Saturday, September 25, 2010

Being a better Role Model in six easy steps.

The way you carry yourself in life may make someone younger than you or a neighbor an admirer from a distance
At 50 something Wilkista Osii could not believe when she was called upon by her niece to help salvage her marriage on the rocks. Being a co-wife to fours women, barren and without any basic education in guidening and counseling,

Mrs. Osii was more than baffled. Speaking to her pastor for insight Wilkista said the couple choose her as a role model and insisted on her to make the journey from Migori to Homabay, in Kenya, a half a day journey away.

In a world obsessed with paying adulation to stereotyped role models in educated people, sports and entertainment showbiz stars, the question baffling many readers is why? Why is someone of low societal status like you be chosen as a role model?

While signing autographs in high school the point of who is your role model had endorsements of celebrities. There Bill Gates, Tupac Shakur, Oprah Winfrey, Nelson Mandela, Chinua Achebe and even Fidel Castro. You catch the drift. We were taken back when one choose his parents and our maverick math teacher Cornel Ger.

I have realized that choosing a role model cuts across the social-economic strata . The way you carry yourself in life may make someone younger than you or a neighbor an admirer from a distance.

You or someone you know might have been approached for a life altering decision like a course to take in college, a career path, a relationship decision or just to talk a problem over. Personally I know of a couple who have been approached to grace many wedding.

Bill Vossler in the book Winning notes; “you (as a role model) will set the ace for others who either want to be like you or just need a little bit of guidance, and best of all, you will be greatly rewarded in return: your own life will be filled with care, love, and friendship- and immeasurably rich” the following are guidelines to being a role model:

Be nice: This is the golden rule of relating with humanity for in St. Mathew Jesus Christ said “therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them.” The receptionist, waiter, conductor or your stubborn child is not faceless or worthless but a lesson to learn from. In worst moments like an argument if you hate being yelled at the definitely don’t yell at the other person.

Without necessarily losing your moral ground speak your point quietly and truthfully for being nice makes others respond to us on the same way. As a better role model you will reduce conflict and foster friendship.

Learn to compromise: No man can stand aloe, no man is an island and very few are peninsulas. Role models learn that with diverse interest, desires and ambitions we need to learn to share and reduce conflict.

Most Nobel peace laureates inspire us with lesson of compromise which kept one from extremism and over-righteousness, but foster understanding to keep relationships smooth by shielding jealousy and selfishness.
An instance is teaching children to compromise in sharing responsibilities and privileges in chores.

Be honest to yourself: Honesty shows. The idea of being alone or in a crowd should not act as a panacea of being dishonest. After a long run dishonesty shows. Because even if you are alone you will surely know what you did and the thought of someone finding out forces you to continue to lie to cover the previous lie.

It is very easy to detect dishonest people by the inconsistencies of their lies.

In life dishonest people get treated dishonestly. It will be hard to inspire your children to be chastity, to quit smoking and drinking if you drink and smoke.
Honest people, and role models, have a clean conscience and show others looking up at them the worth in doing a difficult task like living a drug free life because they are aren’t self centered.

Getting focused and goal oriented: During decision making we often get tempted in making impulses which lead to regrets. With people looking up at us responsibility comes with power which makes and breaks life. Being focused with attainable goals reduces pressure to rush decisions.

In earlier example, we had seriously flopped a mathematics test, our teacher Mr. Cornel Ger advised us to stay focused and gave each student attainable goal according to ones ability. That for an authoritative figure helped erase dissolution and gave a ray of hope in what we saw as failure.

Smile: “This world is like a mirror reflecting on what you do, if you face it smiling it will smile back to you, so you will have many many years much longer” the late Joseph Hill of reggae group mighty culture signs.

It doesn’t necessarily means smiling endlessly, but nothing captivates another person without depriving the giver like a smile. A smile means a good spirit which makes you and others happy.

Having a value system: Lastly, set of values project an image of a role model to emulate in obtaining goals. In walking in life vast with temptations, a value system offers a solid sense of principle in chatting the way forward.

Values are set with benchmark in believes of Bible, Koran or Gita and even philosophy forming a system guideline. Example of philosophy is businessman Richard Branson with a buccaneering attitude in business ventures.

Syndicated online at Socyberty

Repair the Bridge over Yala Falls.

The bare bridge over Yala Falls
The time river Yala has come to the press it has been for negative reasons. Most recent is a foreign farm producing grains at the Yala swamp. Environmental conservatives hit the roof for it could upset the delicate ecosystem and force plants and animals into extinction.
This river emptying its waters into Lake Victoria, according to dominion Farms- the foreign farm- could be of socio-economic gain through their initiative. But upstream at Yala town there is Yala Falls, a neglect tourist attraction site with an engineering wreck of a bridge.
The Maseno University Seventh Day Adventist (MUSDA) organized a retreat at the falls and it was the first time in my life to see a concrete bridge with untended wires and without a railing. What left me in awe was that it was finished with plank of woods rotting in the humid environment over the falls.
A tourist site like this if harnessed could act as an impetus to spur the sleepy Yala to a prosperous socio-economic path. Foreign and local tourists, and students from various learning institutions like the Odera Kango satellite college of Moi university could increase revenue to the local county.
But this ain’t the case as fallen fence surrounds the falls with naked locals swimming and bathing in the canals. For the spirit of adventure I have to acknowledge the beauty is breathtaking and for a reader who has never been to the fall then tag along:
Walking from Yala town to the falls about 1Km away the semi arid vegetation of shrubs suddenly changed to a swampy one of papyrus reeds and hyacinths. Frogs, butterflies floating in iridescent colors and chirping birds gaily welcome you. This peaceful tranquility contrasts the rumbling on the incessant falls yonder.
Further on you easily jump over brown streams silently, but steadily floundering to meet and crash in a thicket below in a thunderous boiling cauldron showering you with sprays. In the valley below the river is subdued as it snakes away in over grown bank to the lake at the background.
You enjoy the deafening noise and the peace of sun setting over the lake in the background, but alas you shudder in fear as you are suspended several meters over a waterfall in an engineering misfit of a bridge!!

|Published on The Standard and The Star Newspapers

Sheath away your pride.

Ever since it was discovered by Egyptian autocrats from animal intestine as a protection against pregnancy, condom has evolved to be a major ingredient in sex.

This latex sheath has taken enjoyment to the next level in preventing STI and pregnancy. Though small enough to fit in a palm, if not disposed off properly after use it can show how the edifice of human intellectualism can be reduced below the shoe soles.

I realized this last week when my next door neighbor in hangover induced wisdom choose to dump three use Condoms infront of our house. In the morning rush I never noticed the sheaths and their seedy contents.

Imagine the dating process; endless calls, seduction and dates reduced into table spoonful of semen. How disgusting. And that was the look I got when I went back in afternoon; disgust. The playing children, house wives and other neighbors felt offended at the sight of the sheath in afternoon sun.

Sex is a clandestine process for the outcome to be seen by all and sundry. We date in lonely and bushy roads. Romantic dates are emotionally charged at night for ‘the darkness helps the hyena”.

The hush-hush of love making force us to close the front door, the bedroom door and still not satisfied we cover ourselves with a blanket.

And when a man starts requesting meeting in sequestered places away from people then a lady knows that the time is nigh for taking a relationship to the next level. This painstaking process sucks when seen in poorly disposed condoms!

Even buying a condom is a nerve wrecking process. Smart chemists display brands behind the counter where you merely point and pay before sliding away to brittle ecstasy.

In supermarkets, condoms and other accessories like lipstick are placed near the counter and wrapped separately.

This avoids an overzealous kid to imagine what happens behind mum and dad closed bedroom.

All said, sex is a private matter therefore used condoms need to be wrapped and disposed in pit latrines to avoid eye sores to the public and stop poising little children minds.

If its hard to explain the use of condom to a child, how tough do you think it can in explaining about a used condom!

Kagame scorns UN report as DRC burns.

Paul Kagame, Rwanda's President
I read with interest several articles about DRC on this weeks issue of The EastAfrican. The UN leaked report implicating Rwanda and Uganda shows how DRC’s wealth has attracted plunder from the world stage to the detriment of the country.

Of course Rwanda was ingurgitated enough to threaten a withdrawal of its 3,500 army aiding in peacekeeping effort in Sudan. UN in a diplomatic twist (after realizing Rwanda’s potential in peace of the region) has pushed the publishing the report, with Rwanda’s reaction, on 1st October.

UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon flew unexpectedly in Rwanda last week for talk, showing the seriousness of the repercussions.

I wasn’t shocked on Rwanda’s reaction on the leaked report. Prolific writers and journalists covering DRC have got the same backlash on their work. Dutch journalist Ludo de Witte’s The Assassination of Lumumba (first published in Dutch, 1999) is a good example. The fuss it caused in Belgium, DRC former colony, made the Belgium parliament to accept its country involvement in Lumumba’s death.

The UN backed report on Illegal Exploration of Natural Resources and other forms of Wealth from the DRC published from 2001-2003 received the same backlash.

The allure of DRC’s vast mineral resources has brought to it’s doorstep the world stage like hounds picking on it carcass amid plundering, war inhumanities and smuggling.

The 1988-2003 conflict drew a score of African countries; Angola, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Namibia, Chad and all the way to the bloody diamond fields of Sierra Leone.

I tried looking at 50 years of independence on the land of rhumba and found interesting the world stage in DRC:

The colonial Belgium under Leopold II set the stage for the scramble and partition of Africa. With shrewd ambition and insatiable greed for wealth, Leopold hired Henry Morton Stanley in 1878 to unleash terror to 400 African chiefs to curve the ‘Congo Free State.’ Joseph Conrad’s account in Heart of Darkness about colonial DRC said ‘the vilest scramble for loot that ever disfigured the history of human conscience’ made Leopold the richest man in Europe.

But the wind of independence blowing over Africa reached the country on 30th June 1960 bringing more world figure in -ism schism of the cold war.

Patrice Lumumba, the pm, leading a shaky coalition with Belgium unwillingness to concede power brought chaos. Moise Tshombe with Belgium support declared Katanga, the mineral hub, an independent state on 11th July 1960. UN and USA stepped in but when Lumumba wasn’t impressed by their service called in Russia and Czech personnel at the nadir of cold war.

This culminated into assassination of Patrice Lumumba by Belgium and CIA. The revolt in Kisangani (Lumumba’s stronghold) in 1964 was supported by China, Algeria, Cuba and Egypt, forcing the CIA ti aid Mobutu to power in 1965.

As the western ‘friendly tyrant’ Mobutu lead a kleptomaniac regime, but enjoyed $9Billion aid, US contribute $860Million of this. It is from the start on 1988 that DRC was engulfed in humanitarian crisis in four stages according to the report; 1993-1996; July 1996-July 1998; August 1998-January 2000 and the fina; transition of January 2001-June 2003.

In 1988 DRC was rotting over corruption, weak central government and huge debt. Mobutu was ‘dinasaur’ against the second democratic wind of change which tirned the world against him.

But not France which sided with him against ‘Anglo-phone ‘ encroachment in central Africa. In 1994 Franco-African summit Mobutu got a warm, French president Jacques Chirac gave amoment of silence in memory of Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana whom France supported against RPF.

The then current Rwandan president Pasteur Bizimungu was not invited.

The first stage started with Mobutu, in need of regional powerbroker, to meddle in Rwanda and Burundi’s conflict despite DRC hosting over 1.5 million Rwandan refugees like Interahamwe, Mayi Mayi and Banyamulenge.

Rwanda and Uganda resentful at cross border raid in Kivu and Eastern conge respectively chose to support Laurent-Desire Kabila. Angola too supported Katanga rebels to hit back on Mobutu’s support to Jonas Savimbi and Unita.

Interestingly, Kabila was dismissed by Argentinean revolutionary Ernesto ’Che’ Guevara and 120 Cuban fighters in 1965 as lucking any revolutionary seriousness. Algerian Ben Bella, china’s Zhou En-Lai blessed the expedition while Egypt’s Abdel Nasser had his reservation. Ernesto wrote the 1965 expedition in Dar es Salaam embassy in the book The African Dreams: The Diaries of the Revolutionary War in Congo.

On 17th May 1997 Kabila become the president of DRC while Mobutu died four months later in morocco. Uganda’s Yoweri Museni remarked, as quoted by Times journalist Martin Meredith in State of Africa, capturing the all incident thus:

“The big mistake of Mobutu was to involve himself in Rwanda. So its really Mobutu who initiated the programme of his own removal. Had he not involved himself in Rwanda, I think ho could have stayed, just like that….”

The third stage (August 1998-January 2000) flared when Laurent Kabila dismissed Rwanda a country, as his advisers said to be so small to be found in the map.

With aims to control their borders, president’s otiose ambition for being regional kingmakers and unbridled greed for diamond, petroleum, gold , timber, Colton and other minerals, several countries joined the fray at this stage. DRC was a proxy with contracts used to buy loyalty.

Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda financed rebels because Kabila could not control the cross border raids. Zimbabwe and Angola aided Kabila with help from Namibia and Chad. The acme of this stage was in 2000 when Rwanda and Uganda turned against each other in three occasions to control Kisangani, the diamond hub!!

The last stage (January 2001-June 2003) saw the withdrawal of foreign armies after the July 2002 peace treaty by Joseph Kabila. There is no respite as rebels were and are still supported as a proxy war in rivalry in the region.

Published on the Thursday September 30th Issue of The Daily Nation and Syndicated online at: NewsFlavor 

Achebe's Anthills of the Savannah, 23 years and still potent in Africa

The author Chinua Achebe
Title: Anthills of the Savannah
Author: Chinua Achebe
Publisher: Heinemann, London 1987
Genre: Literature (Fiction)
Reviewer: Manuel Odeny

The book is an extension of Chinua Achebe’s A man of the People entailing the fall of civilian governance to a military one through the eyes of minster Nanga and main character Odili Samalu.

Published merely a week after the 15th January 1966 Nigerian coup ousting Abubakar Balewa and his stooge Ladoke Ankitola, Achebe prophetically wrote:

“Overnight everyone began to shake their head at the excess of the last regime, at its graft, oppression and corrupt government.” As it is common in most coups A man of the People went further. “Newspapers, the radio, hitherto silent intellectuals and civil servants- everybody said what a terrible lot and it became public opinion the next morning.”

Barely a month after Nigerian coup the streets of Accra were abuzz with jubilation as Kwame Nkurumah was toppled by the army on 24th February.

It’s from here that Anthills of the Savannah shows the degeneration of Kangan, a fictious West African state, after a popular military coup, into a failed state.

The Kangan story revolves on state house maneuvers away from ordinary wanainchi in a budding dictatorship as seen through the eyes of three main characters from an elite college. Sam from Sandhurst becomes the president and appoints Chris as his commissioner of Information.

The third is a maverick editor of the government run daily National Gazette, Ikem Osodi.
Other characters aiding in plot are Beatrice a graduate working as a senior civil servant, Chris’ girlfriend and Elewa (Ikem’s fiancĂ©e) a semi-illiterate saleslady from a ghetto in Bassa the capital.

Still relevant 

More than two decades after its publication, do the Anthills of the Savannah have any relevance in African scene? After rereading the title I found it still fresh in African politics today.

In the novel, as in Nigeria and Ghana’s case, the army brought up in Sandhurst tradition stood aside in the failure of the civilian rule till their interest were at stake.

Like most coups in Africa, the Kangan army entered governance amid celebration and hope of grand promises of liberating the citizens from corruption, unemployment, nepotism and other ills.

Once installed Sam’s promise of following the constitution and later phasing way to civilian rule is edged away as he become a budding dictator emulating an octogenarian dictator Ngongo from East Africa.

Relevant and recently publicized is the Madagascar case when a disc jockey and former mayor of Antananarivo Andry Rajoelina backed by the army outset the sitting president Marc Ravalomanana. World pressure for power sharing amid the warring factions as hit an impasse.

Let’s consider the book's relevance during publication and in just two decades after independence in Africa there were forty successful coups with countless others abortive.

Consider in 1965 from June, in a period of six months: Algerian Ben Bella was disposed by colonel Houri Bourmedienne, Zaire’s General Mobutu Sese Seko outset presdent Kasa-Vubu while chief of staff Jean Bedel-Bokassa removed his cousin David Dacko as president of Central Africa Republic. Colonel Christopher Soglo and Sangoule Lamizana seized power in Benin and Bukina Faso respectively.

Back to the novel, when Sam’s attempt to change the constitution on a referendum for a president for life is thwarted by Abazon region, he resorts to divide and rule to control dissidents and power absolutely.
Erstwhile comrades are turned against.

Editor Osodi is picked from his house Gestapo style before being murdered while Chris dies at the hand of a randy and drunk policeman while fleeing a national hunt to Abazon.

This is relevant closer home when Ethiopia’s major Mengistu massacred with machine guns his army colleagues in committee running his Marxist-Lenin revolution while Idi Amin after his 1971 coup felt insecure enough to mass kill Obote’s Langi and Acholi tribe that “it was impossible to dispose off the bodies in graves” as written by his former minister Henry Kyemba in State of Blood (Corgi,1977)

A peep through the tight wall of Sam’s court jesters Ikem Osodi offers an insight to dictatorship:

“Worshiping a dictator is such a pain in the ass. It wouldn’t be so bad if it was merely a matter dancing upside down on your head. With practice anyone could learn to do that. The real problem is having no way of knowing from one day to another, from on minute to the next what is up and what is down”

Sam’s quest for power boomerangs back when his security personnel kidnap him in a palace coup.

Sadly power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely making the problem of Africa to lie on leaders obsessed with power.

The defect is profoundly felt in Nigeria where ethic loyalties are exploited by leaders making political debates to be acrimonious. Within a year after the first coup there were three counter coup with culminated to the North and Eastern Igbo nationals in the Biafra war that lasted for 2and a half years.

“The trouble with Nigeria (read Africa) is simply and squarely failure of leadership.” I quote Achebe in The Trouble with Nigeria (Heinemann, 1983) “The Nigerian (African) problem is the unwillingness or the inability of its leaders to raise to the responsibility, to the challenge of personal example which are the hallmarks of true leadership.”

Does the book offer any hope for Africa.

Within the title the Savannah was ones lush with the vegetation. This is the hope and the euphoria for social economic progress that engulfed Africa during independence.

The fire of poor leadership, neo-colonization, economic down turn, schism of cold war –isms amongst others ravaged the savannah. The jugged anthills jutting out of the barren savannah are a reminder of the dreams lost and hopes yearned.

As the book ends Amaechina, Ikem’s infant daughter is a beckon of hope and a jutting anthill in hopelessness surrounding Africa. During her naming ceremony the whole society is represented. In government there is a bureaucrat and an army officer. Scholarly there is a university student and semi-illiterate mother. Religiously, a Christian and a Muslim share a jig while the old have a relenting and a hardliner conservative.

Amaechina is the new generation of younger Africans growing in the global village with more opportunities to progress away from the dark past.

Maseno University blood donation drive: Saving a life

The BloodLink tent ready for donors at graduation square.

The Maseno University community participated in blood donation drive to help curb shortage of the precious liquid in the country. The 20th and 21st event at the varsity graduation square helped produce 155 pints of blood, 41 less in the last semester’s drive.

The drive was facilitated by Bloodlink foundation partnering with Kenya Blood Transfusion Services in universities and tertiary colleges in the Western region of the country. The varsity Red Cross chapter provided volunteers and mobilized donors.

The pints collected will aid patients in Nyanza, Western and part of Rift Valley provinces.

“Although the pints felt short to the anticipated 300 units, we appreciate the students for their positive turnout even though there were no incentives like t-shirts” said Beatrice Wango, Bloodlink foundation assistant officer.

Ms Wango observed the fear of students knowing their status and lack of confidentiality although blood donation doesn’t include VCT services.

Most of the students who turned up told Equator Weekly that the need to help save someone’s life prompted the act of charity. The blood collected will help accident victims, pregnant mothers in labour, anaemic and surgery patients amongst others.

“What made me donate blood today is the thought of a pregnant mother in labour needing urgent blood transfusion” said Jean Viva, a 2nd year Special education student. Miss. Viva is a sixth-time donor whose friend’s mother died due to lack of blood after an accident.

Buxton Chavani, a 3rd year environmental science student, who was a first time donor urged others to help save lives. “There is no negative effect in donating because it is healthy and saves the patient in need” he said.

The donors benefited by knowing their blood group and being healthier because of replication of blood cells. Socially, it brings about  the feeling of being a hero through  helping someone in need too have a chance to live.

The need  for a blood bank was initiated after the 1998 bomb blast which caused  an acute blood shortage in the country. The Kenyan government and the US aid the bank has grown with the region having six donation centers where blood is labeled in groups and sorted.

“we make a living in life by what we have but make life by what we give, that is why we are mandated to collected blood from voluntary donors.’ Said Albert Onyango, the regional blood recruiter.

According to Mr. Onyango, the region offers only 60% of blood needed due to  the unpredictability of donors and financial constraints. Although the varsity drive will help reach the target of 25,000 units.

“We appreciate the students who turned up today. Those who didn’t come need to find time to donate blood and help others in need” said Sylevester Odero the current chairman of Kenya Red Cross Maseno University chapter.

Brendah Kibulo co-authored this post published on Equator Weekly

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Parents: Teach Children Christianity with Love

I was born with a bible on the table- growing in a Christian home meant that I had unlimited access to liturgical literature to read and hymnals. From a tender age mother kept us tidy in Saturday morning for church. With strict parental supervision I, together with my age mates rarely missed church.
But, looking back that was long ago, as I got older with the power of making my own decisions I realize the I, with a score of my age mates rarely go to church unless for special occasions like wedding. Looking at the contrast manifested over time made me question: does Christianity with a rod spoil a child?
The thought nagged me during church service recently. A group of children came to the podium to perform for us. Their sweet voices cut through the rapt audience as they recited memory verses, poems and songs. As the congregation was carried away I saw myself as a boy in the innocence of their cherubic faces and beautiful clothes.
To most the first lesson of Christianity is of an overbearing God, aloof in heaven busy writing down all our transgression in his big book. Christianity is thus taught not with love, but ‘forceful coercion’. The culmination is on judgment day when we’ll be brought to account and ashamed before everyone.
Additionally, although these children don’t do as they are told they are adept at emulating their parents’ behaviors of being Christians as a means to an end. Let’s consider when a child is born; both parents in joy attend the dedication. Once given to God they will seek the pastor to pray for the child in national primary examinations.

Alternatively, God will be sought again at secondary level, graduation and later in case of unemployment. As they will grow they learn that Christianity is just a last resort, a by the way!
The effect to the child? In boarding schools away from parental control God’s existence and authority will be questioned. The first morsel of personal authority away from parental guidance is used in rebellion.

The erstwhile world is contrasted with a new one where immorality is, sadly, revered. Later in colleges and universities as young adults they are easily swallowed in the whirlpool of decadence.
Immediately I think of my childhood friend Joab Oyugi and a college friend Peter Ng’ang’a, both their fathers are church ministers who ensured they had a strict Christian upbringing.
I met Joab, whom we grew up with in the same church, while covering a court beat as a volunteer reporter. Together with others he was sentenced for 14 years when the court found him guilty of violent robbery and rape. Sitting at the press gallery it pained me to witness a good story of a Christian with a very a sad ending.
In the second case, Peter never misses college binges where he drinks often, but back home with his father he becomes an epitome of Christianity. The paradox is that even at home when drunk he opts to shack with friends and relatives till he sobers up before going back home.

A trend which he tells me is taken by his three elder brothers.
We relate to the two cases as parents, children and youth growing up in a world with rampant crime, unemployment, drug abuse and immorality. In this world religion should be a shield and not a burden.

As we sojourn on the vast sea of life to our destiny Christianity, or any other religion, practiced with love and not forced coercion should a campus.
As our children need to mature into responsible and God loving adults, Christianity need to be taught with love for God himself created us with love and wants us to realize our potential and fulfill our lives.

Before him we are an empty pitcher on a fountain to be filled and made useful.
Personally I have realized a truth: God is there for us to call and lean on and not to run away from and hide on fear!

Neglect on Ndere Island National Park bad for the region.

I (carrying a bag) and a friend on our way to Ndere Island National Park.
For a national park that was gazetted 24 years ago the Ndere Island National park in Lake Victoria and only 35.8 Km from Kisumu city the standard of the park is low for Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) slogan of providing world leading parks. Actually, the potential of the park is yet to be fully unlocked for the benefit of the region and government.
Most Kenyans attention to the park was drawn in a visit by Prime Minister Raila Odinga to open the park (I wonder when it was closed!) together with the impala park in Kisumu. Prior to the visit someone from KWS hastily dotted signposts from Kisumu to the park, after the visit it the same old story.
Personally, my attention was drawn to the park on a recreational team building hike as a member of Maseno University Red Cross chapter in last semester. Sadly, since 1986 the campsite is till under construction without even a reception desk. Visitors will be content to carry their own packed food and beverages. What is seen on Asat beach before a 2Km boat ride to the island is a mere fence and white washed stones with tickets being sold on a bench!
The KWS officer in charge pointed out the Lorries we found carrying hay from the park to Nakuru and other parks for drought stricken animals shows the potential of Ndere.
Standing picturesque and majestic among other four islands; Ochola, Rambugu, Imra and Gera, the 4.2Km2/Sq park teams with baboons, impalas, statunga, hippos, crocodiles in addition to several bird species for an ornithologist haven. If marketed appropriately the feature of an island park nestled in the sparkling waters of the second largest lake in the world will attract not only foreign but local tourists like students from learning institution in the region and other Kenyans.
A fisherman, David Migot-Nyaluo who ferried us to the island says he only manages a trip a day. This is the same plight of the matatu drivers and conductor who we had hired, telling us they hardly make a trip a day. Like varsity students with blank stares on the park, the drivers and conductors playing the Kisian-Bondo route couldn’t pinpoint the way to the park; this clearly shows the level of neglect.
I know the recent opening by the PM is not sufficient enough and the KWS plan to relocate buffaloes, giraffes and maybe elephants to the park should be sped up. With proper marketing and resources the park can benefit the government and locals like Mr Migot-Nyaluo.
Opinion published on The Star issue of 7/9/2010 and Daily Nation issue on 8/9/2010 and DN online