The Kenyan Nomad

The Kenyan Nomad

Monday, May 27, 2013

Ach mein Gott! It's Monday!

Yes folks, it's Monday again. That day that everyone wakes up to and inevitably groans at.
To add to the misery swirling about, today's Monday is drearier than the rest. It's the last Monday after the month (cue people extremely tired after end month celebrations), rain clouds are looming in the sky, it's cold and the mood of the day is miserable. Sigh. Work again, for everyone. Driving through the streets of Nairobi, you can see drivers and passengers alike with identical looks of Monday blues bordering on apathy toward anything and everything. The emotion that accompanies road rage seems not to have set in yet, and may not until later. Manual labourers are hard at work, but with the same look on their face. It's as though Nairobi got bitten by a bug late last night that seems to have afflicted all of us with a get-me-out-of-here mentality.
This is not an extraordinary occurrence though. It happens every Monday morning, and to some degree, everyday. What do I blame it on?

The Rat Race. (For those of you who haven't, I recommend reading Rich Dad Poor Dad. It's a great resource!

For those who have never heard of this before, the 'Rat Race' is what we all live through. Go to college, get a 'good' job. Work forever. For what? We work to earn money to afford houses that we spend most of our time away from. We toil for weeks in order to enjoy a meager 21 days of freedom. We work hard so that we can spend quality time with friends and family; yet are to tired or busy to do so when need be. Yes, this is almost a cliched topic. Yes, there are people who have escaped this.

However, until most of us can get out of this, the conversation needs to be had, and had again.
What connects dreary Mondays to the Rat Race? The simple fact that if all of us loved our jobs, despite traffic, we would be happy to get there.
Goodness, can we just pause for a moment and imagine a world in which society was actually happy at work?

We've been born into a culture that encourages to play it safe. Finding a tried-and-tested job, even if it's not exactly what suits us, is what we do. People have different skills and talents that may sometimes lie outside the traditional job market. However, instead of exploring and pursuing passions, we stick to the status quo. God forbid we actually fall in love with what we do, right? Even those lucky few who are able to do what they want do not fully escape this. Once they start off, many fall prey to the same problems of routine and safety, an inability to stretch outside our world.

This has been something I've been thinking about a lot, of course. As a young professional a year away from graduation, this is the time to figure out 'what I want to do with my life' (or so I've been told). I'm sorely tempted to take everyone's advice, and stick to what we know. What's been done. What's 'safe'.
However, the thought of that is so terrifying that there may be hope for me yet.
Have a great Monday everyone, and try to work your job like it's your dream job!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Zach Sobiech

For those of you who haven't seen this yet, please do

Why are You Smiling?

It's kind of an odd question. I mean really. If someone were to walk up to you and ask why you're smiling, you'd be kind of confused.

But think about the question, and you'll realise it's actually a very important one to ask.

The first time I heard this question was from someone who graduated from Sewanee this May. He was talking to a group of prospective students, and was asking them this question very much so in a Sewanee context. He urged them to evaluate the different reasons that people at Sewanee smile, and by thus doing, to realise that Sewanee is very much a place that makes people smile.

While I would love to go off into a rant of how wonderful Sewanee is, (which I can do anytime. I mean seriously, I love Sewanee. And I'd be more than happy to explain why. Anytime) I think that's better saved for another day. Let's take this question out of the Sewanee context shall we?

Why are you smiling? What it is that's making you happy right now? Can we remember our smiles; share them with others? Make them smile too?

Yes, it's a simple facial action, but a smile is so much more than just that, and we should NEVER make the mistake of underestimating it's power.

Why am I smiling right now? Well, it's a beautiful day, and I'm excited about what I'll be doing today. I'm looking forward to visiting a high school (Rosslyn) tomorrow to talk about Sewanee, and I'm pretty happy with my playlist right now.
Well then; why are you smiling?

Back in Kenya: Day 11

As a blogger, I don't do a very great job of being regular, do I?
I like to think that when I eventually do write, it's more of an event, a novelty to look forward to.
Anyway, what am I up to this summer? Taking a complete turn from the NGO route, I'm working with a smaller marketing firm. I'll also be doing some school visits for Sewanee; my first is tomorrow and I'm pretty excited!
he internship is going great so far. While it may only be my third day here, I'm already working on important stuff beyond stapling and filing. The joys of being a Sewanee student eh?
Nairobi itself hasn't changed, and yet it has.
The people are the same yet different.
The roads are awful yet wonderful.
Let's not start on the traffic shall we?

It's refreshing to come back home and find a sense of familiarity; people are still going about their daily lives, and nobody had as yet revolutionised the country (although hold your breath, we do have a new president and a government!)

What have I learnt in the three days that I've been spending in traffic? That I wish I had some kind of 'courtesy injection' to use on people. Seriously though, while us Kenyans are known for our friendliness and hospitality, there are certain areas- such as our roads- where this is severely lacking. While it is mildly entertaining to watch two cars battle it out to see who gets a spot on the road first, I can only imagine what's happening with the stress levels of the people in them.

I know it's much, much, much easier said than done, and that it'll take a long time before this happens, but Nairobians can benefit so much from a little friendliness on the roads!
Come on people; we can do so much better.
Happy Wednesday!

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