the pain. One special day I’ll get to live my life just like that beautiful butterfly. I will no longer feel blue inside.”

Posted in advocacy, challenge, community, development, family, gender

The Forgotten Sheep

Today marks the International Day of the Girl Child with the theme “Girls’ Progress = Goals’ Progress: A Global Girl Data Movement.” Over the years this female gender has been cried for, supported, empowered and now she is running the world shoulder’s high. From child marriages, rape, slavery, domestic violence, female genital mutilation and other cultural vices that has diminished her worth, she now can boldly say NO. She knows her rights, she knows she can get support from every corner and dare you mess around with her hell becomes your new home. In policies been implemented she is everywhere to the recent Sustainable Development Goals: No.5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Advocacy on her has been beefed up and truth is she has been the most vulnerable but now tables are turning to the boy child.

Who is fighting for them? Where is their advocacy? Are we really achieving gender equality? As am writing this am chatting with my workmate and i alert him that  there is need for boy child advocacy but he tells me that the boy child is strong, they don’t need all this happenings in their world and i’m like “excuse me?” Back to where i was….Yes the male gender needs someone to voice out their concerns too with this big local and  international bodies. He is prone to rape, he has been dropping out of school at an alarming rate and look around you, who are the most uneducated in your area? In some cultures education has been robbed off so that he can look after cattle and practice pastoralism. In the fight against crime he has been at the forefront carrying firearms, been radicalized into gangs and look even at child military in countries like Liberia, DRC just to mention but a few where the boy child terrorizes his own nation.

Drugs and alcohol abuse has infected him and as we empower our girls, look at the boy to marry her tomorrow all addicted to substances. Then who shall we blame? At homes domestic violence has seen him run away into the streets and those who stay put become affected psychologically which hinders their inability when they grow up. In schools bullying has become the norm and we have witnessed death cases as a result of it. He has not been left out in child labor where poverty has modified him to early hustles and bustles to meet his family needs denying him of his childhood rights.

He is the most sensitive to deal with. He is the father and leader of tomorrow but who is there to let him know that he is indeed remembered? As we mark our calendars to this occassions i hope my son shall not ask me “mummy why is it it is women and girls we remember on calendars. When am i remembered?” How shall i respond?

Let us not neglect the boy child.

 

Posted in climate change, conservation, environment, humour, nature, writing

Talking Tree

Centuries ago in the BC God created my ancestors. I cannot recall from which of them I was named after but from the look of things they must have been beautifully created. Am only a year old, no relatives within my vicinity and the friends I have make me feel at home. For instances birds have made me their shelter as they build nests all over me but their sweet chirping entertains me every morning. Snakes too sleuth their lazy bodies on my skin where I watch in horror as they swallow what stands against them and the way they dangle from my branches makes one think it’s a swing. I have provided shade to plants, animals and even mean human beings. More so, when heavy floods come I have held tight to the soil fraternity who have provided a ground to my firmness.

However, am not happy. The rain is not watering me anymore and my roots are drying up not forgetting the slaying leaves shaped in different sizes have started falling off in brown and yellow colors. Am so thirsty that I cannot hold it anymore neither can I attract more rainfall reasons been all my neighbours have been cut off by goons who do not deserve to be called men. The scorching sun has made my skin so rough that no amount of gum ointment can smooth it. This branches you see are my fourth babies. I grow very fast if I must confess and once a while am always chopped off for firewood and to shorten my broad shoulders (if I may call them that way).

Back then it was so peaceful, so fun as everyone surrounded us, listened in to conversations I never fathomed but been able to provide fruits to all was so satisfying. Out of the blues I woke up to a sound of a saw and axe wiping off my entire friends. Within minutes their bodies were sawed through and as I swayed left and right to the pain I was next. However, I had them argue that I was not fully mature to the size that would produce enough timber. Fyuks I survived but been a lone ranger consumed my latter days.

Stretching my trunk I could see the likes of me far away and wished I could move to where they were for company but my rooted roots failed me. I have been patiently waiting for my death. The other day a bunch of children passed by and they were arguing on how to conserve the environment. They surveyed where my friends took their last breath and decided that they would plant more trees. One of them mentioned that there has been numerous campaigns to stop hungry men from finishing us and so as to combat climate change. The thought of that has made me dance whenever my buddy wind passes by.

I’ve lost many of my generations, many of my friends and I do not want to be on the waiting list. Before I rest my case, students from various institutions are always making trips to see us and they are always naming each of us. The only thing I remember is species but which one? Do not ask me. So for now just call me TREE.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/tree/