National anthem of Kenya

When I was a boy, perhaps even now, the cinemas in Kenya would play the national anthem before the movie started. Everyone would stand up in the cinema while a scratchy video of the Kenyan flag fluttering in the breeze would play along with a marching band rendition of the anthem. Quaint military style and post-colonial nationalism, followed by Star Wars.

The words are as follows (English translation is below the Swahili version):

Ee Mungu nguvu yetu 
Ilete baraka kwetu. 
Haki iwe ngao na mlinzi 
Natukae na undugu 
Amani na uhuru 
Raha tupate na ustawi

Amkeni ndugu zetu 
Tufanye sote bidii 
Nasi tujitoe kwa nguvu 
Nchi yetu ya Kenya, 
Tuwe tayari kuilinda.

Natujenge taifa letu 
Ee, ndio wajibu wetu 
Kenya istahili heshima 
Tuungane mikono 
Pamoja kazini 
Kila siku tuwe na shukrani.

O God of all creation
Bless this our land and nation.
Justice be our shield and defender
May we dwell in unity
Peace and liberty
Plenty be found within our borders.

Let one and all arise
With hearts both strong and true.
Service be our earnest endeavour,
And our Homeland of Kenya
Heritage of splendour,
Firm may we stand to defend.

Let all with one accord
In common bond united,
Build this our nation together
And the glory of Kenya
The fruit of our labour
Fill every heart with thanksgiving

In the cinema and throughout childhood, we would only ever sing the first verse. It’s a fairly good tune compared to some anthems out there, and I really hope the cinema tradition still stands, but somehow i doubt it.

Right now Kenya faces the prospect of biblical scale locust plagues and a pandemic. Spare a thought for the beautiful place.

Keep well and be safe. Happy Easter Sunday chimps.

Covid 19 Video Calls

A four way video call with some old friends last night means I have some homework to do. I was recommended two books to read.

In my quest to connect South African and Kenyan businesses they seem quite relevant, so I bought them on amazon while i was still chatting on the call:

The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It (Grove Art)


It’s Our Turn to Eat
Follow the links for Kindle editions of the books

One thing this Covid 19 virus has shown us is how useful virtual meetings can be. The various services available (Skype, Hangouts, Zoom etc.) have experienced a massive surge in demand and use over lockdown periods around the world. Zoom in particular has become very popular and very varied in its use cases. Security issues are popping up due to the scale and choices they made with their software. Still, it’s changing the options for work and socialising – all due to a lockdown.

Last night we swayed between a Whatsapp chat group and a Google Hangouts chat. Hangouts was clearer and easier through the laptop compared to Whatsapp.

Our call was full of stories about Kenya days growing up, nostalgia, catching up on news. I really enjoyed it and can’t wait to read the books I was recommended. The call was cut short by my friend who needed to join another Zoom call straight afterwards. A sign of the times.

Those times are changing fast. Stay safe and keep in touch out there! Chats like this are golden and good for the soul.

Happy Thursday Chimps.

For the dogs

I write this with a dog at my feet. After a great walk in the park yesterday during which the usual sniffing of other dog butts, running after birds, more sniffing……actually a whole load of sniffing and running occurred – anyways, after that walk my dogs now have to stay confined to the garden for 3 weeks. Thank God we have a garden. It’s not big but at least there are things to….well, to sniff!

This lockdown will take its toll in some ways, and it will help us to grow in other ways. I plan to teach the girls about training a dog. My dogs are not the most well-trained animals but I do understand the behaviour / reward thing….they come when I whistle if that counts?

For now the spaniel is happy at my feet – he scratches the door to come in whenever I am at the computer. I am really disappointed we are not allowed to walk the dogs. But I am glad we have the dogs, they will help us get through this. With any luck, they will be better trained pooches on the other side of the lockdown.

Home again

Holiday was cut short by a military lockdown. Not your usual reason.

It’s nice to be home. I’m trying to be optimistic. This is a chance to live differently. Thank the Gods we are allowed to walk the dogs. This is good for both my dogs and my marriage!

21 days can sometimes fly by. My children are confused about the interruption but I think they’ll cope fine.

We have food, we have plenty of work to do on the house, and actual job work which is still coming in over this period though to a lesser extent.

We have entertainment, a garden with a pool. We have space in the house and we have shops down the road. We have every chance of side stepping this damned virus.

Here’s to healthy kids, dogs, marriages and national lockdowns.

Living with Heartbreak

An unexpected halt to an idea will cause heartbreak. Heartbreak is inevitable and yet we spend most our lives trying to avoid it. How to live with heartbreak?

Like most of the world, South Africa is shutting down in response to the corona virus. It is heartbreaking. Heartbreaking for my kids who have had their holiday cut short. Heartbreaking for my wife and I to forget all the plans we had made. Our ideas around freedom, health, community are all being challenged. This too is a heartbreak. How to live with heartbreak? I’m finding this quote from David Whyte helpful:

If heartbreak is inevitable and inescapable, it might be asking us to look for it and make friends with it, to see it as our constant and instructive companion, and perhaps, in the depth of its impact as well as in its hindsight, and even, its own reward. Heartbreak asks us not to look for an alternative path, because there is no alternative path. It is an introduction to what we love and have loved, an inescapable and often beautiful question, something and someone that has been with us all along, asking us to be ready for the ultimate letting go.

The quote suggests that there is a use to this feeling of loss and damage. We must be ready to let go. We must all get ready to die. Not just in times of crisis but every day. Use the time you’re given as if you will have to let it all go one day. As if your time will come to an end. Because it will.