7 things I miss about Nairobi

Hello Rafikis!

The other day I had an interesting conversation with a lady about her experience in Nairobi. She happened to be on transit in Nairobi for 36 hours and so she narrated to me how her short visit unfolded. It was her first time in an African continent and she wished to experience the city in the same way the locals did.  She then goes on to mention how friendly my brothers were to her. By brothers she is  referring to the Kenyan men that were of aid to her during her trip to Nairobi.

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Up until now  I’m still unsure how I felt about the conversation. Her experience is one that nurtures stereotypes you know the one side of Nairobi shown (as a dirty and backward place).  Her description of Jommo Kenyatta International Airport was so painful and yet I tend to think it’s a better airport than London Gatwick but then again I may be biased.

However who am I to tell her , that her experience in Kenya is invalid. Human beings have different experiences and I can only share my account but not truly represent the thoughts of all. Therefore without any further a do I present to you the 7 things I miss most about Nairobi.

1. Ugali and mayai! 😭 This has to be number one on my list because food is everything. I could eat ugali and mayai fry every day. Trust me! The combo is deadly,( Ugali is a Kenyan dish made from maize flour and mayai is egg)If you have not tried it yet, thank me later!

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2. The Java Red velvet Cake. Nimetafuta kote , nimezunguka kote. I have tried the cake in various cafes. Cafe Nero tries to do a decent job at it but even it cannot compete with the Java cake. ( see this free promotion, like and share my stuff so that Java can give me free cake). The Java red velvet cake has the perfect consistency of  sweetness and sourness. It has the perfect ratio of cake to cream cheese. People need to stop putting sweet icing on red velvet , it is very annoying. 😭 I can crying thinking about it.

3. My family! My rock! my every thing! Even though we keep in touch every day I still miss them dearly. ❤️ Luckily I am the last born meaning that I do not really miss out on watching my siblings grow up. They are all old adults but I still miss them. In fact I’d do anything to hug my mum right about now! Happy early father’s day daddy!

4. Lifestyle ya Nairobi! It is sometimes a bit sad to watch people parents come and pick them up. However in Nairobi I’d get the same treatment. I do not adult much at home, I don’t have to pay bills, cook for myself and even do my own laundry. I never have to worry about overspending or saving for food. I don’t have to buy milk and tomotaes for myself. It’s just a wow! ❤️

5. Sundays in Nairobi, where traffic is a rumour. If you feel me say Hakuna Matata!

Whether it’s Sunday brunch at Java, a walk with dad around the house or at Nairobi Jaffreys. There’s something so relaxing about Sundays in Nairobi.

6. Familiarity breeds comfort. Am I the only one who gets excited when they announce in kiswhahili on the flight “Mabibi na Mabwana tunakaribia Airpoti ya JKIA , Karibuni Nairobi”.  Dear Kenyans please do not laugh at my Kiswahili, i understand that it’s struggling but I promise I will work on it.

7.  International Acts. Nairobi has become the new hub of international artists.  It seems like every other week there is an international artist performing. Kuddos to events organisers for pulling up their socks. Hopefully now we shall begin to support local artists too. Imagine I am missing Wiz kid live by just a few days 😭 anywyay I guess I’m saving my coins though hehe.

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Photography by Dan Isaaka . Instagram- danisaaka

Music- Billy Black-  Sundays in Nairobi. Mayonde- Nairobi ft Stonee Jiwe

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EAST AFRICAN QUEENS

Good evening Rafikis,

I hope you are keeping well,  I thought it would we be great for me to share with you my journey as president of the East African Society. The society has contributed massively to my time at University abroad and so I think it is important for me to share the journey with you.

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Designed by Stephany Olaka

Like any other great story there have been challenges. For instance , during the first wave of elections I was the only one who run for any position. Then during the second wave only the positions of secretary and vice president were filled up. (Why do East Africans fear leadership and competition? Could we blame the political climate in our own countries? That is a story for another day). However, I did not let this break my spirit, I had a vision for the society and I knew I could actualize it if I worked hard enough.

Therefore  I decided to take advantage of the network of friends around me. This way \o was able to come up with a full committee. Once, our committee was complete we set off to tell the East African story.

Below I will describe each committee member with one word(or two) and add a phrase of something they would be the most likely to say.

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Madame President (allow me to gas myself up for the last time) :-p

Shout out to my dad, he is the only one who still calls me that, everyone else is over it I think lol

Guys I’m running for … Please vote for me!

I am Kenyan.

Fun fact about me I Acquired Bilhazia in Mwanza, Tanzania (don’t swim in lakes kids). I have also visited Juba and Kigali, where my dad worked for many years.

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Vice President- Lady like Recho

Which one is the Dashiki? I am so confused guys, I don’t live in Africa you know

We allow it because although she is originally from South Sudan she is  Manchester raised. She is proper Black British you know, Hair always on fleek and dat, innit!

Ps Congratulations on your graduation, Go conquer the world! You were the Mit Romney to my Obama, I couldn’t have asked for a better VP.

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Secretary – Chilled out Crystal

Relax guys! Honestly, it’s really not that deep! Tbh I don’t really care it’s just a …

She brought sanity to the group. She is calm, collected (sometimes too calm) and cool. She often balanced off the wild energy in the room.  The hippy of the group I’d say.

Ugandan born but raised in Kenya and else where in the world. (third generation kids be like)

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Treasurer – Money-minded Nikita

But where does she think that money coming from, it wasn’t in the budget? Will the cheaper option get the job jone?

Always there to ensure that we do not spend money where it was unnecessary to do so. Only one who actually put her actuary degree to practice in the society as the human calculator. Another thing, is that she is very reliable as she would always get the job done!

That Biashara mentalilty- Kenyan

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Publicity Officer- Creative- Juice Stefany

 I have an idea guys, I was thinking we could … Do you see my vision? 

Too much juice too much sauce. A brilliant creative!

Always behind the camera capturing moments or busy working on one thing or the other. She brought peace to the society with her warm personality and acted as a mediator where need arose.

Ps- She is the gem behind all the amazing photography, videography and design ❤

Kenyan living in Tanzania.

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Events coordinator-  Stopwastingmytime’ Makena

Honestly guys, you are just wasting my time! I’m not coming for the meeting, I have better things to do!

Always whining about us wasting her time.  Her motto was probably waste my time 2016 lol.  She was always in a rush to be done with us. Never the less nothing but love for her because her passion for time put the society on track and ensured the job got done well on time.

She is Kenyan and proud! She would never let us forget she’s from Meru County!

 

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Welfare Officer-  Toomuchfire Moono

Guys this is TRASH! I am not putting my name on that! I can’t allow for such!

A juxtaposition. On one side she had too much fire in her. She was always ready to share her honest opinion even when it was not asked for.  On the otherhand she was probably the most loving of all. When you actually get to know her, her maternal instict is evident. You were able to understand why she was the welfare officer.

Zambian raised in Kenya.

 

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Like the Rwandan government with a majority female representation, these women were best fiited to represent the East African students.

All in all, I couldn’t have asked for it any other way. It was my honor to serve and I hope the fire continues to burn on even in years to come.

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Till next time, Kylie Achieng

10 things I wish I knew before starting University in England as a Kenyan

Hey guys so I’m finally done with second year whoop whoop! I thought I’d share some tips with all the Kenyans who are interested in joining University in the UK.

1. English weather is crap! In Nairobi we take the warmth and sun for granted, here the best you will probably get is two weeks of summer. The wind does not make the situation any better.

2.Instead of trying to be so western embrace your Kenyan identity (whatever that may mean to you). Your identity will be questioned at Uni . This is because you will be exposed to other people who still hold on tight to their culture. It will make you wish you learned your mother tongue or even at the most just polished your Swahili.

“So, here you are too foreign for home too foriegn for here. Never enough for both. ” Diaspora Blues – Ijeoma Umebinyuo 

3. You need a support system consisting of friends and family mainly friends there with you. Pursuing a law degree is hard and I truly believe that success is only possible when people support each other together.You cannot do it alone no matter how smart you think you are, you need other people to help you. Don’t play yourself by isolating yourself, keep people close to you!

4. You will need to take out sometime to care for your mental. Chances are high that some times you will feel crappy. In such instances you need an outlet , whether it involves ranting to your mum on the phone, crying in the shower or taking a trip to the beach or the cinema. Do it! Then snap out of it, you cannot drown in your sorrows. However I am aware Depression is a real thing ,  therefore if you feel like you cannot overcome the emotions, speak to someone. Ask for help.

5. The food is just not the same , sorry mum for taking advantage of Kuku kienyenji and fried fish whilst at home. The chicken here just doesn’t taste the same but no worries your body will adjust to it. In fact some nights your body will learn to have sleep for dinner.

6. Work if you can, take advantage of the opportunity. Whether or not it is to raise extra pocket-money , to travel or even to invest. You will have a lot of free time , if you can work go for it. It doesn’t not make you less cool ! Also class status is real but do not allow it to consume you.

7. Interact with people from different cultures, at the end of the day if all you wanted was to hang around Kenyans you should have stayed in Nairobi and gone to USIU ( No offence). Some of my closest friends are from different parts of the globe. Do not isolate yourself to just Kenyans but also do not isolate yourself from them. Trust me on your lowest days they will be the ones to uplift you.

8. Do not dare to convert money. Once in England think of your currency as a pound and not a shilling. My friend if you continue to convert the price of milk and bread at Sainsbury’s you will go hungry.

9. Racism is a thing, it is not as open as it is in America but it’s underlying it exists in institutions. You may leave in the most conservative area with one of the highest ageing populations (top county to vote leave ) but that’s not the point. You need to have thick skin you will also meet amazing people who will make the experience all the worth it.

10. Keep your love life, income and next move private (this doesn’t just apply to international students) especially since the Kenyan circle here is small! You do not need to have everyone involved in your business, trust me! Remember that  moments and movements still happen even though we don’t post them on the gram.

Until next time, Tschüss!

Identity Crisis? Not a role model

I must begin by saying a big THANK YOU to everyone that has provided feedback to me in regards to my Ted Talk. I appreciate it!

I also must acknowledge that I am not perfect and that none of the work I do will ever be perfect in everybody’s eyes even my own. There is beauty in accepting that I am only human and that I do not know everything. This is beautiful because it leaves room for me to grow and learn. Most Kenyans or educated citizens of the world that watched my Ted talk, you must have realised that I stated  that Kenyan gained independence in 1945, this is false!!

I acknowledge and apologise to all for my error. I do not intent to make excuses for the error however I would like to clarify a few things.

  •  I briefly learned about Kenya’s independence in my social studies class during my early primary years. I was aware before the talk that Kenya gained independence on the 12th of December in 1963. I knew the date I just made a mistake during the talk and I will explain why.
  • 1945 is the year that the Second World War ended,  I recently learned from a friend that during that time the British government condemned Germany for starting the war they were committing atrocious acts against the Mau Mau freedom fighters in Kenya.  So yeah! I guess the year lingered in my subconscious  during the talk hence my mistake. However I accept that I erred.

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  •  The formal British education I obtained never taught me about Kenya’s history. I remember sitting in a year 12 history class and having to write a critical and evaluative essay on the pros and cons on colonialism in Africa. That’s the closest I got to learning about African History. Even worse is our own Kenyan system that fails to teach the majority of Kenyans intense information about Afrika and our history. I wish I learned about
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Kwame Nkrumah- First Ghanaian President

Kwame Nkrumah fathered Pan -Africanism

 

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Thomas Sankara- President of Burkina Faso

Thomas Sankara  worked hard to diminish the reliance of African states on foreign aid . Even closer to home I wish I learned about

 

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Patrick Loch Otieno Lumumba- Director of Kenya School of Law

PLO Lumumba is an active advocate of  Pan- Africanism , he continues to highlight the importance of reforming Afrika for a better Afrika.

 

Enough ranting I will soon share my PowerPoint presentation from Ted Talk , unfortunately the cameras did not pick them up. I will also share the full responses I received from the candidates I interviewed.
I would like to remind you all that I am not perfect, as Suli Breaks suggests I’m not a role model, only a real model.

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Identity Crisis- Part 1

Hey there, I know, I know its been a minute since I last wrote but I’m back now.

Many of you might know that last September I left the comfort of my fathers home to pursue my higher education in the United Kingdom. Previously, I had not be exposed to such a multicultural atmosphere, my high school was international but only had students from different African Country. However diverse Africa is  we still have so much in common as we share a bond. Therefore you can understand how going to an International University was different for me.

For once I felt it was necessary for me to identify who I was and where I was from. I watched the Chinese who somehow always managed to have access to their food and the Nigerians with their ability to convert their British accents to Nigerian accents when necessary. I was envious of these people as they managed to retain their culture in the western world. I thought of my fellow Kenyans who craved so eagerly to adopt the culture of the west that is with the exception of the Maasai. Whenever anyone asked me about Kenyan culture the only thing I could tell them about was the Maasai and yet Kenya has more than 45 tribes. Crazy huh!

I felt lost, for once I wish I listened to parents and visited the village more often, for once I wished I knew more about my history. I wish I knew more about my country, I wished I knew more about the Kamba tribe , the Samburu tribe and even the Suba tribe. I wished I knew more about Kenya.

My ID states that my name is Kylie Achieng Ochuodho and that I’m from Kagan but yet I was born in Nairobi Hospital and raised in Nai.

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What did it mean to be Kenyan? Can I actually call myself considering the history my ancestors had colonialists. In this series I wish to lead you through my Tedx talk experience. I hope you enjoy it, if you get to bored or are simply in a rush you can watch the talk directly.

Love, Peace , Ubuntu

NyarKagan

Life as an International Student- Karen sessions

I needed time off, I need time off to clear my mind. I think I’m back though. Apologies for the wait.

A week or so prior to the close for Christmas break, my parents surprised me with a ticket to go back home for the holidays. They are actually the real MVPs ❤ .

 

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After a long flight, I was back in the motherland. Woop Woop!

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Reunited with Bro, he even bought me lunch

I was on a mission to visit as many tourist zones in Karen (where I leave), it is named after Karen Blixen a famous colonial author. I got to visit Bongani Gardens, which is like the cool kid chill spot.

 

 

I got to visit the Giraffe Center which is about a 10 min drive from where I live

 

I also visited Mamba Village (Crocodile Center) which is also 10 mins away from where I live.

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Also went to Rolf’s Place in Rongai (which is not near where I live but beautiful nonetheless)

 

 

Unfortunately, I was unable to visit the Sheldrick Elephant sanctuary and the Nairobi National Park.

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Date with Dad

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Life as International student: East or West, Home is Best.

As I embarked on my journey to University in September, I was so excited for the adventure that lay ahead of me. I decided I was starting a fresh, a new chance at life,  I had the opportunity to be who ever I wanted to be (how refreshing is that). When I landed in London and even at Kent, I knew I would love the place, so any way fast forward to a few weeks later and the change slowly began to streak in. At first it felt like I was just in boarding school, then people (from here) went home for the weekend and it began to hit me that I’m a continent away meaning that I can’t go home whenever I feel like it. The difference in weather, food, lifestyle and culture didn’t make it any better. I was beginning to sink and I had to do something about it. I’ve put together a list of things that keep me going whenever I feel like I’m drowning.

  1. Going to church and singing hymns, (the adventist community reminds me of home).
  2. Skype sessions with friends from back home.
  3. Listening to Sauti sol, Elani, Just a band and Hart the Band (good music is therapeutic)
  4. Reciting Desiderata “You are a child of the universe; no less than the moon and the stars, you deserve to be here”

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5. Watching Lupita interviews (she is so elegant and beautiful) and reading This is Ess blog’s (Rusinga vibes) .

6. Sharing my culture with those around me e.g. Mashujaa day through conversation and my dressing (dira, kitenge,maasai sandals)

7. Putting pictures of friends and family around me on my wall.(makes my room feel homely)

8.Getting out of my room and learning more about people.

9.Watching Coke Studio Africa and Real Househelps of Kawangware (yet to do this)

10.Visiting with relatives (so helpful especially when I get to eat Chapo)

11.Taking it one day at a time and enjoying the experience (if you reading this mum and dad, I need a new phone to capture the experiences)

Stay safe, till next time, xx

Life as an International student: Nights out

Last night I got hit on by a non coloured guy, and it made me happier than  it should have. I felt prettier and more confident than I did than when the non coloured guys hit on me and I hate that. I am ashamed of myself because in my mind I lived up to the stereotype.

Don’t except us coloured girls to drop our panties any time you white boys pay as compliments”- Tumblr.

I should be able to feel beautiful on my own without his comments or anyone’s for that matter. Don’t get me wrong I’m not trying to backlash anyone all I’m trying to say is that as a coloured girl I sometimes feel the need to work to try attract some of these non coloured guys. It is all about self-love, I know the moment I fully appreciate myself then no one will be able to make me second guess it. Sometimes I almost forget that I’m as fine as it gets. 🙂

Ps I got to watch Omarion live 🙂

New Series: Life as an International student.

Hello my lovely readers, I hope you have all been keeping well.

Most of you may know due to my previous post that I’m currently a Law student at the University of Kent (I feel blessed). It’s been just more than a week since I began here and I’ve decided that it’s only fair I share my experience with you. I’ve decided to start a new series “Life as an International student” to share the journey with you all. In doing this I am in no way trying to brag about the opportunity I’ve been blessed with but rather I wish to have you all feel as if you were here with me.

Cheers for now, as I await the lunar eclipse