Monthly Archives: June, 2014

What is Cheap might End up Costing More than Expected

Rango has never understood the meaning of the saying “what is cheap might end up costing much more than you expect” until last weekend after his encounter with a Nairobi goon.

He was walking along Moi Avenue towards Hilton tower when a young man approached him with a smart phone for sale.

“Hello gentleman. Would you buy this phone? It is Samsung S 3 and it is in good condition. I will sell it to you at a good price.” The man advertized.

Rango has for a quite some time been without a smart phone and has the intention of buying one recently. Although he hate buying stuff on the street which he believe could easily have fallen off the back of a truck, he decided to ask for the price. The guy told him it will go for 15,000 Kenyan Shillings (that is about 180 USD).

The price sounded too good to be true. Perhaps it may be a Chinese phone. He collected the phone to examine. He dialed some code to verify if it is genuinely Samsung brand and it indeed was. As he was observing other features, the man, probably thinking that Rango did not want to buy, said, “15,000 is not the final price though. There is room for bargain.”

Rango was further thrilled. At this point, he was certain the phone was not clean. The price was too cheap for a Samsung Galaxy S 3. But then, the avaricious part of him wants him to buy. “If it is stolen, then the damage has already been done. The guy will sell it anyway.” And then there is a room for bargain.

“I will give you 9,000 Shillings. That is the only money I have.” Rango pleaded.

“That will be difficult for me. Because I need the money, I will give it to you at 10,000 Shillings.” The man responded.

“9,000 is what I can afford. If you don’t agree, then here I go.” Rango said, attempting to move.

“It is a deal then. 9,000”

Wow! Rango is soon going to own an S 3 with his 9,000 Kenyan Shillings. He told the guy that he needs to insert his SIM card so that he can make call to confirm everything is working fine. The guy did not hesitate. They found a phone shop close by where they cut Rango’s SIM card to micro SIM size and put in the phone. He made call to two of his friends and it was fine at both ends. Now it is time to pay out.

The guy collected the phone as Rango was trying to take out the money. He counted 9,000 Kenyan Shillings and handed over to the man. The man gave him back the phone which he threw into his pocket and hurried away happy with his luckiest bargain ever.

Lucky bargain or worst experience with Nairobi boys, he had to decide few minutes later when he met his friends at KFC. He brought out his new phone to show them, only to find out there was no display. He thought the battery had run down but he remembered seeing the battery meter full. He tried to open the cover of the phone but it was so hard. He knew right away that he has been duped.

He was sold a dummy phone.

Rango's phone

The inside of Rango’s phone after we opened it

“My SIM card together with my contacts are now gone.” Rango lamented finally.


WED2014: Raising awareness on campuses

Part of what my friend, Sadiq Gulma, and I did today in raising our voices towards a better environment was distributing flyers at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and Kenyatta University to create awareness on food waste and energy conservation. Copy of the leaflet is attached below. Join the cause by getting in touch with us for more information.



“When the last tree is cut and the last fish killed, the last river poisoned, then you will see that you can’t eat money.” – John May

Raise Your Voice against Plastic Waste

Tomorrow is the world environment day (WED) dedicated to creating awareness on issues affecting us and the fellows with whom we share the world together. The theme of this year’s WED is “Raise your voice, not the sea level.” The worrying events we are witnessing day in, day out are enough to compel us into changing our life style to more sustainable one. I hope you will all join the campaign by raising your voice towards that goal. One big issue of concern is plastic waste which many people don’t know about. We shall continue to raise our voices until everyone become aware.

Plastics, which we use indiscriminately, are observed to affect hundreds of species in the sea and on the land. They are neither degradable in the soil like common organic materials we know, nor digestible by animals when swallowed. Birds, fishes, turtles, and many other poor creatures mistake plastic for food which end up being their death pill. Next time you are buying stuff at the grocery store, think twice before taking that plastic bag whose only use is from the store to your car or home.

Plastic Trash

 Tons of plastics end up as debris in the oceans

You can make your contribution towards reducing plastic waste by changing the way you relate with plastics. We can help a great deal in saving lives by adopting some simple measures while dealing with plastics.

  • Take reusable bags whenever you are going to the store. Combine similar items in a single bag without wrapping each item separately.

Reusable bag 3L – A simple reusable bag. R – Me holding my reusable bag

  • Buy items with less packaging and in large quantity if it is something you use very often. Do you know what I realized? The more packaging, the more expensive are the items. After all, you are only going to use the product inside. Do you also know that people using dispensers save a lot of money compared to those buying bottled water (the small ones)?
  • In many areas, waste collectors are required to separate plastics from other waste, which they end up not doing if the wastes are mixed up. Help them by separating the wastes at your home.
  • Are you still of the habit of throwing away litters on the street? A single bottle cap or a plastic straw can be the killer of a beautiful bird out there. Hold the litter until you find the nearest waste bin.
  • Raise your voice. Become an environment ambassador by creating awareness among your friends, family and co-workers.

Listen to Yaya Toure, a UNEP goodwill ambasaddor, on purging plastics

“It takes one minute to throw out a plastic bag you’ve used once. It takes less than that to down a bottle of water. They then end up in the garbage or the ocean where they live FOREVER — adding to landfills and killing marine life. If you have to use plastic, make sure you reuse or recycle!”

What I like most with living an environmental friendly life is that it makes life simpler. You save money and live healthier.

To learn more read

Yes All Women in My Community

If I have the power to change Hausa community, the first thing I will command is for all women to break the stereotypical limitations on their path and be themselves. Yes, majority of girls in my community, at least from the ones I know, have the common problem of dancing to the tune of the society which is usually in conflict with what they actually deserve. It is nevertheless the same case with boys, but the stereotypes, being patriarchal, hardly affect boys in a negative way. To highlight just one of the issues, let me explain what I observed about the behavior of our girls in colleges and universities.

Our girls grow up with the belief that going to the university is some kind of retention before getting married so they spend more of their time there on courtship than on academics. An average Hausa girl would have more than two male friends (who are somewhere in between boyfriends and normal friends) while in her teens. In fact they compete in having the highest number of male friends. A girl is considered unattractive and of lower class among her peers when she has none. That in itself is a big challenge to her academic performance. The setting is like this: our girls compete among themselves on possessing ostentatious items such as clothes, electronic gadgets and cosmetics which are hardly attainable with the money from their parents alone. They therefore depend on such friends to buy these things for them. Fortunately for the girls, the society also raised boys with the idea that they are in charge of taking care of ladies they are in a relationship with. It doesn’t matter if the boys are being supported by their parents themselves (which is often the case) or not. They get a monthly grant from their parents, be rest assured that boys in relationship (s) will spend at least one third of it on their female friends.

As one would expect, the boys who spend on ladies would expect something in return. The least and the most detrimental is keeping the boys company or speaking to them on phone whenever they so wish. Some of my friends think I am missing the point when I argue that speaking with a girl on phone for the whole night or some part of the night while in school is irrational and purposeless. As we are in school, I would rather spend the time with her studying than denying myself sleep only to speak on mundane things.

Now where am I heading to? Remember majority of the girls (the campus hot chicks) have multiple male friends, which means allotting time for every guy who in most cases is from different faculties, meaning the meeting is never for studies. If male friend X calls asking for a date, she has to remember to give him time she hasn’t given friends W, Y and Z. That happens all the time, all the week, all semesters. I forgot to mention that there are usually outside boyfriends or suitors (the sugar daddies) with whom she must also deal with. She ended up with little or no time for studies.

When you try to advise a girl to loosen up on friendships and concentrate more on academics, she tells you that she has to do it in order to find someone to marry after graduation (or even before, who cares?).  To her, marriage courtship is like contract bidding: you consider multiple tenders and then choose the best one at the end. It would have been better if the bidding system in this case is chosen to be a closed one so that the bidding time is kept to minimum. That is regrettably not the case. It is public tendering: all parties are invited and the almighty client has time to screen them all. After all, girls’ parents have counseled them that it is not good to reject any person who declares his love to you.

What their parents failed to tell them is that being financially dependent on someone opens the road to exploitation. It is human nature to feel indebted to people we receive from sometimes without even being conscious about it. A friend of mine, Rango, narrated to me a drama he witnessed when he accompanied his friend to see a lady at their school dormitory. The friend wanted to take the girl out but she happened to have a test the following morning. She was begging him to allow her attend tutorial class that night because she hadn’t prepared sufficiently for the test but he didn’t want to listen. Rango had to intervene before the girl was allowed to attend the class. She thanked him for the intervention as she wouldn’t have had any choice but to go out with the guy.

Stories of that nature are very common in our community. Worst that could happen, which does happen, is for the girl in such relationship to be lured into sex against her will or even be raped. These are kind of rape cases which are rarely reported. Although there are many other factors that contribute to raped women’s silence, I believe being less dependent would reduce the rapist’s chances and give the raped more courage to take necessary action.

Most men don’t want to marry self-reliant women because they are a threat to their patriarchal dominance. The best way to deal with such men is for all women to be educated and be self-reliant so that they can also exercise their full right on choosing partners and how to live with them. Forget about men’s ego, just build your self-esteem and let them know that you can do it on your own.

If male students in school can do part time jobs or take loans to support themselves, then why not you? Trust me you have all it takes so don’t allow anyone to tell you otherwise. You just need to break the stereotypical chain around your ankles and wrists and be yourself. If anyone should take credit for your progress apart from yourself, let it be your parents. In that way, men would have no choice but to allow you be the person you want to be.

Written by Sadah