Wednesday, January 27, 2010

ADVANCED MOSQUITOLOGY

I am concerned about the rising number of hate mail that I receive every week from people complaining that I waste their time every week as they read my 'nonsensical' column on my blog, if you can imagine. The internet has jillion zillion pages and someone sits at his or her computer, stealing an employer's time, reads this nonsensical column and then writes me hate mail vividly re-writing the parts that did not please him. So I have decided to go back to school and complete what I began to study from the beginning which I believe had nothing to do with human beings. I want to take a Master's degree in Mosquito Psychology. Now keep your hate mail. I am not goofing on this one.

The reason I am taking the course is first so that I may understand how a mosquito's mind has developed and hopefully anticipate how far it is going to develop before I finally get tired of this life and call it quits. I am saying this because today's mosquitoes are not the same insects we knew in the 90s. In the 90s mosquitoes used to hang around marshes and pools of water and rivers to keep us from fishing. They would bite you like ten of them in a row and we used to carry pieces of newspapers and fwaaap! And you would kill all ten with no escapee.

Today, they are in our houses and they get to decide whether we will sleep in our beds or not. We have tried nets and insecticides and just this week I have seen a television advert where they are now being electrocuted! We are yet to test electrocution, but we will all agree that we might be losing the battle. Which is why the other day I went to a blacksmith and asked him to make me a 'STOP' sign - like the one we see in advertisements and put it at my bedroom door hoping the mosquitoes would read the sign and stay out of my bedroom. It turned out that my household terrorists are not as cutting edge as those on the advert. It could also turn out that I have the wrong size of 'STOP' sign seeing us how TV stations are fighting for our attention and I hop from one station to the next as soon as there is even a whiff of an advert coming. I admit I could have missed the whole relationship between the road sign and the mosquito.

The mosquitoes have learnt that we keep them out of our houses by closing windows and doors and now when they go outside to feed on grass sap (apparently they also need vitamins),they feed as close as possible to the house and they get in as soon as they sense that you are about to close the windows. I have tried this trick and now we are down to closing the windows at 9 A.M. after opening them at 8 A.M.

In the house they no longer zing and hang around lamps. No. They now hide on the carpet so that if they get thirsty, they pounce on your feet and are first asleep back on the carpet by the time you think of using the fwap method. Others prefer 'resting blood' and so they hide in your hair and wait for you to fall asleep under a mosquito net and they start gnawing at your head and you can almost hear them laughing at the idea of a mosquito net. You wake up the following morning swearing about suing mosquito net companies that do not have the necessary quality marks. So the mosquito net companies add 'dawa' to the nets and mosquitoes go hungry for a night and they create a task force on the 'dawa' and the next thing you know is that they have decided to invade you from under the mattress and they'll eat it if they have to. I am very afraid of this option and I am weighing the cost of being chewed by a mosquito (bloodwise and discomfort) vs buying a mattress every two weeks and I am yet to make up my mind.

So now you know the reason I am going back to school. Even though I enjoy reading your hate mail, we have a disaster waiting to happen to all of us as citizens of this our beloved country and it is imperative that I take this serious course and even if I might find all of you decimated by gangs of these advanced mosquitoes,I might save myself and the coming generations. I have been assured that where I am going to take the course, mosquitoes consider it the 'Somali Waters' of mosquitoes and they do not venture there unless they be on suicidal missions!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

MWAKWERE'S 2010 PLEASANT SURPRISE

Hon Mwakwere is an entertaining man and should this country ever need the Ministry of Entertainment we shall not need to look far for its Minister. This is a man who gets 'disappointed' when a ferry stalls and 'pleasantly surprised' when a ferry, purely by chance, belches people onto Mombasa Island or the South Coast. Speaking with a smirk on his face about the pleasant surprise of not seeing approximately 5000 Kenyans (a large proportion being his constituents) being turned into fish food within secs, he revealed that it would be no little thrill for him.

Though for Mwakwere a stalled ferry only makes him a little disenchanted, the pictures that go on in the mind of a passenger on a stalled ferry can kill him (the passenger) even before the humongous vessel goes down. He imagines the middle part of his body in the mouth of a shark, a whale zooming straight for his head and a giant octopus wrapping its arms around his legs, making a nice little package of human legs and octopus meat for an on coming sea lion!

Mwakwere behaves as though he has developed a very deep relationship with each of the ferries, as in;

Mwakwere: Hey! you MV Nyayo, you have stalled for the last 15mins and if you don't start right this minute I am going to use this soldering iron on your insides.

'And you MV something, do you see this sledgehammer, I am going to use it break you into tiny little bits!'

'You MV whatever, don't even make me get started thinking about you'.

Then back to MV Nyayo, (which must be the most notorious, hitting the headlines every now and then) 'Look baby gal, I know you should have been replaced 20 years ago and you are honestly overworked. We are getting you a replacement this March. This time 'we' (meaning 'them') mean it. Aren't we lucky to have a career diplomat dealing with the now obviously pissed off ferries?

NOTE: The German government is waiting for a ferry to go down so that they can come and create a dense cloud of jets delivering blankets and food and medicine and stuff for the victims of the ill fated ferry so that 'they can show their solidarity with and support for the Kenyan people during this difficult period'.

I am not expecting the German government to come with ferries and say, 'Here, have some ferries'. No. At least the last time I checked I was not that naive and I know that ferries cost truck loads of quid. So I have a plan. We can give in pledge some of our national assets (read liabilities) to the German government, which even if the Germans held for centuries, Kenya would still run normally. Here is a list;

1) The Minister for Transport and his entire Ministry. Mwakwere has time and again stressed that when it comes to roads and traffic and rules and accidents, we are entirely on our own.

2) The Minister for Finance and the whole Treasury. It would give the Ministry a good break for a refresher course in typing seeing as how they almost gave this country a mass Heart Failure with Kshs9 billion worth of typing errors. And what a better place to train than in Germany with their long words, for example the word dog translates into Deutscher Schäferhund.

3) The Chief Justice

4) The Attorney General

Considering that the German Government is not stupid and might ask for something valuable, we would grudgingly give them the Speaker, Hon. Marende. This will surely cause some ripples in the country because we would be left with a chaotic parliament and lets face it, Marende does know how to reign in his men and women when need arises which is 24/7. And don't even think about closing the parliament for a day longer than the MPs have planned to get back. What with the all important debate coming up as soon as the house opens on increasing the MPs salaries and allowances. So it will be quite a loss to have Marende in Germany until the ferries are delivered but if that is what it will take to deliver properly working ferries to our Coast brothers and sisters, so be it.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

THE APPRENTICE IN ME

I love the apprentice show on TV and it is a high time for the TV guys to bring back the programme. At least it stimulates my brain to wholesome thinking, if you know what I am talking about. After being bombarded with local TV programs that to say the least keep me away from my box rather than glue me to it, we need something worth the while especially in a new year. I hope that those involved in the industry will see the point of sending some local programs to hell. I like watching the Apprentice show because it reminds me of when I was once a business management apprentice myself hahaha! That answers some of you who have been sending me insulting emails asking whether I have ever seen the inside of a classroom.

Like many apprentices we see on the show, I was fired before I was hired. That is how I ended up writing a silly column.

So we went to this apprenticeship- six of us straight from college. They told us that we were the best. That we would be trained to become business managers. They promised us that we would never be broke another day in our lives.

We were bussed into some exclusive place. I was excited because I was here not for brains but as a result of a typo. The computer just got hold of my name and it would not let go. We carried expensive suitcases. I kept checking whether mine was still in the bus after every stop. It is the kind of suitcase you want to keep for your children to show them the fruits of 'hard work' so that you can keep reminding them that a good life is not their right. Even though I will show it to them and claim hard work, it is all the fruit of a computer error. And don't you remind me of students who are now taking tough courses at the University because of a computer error with the KNEC two years ago. I got you marked. When I go to see a doctor I will demand that he tells me when he sat his KCSE and if he falls into that year, I will refuse to be checked out by him.

Sorry about that little yap but we can't base our faith in comps that much. Anyway, we were driven straight to the apprentice building and when we got off the bus, we were greeted by this burly and surly guy from up the balcony of the building.

'Hi guys, here's your first assignment. On the neat grass lawn you are standing are a billion bean seeds which you must collect and count and not one seed should be found and you complete the task before dusk'

With such a welcome note, you want to go back and start your Master's Degree immediately and hope that the reception will be more respectful next time. At the apprenticeship, you are bullied not by your colleagues but by the boss himself and there is no where to run to. After the initial shock, we started thinking and one of us suggested that we write a strategic plan for the task, then a mission statement and from there an action plan. I was the only one who was amused by the whole plan because, remember I was here courtesy of a typo and never been to a business class. While he was still on the suggestion, we had already collected several bucketfuls of beans. We thought it better to collect the beans and then count them. But referring to Michuki's encyclopaedia, I said we needed 31 years to count a billion and what a great motivator that was! We didn't obviously finish the task and we were told that the management was not sure there were a billion beans and the whole exercise was meant to test a skill which I can't remember what they called it. Me, I call it the skill of wasting time and believe you me we scored an 'A.'

On our second assignment (get ready), we were going to hawk on the streets of Nairobi, at Kshs1000 some musical cockroaches from Madagascar! We were told that the female cockroaches wax musical during the mating season. We were given 300 pairs per person to sell before dusk. So we hit the road with little boxes of pairs of roaches. Without even knowing whether they were male or female or whether it was the mating season. The strategic plan guy sat to write his strategic plan. I approached my first client along Tom Mboya Street, as cheerful as I could be:

Me: Hi, I got some cockroaches from Madagascar. They make music in the mating season. I will let you have them for Kshs1000

Client 1: You are a fool

Me to client No.2 (hoping that the other guy was just in a foul mood):Hi I am selling these little cockroaches from Madagascar. They sing lullabies for little children.

Client No.2 (looking at the sample): Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack (doing a Usain Bolt).

At that point I wanted out. I thought that if they had given me some venomous little spiders I could at least threaten a potential customer;
'Stand right there or I will let these spiders free from this little cage!' I would shout and the customer would buy as many as I wanted to just get out of my sight. Only the strategic guy sold all the pairs. I now agree that all those strategic things and action plans do work in real life situations and are not just theories.

I have a suggestion for Business Management Apprenticeship. The would be employer would do well to train the young business people how to wear their aesthetic eye glasses at intimidating angles, how to frown at departmental heads who have been doing their thing for decades, when to tap the pen with their fingers and when to roll it, indicating deep thought even when they mean that the departmental heads might as well be speaking Latin or another dead language, when to shout at hapless employees for no fault of their own and when to kick some little furry pets on their sides for no reason at all. After all, Isn't this what managers do?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

WHEN INSECTS MAKE YOU MENTAL

I have these insects that have erected their nests (or what do you call insect housing?) in my bed. They have decided that they are going to eat it down from below and when I discovered how they have been slowly sawing my bed, I was not just unnerved, I became hysterical!

My mind raced through the options and the first one was to call Hon. Ruto, the Minister for Agriculture. I remembered that it is his Ministry that deals with issues insects. The most scary thing that came to mind was what they would do to the mattress and even worse to me when they start sawing through my bones.

So I called the Ministry and when I asked to talk to Hon. Ruto, and explained what my problem was, the person who answered the call advised me to call the Ministry of Livestock. I forgot the name of the Minister but asked to talk to him anyway but I was told he was only dealing with pastoralists at the time. If I tell you that my heart sank, I will be lying. I was alarmed, worse because the government no longer publishes a poster that the former regime used to publish that had all the names and photographs of Ministers. That meant looking for the 2008 newspaper that had the names of the Ministers of this bloated government only to realize that I had set it on fire in defiance of the grand coalition.

If I had not found a caption where the reporter had been kind enough to include the information that the Vice President S.K. Musyoka is also the Minister for Home Affairs, I would have been sawn through by now by the messengers of destruction that were sawing my bed. I was delighted to nail the right Minister since my problem was more of a home affair than an agricultural or livestock one.

By this time I was nearing breaking point. The phone rang several times and was later answered by a kind hearted lady who listened carefully and advised me to order a new bed from Kamiti Maximum Prisons. What the lady was advising me to do was to buy a higher quality bed for the insects to saw through. If this lady had been at the emergency calls when the Titanic went down, she probably would have asked a fearful voyager;

Lady: What is the colour of your seat?
Voyager: Orange
Lady: Get a green one!

The next person I could think of to help me was the Prime Minister but what was his phone number? And with this Mau Forest issue, I didn't want to bog down him with the petty details of my bed. The last person I could think of calling was my mother. Guess what? She was a great help - for a time. She advised me to douse my bed with paraffin and the insects died in their thousands. The result of it is that I was exiled from my bedroom to the living room for the following two weeks by the paraffin.

Two days after I went back to my bedroom, I noticed some saw dust on the floor. The little monsters were back! At night I didn't sleep because they were drilling the bed. I applied paraffin but they seemed to have carried gas masks and paraffin was not working anymore. What should I do? I have a strategy now which is to just let them eat the bed and I will kill them in one swoop when I fall on them riding on the mattress. Hahaha.