Hi! Hope you still remember me, Akinyi the banker. It’s been more than a minute since I wrote you anything. Not that I haven’t been thinking about you and your kind, far from it.
If there’s a time I don’t look forward to as a woman it has to be the menstrual cycles. From the painful menstrual cramps, the extreme moodswings to the feeling of being filthy, it is not a good time unless of course you have been naughty. I first learnt about menses in class 4, when subjects like home science used
to be taught. The first pad I ever saw in my life was
How do you get ahead? For you to pursue your chosen profession or career you must first pass the national examinations so as to secure a place in the university or college. While passing is relative, the entry points or grades are usually preset by the institutions of higher learning depending on the level, whether it’s a certificate, diploma, undergraduate and so on. To achieve this pass mark there’s need for you to come up with a study regimen. The following are some study tips that you may pick from:-
- Place – You need to study in a conducive environment in terms of posture and noise levels. While some people can comfortably study on a couch others can only concentrate on a reading table. Personally, I concentrate more with background sounds but I know most people prefer a quiet place for studies, and this is most advised.
- Time- Everyone has a time of the day when their brain grasps or absorbs knowledge. For most people it means waking up at 3.00am in the morning but some of us we prefer staying up late. You need to identify your ideal study time and optimise on it.
- Schedule- Come up with a study time table making sure to slot all subjects in. Give prime time to subjects that need more concentration, work and attention. For example, I like to slot in mathematical subjects whenever am studying theoretical subjects like geography and history.
- Study Every day- The old saying that practice makes perfect has time and again been proved right. Excellence is not an event it’s a process, therefore you need to make sure you study every single day even on Sunday. And no it doesn’t mean there’s no play orno going to worship, spare an hour or two.
- Design a study style- This is a very important step to do. It is advisable to make short notes when revising so that you can use them as quick reference to jog your memory without having to reread everything. You can even come up with acronyms and abbreviations of your own to save on time. Remember that you are making notes and not rewriting or copying out the notes.
- Ask for help- If and whenever stuck you should ask for assistance. In fact you should belong to a study group to take advantage of group member’s strengths and knowledge. Be ready to share what you know with the group because as you do so you cement your knowledge.
- Take care of yourself- Studying doesn’t have to be a boring affair. Take commercial breaks, grab a snack or space it in with an activity of choice.
Get creative and keep your eyes on the goal. Do not by any means be limited my the points outlined above but go beyond and discover your own unique style.
Akinyi, The Banker.
Whether a house will weather the test of time and tides depends solely on the foundation on which it is built and the materials used. If built on sinking sand then surely the house is bound to be swept away by strong winds and storms. On the other hand the one built on solid rock shall stand firm.
This is the same for education, we must get it right from the onset. The Swahili have a saying, “Mkunje samaki angali mbichi” which loosely translates to bend the fish whiles it’s raw or fresh. Once the fish has been dried or cooked, bending it will result to the fish splitting. It’s paramount therefore that we provide the right tools for children at the primary level and more so the lower primary level.
Doctors will tell you that they can not treat a patient without a diagnosis we therefore need to interrogate why education in rural Kenya is still not at par with the standards in urban areas. The issue is important because an estimated 70% of the Kenyan population is said to be found in rural Kenya. If the national exam results are anything to go by, then the dismal performance attained by the rural schools in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Examinations shows there is a discrepancy that needs attention. The following are areas of concern that if looked into may turn around the performance in rural Kenya:
- Lack of teachers:- In comparison to schools in town rural seem to have less teachers in terms of student to teacher ratio. It is unfortunate that most teachers turn down appointments to go work in rural schools and instead want to stay in the urban area. It is even more disappointing that even those that have grown in these very areas deem their homes as primitive and would rather work elsewhere.
- Shortage of books:- Schools in the rural area have inadequate supply of books and as such end up sharing a book amongst up to 5 pupils if they are lucky. The teachers here depend solely on the books provided by the school and similarly the pupils as well. There are no libraries whatsoever for these pupils to borrow reading books from leaving them at the mercy of the few copies at their disposal in school to show. On the other hand pupils in towns are spoilt for choice with at least three text books per subject to refer to.
- Scarcity of schools:- In comparison to towns and urban areas schools upcountry or rural areas are far apart and children have to trek long distances in search of education. This may prove discouraging to the pupils.
- Literacy levels:- Most of the adult population here are either illiterate or semi-literate and are not in a position to coach or aid their children with their school work. Since the children do not have text books they have to wait for the next day so their teachers can help them with the difficult homework.
- Environment:- The few schools available sometimes do not provide a conducive learning environment. It is not uncommon to find children learning under a tree even in this year and age, or in a poorly thatched classroom. Where the classes have shades children end up sitting on a dusty ground and strain to fit in the over populated class. Their counterparts enjoy learning in well ventilated classes with the convenience of a desk and a chair.
- Age:- Children upcountry start going to school at a later age than those in town do. While a city child may be exposed to learning even as early as the the age of three, in a rural setting a child may start schooling at the age of seven years making it difficult to teach him.
- Culture:- Early marriages is a way of life to many in the rural areas. This discourages concentration in education.
These are some and not all of the major challenges that education faces in rural Kenya. To improve the education level the community may consider working closely with the government, non governmental organizations and the schools themselves to boost education levels. How then can we mitigate the above mentioned challenge? Well wallowing in thought and self pity will not take us anywhere. We must take deliberate steps to:
- Come up with a community Library. This can be achieved by reaching out to well wishers who could be friends, colleagues or corporates to donate both new and used books to be used by the children at a central location. I am glad Rose of Ihopee.org is already doing it by sourcing for book donations from the diaspora.
- With the devolved government it is paramount that we demand our leaders lead by action rather than by giving hand outs during the campaign season. Let them be on the forefront to legislate laws that will favor schools in rural areas like ensuring textbooks are availed to public schools.
- Early Childhood Development Education should be made free and mandatory to encourage learning at an early age. The government should consider subsidising and employing pre primary teachers.
- Teachers posted in hardship areas should receive incentives like hardship allowance to encourage the uptake of these posts.
- Free meals programme is another source of motivation for both parents and children to attend school. Keeping in mind how far off the schools are from homes it may be difficult for children to go for lunch and be back for afternoon classes. At the same time if the children come from poor backgrounds this could be the only meal they have for the day.
- Mentorship refers to alumnis going to holding hands of students of their former schools to academic excellence. In Kwale county KWEA does mentoring for secondary schools.
In every way and every day I try to make the world a better place. In case you need to donate or reach out to either of the above contacts email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also check out https://www.facebook.com/donate/10213496786717994/ to make a donation.
Every year, the world sets aside 5th June as a day to celebrate the environment. This year, the celebrations are set to take place in Canada under the flagship of the UN which is the organization that first came up with the concern in 1974 to create awareness for the environment we live in. The theme for 2017 is what I have titled my post, “Connecting People to Nature. “
In the more than five years that I have been employed by the bank, we have been planting trees in every county or more seeing as we have almost 200 branches in Kenya. This was until 2015 when the bank changed it’s strategy and now sponsors trees in one of the major forests in Kenya. This means that joy riders like me need to now find my own initiative of taking care of the environment probably at my own cost and time.
A simple question begs, what do you do for the environment? Is there something you can do as an individual. Coveted and award winning environmentalist, the late Wangari Mathaai, through the hummingbird tale emphasises that you should do what you can in your own way to save the environment. We should not wait for NGOs, CBOs, UNEP or our employers to do something for the environment.
As a country and a county we have been feeling the impact of climate change. The last three years have seen unprecedented heavy rains, heat wave and drought. Every now and again we hear the terms El Nino and Lanina being used by meteorologists forecasting weather patterns. These natural phenomenons are heavily impacted by our day to day actions.
Let’s first take a moment to applaud the government of Kenya for gazetting the ban of polythene bags through the Cabinet Secretary to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources. What this in essence means is that you and I will have to find alternative environment friendly ways to carry our groceries. This may include and not limited to traditional bags like the ciondo(kiondo from the akamba), adita(from the Luos) ,kikapu(from the Swahili) or modern paper bags or fabric bags. Already bigwig supermarket chains like Nakumatt have adopted the ban even though theirs is a story for another day.
Look for instance at our county. For close to four years there were continuous road closures, diversions and constructions to improve the roads and drainage. In 2016 the national government even budgeted for El Nino that was expected to cause major havoc to areas that were prone to this phenomenon, Mombasa was among them. Drainage were built but because there was no El Nino the improvements were not done. Now about the drainage, has it done us any good? Better still have we benefitted from an improved drainage system on our roads?
So there’s a memo from my team leader that we should dress in green in support of going green. (sort of literally huh). Not to disrespect this idea but I find myself thinking is this what world environment day means to me? Just dressing in green? So if I dress in green year in year out am I saving the environment in anyway?
While I was still working on that I look out of the matatu window. What I see spurs me to action, to write this post. If I can influence at least one person to change their behavior for the environment I will have done my good deed for mother earth and my great grandchildren. We in this beautiful coastal town of Mombasa have a habit dumping litter everywhere without much thought. The littering doesn’t spare our newly acquired drainage system. Residents effortless use the paths as bins without a care in the world. It is said that at the rate at which we are polluting the ocean we might not have any fish by the year 2050.
So we need to stop throwing those water bottles and polythene bags everywhere. In fact somebody tell Governor Joho to legislate punitive action on public littering. Instead of dressing in green, corporates should instead donate public bins to the counties to cut down on dumping.
I have planted my tree, am carrying my litter home or until I can see a bin. Today I chose to help change someone’s perspective, to educate one person get rid of his ignorance.
If we do take care of our environment it will take care of us. It is true that whatever you throw to the universe it throws back at you. Garbage in garbage out. Change starts with me.
Mombasa is arguably one of the oldest towns and cities in Kenya going by the rich history it holds. Located along the Indian Ocean Eastern of Kenyan Coast it is the country’s second largest city after the capital, Nairobi. Most of it’s history is conserved at the Fort Jesus and the old town area, all these are along Nkrumah road.
The British, the Portuguese, the Persians and all those who claimed this county did Mombasa an injustice in the way it was planned and the jurisdictions thereafter. If it’s been more than a decade since you came to Mombasa then visiting will be a great shock to you. The population has grown just has business has also expanded. There are a lot of opportunities in this city, but therein lies the problems.
For instance, look at the number of cars on the road, both public service vehicles and private cars. The number has plummeted yet the roads remain the same. This is truly unacceptable but the inhabitants have no option but to make do with the constant traffic jams in and out of the city. There a lot of commercial and residential premises that have encroached the road reserves in and out of the island. All this as a result of compromised or non existent supervision to construction permits by the relevant authorities. For this there exists only one solution; demolition, the kind witnessed in President Kibaki’s regime when the then Minister of roads ruthlessly and fearlessly brought down buildings including that of a corporate like Nakumatt along Thika Road in Nairobi. And look at the capital city now, it’s boasting of superhighways and bypasses that were just mere plans. Tanzania’s Dar e salaam is also building dual carriageways that Kenyans can only dream of.
Back to Mombasa, is it really am option that our politicians would explore? Of course not. And suffer the wrath of their ancestors? Or worse still be cursed by their people? The real reason none of them can fathom such a thought is in the numbers. You demolish houses along Karisa Maitha road(old Malindi road) you are finished politically because these same families have relatives in all corners of the town. To make it harder still mosques have been developed on the same road reserve. The same way it would be almost impossible to start demolishing churches, you don’t mess with places of worship that’s for sure.
South Coast presents another challenge that hopefully will be manageable once the Dongo Kundu by pass is complete. The ferries that carry passengers to and from through Likoni have proved to be life threatening time and again with ferries stalling and at the same time multiple breakdowns. You would think having a subway ,a bridge or ensuring that all ferries are serviced fully would be options. Alas doing this isn’t good for the politics of the day, Siasa ya Chai, ya kitu kidogo. False promises. Instead residents doing their business from both divides of the ferry have to pray that they reach the other side safe and sound. All this in a city that boasts of a world class port that is the gateway to East and Central Africa.
We can do better. Where there’s will there’s a way.