Thursday, October 26, 2006

2 Bashes and a Funeral

Don't look at the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly. In the end, it bites like a snake, and poisons like a viper. Your eyes will see strange things, and your mind will imagine confusing things. Yes, you will be as he who lies down in the midst of the sea, or as he who lies on top of the rigging: "They hit me, and I was not hurt! They beat me, and I don't feel it! When will I wake up? I can do it again. I can find another."

I think the above statement defines bash no 1, which was kind of interesting to see the true picture of my workmates under the influence. Male and female, young and old, senior and junior, the great equalizer of rank and creed was evident. It makes sense not to allow oneself to be carried away by festivities (especially a company bash), but honestly control is hard to find when tokens abound for free liquor.

Am I innocent of the charges? Hardly. I guess I understand why some workmates gave it a miss. While not taking such an opportunity to meet and interact with staff from different sections would be considered foolhardy, the other extreme does not paint a pretty picture. I won't go into details (such as clandestine operations between my pal and a certain Kenyan musician, or the husband coming to track down the high wife at 3 a.m.) but lessons are learnt.

Bash 2 was the nyamchom plot with the former campusmates. As usual, the dominant feature was the fight for bragging rights (more like insider info swap) between personnel from the two mobile companies. A surprise attendant was a former highschool mate who formed his own IT firm and had his new 3 series on show. Makes me wonder how high my horizon is set and how fast can I get to it. I still agree enterpreneurship is the way to the gold, but the path is laden with many shidas (which he confesses to), therefore must not set my sights on the flashy life. My plan to get the crew to form a consortium didn't materialize at the table (too busy doing the math as to how many kgs and who's paying for what) but I got to sell the pitch to 2 of them and they like the idea. I'll pull up my socks to get the rest of the crew on board before the year's end.

One of the guys floated an idea that involves a certain stockbroker trading 100k for someone and he gets 10% of profit that he'll generate on your account. I'm not sure how legal that is... Meanwhile a certain lady from Old Mutual has been on my case to invest in the Kenya Stable Fund, a unit trust that needs some 10k a month for 10 years to pay off mzuri. The figures are good (the fund has increased in value 3 fold since inception in Oct 04) but the charges are too much. The fund invests in 60% equity, 20% money market and 20% property. I'm still figuring I can make much more by investing in equities on my own, though I can't pull off big moves yet. I'm smarting from the BBK rise which I proposed to my sis before it happened, but couldn't come up with the cash on time!!!

The funeral was for a pal's dad. My pal was my greatest academic rival in primary. No 1 always (almost always - he stumbled at the finish line) and I've had great respect for him and got to meet his dad who was an engineer (just like me). He had great words of wisdom, the few times we interacted and it was a priveledge to know him. Sad that he died of illness long before his time.

The interesting thing was that the guy was a saint! I'd never been to a funeral service where all adjectives that equate to goodness were used on 1 guy. I mean the service went on and on with people saying stuff of how he inspired them, set up welfare and investment schemes for family, friends and church members, and executed dreams into reality (someone had given a dream to the choir he ran about singing in the Holy Land, and he made it happen, organizing the whole trip). I got all the encouragement I need to make sure that my life will emulate his efforts in making the lives of people around me better. That's what true wealth is all about. Rest in peace, Joe.

PS: Kudos to Braces who turned 19 jana (no longer my under 18) and LW who got admitted to the bar today. Madam Wakili, we'll celebrate in style this weekend.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

One year after graduation...

Hey good people,

It's exactly 6 years since I joined campus and exactly 1 year since graduation. 2 very different yet incredible days. One full of uncertainity as to what lies ahead, one full of joy of conquering what seemed to be an insurmountable mountain. One year down the line, I'm taking stock of what it is I intended to achieve after campus:

  1. Save 100k in my first year of employment: Reality check, some financial difficulties came my family's way so I had to cover big time. The benchmark is even higher for the next 12 months, 25ok. Tutaweza kweli???
  2. Invest: Thank God for Kengen IPO and a personal finance seminar conducted by my employer that gave me the push to go forward. Not to be forgotten are 2 pals who have shambas at home but didn't have enough capital.
  3. Get my dream job (and keep it): Call it luck, grace or favour, I don't know how many can say that they have their dream job, but to get it within a month of graduation, especially after recieving a regret email along the recruitment stage, is anything but a miracle. I enjoy everyday of it!!!

This Sato I'm linking up with my former campus mates for our quarterly nyam chom plot. As the group's moderator (Yahoo! groups thing), I'm of the opinion that we pool our resources (most of us have landed positions in key sectors of the economy - ICT, manufacturing, government, auditing and service industries) and form a research/consultancy/contractor group that can morph into a powerful industry player worldwide in the next 20 years. Call it a dream, but hey, I'm a visionary by nature. It's getting people on board the dream that is the hard part.

  • An update on the social scene. Braces chic is up and walking. Ex version 2.0's birthday was last week. I sent a cursory text, the reply went something like, "I thot by the time I reach 2* you would propose, but I should forget about it by now". Professionalism calls for fighting all urges to reply such a text, which I survived. We bumped into each other jana usiku, as always I play dumb... (I don't really have a choice, do I???)

Last weekend was special in a way. 2 dates, both of which the ladies paid for. I mean, both asked me out so I was the willing guest. I know it's the 21st century and women are more empowered, but it's still considered rude for a jamaa to skive paying the bill. I guess I'm the spoilt type, makes up for the many others where I have to fork out everytime.

It boils down to benefits of singledom, enjoy life without much stress. Lonely periods can be occupied by TV (champions league and premiership), books (I'm currently reading Walk On - The Spiritual Journey of U2) and friends. But it's a crazy world out there...

Thanks to one Jomo Kenyatta, we have a 3 day weekend. Plans? I'm at Carni this evening, company anniversary bash, kesho chill with pals having a rock gig at Ufungamano 6 pm, Sato nyam chom as earlier said, Sunday catch Heartstring play (with whom is yet to be decided). Jienjoy!!!!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Cons and Pros

Solomon wrote that when times are good, be happy but when they are bad, consider that God made both. Here's a take on the few days that I've encountered:
CON: My Junior Achievement high school team had to go on a head to head with the other team to determine which would represent the school at the annual expo. I'd put all the plans in place the last two weeks, then a couple of minutes before the presentation, I get a call from them. They hadn't prepared at all. I had to dash there and create an annual company report and presentation in record time, while the other team had already got their game plan set. We were soundly thrashed, a whole 26 weeks down the drain!!!!
PRO: Despite my team losing out, a colleague forced me to attend the expo. We got the job of organizing the stand for the other team while they made their presentation to the judges in a closed room. Guess what? They won the prize for best stand, courtesy of us!!!! Plus, my company won the prize for best volunteers. Guess the 26 weeks weren't in vain after all... During the expo, got to hang out with high schoolers, seems that I can catch the attention of a few under 18's (vibe only, nothing further - you should have seen the looks from my female workmates!!!) Prize winning dinner is on 29th Nov, and one of the fly chic volunteers has said I'm her date, just gets better and better...
CON: At the expo, which was at USIU, got to hang out with the fresher chic (braces - previous post). I wanted to delete my numbers from her fone, jokingly of course. She flashes me as I head home from the expo, I snob. Finally after persistence, I check my fone to see a foreign number calling, turns out she'd been hit by a car on her way home!!!!
PRO: My sis drives me to the hospital, turns out she was lucky. A guy was teaching his daughter how to drive and she ended up ploughing through a lady plus this chic. The lady had one rib broken and bruised all over, while the fresher chic had her foot mowed by one of the wheels but no broken bones. Ended up being her hero for rushing over to see her at her time of need (her mum concurred), though I'm not sure how her sis (no. 1 contender - to be reviewed) feels about all this...
CON: Got into my first accident since getting a driving licence over 5 years ago (had 2 accidents before that, nothing major - was learning and scratched both a neighbour's and a cousin's cars). Had come from Kiambu, doing errands for my sis, and was returning her car when I hit a guy's Rav 4 at the back. This was at the junction of Moi Avenue joined from Tom Mboya street, late afternoon and there was jam already. Worse still, my best pal was driving a nearby car and saw the whole thing!!!
PRO: Turns out the guy's car wasn't damaged at all. As for my sis' car, no scratches, just the bonnet bent up slightly on one side. Also, I'm still being allowed to drive by my sis, which is quite surprising coz I thought I'd lost the priviledges for good! But my best pal is dissing me seriously about it...
CON: My finances are not in good stead AGAIN! My stock portfolio (HFCK, Mumias and Scangroup) are down and I've met a workmate who cleared like 3 years before me, but now has a car and 3 plots of land. Yaani, what have I been doing with my income over the last 12 months of working life? Attempts to account have proved to be an exercise in futility. Need to style up...
PRO: I've recently read 'The Richest Man in Babylon' and 'Capitalist Nigger' both an inspiration towards wealth and financial independence. Putting the advice in practice is the next step. I'm not for engaging in the money rat race but it beats sense not to enhance my investments by expanding into property development.
CON: I've been feeling far from God (and He's not the one who's been moving away) the last couple of weeks. Missed out on AFLEWO, plus spiritual psyche has been seriously low.I figure I don't hang out more with Him on a one-on-one basis plus haven't been 'making the grade' so to speak. I got to watch the Jesus film (for the umpteenth time) at my Ekklesia last week and confirmed that most of the time I don't do what He says...
PRO: Got this feel that He's still got me covered, was nice last Sunday after church service. Just sat alone after guys had left, and felt at peace, like He's there with me, covering my back as always. Visited another Ekklesia jana jioni and they vibed about jamaas who are poor in spirit. There's hope I tell you...