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A long break

11 Nov

I have not posted in a long while. Mainly because I am doing great here in Kenya!

After we came back from the International Congress our amount of work has increased. Visiting all the LCs, working on recruitment and integration of the new members. A lot of interesting tasks were to be done: Working with an expansion team to a new university, training weekends and lastly organizing a conference for 200 delegates from over 10 countries!

Also not forgetting all my friends in the various parts of town, getting a new hairstyle and planning for my christmas trip to the coast and Tanzania.

This is my crazy facilitator team at Pioneers Conference: Individuals from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Nigeria… Thanks for being with us and making this event so life-changing for our delegates!

Pioneers 09 - Faci Group picture


Students. Universities. Life… in Kenya

24 Sep

Travelling can open ones eyes. I love seeing new places. It can be beautiful, stretching, humbling, heartbreaking.

Travelling from Nai through riftvalley to Eldoret:

Drought her, cutting trees there. desperate traders here, street building there. Bright sun, this special kenyan green, blue sky.

5 days at moi university:

Hospitality, live wires, lights off, shower, rain, muddy, hygiene, bathrooms, 800 beds missing, internet, humiliating, no power sockets, sharing beds, friendship, strike, authority, business in rooms, village, 10to10 rule, students life…

Thanks a lot to the moi eb! Chep and main, i know both will rock and we have a fantastic year ahead. stano, perris, dun, mac, kuks, julie, siro, abraham and100 more… i definitely had fun:-) and remember, i am walking behind you!


The strikes about the matatu prices have found one victim. So the senate of Moi University decided to close down Main Campus until further notice. The students were told to leave yesterday, most of them left their things in the hostels though. My friends are physically ok, some of them left town. Others are still around and trying to see what the next steps will be.

Leaving town? Another three months break after having returned to campus only some weeks ago?

This is the third public university who closed down due to riots this year!

Is this really about Matatu Prices?

Another nice article about students in Kenya

Some impressions from the first days of IC…

26 Aug

A short comment about IC…

25 Aug

I am currently at the AIESEC International Congress in Malaysia. A 10-day-meeting of the global leadership of AIESEC. We are nearly 600 delegates from around 100 countries.

This conference is a really great experience and I just want to write a very short comment and then go to the next session.

Inhaltlich gute Diskussionen, wir haben unsere global Partners (heute Artimisia, asia pacific CEO von PwC und Unilever) zu Gast fuer gesellschaftliche Themen und die strategische Ausrichtung des Vereins verspricht einiges fuer naechstes Jahr… planmaessig durchstossen wir endlich die 50,000!

Und einige absolut inspirierende Persoenlichkeiten, die nach ihrer AIESEC Zeit einen super Einstieg gefunden haben, die Gesellschaft “richtig” zu beeinflussen… social entrepreneurship haben wir in einem Workshop besprochen, zum Mittagessen sitze ich dann mal locker mit einem ehemaligen Australia CEO eines grossen Logistikers, der mir sagt, dass er mit 45 eine NGO, gegruendet hat, weil ihm “das business” zu dreckig war.

Spannend auch die Diskussionen mit AIESECern in ganz Afrika und deren verschiedene Realitaeten in Nigeria, Tanzania, Togo, Zimbabwe. Universitaetsstreiks scheint es in jedem Land zu geben, unglaubliche Erfolge in Members und Exchange-Zahlen, high-impact Projekte in Slums… Wir geben uns gegenseitig Ideen und planen gemeinsame Aktionen.

Von- und miteinander lernen steht hier gross im Vordergrund…

Do not miss to visit our live stream and be part of the conference:

Leaving home

22 Aug

A 19-day-trip to South-East Asia, attending IC, AIESECs largest conference, this year hosted in Malaysia.
Packing for a trip from my room around Thicka Road felt strange: It means that this is my home now… Interesting.

I am flying with my colleague Prashant. Three of my Kenyan friends drop me at the airport. Kenya Airways strike was fortunately over just some hours before our departure, still the queues of the passengers and plane resulted in a huge chaos at JKIA. I am in an unbeatable mood, looking forward to the trip: The probably most exciting day in Kenyas airindustry for a year and I am at the airport!

Only 2 hours delay (is this Kenya??), 11 hours of flight, then touchdown in a different world. Two days in Bangkok before going to Kuala Lumpur!

It is actually raining. Water is standing on the fields around the airport. A country where the rainy season still produces water from the heavens. Coming from Kenya we undergo a quick check at the health counter, as Europeans we enter the country without applying for a visa.

First impressions of Bangkok…

A huge city, stretching into all directions, skyscrapers, ghetto-like living areas. Highways with 6 lanes on two or three floors, traffic flows really nicely until we reach town. Exotic snacks are sold in the street. Thai letters look like artwork, chinese restaurants. McDonalds and Starbucks. Influenced from the India trip and movies, I expect some asian chaos and am not disappointed. Quiet clean though.

Telecommunication and transport is cheaper than in Kenya. Humidity and heat. Feels safer than Nairobi, 10pm, am walking alone. Tesco and Carrefour Supermarkets. Finally cheap drinking water (5 Bhat for 1,5 liters). People look differently: Not into your face, not on your hips. Polite smiles, not a “no” comes of the lips.

I find myself using my usual strategy for foreign countries: Smiling too (?) much, Stereotyping to prevent mistakes, trying to observe other people, laughing nearly hysterically about language problems, forcing myself not to compare.

Now I am eating Icecream, looking out of the window of our apartment at the 12th floor, feeling the heat, seeing the skyline. Am just a visitor looking in this so different culture. 2 Nights in Bangkok…

Eventful days!

16 Jul

On Friday we had our AIESEC Kenya Stakeholders Dinner, held at Safaripark with around 450 guests. It was really nice: Our members dressed up in formal and nice clothes, our alumni came, we awarded our best LCs, members and alumni for their contributions during the last year. (see pic)
The after party went until 6am and was simply awesome.

Then Saturday and Sunday I had trainings in various universities (Marketing Call Training on a playground, see pic), so was getting up early. Sunday afternoon we held our legislative meeting, it went for 4 hours (!!) and was quiet dramatical: The LCs did not pass our budget, we disbanded three LCs and opened four extensions. It felt good to see the discussion between the EBs and the MC because I could see we are all striving for the growth of the organisation.

After a long weekend I decided to have two slow days, just chatting with friends, doing very little AIESEC stuff, reading books and sleeping a lot. So on Tuesday I went back to my school. I was so happy to see the progress of the last three weeks: The toilets were completed and in use, some AIESECers had painted the school, money was raised and spent on fencing the compound, cementing two more classrooms and planting 22 trees. I just sat down for an hour, talked to the teachers, kids and another volunteer from Iceland. I arrived pretty much one year ago and it was great seeing all that progress that was achieved in 12 months only. (compare this picture with one of my blog entries from last year!)
Finally I was asked to plant one of the trees (see pic) 🙂

Then I helped a friend with low computer skills in applying for a position with the red cross. In the afternoon I held a short training for KU & Moi on personal growth by daring new things and stretching your comfort zone. This topic is quite close to my heart, as I realized that living in Nairobi is like being home for me now, daily life hardly challenges me anymore. So I felt we should discuss this in the whole group and set ourselves targets.

In the evening I went back to Donholm where I lived last year to visit a friend. It felt really nice to walk around and see the area again… Oh, they are still conducting police checks on Jogoo Road.

How many activities fit into one day!

Wednesday I went to Daystar, a university outside Nairobi in a beautiful scenery (see pic). This time there were no giraffes, just zebras and wildebees welcoming me. It is one of the most expensive universities in the country and they had just informed their students that they would raise the fees. So there was a Baraza, meaning around 1000 students asked the Vice Chancellor for answers. Unfortunately he could not explain himself in a satisfying way, so the students were really angry. We were just watching from outside (see pic). After around 3 hours of heckling at the officials, most guys left the Auditorium. Apparently the students were heated up and didnt know what to do with their anger and energy. So at the cafeteria they started throwing eggs and rice at each other… I wondered if those students will also go on strike, like at KU, but was told that for students of private unis this would be very unlikely!
So in the evening we had another AIESEC meeting, after which I stayed with one of the girls at her place for the night.

Happy Birthday, Thomas!!

Democratic or rebellious?

30 Jun

Yesterday I visited Kenyatta University, a public university with over 20.000 students, which has been closed after riots in March. We still remember the pictures of burning dorm rooms and police throwing tear gas on students on campus from TV with some students killed.

Right now there are no classes, the dorms are closed and students are not allowed to come. Students still pay their fees, but are not allowed to continue their studies right now. And the best part is that they are not even informed when they will resume (rumours vary from September to January). So they cannot do internships or do other courses in between.

That was all I knew before I went there. But the reality shocked me even more. The guards didn´t check us, so we just walked in and I took a 2 hour walk around the extremely large being shown around by an AIESECer. The campus, seeing the leftovers of the riots, the deserted dorms and the hundreds of closed offices. A beautiful campus being deserted. Talking to students, who don´t know when they will graduate or resume their studies. Hearing of students from the rural areas who could not leave campus and thats why suffered most during the riots. AIESEC KU without an office or the chance for recruitment. Quiet sad.

So today on the radio Hope FM was discussing the “current trend of Kenyans going on the street and expressing their opinion in an uncivilized manner”.

Primary kids going on strike, secondary kids burning dormitories, students rioting, hawkers fighting with the police, police threatening to have demonstrations… They claimed it is a bad thing and Kenyans should NOT develop a (western?) habit of expressing their opinions in public.


My general feeling is that for the amount of problems (corruption, infrastructure, hunger, unemployment…) and miss there is not a lot discussion in public. People are rather busy solving their daily life problems and therefore do not spend much time on writing letters to newspapers or organize demonstrations.

The understanding of each other is quiet low. As soon as students discuss things that they do not like, somebody asks them to better return to the books than start thinking to much. The roles of women change a lot these days without the man noticing (?) or at least taking notice. It ends up with the police, which is asked to restore “law and order”, which most of the times means to enforce policies that were the introduced by the richer and do not favor not the masses.

In my opinion we need more open forums where people talk to each other and listen to opinions. Especially opinions of the young people, who are so many in this country. People should talk more to get to know the different realities and try to understsand why other people