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Category Archives: Lifestyle

WATWB: Samburu Warriors Who Rescue and Protect Elephants

WATWB: Samburu Warriors Who Rescue and Protect Elephants

The animal-human conflict is as real as it can get in Kenya. Local dailies are never short of headlines on elephants straying into farmland and destroying crops. Or lions attacking herds of sheep in their enclosures.

While the government has made radical steps to minimize this conflict, eliniminating it altogether has been an uphill task owing to shrinking pasture lands and periodic spells of biting drought.

Recently, ranchers have found themselves at a crossroads with pastoralists who have defied even security forces intervention to bar them from grazing their animals in conservancies. Deaths have taken place on both sides as this ugly tussle for precious pasture rages.

Herders with their cattle near zebras

For this reason, it is uncommon to find individuals caring for wild animals out to compete for natural resources with them. Nonetheless, a bunch of Samburu warriors have taken the initiative of working with the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary to rescue elephants that get stuck in water holes and get left behind by their herds.

During the dry months pastoralist communities follow elephants as they scavenge for water in dry riverbeds. They then dig deep wells, up to 15 feet, as they look for water.

Sometimes elephants stumble and get stuck in these wells. A group of Samburu warriors often rush to the cries of stuck elephants and help them out. They then care for them until they’re reunited with their herds. Sometimes their efforts end up happily, sometimes they do not.

Case in point is when Lolngojine and Lemojong rescued Kinya, an elephant calf, and nursed it as they waited for its herd to come back. When the herd failed to turn up they took it to the sanctuary and continued to care for it. Unfortunately it died before it could be reunited with its family .

While what the crop of Samburu warriors is doing might seem inconsequential at this point, it’s a sure promise of a transformation of how humans related with wild animals in an environment where competition for natural resources is cutthroat.

Read a detailed version of the story here

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This post is part of the We Are The World Blogfest, a monthly event created by Damyanti Biswas and Belinda Witzenhausen to showcase stories of hope and light. This month’s cohosts are Shilpa GargBelinda Witzenhausen, Guilie Castillo, Sylvia McGrath, and Mary Giese.

Click HERE to check out the rules of the blogfest and feel free to sign up at any time.

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Posted by on November 3, 2017 in Environment, Uncategorized

 

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#WATWB – ResqueBnB: Bringing Together Victims and Volunteers Amid Post-Poll Chaos in Kenya

#WATWB – ResqueBnB: Bringing Together Victims and Volunteers Amid Post-Poll Chaos in Kenya

The August 8th presidential elections turned out to be a fierce dynastic contest pitting the incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta against his rival, formidable opposition leader and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga. The outcome, where the electoral commission declared Uhuru Kenyatta winner, led to pockets of protests across the opposition leader’s strongholds.

Police responded to the protests with deadly force, leading to an unknown number of deaths. Human rights groups put the number of deaths at twenty four while opposition leaders put the figure at over a hundred.

In the wake of this brutality, some families were forced to run away from their homes, citing cases where police broke into people’s houses to brutalize them. Those who ran from their dwellings were essentially stranded given that most did not have secondary residences.

While some chose to sit back and blame the victims for being ‘violent protesters,’ Kenyan developer Tevin Otieno and colleague Miss Nyawira came with ResqueBnB, a collaborative endeavor between social media users and humanitarian volunteers to connect stranded victims with willing hosts who can accommodate them for an unspecified period. The initiative has also overseen collection of cash and food donations. The groups activities are also coordinated via their Twitter handle @ResqueBnB. A more detailed description of the initiative can be found here.

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We Are the World Blogfest” seeks to promote positive news. There are many an oasis of love and light out there, stories that show compassion and the resilience of the human spirit. Sharing these stories increases our awareness of hope in our increasingly dark world.

This month’s co-hots are Simon Falk, Roshan Radhakrishnan, Inderpreet Uppal, Lynn Hallbrooks, Eric Lahti, and Mary J Giese,

For guidlines and how to join, click here

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2017 in Inspiration, Lifestyle, News, True Stories, Uncategorized

 

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#WATWB: The 100-year old Living Saint

Every end month, members of the ‘We Are The World Blogfest’ post uplifting and inspiring stories from news sites.

For my second #WATWB post, I’ve chosen to once again share the story of grandpa Dobri, which has a special place in my heart and is in fact one of the initial posts I did when I created this blog.

Grandpa Dobri is a 100-year-old beggar who is already celebrated as a saint in Bulgaria; a country ravaged by poverty and corruption. For over 20 years, Dobri Dobrev has been begging on the streets of Sofia, collecting alms worth lots of money. You would expect him to use the money to better his life, but that’s not what he does. The old begger gives all proceeds from his begging to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, making him the church’s largest private donor. 

Besides donating his collections to the church, Grandpa Dobri also shares food items given to him with other believers. According to a bishop from the church, Dobri gave them $24,900 in 2009 while he continued living a life deprivation. This is a considerably huge amount of money that can change a man’s life given the high poverty level  in Bulgaria; the poorest, if not one of the poorest, members of the EU. The bishop notes that the old man also donates to snaller churches around the area.

His selflessness and generosity hasn’t gone unnoticed despite his meekness and refusal to grant interviews to the media. He is is locally known as “The Living Saint from Baylovo” and graffiti artists painted a mural of him holding a candle on a 10-storey building in a Sofia neighbourhood. 

Grandpa Dobri Mural. Photo courtesy

Dobri is indeed an inspiration that any one can do good to others in society irrespective of financial standing. You can read the story in it’s entirety here.

For guidelines and how to join the #WATWB community click here

For further info, get in touch with this month’s cohosts Simon FalkRoshan RadhakrishnanIndepreet UppalSylvia Stein and Damyanti Biswas.

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2017 in Inspiration, Lifestyle, News, True Stories

 

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#WATWB: Raped and Stabbed on the Wedding Day

While crawling the blogosphere for daily tidbits, I came across a story about a group of writers who came up with the idea of shining some light to the darkness of negativity hogging social media. At the end of every month, members share uplifting stories on “We Are The World” Blogfest. Stories that show all is not lost and that there’s so much positivity in the world; people who go out of their way to make the world a better place or those who’ve been through heartrending ordeals but found the courage to rise up again. 

One such person is Terry Gobanga.

One beautiful day Terry was preparing for what she thought would be a memorable day ahead. Well, memorable it was but not in a way she anticipated. Terry was abducted on the morning of her wedding day, raped, stabbed and left for dead. All this happened while the groom, family and guests were already assembled in a church waiting for her anxiously.

During her hospitalisation, doctors told her she wouldn’t be able to have any children of her own because the stab wound she suffered on her stomach had penetrated her uterus. At this point it seemed the world was collapsing on her. 

Her groom, Harry, stood by her through the ordeal, insisting he still wanted to marry and take care of her. He kept his word and seven months later he walked her down the aisle in a wedding catered for by a rape survivor and her friends.

This is the point at which you’d probably think all is well that ends well. Not so, Terry lost her husband to carbon monoxide poisoning, almost dying along with him, after the jiko (charcoal stove) he had lit to keep them warm filled their bedroom with the toxic fumes.
Despite being a pastor, she felt God had forsaken her. People thought and said she was cursed. She swore she would never get married again. She was depressed.

Nevertheless, a friend of hers never gave up and kept visiting and comforting her. After a while he fell for her and told her he wanted them to be husband and wife. Terry tried to dissuade him in account of her dark past and inability to bear children but he had made up his mind. He married her and they miraculously had children.

Terry wrote a book about the ordeal, Crawling Out of Darkness, and started an organization, Kara Olmurani, that offers rape survivors support and counselling.
Read Terry’s full story here

This month’s We Are The World Blogfest cohosts Lynn HollbrooksSylvia SteinSylvia McGrath and Belinda witzenhausen welcome all to join and share uplifing stories via the #WATWB blogfest.

Click here to become part of the community

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2017 in Lifestyle, News, True Stories

 

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Monday Motivation

Monday Motivation

So today I dove deep into my legacy email account to look for some info and by chance I stumbled upon this great piece my sister had sent. I don’t think she even remembers it but it is a great piece. I hope the words encourage you to live a better life.

ENCOURAGEMENT

Don’t let someone become a priority in your life,
when you are just an option in his/her life……………

Relationships work best when they are balanced,

Never explain yourself to anyone.
Because the person who likes you doesn’t need it,
and the person who dislikes you won’t believe it.

When you keep saying you are busy,
then you are never free.

When you keep saying you have no time,
then you will never have time.

When you keep saying that you will do it tomorrow,
then your tomorrow will never come.

When we wake up in the morning, we have two simple choices.
Go back to sleep and dream, or wake up and chase those dreams.

We make them cry who care for us.
We cry for those who never care for us.
And we care for those who will never cry for us.

This is the truth of life, it’s strange but true.
Once you realize this, it never too late to change.

Don’t make promise when you are in joy.
Don’t reply when you are sad.
Don’t take decisions when you are angry

Think twice….., Act wise.

Time is like a river.
You cannot touch the same water twice,
because the flow that has passed will never pass again.

Enjoy every moment of life….

First I was dying to finish my high school and start college
and then I will be dying to finish college and start working
then I will be dying to marry and have children, and then I will be
dying for my children to grow old enough so I could go back
to work. But then I will be dying to retire. And then I will  die
suddenly and  realize that I forgot to live.

Please don’t let this happen to you, appreciate your current
situation and enjoy each day.

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2017 in Inspiration, Short Stories

 

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​Latest Sheng Words And Their Meanings

Sheng has baffled many outsiders due to its dynamic nature. Every generation comes up with new words and phrases that render those of yesterday irrelevant. If you move out of Eastlands, Nairobi, say for 2 years or so, believe you me when you come back the language will have changed to an extent you’ll have a hard time keeping up with conversations.

Earlier linguistic scholars predicted a premature death for the tongue, but it has defied the test of time. Growing to become the unofficial lingo of Kenyan ghettoes. Scholars have written numerous papers about it, yet, they haven’t been able to state with finality whether it is vernacular, pidgin, creole, standard, classical, or lingua franca. 

Conversions in Facebook pages where cops, going by the monikers Hessy wa Kayole, Hessy wa Dandora etc, have taken the war against crime (precipitated by the likes of Gaza and Mauki crime families) in Eastlando have many bewildered. And that is the basis of sheng, to keep those who don’t understand the language out of the convos in Kayole Crime Free, Dandora Crime Free, Dandora Love People, Eastlando Crime Free, Kayole My Kingdom: Together We Can Make It A Safe Place. Here are latest sheng words you are likely to encounter in the groups and their definitions.
Banka – Crib/House

Bitson – Beating

Chuom – Alley

Gafe – Cigarette

Gendi – Matatu

Gwangi/Stepa/Dingo – Gangster

Hasapa – Here

Kushandwa – Get Shot

Mabanga/Mavedi – Cops

Maunenge/Kinenge – Hunger pangs

Mauru – Bad boy/girl

Maweng – Money

Mbekse – Two

Mble/Mbleina/Fafude – Fool

Mbogi – Group/Crew

Mbulu – T.V.

Mitiech – Hoods

Moshatha – Upcountry

Ndeng’a/Chrome/Itoka – Gun

Ngiavati – Chapati

Ngono – Cart

Ngwai – Tea 

Nyai/Pona – Steal 

Nyuria – Die 

Pinchi – Pick pocket

Pori – Wallet/Pocket

Rada – Understand/be alert

Riba – story

Ridhe – Bullet

Rombosa – Dance

Shandwa – Get shot 

Tenje – Phone

Tonje – Laptop

Tutu – Coward

P.S: Note that sheng differs slightly from hood to hood. Add more that I haven’t included.

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2017 in Lifestyle, Tips & Tricks

 

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10 Apps Every Smartphone Owner Should Install

Mobile phones have become ubiquitous that they are no longer used for just calling and texting. They now literally run our lives, from alarms, planners, fitness, data sheets, entertainment, you name it.

At the center of all this functionality are apps. Think of them like a workman’s tools. I can bet my life that whatever you want done, there’s an app for it. You just need to scour app stores and you’ll be amazed that there are apps to help you eat, sleep, even think.

That said, it won’t be practical to download every app you fancy just for the sake of it. You therefore need to have apps that definitely make your life better. And on that regard, here are ten I think everyone should have. Note that am not listing specific apps but rather their functionality. While it would be nice to sound out specific apps, there is need to recognize that there are different platforms (iOS, Android, Tizen, Simbian, Blackberry, Amazon, Fire OS etc) and some apps are not availble across all the platforms. Besides, there are hundreds, or even thousands, of apps for each function.

Financial Services
Digital revolution has ensured that you manage your finances from the comfort of wherever you are. The case is not better exemplified anywhere else than here in Kenya. M-PESA sparked a mobile money revolution that has seen financial  institutions shift operations from brick and mortar settings to mobile. Evey bank worth their salt has a mobile app through which you can buy airtime, pay for goods and services, withdraw and deposit cash and get statements. If your bank doesn’t have a mobile app then you need to reevaluate your relationship with them. While others argue that they encourage impulsive use, we all got to agree that the convenience is worth it, in most cases.

Social
media

It’s the bane of good and bad. Some blame it for catalysing social evils while others can’t help but marvel at its usefulness. Social media has led to crime while at the same time its been useful in combatting it. It has enthroned leaders and dethroned others (think the Arab uprising). It therefore suffices to say it’s a necessary evil. Apps such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram (god, Zuckerberg has taken over our lives) among others, allow us to keep in touch with loved ones and enemies. They are instrumental in reuniting long lost friends and relatives, stalking exe(s), providing important updates, running campaigns and dating. Heck, fundraisers are now run via WhatsApp groups!! Of importance though, is responsible use.

Browser

Everyone goes to the internet like a million times in a day, at a minimum. You therefore cannot afford to not have a decent mobile browser installed. While most smartphones ship with okay stock browsers, they’re just that, okay. You can revamp your browsing experience by downloading a browser that compresses data for faster loading speeds and savings on mobile data costs. A decent browser should also be able to save pages for offline reading, have smooth copy/paste functionality, have tabs and if possible, have a QR reader for those QR codes on product magazines.

Messaging

Of course these are among core apps that come with a phone. However, they have restrictions such as text length and no. of recipients.  Third party messaging apps will allow you to send longer massages, attach media files and documents and in some cases make audio/video calls.

Notes

When I said smartphones run our lives I meant in every aspect, not excluding note taking. You are in a meeting and you need to take down some really useful info. But, you don’t have a pen and a notebook because nobody, except scribes, walks around with those, it’s the 21st century (men will agree mostly because we don’t walk around with purses and gigantic handbags). The note app on your phone will save the day, if your phone has one. While most devices come with a stock notes app, I bet it lacks some core features such as adding reminders, highliting or changing fonts and color.

Dictionary

You’re going through an awesomely worded blog post but then the author throws in some gargantuan words and jargon that throws you off course. At this point, you have to swallow your pride and accept ‘kisungu apana mdomo yetu.’ Or better still, you’re trying to show your crush you’re exposed and learned by throwing some glittery words from the Queen’s tongue. Problem is, you’re just but a common John and the most sophisticated word you can come up with is ‘juxtapose.’ Whatever the case, a dictionary (preferably an offline one) comes in handy.

Bible/Quran

Every one of us, everyone except atheists of course, wants to be close to the creator and walk in His path. Nonetheless we are unable to because of mahangaiko na shughuli za kila siku. So you only get to read the holy scripture in sacred premises, fresh from church/mosque, when you want to verify some damning statements a preacher is blaring on a roadside crusade or when faced with challenges your human ability cannot overcome. Not having a Bible/Quran close by can be an excuse, but not when you have a smartphone and can download it and refer whenever wherever.

EBook

You probably love your reads but find it cumbersome carrying paperback copies around at the expense of being labelled a snob or pretender. Your smartphone comes in handy here as well. Any notable book has a digitized version somewhere in the web. All you have to do is download Kindle or any other e-reader and get to read it at your convenience. E-readers are also handy in the sense that they make bookmarking and note taking much easier. Not to mention giving you the ability to search text.

On the same note, is a PDF an e-book? Let me know in the comments section.

Media player

Most smartphones come with stock media players, both audio and video. Unfortunately, most of them don’t play all media formats, forcing you to look for third party ones. Other than having codecs to play a wide variety of formats, third party media players come with extra features to enhance your entertainment experience. For instance, try MX Player to understand my point.

File manager

This should be obvious but for some reason stock file managers lack basic features like changing default  storage location or even search capability. Third party file managers are packed with extra features such as app management, phone management, media players etc. Unless you get a good file manager such as ES Explorer, you may not understand how much you’re missing out.

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2017 in Lifestyle, Tips & Tricks

 

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