Monday, January 19, 2009


A qualified Engineer friend of mine, registered with Engineer's Registration Board (E.R.B) who earned his Degree in BSc. at the University Of Nairobi approached me one day with two mathematical problems that were presented to him as a bet in one of those drinking dens in Embakassi. The challenger was a makanga. "Would you fail to solve a mathematical problem set by a makanga- with all the dirt and his worn out clothes?", he asked me. It's not what he said but the tone of his voice when he said it. I even saw the spite in his face. That question led to a fierce argument.

The human brain works in a funny way. I would describe it as a pattern-forming 'machine'. It collects information from past experiences that were stored in the memory, compares it with the information at hand to identify any pattern and process new information or trigger a perception in our minds, a perception that is based on that pattern, or that completes or develops that pattern farther. This mostly happens without even us knowing, and if let alone (which is the case more often than not), this 'machine' can be misleading and a big obstacle against us exploiting the most out of our potential ability. Its time we (Kenyans... and really the human race) atleast struggled to get past this obstacle and unlock the cage within which our greatness is incarcerated and tap from it.

Our greatness, and the development of our country that we so much yearn for begins with each one of us as individuals and it starts in our minds- how we think. self-emancipation from mental slavery is the first step.

To me, thinking is an art. I am not a doctor or an expert but I know this much; our way of thinking is what stands in our way. We are an emotion-driven population as opposed to a fact-driven one. We go with the mood. We are not big enough to betray our thoughts and our perception and our pride for the greater good. No. We do the obvious, the easy thing to do. atleast our leaders do that, but I don't blame them. They are us. That is the bitter pill we should swallow. The mere reason why they are there is because we could not compromise. Not them, us. We cannot compromise to see another tribe other than ours take over the throne. Us! But we are not stupid or mad.

I keep fighting this battle everyday, a battle against my human brain. The mission is to take control over it.

Nothing in life is definite. That is where my friend was wrong. Just because we always wake up to new day, it doesn't mean that tommorow will come. Even though from experience, our brain has been gathering this info and has stored it so when prompted it 'tells us' that when the sun sets, it will rise again.

I got one of those makanga problem right. My Engineer friend didn't, the first time he attempted it. That means he ended up buying that makanga his deserved drinks. If you want to know what the questions were, hit me. They're not hard, just practical.

*for those who dont know, a makanga a sheng word to mean a public transport conductor.
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