Linkedin Goes Wakanda.

“Talent is evenly distributed but not opportunity”.

This week Nairobi hosted a Linkedin chat forum at Villa Rosa Kempinksi Hotel. This event centred on a video fireside chat by Linkedin Co-Lead Allen Blue and the Vice President of Nigaria Pro Yemi Osinbajo, at Silicon Valley. This event dabbed “connecting the dots” was attended by mostly Africans if not African Americans.

It was amazing to note how well Africa can be represented at the bay area…….the heart of innovation in the world. Moderating the event was Thogori Karago, Linkedin head of R&D Africa.

The conversation at the bay area today towards Africa is changing. Our population keeps growing day in day out or I should say night in and night out. We have the largest number of young people, and so this brings the increase in talent. Nigeria for example, will be the third most populous nation by 2050. This is getting Silicon Valley really excited and Pro Yemi’s message was that “Africa is Open for Business”

He however reasons that Africa needs to strategize itself for this future, coming up with the best practice to train young people to prepare them for a technological future. Leverage on Ideas aimed at reducing poverty and making home environment more lucrative for investment.

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Broadband connectivity He said remains an obstacle to success in Nigeria and there is need to keep deepening it, funding and regulations were also mentioned as great hindrance to a technological future.

Pro Yemi also mentioned some of the things Nigeria is doing to improve this, among them was training the right people, attracting and retaining talent, as we have all witnessed in the bay area and all over the world; Talent always follows the money. Nigeria is making content downloading faster and cheap, movies are now available online and everywhere.

So while bracing for a technological future, Africa needs to plan for the youth population, in leadership ,commerce and mainly technology. Labour in Africa remains lower than China and African governments need to take advantage of that, and last but not least solving the skills gap. Talent is evenly distributed but not opportunity.

Linkedin For Good

Linkedin for good has been connecting underserved communities to economic opportunity. They have signed a 10 year agreement with World Bank to advice government and institutions on the relevant areas to train to make sure that the young people when they graduate, they don’t enter the job market with skills that were relevant 10 years back.

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The Linkedin African Team is now focusing on putting Africa on the map, on talent and technological advancement. The event at Silicon Valley was a global event focusing on Africa, to help African business, and to push the massege that Africa is Open For Business.

Linkedin African Team will in the future host different events aimed at boosting business growth, helping recruiters in taping on talent. Lookout for the Linkedin Learning.

 

 

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Cici Has Four Puppies.

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A pregnant dog’s instincts will help her respond and get through birthing puppies. The owner should be aware of how to help the dog to make sure that the mother dog and puppies are healthy and safe.

This was not the case when Cici gave birth the first time. It was a wet month in Nairobi, and she choose the worst location to deliver her puppies. With my sisters we tried to relocate her and the kids, we didn’t succeed the first time, the second time and the third. I was wondering what I would do, so we let it go for a few days and when she had finally had enough, she agreed to be moved but it was too late, we lost one puppy and one was very weak to survive.

Sadly we later leant that even the two puppies had died after we moved Cici, so we moved on and so did Cici. Bando, the male dog was still around and I think he did not waste time and Cici was expecting again a few months later. This February Cici gave birth again to four puppies.

I thought of doing an article on this event in Cici’s life, but I was scared what would happen, if it will be like the last time where we loose everything. My first step of faith was to move Bando upcountry, just to create more room for the kids to grow. My sister moved the puppies to the living room, so they enjoyed the light and i am sure they watched the television when they wanted to.

They roamed around the house as they wished, during the day we put them outside for the sun and they would feed while at it. My sisters put up with a lot of their troubles, sometimes I wonder if I would have managed it by myself. My mother dewormed them after six weeks and the whole house was in a mess. Its been four months now, the puppies are doing great.

I am sorry i am not the person to tell you how to care for an expecting dog and the puppies when they arrive, I had very little to do with that, but this experience has been my teacher too, just from a distance. But this few things I have for you:

Monitor the nursing puppies. Make sure the puppies are nursing every few hours during the first few weeks. They should eat every 2-4 hours at minimum. Happy puppies are sleeping puppies; if they are crying a lot, they may not be getting enough nutrition. Check for fat little bellies and clean coats to signal that they are well cared for.

  • Try weighing the puppies on a digital scale to make sure that they are gaining weight every day. Puppies should double their weight in the first week.
  • Do not disregard a puppy looking skinnier or less active than the other puppies. Just find ways of making sure that you give more care to them. You can give supplements.

Handle the puppies to socialize them. Puppies need healthy socialization to their new world, including introductions to people. Hold each puppy several times per day. Get the puppies accustomed to being touched everywhere on their bodies so that it will not seem strange when they are older.

Wait until your puppies are 8 weeks old before giving them away.  Our puppies are more that 8 weeks old now and we haven’t given them away. If you are selling or giving away the puppies, wait until they are 8 weeks old before handing them over to the new owners.

  • Puppies should be fully weaned and eating dog food on their own before they leave for a new home.
  • Starting a deworming and vaccination program is often recommended before the pup leaves.

I have said I may not be the expert for this, this I have observed from my little time with the puppies. There is a lot you can learn from just caring for this lovely creation, and with the caring, comes a lot of joy.

 

Mandhary mosque in Mombasa Old Town.

“As we journey through time remember: There are always two sides to history. The visible one – that which we see and admire, and the invisible one – that which stems our curiosity and enchantment”. 

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Mombasa Old Town is one of the historical tourist attractions on Mombasa Island. It is located on the southeast side of Mombasaa nd occupies an area of 180 acres. It is inhabited by a mix of local, Arab, Portuguese, Asian and British communities.

Mandhry Mosque (on of the oldest Mosque) is next to the Fort Jesus in Old Town,Not too far from Basheihk. The architecture recaptures a bygone era influenced by the African, Arabic and European cultures, from the narrow streets.

There are many curio shops that sell arts and crafts, antiques and popular Kenyan souvenirs, as you walk towards the Mosque.

Mandhry usually takes away the antiquity award from Basheihk owing to its written and dated records. The mosques does not disappoint in architecture either; the front yard takes an ornate seat-like shape regaled by calming ocean breeze.

Founded in 1570, Mandhry Mosque in the Old Town is the city’s oldest, and an excellent example of Swahili architecture, which combines the elegant flourishes of Arabic style with the comforting, geometric patterns of African design – note, for example, the gently rounded minaret. Not open to visitors.

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Butterfly Conservation at Haller Park.

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From far, its a beautiful house, small, in fact very small. It sits in a lavish green farm, one you couldn’t afford yourself. It surrounded as you can see with more green, with no glass windows and doors, its very inviting. You see it from far and want to just get close, then you want to get in then you want to live there, but then you are reminded that what you paid at the gate only lasts you for a day, and now that its 2pm, the day is running fast.

But maybe you would think a beautiful house with no owner? No, not this one, a middle aged man sits inside listening to some music coming out of his phone, his name…Peter Oruma. He has a pen and paper, apart from the phone off-course. Still on the table are lives, this am thinking are from a specific tree, different kinds, with plastic containers with the lids cut in the shape of a butterfly, there I have my answer. I might just have been jealous that Peter gets to spend his day in this place I want to call home, but even for him…..its not his place.

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This is the home of the butterflies. If Haller Park was a country for many animals, then where I am standing will be the butterflies province and this house would be the factory. Its impossible to imagine what goes on around here. In the first stage a girl butterfly lays eggs. A butterfly first starts out as an egg. A girl butterfly lays the eggs on a leaf. She lays the eggs really close together. The eggs are really small and round. About five days after the eggs are laid. A tiny worm-like creature will hatch from the egg.

 

A caterpillar is sometimes called larve. A caterpillar is a long creature. It looks like a worm. Most caterpillars have a cool pattern. This pattern has stripes or patches. The caterpillar is hungry once it has hatched. It starts to eat leaves and flowers. It eats these all the time. It first eats the leaf that it was born on. This is the eating and growing stage. All this happens here, in this small house.

So I understand the importance of this small house here at Haller Park. The house is of great help in making sure that butterflies are breading in a controlled environment that minimizes the risks. When you pay at the gate, Peter says; and you come in here, you should see the butterflies, and this house is here to make sure that you will be guaranteed to see them. Makes sense to me.

But then I ask if he studied somewhere, what is the scientific term Peter, of this thing that you do, we go to google very fast to just verify some term Peter said, but the surprising thing, he never studied in anywhere, it just passion, persistence and the love for the butterflies that has made him. Such an encouraging story for me, what greater love. Peter sends us to where he keeps the butterflies after they leave this small place and while we are there, we can only appreciate his contribution to their being alive.

Tell me how important your job is, tell me how hard you work, how you build the app that has revolutionized health care, how you open the highway with your heavy machines and keep the traffic flowing, how you are the judge that sends the bad guys to jail, or the police that arranges their appointment with the judge……tell me how important your job is…….and then I will tell you how important Peter’s Job is.

A Visit to Haller Park.

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It was really wet when we arrived in Mombasa. The weather APP said there will be rain the whole week, thanks to nature we managed two days of full sun on our one week stay. We were backpacking with my wife, very small budget and my birthday to think about, the plan was to enjoy small pleasures while we usher in my birthday on the 23rd of May. So our first stop on day one was Haller Park, they say this is the most visited place in Kenya.

We paid Ksh500 per person to visit this park, its green with water everywhere, you can feel the fresh air around. Amongst the things done here is restoration of the old quarry, keeping animals like Giraffe – which I was privileged to feed, Crocodiles swim innocently in their waters, fish nursery ,butterfly farm, hippo farm and many others. They also recycle old tyres to produce new energy.

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Fish Nursery

Everyday at 11am you can get an opportunity to feed the Giraffes and at 4pm when the Hippos are fed. We were not able to be there till evening so we took the morning opportunity of feeding the Giraffes.

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The food is Ks50 a pack

The park is surrounded by water bodies everywhere, its beautiful to just look around and admire how water brings nature to life. Lots of trees, lots of water and lots of monkeys.

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Home of the Crocodiles

This is also home of Mzee, the tortoise who is now 250 years and still going, we have also a Mzee crocodile who is 150 years. Lets just say animals here live to be very old. Mzee has been put in a protective care, in one place with a warthog and antelope, he has  cracks on his shell.

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This is Mzee

When you are here you will see how well we can conserve the mangroves. This special trees are under attack especially in this part of the coast. Because of its hard wood they are used in basically everything. At Haller Park, they are thriving really well and its good to just see them this way.

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Snakes also have found residence here, I hear they are fed on chicken and small birds. The big snake can eat two chickens in two weeks, and seat in a glass box just doing nothing. I don’t know if its a good thing not to witness them feeding, because what normally happens is that the chickens  are thrown into the glass box alive, the snake will kill the chicken, take a rest before they start to feed on them. I love watching it only on national geographic.

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They can really be innocent

When you see baby crocodile, I was telling my wife, you will not Imagine that one day they will grow so big and possibly eat somebody. Here the baby crocodile are separated from the old ones. I am sure the old crocodiles might want to feed on the baby crocodiles, i mean there are no guarantees in the animal kingdom. This babies are also not innocent, they can feed on you.

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This was my first time visiting Haller Park despite having lived and worked in Mombasa, but still felt like the best time…..with my wife on my side on my birthday, it couldn’t have been any better day for this. Am sure as you visit this place, you will enjoy the calm and peace we have enjoyed here.

Enjoy your travel, if you do.

The Spirit of Travel on Madaraka Express.

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The Madaraka express leaves Nairobi terminus at 2:30pm, we are on schedule. It is a beautiful day to fly but the train will do the work just fine. It will be 5 hours or 7:20pm local time is when we arrive in Mombasa terminus. Gone are the days, gone are the days…..I say to my self.

My first travel to Mombasa I had just finished high school, I was looking forward to something great, something of the future. Apart from me finishing school, something else had happened, that thing, that threatened to get me in a police cell was the reason my mother put me in a Mombasa bound bus. But I tell you, this is a story for another day.

A while back it took many hours to travel to this coastal town, to a common man whom flying was unthinkable luxury, they had to put in the time. Today things are different, thanks to the debt hole we as a country dug for ourselves. Its a fact that for at $5.6m per kilometre for the track alone, Kenya’s railway line cost close to three times the international standard and four times the original estimate.

So it is perhaps not surprising that Kenyans have been asking why they seem to have paid so much. But that is a story for another day, today I just want to have a feel of this mega expensive project. Luckily the damage for me is kshs2.1 per kilometre and I want to see if every shilling counts. Its a slow start from Nairobi, suddenly the Athi River station is behind us, we head to Emali. This is an express train so we are not stopping at the small stations.

The guys hawking the snacks are live, in-fact my feeling is that food is the business not travel. At this point I don’t like my  aisle seat, with my wife seated on the opposite row its difficult to be affectionate when people are busy on the move. The seats are not very comfortable but never mind if you booked on second class, first class would be better. But the people making the seats should have done better I think.

By the time we arrive in Emali i am already on my feet. My wife is even making fun of me, my body has had enough already. I am also wondering if the train can be faster, maybe maintain 114km per hour for at-least two hours. But never mind me, I am not a train captain and I even don’t know how it works.

At some point we meet with the train that left Mombasa at 3:30pm, then the train slows down as we approach Tsavo, and at this point we are able to spot some elephants and other wild animals from a distance.

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The train keeps rolling and sunset engulf us, and I know we should be approaching Mariakani then Mombasa our last station.  Our speed reduces to 34 KM an hour as we pass Mariakani station, headed to our last Station. We arrive Mombasa terminus 7:20pm, I am still standing. I have been standing better part of the way.

A sea of humanity pour out of the train to the empty station, the smell of Mombasa, the heat welcomes us with a smile. The weather app said there will be rain, it lied. Finding ourselves to our respective mode of transportation to the city, I think about how things have changed for the traveller.

One of my seat mate on the train is a frequent traveller between Nairobi and Mombasa, and he finds the train really useful. This means that when the government does things that improve the life and work of its citizen, they thrive. I agree with many that the government should have done more, done better, but for now “it is what it is”

The Horseshoe on the Car.

“Because horseshoes are tools designed to protect the horse’s fragile hooves from the harsh paved roads – so they protect everything they touch”.

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My first car had it and now my second car has it, It is in my house and I have given it to my sister and it hangs in her kitchen. My wife and my friend don’t understand whats up with the horseshoe, she expressed her shock when she saw it on the car.

Many believe the origin of the lucky horseshoe can be traced back to an old legend about Saint Dunstan.

Saint Dunstan (924-988) is the patron saint of blacksmiths, goldsmiths, jewellers, locksmiths, musicians and the blind. He was a reformer, statesman, abbot, and archbishop of the tenth century in England. The feast day of Saint Dunstan is May 19th.

There are several very old legends about Saint Dunstan and the Devil. Most stories tell the tale of how Saint Dunstan constantly was tempted to do wrong by the Devil disguised as a beautiful woman.

Saint Dunstan was a brilliant blacksmith. One story refers to his exceptional talent as a blacksmith. The Devil was hard at work trying to win Saint Dunstan over. On one occasion the Devil cornered Saint Dunstan and made him promise to nail a horseshoe on the Devil’s horse.

Saint Dunstan pretended to agree on taking on this task. The devil stood close by to make sure Saint Dunstan was true to his word. Saint Dunstan then suddenly grabbed hold of the Devil’s foot and with strong determination nailed the horseshoe on the foot of the Devil instead of his horse.

The devil screamed as the pain was horrific. The Devil in extreme agony begged Saint Dunstan to remove the horseshoe.

Saint Dunstan agreed to remove the horseshoe from the Devil’s foot under one condition; the devil was to swear never to enter any house that had a horseshoe hanging by the door. The Devil agreed instantly.

Where I come from people have different beliefs but horseshoes is not one of them, but on the other side we are integrated by the Asian community, very open, very different, very horseshoes believers.

A brand new shoe hasn’t protected anything yet, while an old worn out one has done its job and can move on to spreading luck somewhere else. We’ve had people knock on our door asking if we had an old horseshoe to put on their new cars!

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But there are other more convoluted “rules” to make sure the horseshoe is as lucky as possible:

  • It must be have been worn by a horse previously, as I said already, and the longer the better. You can tell a shoe that stayed on for a long time from one that was lost soon after applying because it will have nearly paper thin areas, ragged edges, scrapes, bumps and a good deal of rust on only one side (the one NOT touching the ground). Grungy is lucky!
  • The shoe must be nailed with the open side up (like the letter “U”) otherwise the “luck will fall off” and be wasted. Best if nailed above a door or in the front bumper of a vehicle; something about the shoe being the first thing one sees when getting home and the first part the vehicle that arrives anywhere.
  • The luckiest of all lucky horseshoes come from the LEFT HIND foot of a GREY MARE (female horse). Don’t ask me where that one comes from, it’s just tradition.

That is why the horseshoe forever more will keep evil out of the home, according to this old legend. No matter what the reasons may be there is no doubt that the horseshoe remains an everlasting symbol of good luck.

Do you have your own good luck horseshoe?