5 Financial Lessons to Teenagers.

Growing up as a child is fun and full of fond memories that travel years back to when we were just teenagers.

Children are known to be playful, adventurous and mischievous. They can go the extra mile in pursuit of that thing that will give them joy and pleasure including swimming naked in a crocodile infested river.

However, that is not what I want to talk about today. I want to talk about what money was like to you during childhood. A child or young teenager rarely thinks about money, first because they live comfortably (it could also be uncomfortable) with their parents who provide, have no financial obligations to anybody, are told to study hard in school. The subject of money between teens and their parents in most homes is a no go zone let alone sex.

Most of these subjects, when mentioned by teens, most parents usually reprimand them or for instance ask them what they want money for. Nevertheless, it is written in the good books that train a child the way he should go and he will not depart away from it.

Most parents shy from the subject of sex in most homes and do not want their children or teens to talk about money either with the assumption that they will love money and not study hard in school. How wrong!!

As such, we grow up with sketchy and shallow financial knowledge. We learn about saving and investing in our 20’s when years have already flown by.

It is against this backdrop that I wanna mention 5 things your parent never told you and should have told you as a teenager.

  1. Have Financial Discipline.

As a child and teenager, you were always reprimanded and whacked for indiscipline and petty mistakes like failing to follow instructions, noise making, stealing food, fighting and many other mistakes. All these, you did and you were caned because your parent, guardian or teacher loved you and wanted to instill discipline in you.

However, there is a discipline that many parents usually forgot to instill in their children; that is financial discipline. Any time as teenagers we would hear about money was when we were being sent to the shops to buy bread. Unfortunately, most of our parents were in tough financial burdens and were not themselves happy either to talk about money.

Subsequently, one grows up to be a good, law abiding citizen espousing the highest form of integrity and honor. On the hand, this law-abiding citizen is a reckless spender and has no savings or investment of any kind. This citizen ends up struggling financially simply because no financial virtues of living below your means, saving and investing were ever instilled in him. King Solomon wrote in Proverbs 21:20 he who sets money aside daily saves big money in the long run but a foolish man spends up everything. Lack of setting aside 10% of our income  to save for the future has led to many facing financial walls and struggle with life due to lack of a cushion to fall back on. Secondly, no savings no investment. Your savings are able to save you in a rainy day, help you start a business or clear a loan.

  1. Learn to Say No.

Parents love their children and want the best for them and therefore, parents protect, guide and provide for their children. They tell them what is considered good behavior and bad. Most parents discourage their children from eating in neighbor’s homes; tell them to say no to strangers and bad company.

Despite their willingness to give better, parents fall short of telling their kids to saying no to activities and behaviors that will darken their financial future such as gambling, alcoholism and casual teen sex.

Activities such as this will end up enslaving teenagers to behaviors that will or might render them broke, addicted and sick. As such teenagers must be made to understand what is good, what is bad and what is morally accepted. This puts them in a good position to rationalize issues and make informed decisions about anything they want do and say no to whatever is bad and destructive.

  1. Do Not Love Sleep and Pleasure.

Sleep and pleasure are two surefire ways of staying broke and begging. Anyone who has chosen to live above his means because of pleasure does not have the future in mind but only the present. The wise in Proverbs 6:5 writes that sluggards should learn from the ants, consider her ways and they will be wise. Punctuality is an important habit for success.

Pleasure takes or comes in many forms including drinking and partying, laying idle, buying of expensive shoes and clothing, going for tours, site seeing and vacations to your dream destination. However, too much of something is poisonous. Even billionaires go on vacation once in a while  but the rest of time they are busy sowing wood. Teenagers with lazy parents learn from what they see and hear and pick the cues from their parents.

Sleep was only made to be understood as a tool for rest and not an enemy of success. 6 hours are recommended as the bare minimum a normal human being can rest. Too much of sleep kills productivity and prevents one from making financial progress. King Solomon says, a little closing of your eyes and folding your arms and poverty will attack like an armed robber. This Christian verses conveys the message that riches and sleep do not go hand in hand.

  1. Walk With People of Substance.

Bill Gates had a Paul Allen; Steve Jobs had a Tim Cook.  In life every single one of us is on a life journey. Destiny is in our own hands, and that destiny is shaped by the choices we make daily. The things you eat today, friends you have, books you read, whatever you hear and listen to ultimately determine where you will be 5-10 years down the line.

Walker used to walk with a pastor friend who had another pastor friend. 7 years later Walker became a powerful church minister and is now ordained as a bishop within the church denomination.

27 year old Martha is a law graduate. She intends to get married to Amos an accountant. However, Martha’s friends are mostly in their 30’s and most of them are single and divorced. They say a thing like “men are dogs”, “I cannot be a housewife” and “marriage is terrible”.

It was not long before Martha broke up with her handsome boyfriend and started singing the same tune as her friends.

2 years later, Amos was married with a kid while Martha was still single and whining.

Birds of the same feather flock together. Who is your best friend?? If all friends you know are losers in one way or another, you would rather walk alone.

  1. Have a Mentor.

Rather than learn from mistakes in your own life, it is prudent to learn from the mistakes of those who have lived ahead of you.

A mentor is not your biological dad or mum (they could also be)but he is like a life parent to you. He guides and takes you through the stages of life with a lot of counsel, wisdom and understanding whenever you fall.

For us to avoid the many traps and ensnares set before us in our finances, career, relationships and life at large we need a life coach to see us through.

Our parents never talked about mentors in our lives; but as one grows into a young adult life becomes ridden with puzzles that call for wise counsel. In life, it is always important to get good advice from others.

Add any other thing not mentioned that our parents never told us as teenagers and leave a comment.

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7 Things You Can Do To Avoid Procrastination.

Hello champion, it is a pleasure to have you on this site. We value your visit because it is a clear indicator that you wanna be a better version of you; and who does not want to be better anyway. I want to myself.

So today, I wanna feed you with 7 magical points on how to  get rid of procrastination; Let’s go for a ride on the roller coaster.

1. Prioritize.

Our lives are cluttered and filled with every human activity or engagement that the mind could possibly lead us to. However, without factoring in order and importance many  of us end up in a state of paralysis and procrastination. The result is inaction which leads to zero outcome.

Since school, the importance of preparing a daily To- do- List  has always been emphasized. A daily To-do-List enables you write down all the activities you intend to do for the day.

It allows you to prioritize and begin with activities that are most important to you; and how would one know a particular activity is the most important? Probably, the most important activity is one that gives you most happiness and satisfies your values and needs. One can apply the A, B, C technique when it comes to prioritizing.

Such that, the most important activities are categorized under group A, activities that do not need urgency can be categorized under group B and finally the least important of activities can be placed under group C.

These categories could be further subdivided such that we have A1, A2 ;B1,  B2 and C1,C2. Of course this is not for the lazy, you are here because you are a champion, right?

2.Press past the Discomfort.

In most cases, the least important of activities in our lives always take the lead. On arriving home from an office job, one would rather watch The Designated Survivor Series than complete writing a business plan.

A young man would rather go out and hang out with his friends or play computer games the whole day rather than learn a new skill or read self-help and personal development books.

Actually, to every single one of us, life is usually filled with choices and options that ultimately determine our destiny. The moment  you realize there is no glory without sacrifice that is the point where you enjoy being uncomfortable by simply engaging in those activities that are highly prioritized and are gonna add value to your life.

3.Set Clear Deadlines.

Any time people make pledges or a promise to give money or service delivery, they accompany the pledge with a given deadline. Self-help groups always have rules and one of the rules is to always give out one’s dues on time.

Deadlines enable us work hard to beat them. Interestingly, one would rather work hard to deliver on the deadline of their job or company they work for but have no deadline of their own. Without deadlines in our individual lives, we will lack the will and the commitment to engage in one particular task to its completion.

Maurice, a father of two and a mechanic has always been contemplating about opening a garage of his own.Unfortunately, that is where it stops. He has never gone ahead to put his plans on paper and work within  a given time-frame to achieve this particular goal. End result is procrastination and a receding hairline.

4.Cut Out the Distractions.

Before going to bed, the previous night, Josephine had purposed to go on a morning run at 5 a.m the following day. Early in the morning, she woke up to the alarm sound she had set for 5.am. She slowly crawled out of her blankets and put one foot on the floor then another. She then dragged herself to her wardrobe where she  put on her running attire and running shoes but guess what four email notifications and two twitter messages popped up on her phone. To cut the story short, there was no morning run.

In some churches, strict pastors have broken apart smartphones  of non-attentive believers who have been distracted from listening to the sermon by their smartphones.

How many times do we get distracted by TV, iphones,our own thoughts and even the sweet small-talk within our  ears reach; and sacrifice our most important activities at the altar of the less important. The more we pay attention to the distractions the more we build ground for procrastination and completing important tasks late.

 

5.Take Baby Steps.

One is never to busy to pee when it comes calling. A mega project in your life could be demanding your one hour attention. Maybe the website  you are trying to build. Well, you might not build it in one day  or three but you can take small action steps that will actualize your dream. Ever since I was a kid, I was made to understand that Rome was not built in a day. Certainly, there is no point, in cancelling or postponing a mega project in your life on the assumption that there is no time.

Time is money, it is of value and essence  and we can manage it well if we want to. Take an example of this guy by the name John, who wants to do onion farming. He is aware that onion take  5 months from seeds to a mature onion bulb. Therefore, instead of  throwing the idea under the bridge because of the 5 months it will take for him to make returns; John prefers to take small action steps that will one day give him the capacity to run his own commercial farm. He embarks on seed bed preparation on day 1, planting of seeds and covering of the seed bed with shed on day 3,Routine management practices 2 weeks later. His friends would see this as tedious, tiresome and  told him to  look for a white collar job in the city. John would never listen to their persuasion. Four months down the line, John was looking forward to reap a bumper harvest of onions and smile all the way to the bank.

You better walk baby!!

 

6.Avoid Indecision.

Every day in our lives we are confronted with multiple choices that we must make the right decision upon. Should you take the route towards the railway or go via the bypass. Are you going by public means or taxi?

Unfortunately, when confronted with major life decisions, many are mentally unprepared to decide. On the contrary,one would rather make a wrong decision than make no decision at all.

Napoleon Hill, in his best seller, Think and Grow Rich lists indecision as one of the major causes of failure in life. He argues that successful people arrive at decisions very fast and change them very slowly, the opposite is true with  average individuals.

Indecision leads to procrastination since not being able to decide on anything means postponing whatever you were meant to do into the infinite future.

Falling on wrong decisions is the way to go for you will later stand up with the right decisions

7.Love What You Must Do

Bill Gates, is listed by Forbes magazine as the world richest man with a net worth of US$89 billion. He dropped out of Harvard University to pursue his tech. dream of Microsoft. The rest as we know is history.

Prior to his drop out , Bill Gates once narrated how he used to be a lousy student who did last minute assignments when the deadline was just around the corner. However, he learnt the hard way that things cannot work that way in business.

To be able to  beat procrastination and it’s power over you, understand that it is important to  love what you must do.

Early mornings, always present us with an opportunity for prayer, meditation, devotions or something positive..However some would rather wake up with the news bulletin.

If employed, it is your responsibility to report to work for 9 hours beginning 8 a.m to 5 p.m depending on your terms of service. Unfortunately, many do not love their jobs and would rather take feigned sick offs, skive important company meetings to go rest or engage in other activities. Love what you must do.

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Quandary of a Young Kenyan Graduate.

 

James Karagu, commonly known in close circles as Jemo, is a recent graduate from an institution of higher learning in Kenya; having pursued BSc. Statistics. Before finishing college and graduating James was upbeat about getting a job and being a respected man in society. Apparently, back then in campus, he was dating a beautiful woman from central Kenya by the nickname shiro. They were looking forward to get married immediately they completed their studies.

After their graduation, the two love birds parted ways with full of promises to one another to keep in touch and always make a point of meeting often. His girlfriend Shiro studied Journalism and Mass communication and looked forward to be a journalist with a reputable media company.

Jemo left for the city, Nairobi while Shiro left for central Kenya in Nyeri. However, after graduation and the joy of finishing school, all was not rosy as they had both anticipated. On arriving in the city, James settled at a friend’s place that was kind enough to accommodate him. His friend had finished college two years earlier and was making quite some good money in the city out of hawking. The money he earned could pay his rent, buy food and pay bills and afford extra coins to save and also sent to his mama upcountry.

 

Surprisingly, James friend, had studied Biochemistry back in college; but after “tarmacking” and job-hunting for one and half years, he resolved to be his own boss and give self-employment a try. Lucky for James, he had a friend who could shelter him as he went about in search of jobs. Every morning, James would wake up as early as 6.am but not as early as his friend who wakes up at 5 am to go about his business.

James would wake up, take a shower, neatly press his shirt and trouser and add on a blue tie compounded with shiny black shoes and head out in such of a job. He had drafted a mind- blowing CV, prepared academic certificates and any other arsenal that would sell him to the highest bidder.

On the other hand, her girlfriend Shiro, had tried her luck too in getting a job. Lucky for her, she secured a well-paying internship with a local radio station in Nyeri.They kept in touch with James as  two people who love one another usually do.

On the contrary, James was getting frustrated by the day. Some of his job applications went unanswered, and the future looked gloom and dark. His close friend was also beginning to feel the heat of hosting a jobless graduate.

Unemployment 1

One Monday morning, instead of heading out for the routine job- hunting, James chose to sit around and reflect upon his actions. He pondered at length whether searching for a job was worthwhile given the high number of graduates who were also hunting for jobs. He looked at his close friend and realized he was not formally employed with a white collar job and salary yet could make ends meet. James realized in that moment of reflection, a job was simply a temporal solution to a permanent problem. He needed to do something quick and fast going forward to be economically viable. A torrent of ideas started flowing into Jame’s head. Instantly and simultaneously, he thought of hawking, car washing, freelancing, blogging, mitumba (second-hand clothes) business.

After much deliberation, James opted to run a blog, given he had a laptop and could afford bundles for internet connection. However, that was never to start soon since James faced quite a number of options to prioritize from. Firstly, a financial firm had offered him a job with a pay  little less than what his hawker friend was taking home (ksh.35,000).The firm promised him room for career development, allowances and other benefits.

Enterpreneur

Secondly, his girlfriend from campus was getting restless and wanted James to make up his mind whether they were wasting time together in the name of love or what James was thinking about. Thirdly, an uncle of James back in the village had called him, and he wanted James to travel upcountry so that he could work as a cashier in his mini-supermarket. These options all presented themselves to John at the same time frame. It became quite difficult for John to know what path he should follow.

When his hawker friend, arrived back at home from an exhaustive working day, he found his friend James, frustrated and confused. James was spoilt for choice and did not know what was best for him.

Nevertheless, his friend was always there for him when he needed a sense of direction. James friend advised him to choose what was best for him at the time. In other words, James was told to put his priorities right. The conversation from the two men went for hours on end amidst short call breaks and water sippage to quench dry throats.

Unfortunately many graduates in Kenya today are in no position to make choices they wish they could make but only take what is given.

unemployment 2

On the contrary, all is not lost for young Kenyan graduates because James friend is a shining star against high rates of unemployment in Kenya today.

 

 

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Humble Beginnings

Many times when interacting with friends or walking down the streets, I have heard the phrase “humble beginnings”.

People talk about it in churches, marketplaces, homes,whats-app groups and even places of work. Well, being a Sunday, I chose to have a sit down with myself and try to reflect on the phrase “humble beginnings”

As the old saying goes “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” No wonder we have Professors who were once half asleep and half crying babies in baby class.

Up to this point  you could be asking yourself so where am I heading to with all this humble beginning write up. Hold on, stay put and you gonna get knew energy today.

Across all sectors of our economy and life at large we have heroes in different fields such as art, athletics, politics, academics, public speaking among others whom we cherish and adore.

For instance, Denzel Washington an American actor and filmmaker is an epitome of a successful career in acting and drama. He says he just got there by working hard and not partying with the right people.

Denzel

Moses, a biblical figure who was once a wanderer in the wilderness and a stammerer was raised by God to greater heights ultimately becoming one of the greatest prophet and leader in biblical history.

Moses

The president of the Republic of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta was once a political neophyte, who has risen from being a mere nominated Member of Parliament to a person who commands attention and respect from a republic.

Uhuru

Time would not allow me to talk about Barrack Obama, a junior senator from Illinois with Kenyan roots who rose to become the President of a superpower country. He had the audacity of hope, believed in himself and said yes we can.

Barrack

Nelson Mandela, commands respect even in his death, the world over, a man who in his early life did not portray a man of steel he carried in him. The rest is history as his contribution led to the end of the apartheid regime in South  Africa.

Mandela

The only difference between you and these heroes in life is time and yourself. Napoleon Hill in his book -Think and Grow Rich talks about the 31 Major causes of failure and mentions one as being mastered by self; But once self is mastered no one stands between you and your destiny.

Many have ridden themselves off their dreams by negative thinking, self-doubt and lack of belief in oneself, listening more to the opinion of others than themselves; BUT HEY!!! all is not lost since the race is not to the swift or bread to the stronger but time and chance happens o every human being.

In the journey of a thousand miles, many have not been courageous enough to fail, to strike it out again and again till there is a breakthrough. Yes the system could be terrible, yes I have family demands, Yes I have no job, Yes I never went to school but heroes even in death had greater odds working against them than you think you have. Thomas Edison contacted 1000 failed experiments because 1001 was the light bulb.

Edison

 

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A World of Two.


​In the tik tak of time,

Two hearts savoured the time

To breakdown the love chemistry

That was engulfed in a world of mystery.

Stone upon stone the first chapter began.

Mother nature silently witnessing all under the sun

Unknown strange birds became known love birds.

Even hell with its oven could not burn it up

Neither the universe with its mystery shake it up.

Coz a beautiful lass had met a handsome lad

Not only did outer beauty define them but more of  inner beauty resonated well with them.

Chrysanthemums blossomed in celebration of the old age commandment

That is always climaxed by a God given covenant.

In the presence of a multitude

That yearn to let go their solitude.

Not Without my Daddy.

Over the weekend, I had the privilege of sharing in the joy and celebration of a young one of our kind being dedicated to the Lord. During the occasion, the preacher of the day, encouraged the new family to raise their young one in the ways of the Lord. This he said, quoting from the good book in 1st Samuel 1:27. A story is told of a young woman by the name Hannah, who desired of a child from God. In her prayer for a child, Hannah made a vow unto the Lord that if he will save her from her affliction and grant her a son, she would give him unto the Lord all the days of his life. Standing on this word, the servant of God greatly exhorted the young couple to dedicate their firstborn daughter unto the Lord as has always been the norm amongst Christians.


On a further reflection on the preacher’s sermon I realised how important a mother and father play a great role in the life of a young one. Time and again throughout history sociology professors have come up with theories and findings in trying to demystify the role of a father and fatherhood in the society; as such we need to ask ourselves what role should a daddy play in the role of raising up their children. Times have changed greatly since the stone age to apple and Facebook and therefore many social and cultural issues come into play in defining a father.In a  traditional African setting the father is always considered to be the bread winner in the family and roles were given to family members based on gender. I am made to understand that according to the swedes, in order for one to be considered to be a man he had to have a son, build a house and Plant a tree; on a deeper reflection, it shows the pressure society puts on men, which in my opinion is fair enough. It adds weight to the fact that a father has to be the provider and protector of his family. Some have added the roles of cooking, washing utensils and taking kids to school as part of being a father in the modern age; that is for you to decide.. depends with where you come from.

The good book in stressing the roles of the father in the society tells any father who would bother to read it that ” Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”in 1st Timothy 5:8. The father therefore remains the core provider of the family by all means whatsoever.Besides being a provider to his family, a father has the role of being a moral teacher to his children by instructing them according to scripture and the laws of the land. He serves the role of instilling qualities such as confidence, risk-taking, hardwork, persistence among others in their children. The father also plays the role of  a sex role model in the family set up. He gives a perfect example of how the male can fit into a family setting.His relationship with his boy child and girl child nurtures them into understanding their sexual orientation, behaviours and mannerisms and how to handle the opposite sex in a positive manner.

Sadly,a few cases of child negligence, single families around us;fathers,mothers killing their children just shows how the smallest unit in a society fabric is degrading into inhumane kind of behaviour. Sad stories in some slum areas have been told of young mothers aborting again and again;dead bodies of  infants found floating on a river. On reading between the lines,one learns of an irresponsible daddy, an irresponsible mummy broken or inefficient law and order institutions that do little in bringing the offenders to book.It is not a pleasant sight to behold when one bumps into children with a home but no food,homeless and food-less, street beggars by the day and petty robbers by the night forced to do this by circumstances brought upon them by their daddy’s and mummies, children with tattered clothes begging for a shilling or two.

It is upon us men to be the real daddies that society desires  of us by owning our children and bringing them to the ways of the Lord and the values we hold dear.

My Career My Choice

my career
road-sign-798176_1280
https://pixabay.com/en/road-sign-town-sign-success-career-798176/

Ever since the time you grew up, society conditioned you to view careers on a top to a bottom list; with the top being the best of careers while the bottom taking no credit. Conditioning came through when your parents would suggest a number of careers that appear or sound to be more prestigious; such as careers in medicine, law, economics, and engineering to name a few. Any other career, on the contrary, would not have appealed to them. The above-mentioned careers were considered and are still considered to be prestigious, worthy of honor and of a high social status. Careers in teaching, journalism, anthropology, policing, extension education would have and still brush some students the wrong way with their parents.
One big question I need to ask is; what parameters do you use to gauge or measure the value of a given career? Some measure a career in terms of how much it pays, some take pleasure in titles a career gives, some enjoy a given career because it makes them less of an office worker and more of a nomad worker. Some see the rate of career growth and networking as a factor. My point of concern is what would make a certain career more prestigious than the other? At the end of the day, everybody wants to make a living and make progress in their own individual lives. I am tempted to think social status is what determines the value of a career. No wonder careers in law, medicine, and engineering are highly placed in societies. This can be undoubtedly proven whenever national examination results are released especially in a country like Kenya. The top candidates that usually emerge in Kenya Certificate of Secondary Examinations when interviewed over electronic and print media will proudly mention medicine, law or engineering as their dream career. Interestingly enough, no single candidate has ever been heard mentioning a career in agriculture, journalism, education and the like; notwithstanding that agriculture is the backbone of Kenya’s economy, doesn’t Kenya need more of agricultural experts to give technical advice on how to improve food production.

Kenya as a country has a development blueprint dubbed ‘Vision 2030’. It stands on three pillars of Social, Economic, and a Political pillar. My layman understanding is that by 2030, as a country we should be talking about development milestones on the three pillars. One thing you cannot run away from as an educated countryman is the fact that your economy thrives on agriculture, tourism, and industrialization. Methinks society has conditioned many of her offspring’s to view a career in terms of social status and honor rather than the need it can meet. As much as Kenya needs doctors and lawyers as a country, it equally needs agronomists, horticulturists, biologists, data analysts, social workers among other professions. The best of students should not only play the social status card but also try to add value to other well paying, national-building careers.

Sad enough is the fact that some Kenyans will never appreciate certain careers in this country. Careers in Kenya Police especially traffic, Kenya football especially the national team head coach. The head coach of the football national team is never spared either such that however much he tries to work to improve the performance of the national football team a single win among many loses won’t receive a single praise. However much he outshines his previous performance, Kenyans will still have a reason to point a finger.

While our Police force has been a sham ( extra-judicial killings, bribery, ghost police officers, controversial promotions)to the point of attracting the attention of an Independent Police Oversight Committee – IPOA, children should not be allowed to grow up feeling a career in the police force is for the losers in society. On the same knot, a career in football should not be viewed in a bad light by young job seekers. Kenya is no doubt proud of Victor Wanyama the Southampton midfielder who is moving to Tottenham Hotspurs next season for £ 11 million. Though a few of our players have made it to the international football arena, we are not to say that the chances for our players are dim.  I believe our good days in football are yet to come.

Your career is your choice, you know best where your passion lies. I encourage you to live your dream and be the best you were meant to be.

The Gap between Academicians and Practitioners.

Foremost, I want to laud former president of Kenya Mwai Kibaki. Upon taking the reins of power after the general elections of 2002, Kibaki (and his government Narc) forever changed history in the Kenyan education sector.

Millions of Kenyan parents with school-going kids breathed a sigh of relief when Kibaki announced free primary education to millions of school-going children. For sure, that was a milestone in Kenya’s education history. It was a far cry from maziwa ya nyayo.

In that year alone (2003) public primary schools flooded with pupils as enrolment skyrocketed almost to the high heavens. The world was pleased with a nation that was ready to educate it’s children, as such foreign aid was readily granted by the UK government.

Children hungry and thirsty for education couldn’t have been rewarded more. It was a success story, to say the least. However, somewhere along the way cracks started forming on a wall well-built and with so strong a foundation.

It wasn’t long before it was alleged that there were massive misappropriation and embezzlement of funds meant for free primary education by top officials in the education ministry.

It was sad, pathetic and a stab in the back of school-going kids. One of the local dailies then screamed the headlines ‘A tale of two professors’ The then education minister Professor Sam Ongeri and his permanent secretary professor John Ole Kiyiapi was put to task to explain how the money had been misappropriated by education officials.

One other thing as a writer was to later write is the fact that the Narc government never foresaw the danger that loomed ahead. Education facilities in schools and institutions of higher learning became congested and flooded with students thanks to the double intake program.

The double intake program began in 2011, the year I joined University in the month of August. Having sat my Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education in the year 2009, I had selected four and revised the courses I intended to pursue. The exercise had been conducted at the Western education provincial headquarters in Kakamega.

Thereafter, I was to await my admission letter to campus for one year 6months. In the time in between, I engaged myself in tertiary courses like learning Computer packages in addition to running my uncle’s businesses.

At the time I joined university,  a degree took four academic years to be completed which is still the case. Today, unlike the former days, long holidays come after a semester instead of one academic year. This had been announced to us after we had completed our first semester to our consternation.

The main reason given was that there was going to be a double intake and the school could not accommodate a large number of students. Therefore one group ( K.C.S.E candidates 2009) had to go for a long holiday and allow the K.C.S.E candidates 2010 to be enrolled in January 2012.

This happened at the University I was in. There were other scenarios different from mine in other universities. The 2010 candidates were lucky; thanks to the double intake they had not been at home for long waiting for admission to University.

I was highlighting a situation that had been brought about by free primary schooling in Kenya over the years. As I write this, Institutions of high learning  are flooded with students who are under facilitated and with fewer materials, laboratories, libraries and workshops for research and innovation.

Adding insult to injury, lecturers in both public and private universities have been periodically complaining of poor pay forcing some to skive lecture sessions. It was only recent when Moi University, KPA campus students in Eldoret rioted over lecturers not attending lecture sessions when they had payed their school fees in full.

Because of strained resources and large number of students in universities, (five students sharing one computer -case scenario) quality of education and that of graduates is dwindling.

After independence, Kenya only boasted of 8 major universities.  There are now 31 universities registered with the Commission for Higher Education (CHE).

Despite the progress, that number still can’t measure to the large number of students joining University yearly. Amongst universities counted, some are private that only the well-off in society can afford.

Private universities seem to be better equipped and facilitated compared to the public ones.  However, few are the number of students who attend private as compared to public universities.

Employment in Kenya is also becoming a tricky affair in Kenya given the large number of universities holding graduation ceremonies for their graduands every year. Some even holding two graduation ceremonies in a year.

As I write this, I am not employed and I can count the number of my course mates who are employed. Unfortunately, this is a reality, policymakers, in the government were supposed to foresee and create measures that would ensure we accommodate such many students both in government and private sectors where their skills are much needed.

It’s a pity that many are still on the job search with no experience. But lately, there is a ray of hope as employers are beginning to identify potential candidates who can be trained on any skill and perform.

Some care less about the papers and recommendations you carry. This begs the question, how can the government transform its top cream (fresh graduates from universities) from being academicians into practitioners who can solve the present world problems in their area of study.

The government owes its graduates big to make them relevant and practical in their careers. Nevertheless, it should not be forgotten that the government has also played a big role in ensuring that Kenyan students can complete a university education through the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB).

In most graduation ceremonies, graduands are encouraged to be job creators and not only seek jobs.

I believe in creating a job, one needs to possess the relevant skills that will put him /her in a better position to create the job.

But here is a scenario where a half -baked graduate with little exposure; who even securing a superb place for their field industrial attachment wasn’t easy.  This happens because of the large student population expected to be skillful and well oriented upon leaving campus.

The government I believe should link up with private individuals who have set up companies that nurture graduates in their field of interest to help them nurture students from being academicians to practitioners with hands-on experience in solving problems in their field of study.

The chancellor of the Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Dr. Mwai Kibaki while addressing students in a recent graduation ceremony at the institution encouraged every stakeholder on board including lecturers, professionals, economists, researchers, policymakers to not only equip students with knowledge.

He further asked them to make graduates a reflection and an accurate picture of the job they are studying for. He encouraged them to make their students also love and enjoy what they do.

The chancellor emphasized that institutions of higher learning are meant to be centers for research and innovation by world-class standards.  Therefore, the government should put more funds into developing institutions of higher learning.

Kirimari, Kenya

Kirimari

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Kirimari is a word coined by the Aembu people in Kenya, meaning land on top of the hill. You would still be right to title this blog post as Embu, Kenya.
It is a now a month since I landed in this economically vibrant town in Eastern Kenya. Born and raised in Western Kenya, Embu to me was yonder and a place I had never been.

I am here to do what people do – work. Given that it’s an agriculturally rich county you would be forgiven for thinking am an agriculturist. Embu is in a  semi-arid area with high temperatures that make you sweaty and thirsty; if you actually find it hard to gobble 6-8 glasses of water a day, Embu is the right place to change that. I myself have been doing with 4litres of water half a day given the hot working environment. I find myself taking shower two times a day to relieve the body of heat and sweat. For the hydrophobic guys, this is not your place, flee away very fast.

So what does my job entail!? I work on a growers farm majoring in the production of horticultural crops namely Demon chili ( kanyenje) for the local name, French beans ( mishiri), watermelon, bananas and onions. My typical day begins at 5 a.m. Wake up hot or sweaty shower up, prepare and take a hurried breakfast and jump on the next motorbike to my place of work. By the time am leaving my place of stay it’s 6a.m  so I arrive at my place of work at about 6:30a.m thanks to a bumpy 11km ride over a rising and falling terrain with roads that are quite unfriendly, showering you with dust in a dry weather and slippery, sticky mud on a wet season. By virtually 7:30 a.m almost all employees and workers have reported for duty. A normal working day usually begins at 8:00a.m. Walking on gumboots the whole day is now a part of me; I work in the production department and my key responsibilities include supervising labor in blocks, supervising bed maintenance and general routine management practices on the crops in various blocks. By 4p.m am done working but due to the distance,  transport logistics and sometimes the nature of work on a given day I arrive at my place at about 6 or 7 p.m.

Here in kirimari,  two local tribes exist the Aembu people and their cousins the Mbeere people. I am in Mbeere south, Kiritiri to be more precise. Though other tribes have also found Embu hospitable and liveable such as the Akamba, Agikuyu and Abaluhyia like me. The Agikuyu resonate well with the Mbeere people and therefore can communicate effectively. The dominant economic activity is agriculture with miraa being the main cash crop that sells like hotcake. On entering a pub or a club one would mistake revelers as people suffering from mumps. Their left or right cheeks can be seen bulged with shovings of miraa (muguka) accompanied with roasted groundnuts ( to make it tastier) , taken down by a bottle of beer and wound up with a smoke puff from cigarettes. What a stuffy and breathtaking place to be.

Given the side effects, the sour or rather tasteless plant may have on your healthy young men and women consume it with relish enjoying every bite that goes by. However, it leaves behind a wake of irresponsible father’s and husbands that lazy around making their unusually beautiful women more productive than men; no proclivities here, save me your curious mind. Women walk as far as 11 kilometers to go work to and fro something I have not seen in Western Kenya. Most women there would prefer to stay at home doing house chores or be forced to stay at home by their husbands who go to work instead. A lazy, irresponsible husband will be harangued with an avalanche of insults and contempt from an irate wife.

In Kirimari, agriculture thrives more so because of River Thiba backed by the seven folks hydroelectric irrigation schemes namely Kamburu, Kiambere, Kindaruma, Gitaru, Masinga , Mutonga and grand falls. The last two are still not operational.
To anyone with misgivings about this place I would advise you on the contrary that it’s a place to be. Tourist attraction sites within include the 7 folks, Mt. Kenya and the Karue hill picnic site off Embu- Runyenjes road.