Monthly Archives: September 2011

A pretty depressing week..

Its been depressing mostly because I’ve been writing factsheets for Kulisha (more about that some other time), and have been encountering some really sobering statistics. For example:

  • The HIV/AIDS infection rate for the Luo community in Nyanza province is over 20%, according to the UN. Even sadder is that there are fake ARVs now in Kenya (Daily Nation, 29th Sept)
  • Average life expectancy in Nyanza is approximately 40 years for men and women, according to the Institue of Social Development. This is almost ten years less than the national average.
  • Kenya has over 1.1 million children that don’t attend any school (even though primary school education is supposed to be free), ranking it 7th in the world behind Nigeria, Pakistan, India, Ethiopia, Bangladesh and Niger. (Standard, 30th September 2011).

And this week just too add to the fun feel of it all, the Kenyan shilling pretty much collapsed against the dollar, so we now have:

  • A currency that has lost 23% of its value this year, from around 81Ksh to the dollar in January, to 104 Ksh to the dollar on wednesday the 28th September .
  • An official inflation rate of over 17% for August.
  • Food Inflation rate of almost 24% this month.

And so people are really struggling just to get by.

And then when you want to escape a little, the International Criminal Court Preliminary hearings into post-election violence in 2008 are on TV, all afternoon and evening, recounting the horrific destruction of life & property.

I think Kenya could do with a good laugh right now…

An interesting week

Horned Melon

Picture of Horned Melons


  • Horned Melons are now in season in Kenya. They’re a pretty curious fruit with a pleasant cucumber, lime taste and a lot of seeds. I’m still not 100% sure when they’re at their ripest but I’m really enjoying them.
  • I’m really impressed how much time is devoted to the ICC pre-trial hearings. At least three of the main television channels are showing the ICC stream live for over 8hours a day and people really seem to be watching. There were even conflicts between people who wanted to watch the ICC and those that wanted to watch the World Athletic Championships. Its a shame that just as it gets interesting, they often make the session confidential and thus unavailable to viewers.
  • The Harambee Stars dug deep and have hauled themselves into contention to qualify for the African Cup. They just need to beat the Ugandan Cranes by a few goals when they meet and they will have finally turned the corner (having slumped from a FIFA ranking of 68th in 1998, to 133rd today). The match against Guinea Bissau definitely wasn’t pretty, fans invaded the pitch briefly when Bissau equalised but the Stars managed to run out winners.
  • Suzanna Owiyo and her band stayed in our compound! I have to confess that I recognized her more because of her hair, as she appears in a cleaning product commercial currently on Kenyan TV. She seemed very nice.