When Disaster Strikers………..

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I was asked to train my class on emergency procedures for our class, and steps we can make to save lives. I discovered that many people don’t understand or don’t know what it is they can do incase of the unexpected. Some of this procedures can still work for you, whether you are in a home, a school or at work.

Earthquake, Fire, Flooding, Terrorist attacks/Shooting

Steps to save lives. Everyone must be prepared.

We recognise God as our overall protector, and always pray for his wisdom and courage when we are confronted with difficult situations and challenges.

NO ONE is immune to disaster. Preparation is your most important key to survival. But what does preparation involve?

Prepare Before. Acknowledge the fact that disaster happens and that the class is potentially at risk. It is too late to prepare after disaster strikes.

Learn about disasters. That can happen in our area. Know where shelters are, emergency assembly points, higher grounds, where the fire alarms / extinguishers are located, check whether the smoke detectors are working. Keep the venerable spots clear of anything that can escalate the fire.

Prepare emergency Supplies. Power, Water, Phone and transportation services can fail. Do you have what you need? Car with fuel, food, water, emergency kit, touch/light, emergency contacts e.g. ambulances, fire, police, church admin.

Make and rehearse an escape plan. Know the nearest exits in the building as well as the emergency plan of the class. Plan to help others while staying safe.

  1. Hold evacuations drill to test your emergency plan with all members present.
  2. Have a clear memory of where every group sits and assign yourselves in different locations when preparing for evacuation.
  3. Teach group leaders how to prepare members in any case there is an emergency.
  4. Pray for wisdom from God to enable you do the right thing with speed that will save lives.

During – Act Quickly

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Don’t not panic, do not wait, and do not pick the lesson. When disaster strikes….We don’t wait.

 In a fire. Stay close to the floor and move quickly to the nearest exit. Smoke makes it hard to see and most fire deaths are caused by smoke inhalation. Leave behind personal items….seconds can make a difference between life and death.

In an earthquake. Get under sturdy furniture or next to an inside wall. Expect aftershocks, and get outside and away from the building as soon as you can. Try to help others.

In a flood. Stay out of flooded building. Avoid wading in or driving through water. Beware that flood water can contain sewage and conceal dangers, including debris, open manhole, and downed power lines.

Note that. Two feet of moving water can carry a car away. Most death in floods results when people try to drive through moving water. If the authorities order evacuation. leave immediately! Let GL/Friends/TTs know where you are or they might risk their life looking for you.

Note that. Texting may be more reliable than calling/voice service.

If authorities direct to remain in one place/shelter. ie during floods, riots/demonstrations, unrest, terrorist attacks. stay inside. In case of chemical. biological i.e. fuel incident, stay indoors, turn off ventilation and seal all doors and windows. When the threat is from outside, please follow the news.

After – Stay Safe

Stay with friends if possible help those who need help/ do a head count and make sure everybody is present.

Keep your daily routine. as normal as possible, people need to see that you are calm and hopeful…..stay in prayer. Do not dwell on news coverage of the tragedy, and do not take out your anxiety or frustration on family members and other people. Accept help and help others.

Acknowledge that disaster cause less. Relief efforts focus on helping people to survive and not replacing an iPhone or laptop. Recognise and address emotional injuries. this often surfaces after the initial shock has passed. Symptoms include anxiety, depression, mood swings as well as difficulty thinking, working, and sleeping. Talk to caring friends.

#StaySafe

 

A Taste Of Tony’s Chocolonely.

Crazy About Chocolate, Serious about people.

This is the slogan for the most amazing, tasty and rich Chocolate you have never tested. It Tony’s Chocolonely. My niece adores this stuff, not just any chocolate, only that made by Tony himself……no monkey business.

She loves them so much she know how many flavors they have, and how they taste….and from that list she still picked her favorite. But for her, anything will still work as long as its made by Tony…..a place she hope she will work one day….and eat their chocolate all day.

In West Africa, where most of the cocoa comes from, (child) slavery appears to be alarmingly common. And that while in 2001 a number of large international chocolate companies put their signature under the Harkin Engel Protocol in which agreements are made to eliminate the ‘worst forms of child labor’.
Now that Teun knows that chocolate is smeared with illegal practices, he gives himself, after eating a number of chocolate bars, as a chocolate criminal in the program ‘Keuringsdienst van Waarde’.
Tony’s Coholony are now twelve years on the road to 100% slave free chocolate they are supported, encouraged, challenged and eaten they now know how difficult it is to change an industry we have grown enormously and have achieved results.
Their mission is to make the norm in chocolate 100% slave-free. To achieve that, they follow their roadmap. But how far are they exactly and how much impact do they actually make? Good! That is why they have worked hard to make the steps we take even clearer and to measure them. This way you can see exactly how much impact Tony’s make.
Tony’s Chocolonely is growing fast. In 2017 they expected to sell some 28 million bars. Sohee!  Because of our growth, they can work with more cocoa farmers according to their recipe for slave-free cocoa and they can make more noise in the chocolate industry, so that other chocolate giants follow their model.
Tony’s consciously chooses to work in Ghana and Ivory Coast. There the problems are the biggest and they want to make an impact there.
They pay an extra Tony’s premium on top of the Fairtrade premium, so that the farmer can earn a living income. The premium is used to increase income for the farmer, both in money and through investments in higher production through agricultural training courses and new tree nurseries.
But also by lowering costs for the farmer by purchasing fertilizers on a large scale or making education more accessible and the construction of a central water pump. More than 9.6% of the selling price of our bars comes in favor of the cocoa farmer.
Today I unwrap my first slave free chocolate, while I hope you do the same, you will discover that Tony’s Chocolonely does not have even cubs, because Chocolate production has never been fair.

Drought in Rift Valley.

Happy New Year.

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I am in Eldoret, winding up my holiday with my wife and nephews, this is my second home since I married my wife. I have now been here many times am starting to lose count, and I hope I do. I don’t need to have the number in my head, I might just remind my wife how many times I have been to her home when she is serving me bad coffee…..just the way other men do, when it comes to bride price.

That aside, this place, on a really good day is beautiful…..filled with green vegetation….weather so calming you will not want to leave. Today, its not one of those days. I am welcomed with a cloud of dust and its just minutes before 9am. Animals on their way to grazeland,…….not the song but the place, any place, anywhere. Its not really specific where the animals will end up, everywhere is dry and to find a heaven of pasture is unthinkable luxury.

My father-in-law tells me that it started November and they always get Christmas rains but not this time. For a community that relies on agriculture, its a big blow. The soil in starving, the manure dying up fast and the bees waste time looking for nectar and water….this has become the life here. And the farmer is worried. The weather patterns change has affected everyone and Rift Valley is not spared on this.

Its was reported beginning of January that the US experienced the most cold season, with negatives in states like Florida. Parts of Niagara falls were reported to have frozen. While the US and Europe are fighting snow, we on the other hand, sitting below the Sahara Desert we are fighting drought…….possible the worst.

This always affects the production of food, and the rearing of animals. This season, farmers lose hundreds of cattle due to lack of food and water. The Kenyan government came up with a plan….to buy the cattles before they die…..they are then slaughtered and meat sold through the Kenya Meat Commission. It always doesn’t make sense for a farmer who is only agreeing to that to salvage something.

In Nairobi, cattles are grazing everywhere, it’s a hazard….but then again we share this city with a community that prides themselves for keeping cattles, it’s a big deal to them, so we have to get used to it….it is what it is.

Unlike Eldoret, Nairobi has experienced some cold weather, rains here and there this season. Its unusual for this to happen. But here I am, hoping for the best…..for the rest of the country. This year I will be blogging more about my country and my travels, and I hope you will enjoy the read.

I want to express my gratitude for those who have continued to encourage me throughout my writing. All the best for 2018. May the year be of great achievements.

 


Visiting Kakamega National Forest Reserve.

If you have known me for long, you have discovered that I love Cycling, I love Travelling and I love nature. Nature is life, its what surrounds us and makes us tick. We wouldn’t survive without her so they say, but she will thrive without us. Man has not been a good custodian of her, damaging her in all different ways. But for me, this place is of my dwelling, I wish to one day have a house inside the forest, surrounded with all the tall trees and green grass, in the middle of the pouring rain without much care.

Am sure, its a dream for many, this place has much peace that you would imagine. You would imagine how difficult it would be, to live five days without internet, cooking with wood and no indoor plumbing. Who cares about those anyway. Kakamega National Forest Reserve gives you that and many more….for those who want to make this kind of a living a reality, maybe for five days or for more….depending on your budget. Its three thousand a person for a banda, and you would choose an open kitchen or indoor.

The people who have taken advantage of this are those doing research here in the forest, of insects and other habitats of this place. I have wondered many times if this is really work. When you are in a place like this, doing something that pays you and having a peace that will cost you billions, thats not work, its wellness working. For me and my wife, we are not researchers, we just want to have a great time while we are here visiting our parents.

This is my second time here, and the first for my wife. The last time I was here it was somehow wet, today its really dry. The weather has been very hush and after the fall, something I really love…..the sun rays finds itself inside in some places. Here there are hundreds of different tree species so the fall is not 100%. But then all the animals are here, the lady at the reception says that “our snakes are not dangerous, in many years we have never had a case of a snake attack” unbelievable even for me. But if you were me, and you are taking your wife to the forest planning to be lazy on the woods and probably fall asleep somewhere unconventional, snake topic is what you want to avoid……so we say “the snakes here, don’t bite”.

The points of interest when you are here are the viewpoint, popular in the morning with a view of Malava Forest and the Nandi hills. Wonderful place to watch the sunrise early in the morning. River Isiukhu waterfalls, this is where the river that travels all the way across Kakamega town is born, it gives birth to other rivers before ending its journey in Lake Victoria. They have a picnic site, a place for those who want to spent the day without worrying about what the hell is going on in the other world and off-course the living bandas. The place you can make your dwelling.

My wife and I have enjoyed being here, and we plan to come again with our friends sometime and just show them what this place can offer in terms of peace and getting natures rewards. If you find time while visiting Kakamega please check it out. They have two gates in Kakamega….one on Kakamega-Webuye road and the other on your way to Shinyalu.


Giraffe Centre Becomes the Spot in Nairobi.

Pictures of giraffe invading guests breakfast at Giraffe Manor have gone viral all over the world. This created the attention that giraffe Centre needed. The Giraffe Centre is the creation of the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (A.F.E.W. Kenya), a Kenyan non-profit organisation. Our main purpose is to educate Kenyan school children and youth on their country’s wildlife and environment, as well as give local and international visitors an opportunity to come into close contact with the world’s tallest species, the giraffe.

Its been a while since I have visited this place, much has changed, the number of giraffes has increased I almost lost count. This has been my place of solace, I have enjoyed the kindness and peace this species have provided for me, on my many visits here. My wife shocked me that she has never been here, trust me it was unbelievable for me, but then I felt like I am the one who has failed on the job, and i needed to do something…….and what a better day for me to do this than the day my wife wanted to spend the whole day with me, no visiting people, no inviting people, just me and her doing something we have never done.

In this case, we were going to have a day at giraffe centre, a place that has become very popular among many who want to see what nairobi has to offer. The days I used to frequently visit this place, we had very few people in a day and today people are flocking here in their hundreds, and thats a good thing. Many people, young or old, have little to no knowledge of Kenya’s extraordinary landscape and wildlife.

Through our Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) programmes, we aim to cultivate an interest in the environment by highlighting the practical benefits of conservation to people, as well as animals. Here at Giraffe Centre workshops for primary and secondary school teachers, college lecturers and Curriculum Support Officers are held. The goal is to help them realise their role in environmental education and conservation education. They are tasked with applying what they have learnt with their students.

This is a place with all the combination, leisure, education, recreation and everything. The curio shop also which is located here is also attracting many people who want to buy some mementos to remember or for their loved ones. Donations boxes are on two locations, you can drop in any currency. One new addition is the nature trail, which my wife and I really enjoyed. It takes you down to the river and the dam. With seats located in strategic locations where loved can hide peacefully and enjoy the shade and rest.

I am a lover of nature and for over 7 years a friend of giraffe centre, I have never been disappointed and I will always come back. Todays I was happy to share my time here with my wife, am sure she is happy. If you are visiting Nairobi, or you are on a stop over with three hours on your plate, you will love this place.

 


An Hour at Karen Blixen Museum.

Karen Blixen-Finecke was a Danish author who wrote works in Danish and English. She is best known under her pen names Isak Dinesen, used in English-speaking countries, and Tania Blixen, used in German-speaking countries. But thats not all, her early years started here, when she arrived in Kenya to join her husband Baron Bror Fredrik von Blixen-Finecke, a swedish born writer who was a passionate hunter.

Baron had sold his land to settle here, at the foot of Ngong hills, with the hope that he would farm coffee and become a millionaire. Over 4,000 hectares of this land then was filled with coffee, workers quitters, a coffee factory built by Karen’s brother and the house they used to live in. Karen fell in love with this place, having been born in the flat danish landscape, she loved to wake up and enjoy the view of Ngong hills.

The last years of Karen in Kenya were not rosy, she had divorced from her husband, lost her lover and lost interest in farming. Part of the land was subdivided in 20 hectares and sold. She had to arrange the resettlement of her workers and later sold the house to her friend and left the country. Later, out of Africa was born, her first book published in 1937, now translated to seven languages and a famous movie filmed in 1985. Its her writing career that made her famous.

The danish government later bought the house, which they later gifted to the government of Kenya and now its a museum managed by National Museum of Kenya. Some of her household items were also bought and others were donated, noticeable are the pictures she painted while she lived here, and some personal collection of chest cabinets some imported.  When standing at the main door, Karens favorite spot….sitting on her make shift table made from grinding stones imported from India, here she sat and treated her workers as she marvelled at the site of Ngong Hills. The trees have grown but the hills still conquer.

Some of the machines used during those early years of farming still rest here in the field. The oxen plough and the wagon they used to transport coffee from the farm to Nairobi before it could be send to mombasa then shipped for processing.  The old tractor with metal tyres still fights for its survival in the modern world of the ignition key. The kitchen is intact though not factional, with a picture of her chef, who cooked for the Prince of Wales when he visited and for all this years cooked for her. It is here in this house that Karen entertained her guest prince of wales twice.

Karen loved to paint, she loved to write and she loved people. When she lived here, there was no running water, her metal bathtub was filled with water that was boiled from the kitchen adjacent to the house. She did not have electricity either, the reason why the kitchen had to be a few steps from the main house because they used wood to cook and lanterns for light.

Karen and her friend dreamed of one day owning a ship and when the dream took long to mature, she bought two ship lights, one green and one red which she placed on top of her house and got the satisfaction of her house being turned into a ship, at least for a night. Today, the house is surrounded with nature trail, which gives a peaceful walk and being lost in a cold and peaceful natures embrace.

This is a good place to come and unwind, learn something and enjoy just being away from the troubles of the city. In Denmark, part of the house where Karen lived when she left Kenya is also a museum, its a place am looking forward to visit one of this days. Her picture was used on the postal stamp of Denmark on the 50 Danish Kroner note. If you are in Denmark, I hope it will be on your list ‘of places to visit’ the museum and am sure you will enjoy.

Karen’s writing career was very fruitful, she went on to publish other books after Out of Africa’s success with her last book being published after her death. For me her life is a true reflection of living life to the full, creating an impact and shaping the future in a very small way that has a bigger impact.

Welcome to Karen Blixen Museum – Nairobi.


JoomlaDay Kenya Brings Exciting Times.

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JoomlaDay Kenya was held yesterday. The location of this event was ihub one of the best African support system for ICT focused tech entrepreneurs and individuals who aspire to create great companies that tackle some of our biggest challenges. iHub were amongst the sponsors for this event and they have been JoomlaDay partners for four years now.

The other sponsors were Open Source Matters, a non profit organization that provides financial, legal and organizational support for the Joomla! project. Open Source Matters (OSM) is a not-for-profit organisation, incorporated in the United States, created to serve the financial and legal interests of the Joomla project. OSM has been designed to be flexible and change as the needs of Joomla! expand.

At all times, OSM is fashioned to suit the needs of the Joomla project. OSM will also engage in regular self-assessment to ensure it is accountable to Joomla!, acting in Joomla!’s interest and ensuring that it is the right shape and size to support Joomla!.

CMS Africa an organization that supports and evangelizes the use of open source softwares also a JoomlaDay partner for a long time. CMS Africa also organizes the CMS Africa summit now on its 5th year. This years summit was held in Abuja Nigeria and we are looking forward to our next summit which will be held in Kigali Rwanda in March 2018.

Joomla Monster came too with amazing templet sponsorship. This is the second year they are supporting our JoomlaDay event. Joomla Monsters have good templates, Extensions and Themes that you can use with Joomla.

SasaHost a leading web host was coming in for the second year. SasaHost provide reliable and secure web hosting and dedicated servers. They are also 2015 award winning in customer support.

This was a full day of learning, interaction and networking and for those attentive enough they managed to go home with some of the goodies from our sponsors. I started the day with an introduction to Joomla, who is Joomla. Shedy Serem coming in with Joomla 4, what to expect before breaking of for a healthy break by TranquilFoods. Joan of Sasahost talked about using Joomla as an eCommerce platform followed by Oduor Jagero’s creating for the user.

TranquilFoods also came in with a delicious lunch, Hungarian chicken, Rice, assorted stir fried vegetable and some gravy. The food was amazing. our afternoon session saw us learn about HikaShop and later accepting Mobile payments online by Patrick Mutwiri. We ended with a question and answers session and giveaways.

We want to thank our sponsors, Open Source Matters, iHub for the amazing space, CMS Africa for the support in expertise in organizing this event, SasaHost and Joomla Monsters our giveaway sponsors and for SasaHost who sent a speaker for this event.

One of our challenges this year was that this being an election year, JoomlaDay Ke was not organized as always scheduled. It has been really difficult, but we are happy that we were able to accomplish the mission.

Our next JoomlaDay event will be in September of 2018, the date will be communicated. We invite you to visit our facebook page and we will soon be posting the pictures and we hope to interact with you. See you then.

 

#jdayke17

 


Visa Duties…The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

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Visa application is always a challenging process. I have never meet anyone, either a frequent or a first time traveller, who has gotten used to this tedious process. But there are countries that one doesn’t have to go through all this, but unfortunately they are few, so we can’t avoid it, and if you are doing business globally, touring or visiting family this, is a cake you must bake.

The most important thing to prepare for this day is to have a lot of luck. I have seen people who had their Paperwork right and still missed the visa. If you come from countries such as Kenya, having a stable job helps a lot. The trouble is that most people who would go through the visa process and still defile the same laws are people in stable employment.

When you are in business, depending on what kind you are doing. Sometimes you are ahead and sometimes you are behind. But my argument has always been that their is no way you will know the person who will want to defile the immigration law and the one who will not buy only looking at their faces. I agree that the information has to be accurate, but yes, if the person you are looking at has been travelling and never broken any immigration laws, then his passport should help you make a decision amongst other requirements.

We all agree that there are countries taking their fair share of their shit, be it economically, politically and socially. The life span difference between the African countries and western countries is like how far east from west. Kenya for example has a very challenging political environment and especially at this time.  And the same time I was planning my travel and if you looked at the situation at present, it will be very easy for you to overlook the big picture if you are the one with the authority to issue a visa.

So when I went for the visa, i realized that the Italian embassy has different requirements than other Schengen countries. They require you to have a eight days international insurance after you land back home. They need six months of bank statement and copy of identification of the person inviting you. After a lot of shuttling to meet the requirements, and fifteenth day of waiting, my visa was granted. Breathing a sigh of relief I walked to the bureau that processed my visa and pick my passport with my visa.

My itinerary had a ten hours layover in Abu Dhabi, something that needed a visa for me to be able to transit through Abu Dhabi International. So I went to the website where Etihad recommends for their passengers seeking visas. With all the documentations scanned, I filled in the online forms attaching my documents amongst them my bio page, Ticket that is confirmed, my hotel booking in Abu Dhabi and my earlier visa when I travelled to the United Arabs Emirates for business, my current schengen visa that I was travelling on.

I later received a message from the organisation that is tasked to processing the visas. The gentleman said that he is sure my visa request will be negative, and the reason is that because I am Kenyan and most Kenyan passport holders have been denied the visas to transit through Abu Dhabi. The weird thing you are thinking is that why would someone want you to pay him for flying in his place and deny you a place to rest your head. I took the chances and allowed the gentleman to go ahead with my application knowing very well that if it comes out negative, I would lose my visa fees.

It was a few hours, maybe two or three, after I had given a confirmation that I received an email from the same gentleman that my request had been denied. Yes, I also wondered how. For the rest of the day I nursed my devastated heart, went to bed feeling sad and lived to make new plans. As I said, I have never meet anyone who has this process covered for themselves. Maybe my circle is not of influence, but still my statements stands.

If you are a traveller, and you go through this every time, this is something that many travellers have to go through. The bureaucracy that many countries have put between countries and citizens to restrict movement. And this kind of stuff, affect many people who would wish to travel either for business or pleasure. The people enforcing them sometimes don’t do them well.

For me, I pray not to break any countries immigration laws, to respect my host, to be at my best behaviour while am being hosted in a foreign land. This is the right thing to do, and the wise thing if you intend to continue travelling……just like me.

Wherever your travel my take you, I hope it’s fun and profitable.

 


Things you should know before buying the BMW3 E90.

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BMW’s 3 Series range has long been one of the most popular model lines for the German car maker and has, through the years, been offered in a variety of body styles from coupe to estate……the reason why I wanted to experience one.

E90 arrived from Japan mid November 2016 but it wasn’t until January 2017 that it was in my driveway. When I took possession, it was sitting at 95,000 kilometers. My first encounter with E90 goes a little back……The year is 2011 on South Africa’s most dangerous road…the N2. The drive took us from eastern cape’s capital of East London to the city of Durban before we ended up below the Drakensberg mountains. The car was just two years old, performing at its best and still on a motor plan.

This car, has since come to Kenya and since it belongs to my friend, it has given me an great opportunity to compare two cars and learn some of their common problems. Starting with Japan, a common market for many of African countries for used cars……if you are importing a European car, I would advise you to stay away from Japan. Most of european cars running in Japan are not well maintained after the motor plan expires. Things as simple as engine service are not done and by the time you get the car, there are a thousand and one things for you to take care of.

Servicing the car should be the first thing you do especially if you are importing the car from Japan, as I said, they just have a problem of doing it after the motorplan expires and while they are thinking of selling the car, they are still driving it. Then you will have to check the leaks in the engine. I wasn’t lucky with this because by the time I was ready to do it, I had to replace the top cover gasket, Solenoid seals, Vacuum Seal Kit, Sump Gasket and the Oil Filter Housing seals.

Then I started loosing my coolant, when I arrived home one afternoon I wondered why there was smoke arising from the hood. I couldn’t figure it out until I drove to the dealer and I was told I needed to replace my connector. Comparing two of the same cars I have found of the common problems on E90. On some cars, it will be the airbag signal. The car is designed not to activate the carbag at the passenger side during an accident IF there is no passenger occupying the seat. Something happens under the seat or on the switch and you are stuck with the warning light.

Despite impressive build quality, glitches do crop up including the tyre pressure monitoring packing in and the run-flat tyres wearing unevenly. On that note, all these cars have run-flat tyres as standard, which means a firm ride (and no spare wheel). But if you are used to carrying a spare tyre and wheel spanner with you, am sorry to break your heart.

Other problems to look for include a leaky power steering system, flat spots on Efficient Dynamics models and the possible failure of the 320d’s turbocharger, evident by a smoky exhaust under acceleration.  Finally, if a towbar is fitted, check that the electricals all work properly; the BMW’s multiplex wiring is easily upset by bodged auto electricians.

Five recalls isn’t a disaster. Issued between 2006 and 2012, they covered potential problems ranging from failure of the power steering and airbag glitches to the brake servo failing and the rear or side windows falling out and thanks to BMW’s talented men in white coats, even the smaller units are smooth, punchy and economical.


Our Politics need hygiene, so is our lives.

download The politics of the land have started, just like a bad disease. Democracy has been a good thing, not to Kenya but but to he who invented it. When the Gold Coast (now known as Ghana) gained independence from Britain 6 March 1957,  Kwame Nkrumah who transformed the country into a republic, with himself as president for life said that there is no independence when other African countries were not Independent. Then, Africa was speaking in one voice. Her desire to get herself out of the hands of the oppressor was great not to imagine. Continue reading "Our Politics need hygiene, so is our lives."