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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.

Funny.

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

The days are going by faster…

22 Jun

My last post is two weeks old… Am wondering where those days went.

I visited different universities, giving them ideas on how to work in a more efficient way. Then I started working with my group of students in my portfolio at the universities (VP TMs at the different LCs), and my Team responsible for Training in Kenya (NTT). Amazing people, in both of the groups. We are in the process of creating year plans, getting a good transition from the previous responsibles and getting to form our visions.

Most importantly am working on my own year plan and different support structures for the universities, called LC Coaching. And we have first applications for positions for internationals working inside AIESEC in Kenya! So am interviewing them, discussing hosting and their jobs etc. For example we will need help with expanding our network to new cities.

Below some random pictures from my school in Mukuru Slums, a workshop for VPs, the different teams I am working with.

Finally a video from yesterday´s LAZY afternoon with a friend. Just people watching from the rooftop of his house near Kenyatta University (wonderful: you can stare at people without them noticing you), including German and Swa lessons. Important questions were answered: How cold is a Tusker Baridi when you drink it in the sun? How long does it take to change a tyre? How many people does it need to fix a matatu? Will this guy really pee with you watching him? How many birds can you kill with one stone?

The days are going by faster…

22 Jun

My last post is two weeks old… Am wondering where those days went.

I visited different universities, giving them ideas on how to work in a more efficient way. Then I started working with my group of students in my portfolio at the universities (VP TMs at the different LCs), and my Team responsible for Training in Kenya (NTT). Amazing people, in both of the groups. We are in the process of creating year plans, getting a good transition from the previous responsibles and getting to form our visions.

Most importantly am working on my own year plan and different support structures for the universities, called LC Coaching. And we have first applications for positions for internationals working inside AIESEC in Kenya! So am interviewing them, discussing hosting and their jobs etc. For example we will need help with expanding our network to new cities.

Below some random pictures from my school in Mukuru Slums, a workshop for VPs, the different teams I am working with.

Finally a video from yesterday´s LAZY afternoon with a friend. Just people watching from the rooftop of his house near Kenyatta University (wonderful: you can stare at people without them noticing you), including German and Swa lessons. Important questions were answered: How cold is a Tusker Baridi when you drink it in the sun? How long does it take to change a tyre? How many people does it need to fix a matatu? Will this guy really pee with you watching him? How many birds can you kill with one stone?

Just a normal day

3 Jun

5.30: alarm bell
6.10: family gathering at the breakfast table, our lords prayer together
6.25: leave the house
6.35: word of the day: “tabasamu” (= smile)
7.20: arrival at unviversity
7.30: hooray, there is internet today!!
7.35: wow, we have three applicants for LC Coaches! answering emails, inviting trainers for saturday, reading the motions for fridays legislative meeting, budgeting for travelling costs…
8.45: internet is getting slower
9.00: taking the new volunteer to the school in south b
11.00: the newly finished kitchen looks really good
12.00: she seems to like the school, cool!
1.00: visiting one of the teachers at home, this baby is so sweet, only ten days old!
1.45: the neighbour comes visiting, asks for advice on how to care for three orphans of a friend
2.25: buying maize in the slums… lunch for 10 KSh only!
2.30: matatu back to town, “my president is black, my lambo´s blue… and i´ll be god damned if my rims ain´t too”
3.05: walking to uni, 29 degrees, am glad I used sunscreen
3.30: first interview for the LC coaches
4.30: second interview
5.30: wanted to go to comfort, but: RAIN! So I write the recommendations for the two applicants
5.35: someone is matched to go to Germany and needs advice for booking flights
5.30: meeting at comfort with the alumni manager, postponed for one hour due to rainfalls.
6.40: those goals are well set in the alumni year plan! adding some details and tasks
7.35: quite late. time to leave!
7.45: talking to members
8.15: my host brother comes from campus to pick me in order for us to go home together
8.20: meeting my MCP for the first time today: decisions about the review, discussions about general team feeling and leadership problems in one LC
8.55: due to the traffic (due to the weather) there are no matatus waiting for us
9.10: one matatu for 150 people, matatu price is doubled
9.55: dinner!
10.25: fixing my comp, discussing stuff with my host bro
11.25: this mexican soap opera is just crap
11:59: time to sleep…

Week 3 – 3 Stories

29 May

Football

Manchester vs. Barcelona in the Champions League finals. You should think nobody cares about this in Kenya. But the truth is that everybody talked about it and most young people watched it. So I went out to a bar in town. Driving home at 3 in the night (heavy rains…. who would have thought so) we had a puncture. I don´t know if that was due to the smashed bottles on the parking lot or the amount of people in that car. For the amounts of alcohol those guys had taken the tyre was quickly changed. Rule number one is to repair a flat tyre immediately (because “otherwise chances are high youn´t fix it at all”) so we searched a 24 hour gas station, repaired it and came home at 5 (totally rained on).

“Jana usiku gurudumu la gari lilitoboka.”

Recording Hip-Hop

One of my friends from last year called me and said that he records a new hip-hop album. So I took the chance to go to the studios with him on Friday evening. He and some of his pals recorded three songs for a mixtape called “Nai”. I was absolutely amazed how they played with the words, how melodic and yet so strong the kiswahili rap sounds.

“Mavijanaa wanapenda ngoma za Hip-Hop”

Camping in Naro Moru

A friend from AIESEC invited us for camping at his uncle´s farm in Central Kenya for the long weekend. So 12 internationals and 4 Kenyans packed their bags, climbed a matatu and we went towarads Mt. Kenya. We enjoyed ourselves cooking outside at the campfire, watching stars at night, playing teambuilding games, swimming in the mountain river, relaxing in the sun or hiking through the forest.

Our host explained us that the forest must be protected from deforestation to preserve Mt. Kenya as the major source of water for the country. On the neighbours´ land we witnessed illegal charcoal burning. We also had some sessions about culture: We exchanged stsories about living in Kenya and advised the newer interns and tried to put Kenya into the Iceberg Modell. Just an amazing weekend 🙂

“Ukitaka kuburudika njia moja ni kutoka nje ya jiji la Nairobi”

A morning on the road…

20 May

I am lucky that I can go with my host family in the car to town in the mornings. So we leave the house at 6.30 to be at the uni at 7.30.

One hour of Hope FM on the radio every morning: Gospel music in all sorts and the moderator who keeps reading prayers and happy news what our lord has done for some individuals: This girl who prayed and then she found 1500 KSh on her bank account. The couple who could pay the wedding ceremony, dowry and even the honeymoon without having any money at home. The kenyan student who moved to the USA and listens to Hope FM through the internet at work to inspire his co-workers…

While listening to the radio I watch the “real” Nairobi around me: We are caught in a traffic jam which is mainly caused by bulldozing cars who would not let more than 15 cm space for other cars, moving every 10 cm that you can to keep your current position. We see the police at Globe roundabout getting ready for the daily riots of mechanics who were chased away from their workplaces around Nairobi river. The old trucks who contribute to the congestion by exhausting black smoke like I havent seen it before.

With those thoughts I arrive at the uni… What a nice way to start the day 😉

Frankfurt

21 Apr

20.12 Uhr? Oh mein Gott, über 10 Stunden an der Diplomarbeit gesessen. Und das bei dem Wetter. Nichts wie raus!

Frankfurt.

Direkt runter, aufs Fahrrad und mit nem Affenzahn los, diesen Tag aus den Beinen strampeln.  Über die rote Ampel. Keiner hupt. Keiner hupt? Warum hupt eigentlich keiner? Ich dachte, das wäre das asoziale Ostend!

Wann sprengen die denn die Großmarkthalle? Oder hat die EZB nach der Krise kein Geld mehr zum Bauen. Sonnemannallee, wieso schaut dieser Schnösel nicht nach links, wenn er aus der Ausfahrt kommt? Vorbei am Puff mit den rosa Herzen im Fenster. Bauarbeiter mit dem Feierabendbier. An der schönen Aussicht noch easy vor dem Bus rübergekommen. Nach der alten Brücke endlich mal rollen lassen. Lässig die drei Türken über die Straße winken. Am eisernen Steg machen Japaner ihre Fotos.

Holbeinsteg. Der wackelt so lustig. Nichts wie hoch. Völllig außer Atem. Der Kirchturm sagt 20:19. 3 Kilometer in 6 Minuten, geht das eigentlich?

Die Südseite ist entspannter… ich leg mich neben die schwarze Großfamilie. Hunderte Blutsauger in der Luft, hier ist es egal, ob sie stechen. Erstmal Augen zu, dann sieht mich keiner. Blauer Himmel, Hochhäuser, der Dom mal wieder mit Gerüst. Schnulzige arabische Musik, das Dönerboot hat Riesenandrang. Die da sollte besser keinen mehr essen. Der Kleine traut sich nicht, den Ball neben meinem Fahrrad zu holen.

Türkische Checker aufm Rasen, zwei schicke Russinen mit Bugaboo, der italienische Papa auf der Bank, deutsche Jogger hecheln vorbei. Ein Platz für jeden. Mir fällt mein marokkanisches Date ein, was noch aussteht.

Frankfurt. An meinem Fluß.

Ganz locker am Südufer zurück. Omas trinken Äppler auf dem Boot. Studenten mit Einmalgrill. Der rotblonde Bänker/Berater im Anzug knutscht die Minirock-Chica. Wo gibts denn sowas!?

Blaulicht. Ist was passiert? Unmengen an Gaffern stehen rum, erinnert mich an Afrika. Ich will eigentlich nicht, fahre aber hoch, muss ja wieder an die Straße. Sehe hunderte von Skatern starten. Ah, doch keine Glotzer… In Deutschland passt die Polizei auf, dass  Freizeitsportler die Straße ungehindert blockieren dürfen. Riesenstau, erklär das mal einem!

Ist heute ein besonderer Tag? Ein Dienstag halt. Zwei Wochen vor Abgabe der Diplomarbeit. Drei Wochen vor meinem Start in Kenia.

Auf der Flößerbrücke nochmal Pause. Geiler Ausblick auf die Skyline! “Sie habens richtig gemacht, Kamera und Stativ dabei” – “Da hinten auf der Brücke ist es noch besser und in 10 Minuten ist es richtig blau”

Guter Tipp, am Ufer zurück nach Osten. Blau? Unterhalb der schicken Apartmentblocks wird geraucht. Nicht nur Kippen. Und jongliert. Fahrrad wieder abschließen. Das asoziale Ostend halt. Der arabische Pizzabäcker wundert sich schon lange nicht mehr. Grüßen tun wir auch nicht.

Mit Kamera zurück auf die Eisenbahnbrücke. Die Jongleure haben ihre Fackeln angezündet. Da stehen noch zwei mit Stativen, ein Geheimtip ist das hier nicht. Und dann wird es blau, wie angekündigt.

Die ICEs wechseln sich mit REs und Joggern ab, jedesmal verwackelt das Bild. Die Skaterin mit Hund packt ihr Buch ein und geht. Die zwei da unten am Ufer haben ihren Spaß. Ich gehe langsam zurück zum Rad. Eine Blondine allein im Hafengebiet. Und nichts passiert.

Frankfurt. An meinen Fluß. Seit immer mein Fluß.

Warum dieser Post in diesen Blog gehört? Selig, wer es versteht!

Blau

Back in Kenya

31 Mar

Queuing for the visa, picked up by friends, roads are still the same, chapati for breakfast, 29°C, skirt and flipflops, waving kids on the way to the bus stage, matatu to town, still feeling at home in Nairobi, meeting friends at university, beer with claudi, rain, ugali and skuma wiki for dinner, good to be back, good night.

Getting up early, traffic jam anyways, returning to my slum, meeting friends, seeing my primary school again, heat, back to town, beer with AIESECers, leaving home late, sunburn.

Some links, some thoughts and one question

1 Feb

Today I was trying to find out what is going on in Kenya. Of course I have been updated about recent tragedies (as the fire in Nakumatt with 50 ~25 dead ppl or the explosion of the gas car with over 100 victims) by my friends. I have also heard some stories about the rising crime rate in Nairobi. I felt helpless with those who are complaining about crazy scandals in current politics and the food/water shortage. I partly agree with disappointed europeans leaving the country. I am speechless hearing about hunted “witches”.

Then I was wondering: What is happening apart from those “catastrophes”. Where are the good news? So I asked Google for help to see what there is to read about the Riftvalley province apart from explosions and witchcraft…

Reading a report about the fact that the Riftvalley is interesting in terms of geology did not really satisfy me though…

Are there no good news or are they “only” not reported? Yes, I know: The discussion about what media write about Africa (and other places) is not new.

So my call goes out to all the guys in Kenya: What are the good news? Yeah, you get it: Am looking for ambassadors to write about their hope for Kenya for me and my european friends!

Arrival in Frankfurt

2 Nov

After 4 nights without much sleep I simply slept during both flights. The changing in Kairo was as annoying as last time… queueing a lot, being pushed back and forth by funny tourists. I missed Kenya already, the politeness, the smiling people, the pole-pole-ness.

In Frankfurt then: A lot of unpacking, washing clothes, sorting presents, listening to Kiswahili music. Going to bed early. A golden autumn was waiting for me in Frankfurt, breathing the fresh german air.

Home feels good. First Cheese-Bread (with real chesse and proper bread) in nearly 4 months.

Home feels cold. Fortunately Benja had switched the heating on already.

Home feels clean. No dust on the roads, no mud, no iron sheets.

More later… I need to think a lot before I can really write how I feel.