Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category


Sometimes, momentous events take place on random, ordinary days. Not the first of the month, or the day before your birthday, or the day of a major terrorist attack. Just a random, unremarkable day. But that may be the day that changes your life.

That decision that you have been thinking about, but felt unprepared for, or that you have felt things were not in place for yet. But time has been passing and the situation has not changed, or has gotten worse.

So one random, unremarkable day you hear something, or read something and you just decide. You make a decision to act. And you do. 

And your life is never the same again.

Yesterday, I decided.

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Do It!

Hello dear reader!
You still there? Did you give up on me?

This post is going to be a bit random.
I turned 40 over one and a half years ago, (and I didn’t even post here about it!) and as seems to happen around that time and after in people’s lives, I have had opportunity to think about (my) life.

I have realised that I’m one of those people who gets ideas about something, then overthinks it and eventually the zeal dies away and the thing does not get done.

I think it’s one of the reasons I have not been blogging here as often as is possible. It’s not that I don’t have things to say, I often think of things to write, then I think of how I should compose it and so on, then I don’t get round to actually doing it and the many thoughts I had go away. And time goes away too.

Today, I read someone’s update on Facebook. It said something like ‘Do something today, that you will be happy about in a year.’

I recently also listened to a Ted Talk (I think. I’m not sure because it was my wife watching it on her phone and I was just hearing it). The talk was about procrastinators (like myself). It said procrastinators usually get to do things in a panic at the last minute before a deadline, so they *do* get to (barely) meet deadlines. However, there are things in life without a deadline (such as eating healthy, exercise, building wealth), so unless conscious effort is made, these things will remain undone, and the effects will be seen later.

So I have decided to take action. That is the reason I am actually writing this directly on my blog, as opposed to first composing it nicely offline, then editing it, then looking for appropriate images, then eventually (not) posting.

Moral of the story: Do it. Take action. Start now.


“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” – Wayne Gretzky


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Show – In this case, The Nairobi International Trade Fair. It used to be called the Nairobi Show.
Bodaboda – motorbikes that carry passengers usually short distances – up to maybe 6 kilometres

The chaos started just as the matatu (public service van) slowed down at the stop, even before it actually stopped. The motorbike guys, upon seeing me with a child, immediately started offering to take us to “Show ndani.” (into the Show) There were also some guys selling balloons.
No, No, I said making my way past them, but encountering many more motorbike guys.
“Do you have a helmet?” I asked.
“Yes. ”
“How many?”
“No thanks.”
I looked at the many motorbikes there and did not see any with two helmets.
Just the same morning, my wife had told me how a colleague of hers encountered an accident. There was a motorbike rider and his passenger. The motorbike rider had been wearing a helmet, while his passenger had not. The motorbike was nursing a leg injury. The passenger was not nursing anything, chiefly because his head had split open.

One rider followed us and made his offer as well.
“Do you have a helmet?”
“How many?”
Moja aje na tuko watatu?” (How do you have one and there’s three of us?)
“Helmet ni wewe ndio utavaa mtoi hatavaa na ni hapa tu.
(It’s you who will wear the helmet, not the child and we are going just here.)
Later, I wondered if that guy has a child.
I told him to bring his bike, since it seemed no one had more than one helmet.
When he arrived, I gave the helmet to Amor, told the rider to go slowly and off we went. We arrived without incident and the rider set us down at a place near a sign saying ‘No Bodabodas beyond this point.’

There were VERY MANY people around, a good number of whom were pupils in school uniform. It turned out we still had a bit of a walk to reach the gates.
Again, predictably, there were guys selling things for children – mainly balloons and shades.
“Buy this one that matches what she is wearing”
The balloons were those long ones that had been blown and twisted and had a loop. A number of the sellers placed the balloons on Amor’s head. I firmly refused to buy. I asked Amor if she wanted any of those things and she said no.
I bought two bottles of water, though.
At various points, we passed groups of the uniformed pupils forming lines and holding hands. I remembered what my wife had told me, that when they were young and used to go to the show, they would be told to hold hands or they would get lost.
I told Amor, “If you get lost, or if I get lost,” (I added this because it’s a matter of perspective, isn’t it?), “don’t start looking for me. Just stay where you are until I come find you. Do you hear?”
“What did I say?”
“If I get lost and you get lost, I don’t start looking for you. I just stay where I am until you come find me.”
“Good. Because if you start looking for me and I start looking for you, you may be going like this,” (I moved one hand in a semi-circle) “and I am going like that,” (I moved my other hand in a semi-circle away from the first hand) “and we don’t find each other.
I will go back to the places we have been until I find you.”

We queued for a security check and queued again for tickets, but both queues moved pretty quickly. Ticket prices were 300/- for adult and 250/- for a child. Then we were in.

Almost immediately, Amor asked me “Wapi pahali pa kucheza?” (Where are the places for playing?)
I decided that since we were late (it was maybe a few minutes to 2:00 p.m.) we should start with the fun fair, so that if we run out of time, at least we will have done that.
So off we went to try and locate the places for playing.

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This post has been lying in my flash disk for over one year. And I call myself a blogger. The info should still be reasonably current. I have updated where I can.


This blog is named Baba Amor, so I think there should be a bit more content related to the said Amor. When I get to spend time with Amor, one of the issues I usually need to consider is where to take her. So I decided to write a blog post about places to go in Nairobi.

* Children’s World
This indoor play area at Adams’ Arcade used to have slides, tunnel slides, pools of balls, places to climb, a theatre, books. Charges used to be 250/- an hour, but sadly, it closed.

A similar place opened at The Galleria Mall. It is smaller and charges 500/- an hour



It has small slides, zip line, trampoline, ball pool, carts
I think this place is more suitable for younger children up to maybe 6.
Train ride available in the parking lot at 200/- I think, for a ride of about 5 minutes.


I think they now also have small boats on an inflatable pool in the parking area.

* The Hood
Has swings and trampoline.
Strictly speaking, it may be illegal to have children in a place selling alcohol.

* Prestige Plaza

Prestige Plaza has different things at different times. The more or less constant ones are a merry-go-round and one of those ‘obstacle’ course things (below). I have once taken Amor there for roller-blade lessons. I think it was 300/- or 500/- for half an hour.



Star Jump is usually available.

Sometimes there are events there which may charge separately.


* Uhuru Park
From the days of my childhood, the Uhuru Park boats are still there.
Boat ride is – 150/- for 30 minutes. I think it went up to 200/-

There are other rides such as bouncing (bouncy?) castle and merry go-round offered independently and you pay for each.


There are those (once battery-operated) cars that the child sits in and is pushed – 50/- for about 5 minutes (one is shown below under Luna Park that is still battery-operated). The first time I went there with my then girlfriend now wife, she was worried that the guy pushing the car could run off and disappear with Amor. I was amused.
Horse ride is – 100/-
Camel ride should be 100/- also

Be warned that as soon as you are spotted with a child, you will likely be swarmed by people selling toys – balloons, whistles, shades and offering face-painting, photos that will be printed before you leave and so on.

* Luna(r?) Park
Just next to Uhuru Park is Luna Park.
It has mainly electric rides and each costs about 200/-
Dodge’em cars
Ferris wheel
Boats on an inflatable pool



This car is still remote-controlled. The Uhuru Park ones are usually pushed by the operators.



The horrifying Banana Boat – it scares adults

Luna Park tends to be more expensive than Uhuru Park

* Jolly Roger

Jolly Roger is in Karen, off Lang’ata Road near Mamba Village

You pay an entry fee – 200/-? per person and you can access all play areas. You may not carry in your food, but must buy from the establishment if you want to eat.
It has a small pool, water slide, swings, bouncing castle.

Amor *loved* this water slide

Amor *loved* this water slide

* Swimming

There are many places to swim.
Kilimani Kivu Last time I was there it was I think 400/= per adult and 200/- for children
Ministry of Works
Methodist Guest House – tends to be very crowded, but I heard they increased their rates so maybe the crowds thinned.
Rowallan Camp near Jamhuri Showground – I think it is 150/= for adults and 100/= for children
We once went to Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital on Othaya Road specifically for Amor to play there. 🙂

*Upper Hill Springs

I have not looked at the play facilities there for a while. There used to be swings and slides and a bouncing castle.

* The Junction and TRM

There also have play areas and I think they charge 1,000/= per child, but I have not been there

I’d be glad to hear of the places you go. Or went when you were a child 🙂

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Some background.
I got a Samsung Galaxy Y-Pro Duos in Sept 2012.
In May 2013, I won a new phone by cracking a cipher.
After several delays (the friend who was giving away the phone lives outside Kenya) I finally collected the new phone from our mutual friend George (of Half-Marathon fame). It was a Samsung Galaxy SIII.

After getting home and taking a few pictures, I opened the box, looked at the quick start guide and opened the phone to put in my SIM Card.

IMG_9861Alas! My SIM card did not fit. The quick start guide had said that the phone takes a microSIM card only. What to do, what to do? I Googled and found that you can cut the SIM card yourself. Or buy a SIM cutter on EBay. I called my wife to ask her to pass by a phone shop and ask them if they cut SIM cards to microSIMs. She said she would call a friend who also has/had an SIII and find out what she had sone about SIM cards. She said the friend got hers cut at a Safaricom shop. Another friend also said they got their SIM card cut for them for 100/-.

After watching a video and reading a few articles that gave the dimensions of a microSIM, I went ahead and cut the SIM card myself. After a few attempts and further trimming, I successfully slid (shoved?) it into the new phone. Yay!
I switched on the phone and ‘No SIM card,’ it said.
Tried again. No SIM card. Pushed it further in.
No SIM Card…
Looks like I will have to wait for tomorrow after all.

I put the SIM card back in the Y Pro and got varying results as I moved it from one SIM card slot to the other – sometimes the phone would ‘see’ it, sometimes it would not.

Transfer of contacts.
I finally got the YPro to see the SIM card. I copied all the contacts that were on the SIM card to the phone.
I Googled again and found that there were software applications that allow you to easily transfer stuff from one phone to another. Having once downloaded Samsung’s own Kies software, I tried installing it on my computer to transfer via my phone. The installation could not continue because the computer did not have an Internet connection. Bah.

Then I remembered seeing ‘Send Namecard via’ on the Y Pro.
I went to it and saw that one of the options was via Bluetooth. What’s more, there was an option for Select All! I did not need to send the contacts one by one.

I connected the two phones via Bluetooth, shared the contacts and voila! All the contacts were transferred! I had feared that it would take a while since I was transferring many contacts (over 400, I think), but it took only a few seconds.

I got a microSIM and an adapter from Safaricom for KShs 100/-, I think. The adapter is to be used if I want to use the microSIM with a phone that takes the larger, regular-sized SIM cards.

160MB to 16GB
The SIII has 16GB memory, while the YPro has 160MB (excluding the memory card that some apps do not use). That is 100 times as much space! No more warnings that I am running out of space. No more having to choose which apps to delete to install a new one. Now more having to uninstall and reinstall apps just to get an updated version (Updates used to fail because of insufficient space). Naturally, I was elated!

Some things I was now able to enjoy:
I installed Handcent SMS

  • allows you to attach a contact as plain text not business card
  • has the option to delay sending a message lest you spot an error or decide you are being rude and want to rephrase


  • I liked that you could set a repeating event to something like ‘Every third Sunday’ instead of the calendar picking the same date every month
  • It also offers customised reminder time, instead of forcing you to select from predetermined options

Tells % of battery charge remaining
The Y Pro Duos would only tell you the percentage when charging.

Now, I wanted a cover for the new phone.

Phone shop at Karen
Flip cover – KShs 2,500/=
Base cover – 1,000/= (the kind that covers only the back and sides of the phone)

Phone shop inside Nakumatt Karen
Flip – 2,500/=
Base – out of stock

Bright Technologies, Kimathi Avenue
Flip – 2,500/=

Moi Avenue near the Nation Couriers office
Flip – 1,500/=
Base – 700/=

Discount? 1,200/=
Of course I took the cover.

How much to put protective film on the face of the phone?
There was another client present who was lamenting about bubbles on the film that had been put for him. It was being redone for him. I asked if I would get a well-done job.
The shop guy offered to put the film put for free!
So I got a flip cover and film for 1,200/- only!

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Let’s talk about a billion shillings, shall we? (Throughout this post, you can change ‘shillings’ to ‘dollars’ or ‘pounds’ or whichever currency you like. But not Zimbabwe dollars. A billion Zimbabwe dollars is/was not worth much.)

A billion is 1 with nine zeros after it. That is 1,000,000,000.
A billion shillings is a lot of money.

If you found 1 billion shillings and you were afraid to put it in the bank because that would attract questions about how you obtained the money, and you therefore simply kept the billion under your mattress, you would live well.

If you spent 1 million shillings out of that stash every month, you would be able to live that way for 1,000 months. That is one thousand months. That is 83 years and 3 months. Eighty-three years! Without investing this money at all, so every month, as you pull out a million shillings for your monthly upkeep, the money reduces.
So, if you found this money in March 2014, you would finish it in June 2097.
Pause there and think about that for a moment:
One million shillings a month until June of the year 2097.

Now, supposing you obtained the billion shillings legitimately and were not afraid of investing the money.
With a billion shillings, you can put the money in the bank and get a good interest rate.
But let us assume you got a mean bank that only gave you six per cent (6%) interest per year.
That means that each year, the bank would give you 6% of 1 billion, which is 60,000,000 shillings. That is sixty million shillings per year.
Divide that by twelve to find out your monthly earnings and you get 5,000,000/- per month.
Five million shillings per month.

You will be able to spend 5 million shillings per month, from the interest alone, that is, without you touching the original billion shillings.
Since your principal (the one billion shillings) remains untouched, you will be able to spend 5 million shillings per month for ever, way past June 2097. Or until 5 million shillings per month becomes too little.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is what one billion shillings means. So next time you hear someone is worth a few billion dollars, remember this post 🙂

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Part I is here.

The room was rather small, or at least smaller than I expected – maybe 15 feet (4.5 metres) across and 25 feet (7.5 metres) in length. It had wood panelling all round, except the right side, (if you were facing the front), which had windows.  There were six rows of benches for the public, with a centre aisle splitting each. Maybe 10 people could sit on each row. The place for the public door had a bench on only one side, so the total audience capacity was maybe 55 people. At the front, there were two tables that could be used from the front row. In front of that on the left was the witness stand and on the right was a table for the court clerk. A large elevated desk spanned most of the width of the room and three seats faced that desk and the room.

No, I'm not taking drawing jobs at the moment :-)

No, I’m not taking drawing jobs at the moment 🙂

When I got in, there were about 12 people in court. My lawyer finally showed up at 9:15 a.m. The judge came in at 9:45 a.m. The court clerk read out the various cases that were to be heard that day, and the parties in the cases either confirmed that they were ready, or not, and got new dates or further direction if necessary.
The lawyer standing in for that of the defendant in my case claimed that the defendant’s lawyer had another case in the High Court. My lawyer said that the Industrial Court was at the same level as the High Court, so that was not a reason to not be present. Further, they had been aware of this court date and had accepted it. He asked the court to order that the defence lawyer pay him for his time and me for my fuel in coming to court. The judge so ordered. We got a new date and by 10:20 a.m., my matter was done.
My lawyer said to me that such delays were tactics used by those who felt they had a weak case.

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I watched the unveiling of the Slimpossible Season 4 contestants. There were 10 men and 11 women. I commend the organisers for making the show livelier. This was one of the things I thought needed to be done. They used to be so serious! This time, the contestants had short video clips introducing themselves and in the unveiling show, they came onto the catwalk dancing  and generally making fun.
The contestants seem younger than in previous years, and quite heavy. One guy was even 176 kilos (388 pounds), but he seemed rather tall, so maybe he was not as far from his ideal weight as some of the others who weighed less.

The “weigh” he was Camp America commandant los...

The “weigh” he was Camp America commandant loses more than 50 pounds with help from friends Army Sgt. 1st Class Danny Carreras, Sgt. 1st Class Guillermo Santiago and Master Sgt. Orlando Negron of Headquarters and Headquarters Company of 525th Military Police Battalion, walk as part of a daily exercise routine to promote health and lose weight. – JTF Guantanamo photo by Army Spc. David McLean (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At the auditions, there was a lady of 20 who weighed 100 or 101 kilos. She was with her mother who weighed, 97 kilos. No, it’s not genetics, it’s bad eating habits taught by mother to daughter.

This season also had a Doctor who weighed 120kg (264 pounds). At 41, he was the oldest competitor. His wife won last season of Slimpossible. I did not watch the final episode of the last season, but I later saw or heard comments that the husband of the lady who had won was quite big himself. So he showed up this year and became one of the competitors. I felt this was inappropriate. After winning the competition last year, could the wife not simply apply the things she learnt during the competition in her own home and help the husband lose weight? And doesn’t a doctor know how to lose weight? But maybe he is not a medical doctor.

Also at the auditions, there was a guy in his thirties, I think, who weighed 127 kg. He said he had had three heart attacks due to his weight. He also said that ‘surprisingly’ his weight kept going up. Surprisingly? The show host, Lilian Muli-Kanene,  said the guy had not been cleared by the medical team to take part in Slimpossible 4.

Losing weight really is not a complex thing.  In fact, when you weigh 127 kg (and you are not commensurately tall or muscular) you only really need to do only one thing. Yes, ONE: change your eating habits. Eat less of certain things and replace them with better things.

If you are not grossly overweight, then you can add exercise to improve your fitness and health and also to lose weight faster. Now, of course there are those who say that there are psychological factors behind eating habits and so on. If that is so, then get the relevant help and start eating properly.

Anyway, I am happy that the Slimpossible has been made more lively.
I am happy that men have now been included in the competition, so that weight loss is not made to look like it’s something for women only.
I am happy that there is a Kenyan TV show encouraging weight loss.

Some stats:

Lightest female: 101.6 kg (224 lb)
Heaviest female: 158.2 kg (348 lb)
Average weight, females: 126.9 kg (279 lb)

Lightest male: 110.3 kg (243 lb)
Heaviest male: 176 kg (387 lb)
Average weight, males: 132.9 kg (292 lb)

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The Nomination

I have been/was nominated for/named for(?)/awarded the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.

Twice actually.



Thank you Sam and Ellie for the nominations/award.

I felt honoured/humbled/scared that someone could actually consider my ramblings writings inspiring.

I find it a little scary when I get notified that someone is now following my blog. I sort of feel that I have to write something good enough for an audience. You know like if you were singing in your house then you discover that someone is listening/can hear you? Yeah, like that.

But it is also a nice feeling, so thank you all who follow this blog.

The Rules

Now, this award comes with some rules:

1. Display the award image on your blog.
2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
3. State 7 things about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 other bloggers and link to their sites.
5. Notify the bloggers that they have been nominated and link to the post.

I will do the first 3.

The Links

I will leave out number 4 because you can already see the blogs I follow on the right column of the page. Do go through them. I think you will find something you like.

And in case my sister’s blog has been pushed off the list, you can find it here. Yes, I can be nepotistic 🙂

I will leave out Number 5 because I really do not want to impose any requirements on these good bloggers, but I will add two links to sites that I read that are not on WordPress:



I have already linked to the two people who nominated me above.

The Logo

So here is the award logo. Apparently there are various slightly different versions. I got this one via Google.


The Facts

Seven things about myself, in random order.

1) I have been on TV at least thrice – performing something, in a game show and my wedding.

2) I have a sweet tooth, but this has been somewhat curbed since I started taking an interest in fitness

3) I like horror movies and Stephen King’s books (but chickened out of watching an actual lynching/burning video clip)
(I was amazed that a friend of mine did not know who Stephen King was, but then again, that friend knew who Pamela Anderson was and I did not)

4) I am (overly?) analytical

5) I am generally a night person.

6) I got my driving license when I was 35 or so. Yeah.

7) I like animals. Had a pet dog called Cocoa.

Bonus: I don’t really like watching sports. I can watch, but it’s not a big thing for me.

The Feedback

Yeah. So that’s a little about me.

Your turn. Tell us something about yourself.

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Twende Mlolongo

Twende Mlolongo (Photo credit: Dan Kori)

Last week, I took two days off to supervise some work that was being done in our house. The road from the main road (Mombasa Road) to our estate is being renovated. The contractor has not quite provided an alternative route, so cars have resorted to driving on the field that is next to the road. This field has some grass, but when it rains, most of the road that the cars have made on the field is muddy. My wife is constantly afraid of getting stuck in this mud. It had been raining that week. As I prepared to leave the house (and drive onto the field), she kept calling me and asking if I had left. It would soon be dark. She told me to call her when I successfully reach the tarmacked road. I asked God for an uneventful journey.

I finally drove out of the estate, onto the partly renovated part of the road (maybe 20 metres?), then off that part and onto the first muddy part. No trouble there. There was a building on my right that was blocking my view of the main field. The road curved to the right past this building, and when I took this curve, I saw a car a few metres ahead of me. It was stationary and there were maybe seven men around it apparently trying to get it out of the mud. It was facing the same direction as I was. If that car is stuck, will I make it? I paused behind the stuck car to allow oncoming vehicles to pass it.
When they had passed, one of the men motioned that I should pass where those cars had passed, which meant driving into a puddle of brown water. I could not tell how deep this puddle was. I wondered if the man was misleading me so that I could also get stuck and get assisted for a fee. I however drove where he suggested and passed the stuck vehicle. There was another narrow place that also allowed one car at a time. I again waited for oncoming vehicles to pass, as I evaluated how deep they sank on the water. I also considered using another route altogether (This is a field, so it is entirely up to the driver to decide where they want to drive). I decided to stick with what seemed to be working for others rather than risk getting stuck in a self-created route. I passed that portion without incident. I drove rather fast, in order not to give the car a chance to sink into the mud, slid a bit here and there, and was soon on the phone with my wife.

I encountered some traffic further down the road and we all moved slowly forward. Then the car went silent. I tried switching on the hazards. Nothing. “Wake up, move!” a hawker yelled from the side of the road. Then he realised that I was actually awake. I called our mechanic. Fortunately, he answered.
Check the terminals, he said.
I unlocked the bonnet, got out (cars were now driving past me), locked the car door, lest and enterprising thief opens the door, grabs something from the car and makes off with it. I feared the battery terminals would be hot, but apparently they were not. I checked them and they seemed fine. I called the mechanic and told him this.
Just fiddle with them a bit. I twisted the connection back and forth a little. I unlocked the car door and got back in. Tested hazards. They started blinking. Tried starting the car. It started. I got back out to close the bonnet. Locked the car door, lest an enterprising thief… Closed the bonnet. Got back in. Drove away. I called te mechanic and he said he could have a look at it the next day . Then I called my wife and told her the car had stalled. she started getting concerned before I told her the problem had been fixed. I had forgotten to use the lifesavers that we had bought for situations just like this.

I remembered a conversation we once had with a pal of ours as we were passing Ngong Forest, where we usually pass on our way home. The convesation went something like this:
“We once saw a car stuck here, then we saw a guy walking with a jerrycan towards the petrol station. We wanted to give him a ride, but we were not sure whether or not it was  a setup”
“Don’t dare. That place is very bad. That is how they trick people.”
“That is what we feared.”
“That is a bad place.”
“But it may be a genuine case!”
“There is nothing like genuine case. Don’t stop. You will get robbed!”

Our friend was categorical.

I thought, what if I had gotten stuck at that dangerous place? I thanked God for taking me safely home.

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