Happy New Year 2014!!

Before I even start, I want to apologise for the silence. It has been a long and rough time for me since November. Many things I cannot explain on this blog post. But, I want to promise you, that I am back, bigger, better and definitely higher.

December came and passed. There was the great airshow that happened on the 21st and the 22nd of December. I only managed to catch it on the 22nd when I arrived at Wilson Airport at 3pm from an out of town expedition. But I still got to see quite some action from it. There are many pics and videos on the internet about the airshow. Ask for the links and I will give them to you.

 

2014 already seems like a busy year. The election year is over and the tourists are flowing in in huge drones. Once the tourist season picks up then people like me will not get to enjoy any holidays. But, all this for the better good.

 

Let’s get to share more and interact more this year. Guest writers are also encouraged to come and give their version of things though their eyes. Let’s make 2014 an year to remember!

 

Cheers!

Not Your Everyday Hero

Heroes are born, not made. We have heroes in us, around us and amongst us.
There are heroes, sung and unsung. There are those that receive medals and those that go to the grave and will forever not be known.

I have my heroes. You have them too. We look up to them. We admire them. We want to be like them. Heroes have no super powers. They are heroes because they were the everyday ordinary people in extra ordinary situations. They were probably made to choose the circumstances. Maybe they were not. They appear in all walks of life, and even in death. People who change our lives while they rest in their graves.

Life’s inspiration is to make our lives better. Life’s inspiration for heroes is to make their lives and the lives of others better. How much have you helped your fellow being to feel better about being alive? You have the chance to make a hero out of yourself. There is no paycheck for being a hero. Heroes expect no payment for what they do.

I know I’d want to be a hero to someone. I hope that at the end of my life, someone will look back and smile, at my actions or words that inspired them. Maybe that is where life’s happiness comes from. I will probably not even know that they look up at me. But the thought warms my heart.

We go to places the faint hearted would rather avoid. Places where war and famine has stripped the land bare. Where food stops being a basic need but a mode of survival. Where sickness and poverty are a way of life, keeping your fingers crossed they never catch up with you. These places do exist. Taking food and medicine there by air sounds like a piece of cake. Sounds like a matter of landing, dropping off the food and shipping out, having played your part.

Maybe this is how heroes are made. They have to go through the heat to emerge shiny like a diamond. When you have to land at a 600 metre curving road in the heart of the DRC forest to deliver food and medicine to a community that no one has heard of in over a month. And even when you do manage to stop your aircraft before hitting the trees at the end of the road, the 3 strong men that the community sent to get the food are frail and weak, barely able to pull the empty cart to the side of the aircraft.

They never prepared you for this in flight school.

When you land in a remote airstrip in Somalia and you do not know whether the Land Cruisers approaching in the distance are radical militants or local people coming to welcome you and receive the goodies you bear. When you have to go beyond safety requirements landing at a remote strip in Northern Kenya by going under the fog that is 200 metres above the ground, with the risk of hitting a hill side or a telephone mast, just to avoid going back to Nairobi with the relief food you are ferrying, because you know so many are waiting it at that little airstrip.

The children come running towards you hugging you and screaming. The women come with bags and sacks, hope and optimism filled in their eyes. Their eyes tell you, that your actions have given them a chance to see another day. The look the women and the children give you is priceless. No pilot salary can ever justify that look. No monetary motivation will ever justify the things we do out there to give hope to those that need it the most. When you go to a place and find previously malnourished people now able to afford a bit of flesh on their chests and arms, you can only shed a tear. I might not talk about it when I sit and have a beer with my mates in the city, but I know, that even though I have people I look up to, I might have some, that look up to me.

My Train Ride that Never Was

I am fascinated by small things. It is like the curiosity of a small child. They always seem fascinated by little things, like the little butterfly that lands on your table, or how the wind blows the clothes on the clothing line. I have that kind of fascination. And for an adult, I sometimes shock myself.

One of the things I have been looking forward to since the beginning of this year, is to ride in the Syokimau Train that operates between Syokimau in the outskirts of Nairobi all the way to the heart of the city. The train ride takes around 30 minutes, as this is something I have heard. 30 minutes from Syokimau to Town, something that is almost unheard of, especially if you have ever left JKIA at around 2pm expecting to get to the CBD in quick time. It is at this point you will get familiar with what is popularly known as the Nyayo Stadium Traffic, where you can actually get out of the car, go watch a match in the stadium, finish it and still get back to your car and find little or no traffic movement. Yes, you will take 45 minutes from Mombasa to JKIA and 3 hours from JKIA to the CBD. Why? Ask the traffic police. They have to stand there and seem like they are doing something, right?

Anyway, away from my lamentations and cursing of that bad place. You would now understand why I was very interested in getting on the Syokimau Train. I really wasn’t looking to get to rush to town for a hot date or for an urgent business meeting. I had been looking forward to getting on the train and have the feel of it. I had seen the pictures on the internet, on TV and had heard a lot about it. Unfortunately for me, I do not work in the CBD so me getting to board the train would have to be a planned arrangement.

I had been on a train before. Sometime in 1997, when I went to Mombasa via the tracks. I remember the trip, though not so fondly. I was still young, in Primary school and the YMCA had organized a trip for some kids in our school to go to Mombasa and have fun. I had been looking forward to that, until the part where we checked in at the Railway station at 7.30pm, and left at 8pm. Our carriage had no electricity, and I remember it had this big window that was stuck. Even our teachers couldn’t close it. The more the train accelerated, the more the wind blew in. And if that wasn’t all, at 2am, somewhere in the middle of nowhere, the engine broke down. I was sure were were in Tsavo. I could hear hyenas in the distance, probably thanking their gods for this free meal from the city. The engine that came to rescue us came at 5am and by 12pm, we were in Mombasa. Enjoyment? NIL.

Back to my Syokimau story. I looked at my schedule. I had a free week, of no work, no aviation related propaganda, just time when I needed to rest. I quickly googled the syokimau train. I found a link on a blog that someone had posted the timings of the train. THIS ONE in particular. It said that there is one that leaves Syokimau at 12pm and arrives in Nairobi at 12.30pm. It then leaves Nairobi at 1.15pm and arrives in Syokimau at 1.45pm. Fantastic! I decided to plan to get on the train on the last day of my off days.

On the said day, I woke up at 11. Before my gyros had come on and my start up checks completed, it was already 11.30am. I was sure I was not going to make it for the 12pm train. So I looked at the blog I had referred to earlier and saw that the next train out of Syokimau would leave at 4pm. I then planned to get on that one. I spent the better part of the day lazying around in the house, and this included an unexpected siesta that saw me wake up at 3.30pm.

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I live somewhere near JKIA. So even in my shock at realizing it was 3.30pm, I knew I could still make it to Syokimau and catch the train by 4pm. I did not know where the train station was exactly, but I had a faint idea. So on passing the JKIA turn off, (at around 3.50pm) I saw it after driving for around a minute. It was on the other side of the road. The other side leading back to town. I had to look for a turn off. I found one around 1 kilometre after passing the train station. A quick glance at the clock on my dashboard. 3.57pm. I felt like the proverbial air traveller trying to catch a plane before the gates close.

On getting to the other side, I started looking for the train station. I could see it from a distance, and felt pretty good about myself as I was finally going to get on the Syokimau Train. I was going to tell all my friends about it. I was even going to tweet about it, probably even use the #TembeaKenya hashtag. I was beaming with pride! The station quickly approached, and at that very moment, I realised that it had a feeder road on the outside that led to the station. I was still in the main highway and there was no way for me to connect on to the feeder road! There were no signs to tell people where to turn so as to go to the train station! The look on my face?! Priceless! I had missed the turn that leads to the feeder road that leads to the train station! Dashboard Clock: 3.59pm! I couldn’t believe it! I still had so much psyke to get on that train! Feeling like superman, I decided that had to happen! So there I was, on the way back to town, going past JKIA so that I could look for a turn off, so that I could go back and try look for a way into that feeder road! I was going in circles! I turned just after JKIA once again outbound towards Mlolongo. Again, I passed the Train Station to my right, stretching my neck hoping to get a glimpse of the train, probably to wave at the train driver and shout “BOSS USIENDE!”

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I turned around again, this time, staying in the outer most lane looking for a road to turn into. I could not see any. So, I went through a ditch that was full of sand and dust, weaving between a gap left by 2 trucks that had parked on the feeder road. On getting on the feeder road, oh look, a turn off, barely 50 metres away. I had just put my little jalopy through a rhino charge stunt for merely nothing! Dashboard Clock: 4.03pm!

I saw the gate of the Train Station. I could have zoomed past the barriers but a security guard manning it stopped me and gave me my car ticket! I drove in and quickly looked for a parking spot. I grabbed my camera, and phone, eager to get on that train. Come on, this is Kenya, is it going to leave at 4pm really?

I went into the terminal. It was purely empty! There were no passengers! I couldn’t believe it. I knew the ride to town at 4pm would have been an offpeak one because there aren’t many people travelling to town at that time, so I felt good that I would be on the train all by myself, probably dance around as I take the pictures. Wait, train. There was no train in the station! Could it have left? It was only 4 minutes past 4pm! How could it have just left?

I rushed to one of the booths where they sell the tickets. A pretty lady (whose name and number I never got, and still blame myself for) was manning it.

“Madam, nilikuwa nataka kupanda ile ya saa kumi ya kuenda town, kwani imeshaa enda?” (madam, I wanted to get on the 4pm to town, has it already left?) I quipped.

“Ati ya saa kumi? Hiyo hakunanga!” (4pm train? There is no 4pm train) She replied.

“Lakini si nilisoma eti kuna ya saa kumi? Kwa website?” (But I read on a certain website that there is a 4pm train) I replied, now with a shocked look on my face.

They lady reached for a piece of paper and gave it to me. It indicated that there was no 4pm train, and that the next train to town was at 6.45pm. Those were some bad news I had just been handed. I tried handing back the paper.

“Apana kaa na hiyo ndiyo hiyo siku ingine usiseme hujui, ama ulikuwa tu umekuja kunisalimia?” (just keep it, so that you may not forget the timings next time. Or had you just come to say hi to me?) She said.

I heard what she said, but could barely even talk, as I was still shocked that, even after struggling that much, I still couldn’t get on the train. It was now 4.10pm. I was not going to hang around till 6.45pm to get the train.

I gave her my parking ticket, ready to pay 100 bob for nothing, only for her to tell me that parking was still free for another 5 minutes. I dashed out just in earshot of hearing her ask my name. I did not reply. I drove out of the Train Station, tired, heart broken and angry at the world. I figured, once I am back from my flying duties in the bush, I can probably make other better arrangements to get on that train.

photo credits: Vision 2030

Life as A Bush Pilot

As defined by Wikipedia, Bush Flying is the aircraft operation carried out in remote, inhospitable regions of the world. Bush flying involves operations in rough terrain where there are often no prepared landing strips or runways, frequently necessitating that bush planes be equipped with abnormally large tires, floats or skis.

 

And that is where my post for today begins! Bush Flying! It is one of those things that still seems quite unknown to the majority of the Kenyan fraternity, but is quite existent all over.

In today’s social circles, if you were to introduce yourself as a pilot, everyone will automatically assume that you work with a big airline company like KQ or Air Uganda or Emirates e.t.c. So I always have to interject in such instances and explain the work I and many like me do. I am a bush pilot. And the work I do does not entail taking businessmen and merry makers to Dubai and London for business or pleasure. So in not so many words, I will take you through a day in the life of a bush pilot. As a bush pilot, I work in General Aviation, popuarily tagged as GA, so that makes me a GA pilot. The pilots who work for KQ are airline pilots. I hope that this post will help you differentiate the 2 in terms of what happens and doesn’t happen in bush flying.

 

Most bush pilots in Kenya operate out of Nairobi’s Wilson Airport. That is, for the commercial side of bush flying. Let’s not forget the hundreds of private aircraft owners who operate out of the little airstrips they have made in their farms in Nakuru and Lewa and other remote areas to come to Nairobi to do their house shopping at Nakumatt and have a beer at the Aero Club of East Africa. Now those private flyers do not take the risk of flying into areas where they may encounter difficulties in air navigation, so for as much as they are bush pilots, theirs is limited to flying in and out of their farms, in and out of their friends farms, i.e, their flying is only recreational.

 

But let’s get to the commercial side, which is what we do. Ours is commercial because people have paid money for passengers or cargo to be taken to the bush. 80% of Africa is a bush, so ignoring bush flying in Africa is quite demeaning. I would want to go into details of how other countries like DRC, South Sudan e.t.c hold bush flying but for now, let me stick to our beautiful Kenya.

 

There are hundreds of blogs out there that detail how African bush flying is done. There are so many pilots that have blogged about their experiences in the bush, and when my time comes, I will do as such. But for today, I will take you through a random day in the Life of a Bush Pilot.

 

 

 

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On a normal day, 5am sees me up, this is because, even though I do not live far from the airport, Nairobi traffic can mess you up to magnitudes you have never imagined. I know this, because it takes me approximately 30 minutes to fly from Nanyuki to Wilson then 1 hour 15 minutes to drive from Wilson to my house in Langata, especially in the evenings. So since most of my flights are scheduled to depart from 8am, I have to be at the airport atleast 45 minutes before departure to carry out the pre-flight checks, and so to be at the airport by 7am, I have to leave my house just after 6am. Some of my friends like making jokes with the matter, like “why worry, it’s not like the aircraft will go without you” and such, but it is always good protocol (and company procedure) that you are early for a flight. (oh and yes, I have thought about getting a little scooter to help me manoeuvre around the traffic, but with Nairobi drivers driving the way they do, eerrrrmmm….)

By 7.45am, the aircraft is fuelled and the passengers are already boarding the aircraft. I have already been informed by dispatch that today’s flight will see me going to Nanyuki, followed by Ng’erende (which is the airstrip that serves the Fairmont Mara Safari Club) then to Amboseli, and finally finish it off back in Nairobi. The clouds are just starting to crack up and the sun’s rays can be seen struggling to pierce through the what seemed like heavy clouds. It will be a good day.

Today, I am flying alone, which means, I do everything. On good days, you are assigned a first officer, who will do all the dirty work. And by dirty, I do not mean having to take the ugly cabin crew during a day stop. We are flying the Caravan C208B, which will take a maximum of 12 passengers. The law indicates that aircraft carrying more than 19 passengers usually have to have flight attendants. So we have no beautiful ladies serving us cold refreshments as we try to tune them to the right frequency into being our future wives. (no pun to my KQ friends). So the work of the FO in such a flight would be to inform the passengers before departure that our aircraft is small and does not offer toilet facilities. So if anyone in the aircraft is travelling to the Mara while suffering from diarrhoea, the FO has to kindly advise them to disembark from the aircraft and use the loos in the terminal, and then we can proceed with the flight. The FO is also the one that does all the paperwork, fuel calculations, weight calculations, talking to ATC, and yes, sometimes, taking the ugly cabin crew. (don’t worry, there are never ugly people in aviation) I mean, it is always an easy ride when the FO is around.

 

But no, today, I am alone. Why? I do not know. Maybe the dispatchers thought I needed some alone time, maybe to reflect on things that I should be doing while in the air. Yes as the captain you might always take a 15 minute snooze in the air because the FO is handling things. That is not to happen today.

 

8.25am sees us airborne. Carrying out a state-house departure Image(which is a right turn after taking off runway 14) so as to avoid interfering with the path of the big jets landing at JKIA. As a student a few years back I remember taking off runway 14 and taking too long to make the turn. There was a jet coming in to land at JKIA and I knew I was too close to it because I could see the captain of the jet showing me the finger. The weather keeps clearing up after some rains the previous evening and Murang’s is looking ever green. Image

My first stop is Nanyuki. The airstrip was previously run by the Kenya Airports Authority but they realised that they were not making enough money from it since it never had a lot of traffic. So they disappeared and is now run by Tropic Air, one of the most successful charter companies in Kenya that is not based in Nairobi. The runway is a bit run down, but it still serves the purpose. It is one of those places you just can’t make a smooth landing. Maybe it is better to tell the passengers this in advance, because the surface of the runway is pretty bad. A quick landing and I take some time to catch a breather. Nanyuki with all it’s majesty is beautiful. Standing at an elevation of 6200 ft, the air is fresh and the hustle and bustle of the city is none to be heard of. Image

 

In a matter of minutes, I am starting up again. I have 4 passengers remaining. They look more comfortable now that the aircraft is a bit empty. What they don’t know is that it is working to my advantage. Remember me mentioning Nanyuki being at 6200ft about Mean Sea Level, well, the density altitude and the pathetic runway do not help much with the take-off, especially if you are heavy. So I am happy that the aircraft is light. We take of the bumpy runway and I set course for Ngerende. Auto pilot takes over and I get to relax a little, enjoying the view. Image

 

It is barely 10am and the view is purely majestic! Image

 

So as I approach Ng’erende, I prepare to land. 1000ft from the air, as I pass overhead to peep at the windsock, I notice a bunch of warthogs bumming peacefully in the morning sun. Well, I have no problem with that, other than that they are doing it smack in the mid-point of the very short strip. Well well well… let’s see what I can do about that. I position on final to land, but I have to first do a fly by to scare them off. The trick will be to fly very low, close to the ground, over the runway, hoping that will scare them, and I do just that! ZOOM! I climb again and enter downwind to land. I look at the strip, and there are no warthogs in sight. I am guessing they understood loud and clear that the boss had arrived.Image I make a smooth approach, the wreckage of a crashed Let410 somewhere near the runway in sight. It was a bad accident, both pilots and some passengers died. The risks of flying in and out of the bush. I proceed to land, and park the aircraft on the little designated apron. I shut down and get out, opening the door for the passengers. From the distance, I can see a maasai moran running towards my direction.Image

 

He runs over to me and tells me that the van coming to pick the passengers up will be arriving in a few minutes. And true to his word, it arrives, a few minutes later. Image

 

Now it is just after 10am, the guys I have just dropped are to be dropped at Amboseli later on, so I have to wait for them. I wont stand in the sun the whole time waiting for them. I have to accompany them to the hotel. The maasai moran indicates to me that he will stand there and guard the aircraft, lest any warthogs or lions get ideas and want to steal my aircraft.

 

We get into the van and head off to the Fairmont Mara Safari Club. The scenery is beautiful. Image

 

We get to the safari club and are welcomed by beautiful ladies standing at the door. Well, actually, they welcome the tourists, they know I am there for no reason, and will be given a lounge to wait for them. The tourists are led to another different section, and myself, well, they know me, so they call me by name and ask me why it’s always I that has to wait for passengers. They lead me to a lounge past the bar (as I fight the temptations) and bring me coffee and cake. I then put my feet up and snooze. Nice!

 

I am woken up at 1pm! The stewardess tells me the guests will be ready by 2pm! Aaah! Nice! Just in time for lunch! I grab some food from the buffet and eat to my fill. At 1.40pm, the guests are ready to go and we are taken back to the airstrip by the same van that brought us. The maasai moran is still there, standing while propped on his stick. He barely looks tired! I give him a Ksh 100 note, and his face beams with happiness! Well at least, I know he is not heading off to an illicit brew den. There are none of those in the Mara. I hope. He hops off and disappears into a bush.

At exactly 2pm, we take off from Ng’erende, headed to Amboseli. One of the tourists had requested to sit next to me in the cockpit. He had said he was a military pilot blah blah blah so to avoid the charade I let him sit as FO, with rules of course. Don’t touch that, don’t step on that, don’t give me stories during critical stages of flight. And he understood. Good thing he was in the military, and he knew how to follow orders. I have seen worse.

 

During cruise he tells me they will be in Amboseli for 3 days. I tell him to stay away from the lions. They are usually hungrier around this time of the year. He is shocked. Of course I was pulling his leg. But I let it stick. The view of the Kilimanjaro as we are heading there is lovely. ImageWe land at Amboseli. I love it’s tarmac runway. A few metres longer and KQ would be sending Embraers to that place. Next to the runway is the small building, that houses the KWS staff that charge landing fees. I like it because it is air conditioned. Image

 

At the strip, I also find this DC-3, belonging to a Mombasa based company. The pilotsImage are somewhere chilling, letting the plane get some sun perhaps.

I hang around Amboseli for a few minutes, there is no hurry. I am going back to Nairobi alone. I take my time and finally start up, and take off. Somewhere overhead where Lake Amboseli once stood, there is a serious dust storm, a storm so high it is going up to 9000 feet. I climb as quickly as I can and pass over it. I couldn’t have done that if I had passengers on board. They would have probably jumped off in shock. I’d have to go around and use a very long route.

 

Auto pilot kicks in and I sit back, again, looking at the clouds from high up. Image

 

The clouds seem to be beaming a shy smile at me. The sense of peace, happiness, it is wonderful. Better therapy than yoga.

I approach Wilson, and there are a couple of guys training, I have to bypass them and land. It is a quick one, and once on the ground, it is almost 4pm. Tired, but happy that the working day is over. The dispatchers sadly (for them) inform me that I will be off for the next 2 days! I love free days! I can get to relax! And suddenly I am motivated again! But what to do for 2 days? I look at the duty free shop! Aaaahhh!!! I know how I shall keep myself busy in the house! Image

Now don’t be tempted to think I am an alcoholic. I bought some ground nuts with those. I jump into my jalopy and head for Langata road. Traffic! But who cares! I have 2 free days!!

I Dream to Fly : Part 1

This past weekend, I happened to have attended a networking event that was graced by various professionals from various fields in our economy. Needless to say, I was the only one that attended that worked in the aviation industry.

All the people I spoke to, some very big C.E.Os and M.Ds in their respective fields felt quite excited and interested in listening to me answer the questions they were fielding towards me. I was answering them as if it were a small thing and the look on their faces was that of serious interest and excitement.

When I left that event, it finally hit me that I do work in an industry that really fascinates people especially those who are not in the aviation industry. For as much as I may have been in the industry for a while, I probably have tended to forget the excitement I had when I first started flying. Now don’t make a mistake and think that I do not love what I do. I would rather be flying than do anything else in this little world of ours. But that small conversation I was having with those people made remember where my love for aviation started and so today, after shedding a few tears this morning due to the sweet memories, I have decided to start a series of blog posts about how I made the skies my home. It obviously is a very long story, so I will not be able to put it all in one blog post. My story might be haphazard, please forgive and bear with me, but i will try and make it as smooth as possible. I also hope that my story will encourage those who aspire and dream to become pilots one day, because I also went through the rough before I made it in this very tough field.

Unlike in most aviation families in Kenya, I do not come from a long lineage of aviators. Now I refer to them as aviation families because in Kenya, most flight crew are what they are because they took a baton from other members of their families, most preferable their mothers and fathers. This is why if you make a kind visit to KQ or any other big aviation companies in Kenya, you will realize most of the pilots are pilots because either their moms and dads are/were also pilots.

Anyway, back to my story, I did not become an aviator because my father was an aviator. In fact, he never even went close to being one. He is a business man, and a good one in his field, and everyone expected me to end up following his lead. Which, from the time I was in primary school, was to be my path to follow. The only pilot in my family was my uncle, a cousin to my father. From the on-set, it was obvious that his two sons were the ones that were scheduled to take the mantle from him, but they never did. This is a story that I will give later on.

I always envied my uncle. He was a former air force man who had survived the 1982 coup that had been initiated by air force officers and still managed to make it to become a Captain on the Airbus while working for Kenya Airways. He always dressed smartly and looked top notch. In primary school, I was always fascinated by the way he would talk about aircraft and all the beautiful places he’d fly to. His two sons were always there listening to him and I always envied them because they were the ones that were definitely going to take after him.

In 1998, there was an air show that was held at Nairobi’s Wilson Airport and on this day, I got to go on a joyride in a Let410. Of course, I was too naive to even know what it was called, but I remember this day up to today because it was the first time I was getting into an aircraft that was not an airliner. The joyride lasted a mere 20 minutes but it was a milestone in my life. When I disembarked from that aircraft, I knew that being a pilot is what I was meant to become. I was still in primary school then, but I knew how much I wanted to become a pilot. My excitement led me to even getting closer with my pilot uncle, and at one time in 1999, while flying to Dar es Salaam, he put me in the jump seat of the Airbus A310 which he was commanding! The excitement was unbearable! I never wanted to be anywhere else in the world, other than in that cockpit!

My uncle grew even more fond of me and encouraged me to ensure that I get good grades and work hard as I might also become just like him. I knew that was advice I had to take and thus there was need for me to work hard to join the aviation industry. At this time, I had no clue about where aviation begins, where the flight schools are located or even the costs. All I knew was that I wanted to become a pilot, and I even wished I could skip high school just to become a pilot.

On 31st January 2000, I woke up and prepared for school as was the norm. I was in a primary school located in Thika and being in the outskirts of the city made life quite easy for me. As I was having breakfast, I was listening to the radio and the 7am news came on with a special indicating that there was a report of a KQ plane crash off the coast of Abidjan, in Côte d’Ivoire. It did not spark any interest at that time, and I went on with my day as normal. In the evening, I was sadly informed by my father, that the airliner that had crashed into the Atlantic, was being piloted by my uncle.

to read about the crash of KQ431, click here

A Prayer for Peace In Kenya

On Monday 4th of March 2013, Kenya goes to the ballot to vote in the next bunch of leaders that will give us headaches for the next 5 years.

Don’t take my harsh tone as a bad thing. It’s just that, unlike other countries where people go to vote the right people in, Kenyans tend to vote in the wrong kind of people all the time. Before the elections they woo us with money and gifts and promises of building space stations above the Kenyan airspace but once they sit their behinds in parliament and draw those big salaries, they forget the “common mwananchi” (common civilian) and leave us suffering. 2 years after the elections, every Kenyan is complaining how bad our leaders are and how they are draining this country with the big salaries and the fuel guzzlers they drive around in. But come the next election, these “waheshimiwas” (honourables) remember the common mwananchi and come back to beg for votes, and guess what? We vote them back in! I just do not understand!

Anyway my blog is not political, so let me steer clear of that issue. If you are reading this, and have followed the issues affecting Kenya for a while, you will obviously remember what happened the last time Kenyans went and cast their vote. I am not one to assume so if you have no idea what I am talking about, Click Here

I will not go into most of the details that happened. But the 2007 elections are a stark reminder of how bad things can get when our leaders incite people to go against others. Our economy crumbled to new lows and it took a while before we recovered. I do not even know if we have ever fully recovered from this violence. At that time, tourist numbers went down and air charter companies that make ends meet by ferrying the tourists around the country were hard hit. I remember between January 2008 and February 2008, a pilot that was used to doing 100 hours a month only did 14 in a whole 60 days. But the trouble wasn’t even in the aviation industry but all other aspects of our economy.

We Kenyans are now much more aware of the prevailing conditions now. We know that these leaders will try to incite people to fight for them in the streets as they sip expensive champagne in high end members only clubs while making banter about the game of polo and lunch time lasagne.

We Kenyans are one people. Whoever wins this election has every right to rule this country. Let this election not divide us the way it did in 2007/2008. We suffered too much. Too many people died trying to fight for a cause that really did not matter. We cannot afford to be split into groups! Kenya is ONE country and all the 42 tribes in it make it what it is. I pray, and intercede, that these forthcoming elections shall be peaceful, no matter the outcome.

This is my kind prayer to my fellow Kenyans, PEACE TO KENYA.

Help me in sharing this post, and help me in promoting peace in these forthcoming elections.

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Wildlife Conservationist Dr. Anthony King dead in Mt. Kenya Plane Crash

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