Thursday, 28 August 2008

Oh no! not again!

Had to blog this before i went to bed.

I paid a visit to the 'wall' this evening. Inserted my card as requested and waited....

"Insert your card" was still being displayed- what could have been wrong? a few seconds later " "This ATM is temporarily out of service." What?

The guard told me to chill a bit and see if my card would re-emerge. After a while he said that since it was more than 2 minutes the card had been retained. being one to keep faith I waited. The wretched contraption made some noise and hope began to rise within me. The familiar "Insert your card" came back on but no card was returned. Card had been retained according to the guard. Doooooh! Nothing else to do but to go and collect it from the bank again.

Funny thing is that there are 3 ATMs on my way home. Had a strange feeling that I should alight where the first two are but decided against it as it was farther away. Next time I had better trust my gut feeling.

So it's back to the banking hall for me- isn't that sweet?

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Arrrrgggggh!... ... Phew!

Now where do I start? I think the best place to start is the beginning.

About 3 weeks ago my wallet decided to grow legs and walk out of my pocket. Must have dropped it in a mat but on further inquiry it was nowhere to be seen, apparently somebody had an eye for good wallets. Anyhow luckily for me no vital documents were inside but a very important ATM card was in there. I have since learnt that ATM cards are the best thing since sliced bread, without it I’ve had to brave the snaking queues at the farmers’ bank.

Naturally on learning of the card’s disappearance I hastily made arrangements to have it cancelled and applied for a replacement not without spending a good amount of time in the banking hall to get that done. Was told to come back in 10 days so I waited until the due date.

It was ready for collection last week and I made arrangements to leave work early so as to get to town before 4 p.m. Thought leaving by 3 would give me enough time but as always the traffic on Mombasa road had other ideas. Got to the city centre at 4.30 so much for that. Tried again on Saturday but the 45 min I’d given myself looked inadequate so my trip had to be postponed to Monday.

Come Monday with the benefit of experience my exit from the office was done at 2.45 p.m. Surely by any estimation that should have been adequate time to make it to town by 4. So I cleared with my supervisor and made my way to the gate. Luckily there was a matatu right there so I quickly got on and began my journey.

Before we even got to Mombasa road there was already traffic on airport north road. Even the driver was surprised and wondered whether the president was still around as he had passed that way earlier in the day. After a few manouvres on the road we got onto Msa road which looked to have a high amount of traffic for that time in the afternoon. The matatu was pretty empty so we had to make a few stops but it filled up quickly and according to my watch there was still a lot of time. Once it was filled up I was confident that it would be an express trip into town.

Shock on me when we got to south C and found a snarl up that is characteristic of rush hour and not 3.30 p.m! the driver too was confounded since that time is usually free flowing. Once again some overlapping was done on the road towards the Nyayo stadium roundabout, once we got there it would be all good- or so we thought. We had not even gone through the roundabout before we came to a stop to the horror of even the driver. Strangely all other roads heading into the roundabout were also held up. Knowing that our fate was practically sealed we moved slowly towards the city centre. In the meantime the driver was sharing how frustrating his job can get and I totally agreed.

Just after the Bunyala road roundabout ( side note: how many of those things do we have to pass? They must go, by yesterday!) I looked at my watch, 12 minutes left to bank closing time. Looked out the window and wondered if I alighted then whether I could make it. After a little thinking I decided it was best to stick in to the mat and told God- “please, let me make it in time”.

2 minutes to 4 still on the road, What’s more the contractors working on the road had parked a lorry with concrete blocks on our lane. Thought they were supposed to be working at night not in the middle of the afternoon! Arrrgh! I tell you sometimes you can just shoot people. Thanks to that little obstruction 4 o’clock found us at the Haile Selassie roundabout. I had no option but to alight from the mat in traffic.

Got of the mat and ran to the bank and you guessed it- closed by 4.03 p.m. tried to negotiate with the guards to let me in but hey wouldn’t budge, ati I should come the next day. “what!” After all the trouble I’d been through that was not an option. At this point I was livid, cursing the traffic, for crying out loud, I had done my best to get there in time! Tried calling a pal who works in the bank but he was busy.

As I was outside there brooding and almost going captain haddock on those guys hope arrived. I saw my cousin whose mum works at the bank come out of the door. “Halleluyah!” I thought. Told her my situation and she spoke to her mum. Strangely she noticed that her mum’s number was already on my phone but I guess in the situation I forgot. A few minutes later I was sorted and was smiling all the way out the bank.

Relflecting on that situation I really thanked God for coming through for me again like this time and this. Was a really frustrating experiences but it worked out well in the end. Thanks be to God.

Lakini this traffic is in a horrible state! One of my pet subjects but that’s for another day

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Games Over!

Wanjiru celebrates

Wow! what an Olympics it's been for my countrymen and women. Nothing could have been better than having the Kenyan national anthem being the last on the playlist and that's exactly what happened when Samuel Wanjiru had the honour of being he first ever Kenyan Olympic marathon champion. This Olympiad has had a number of firsts for the Kenyans.

Jason Dunford was the first Kenyan swimmer to get to the finals and more to that he broke the olympic record on the way there. Some may say that he peaked to early but something tells me there's more to come especially from his younger brother David.

Jelimo celebrates

The next first was Pamela Jelimo who earned her place in the history books as the first Kenyan female Olypic champion. A lot was expected from this young lady 'the Kaptagat Express' and her counterpart 'the Eldoret Express' Janeth Jepkosgei. Lucky for us we managed to prise Pam from the Americans who wanted to ship her off to the far away lands. The last pioneer of course was Wanjiru(which is actually a Woman's name).

The Haul of 5 gold 5 silver and 4 bronze is our best ever. The only time we came close to that was in Seoul where we garnered 5 gold 2 silver and 2 bronze. Last year's no 2 position at the IAAF world championships was a tough act to follow but the boys and girls have shown that they've got what it takes to do even better.

Bungei Crosses the line
Of all the 5 Gold medalists Jelimo, Kipruto, Langat, Bungei and Wanjiru some of them deserve a special mention. Jelimo has already been dealt with but the standout performance was from the relatively unknown Nancy Jebet Langat who won the women's 1500m, on that day the race was not a medla hope but she rose to the ocassion even without team mates to help her on. Next up is Bungei who as the captain made up for the dissappointment of not making the finals at the last Olympics. Last but not least is Wanjiru who won the marathon despite the favorite Martin Lel falling by the wayside .

Once again I congratulate the boys and girls for their performance which was outstanding, phenomenal, great even. As we celebrate let us not rest on our laurels as staying number one in Africa is not as easy as becoming number one. The beloved Ethiopians are constantly on our heels as evidenced by their double in the 5000 and 1000m. As I said in my earlier post these guys can be beaten but we have to be more strategic. Former Olympic champion John Ngugi( the last Kenyan to win the 5000m) higlighted this in an interview recently.

One thing that the Ethiopians have mastered is majoring on the majors as opposed to us who have guys running in the IAAF golden league and missing out on the olypmpics. Credit goes to Athletics Kenya for being strict this time round which I'm sure helped our performance. Teamwork wins every time!

Another thing that is vital is money, money, money! the Government and sponsors should do all they can to make sure the athletes get paid well for their efforts lest they defect to Qatar or Bahrain like some have. I wonder if we can even make athletics our national sport as that's our forte.

Kweli leo Najivunia Kuwa Mkenya

In a totally unrelated story came across these interesting pictures of Nairobi courtesy of Ntwiga's blog.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Games time!

This past weekend was pretty interesting as far as sports goes. Made my way to the RFUEA grounds where I watched Kenya come from behind and win the Elgon cup not without some last minute suspense where a converted try would have handed the cup to The visitors. Think I'm getting hooked on to this rugby thing.

jason celebrates his record

The 'real' Olympics began on Friday with the first track and field events. However there was a Kenyan- Jason Dunford who was also in contention for a medal in the 100m butterfly. He didn't make it to the medal positions but he had a good showing at the games by being the first to break the Olympic record though it was broken only minutes later. At least he got his 15 min of fame plus a new African and national record. Making it to the finals was no small feat and we hope to see more of him and his brother in London 2012.

The first major track medal predictably went to Ethiopia's Tirunesh Dibaba in the10000m women and 2 days later Kenenisa Bekele also made of with Gold. Watching the two winners, it is easy to see that their weapon is the final kick in the last lap. That's the same way they've been beating the Kenyans since the early 90s. I'm no athletics expert but I think by now we should know what to expect and adapt to their style lest the Kenyans get forgotten. I stand to be corrected on this. You have to admit those Ethiopians have something special there, running for almost 10 km and still being able to sprint. What was even more amazing was the sprint at the end of the Women's marathon.

"This just in" Kenya have won their first 2 gold Medals. As expected Brimin Kipruto won the 3000m steeplechase( no 1,2,3 though some Frenchman spoiled the party) and Pamela Jelimo became the first Kenyan Woman to get an olympic gold in the 800m. Next up is 1500m men let's hope for something there too.

For a parting shot, the 'freshest' ad of the year