Sunday, October 25, 2009


Ever since that dreadful day,
A day won’t pass before the thought crossed my head,
I probably think more of it than I think of sex,
We all are nothing but just bags of meat,
That’s why the mind may want but the body is weak,
Bite yourself to feel it you’ll see,
I don’t un


Safaricom is currently running an offer where you can receive unlimited internet access for 24 hours at Ksh 200. You top up your card with the amount and send a blank text to 555. After a moment you will receive a confirmation text message that goes; “You unlimited daily internet access request has been received. Ensure you disconnect and reconnect to start enjoying the service in 10 minutes.” I did send a blank text, this is the message I had received, I followed the instructions in it.

I was skeptical about this offer and more so now. To begin with, the offer was and is not good enough to me because I believe it can be cheaper but that’s another story. And the fact that the offer lasts for less than a month is just pathetic, I’m not sure when it began but I know it ends on the 5th of November. As to why I ended up taking the offer I don’t know but I most regret it. I think I was driven by euphoria seeing everyone activating their accounts for the service.

Usually I use my phone as a modem, not as fast as the Safaricom modem but it works just fine for me. I called Safaricom customer care to ask if I could still use my phone as a modem and still take advantage of their offer, the man on the other end said Safaricom does not mind what device I use, all they look at is my account. That made sense to me. There is no single day have I heard Safaricom or any other cell phone company restrict any of their products to, say, customers with Nokia handsets only. So I thought, I have plenty of downloading to do, maybe Ksh 200 shillings is worth it after all. That is when I did what I had to do, topped up and sent the text.

10 minutes later, I was on the internet with my phone modem. Ha-ha. I was down to do some major downloading! But they must have known or something. Safaricom hates me, I realized I was still being charged. I called Safaricom customer care (I called there so many times last night, they don’t even ask me my name anymore when I call. Sometimes they hang up on me while they kept me on hold!). I was instructed to switch off my phone and back on, then I would be good to go. I did that. Nothing happened. Okay something happened, I couldn’t log on to the internet even through my mobile phone browser, instead I got a message: Authorization failed. It stayed this way for 5 hours during which I could not get through to customer care, you know, number busy. And when I tried to sambaza the little credit I had in my account, it jammed! Like they really wanted the 41 bob I had remaining.

After the 5 hours, it goes through, customer care. They tell me- switch off your phone then switch it back on. I did that again, reluctantly. Walaa, internet was back... but they were still charging me. Customer care again, they say- we are looking to see what’s wrong and we will get back to you in 48 hours (Yes, they said they would get back to me. I asked again to make sure I heard right, will you actually call me? She began her sentence with “ If we don’t then just…”). 48 hours?! I had less than 20 hours to enjoy the unlimited internet access! I should have been mad with these people, I was but I tried as much as I could to keep my cool. They didn’t even know what was wrong themselves, they are just employees who pick up calls. They should be trained better, because when I called again later, I was told I could not get unlimited internet access because I was using my phone as a modem and I that I should use the Safaricom modem. Nice. I asked her if the first guy had lied to me and she said- we are sorry but that was a miscommunication. “What about my money?”
She blubbered something but she didn’t know the answer to that neither. These people don’t even understand the products of the company they are working for!

So now I’m sitting here mad as f*@#! Wishing Safaricom headquarters would burn to ashes! But don’t worry Michael Joseph, I’m still holding on to my Safaricom SIM card, but who knows for how long. One thing is for sure though, I’m never buying a Safaricom modem.

Note: He-he, just as I am completing to write this I get a message from Safaricom saying "Your unlimited daily internet access request has been successfully processed. Ensure you disconnect and reconnect to start enjoying the service." They must really know! I decided to not withdraw from posting this for what they made me go through. But I have conveiniently added the word "almost" in the title of this post. Now, let me test to see if it is true what they are saying.

Friday, October 23, 2009


It usually gets very tricky when it comes to technology here in Africa because most of the technology (if not all) that comes our way we but adopt, we do not develop. Therefore most of it was not designed to solve our problems as they are. What we do is try to take a piece of technology and try to make it relevant to us by trying to figure out how the technology that we receive can best suit us instead of analyzing a problem and developing a technology that is best suited to solve our African problems. Lucky enough, some problems we share with the West. And some problems in the West are not problems to us until the West solves it, then do we realize that things can be better. That’s how the internet, let alone fiber-optic is to us. We didn’t and still don’t comprehend to what extent this beautiful technology can be useful to our economic growth. We get to learn of its limits by watching the West use it but funny thing is that the limits keep shifting so rapidly it’s so confusing!

Moses Kemibaro wrote an article on his blog a while ago called ‘Now That SEACOM Is Live, what next?’ Read it here, it’s a nice piece. This question is very legitimate especially to us Africans in this region because this technology is coming to us relatively late. A huge proportion of us who could even get internet access either didn’t understand or didn’t know what to do with the internet as it were before SEACOM went live… that is if social networks and e-mails were removed from the picture. Now that it is live and its objective was to make the internet cheaper and faster and provide more bandwidth, which we might have not needed that much because we’d made ourselves comfortable with every aspect of the earlier connectivity except for the high prices, what next?! Mr. Kemibaro goes ahead to say in his article; The challenge for the [internet] market in Kenya will be to find useful and value adding applications of this overflowing bandwidth and make sense of the high speed cables. Right on point! And this value I presume, is monetary. It is all about economic growth and poverty alleviation when it comes to technology, otherwise what good is it? After all Governments and other organizations put in a lot of money to lay this magical cable under the sea all the way from South Africa, this goes to show that this cable must be of great importance to them. When the big guns put their money on something, they expect returns. So SEACOM must be big business. Question is; where will the money come from? But I digress.

Let’s focus on the benefits of wireless broadband, which is what SEACOM and other cable systems like EASSy are offering us. The most conspicuous or vocalized benefit is that of bandwidth pricing, it was even predicted that the prices would go down by 95%. Now that percentage is huge, I’d probably end up buying something I don’t need for 95% less its original price. Not by any means am I trying to insinuate that SEACOM is a bad thing, it is amazing! What bothers me is the fact that we didn’t even do much with the little we had in the first place. The internet is a powerful tool and I’m starting to doubt if as a country we will be able to handle its effects on our lifestyles and how we do things. In addition to cheaper bandwidth and faster internet consumers will also enjoy media-rich applications such as audio and video. This is quite something. Other benefits would include the opening of doors to global competition, cheaper telecoms costs would have positive effects on the economy and infrastructure and most of all promotion of innovation and stimulation development.

Sometimes I feel like Africa is being forced to walk the economic road at a faster pace than it can handle with these many technological advances. And we have no choice, we have to work hard just to embrace new technology. As much as the arrival of SEACOM created a lot of excitement in Africa (where most of the population still don’t have access to the internet), in the end it is going to be upon us to make it work for us. This is where we need to be creative and beat even the creators of the technology. We Africans do not have an excuse, we are probably the region which needs the internet the most. Whether or not we are going to use for pure entertainment and social networks is upon us.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Most of the time, I just mind my business. While I was doing just that in the company of a friend of mine, we suddenly heard a loud crash sound from across the road. What could that have been? My friend wondered. I don't care, I thought to myself as I hoped he would drop the subject. Something must have happened, we saw a large truck slow down right before the crashing sound. I succeeded at drifting his attention to our business but then noises from the tarmac road which we could not clearly see from where we were captured my friend's attention again and so he insisted we go check it out. Alright, he won. Let's go see what's up. So we went.

Alas, he was right too, it was an accident (He'd thought it was). Two grown men laid on the ground bleeding profusely with broken limbs. It was a gruesome scene and my mood was immediately changed. One of the men was a bodaboda guy (cyclist) and the other one must have been the passenger. The passenger man was the one with broken limbs, agonized by pain but trying to hide it in his facial expression. the bodaboda man on the other hand was bleeding from the back of his head, he must have had a concussion. The bicycle was scrap metal.

Now, I stood there and I wanted to leave. Not because I can't stand the sight of blood but because I couldn't stomach the fact that everyone else was just staring and doing nothing! It was like a freaking show. I was just hoping for someone to do something, I guess that's what everyone else was thinking. But nobody did anything except watch this short version of a reality show.

It was then I started to ask myself, what can I do to help these people... call the cops? No, 999 doesn't work. The paramedics, do we even have those in Kenya? The ambulance? Well, even if I wanted to call I didn't have any hot line number and I still don't. So who is to blame, me and my ignorance or the system? That is why I did not want to be among that crowd who just hovered around and asked stupid questions like 'what happened?'. If I stuck around I'd just be like them. Typically Kenyan, idle enough to not pass another chance to be idle! What is wrong with us, huh? to make things worse, a police (or maybe it was the army, AP... I can't tell the difference) truck passed by and that is all they did- passed by. I felt like vomiting, I can't do any first aid, all I was thinking was shouldn't anyone be doing something fast?!

The story has a happy ending though, I said a little prayer and I think God heard me because a personal pick-up vehicle stopped to offer to carry the accident victims to the hospital. Now that made me feel good. There were still human beings left among us, even if I am not among them. Because I don't know how I would have felt leaving a couple of injured people by the roadside and get back to my own 'business', after seeing how much pain they were going through.

Everyone else is not prepared for such emergencies, next time I want to know what to do. So if you have any suggestions or you have police or emergency numbers, hit me.

Also, is it morally right to take pictures at such scenes?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


If people added a little more truth in what they said, life would be a lot easier! The truth is difficult to say... and ugly, but doesn't somebody just have to say it to save the day? Fuck my feelings, just because you can't handle it doesn't mean I can't handle the truth! I hate selfish, emotionally needy individuals. With that said I guess I might as well say that I hate everybody. With all these superficial women hovering around, my diplomatic nature doesn't really help.

Wyre told you ladies, make a choice! Make up your minds... but I guess you all like to be chased after. One thing I usually can't argue with when I'm trying to hit on a girl is when they say they have a man. What do you say to that? Ummm, 'I don't mind. I have a girl too'? Then you find out you like me too, but you didn't tell me soon enough that you had another guy somewhere. You just led me on until I got you cornered and then you spill out that gibberish! You knew what I wanted, I know you knew because I told you. Talking about you want us to be friends now, crap. You should get to know me better. And I can't believe it that you claim you were protecting me from a heartbreak all this time, then what do you call this?! But I'm a big boy, woman. I'm okay. As a matter of fact I'm fine! Shit, I'm doing great, look at me! I don't hate you, I love you, remember that. That's why I can't be your friend, not even because you are a filthy liar. I'm looking back at the first time we met, and I wish you never called.

Hey, I'm willing to carry the burden of being the hero and save the day, big responsibility. It's one of my shortcomings anyway, I can't fit in so its probably a good thing I use it to create better days for all of us, right? No, that dress doesn't fit, you're too fat! I know it looked good when your mother's cousin's daughter wore it but that's because she's a teenager... and she has a nice figure. And your teeth are crooked, ever heard of braces? Pretty cool invention. You need a little teeth whitening too. But it shouldn't worry you much, those are things we can fix. How am I doing so far, is the day any better? Call me Captain Save-'em. You need me just holler my name!