Just a normal crazy day

22 Jun

So if you are wondering what I am doing the whole day…

Finishing up a grant application, Calling Alumni to attend Friday’s Stakeholders Dinner, giving feedback to proposals, finding solutions to integration problems of interns, Marketing Call on the other side of town (just 3 hills from the office, resulting in 75 minutes per direction), Meeting with one of my 9 team members, Discussing with other African MCPs, Shopping and cooking, night movie with the team in the house.

Somewhere in between lunch: Either Mandazi and Milk or “food” meaning a selection of 6 different starches plus either Beef or Beans or Groundnut sauce.

3 weeks already??

16 Jun

Wow, time flies by!

I have been in Uganda for nearly three weeks now. Until now we are staying in a hostel, but we are moving to our own house on Sunday. Kampala is a really good place, hotter than Nairobi, a bit slower, a bit more dust. On the other side more safer. And I really enjoy it!

Noticeable until now:

The amount of different starches on our plates and the lack of vegetables…

The fighting with Conductors who do not understand our languages…

Retail prices around East Africa vary! If you transport chewing gum from Uganda to Kenya and coca cola bottles from Kenya to Uganda you can get rich very soon.

Whether you all it homesickness or not… We were more than happy about Eunices invitation to spend an evening at her place with Kenyan friends and ongeaing swa while kulaing chakula mooob.

First week in Uganda

4 Jun

I arrived in Kampala last friday at around midnight.
A large work agenda has kept me busy since then.

The old and the new MC team went to a Holiday House on Lake Victoria for four days to transit at least part of the knowledge and experience in a structured way. I met one alumni to discuss a side job opportunity with him. Project Launches at two different universities that will impact students and communities regarding Entrepreneurship, Language Skills, Tourism, IT, HIV.

Currently I live with 4 of my team and around 15 interns in one of the university hotels near Makerere University Business School (MUBS). We go to the office at MUBS daily to prepare for next weeks conference. Also we are looking for our own house, where we want to stay with around 12 people.

Here are some pictures from our Takeover Camp

As soon as I make my way to town, I will take pictures there 🙂

Slow is not a good description

4 May


The most annoying thing in the last two weeks has clearly been the internet! Some problem with the undersea cable has thrown us some years back – to the Satellite Connection. It sounds simple, but is really influencing my work. More than one tab will not open at one time and surely you will disconnect twice during the


I am getting used to the thought of leaving Nairobi. The daily facebook countdown helps a bit, though it is extremely unreal! The 12th of May is my last day in the office, on the 28th of May I will get on a bus to Kampala. As much as I am looking forward to it, planning for my goodbye party doesnt come easily!


25 Apr

Fiona and I were travelling by Bus from Nairobi to Dar es Salaam for a very simple 3 day meeting. Ideally a 15 hour trip in a single bus. Lets see, what Facebook says about this trip…

Manuela Müller Roadtrip has started. watch this space!

Alh saa 8:03 asubuhi kupitia Mtandao wa Rununu  · Toa maoni · Imenipendeza
Fleur Lys Sego amependezwa nayo.
Manuela Müller woke up at 5.20 in MC. bought dar xp tickets 4 me n fi at 5.55
Alh saa 8:08 asubuhi ·
Manuela Müller Bus left at 6.25 without us
Alh saa 8:09 asubuhi ·
Manuela Müller Hunting the bus via taxi
Alh saa 8:13 asubuhi ·
Manuela Müller stupid tz bus conductor refuses to stop. we pass nyayo stadium. we pass the airport.
Alh saa 8:25 asubuhi ·
Fleur Lys Sego Hehe bus hunting sounds fun 🙂
Alh saa 8:27 asubuhi ·
Manuela Müller The luo mama who is with us is in constant communication with her friend in the bus. The whole bus crew are *ss*oles, refuse to stop or slow down
Alh saa 8:39 asubuhi ·
Manuela Müller In kitengela the taxi drivers license expires and our money… Whats next?
Alh saa 8:41 asubuhi ·
Charles Nkonge Gitonga hehehe fuuun!!!!
Alh saa 9:02 asubuhi ·
Bakari Mhando Am waiting for season 2,its very nice comedy series.
Alh saa 9:23 asubuhi ·
Manuela Müller Just before namanga, now in a bus. These guys are like 30 minutes ahead.:) guy, hope they r held up at the border! Not enough money for the visa. MCP training is on point…
Alh saa 9:40 asubuhi ·
Cathy Mwangi Walala then what??
Alh saa 9:41 asubuhi ·
Charles Nkonge Gitonga tel the luo mama tu tel the woman in the bus to delay…inbox me ua no. i mpesa smthng…..
Alh saa 9:42 asubuhi ·
Caroline Ngugi Oh…my am so sorry for u two gals….hope u catch up with the bus xoxo:-)
Alh saa 10:28 asubuhi ·
Kelvyne Slevinovic John hahahahaha!!!!!!…..i’m wondering why fiona is quiet!!!…ahahahahaha…..u guys need to open a blog!…warrrrrrrrr!!!!!!…….am biting my nails!!!!…hahahhaha
Alh saa 10:30 asubuhi ·
Manuela Müller Officially left kenya. As officially as the bus left without us. Now we need your help. Arusha to dar how??
Alh saa 10:37 asubuhi ·
Kelvyne Slevinovic John Bakari is your man!!!!……
Alh saa 10:40 asubuhi ·
Caroline Ngugi Manu…there are two options…call SOS Bakari will answer u….and help….AI can send a chopper as plan B….just ask Cindy:-)
Alh saa 10:41 asubuhi ·
Rose Thuo this story is more captivating than 24 and Lost and kidnapped put together!wish you two girls the best.
Alh saa 10:53 asubuhi ·
Manuela Müller Awesome. Now we are between the countries, the other bus is leaving us soon. My visa card haifanyi kazi. And the visa still wants to be paid. Mpesa anything you have to my zain line. We need 2k
Alh saa 11:04 asubuhi ·
Alh saa 11:08 asubuhi ·
Manuela Müller By the way, if it wasnt for there freaky police man, i wudnt have attempted to get the exit stamp.
Alh saa 11:08 asubuhi ·
Amos Mtaita HOW DO I REACH YOU!!!
Alh saa 11:08 asubuhi ·
Caroline Ngugi @Amos…call Manu on her Zain
@Manu tell Fi to switch to her Safaricom…ASAP:-)
Alh saa 11:10 asubuhi ·
Amos Mtaita i dont have her number…
Alh saa 11:12 asubuhi ·
Amos Mtaita carol…send it to me…
Alh saa 11:13 asubuhi ·
Manuela Müller While waiting for mpesa (thanks ppl and hurry up) looking at tour busses and lorries that look trustworthy and inviting…
Alh saa 11:32 asubuhi ·
Razvan Dragu It is time to chill…buy a bottle of Konyagy and enjoy the road. Your road trip is funny like a movie ” Manu and Fi – tripping to Dar”
Alh saa 11:46 asubuhi ·
Caroline Ngugi All the best guys…let us know what happens:-)
@Mtaita the ball is on ur court…takea of them:-)
Alh saa 11:58 asubuhi ·
Martha Diana This is funny and fun at the same time! Have maaad fuuuun!
Alh saa 12:44 mchana/ jioni ·
Manuela Müller Visa bought now. Thanks to you our dear readers! mpesa, juu. Zap… Downest:( Green truck with license plate t945bcu takes us to arusha now. Lets see what happens next:-)
Alh saa 12:57 mchana/ jioni ·
Manuela Müller Thanks for the konyagi tip. After a sip of that guys sachet was told to maliza… Anyways, fi and manu on the bed behind the truck driver. Bumpy! And slow… Worst: no camera:-(
Alh saa 1:17 mchana/ jioni ·
Razvan Dragu this is any truck driver’s best fantasy…milk and choclate on the bed behind him…bumpyyyy
Alh saa 1:27 mchana/ jioni ·
Caroline Ngugi Manu…hold on strong…u will arrive safely….MCP transition just begun…Fi’s phone has a camera u can take a pic to share later:-)
Alh saa 1:32 mchana/ jioni ·
Bakari Mhando Welcome to Tz thats what i do always when i’m late n broke,usijali u’l get here in 1 pc,if u cnt get transpt 4m arusha go up to moshi then to Himo u’l get smthng to tak u here,u r on my s camera relax galz n enjoy d xp.:-)
Alh saa 2:15 mchana/ jioni ·
Joel Rao walalalala this is awesome!! am like 6 hrs behind
Alh saa 6:09 mchana/ jioni ·
Manuela Müller ok. how it continued… the truck trip took long, but was fun. loooots of police stops but we arrived in Arusha. Then we took a bus to Moshi. A really cool friend of Beko hosted us. Moshi is awesome! clean water, awesome food, nice mud in the morning.
Iju saa 4:28 mchana/ jioni ·
Manuela Müller not to forget the preacher that told me and Fiona to shut up while he is praying. Nice story he had… Once they told him to get out of the bus in Nakuru, it had an accident and the passengers died…
Iju saa 5:04 mchana/ jioni ·
Manuela Müller then another 8 hours in another bus from moshi to dar. TUMEFIKA!!!! in the MC house with Cindy and Amos and Tate now. COOL ;)))
Iju saa 5:04 mchana/ jioni ·
Manuela Müller End of story! Thanks for your attention
Iju saa 5:05 mchana/ jioni ·
Bakari Mhando Y r u nt mentioning casts of d movie?if its d end of story?u can sleep on my bed.
Iju saa 5:43 mchana/ jioni ·
Aderemi Dadepo guess part 2 would be when u going back 😐
d suspense was fun and a repeat won’t be a bad idea 😉
Iju saa 10:23 mchana/ jioni ·
Manuela Müller inshallah no season 2!!!
kama saa moja iliyopita ·

A look at Nigeria – and a possible solution

25 Apr

An AIESECer from Nigeria writes….


14 Apr

This is a follow up of a previous post.

Sunday afternoon I met my friend again and she was clearly veeeery pregnant. Nevertheless we took a walk (“This is Africa, Manu. Women work until the last hour”) and she told me that the calculated delivery day is the 14th.

She also explains me the a voucher that entitles women from underpriviledged background to go for consultancy during pregnancy, the actual delivery and three post-natal examinations. All that for 2 Euros, sponsored by PwC and the German government.

On Tuesday her sister sends me a text in the early morning to come to the hospital and see her.

So I left our seminar week and bought some fruits. When I arrived at the hospital I was told that she is already in the process of leaving. And yes, I found Adah sitting in the yard of the hospital, with a white bundle in her arms and a handbag next to her. Immediately she saw me, she gave me the baby and we started talking. She was very lively and didnt seem like she gave birth just 10 hours before. We talked about her last 24 hours and exchanged our (probably very unknowledgeable) thoughts on how to stop the babys hick-up.

After filling out some forms for the birth certificate and the above mentioned voucher organiation, the nurse explained her to come again four days later and we left.

One of her frineds brought her new clothes and we walked home. I carried the baby from the hospital to her place, obviously everybody staring at us curiously. Remember? In the slums, there is no privacy!

On 13th April 2010, a very adorable baby is born, Mark!

My trip to AfroXLDS 2010 in Togo!!

5 Apr

AfroXLDS 2010 (Africa eXchange and Leadership Development Seminar) was a 6 day conference in Palime, the Facilitator team also had 3 days of premeeting and 2 days of postmeeting in Lome. We had around 100 delegates from countries like Gabon, Cameroon, Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal. Then we had one lady from Kenya and some Brazil, Canadian, German and Japanese visitors.

We started off with a Community day in Lome were we learned from an NGO that deals with spreading the gospel of solar cookers in Togo. After an evening with lots of get-to-knows we had our final preparations for the conference. The Opening Ceremony was graced by a government official, after which we held a podium discussion regarding the Millenium Development Goals. In the afternoon we went to the University of Lome and held our colorful global village and impressed hundreds of university students with our diversity. The next 5 days were spent well in a nice hotel in Palime (yeeees, I am used to not having water and electricity by  now, but in over 30 degrees this reaches new dimensions of being annoyed). Part of the delegation discussed the strategic direction of our countries in Africa, the other half indulged in personal discovery, leadership discussions and practical experience of team work. Together we evaluated the Projects that are run and learned how to be as fast, savvy, smart, strong and sexy as possible in our work (see AIESEC Gen 2010). As always, fun and networking  are integral part of any AIESEC event!

I returned from my Togo trip with around 2,000 pictures and videos. This is just a small selection, but gives a good idea of what we did in the 10 days.

West Africa?? Hot, French vs. English, definitely worth another visit!

Thanks to everybody who contributed financially to making this trip happen!


22 Mar

The Africa Exchange and Leadership Development Seminar (AfroXLDS) 2010 is held in Togo.
I was chosen as one of the facilitators and for weeks I have been looking forward to the Trip and the experience.
Finally coming to Westafrica, seeing the home of my Togolese friends from IC, using my french again, inspiring and training the next generations of Leaders.

3 days of preparation and 7 days of Agenda were planned for this amazing conference.

After a major communication breakdown with our sponsoring airline, I realized on Friday morning that there is not only not a flight reserved for me, but also the direct flight to Lomé (which leaves only 3 days a week) is full. I would reach Addis Abeba (Ethiopia) but then?

Left with the two options of flying to Lagos (Nigeria) or Accra (Ghana) instead I started investigations on how to reach Lome from there. In the afternoon the news were that neither of the countries issue visa on arrival. Trusting in the flight agent that the Addis-Lome flight would open up and I could change my ticket once in Ethiopia I booked a ticket to Accra.
I informed the AIESECers in Ghana and Togo about the flight and started praying.

24 hours after leaving the University of Nairobi I am seated in a university hostel in Lomé with a plate of Pasta and the other Organizers and Facis from Ghana, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Mexico, Poland, France, Uganda and India.

Lessons from a crazy trip:

1. The long rains allways come at night… when you are searching for a cab with loads of luggage.
2. Ethiopian Airlines does not issue tickets at the airport on Sundays
3. Ghana DOES issue visa on arrival
4. Zain can roam in Ghana, MTN not.
5. Mzungu is called differently in Ghana.
6. You can travel in a car from Accra to Lagos (for less than 30 Euros)
7. A Togolese who does not know English and a Ghanean who does not speak French can still communicate in Ewe.
8. P Square sounds even cooler, when you driving on the right side of the road.
9. The neighbour in the car will ask latest after 2 hours how you see the difference between black and white boyfriends.
10. The Togolese immigration office is on the beach, consists of a desk under an ironsheet roof and operates without electricty.
11. Bodaboda drivers in Lomé dont have speed governours and helmets.
12. East is not West!

8 weeks of crazyness

20 Mar

Wow, I have not written in a looooooooooong time.
The last 8 weeks were really busy, so let me summarize what happened…


After the memorable Coast trip I ran for the Presidency of AIESEC in Kenya. The Elections gave the position to the current president to execute the role for another year.
These are just two sentences. They are short and do not at all explain the amount of talks I had with Alumni and members, weeks I worked on the strategies and emotions involved in the whole process. Especially the learning cannot be summarized, self awareness, speaking skills, playing smart, listening to whats behind the words.
Only people who went through a similar experience, can now nod their head wisely.

Thanks a million times to Emma and Gathu!


The idea of sitting at home or in the office without knowing whats next does not fit well to me. So Plan B had to be pursued with as much force but dignity as possible.

I visited the country, met members and leaders, interns and alumni. During the week I saw the potential and formed my vision. 3 Speeches later…
President of AIESEC in Uganda!
The 14th of February! Valentine’s Day! My new valentine, Uganda!!
I was proud, delighted and humbled. The amount of trust that is put into me, is incredible. Zu Deutsch “Vorschusslorbeeren”.

The last two weeks of February I went to Tunisia to attend AIESECs Global Leaders Summit (read more here), to learn on my new role, discuss the strategic direction of AIESEC. Of course also legislation (110 countries in one room), External Sessions (I met Robin from DHL again after nearly two years) and AI Elections had to happen to make IPM my so far contentwise best AIESEC Conference.


The last two weeks I was in Uganda, for the National Conference. Part of the agenda was to chose my MC team, meaning the people who will lead AIESEC Uganda with me from July. Out of 11 applicants I decided to work with 6 and open 2nd round applications for 3 more positions.
This team is soooo on point and every single individual really skilled and has great results to show!
Just a short summary of the Conference: We really lived the East African dream… Tanzania and Kenya had big delegations and lots of worldviews were challenged!

On the way back from Kampala I stopped for an LC Visit in Moi.

Right now I am sitting at the airport, waiting for my flight that will take me to Westafrica for AfroXLDS, the most important AIESEC Conference on the conference.
More about this trip and the conference later…

A very famous quote of Steve Jobs (link to video) really fits well to the ups and downs of the last 3 months.
“Looking back I can see the dots connecting!”
My time in Nairobi is exhausted and I will now get to know another country in East Africa. Quite probably that the impact I can bring in 1 year to Uganda will be much higher than to Kenya.
The personal learning that the new role in Uganda seems to be a lot higher and I cant wait to get to know another culture!

And the beauty of Uganda is hard to describe in one sentence and after only 3 weeks there. It is mystique, hot, jungle. The skin is darker, the sun hotter. More bananas, less stress.

Let me quote a guidebook:
“Uganda’s reputation as Africa’s Friendliest Country stems partly from the tradition of hospitality common to its culturally diverse populace, and partly from the remarkably low level of crime and hassle directed at tourists. But this amiable quality extends beyond the easygoing people. Uganda’s eco-friendliness is atte…sted to by the creation of six new national parks under the present administration, as well as a recent mushrooming of community-based eco-tourism projects at the grassroots level.
Uganda is where the East African savannah meets the West African jungle. Where else but in this impossibly lush country can one observe lions prowling the open plains in the morning and track chimpanzees through the rainforest undergrowth the same afternoon, then the next day navigate tropical channels teeming with hippo and crocs before setting off into the misty mountains to stare deep into the eyes of a mountain gorilla”

More later!!!

Uganda’s reputation as Africa’s Friendliest Country stems partly from the tradition of hospitality common to its culturally diverse populace, and partly from the remarkably low level of crime and hassle directed at tourists. But this amiable quality extends beyond the easygoing people. Uganda’s eco-friendliness is attested to by the creation of six new national parks under the present administration, as well as a recent mushrooming of community-based eco-tourism projects at the grassroots level.
Uganda is where the East African savannah meets the West African jungle. Where else but in this impossibly lush country can one observe lions prowling the open plains in the morning and track chimpanzees through the rainforest undergrowth the same afternoon, then the next day navigate tropical channels teeming with hippo and crocs before setting off into the misty mountains to stare deep into the eyes of a mountain gorilla