Month: February 2013

The Way Forward

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Moving Forward
Moving Forward

When you’re driving, you can’t properly drive forward when you’re always looking at the rear-view mirror. This is one driving lesson that could be applied to life as well. Holding on to the anger and bitterness of the past is a limiting factor that would shackle you in your trip forward. They say, we spend so long looking at doors that are closed that we don’t even notice doors that have been opened for us. So we tend to miss out on opportunities just because we are hanging on to things that are better left forgotten.

And sometimes moving forward is not easy, not because of the baggage we carry with us, but because the road ahead is stormy. And maybe this quote by will help you cope, “Once in a while, amidst all your bad days, you’ll have a good day. A great day even. Make sure you remember those days. Keep them safely in your pockets, maybe even a jar on your desk because you need to know that there are and will be better days. You need to remember how on those days you felt warm inside, like you’ve just drunk a hot cup of tea; like a small fire was ignited inside of you. Hold on to that warmth. And never let it go.”

Forward

Weekly Writing Challenge: Image vs. Text “My Freshman Year”

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So this week’s writing challenge should be fun. “Detail a three to five step story or process, and illustrate each of the steps with something visual.”

I didn’t have to search hard for I once wrote a photo-story about my freshman year at AUS. Now the entire document ran for 22 pages, and consisted 10,000 words so I’m going to limit this post to just a few scenes. Also, the quality of the images isn’t superb as the images were taken somewhere between 2004-2005.

Part 1: The Beginning

AUS_story_1

When my parents first dropped my brother, SH and I at university, my excitement could not be contained. I thought everything about the university was fabulous. The room was clean, the domed university buildings looked beautiful and the picture of the huge greasy Whopper burger adoring a portion of the cafeteria wall was unmatched. The only nagging worry I had concerned my roommate. Why? I don’t want to elaborate, but let’s just put it this way; the only reason I’m still living with my family in the same house is because they are my family and they have to tolerate me.

Part 2: AUS stands for “Always Under Stress”

AUS_story_2

I started getting really depressed. Even though people thought I had so many friends, they were just acquaintances really. Things got even worst when we had a holiday because of the bereavement period after the death of Sheikh Zayed (Allah yir7amo). When we returned, we rushed through the courses and each class was extended for ten minutes to make up for the classes that we missed. They were only ten minutes, but schedules got extended so much that a not –so –extreme case was that my Caculus 2 2pm class began at 3pm. The workload was unbearably stressful.

Part 3:  Chemistry was my favorite

During the Spring semester, things were fine. Fine is an understatement. They were the bomb! I had so much fun seriously. During the entire semester, my favorite course was Chemistry 2. Once the professor announced the details of a quiz, and after he had already erased everything from the whiteboard and started with the new chapter, one of the students asked, “Sir, what chapter is the quiz on?”

He gave him one of his tiny smiles and said, “You need calibration.”

There were many stories, but overall, chemistry was my favorite.

Chemistry building
Chemistry building

Part 4: AH – the mic holder

I helped some of the Mass Com students with their movie projects because one of my friends took the Media Production course. I had helped her with her transcript. It was funny, because I added a line in the middle, and then later on, she came to me and said that the professor left her whole transcript and pointed out to my line saying he liked it. He was one of those really demanding professors. He kept on rejecting one of the student’s transcripts (The third friend in the next paragraph) until she made a comedy movie about how the professor kept on rejecting her transcripts…that he liked.

So anyhow, I worked for the movie as a microphone holder, on a Thursday, back in the dorms. It took so long, and I had to stand on my feet for the whole time so by the end of the shooting, my feet were aching. When someone else needed that friend as a microphone girl on Saturday I volunteered to replace her because she had so much work to do. It took so long and I had to return home to do my homework late at night. Then on Sunday a third friend was re-shooting her movie, because it turned out that her microphone was not working. Immediately I jumped at the opportunity to volunteer. This time, they nearly closed the Student Center while we were still inside – that’s how long it took. Then, on Monday my friend (the first one) was shooting the last scenes, starting from 3 pm. While the other two took place in the Leopards’ office, my friend’s took place in the new MCM studio in the Design Building. Later, on Wednesday, I joined them for a few minutes while they were editing the movies, and made sure everybody wrote A – the – mic – holder in the credits.
Then I went to watch the movies when they were being screened in class. I got introduced to the professor, and he told me to change to Mass Communication, and I was like, “No, thank you.” Even though they do have more fun and people say that Mass Comm. suits me better since I love writing…especially with professors who on their first day in that class, had said, “Welcome to the course, where to pass, you have to fail all your other courses.”

AUS MCM studio
AUS MCM studio

Part 5: The Engineering Buildings

I guess every building has its story; the physics building, the chemistry building, the design building. I think it’s about time I talk about the engineering buildings, since they will soon be my permanent residence. The school of engineering lies very far from the rest of the schools. It’s seems to be in a world of its own. There’s something very funny about the engineering buildings; no matter how many engineers the two buildings create, there are so many engineering flaws with them.

For instance,the least you would expect are working vending machines, right? Also, there always seems to be friction between the Electrical and Computer students, as Electrical claim to be more superior than the Computer students. Once, there was a power outage and the computers naturally went off. An electrical engineering student told a computer engineering student, “See? Without us, you people cannot work. “

The CMP student said, “Apparently some people are not doing their work properly.” Which was why there was an outage in the first place.

Part 6: Finally Finals’ week 

The semester was finally coming to an end. This was my calender during that semester.

aus-calender

During Finals’ week, by the time I started studying for my MTH 205, it was 12 am. For the first time in my life, I actually stayed up the whole night. I normally treasured sleep. Even during the international exams back during high school, I never lost sleep because of a final.  By 10 am the next morning, I was a walking zombie. On Sunday, again, I stayed up all night – for the second time in my life.I had NGN 111 at 8 am the following morning, and ECO 201 at 11 am. I came out of the NGN 111 (statistics) exam feeling aweful and making a mental promise that I was not going to stay up again, no matter what the final is, and no matter how little prepared I am. What happened was that in one of the questions, the answer was supposed to be less than 1, and yet I got over 1, so that hinted to me that there was a miscalculation. I had to repeat the entire question, and I was already tired, and couldn’t focus….overall, my paper was a mess. The ECO was challenging, but I was glad when it was over. Since I was still in my first year, a lot of exams were still being done in the Sports complex, and the picture below was one walk to remember.

A walk to remember:The walk away from final exams
A walk to remember: The walk away from final exams

Weekly Writing Challenge: Image vs. Text

What Happens?

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My blogger friend wrote What Happens? about how friendships can go sour and she asks the question, what happens?
Being the expert on the topic I couldn’t help but write about it as well. The thing is, change is inevitable and not all relationships can weather the storms of change in terms of geographical distance and lack of communications, and so the two people may just lose touch with each other. So basically, the first answer to what happens? Is that “Change happens.”
But sometimes it’s deeper than that as two best friends who are working together or a married couple living together become estranged because of something that one of them did; an act that causes the other person so much pain it’s like they walk around with a heart in a clutch so tight it’s like those footballs that are made out of plastic bags in Africa (the ones that have to be made tight otherwise it loses the qualities of a ball). So when the hurtful event occurs, be it cheating or lying or having their trust broken, turning away from the person becomes a matter of self-preservation because they can’t have their hearts go through that again. And that’s when a change in the relationship takes place because they say that trust is like a glass that can’t be pieced together into its original form once shattered.
So sometimes it’s a matter of two people growing apart and sometimes it’s a hurtful event that changes the relationship and sometimes it’s just a dose of reality because one realizes that they gave a relationship more value than it is worth. Take for instance a maslaha friend, one who only calls up when they need something. You might consider them a close friend while they are only using you for money or something that you have, so what happens is that you wake up to the fact that the friend is nothing but a maslaha friend and that’s when you might try to stay away, i.e. you give the friendship its true realistic value after being deceived for so long.
But you know everybody in your life is there for a reason, some will break your heart, others will open your mind, and some will do both; it’s all part of coloring your life’s experiences. And what else to say but c’est la vie.

How a broken heart can sometimes feel (Image from Ecostreet.com)
How a broken heart can sometimes feel (Image from Ecostreet.com)

#KenyaKwanza

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Image from Human Rights Watch
Image from Human Rights Watch

Some people still have terrible nightmares from such images; people raising a Panga as they stand silhouetted against a raging fire. Some survivors still hear the screams of their families as their villages were razed to the ground. There are many people out there still living with the pain of 2007, when the post-electoral violence made Kikuyus and Luos kill each other just because the president came from one tribe and the other tribe thought that the votes were rigged. It is sad to see how human beings keep on doing this to each other not realizing that the only math of war is subtraction. War represents the only equation where negative multiplied with negative will still give a negative answer.

#Kenyans_on_twitter (AKA #KOT) have been active on social media discussing the campaigns as elections are coming up on March 4. Recently Kenya held first-ever presidential debate which had Kenyans across the world glued to their screens -be it TV, computer, or phone -as it was streamed live online as well. There are 8 tributes, each vying for the Presidential chair. Now for those non-Kenyans, it’s important to note down that one of the tributes- Uhuru Kenyatta – is facing trial for crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court. The crime he is being accused of is orchestrating the violence after the 2007 poll.

Now he’s running for president #only_in_Kenya.

But these are only allegations, we are in no position to judge. Let the ICC do their job and come up with a conclusion, and whatever the verdict we would accept it.

And that’s the attitude we have to carry into the elections this time. Whoever wins should be accepted by all. Online, there are many people encouraging Kenyans to learn from the last elections and vote peacefully this time around. There was even a message from President Obama for Kenyans to stand together, as a nation, for peace and progress, and for the rule of law. As a blogger, I’m sending my message out as well; vote peacefully, select the leader who is willing to go the extra mile to solve the issues that the average Kenyan go through, and leave tribalism behind.

You can follow the peace campaign hashtages #StandforKenya #KenyaKwanza #Neveragain among others. Happy voting!

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