Month: August 2013

Freewrite when you’re feeling uninspired

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I was feeling uninspired yesterday. I was working on my WIP (Work in Progress) – a manuscript called Pearls of Tears – and I felt like I had hit a wall, so I opened my dormant account and started writing about nothing in particular. To be more exact this is what I typed, “I feel as though I am sorta stuck and I wish I can take this brain of mine and tip it over and empty it from all the garbage inside. Do you think the sugar rush is what is bothering me?”

Then I kept on writing for 341 words, and suddenly, the process jerked an idea out of my brain that I could use in my WIP, and I opened the document and discarded what I have been rambling about on my page.

The most amazing thing about free writing is how simple its rule is; justĀ keep on writing for five to ten minutes. Even if what you wrote doesn’t make sense, do not stop writing. Do not switch on the internet and google the spelling or meaning of a word. Even if you think up a new way of wording the same sentence, put it in the next line and do not delete the first one. In other words, place an imaginary door over the backspace key and make it in accessible.

The whole point is to brainstorm lots of ideas and mute your inner critic in the process. You might want to do it online on or an email you send to yourself, or you can use pen and paper, it doesn’t matter as long as you make the sentences you write try to keep up with the thoughts in your brain.

Happy writing!



Heard the one about the JKIA fire?

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On the 15th anniversary of Nairobi’s US embassy bombings, people woke up to discover smoke billowing from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. A raging fire swept through the arrivals terminal, which lead to its closure. It took around 4 to 5 hours to reduce the blazing fire to a smolder because some of the fire engines had run out of water, so some of the emergency crew had to manually use buckets full of water to help extinguish the fire.

jkia fire (c)
jkia fire (c)

The good news is that no injuries were reported.

The bad news is that the airport was closed for a while then operation began but has not returned to full capacity. The airport set up temporary tents to offer some of the services then the VIP Presidential Pavilion was opened up to process international passengers.

Of course, on Twitter, the jokes have been plenty. Some tweeps were saying, “Dear US, please do not issue travel advisory, we have no airport anyway!”

Then we joked imagine after all this passenger departure resumes from the main bus-stop! Because apparently that’s what happened with the domestic ‘flights’. Some passengers had to go to their destinations by road.

So if you’ve been following my posts long enough you probably know how in 2009 we got stranded when the Kenya Airways crew went on strike, and how we continuously suffer from delays with Kenya Airways. So this time under the light of the current crisis, the flight I was supposed to be on tonight headed for Nairobi got cancelled altogether. We are currently on standby, imagining them calling us suddenly and saying, “Haraka haraka! Tushapiga ndege starti hapa.” (Hurry, we turned on the ignition here).

I’m just glad we’re not in the airport itself because that would have been totally inconvenient.

La3alo kheir.
P.S. Eid Mubarak to all my Muslim brothers and sisters.


Khawater Kenyan Style…Kukausha Koo

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So my brother and I were brainstorming about how Ahmad AlShugairi’s Khawater would be really useful if English subtitles were provided and it was broadcast for our people in Kenya, but in Swahili the title would be renamed to kukausha koo*. Literally, the phrase means “to talk until your throat dries” (or lose your voice because of speaking so much) and figuratively it means to speak but not have anybody listen.

So the idea is that implementing a lot of the ideas presented on Khawater 9 would be hard for Kenyans. Lets take a few examples:
-As I posted previously in “Read in… Khawater 8” if books were placed in a shelf in the middle of a park in Kenya, there is a high probability they would be stolen and resold on a mat right next to the shelf.
-If the public transport system requires you to put money without having someone monitor the process, the box would be empty every day. Not because people don’t put money, there are many honest people in Kenya. It’s just that some people will put but others will make it their daily occupation to empty it.
-If the nation asks people to donate gold for the government like they did in South Korea, the people might as well say goodbye to their gold, forever. South Korea stood up on their feet economically after the public sold their own gold to help the government but in Kenya the gold would mysteriously disappear and personal jets would mysteriously appear. If you don’t believe they could do that, explain why the government proposed to celebrate nation’s 50th anniversary using 30 m $ of the public’s money while teachers are going on strikes, crippling the educational system because they are not paid enough.

Okay so maybe some Kenyans might claim I’m exaggerating Kenya’s negative image but how do you explain people going to the masjid with expensive shoes only to walk back bare feet and be told, “It’s your fault. Nobody takes their good shoes and leaves it at the door of the masjid. You should have left it in the car.”

Or how do you explain this story that happened to a relative of mine in Mombasa; one morning he went to his car and discovered that the side mirror had been stolen at night. He replaced it but by the end of the day, both side mirrors were stolen. The poor dude lost three side mirrors in less than 24 hours!

So yeah, a Swahili program like Khawater would be called “Kukausha koo” because change begins from within a person before it starts spreading outwards to their circle of influence. So if people want to see change in their governments they need to start working on themselves first.

One concept that keeps on repeating itself on Khawater is that of Itqaan (perfecting one’s work) and to be fair, the average Kenyan is a hard worker. It’s just that there are few who are also hard workers at stealing and being corrupt. The sad thing is that the corrupt are enabled by the general population who think their documents would not be processed unless they pay their dues (TKK’s or Toa Kitu Kidogo). According to Transparency International’s 2013 Global Corruption Barometer, Kenya ranked number 4 in Bribe-Ridden Countries.

However, let’s be hopeful that change might be around the corner. Just like Kenyans stood together and called for a peaceful election this time around, the country might be able to eradicate corruption and build its economy one small step at a time.

Until then I’m just “nakausha koo”.