Travel planning – The top 8 things to do first

It is exciting when you decide to travel for a longer period of time, though when you start thinking about all the logistics that need sorting before you go, it can be pretty daunting to figure out. If you’re anything like me, that to-do list writes itself in your head every time you’ve got a…

Loosening Visa Restrictions in Africa Will Promote Trade and Integration.

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One World. What does that mean? To many this is just another phrase, to other countries they have seen the reality of it and are ripping the benefits big time while dealing with its consequences.

Open borders are expected to yield a number of global benefits. The majority of the benefits accrue to the migrants themselves, while some accrue to immigrant-receiving countries and immigrant-sending countries. But there are also other benefits of a more diffuse nature that are experienced throughout the world.

  • Double world GDP:World GDP will experience a one-time boost of about 50-150%
  • End of poverty: The GDP gains will be felt most by the world’s poorest, and absolute poverty will reduce dramatically. This will benefit the whole world, even those not living in poor countries, as there will, for instance, be fewer dangers of communicable diseases originating in these countries.
  • One world: As kinship and friendship networks spread across the world, this helps strengthen the ties between countries, leading to more trade and mutual gain, with less war and hostility. Cutting-edge ideas developed in one part of the world spread rapidly to others.
  • Innovation case for open borders: When people are free to move across borders, human capital can be allocated to more efficient uses, leading to greater innovation, much of which benefits the whole world due to the fundamentally non-rival nature of knowledge and ideas.
  • Peace case for open borders: Building upon the one world theme, more open borders would lead to more peace as people with friends and kins in and from specific other countries would be less likely to support wars against those countries.

I have always wondered why I need a visa to Visit Mozambique for example, with my Kenyan passport. In recent years, African countries have loosened visa restrictions on their neighbors in order to facilitate the free movement of people and goods, thus, regional integration has become a priority.

The continent is seeing a shift towards more free movement of people: In 2016, Africans did not need visas to travel to 22 percent of other African countries, compared to 20 percent in 2015. The small increase may indicate that the way forward will yield more visa openness, with African countries being more open to host African citizens from other countries.

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This map shows East African countries are relatively more visa open than their African peers. Uganda grants visa on arrival to most African citizens and the remaining ones do not require a visa to enter the country caption

In early 2017, the African Development Bank, in collaboration with the African Union and the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Africa published the Africa Visa Openness Index Report, which ranks African countries based on their visa requirements regarding their fellow African countries. The score looks at whether a country requires visas from African citizens, may it be on arrival or otherwise. The larger the score, the more visa open the country is.

Visa requirements for Kenyan citizens are administrative entry restrictions by the authorities of other states placed on citizens of Kenya. As of February 2018, Kenyan citizens had visa-free or visa on arrival access to 72 countries and territories, ranking the Kenyan passport 67th in terms of travel freedom (tied with Omani passport) according to the Henley Passport Index.

There are three different classifications concerning visa requirement. Visa required means a visa has to be obtained before departure. Visa on arrival means a visa has to be obtained upon arrival in the country. This includes filling out any visa application forms, paying the visa fee if applicable, and receiving a visa in a travel document. No visa required means that there is no visa needed either before departure or on arrival, with no entry authorization required to enter freely into the country. Entry procedures—such as filling out entry forms and receiving an entry stamp—are still mandatory.

Regional economic community (REC) scores are averages of country scores and reflect the individual openness of countries in the REC toward their fellow African countries. As a group, ECOWAS is more visa open than its fellow regional economic communities.

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After the January 2017 publication of the Visa Openness Index, a list of countries and regional economic communities loosened their visa requirements. For instance, in November 2017, Kenya and Namibia announced that they would be issuing visas on arrival to all African citizens and the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) lifted visa requirements for citizens traveling within the regional block.

I recently learnt while planning for a business trip to Mozambique that I will have to pay for visa and visa processing fee. In 2017, Mozambique Government Announced 30-day Tourist Visas now Available at Borders for all Visitors. All visitors to Mozambique are now eligible for visas at borders equipped with the equipment necessary to issue biometric visas according to Mozambique government. 26 border posts have been issuing these visas since 2005. The big trouble here is that there has been considerable confusion regarding which country’s nationals were eligible with many Mozambican Embassies telling travellers that they must get them before travelling to Mozambique.

The information on the website is contrary to all the above, in fact the information on the website say that all Kenyan passport holders wishing to travel to Mozambique must get visas before departing Nairobi.

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As a Kenyan citizen wishing to take advantage of free movement within Africa, I feel that African governments need to do more to promote trade and integration within the region. May times I have heard statements like African problems need African solutions, but Africa has closed herself within herself, meaning, she cannot access solutions that are within her.

Young People Taking Advantage of Informal Employment in Kenya.

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Have you ever wondered to yourself how far can something benefit someone, how far does business travel. How amazing does business work, that something made in a different country ends up in the hands of someone in the other side of the continent. It’s just really strange, unbelievable, in fact on what really ends up being the centre of your life. Today, young people have employed themselves in many ways, what they would call “informal sector” of business.

The informal sector as described by google refers to those workers who are self employed, or who work for those who are self employed. People who earn a living through self employment in most cases are not on payrolls, and thus are not taxed. Many Many Informal workers do their businesses in unprotected and unsecured places.

The informal sector, informal economy, or grey economy is the part of an economy that is neither taxed, nor monitored by any form of government. Unlike the formal economy, activities of the informal economy are not included in the gross national product (GNP) and gross domestic product (GDP) of a country.

So who would have thought that when the english premier league is playing in the land of the queen, somebody will be earning a living on the same in a remote part of Kenya? How informal is that? Just imagine you own a football viewing center that has a sitting capacity of 100 and for each football match, your customers pay 50 shillings per match. Multiply that 50 shillings by 100 and you will have a whopping Shs 5,000 per match. Multiply this by 3 since Chelsea. Arsenal and Manchester United games are the most likely to be full. What do you have> Sh 15,000 on a weekend.  In a month, you will have close to 60,000 shillings.

Kenyans love soccer. Not just Kenyans but Africans in general. We love the blues, gunners and so many others. We wish we could be present in some of these football matches, but as much as we love football, most people still cannot afford to subscribe to DSTV and watch the matches from the comfort of their homes and that’s where my brother saw the opportunity, putting up a makeshift structure on one corner of our home and with demand kept extending it. Today, he has four TVs, connected to DSTV, KWESE and Bean Sport…….to enable him stay on top of his game as far making his customers happy.

Speaking to my brother, i asked how is business……..which business he replies, you have to be specific because I do many business. That takes me back, but then we end up talking about the one he claims has made him famous, everyone comes here to watch football he says…the best days are when we have a derby and when university is in session, student flock the arena de barcelona in their numbers, not the one that is in Spain ofcourse. He says that with a smile. If this numbers are interesting to you, remember in business you lose some and you win some.

The interesting thing with his business is that there is no book that can explain how to start this kind of business. But I have done some observation every time I have paid him a visit, at arena de barcelona.

What You Need to Start a Football Viewing Center

(1) Wooden benches to save start up costs. Plastic chairs are better but they are often damaged during the celebrations of goals and match wins.

(2) A good generator and possibly a UPS in case of power outage to keep the TV running

(3) Cable TV or DSTV dish with monthly subscription

(4) A big Television set with high resolution or projectors – if you can afford the more the better.

(5) A refrigerator just in case you want to add an extra income stream by selling cold soft drinks

(6) A printed ticket or coupons to identifying paying customers

What next?

1. Get an ideal location

A middle-class residential estate with high population is usually the best place to start this kind of business. Get a good location; a location or building that has enough room for expansion. If it’s an open space like a football field, then you may need to get a carpenter to form a tent shed using zinc; and ensure that the structure is wide enough to contain a good number of people.

2. Set it up

If you are on a low budget, the next thing to do is to get a carpenter to make wood benches for you as it minimizes start up costs and contains a lot more people. But if you have enough capital, you can opt for single plastic chairs as they are more comfortable.

You must also ensure that the room or building is properly ventilated; so as to make your customers feel comfortable. If they don’t feel comfortable watching football matches in your viewing center, then there’s a high chance they will patronize your competitors. Do you want that? I guess NO.

After getting all set up, sure you follow these management tips;

a. Get a blackboard or notice board outside your football center to write out all upcoming matches for the day.

b. Have someone to maintain order. Football viewing can turn chaotic at times.

c. Treat your customers with respect. Customers are the backbone of every business! Be friendly to your customers. They are the sole reason you  are still in business. Treat them with respect, and try to build personal relationships with them.

As a final note, if you are currently unemployed, you could try out this business. It doesn’t require much capital to start and it’s very easy to manage, if you know what you are doing.

Job is one of those young people who have mastered this art and they are making a living out of it, and I will not forget….Which business…..you have to be specific.

 

Kigali Hosts the Sixth CMS Africa Summit.

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Kigali went live last week as it hosted the sixth edition of CMS Africa summit. CMS Africa is an organisation that champions the use of technology (open source) to change the way we develop economies. The Summit brings together both global and Africa based speakers and delegates. It is a premier event that host tech business owners, tech innovators, and experts in the area of web & mobile design, e-commerce solutions, online business, and online exchange. In terms of delegate attendance, the summit attracts web & mobile designers, bloggers, e-commerce & online stores builders.

The last event was held in Abuja Nigeria, which is west of Africa where the decision to take this event in East Africa was agreed. Kigali, being an upcoming tech hub it was chosen to host the event in 2018. Kigali is the capital city of Rwanda, the city is built in hilly country, sprawling across about four ridges and the valleys in between. The city centre is on one of these ridges, with the main government area on another. The summit was held at the Marriott Hotel located on KN 3 avenue, three blocks from where the president lives.

Being part of the organisation of this summit, I must say we always marry the high and the low when organising this event. We started on a good note on this one, we had sponsors coming in really early and this gave us hope for a successful event. On the other hand we overlooked the fact that Kigali is an expensive city, more expensive than the other previous cities. Kigali City is generally regarded as having the highest cost of living, an argument vindicated by food and electricity charges, so the few weeks before the event faced us with a heavy deficit and most of it at the hotel where the event was being held. Just when we were about to give up, a couple of sponsors jumped in the deep end with us and we were airborne.

The event getting the blessings of the Rwanda development board attracted local and international speakers from content management systems organisations. WordPress were sponsoring the event for the sixth year, four years as title sponsors. Joomla on the other hand coming in big for the second year in gold sponsorship, together with smart Africa, Rwanda convention bureau and Joomshaper. Akeeba, WooCommerce and Techjoomla came in to sponsor our two day meals while SnowDog and Compound 55 coming in as media sponsors. SnowDog sponsored our cmsafricaApp for the fifth year. Our supporting partners were I&M Bank-Kigali, Typo3, Webstar – Uganda and Ricta. Our also partnered with government agencies, Rwanda convention bureau and Rwanda ICT Chamber and tech Hubs in Kigali.

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The event kicked off on Thursday, with a pre-event at the KLab, with Joomla, WordPress, Typo3 and KQ all getting time to speak to the members and answer their questions. This was an interactive three hour session with Joomla being represented by Abdulkadir Shehu, Fred Abu and myself. We later went downtown for lunch to experience the local food. The event itself was opened on the 16th March, by Arnold Kwizera the co-founder and Chief Operations Officer of Kigali Communications Associates, a PR Firm based in Kigali, Rwanda. Arnold has a keen interest in the role and impact of media in today’s society. He was followed by a keynote by Alex Ntare, Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda ICT Chamber. Alex work involves bridging the gap between private and public sector players in the ICT industry as well as overseeing and establishing new innovation centres for technology startups among them KLAB, Fablab Rwanda and a new Applied Research Labs.

The big the content management systems Joomla! and WordPress sent four speakers each with Joomla! taking it higher with two french speakers. Rwanda has been a french speaking country until recently when the east African community became active again and they so the need to align themselves with the common language of the region, english and swahili.

A good number of Rwandese still speak French, including Kevin, our driver, who’s service we really enjoyed. We lived 11km from the city in a place called Ribero, which is translated as the summit in english. Yes it was on the top of the hill, here all the team from Joomla was housed. The view was to die for, there was good energy in the house with Kenya, Uganda, UK, France and Belgium living together in harmony. The chef did his best on the meals and on some days we had wine and beer on the table.

The presentations were amazing on all levels. Job Thomas, in his presentation “Mu Kinyarwanda” started with practicing a few words he had learnt in Kinyarwanda which excited the audience. Then he went ahead to take them through how translations for WordPress core, themes and plugins work as a community project and how you can get involved.

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The other key presentation was by Daniel Homorodean is CEO of Arxia, a web development agency from Romania which works with TYPO3. Introducing Typo3 as the enterprise CMS and the community around it, he gave an overview on how best to take advantage of the community while using Typo3 and your CMS of choice. Daniel is organising the “TYPO3 East Europe” International Conference each year since 2013. As a member of the international TYPO3 Association, Daniel is involved in the effort of expanding the TYPO3 community internationally.

On day two, Kuba Zwolinski from Snowdog in his third appearance to the Summit talked about eCommerce in Africa. He presents Africa as a continent really ripe for eCommerce and Magento enterprise as the tool. He guided the audience on Magento, with  a global ecosystem of 150,000 developers and a network of 300+ highly-trained solution partners, Magento boosts your online sales while maximising gross margins.

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That afternoon we had two Joomla! keynotes, Rowan Hoskyns-Abrahall, Joomla! as one – going deep on Joomla! as a CMS of choice and the community that is behind and supports Joomla! He encouraged all the CMSs present on the need to work together in protecting CMS ecosystems. He also emphasised on the need to have more volunteers to the Joomla! project. This was Rowan’s second international trip since she was elected President of Open Source Matters.

Her keynote was later followed by Abdulkadir Shehu, who is really involved in evangelising Joomla! to his local community in Kaduna Nigeria. His emphasis was as the rate of unemployment has continued to skyrocket, youths and young entrepreneurs need to get themselves empowered with necessary skills to help them become self reliant. Joomla Skills for example, will be a game changer for many youths in Africa as it will open the doors of opportunities especially in the online environment.

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The other speakers were Daniel Dubois from France, Marc Dechevre from Belgium, Joel Mbugua from Kenya, Joseph Wabwire from Uganda, Luminus Alabi from Nigeria Sarah Semack from USA among others. Joomla also had the first certification exam where two people were certified. We would like to congratulate those who were certified and to encourage those who did not manage for their courage and dedication to Joomla! As the event came to a close, we assembled for a cocktail party which came with music, dancing and Fred who was at the counter…….keeping the beers rolling.

The event was a successful, we took a big leap this year and we are grateful for the support we have gotten from sponsors, partners and participants. We thank the speakers who volunteered to submit their topics and covered their cost of travel to be at this event. We thank the major CMS sponsors for taking part in this conference, Joomla! WordPress, Magento and Typo3, thank you for believing and supporting this event.

Travel planning – the packing list

We’re in the middle of getting a lot of little things done and sorted, such as vaccinations and our packing list. We brainstormed what we knew from previous trips backpacking and hiking, got our friends’ packing list sent over and researched a little. I think most of it is common sense, trying to go minimalist…

Open “Thank You” to Our Sponsors.

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Those who have actually received a sponsorship from an organization probably know how difficult it must have been to convince those organizations that the sponsorship was completely worth the cause it was sponsoring. Only after several sponsorship requests, pleas, and meetings, is it usually possible to get someone to sponsor your cause. As such, when the event that was sponsored turns out to be a success, the least you can do is thank the sponsor for making it possible.

Appreciating the value of a sponsorship and the gesture itself is extremely important. It also makes the sponsor feel like she/he has contributed to a worthy cause, and you can be assured that she/he will at least consider another sponsorship in the future, whenever needed by you. We have just had a wonderful weekend in Kigali for #cmsafrica18 summit. The event, with the support of Rwandan government, sponsors, partners and all who attended was a great success.

In this regard, a “thank you” to our sponsors are in order, if not for them, it would have been difficult if not impossible to have this event. Our title sponsors, Automattic, you have been with us for the last five years, you have been consistent in your support to this event. You have always been willing to do more, sending speakers and giveaways that have always brought the much needed swag to the event. We thank you for your commitment to this event, we thank you for your commitment in sponsoring.

Open Source Matters/Joomla! We have enjoyed your support for many events and it’s really humbling that this year you made a really big commitment to be part of this event. You came in big, with Gold sponsorship and the wonderful bags for the participants. You also send speakers from all over the world to speak in this event, you have made us proud and you made the event proud.

Snowdog, for five years you have commited to do our event app, this app has saved us the cost we would have incurred in printing the programmes in all our events. You have been a great partner to our event, bringing the technological value and advice on how well to organize an international event, we really appreciate the support.

Joomshaper, smart africa, akeeba and techjoomla, your sponsorship for meals enabled to really take care of the needs of the attendees. This enabled them to keep their focus on what they were learning at the time. Your support enabled us to serve excellent meals to our attendees. We thank you for your commitment, and your support.

To those who gave us their support, Compound55 – committing to cover our event in real time, posting all the pictures online and making them available to the attendees free of charge. We have benefited from your expertise. Typo3 for supporting us for this event, you send a speaker to make sure that in this event you were represented and we are really greatful. I&M Bank – Kigali, Webstar Ltd – Uganda, ricta for your logistical support, the government agencies, Rwanda ICT chamber, Rwanda convention Bureau and the Rwanda development board, thanks for believing in as and for your partnership.

And to the tech hub, kLab for providing the platform for the pre-event, Journal Rw, Impact hub Rwanda and Thomas Fort, you have continued to champion the use of technology and provided a space to those who are doing the same. Great is your support.

This event would not have been a success without the generous support you have provided us throughout. We deeply appreciate the willingness with which you have and continue to sponsor the summit. We sincerely hope that this association will be maintained and that you will continue to support us in our future endeavors.

Our next event will be in Cape Town, South Africa, and we will be looking forward to seeing all of you on board. We thank you and hope that we have also played a part in your business growth.

 

Beautiful Green City Kigali.

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The last time I was in Kigali I was traveling to South Africa. I topped for just a few minutes and made a mad dash downtown from the airport, but that’s not what I remember. What happened later is what has stuck with me for many year. My flight was to take off minutes before 12 midnight, but its was delayed without an explanation. Then the waiting arrival laung started filling up, and after my visit to the washroom, I had nowhere to seat. That night, I ended up sleeping on the cold floor till 5am when we were finally on our way to Jozi.

It’s always said that you can’t say anything bad about Kigali, but that was my worst in my travel journey. There are also things said about Rwanda and the President, things I will not talk about because being here I now know better. I have never seen a country that has a jail right inside the city, I mean the energy you use to go to the Library is the same energy they will use to send you to jail. A lot of stupid things you experience while travelling in other african countries can never be seen here.

The roads are clean, dust is minimal, the drive ways are beautiful running together with the walkways, and when night falls, its bright as day. People here are well mannered, the culture here is different, people feel safe. A friend who has always travelled for cms africa summit says that one of the reasons he feels safe in Kigali is because its a clean city. Clean it is, and so its green, in fact its so important they don’t joke with that, if you happen to crush in the big beautiful trees in a long the road you will pay a RW4 million fine, or go to jail or both.

But generally I believe Rwandans are just a polite people. They come from a really difficult past but they have managed really well to navigate the waters. Most of the people here believe that the government has their best interest at heart. They feel the impact of government’s development agenda. Rwanda is a country of 12 million people with about 2 million people living in Kigali. The unemployment is at 17% yes, am also shocked to learn. Here, it’s the Rwandan driving the economy in most areas. The ruling party here have a consortium that owns and runs most business here.

This time, it’s a wet weather, with rains arriving at a moment’s notice. In the morning a cloud arrents Kigali and make it difficult to enjoy the view from the hills in rebero a large new housing estate here in Kigali proving one of the top accomodations. The property we are staying in is very big accommodating all our team of 18 and still with more space. Booked on airbnb, Rwanda has really tapped into this technological advancement. The owner says it took him 10 years to build this place, and from what i see, it was truly a labour of love.

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There is good vibe here in Kigali. From what I have seen, the people here are very creative. Lots of nice product made in Rwanda are on display in all shops. I also paid visit to an exhibition just a few meters from the Marriott Hotel. I have loved how they have been able to fight the outside influence keeping local products thriving while partnering with foreign countries to manufacture locay. You will notice that many of the products made in Kigali world be a little expensive to an average citizen, but then I think in some way, Kigali generally is an expensive city.

My stay here will end on the 21st March, I had hoped to be here with my wife unfortunately she lost her grandmother. But am sure she would have loved it. We have our summit here the same week Rwanda is holding different conferences including the east african heads of state summit early next week. After our summit I will take time and tour Kigali and enjoy what this beautiful city has to offer.

If you are a traveller, this should be on your list, and I hope it will be as rewarding to you as ita has been to be. We keep travelling the world.

 

Ain’t No Sunshine When she’s Gone.

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Good evening all. I would like to announce that my wife is back home, after a three days work trip out of town. I know you are wondering, yes. I also agree with you that I have not be married for that long, so i must be suffering from something. This, is the longest my wife has been away. I travel a lot myself, when I do and am not with my wife….i get all busy with stuff. It’s very different when I am alone in the house.

If you are like me, and used to a routine that surrounds your wife, you will realize that you have become really comfortable with the way things are. Maybe you are imagining some things just work, or if they don’t she knows the answer as to why they are not working. How long you are going to be alive alone in that house depends on how you are going to handle things. But what if you are those guys, who like me have mastered everything but nothing?

Make a Call : She just left, and you realize that you need to do some laundry, you encourage yourself to first pass by the store to buy soap. When you arrive home, you look at the machine and want to throw everything inside. But that the button tells you wait, there is wool, mixed, quick wash e.t.c. Then the confusion gets real, see you have avoided making the call, so you go to look for the manual. You know, that book that comes with the machine when you buy it. That thing you have been seeing it lying around but today is the day you can’t see it. At some point, you give up, you seat quietly in the toilet with wet eyes and the voice says….please make the call.

Make Arrangements for dinner: There is no doubt that you love cooking, but you and me know that when a man is really good in the kitchen they use that to impress the lady. So for the next three days, there is no one to impress. All your hard labour in the kitchen will have to be appreciated by yourself and you are thinking it’s not worth the effort. So you call a few people who can go out of their way to accommodate your appetite. But remember you are the same person who moved on when you got married and today is the first time they are receiving your call after the wedding day. You end up getting the dinner, but you have to go through the shame.

Bachelors are also human: Many things change when you get married, especially in the bedroom. You stop sleeping like a bachelor and start spooning. It doesn’t matter how cold it is out there, the bed is always warm. You have your side of the bed she has hers. You have those romantic conversations….and sweet nothings before you fall asleep. Today is different, life reminds you that you are really lucky to have what you have, after all bachelors are as human as you are and you should learn to live like them….and sleep like them. The bed is cold again, you would have ironed it but there is no electricity. Once again darkness has covered your world, and has turned your light into dark.

Keep Hope alive: When she left she said she will be back after three days, you are hanging on those words. To you they are powerful, they are your future. So you have sharpened your counting skills, every new day bringing you closer. You may not have earned it, but you feel you deserve it. Then the day arrives, and you look at how you have done it……you make sure all things in the house are in order. The only thing you have managed to cook since she left the house was a cup of tea, and a cup of tea and a cup of tea. All the cups are clean.

She arrives in the house and compliments you on how you have kept the house in order, but you know you have played very safe. The clothes lie folded in the bathroom but apparently that’s not where they are supposed to be. Just like T’Challa she swings back to keep the house on the move. She helps you recover from the three day shock….with hugs and kisses, and just like a baby, you cling on her breasts….not letting go.

She has been gone for a few days, now you know how important she is.

 

Uber Chap Chap Take on Nairobi.

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Nairobi has had its fair share of taxi trouble, just like any other big city. For many years it has been very expensive to pick and use a taxi, despite the fact that you could not compare Nairobi with a city like Frankfurt. We have very few happy stories to say about Taxis and Taxi drivers.

It was a celebration when Uber finally launched in Nairobi, but it did not come without a fight. Just like the story of Uber in New York, Brad Stone narrates in his book The Upstarts, the difficult road that Uber had to go through in San Francisco and New York City.

Uber fought all wars in those cities. They fought with the taxi drivers, they fought with the city authorities, they fought with the market and they had to fight technology too, making sure that it worked and improving on it on the go. In Kenya, just like any city resisting the disruption, Taxis wanted to keep their cake. Whether it has worked for them is their story to tell.

But slowly and surely this have really changed in Nairobi. I do not take Uber a lot but of late I have noticed the sudden influx of white miniature Suzuki Alto’s on the roads, all with ‘KCP’ number plates and branded “Uber Chap Chap”, Just like you, I have been asking a lot of questions.

Today while sitting with a friend at Java House on Wabera street, I requested for an Uber, this time the Uber Chap Chap, which was the cheapest of all on the offers I was looking at on the screen. But apparently our driver was really far and stuck in traffic, so we sat and waited. Later he called me and requested we change out pick up location to Sentrim 680 Hotel, he had just dropped his client somewhere downtown.

There we were in this small car, a Suzuki Alto, looking very new, with very less electronic operations but a good stereo. Its as white as the snow, with a 800cc engine resting in the hood. Five speed manual transmission gearbox, the driver….a very mature gentleman who didn’t mind telling me a little about Uber Chap Chap, and on this particular car, the mileage was at 5000 km.

Uber Chap Chap launched in Nairobi in February after a testing phase in late January and since then, they are literally in every stop of the road you would be looking at. Some of them come branded while others are not. An agreement between Uber and Stanbic Bank gives the rider a security-free loan which is payable over three years.

The Uber drivers with high ratings between 4-6 points are the ones who were lucky to get to this plan. The rider pays Ksh. 30,000 a month for three years. After which, he/she will gain full ownership of the car. The cars are straight out of the showroom and cost roughly Ksh 800,000. They are provided by CMC Motors Africa.

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For my friend, its not her first time on Uber Chap Chap, she has been a customer, she picked on and her bill was only Ksh80 from Yaya to her House. And she praised the driver who dropped her to town, a nice man with mature conversation. Today, our bill was Ksh220 from Sentrim 680 to Mimosa Court.

What i look for when moving from point a to point be is to just get there with less hustle. At least most of us look for that, and Uber Chap Chap has it. But then not more, if you are one of those people who want to as we say it “Arrive” then you picked the wrong car. The car can carry five people of average weight and that includes the driver.

My experience was wonderful, will I request again for  an Uber Chap Chap, why not. When you request yours, lets see how much you are paying.

Enjoy your ride, with Uber Chap Chap.

The Spirit of Cycling in Kenya.

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Cycling in Kenya is becoming quite popular. Many people are quitting the gym for physical outdoor activities like jogging and cycling because of the allure they come with. The upside of cycling is that it comes along with fun activities such as bird watching, picnicking and traversing the country in general.

Listed below are some of the places you can go cycling in Kenya with friends and family:

1. Karura Forest
Located in the outskirts of Nairobi CBD, Karura Forest is one of the most popular joints for cycling in Kenya. Karura Forest offers a quiet clean and organised biking trail, away from oncoming cars and the hustle that the city life is.
Bring your mountain bike and join other Nairobi cyclists in the designated bike paths, which range from 5-15 km. You can alternatively hire a bike at Karura for KES 500 per hour, daily from 8 am – 5 pm, at the bike depot next to the tennis court. Karura Forest has other activities you can take part in once you are tired of cycling. Enjoy dog walking, nature exploration and tree building with the rest of the family.

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2. Rusinga Island
One of the greatest perks of cycling in Kenya is you get to traverse the country. Rusinga Island is located in the legendary Lake Victoria. The island boasts breathtaking sunsets and quiet hills, what most cyclists will describe as a perfect cycling setting. A Rusinga Island cycling trip is perfect for those getaway trips you always plan with friends and family. Enjoy cycling, camping, island exploration, hiking and boat riding as you make lifetime memories. You can also explore the neighboring Mfangano Island and Mbita Town.

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3. Hells Gate
There is no better way to explore the Hell’s Gate National Park than on a bike! Hell’s Gate National Park is located approximately 90 km from Nairobi. Don’t worry if you don’t own a bike of your own, there are bikes for hire at the gate. The riding trails cover from 15 to upto 40 km. Enjoy panoramic views of the gorges, towering cliffs and diverse wildlife as you test your fitness. Cycling at Hell’s Gate also offers amazing photo opportunities because of the background. You can do a little reinaction of the Lion Kingwhile you are at it! Hell’s Gate National Park also has a natural spa where you can dip yourselves and enjoy a swim after the ride.

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4. Lake Magadi
This is for the starry-skyed lovers, the dreamers. Lake Magadi and its environs are characterised by untamed expansive savanna, shrubs, hot springs and the at-times pink lake. This biking trail ideally starts from the foot of Ngong Hills, all the way to Lake Magadi, approximately 80 km long, making it ideal for a weekend bike safari.
The trail is one of the most dusty ones you will come across while cycling in Kenya. We advise you to carry dust muffs. The upside of the trail is that it will be worth it once you are done, when you get to enjoy a therapeutic swim in one of the hot springs and some of the best nyama choma in the world!

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5. The Forest
This is for the adrenaline junkies! If you haven’t yet visited The Forest, try cycling there this year. Located in Kereita, Nyandarua, The Forest is perfect for team building, whether for corporate, friends or family. Cycle through Kenya’s history (the mass grave of the 1952 Lari Massacre), magnificent waterfalls, caves, animals and birds, and of course, Aberdare’s very own forest canopy. Other activities offered at The Forest that you can take part in include zip-lining, paint balling, archery and fly fishing.

Join bikers who are cycling in Kenya and keep fit this year, as you enjoy the beautiful scenery our country has to offer. Miles and hope will be doing their yearly tour this year. You can follow us up on facebook extramilersicc or visit our website http://www.milesandhope.org

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