FUN IN THE WILDERNESS

rallyI hurriedly lock the house, making a dash seconds later to the agreed rendezvous, obviously am not a morning person, I sigh. No sooner I arrive than my ever speeding boss pulls over. We join Nanyuki – Meru highway cruising at over 100kph, he is constantly on phone finalizing on logistics and racing against time. Destination Turaco Farm, an export horticultural firm, the starting point venue of Day 2 rally.

This was two weeks ago, when Mt Kenya region had honours of hosting the seventh round of this year’s FIA African Rally championship, the 62nd KCB Rally held at the picturesque, humongous farm fields, combined with alluring grazing wildlife. Nanyuki was the nerve center and being a relatively slow town, was awoken with buzzing sounds on this long weekend. Excitement from the deafening exhausters was evident from all and sundry. Batian view which overlooks the iconic Mt.Kenya, about 2 kilometers from Nanyuki town, serves as a spectators’ site as well as the award ceremony venue, was filled to capacity. It is one place that brings together the paupers, middle class and the very affluent to mingle freely together. Music, beer, stylish ladies, youngsters documenting every unfolding via I-pads and smartphones; and mad fun were all in galore, dramas notwithstanding. Not even the light showers could dampen the spirits. Kids danced their hearts out at the sheer close glance of helicopters. Meanwhile catfights from visibly drank ladies over a not so bothered chap caused a stir to many who had thronged the event. On other typical days, Batian works as a deserted, valley endowed grassland for the local inhabitants.

A day would commence by setting up tents which ordinarily is not a cup of tea for everybody. We had to learn the whims pretty fast though. My colleagues who were all ladies in fact did more technical work of putting together the timing system; I found that to be incredible. It’s during the long breaks that we were to prepare lunch. We had to light a jiko, funny enough, a few young men from the private farms assembled by to offer help if need be, shied away from preparing nyama choma. I found it weird and hence had to take the challenge under the watchful eyes of the ladies. Nobody complained afterwards, so I assume my job was above board, thanks to the pragmatic ‘tutorials’ my late dad inculcated in me, early in life.

Arguably Laikipia is the second county after Lamu endowed with many vast ranches. Unlike previously when rally cars would transverse through village roads and occasionally get distracted by oncoming traffic along the highways, this time round things were different. Much of the competition took place in private ranches with controlled spectators’ sites and closed roads, which ostensibly is what the rally fraternity has been agitating for. The World Rally Championship emphasizes of these preparations for Kenya to get the green light of hosting the global circuit again. While flagging off the cars at KICC, President Uhuru Kenyatta said his government would work towards ensuring that the Safari Rally returns to its prestigious status of the old days.

As life becomes more expensive due to soaring inflation and what have you, further worsened by lots of negative stories happening across the country, it’s very fulfilling when one takes a break to savor what is there in life to celebrate about. It’s on this note, that my boss who is a well-connected guy, at least in this town, who also happened to be one of the organizers, invited a couple of my colleagues and I to be part of the ’junior officials’ in this well attended event. Speaking of the organizers, they work more or less like a cartel; drive well-oiled machines, are deep pocketed and seem to be what I would term as the crème of Laikipia County. Members cut across all races; majority being white settlers in Kenya, Asians and a few natives (read Africans).

Motor enthusiasts had a field day cheering their favourite drivers for the three days. Cut throat competition was witnessed between Carl Tundo and Baldev Chager where the latter would emerge as the overall winner. Veteran driver Ian Duncan a big gun in this spot dropped from the race on day 2, making it a big blow to his fans. Mitsubishi Evox was the common car outpacing the popular Subaru machines, perhaps for its powerful engine. Some teams seemed more prepared than others as some were more friendly and courteous than others. At the end of the day, I got to learn a skill or two, laughed my heart out, met old friends as I made new ones; which is all that is needed for all rounded self-growth.

LIFE LESSONS FROM BRAZIL – WORLD CUP

gThe curtains have finally fallen from the Samba nation in Maracana Stadium that hosted the final match of the 64 fixtures FIFA World Cup 2014, that saw Germany, otherwise known as Die Mannschaft clinch the coveted trophy which was marred with drama, sensation, tense moments and painful losses and even deaths after betting and feuds from fans went bad. I have to admit South Africa did a far better job in terms of preparations given that it hosted the maiden World Cup for Africa and vis-a-vis the lackluster work displayed by the committee tasked with organizing the huge assignment not to mention deaths of workers and frequent protests.
That is now water down the drain, what is more important is to pick up the pieces and apply them in real life.

Preparations
Good preparations made things a bit easier for Germany to cruise through the grueling matches; beating Portugal, USA, Algeria, France and even Argentina calls for a machine that is well lubricated and serviced. They did not win by sheer luck, they studied data on everything sports science from climate trends to player fitness in seeking an advantage in this tournament. Same to life, preparations come in handy. Be it in an exam or interview, they build your confidence and boost your chances of succeeding. Just like education is a foundation that is meant to give you knowledge which in the long run enables one to earn a living and more importantly make sound decisions in life.

Discipline
Unfortunately African countries were the most affected. Cameroon not only played mediocre football but also displayed their uncivilized ways of doing things. It only worsens the notion to people who discern this continent to be of primitive people. When players fight each other in the pitch and even drag it to the dressing rooms cannot be justified nor tolerated in modern day society. Someone told me to always make discipline my friend. It is so essential in life, there is no virtue that beats it. It is through indiscipline that one loses friends, get sacked from a good job and even misses out opportunities in life. Indiscipline is a ‘friend’ to failure, misery and all the bad things in life.

Opportunities
If Argentina capitalized on the few chances Gonzalo Higuain and Messi had, perhaps things would have been different after 90 minutes. Maybe they could not have gone for the extra time since games with such high stakes are determined by just one goal. Opportunities are meant to be grabbed and utilized, not caressed nor admired, that should come later if need be. Argentina lost not because they played bad football, but because they squandered their opportunities. In life you will be judged by the opportunities you utilize or miss, life is very unforgiving. To utilize opportunities, you must be alert and well prepared otherwise you will just make a goof.

Over dependence
I grew to love football after watching the ‘original’ Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Rivaldo, Cafu and the likes of Roberto Carlos play amazing football. I fell in love with the Brazil team. Fast forward 2014, it was disastrous for Brazil, not even that added advantage of being the host would help. From the first game when they played Croatia, I smelled trouble. The team with a such a rich history and arguably the biggest footballing country in the world had been reduced to Neymar and Neymar equaled Brazil. Plain and simple. Over dependence on this great lad was too costly for them. In fact they were humiliated, embarrassed and ‘Braziled’ by Germany. Overdependence on people and things is catastrophic, one day you will learn the hard way, be it friends, your employer, your job….Life calls for plan B, C,D,E so forth. You simply never know what tomorrow brings.

Arrogance
Being aloof is a sign of insecurity. Why is it that its only in Africa that players have this ‘bigwig syndrome’ that they are bigger than the team. From Oliech’s of this world, Essien, Etoo, Kevin Prince Boateng and the long list. Lionel Messi with several dozens of trophies remains so humble and laid back. In Germany you can never pin point a bigwig. In March 2010, when Thomas Muller made a debut to international football in a friendly against Argentina, Diego Maradona in a post conference match joked of how he thought Muller was a ball boy. Note that three months later, the latter went on to win the golden boot in South Africa as the former was sacked unceremoniously. Nature has humour. My point is Muller is a typical laid back next door boy. Life is more fair when you try to be humble even when you can’t. The opposite brings along many unnecessary feuds and baggage in life.

Mediocrity
African teams lost for playing mediocre football. I belong to the school of thought that proposes Africa to be given utmost two slots. Otherwise come 2018 in Russia, status quo will be represented by the likes of Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Cameroon because the rest play more mediocre football. Competitiveness and good football structures are the only solutions that can root out this mess. Life applies the same principle, in fact it punishes mediocrity. With your few or many skills, try be as a professional as you can, give more than a 100%, embrace your clients and employees, take time to produce quality products and services, life will reward you handsomely.
Enough said.