Matatu Navigation;Nakuru Experience.

          

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            You may have to ride a “MATATU” if you go to Kenya (or any of it’s neighbors).You will never forget the experience.Why? Well, you can’t really understand it if you don’t ride it.I mean,we can
say that “MATATU” means “taxi” in Swahili but anyone who’s been to Kenya and traveled in a matatu knows that that really doesn’t sum up the experience of riding in one.
           But what is a matatu?A matatu is usually a minibus or some such form of public
transportation in Kenya.Away from the cities, the matatu transforms into a pickup truck,with a
cover on the bed.For a few shillings a piece,as many people as the driver can convince to
squeeze in (or “cram in” if we’re going to be honest),with their baggage, and perhaps some
livestock,can get a ride to where-ever they’re going.Usually baggage is placed on top along with animals such as perhaps some chickens.A matatu is finally full when you have several
people hanging out the back door.
       

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       The reason for all of this,of course, is because most Kenyans are quite not well-off and transportation is expensive,so this is how working people attempt to cut down on cost.
       A timetable does not exist.You leave when the driver decides that the vehicle is full.Hakuna matata – no problem!Is this the only way that Kenyans travel?NO!Many Kenyans have cars of their own and there is also a bus service.
    Matatus are small buses that carry anywhere between 14 and 25
passengers.The vehicles are leased by teams of two: a driver and a “tout”.The tout is responsible for collecting fares; the driver for getting passengers to their destination as quickly as possible.More than 8,000
independent matatus in Nakuru, thepressure to maximize revenue is intense.
        Hence the beautiful chaos of
Nakuru’s roads: Matatu drivers will
do anything to bypass traffic —  weaving in and out of lanes, hopping up onto sidewalks, chasing ambulances… you know.The usual.They also have a bad habit of disregarding road closures.That is,they still do it,even with the Nakuru county construction crews tactics to prevent matatus from ruining their freshly paved roads.

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       Without government oversight, it’s left to individual matatu operators to determine their own routes, fares,and marketing strategies.There isn’t any official agency logo and colour scheme for matatus, and with so many of them competing for business,the free market incentivizes matatu operators to brand their vehicles with their own special touch.
      It isn’t easy to get commuters’
attention in bustling traffic. It’s even harder to get them to board the vehicle.That’s why,in the cutthroat world of Nakuru transit, there is but one commercial imperative: pimp your ride,or die.
       Matatu teams will ornament their buses with flamboyant paint jobs,televisions,and sound systems.Some matatus even have on-board WiFi.But the only surefire way to attract a loyal ridership is to give your matatu a memorable slogan.“Neon lights and graffiti drawings of American rappers or Football stars colour the matatus,along with slogans ranging from ‘Jesus Saves All’ to ‘Baby Got Back’.

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              Lost in this disorienting sceneGeorge,our team leader is being hauled by two touts,who are trying to convince him to make a choice which matatu to use.Each tout is pulling him towards his matatus.Soon,he makes a decision which doesn’t go.well with the rejected tout.Its time to board the “choosen matatu”I allow myself to be hauled by the bicep into a matatu emblazoned with the slogan ‘We Be Jammin’.My feet are barely inside before the matatu
pulls away.On our way from town to Imani Guest House
       Matatus have become a staple of Kenyan culture.And riding in style is one of the best ways a trendsetting young commuter can distinguish themselves from the achromatic hoi polloi.With charming names like “Big Poppa”, “Mada Gascar”, or “Bazooka”, no matatu ride is ever the same.
        The matatu system is vibrant and bursting with life.But it’s also
incredibly chaotic.Which makes
navigating through.
      In Nakuru, things aren’t so straightforward. Commuters have to figure out everything for themselves.Travelers rely on word-of-mouth to learn where to catch the bus,and which bus to catch.Routes are refined through a process of trial- and-error — an especially tricky task if any transfers are required en route.
Worse yet,even when a reliable
route is mapped out,commuters have no assurances about fares, especially if it rains.According to one Nakuru native, “Matatu fares are more emotional than the stock market,” making Uber surge pricing seem comparatively merciful.
          Altogether,it shouldn’t come to you as a surprise that IBM has rated the commuter experience in Nairobi as one of the most painful in the world.Luckily,reducing commuter pain is our modus operandi.It also helps that we’re a bit crazy.
    On a different day,we’ve just left town to visit the Lord Egerton Castle.The driver was chewing hard on his bunch of Miraa (khat) while driving like he had an appointment with destiny and
wanted to bring visitors with him. The driving,mark you,was the secondary activity here,not the miraa chewing.Sure enough,we almost ran over a goat in Ngata.Don’t ask if we stopped to give the poor mammal any attention.
        Traffic police stop us just past Ngala.One of the cops,holding a G3 immediately inspects the car to check for overload,I suppose.He then goes to the driver’s side and asks for his driving licence.Lo and behold!The license expired sometime mid 2013! and the burger was driving like that? Surely!He was told to step out of the matatu as another cop come by to join the party, walked to the back of the matatu. “Najua
ni hongo wanaenda kuitisha sasa… “I ‘whispered’ to my colleague,Wesley who was half asleep nursing a serious hangover.
        As soon as I said
that,it dawned on me that from my now strategic back seat position coupled with the fact that I can’t whisper to save my life,chances were high that I could be heard so I stole a quick glance at the trio and then stared straight ahead.
Immediately,one of the cops came back.Oops!They heard me! I breathed a sigh of relief when
he walked to the front seat. It was not me they were coming for!All in all,it was a strategy to distract our attention as they collected their kitu kidongo(bribe)
     There are several experiences that you can gain from matatus in Nakuru.Due to the variety,let me go with one,the tout’s lifeThis is because touts are part of the small-scale entrepreneurs,the sector we majorly we as Balloon do focus on,but purely based on my observation.
        Touts can be a real pain.Some have frustrated me more than I care to talk about, but here’s the
sunny side; there are lessons,positive ones we
can learn from them…
1. Optimism/ Seeing the bigger picture
            Have you ever gone to a matatu terminus looking to get to your destination as fast as possible?You look around at the busses to see which one
is almost full and board it. Sometimes though,you have to rely on the conductor’s word.Ever
noticed how the bus or matatu always needs only one to four people to get full? “Wanne Kiti,
wanne siste! Gari ya haraka!“You get in,flag down the disappointment of seeing an almost empty vehicle and just sit down when the other passengers give you that face…”Hey we’ve
been waiting like forever…kaa tu ijae” Shock on you when the ‘hired passengers’ alight when the
bus is almost full!Sigh!
      Lesson: Maybe they are just a plain lying lot.But these touts always see the bigger picture
even if the situation seems hopeless.As they say,
Haba na haba hujaza kibaba” You will soon fill the matatu and be on your way 🙂
2. #FinanceThings
      I’m sure these guys handle a whole load of money everyday. At the end of the day,they need
to have fuelled the vehicle,remitted the owner his share and finally pay the driver and of course himself.To achieve these targets,he must charge the required fare (leave those thieving ones who charge double on seeing a drop of
rain),complete the squads required and keep his pockets under lock and key.Some of these altercations have of course
ended tragically and should never be encouraged.
Lesson: Same way touts don’t accept 10 sweets in exchange for money.Don’t accept it at the
supermarket! know your rights!Oh, and be a good manager of your finances.
3. Persistence
         What?The number of words these lads say per minute multiplied by the almost 14 hours they work,is impressive!And all this just to convince you to get into their vehicle.They need to earn that wage at the end of the day after all.All you’ll need to succeed in this job is super strong vocal cords,bottles of water and a hand made of steel…to hit that side of the bus seriously.
Lesson: No,the lesson here is not to keep shouting.Wait,actually it is! Metaphorically,that is.Whatever your line of work,it definitely needs
proper attention,dedication and perseverence.Furnish yourself with whatever tools you need to succeed ( super strong vocal
cords,bottles of water and a hand made of ‘steel’), and then work. work very hard!It won’t be long before you see the results.
4. Know the route
        Ever met a tout who doesn’t know the different stops by name? No.ok,unless its a newbie.But
newbies are always accompanied by a veteran.When going to a new,destination you always
ask the conductor if they’ll pass this route and if the bus stops at a certain place.They know where they are going.In case of a traffic jam or any other inconvenience, you always hear the tout telling the driver to change the route or overlap.Eh,but these short-cuts are almost always very bumpy you might end up with a aching back or a sore head from hitting the roof every time there is contact with a pothole!(Jonathan can testify)

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Lesson: Be clear about your life goals and which stops you’ll probably make along the way.
Sometimes,things happen and you have to take detour.Have a back up plan somewhere.You’ll need it. Oh,and as a bonus,just mentor
someone without conditions?It adds to your knowledge and grasp of work.
5. Know and have a good working relationship with your colleagues.
          The driver and conductor gel like….I don’t know.What do people jell like?In short,they get along,and even when they don’t,it never gets in the way of work-at least not that I have seen.
Lesson: Try and get along with your colleagues,you spend half of your day with them anyway.Never let workbeefs get in the way of your productivity.
6. Fitness is Key
      I’m sure you are wondering what this is all about.Have you ever encountered a fat oversize tout?Here’s why they need to be fit:
a) That superman thing they do when they run on the tarmac and then ‘fly’ while holding onto that
bar at the door.SMH!
b) Most of the matatu aisles are not very wide…leaving very little room to maneuver while collecting bus fare.I’ll just stop here with this
one.
c) County Council Askaris.You must be swift to dogde being arrested by these nasty guys as you’re always in breach of County traffic rules.
d) Them times when you have had to share the 14th seat with him/her because you are running
late.A fat one would push you until you feel the impact.
Lesson: Take care of yourself.Keep fit.
     

Almost There

      As I pack lightly in my room,I
take a second to sit down and
reminisce on the next three months of my last semester in campus.I can’t say it’s exactly everything I think it would be.To be perfectly honest,campus is overrated.Contrary to popular opinion,campus is not a party hub. People don’t drink the whole day and smoke till sunset,the girls don’t bare it all in broad daylight (but it’s still debatable),and the guys don’t switch girls everyday
(still debatable).My point is,there is more to it other than the whole cliché school of thought about it. I know everyone would expect the whole party animal act but I am sorry to disappoint anyone in that line of thought.It has been an uneventful four months.
          A friend recently dropped by and with much excitement in his eyes,asked me how campus life has been.At that very moment it hit me that I had almost nothing to say;nothing exciting to the ears of a form four leaver and campus hopeful anyway.I mean,how could I begin to tell him about how interesting economics class was and how I attended every lecture?
         That’s how you lose friends!I
could see the disappointment on my friends face when I explained how uneventful it was.Now am pretty sure I top the list of the biggest idiots he’s ever met.He was waiting to hear of my endless drinking spree and partying escapades.So yes,I didn’t drink myself silly,I never woke up next to a strange girl,I never smoked
any illegal herbs (maybe once or
twice) and I definitely didn’t take
part in an orgy[yes,that happens].I
spent half my time in bed in an
awfully quiet and isolated room
watching orange,movies,sometimes poking into the field to play non-competitive football,is the new black and the other half is split between getting angry at the slow internet connection in the campus while trying to download Nick Dee’s top 40,Act of Valor, Apocalypto,Orphan Black and
lining in line for hours at Student centre trying to get that football match.I swear I have never survived this much in my life.
      Forget high school,ten shillings has never had a bigger meaning than in the last four months.My stomach has been subjected to
very odd foods so much that now I
think am allergic to fast foods or
anything that actually tastes good.
Now,on top of all that,add women
into the picture.There is nothing
heartbreaking as a girl asking you to buy her a cocktail after class and you only have fifty shillings at hand.Buying that cocktail completely ruins your whole budget.It means skipping lunch, foregoing buying airtime and
probably not stopping by at your
mutura guy.See women think we are something close to being superhuman who need not eat.They somehow think that we are at their mercy whenever they please,mistaking a privilege for a favour.
        However,my last semester is not completely dull and full of hunger.Am making friends,some interesting,some different and some not worth talking about. From the reggae guy who listens to Kelly Clarkson (it’s still a shocker to me,Bob Marley meets
Bono scenario?),the weird neighbour who never holds a conversation with any female species for more than two minutes,to the big guy in the hostel’s common room who has an opinion about everything.I cannot leave out the guy with the larger than life ego.It’s safe to say I have made friends with misfits.
       On love,I couldn’t be further from getting Mrs.Right,if she exists anyway.Anyway,those are just imaginations.None is perfcet,but some are better than others.For some strange reason,my understanding of girls has become more twisted.A few damsels crossed my way. Starting with the lass with the awkward smile to the damsel who knocked me off my feet just to give me blows while I was down.It wouldn’t be much of a shock if a crystal ball showed me still dreaming of marrying Olivia Wilde 20 years from now while my kinsmen are all married and
“happy’’.My dreams my be unlogical…but valid.Bottom line is,there is someone out there,thats a secret between I,me,myself and I.
   All in all,campus life is coming to an end.My 8-4-4 system is ending.
       *****
    Cheers!!!

Campus Merories…..Saying Bye to 8-4-4

          In three months time,am going to be saying bye to the 8-4-4.Time has moved really fast.Happy is a man I am.Campus life has not been easy nor hard.It has got its ups and downs.4 years I can look back to and say they have been the best times of my education life.Campus is fun.To make you understand how a calf is sired,let me take you back to the mating stage.
     The first day I stepped into Egerton I was under the company of my big brother-turned-medical biochemist;Tobias,who had strict instructions from Kinara Nyaema (our old man) to register me into the school.He never did.I mean,it’s not everyday a big brother registers his young’un into campus before he,himself,even joins first year.Aye? Heheh,I just had to shove that to his face.But that’s not why he didn’t register me.
       As it turns out,my confused self had left my x-ray (which was necessary as per the old professors)back home,thereby declaring the whole process null and void.That was on a Friday.The birth certificate was sent through Smartline Coach by my old man
on Saturday and Tobby travelled back home to visit the old fogeys on Sunday.I left my friend’s place
on Sunday evening and registered the next morning.On Monday.I endured line after line until I finally
finished the whole process.
      Occasionally,I would get lost
somewhere within the school and I’d call Alfonso* (not his real name),a friend who ended up being a roommate,since he had had the experience,through the assistance of his brother,an alumni,for
directions.You know how in high
school,on your first day,you’re
assigned a ‘Guardian’? Yeah.Well,
apparently,before he left,Tobby had
told Alfonso to be my ‘Guardian’.
Now Alfonso was a fresha just like me but with mere experience,tall
hefty chap with a stomach just a few inches shy of Kibaki’s and a knack for anything in a skirt.Or a protruding chest.
     He was probably too busy getting laid (as is the campus norm) to worry his a** about a confused first year.A real nigga nevertheless,once he started buying me beers,we became ‘boys’.Drinks on me next weekend, Sir.
     ****
My first year was quiet,seeing as I
was always the silent one. Probably still am.Always keeping to myself,observing keenly everyone and everything around me.Taking notes.I learnt a lot during that first semester only. Probably much more than I took home during my Econometrics
classes the previous year.I had a roommate by the name of Jason Mogire.If you’ve heard of that name elsewhere then it’s probably from an outfit known as Descientie Inc,which,together with his best friend,they founded and I happen to be an ‘affiliate’ of.The ninja has done well for himself,good for him.
           But first year wasn’t always
rosy.We (actually he…seeing as it
was his) had only a radio in our
room.No woofer.Just a typical radio,from which we’d always catch the latest music in town, listen to Miss Mandi’s ‘The Morning After’ every day before class and rush back in the evening for a date with the crazy Jeremy Odhiambo a.k.a Saliva Vic on
91.5 Hits.(I regret having listened to such stuff)To this day,I fringe in
my seat whenever someone tells me Maina Kageni is the King of Radio.I mean,have you listened to this dude bana ?!!
      Jason was the room’s Batman.Always bringing ‘home’ the cute girls,I owe my very first hug from a lady in campus to him. But on the topic of ‘Exile’,we had a rule.He was only allowed to bring a lady to spend the time with when others have a class or during the weekends,when the other was away.I was oftenly at my former high school friend’s place in Nakuru during the weekends.He the one who always persuaded me to go and it proved as a way of slowing down the weekend
expenditures and thwarting peer
pressure.Everyone gets his/her
‘freaky’ out in campus on the
weekends,a lot of money is spent on women and booze. Money which could be saved for more meaningful use.
      Those days when I barely spent a meager 50-baab per meal, I couldn’t bear spending a cent more on booze.That would’ve subjected me to untold bankruptcy.And when you’re broke
in campus and you don’t know
anyone,son, sh*t never gets any
realer.Been there,done that.Trust
me,living in Turkana will seem like a haven.
***
     First years,campus is a different
world.Depending on your personality,campus could be the
devils playground or Disneyland.
Nobody gives a sh*t about you here.Your business is your business.If you want to drink your brains silly and crap in your pants, the best I can do for you is tuck you neatly by the bushes beside the road so you don’t get run over by an oncoming vehicle.‘Be your brother’s keeper’ is a phrase
that applies only to the birds around here.Know who you hang around, fake friends come with wider smiles than a Colgate ad. And in plenty.The very bimbo you consider your ‘closest’ friend could turn out to be your downfall; stabbing you in the back at every opportunity,laying the very damsel you’ve had your eyes on since day one.
        Attend classes.If you don’t attend classes in first year, you probably never will.If you were the ‘bad boy’ in your school,that was then.This is campus,not high school…where students report bullies to the administration for punishment.Respect is earned the right way around here,not by pushing the smaller fellas left,right and centre.Stand out from your peers,not by crook.Your I.Qs will be put to tests here.You’ll be forced to make judgment calls and discern right from wrong.You do what you want to do,whenever you want to do it,and with absolutely no one on your back.
          Ladies,keep your damn legs closed already.Don’t think you are the newest bitch around.There have been better bitches before you joined and there will be badder bitches after you leave campus.Remember you’re young and wild with numerous suitors,but once you finish campus,and you’re approaching 25 and above huwa ‘umechoka’ na maybe ‘umeraruka’  depending on how loose you were in campus.Men will always look younger even in their 40s.Thats why its easier for older men like lecturers to shag younger ladies like campus ladies,and not vice versa.
      I’m not saying there are no Romeos here,I’m just saying boys will always be boys.This is Generation Y;lust is the blood that flows through our veins.Don’t wait for an ‘I love you’ text when all you keep getting are ‘Am horny’ messages.That brute will not as much as remember your birthday when he lifts his face up
from ‘down there’.Make friends with the bookworms.(Sorry for that,I never made one)They sure come in handy when ‘Maths for Science’ assignments are issued and you have absolutely no idea what the value of x is.And they
will never miss a single class,so they could sign against your name once in a while on those attendance sheets when you’re in bed nursing your.Monday blues.Or getting laid.
      Social media statistics puts 70% of women in relationships while 30% of men single and openly mingling.Someone’s lying somewhere.Men…er,boys,never spend your money on a girl you just met.She’s never worth a
dime.Girls,trust a man with anything else but not your heart. Or your ‘cookie’.One point of correction though,not all men are dogs.You only get the type of men the way you carry yourself around.Unless you’ve been with all of them,in which case,you’re worse than a dog.Am just saying.
       If you have to go out, always tag along that one sober friend who never gets wasted.I’ve been around too long to know that a gang of drunkards never have a good story to tell.The outcome
is always the same;bottles broken
and heads smashed.Take that to the bank.
        One more thing, people die around here. Whether it is by drowning at the swimming pool,the Njoro Caves,accidents at the hostels,bar fights,drug intoxications,failed abortions,love triangles or gun shots,death is real.And to answer your question, Yes,people get shot too.Don’t make enemies.Protect your life.
All in all,first year is fun.Live it,
love it.Take alcohol as much as you please, hop from as many beds as you deem fit.Attend events,get wasted,have one-night stands.Screw your brains so hard you don’t recognize the person you see in the mirror the next morning.Just make sure you
don’t regret any second of it.And
don’t get supplementaries.But above all,never forget your morals.
        In less than 3 months,am not gonna be a student anymore,but a real citizen ready to hustle my life in the job/jobless market.They say experience comes with age,but sometimes age comes alone.We can despise that.The hand you are delt with is determinism.The way you play its free-will.
      *****
     Bye 8-4-4….welcome to the outside world young man….!!!

Kenyan Female Campus Students And Their Freebies

     The reason,it is said, why so many female university students were heavy casualties of the Al
shabaab in the Garissa genocide is because the female students were allegedly enticed that they
will be spared as Islam forbids killing of women.
      In this country,the most disengaged group of citizens are female university students.Most
female students never engage in contemporary public issues – meaning they are well educated but with minds that are as closed as Migingo Island.
    Too few female students want to know the politics going on around them.In fact,the mention of politics ‘turns off’ so many female students – and so many so called ‘career women’ (former female
students) in the professions. Watching broadcast news or reading print on current affairs in
universities is a luxury,if not a leisure undertaking.
          There are female students who’ve watched the whole of Empire or the last episode of Scandal but ask them who is the Inspector General of the Police and you see the underwhelming emptiness I’m talking about.Many female students are stuck in the mud of time; wasting away in their castles of beauty (even when non exists) and social indifference to public affairs.
       And this is not just female students alone.I had,and still have, a very low opinion of male students who care about nothing in their environments save for their coursework and the female students they fuck…these fellows have their days set between
hostel beds and lecture halls.
Then there is the other tragedy in Kenyan universities-submission.
        University students in this country are submissive to any and all authority.This is explainable.It has everything to do with how both parents and university administrators socialize students.
My son/daughter,don’t get yourself in trouble.Don’t be an activist.You risk being suspended or expelled. Avoid bad company,avoid group-think,avoid this,avoid that blah blah blah.
      And when students raise their voices;when they question wrongs, or curious stuff happening around
them,and dare act,they get suspended and expelled in droves. You saw it at Kenyatta University after March 4.So you find young people at the university who
can’t join any cause.Can’t raise their voices.Can’t stand up for themselves.Why?Because not only
do they lack the ideological core and intellectual discipline to ‘stand their ground’, they are also fearful and frightened and timid-containers!
     That’s why you find in some universities the watchmen is more powerful than the student.I’m not saying students should disobey authority but each must question authority.Female students must start to avoid the freebies of being female.They must get out of their gendered ignorance.Times are uncertain and so female students must not just know their ‘beb’.
       How did so many female students believe that terrorists
would spare them?Didn’t they know that these people-the terrorists-also have the promise of
72 virgins?
    Finally,I urge students,both male and female,to be abreast with contemporary social forces at play.Students must be proactive in questioning capitalism and its other variants-corporatism,elite greed,financialization,military-industrial complexes,media-industrial complexes,white-
savior industrial complexes,etc etc.
      Which university in this country has a centre,or institute for terrorism studies?In this country our experience with terrorism,if we aren’t victims,we are just observers,just standers-by.We see victims of terrorists,and killed terrorists as propagated by the media.The problem with the Kenyan media is that it covers terrorism according to who pays. Whoever pays determine who is to
be blamed for it.We know nothing about terrorism as an ideology.We have no ‘safety guide’ to tell us
what to do when terror strikes so we turn for our usual culprits-so and so.
     Be all these as they may,female students should be interested in knowing something beyond CU, and movie series and books and sex and fashion and weaves and wigs and shoes.To be disinterested in what’s going on now is to be careless with your life.
#RIPGarissaComrades

How Van Gaal’s Philosophy Has Come Good At The Right Time

     If you come at the English with a philosophy,you best not miss. After all, failure to make high-
minded ideas count will always count against managers who dare to stick their heads above the pulpit and define themselves as thinkers in one form or another.
Andre Villas-Boas was far from blameless when it came to his two Premier League dismissals at Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur , but his profile as a bookish,bright young analyst hardly helped to endear him to his new public.
       Similarly,Rafael Benitez’s exotic preferences for zonal marking and stringent squad rotation marked him out as a foreign oddity ripe for derision. Arsene Wenger and Brendan Rodgers both receive plenty of
ridicule for their love of concepts and scholastic mannerisms when the results begin to dry up.When motivators like Gus Poyet are sacked,sympathy rings out: ex-players never seem to know where “it all went wrong” for a “top bloke”
and “good manager”. When more scholarly types fall onto hard times,it’s always a case of having
fallen on their own sword.They brought it upon themselves by trying to be clever,of course.
        Fortunately for Manchester United,it appears that Louis van Gaal’s own rather theoretical
formula for success has finally begun to deliver at Old Trafford, and not a moment too soon.
Beyond the usual first impressions,new managers (and players) often seem to be granted a small,limited window of opportunity during which the Premier League can get used to
them and get to know them.
      Through their early,defining forays into the secondary world of press conferences, interviews and reaction shots from the dug-out they inevitably end up crafting their own caricatures in front of the cameras and microphones they find themselves faced with.Whether it’s Jose Mourinho proclaiming himself to be special, or the rather more stand-offish
stylings of Villas-Boas and Benitez versus the press,they end up setting the reference points
against which they will be measured and characterised.
      Van Gaal arrived in England with a proven track record at club level, and an unexpected third-
place finish at the 2014 World Cup with Netherlands under his belt, which gifted him a certain amount of insulation against his initial
doubters.Yet United’s failure to fully embody total football within a matter of weeks soon brought scrutiny over his age, achievements,relevance and resolve.He went from being a
venerable genius to the Emperor with a wardrobe stuck in stealth mode.All looked lost for a moment following the Dutchman’s act of unwitting self-sabotageamidst the fallout of Sam Allardyce’s “long ball” criticism of United’s tactics in early February.
          Out came the ill-considered graphs,print outs and cringing press officer as Van Gaal attempted to prove himself through facts.However,he had
misjudged his audience: the football-focused subset of a spiteful,insular culture that
absolutely relishes the sport of doing individuals down and putting them in their place.
By the time that United’s 3-0 win over Spurs rolled around, expectations had sunk.A 2-1 loss
to Arsenal at home in the FA Cup appeared to have all but signalled that the chance for Van Gaal’s philosophy to come good in any
meaningful way this season had passed.
         The pie charts he produced to counter Allardyce’s claims
threatened to undermine and overshadow his CV full of previous accomplishments in a league that
puts first-hand experience above all else when assessing ability, a tendency that also affects players. Regardless of their successes, questions marks remained over the heads of Lionel Messi
and Zlatan Ibrahimovic for many in England until they “did it” against an English club.Who cared
about Van Gaal’s trophies with Ajax, Barcelona,AZ Alkmaar and Bayern Munich when it was
clear his “total football” couldn’t cut it on a dry,settled Thursday afternoon against Stoke City ?
The home victory over Spurs,and the manner in which the first half was won and the second was
controlled, appeared to change everything.Just when it looked as though Van Gaal’s moment
had gotten away from him- potentially dooming his tenure at Old Trafford to become a perpetual
punchline for innuendo and parallels with Benitez’s own “facts”-leaden press conference in
2009 – it all came together.
       Yet that could have just been a fluke result.After all,as Sir Alex Ferguson himself would say,“lads, it’s Tottenham.”The proof that it was anything but came against Liverpool,away at Anfield,as United won 2-1 at the home of their
fiercest rivals and arguably the form team of 2015 in the Premier League.
         As Rob Smyth wrote back in February,Van Gaal’s mistake in that unfortunate press conference was that he mistook the English
media as being mature enough, and intellectually ready,for a deeper discussion about the details of his “philosophy”. Perhaps similarly erroneous
expectations were to blame for United’s unconvincing performances earlier in the season?Like those who attended his press conference,he assumed too much of the squad he was
presented with in the summer, and they are only now getting to grips with the technical and tactical demands of the Dutchman’s system.
     It took Bayern until the second half of his debut season in Germany to make good on his designs on the pitch. United have had to wait until the
final quarter of their first campaign under Van Gaal to begin to realise the potential of his work in the shape of a much-anticipated 4-3-3 formation against Spurs and Liverpool.Mauricio Pochettino’s men couldn’t cope against
United’s left-side as Marouane Fellaini dominated Eric Dier in his own area,both physically and aerially.The young Englishman
couldn’t cope with the Belgian’s awkward frame or the aggression of his runs into the left-hand
channel of the box.Out wide,Kyle Walker and Andros Townsend never looked able to muster an
adequate response to the pressure exerted by Daley Blind and Ashley Young upon their flank.It was a similar story against Liverpool, who lined up in their 3-4-3 (or 3-4-1-2) formation,with Raheem Sterling as a right wing-back ahead of Emre Can,the right-most centre-back in Rodgers’ back three.The German ended up
looking even more exposed than Dier was,with Martin Skrtel required elsewhere to keep track of
other dangers.
       Jordan Henderson wasn’t able drop back and see off the Belgian as he had done in Liverpool’s win at Old Trafford last season due to Michael Carrick and Ander Herrera keeping him busy through the middle.They also proved too much
for Nabil Bentaleb,Ryan Mason and Christian Eriksen in the win over Spurs and look set to be
the foundation upon which any top-four finish will be built.It was down the right flank that United were able to do the most damage against Liverpool however,with Juan Mata making the most of his
cunning and skill to drift inside from the wing to score twice,within the first 15 minutes of either half. With Blind helping to provide width down the left,Antonio Valencia pushed up high on the right as his Spanish team-mate roamed towards the box.
      Though still hardly the kind of explosive,overlapping full-backs that Old Trafford became used to watching under Ferguson,this freedom to run beyond the designated wide man is something of a departure for Van Gaal.He
prefers his widest defenders to play the role of, what he calls, “killers”: players who focus first
and foremost on pinning the opposition’s wingers and delivering sharp,swift balls forward
to more creative players.This tweak could be considered an adaptation to fit the tastes of the
crowds in Manchester,who will long after exciting,pneumatic wing play,but it’s not the Dutchman’s only compromise of late.
      Marcos Rojo has been sidelined through injury,leading to Phil Jones and Chris Smalling taking up position as the team’s two centre-backs.Both are right-footed; a detail that falls outside
of their manager’s ideal to have a balanced pairing of central defenders most capable on the
foot that matches the flank closest to them.Having moved to play a back three at the start of the season-a switch made to provide an extra man for a defence that is weak in one-on- one encounters and lacking midfield cover (as was also the case with Netherlands at the World Cup)-the seemingly now permanent return of a back four should be seen as a show of faith in United’s two English defenders.
      Radamel Falcao is still to show the kind of quality that saw him chalk up 155 goals in 200 games for Porto,Atletico Madrid and Monaco,and club record-signing Angel Di Maria is out of sorts following a burglary at his home, and out of favour.Yet the absence of these two headliners has hardly seemed to matter of late,with the team coming to the fore through the efforts of players such as Blind,Herrera and Carrick,and the unprecedented contributions of
Young and Fellaini.Both Falcao and Di Maria will have to prove their worth to the system before
they can take back the starting roles they may feel entitled to.
There remains something of a rub, however.
       Had Robin van Persie not been ruled out through his own injury problems,would he have remained as a first-choice starter,and if so would United have been able to click in the manner that they did in their last two league games? Given the old adage about class and form,some fans may still
need convincing over the permanence of Van Gaal’s performance level and that of his team. As a general rule,a manager’s win ratio over the
course of their career is a relatively reliable baseline,with most eventually regressing to their
overall mean.Van Gaal currently holds an all-time win percentage of 61.20% from 835 games as a club and international manager. His present win percentage at United is 55.56% from 36
games.Compare that with his record at Ajax(68.77% of his 285 games in charge ended in victory), first stint at Barcelona (55.56% from 171 games),AZ Alkmaar (57.95% from 176 games) and Bayern (61.46% from 96 games).
He is already matching the ratio he built up during his most successful stint in Spain.
      Due to the rumours that United will invest in another major refit this summer,optimists may well
believe a further climb in standards will soon follow to match his other records at AZ, Bayern and maybe even Ajax, though that seems unlikely. Pessimists can argue that he has
already reached his level at Old Trafford given the parallel percentage with his first term at
Barcelona and the usually short-term nature of his stays at clubs outside of the Netherlands.
Yet in his first season he has already made a marked difference to the type of football played
by his team.Possession has become prioritised like never before.The rigidity favoured by David Moyes has been replaced by an expectation that players will seek out and win one-on-one duels in order to create overloads and breaks across the pitch.
         United are going in for more tackles and take-ons than in previous season,even if they’re not
always winning too many of the former.The number of chances created and shots taken have
fallen as individuals are cowed by the discipline of the system. However,a sense of character has
returned to the team,especially in games against rivals and so-called “big teams”.Van Gaal’s various idiosyncrasies mean that he will always be an entertaining source of surreal quotes and unintentional humour but with
momentum back on his side he looks to have staved off the perpetual climate of mockery that
could have enveloped him.The mystique of Ajax,Total Football and his past record may have
been stripped away by a season of up-close- and-personal observations but the Premier
League loves a winner,especially one with a bit of drama.Success is football’s very own escape
velocity.
      In years to come,should United capture the top-four spot they crave,pundits will look back to
this season and ignore the teething problems over theory and philosophy and instead remember a strong finish. Van Gaal will be seen as the man who took United back to where they believe they belong.
     Let the ball roll!!

Internship Requirements

    While an internship is the lowest entry level position you can land, for some it is hard.It does not require experience,but there are some skills that most employers are looking for.What are some of the skills employers look for in
interns.
     Time management skills
    Do you find that you rush from task to task without ever finishing anything?This shows that you have poor time management skills.To improve,understand what is urgent in your list of duties and tackle that first.
      For effective time management skills,a HR Associate at Jumia Kenya advices that interns should be punctual in the morning and leave a bit late in the evening. This gives you time to execute all duties of the day.
      Communication skills
    So you think writing ‘xaxa’ or ‘fwend’ makes you cool?This is an indication that your communication skills need to improve.How well you pass on information to others is a measure of how good your communication skills are.
     For example,having the ability to speak properly while maintaining good eye contact, tailoring your language to your audience,listening, presenting
your ideas in a well crafted manner and writing clearly requires good communication skills.
        Positive Attitude
       Employers want someone who is optimistic.This does not necessarily mean someone who is
always smiling,but someone who is positive when faced with challenges.
      This is an attitude that sees the glass half full instead of half empty.You can never be taught on
how to have a good attitude so instead of focusing on the technical skill you learnt in school,
being positive goes a long way.A positive attitude is achieved by thinking positive thoughts, focusing on your strengths and having confidence in them.
Important skills that employers look for in interns
         Initiative
      Are you someone who can work on their own and take opportunities that will benefit the employer? If you answered yes, that is initiative.It requires
creative thinking,confidence and knowledge.In an interview demonstrate this by asking well
thought out questions such as “what are your expectations of me in this role”.For those in internships come up with new proposals and ideas.
   “When coming up with new ideas;analyze the methods that the organization uses and propose a better method.You can even offer to demonstrate through a meeting or practically doing it.As long
as it meets the target,” says Vincent Macharia,a HR Officer at The Copy Cat Limited.
        Commitment
   “If you’re interested in something,you’ll do it if it is convenient.If you’re committed to something,you’ll do it no matter what.”Commitment is different from interest and involves
the following being punctual (do not be late for an interview), respecting workplace rules such as dress code,personal phone use or office romances and attending meetings.For those already in internships make sure you
finish your internship program.
“Finishing your whole internship helps show the aspect of commitment to your future employer,”Mr. Githaiga advices.
         If you do not possess all the skills mentioned above,get there a little step at a time by honing
these skills in your daily activities.

Educated Bitches

You dreamt of dating a campus lady,only to marry
a Kindergarten drop-out? Relax,boss! Even great
men compromised on love: In chapter 6 of ‘Facing
Mount Kenya'(1938),Kenyatta tells us how cute
female circumcision is,only for him to date his
student,the young uncircumcised Ngina Muhoho
when he’s Deputy Principal of Githunguri Teacher
Training(1946-50s);At Makerere,Kibaki hoped to be
a career lecturer with a graduate wife,only to be
recalled to Kenya by Tom Mboya& then sent to
Githunguri to recruit KANU members(1960s)with
Kibaki driving to Kambui Teachers’ College to date
Lucy Muthoni with the help of his ex-schoolmate,J
ohn Michuki(who knew Lucy even b4 Kibaki met
her);Ruto confessed to a televised K.U graduation_
attendees(around 2010)how he frequented K.U to
date Rachel,a teacher trainee.He met her via
C.U,after initial frustration with his fellow Nairobi
University Kalenjin beauties.