Fashion meets Georgia

Posted: April 14, 2011 in My other life

I have toyed with the idea of getting into modeling full-time ever since I was 15 and Oluchi was crowned winner of Nokia Face of Africa. I would see myself following in her footsteps and winning the title for Kenya, traveling far and wide, gracing runways from Milan to NewYork to Paris…fashion photographers kissing my hand in their theatrical fashion, their cameras loving every moment captured. And I would be famous. My face would be on every fashion magazine cover. How awesome!

Fast-forward to 2011 and am nowhere near Naomi Campbell. But in my own special way and with the help of certain brilliant Kenyan photographers, I may just live a tiny bit of that dream. Evening of Tuesday 12, April my friend Michelle and I went for a photo shoot that our newly-acquired friend hmurimi called us for. I call him hmurimi and you gotta admit it sounds cool! That’s his twitter handle:-)

Hiuhu Murimi aka @hmurimi and a group of his photographer friends have come together in support of each other and just to try out new tricks in photography while at the same time learning and having fun networking. On this day, they were trying out fashion photography and yours truly had the opportunity to model alongside Michelle Ayuma (@ayumyum on Twitter).

The shoot location was at Kuona Trust Art Centre and appropriately so as it provided a raggedy, artistic and raw background; perfect for the kind of attire we wore. Enough respect to one @Kayndeto, the stylist for the day/evening. I absolutely admired her sense of calmness; we had a few glitches with the outfits. She is absolutely talented as you can see from the pics.

The photographers are still sorting out the pics but i managed to squeeze one out of Ephraim Muchemi (@efi_m on Twitter). I find this pic interesting, like am floating in mist!

Georgia

Yours truly floating in mist. Photo by: Ephraim Muchemi

Photo by:Mutua Matheka (@Truthslinger)

Photo by: Mutua Matheka (@Truthslinger)

Photo by: Mutua Matheka (@Truthslinger)

I met a bunch of other awesome photographers most of whom I know by their Twitter names!

Mutua Matheka aka @Truthslinger, Mwangi Kirubi aka @Mwarv, Profkatts, Naomi Katetei aka @nkatetei, Steven Kitoto aka @stevekitots, David Sikobe aka @skubi, Berytah, nyingez and am so sure I forget others. They were just so many!

I’ll upload more pics as they are made available to me so do come back for that:-) And watch this space, yours truly intends to model more often:-)

I love Twitter! And no am not being paid to say that, just a genuine appreciation for a social network that has proved useful.
And as useful as useful goes…just last Sunday (March 26th) a group of Twitter enthusiasts met in what was dubbed Nairobi TweetUp #2 which pretty much is a get-together by tweeps (twitter users) and their followers. It was a social gathering at the Savannah Lounge, National Museum (Review soonJ)where we sipped, gobbled or nibbled while interacting and sharing ideas. Networking is an amazing thing, I got to meet brilliant minds and discovered just how much power we possess in our different abilities. Some of the people present were:-
The brains behind Nairobi TweetUp (Applause! Applause!)
He’s a graphic designer, web developer, copywriter and photographer by profession. He is also a chess/scrabble enthusiast and probably the nicest person ever! Find him here http://www.parasgudka.com/
Meidimi Hugo Sokoto http://twitter.com/hugocious
I know him from Daystar University. He recently graduated and he loves everything film.
One of my absolutely wonderful friends, my shopping buddy, a writer at Parents Magazine, a super super talented blogger (http:/ednagicovi.wordpress.com).  She volunteers at Autism Awareness Kenya and speaks Spanish! How cool is thatJ 
Banker by day, founder of Ufahari and a photography enthusiast
She’s Zimbabwean, a medical intern working in Nairobi, film producer and blogger (http:/sithabiso.blogspot.com) She’s lived in many parts of Africa including Uganda, Tanzania and South Africa. Absolutely brilliant personality
This girl can pull crowds! I like that she’s confident, articulate and absolutely informed.  Runs a centre for scientific communication training. A photography enthusiast who believes the older the camera the better.
 Works at Safaricom. She’s the bubbliest person ever. Definitely easy to talk to!
First of all I want that Bert Simpson Tee! I gotta have it!
Works at Ashoka. He attended #NairobiTweetup1 as well
How tall are you man? Like seriously! 🙂
He’s a Computer software professional. Interests include Austrian economics/quantum physics/agriculture/aviation. Also a #NairobiTweetup1 attendee
Background in advertising and marketing. Founder of Fluid Tees (they are awesome by the way) Also a #NairobiTweetup1 attendee
Genius!  Freelance designer, cartoonist and the man behind http://kenyanmathree.wordpress.com/ A personal friend who I think is going places.  He just needs to cut down on his sleep hoursJ
Just joined Twitter, best friend of Michelle Ayuma. Just winding up her undergraduate degree at Daystar University.
Blogger ( http://mybaobabroots.wordpress.com/). She’s passionate about African tradition of story-telling. Best friend of Linda Anyango. Bubbly personality. I keep saying she resembles the lovely Bidanya Barassa! Also a fourth year student at Daystar University.
Works at Care International (Somalia, South Sudan). He is passionate about Jazz music
DJ ,real estate developer/consultant , creative enterprise trainer , former auditor and a tech junkie.
Founder of an advertising agency , blogger (arrived after our group photo sessions were over)But am following her
So there you have it! It was an awesome team. I look forward to plenty of interactions, both professional and social. I see this group expanding and becoming something revolutionary, exploring each others abilities and partnering towards growth and development of this continent and possibly even the world!
If you wanna be part of this be sure to join us on April 17, 2011 at Mercury Lounge, ABC Place- Westlands, off Waiyaki Way when Nairobi TweetUp #3 goes down!
Maybe am just a lazy bum…maybe i just wanna breeze through life sipping chocolate milkshake or scooping vanilla ice cream in front of myTV,in faded jeans,no makeup on and not a care in the world. Or maybe the dating game has morphed so much the rules are so diversely complicated that I,a sucker for all things simple, out of reflex get armoured for battle when any datable male so much as breathes in my direction!

Call me a romance-killer or any title to that effect but why,oh why,do we have to drag the get-to-know-you through weeks of expensive phone calls, allergy-triggering flower deliveries,work-disrupting surprise lunches and sleep-denying late night mulling over all the above? Sigh…i say date someone you already know;a friend,or take it like a business negotiation. Now that we’ve established we are interested in each other’s business,a partnership is advised. State your expectations,adjust to accommodate each other. Now would be a wonderful opportunity to discuss any external influences in the form of prior ‘business associates’ i.e. ex-girlfriends/boyfriends who may hinder profitable growth of the about-to-begin partnership. Declare the partnership launched!

I don’t see why we should spend extra so personal funds must be used sparingly; you will phone me Friday night to confirm our Saturday date,during which everything shall be discussed including wishing me a great week.Not to worry,your/my credit card need not suffer,i got plenty of chicken and drinks left over from the book club get-together at my house last Thursday;all we need is each other baibe,it’s gon’ be a great night in. Come Wednesday,you will send me a message on my facebook inbox from the company computer checking up on me and i shall twitter back,from the company computer.Fun and inexpensive!Come Friday,I’ll text you an invite that’s so unsettling you will reply affirmatively and guess what,all that luuuurve for just R0.70! Do you get my drift? Luckily we live in the same town so no over-the-roof fuel costs.In two weeks flat,there being no other businesses,we can comfortably move to step II of this partnership.

I like this approach,it works on a timeline leaving no room for time-wasting goofing around and playing footsie. It’s professional and notably economical; last thing we need is financial pressure unless there’s a birthday or anniversary to be celebrated. It is also calculated; tension-rousing surprises are avoided;it can’t happen if it was not discussed. Another fascinating and my absolute personal favourite,are the bi-monthly reviews.You know,an overview of how things are progressing such that we know we are on the same page. If we are,we proceed to the next level and if we are not,having established the grey areas we can mutually decide to work on them or terminate the partnership. This way there’s no such thing as “I didn’t see it coming. “

Life is beautiful.Love is equally,if not more,beautiful. If you’re a lazy bum,raise your half-empty ice cream jar and say…”to effortless dating” cheers!

Wake Me if You Like Me…

Posted: March 8, 2011 in Uncategorized

Hahaha I wrote this in my freshman year for a guy who has since moved on from the cute lanky heart-throb that i knew to the not-so-bad-looking guy with a bit of a pot belly…NOTE: Am not sure what i saw in the first place hehehehe!

I sit in the dark staring at a text message I recently got from you and as the glow from my phone slowly fades off I can’t help but wonder how you’ve been…And I smile shyly the memory of your voice so clear … You see it’s been ten days, three hours and round about thirty seconds since we last spoke and well…I miss you… Am allowed to do that right, besides we are friends right? And friends miss friends right? Ok who am I kidding! I am insanely impatient and my fingers are burning to press the green button coz I have you on speed dial, but I can’t think of a reason lamer than ‘I just called to say hi’ at a quarter to one AM… So I guess it can wait till tomorrow …or maybe never…

So as the morning charily steals into the night I lay in bed compelled to stay awake with questions, blank spaces and the jagged mystery that is you…Never before have I met one so calm and collected yet passionate about life, one so at peace with themselves yet humble and one so full of dreams bigger than themselves…and one so interesting yet so distant…

I chanced upon meeting you when I was familiar with the disappointings of the old and I wanted nothing to do with the new; and as our short messages grew into phone calls I realized there’s nothing quite like a seven-minute conversation, really. You know, the kind that doesn’t have much of a subject, it flows from the weather to my dream of making it big in fashion, from whether or not chicken soup can cure your cold to your favourite genre of music…spontaneity, unplanned delight.

So it is with my thoughts in the still of this night, random and scattered in your direction, with nothing much to base my liking on, other than the fact that your speech is refined…and you type words in full in your text messages…and your introvert laughter lasts only a couple of seconds…and you burble when your nervous…and you apologize even for the slightest forgivable gaffes…and you’re funny…
Forgive me if am being rush but I just want to know what you’re about, what that extra full stop at the end of your text message means, why you always answer your call after the fourth ring and why I am smiling while writing this…

Now that it’s out there that I might feel something for you and…I might want to know you better and…I might slightly hope that there’s a chance you’ll ask me out in the near future…text me if you just want to say hi, call me if you wanna go out for coffee and talk…best of all, wake me if you like me…

A, B, C, TEA!

Posted: January 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

I love tea! That is a statement in finality as far as my favorite stimulants go. I grew up with porridge and all manner of soups. My mother always said tea and coffee were “adult beverages” as my system was not, in her words, strong enough to withstand the effects of these brews. And so when I was old enough in my mother’s eyes and first partook of the freshly ground coffee beans, I was bewitched! I not only grew to love it, I respected its ability to jolt me back to life and keep me awake when it mattered. Coffee has been my faithful companion through hours of serious and frantic writing episodes that would have flopped otherwise.

However, I bumped into material online that suggested too much coffee was bad for one’s health and I was so shocked that I purposed to cut down; not abandon it completely, just cut down. That has not been easy. I’ve had to make do with juice most days and an occasional cup of tea if only to just calm my often times edgy nerves. And tea is no exception when it comes to stimulants. For me it is a milder version of coffee, in its effects at least. It can knock off any grogginess and get me pumped up in no time. And our tea-girl at the office understands the art of tea-brewing to a tee. Now this girl is always punctual, breezily checking into the office thermos flasks in trolley and a paper-bag full of goodies. I find myself smiling every time she walks in; it’s always an exciting moment. Soon as she walks in almost everyone shoots up obviously eager to find out what she is carrying in her paper bag. Talks of “nifungie mbili” (Pack two for me) and “mbona leo mandazi ni ndogo?” (How come the mandazi is small today) fill up the room. Then, there is a bit of shuffling intercepted by sharp sounds of lips pulling tea from the china cups and after, loud sighs of satisfaction. In less than an hour her thermos flasks are drained and the entire office is content.

Now there are those who wouldn’t be bothered by a second helping but for me, a second, a third and I kid you not, a fourth is what keeps me sane most days! I think of myself as a tea enthusiast. We are not talking a hurriedly done mixture of milk and water and sprinkles of tea leaves, no. I like mine brewed, for quite sometime. The proportion of milk and water should be such that the thickness is maintained. It has got to be substantially steamy, preferable to be removed from the fire and make it to the table within seconds. The cup within which I consume this hot stimulant should be deep enough such that by the time I drain it, I’ve savored it enough. Well, almost; a second helping is non-negotiable. Our tea girl seldom disappoints. Her tea is always extra thick, steamy and creamy. I make it a point to appreciate her craft; she saves the hassle of carrying my own tea to the office.

Unfortunately, there are a few people like our tea-girl who understand tea-enthusiasts. Although, I noticed this past couple of days she slackened. The tea wasn’t creamy enough and I suspect foul play. I intend to keep my eye on her. Should the quality dwindle further I will have no choice but to confront her. You see, the right to high quality tea cannot be assumed and people like us make for bad customers. We fuss a lot and would not hesitate to dodge the bill if our tea was so much as a degree Celsius, colder than acceptable. We swear by hot tea and extra cream and steam is life at its best. So if you are behind us at the queue in the cafeteria, know that you will stand there awhile.

You see, we have to make our specifications known and this may take a while. Either, wait patiently or postpone your order. If you are seating at the table across from us and happen to overhear us complain to the waitress about the thickness of the tea, threatening to walk out if something is not done, do not be alarmed. We are simple unabashed when it comes to what we feel about milk and water proportions. Again, it’s just the love of tea, nothing personal.

I never imagined that one day I would work in a government office, be it a parastatal, ministry or any place that smelled of government. Really, not many good thoughts came to mind when I envisioned a government office. Just thinking about it brought the following images:-

• Mounds of dust
• Doors that squeaked when you opened and shut them
• Piles upon piles of neglected reports, old newspapers and magazines that if you were to look for in the market you wouldn’t find.
• A burly pot-bellied grumpy officer behind a chipped wooden desk with one groaning computer and papers strewn all over.
• Rodents and all manner of scurrying and (shivers) slithering organisms occasionally creeping up from crevices in the office
• Heated office with a broken down aircon and windows that are permanently locked and wouldn’t budge if there was an earthquake
• Low ceilings with the plywood threatening to give way at any surprise moment.

Yap! I hated government offices, my sentiments coming from bad experiences of having to queue for hours and the immense amount of paperwork needed to get identification documents et cetera.
So when I was offered the chance to take up an Editorial Intern position at a government parastatal I screamed “No thank you!” certain that even if I were to be offered a million bob I’d decline….or not! So I did what I always do when , sleep on it. I was desperate for a job and I remember asking God to send one my way but I never imagined He’d send me to a place that smelled of government! I pleaded with Him: “Lord if it’s within your power…um of course it is within your power….please take this cup away from me!” The ‘cup’ would lead me to my early death; I didn’t want to spend my vibrant years in a rigid, almost suffocating environment where everybody aside from the secretaries were 50 plus years! God did not budge so I resolved in my mind to take up the job anyway thinking I’d come back and tell Him:”Aha! You promised this would be a great experience, but guess what, it sucked! I quit!”

Day One. Monday September 4, 2010. Time: 8AM.Location: Government parastatal. Defense weapon: A permanent frown, a handkerchief for when dust mounds erupt and a notebook.
No sooner had I walked in through the gate than my attitude threatened to change. Of course I remained adamant thinking the well kept flowerbeds, friendly security and the neatly painted walls were there to fool me and that the real action was inside! My first assignment was to interview one of the parastatal officers for the organization’s publication I’d be working on. As expected I got lost several times trying to trace his office but eventually I did. As far as vanity went this guy was the chairman of the..ahem…the Association of Vain People Kenya Chapter! Why do you need to put your name in capital letters on the door, I rolled my eyes as I went in.

The subject of secretaries is one I’ll do a separate post on because I kid you not, these people can send you to a mental hospital! I approached the middle-aged woman with as much defense as one who was going to war. You can’t blame me, my preconceived notions that secretaries will always try and stop you from seeing Mkubwa (the boss). So when she ushered me in warmly I was taken aback. What? You were going to let me in to speak to Mkubwa? Are you sure Mkubwa has no fictitious meeting or other flimsy excuse you normally use to keep people off? Wow, this must be my lucky day! As I knocked Mkubwa’s office, I still stubbornly hoped I’d find mounds of dust and a burly grumpy officer just so I could prove God wrong (haha!)

I walk in and the nicest man ever is sitting behind his desk, note: a new looking desk. There’s a laptop on his desk and beside it a PC with an LCD screen…not a stray paper in sight…neatly arranged shelves…clean floor…intact ceiling…and open windows! Am I in the wrong place? I don’t think so!

“Yes Georgia, what can I do for you?” Mr. Smartly-Dressed asks me rather warmly. Ok God, you win! We proceed with the interview and by the time I step out of the guy’s office, I feel that I may have stereotyped the government. Isn’t that some kind of offense: Stereotyping the government may lead to several months’ imprisonment! Ok, maybe not! I realized, though, that often times we are quick to judge people, places, electronic gadgets…anything without really experiencing them first. So as I stepped into the lift I silently thanked God for always being faithful and I promised Him I wouldn’t complain for the duration of my internship.

Day Three. I’m having the time of my life and I mean that. My favorite thing about government offices is that the supply of freshly brewed tea with lots of milk is insatiable. Being a writer and a recovering coffee addict, I understand the need to have a stimulant next to you for when writer’s block rears its ugly head. I find my colleagues in the Corporate Communications office very welcoming. Of course in every office there’s the odd party pooper office gossip who thinks their purpose in life is to ruin people’s moods but am steering clear of that one! I have access to a computer, fast and reliable internet all day and that is why today you are reading this piece. So there you have it; I officially think government offices are awesome!

Unapologetically Stella!

Posted: September 28, 2010 in Uncategorized

The phrase ‘she’s not what she seems’ can be used quite justifiably on Stella Nasambu who I thought I knew but turns out there’s a lot more than she lets out. She could pass for your average young Kenyan woman trying to mind her own business and live her life best way she knows but deep within this 25 year-old Brand Manager, burns a fire that’s hard to quell. Her soft look, diminutive and keen eyes grab your attention and keeps you glued and when she talks you listen. And listen I did!

Stella was born in 1984 to military parents and as the third child she knew all too well what it meant to have tough parents. Growing up she was a feisty, headstrong and stubborn-as-a-mule type of child and was constantly in her parents’ ‘bad books’ This of course translated to numerous punishments but looking back she appreciates it as it straightened her out.

She went to Hospital Hill Primary School for her elementary education and later on St. Monica’s Secondary School before enrolling at Daystar University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication. It is not hard to see why she picked Public Relations and Marketing at campus as her excellent speech and witty disposition comes through and subtly at that. Stella has always been a charmer and that is how she got her job at Atom tdf agency.

Being a brand manager is not the easiest job in the world but she says she likes it. “It gives plenty of room for creativity and my fulfillment is in the clients’ satisfaction, “she says beamingly of a profession that entails positioning and rebranding products and services. Stella wasn’t always into corporate communication. She lets me know giggling all the while that her first love was music. So badly did she want to be a rock artiste that she contemplated studying music but her parents would not have any of it. After much persuasion that made her see sense she ended up letting go of that dream and instead studied Communication. Looking back she says that was one of the craziest thoughts she ever had.

Having witnessed the nature of work her siblings took up and how they rarely have time for themselves, Stella vowed to never let her work hinder her from indulging in her favourite past-times and interests; reading, theatre and charity work. “My elder brother works in IT, the second born is a sous chef and my younger brother is a biochemist. They rarely have time to just relax!” she says throwing her arms in the air for effect. When she is not working, she visits New Life Children’s Home where she is a volunteer. She also acts at the theatre and has been part of the cast for Fray, a musical about Dedan Kimathi. Later on in the year she hopes to be part of the cast for a Village Christmas and next year, a Village Easter. She has always loved reading and the books that grace her shelf at home are mostly spiritual publications. Christianity means a lot to her and she says, it is what has kept her grounded all these years. She draws strength from God and experiences a lot of peace inside knowing He is there for her.

For this energetic self-starter, life is simply beautiful. She works hard at what she does, prays a lot, travels occasionally to clear her mind and her mantra is; only when you absolutely believe in yourself do others believe in you.

Sutella, as she’s fondly known by her friends, is definitely unapologetic about her femininity as she speaks her mind and fights her own battles unabashed. She is indeed a true African beauty, proud of her origin and full of passion for this lovely continent.