Monday, April 23, 2012

My Kenyan alter-ego

Ever since I went to Kenya for the first time, I have been imagining what my Kenyan alter-ego would be like. I have many Kenyan friends, most of which I met in the USA. I actually have more Kenyan friends who've returned to Kenya after sojourns abroad than for all other African countries. Like one friend said, "As for Kenyans, we move back". "I'm coming home, narudi nyumbani". So after Ayooluwaato Eze from Nigeria and Richard Nshuti Mayanja from Uganda, I introduce to you all David Ochieng Mwangi.

Yes, you heard it right. What a strange set of names? Kweli. Lakini kuona. My father is from the biggest tribe in Kenya, the Kikuyu. During my time abroad, most of the Kenyans I met were Kikuyu too. We're a proud people but you will always see us speak Sheng to feel as Kenyan as possible (instead of Kikuyu). Mwangi is a popular name you say. Yes, I am related to every popular Kenyan Mwangi you might know. We run deep mabibi na mabwana.

My mother is Luo. My father didn't mean to "raile" up any Kikuyu family members by marrying a "Luya", he wanted Umoja. I inherited my "umbwogable" nature from her. The violence after the Kenyan election was a trying time for our families but the aftermath and the unity goverment was a joyful time for us as well. But enough with that, because my parents did the impossible, they gave me a first name they thought summed up the possibility of doing the impossible, David. Yeah, remember Goliath. I have some bullish attitude that says I can do anything, and my Kenyan people share that on various levels.

Because I haven't lived in Kenya for most of my life, my Swahili is not that great and my Sheng is almost non-existent. I might be one of 254 young Kenyans whose Swahili is better than his Sheng. If you are like me, you need to spend more time in Nairobi and Mombasa.
I can't speak Swahili that well because my father is a diplomat and I didn't stay in East Africa too long to learn the language. If you are asking about my Luo, you are too demanding. You're talking like I lived in Kenya and Nakumatt sells Kenyan language "teach-yourself" packs. Or do they?

The only school I attended in Kenya was GreenSteds International School, before my father's travels sent me to Tanzania, South Africa, and Ghana. All these places had varying levels of Kenyans but my time in the US saw the most Kenyan engagement for me. I remember those "nyama choma" gatherings, the pombe competitions, and the marathon watching parties. My college tried to get me to run long-distance for them. I didn't want to embarass my people. The college authorities didn't seem to understand that these "runners" were busy earning "shillings" all over the world and were not trotting near any American tertiary institutions.

But yea, you also know we do love our Tusker. It's lovely to see how far Tusker has traveled, it stands as the official African beer in the Diaspora. We've taken our drinking prowess everywhere. I'm surprised we don't have as many Kenyans in Ireland and Germany. Maybe they deny the beer-drinking competition visas ;-) Don't see us as drunkards at all because we can get pretty serious. Learn about things like Kuweni Serious where #KenyaDecides to show love for the nation. We love supporting Kenyan business.
If This Country Burns, We Burn With It.

Nairobi (when it's not Nairobbery) is surely the best African city to visit. Yes, because you can see antelopes running near hotels. But that's not why I want you to "safiri hapa". Safaris and game parks are nice, but the social scene in Nairobicity is great. "Huku Nairobi, we like to party". If you are a carnivore, you will love Kenya. We have "game" meat of various kinds, you are sure to taste some meat you never got in your country. Yet still, vegetarians can still find a Harambe home in my country since it is home to many tourists and mzungus from all walks of life.

There is also so much ingenuity in Kenyan people. Nairobi is Africa's innovation capital. There are always stories of new inventions, innovations and ingenuity. Why trouble about never taking Kenya Airways when we can build planes in our front yards? Our youth redefine "African electronics". You might have heard how cows are especially important in Kenyan culture, so tracking them with mobile phones is a service that's extremely important. Stories such as this make the iHub in Nairobi a very important tourist destination if you love technology and innovation. Kenya is full of tech people, so it's no surprise I am a computer programmer. :-)

if (location is Kenya)
person.say("Ninaitwa David Ochieng Mwangi!");
person.say("Mimi, ni Ato");

So next time you meet David Ochieng Mwangi, that will be me. And I'm not on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. I normally use some other guy's profile to stalk all the pretty Kenyan (and Somalian) girls from time to time. Kenyan ladies rock my socks. You can catch always me here on this blog. Kenyans move back like quoted here, so "I'm coming home, home where I belong" like the musician who will remain Nameless sang.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Participate in Barcamp Sunyani happening April 21 #bcsyi #bcsunyani

I have been to Sunyani maybe two times in my life. The first time I went there, I fell in love with it. It looked so green, fertile, clean, peaceful and welcoming. Since I like to dream, especially about Ghana, I have some big plans. Sunyani factors very much into that. For me, I hope this weekend starts the process of starting to realize that dream. Don't sleep on Sunyani. If you are there or know someone who is, get them to come to Barcamp Sunyani on Saturday. More about Sunyani to come.

BarCamp Sunyani 2012 is a FREE networking event to bring people together for a day of discussion, demos and dialogue about Sunyani, Ghana and beyond. It hopes to assemble Brong-Ahafo Regional stakeholders to network, build a supportive entreprising community and partner. BarCamp Sunyani 2012 will take place on April 21, 2012 at the Faculty of Forest Resources Technology on the KNUST Sunyani Campus. The working theme is "Harnessing our potentials and resources to cultivate positive change in our community".

Through 13 BarCamps in Ghana (Accra, Kumasi, Takoradi, Cape Coast, Tamale, Ho), Barcamp Ghana has brought together over 2000 young changemakers, doers and entrepreneurs. Barcamp Ghana is a project being run by the GhanaThink Foundation, an NGO based both in Ghana and the USA. The events have showcased Ghanaian ingenuity and networked people interested in Ghana to continue creating business and content.

Barcamp Sunyani 2012 will be organized in conjunction with local groups in Sunyani. By partnering with these groups, this Barcamp will focus on engaging the youth in Sunyani, especially the students around how to create more value for their localities and shape the development agenda in this election year. Like all Barcamps, there will be user-generated sessions and discussions where attendees get to set the agenda and topics for the day. Local experts will share knowledge on different technologies and successful entrepreneurs and innovators will share their stories to serve as models for participants.

The Barcamp will feature a panel or keynote touching on Agriculture. It will also have a speed mentoring session where participants get some efficient quality time with selected mentors and resource personnel. There will also be a social media session(targeted at the elections) led by BloGh aka GhanaBlogging. Some of our resource personnel will be Robert Mensah of Eusbett, George Agbozo of Catholic University, amongst many young and successful changemakers in Ghana.

Register/RSVP today at the BarCamp Sunyani eventbrite website. You may also contact the BarCamp Sunyani team through this website for sponsorship opportunities. If you are interested in organizing a breakout session, let us know, especially if you have special needs. BarCamp Sunyani 2012 is sponsored by the Faculty of Forest Resources Technology BloGh (GhanaBlogging), GhanaThink Foundation, Fienipa Group, Dinpa FM, etc. or barcamp at

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