Walabataji Express

First things first, definitions:

Walabataji- athletes: it is a combination kalenjin and swahili, broken down as follows

“wa” the Swahili prefix for first person plural
“labat” – run in kalenjin
“ji” – the Swahili suffix to indicate a doer of something, in this case a doer of the running (a runner)

Express after the famous Eldoret Express

We coined this word back in high school to refer to the student athletes who used to go for training daily, except on Sundays. They were our express mail, just like the postal services but unlike the Post office, we could get our replies either on the same day or the next day..

I studied in one secondary school, which we liked calling “High” just because we were the best performers in the district. Close to us was our brother school, a real high school, not like us. One thing that we had in common is the ability to produce the best athletes that make news in the dailies and the international media.

Half the girls in our school had boyfriends in the brother school and that’s when the use of the Walambataji Express started. I can’t exactly say how it started but one thing for sure, it picked up pretty fast until the teachers we wondering what were happening to our mails. The advantages of the Walambataji Express included

• It was free- there was no need for stamps
• It was reliable- You are sure that the letter got to the recipient
• You get the replies as soon as possible

What you needed to do is to ensure that you have given out the letter, usually called the missive to the athlete just before they depart for their morning run, at 6 am or a quarter to six or you should give it to them just in the evening at six or half past six.

It was an interesting way of communicating to and fro, because the athletes from our school would meet those from the brother school, since most of them were trained by the same coach.

I got to hear about this service in a funny way. One morning we collided with my bedmate as she was literarilly storming out of the room to hand out the missive, for her most recent crush. I asked her later when she told me about the Walambataji express. I said I would use it one day, but never did. I don’t know if those I left behind are using it or not, whichever way, it served us well.

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Why 2100 Will Not Be A Leap Year

The ancient Chinese and Greeks discovered that the Earth takes 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 minutes to revolve around the sun. Since the extra hours and minutes make an awkward fraction, complicated calendars which had extra months included in every 19-year cycle were produced. In 45AD, Julius Ceasar’s astronomer, Sosigenes discovered that all Roman festivals had got out of line with the seasons of the year, and to rectify the situation, he recommended that the year 45AD be prolonged to 445 days. A recommendation that Ceasar followed. Thereafter, Sosigenes developed the Julian (named after Ceasar) Calender by approximating a year to be 365 and a quarter days. In the calender, a year was defined as having 365 days and a leap day added every four years to compensate for the lost quarter day.

In 730AD, the Venerable Bede, a mathematically skilled Anglo-Saxon monk, pointed out that the 365 1/4-day Julian year was 11 minutes, 14 seconds too long. But since the error added up so slowly (the calendar fell out of sync with the sun by only a day every 128 years) no one did anything about it. In 1582. Pope Gregory XIII noticed that the spring equinox – when day and night are of equal length – fell upon March 11 instead of March 21. The pope fixed the problem by erasing 10 days, declaring that the day following Oct. 4, 1582 would be known as Oct. 15, 1583. To make the calendar more sun-accurate than Caesar’s, Pope Gregory XIII pulled out his abacus and came up with the following criteria to determine leap years:

  1. Every year that is evenly divisible by four is a leap year;
  2. of those years, if it can be evenly divided by 100, it is NOT a leap year, unless
  3. the year is evenly divisible by 400. Then it is a leap year.

Pope Gregory XIII’s calender was called the Gregorian Calender. It was not so popular at first though. The Roman Catholic nations such as Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain adopted it with ease, but protestant nations were reluctant. When it was finally adopted in Britain (and America) in September 1752 by the loss of 11 days, there were wide protests around the country. Sweden (and Finland) adopted it in 1712 by adding two “double” leap year in 1712. Two days were added to February–creating a date of February 30, 1712. (This was done because the leap year in 1700 was dropped and Sweden’s calendar was not synchronized with any other calendar. By adding an extra day in 1712, they were back on the Julian calendar. Russia didn’t accept the Gregorian calendar until 1918, which means that when the U.S. purchased Alaska in 1867, 11 days were lost in the transition from the Julian calendar. Leap years are also significant for Alaskans because summer solstice (when the Earth’s axial tilt is inclined towards the sun at its maximum of 23° 26′.) occurs about 18 hours earlier in a leap year.

Even this system is not entirely correct. Every 10,000 years the Gregorian calendar becomes two days, 14 hours and 24 minutes in error. If we last long enough, adjustments will be necessary. One suggestion has been to make a further leap year refinement – excluding leap days from years divisible by 4000. Another suggestion, particularly popular between the two world wars, was for a new world calendar. At the moment Muslims have their own calender in which a year ends after every 12 lunar months. There are also at least 17 different calendars in India and Africa. But the problem is always to agree upon a new system which is acceptable to everybody.

 

I am Gone

I am gone.

It’s easy for you to say you are not alone,

When the world knows you will drown

In seclusion.

Be grateful that you had those days.

You go in one book that’s mine.

I see no need to be mangled by my past,

Weighed down by it,

When I have so much left.

I float away with no regrets,

I am a ghost in my own life anyway.

You need not blame anyone.

No one put out the fire

No matches could light this flame.

So do not imagine that I will clasp

At coals of loneliness

Or grief in burnt hands.

Do not imagine that I will fan fading embers,

Trying to make them glow.

Or waste my breath trying to blow.

Perhaps to make them burn again.

There are no embers.

There never was a fire.

© Ado Yiembo

Copy and pass “I AM GONE ” around to your heart’s content, but always post my Copyright notice above, correctly, both as  courtesy and as a legal necessity to protect any writer. Thank you.

Birth of the 27th Letter

By lon’s draft

 

(1st Testament;
Page 27-AZ:00 hours)

Near a window
at the corner table,
A hand lifts a pen and writes.
Blood drips from the white page
ideas flow like red
Pregnant with meaning
The book cries
ink tears
Black.
Roman.
letters fight to get out
twenty six daughters
prisoners of the alphabet
but…
an unseen son
escapes
wanting to be heard
to be felt
to be free!
to form words that touch souls
evoke emotion
and stimulate thoughts
living words
to be consumed by minds
whispered by hearts
and concieved by mouths
thus…
the birth of a king
in the world of words
The 27th letter!

_lon’s draft_

 

This piece by lon’s draft was actually penned down about a year ago.

The Oterosexual Manual


Growing up, several things were ends that were given; A boy grows up to be a man. “Boys will be boys” meant just that! Now you can’t even say that without giving exceptions!!

Somehow somewhere, things changed and now a boy can grow up to be one of several options: the Trans i.e. a woman, the un-straight, the bi, the Metro-sexual movement (check this post by Chiira ) a trend that, in Kenya at least, seemed to blow up in 2010, and there is, of course, the traditional man (which is the focus of this post).

I’m not sure where all this is headed but clearly one has to belong in one or the other, scary as it may sound.

A good friend of mine, Michelle , coined the term Oterosexual to describe the man who is & works hard not to be remotely confused for the other categories. It was, thus only logical to use this name to refer to the “Traditional man” for this article.

Walking along the streets, I can’t help wonder what some really intend to imply by their demeanor. Grown men make me turn, not out of admiration but amazement & wonder and sometimes just fright & horror!!

Below is basic manual for the Oterosexual man.

  • No skinny jeans. I don’t quote him much or ever but Jay-Z once said; (Paraphrase) “if you wear the same pant size as your wife then who’s really wearing the pants in your house!” Unless you are putting on biking, swimming pants, or you are Michael J. Jackson (which you obviously are not!) tight-fitting pants don’t really make Otero-sense! Fit into your clothes don’t let your clothes fit into you.
  • The hairdo… Mohawk is a no go zone! Sure you look hip, Goth and the in-thing but you also look like a cuckoo bird! And this fake dreads made of knitting thread (not sure) just looks bad across the board! A fade, Afro, corn-rows (sometimes) or even well maintained dreadlocks will do just fine. Leave the hair-glo to Drogba!
  • A man purse! Seriously?! This won’t even be discussed!
  • Little, very little to no pink! Keep your being colorful to a minimum; it’s the ladies, who are referred to as ‘flowers’ because they attract with their beauty! Basic test; if a lady tells you, “You look cute”, change how you dress! If she doesn’t particularly like it …., good! Keep it up. Think about it, a lady likes something that they relate to i.e. dressed like them!!
  • I understand many guys iron their socks, t-shirts and even jeans. I personally don’t. I believe casual means no strings attached, in this case, no crease un-creased. A little history on the origin of jeans: When the American workers were getting uncomfortable with leather pants (especially the cowboys as the story goes), a dry goods merchant by the name Levi Strauss & his tailor friend, who became his business partner, came up with what we now know as jeans that was from then on embraced as working wear. I doubt ironing was part of the whole idea! That’s just me!
  • Another “just me” issue is the shoes. The colors of shoes do not go outside the basic shoe colour scheme of Black, White and brown! All these greens, yellows, purples as shoe colors coupled with matching t-shirts, skinny jeans, maybe add the Mohawk & glasses – that a lot similar to the 3D glasses – just make guys look like some marvel comic super hero!
  • Manicure, pedicure, facials, mascara, nail polish are not to for you! Full stop. Massage is acceptable, depending on whom the masseuse is. Makeup gets a nod only when it’s a job thing, going on TV or the like otherwise NO! Why make yourself pretty? Be rugged & by this I don’t mean dirty & not presentable; I mean manly.
  • An artist (musical artist), actors, footballer (in the pitch) or a clown; these are the groups that are allowed to dress in anything no matter how impractical it looks.
  • All those fashionista shows, the likes of America’s Next top model, Project Runway etc that recommend hideous clothing as fashion are not for you. You DO NOT follow fashion, to borrow from the greatest of them all – Makmende – Fashion follows you! You have style that is unfazed by time or passing fads and crazes!
  • Have at least one sport you ‘religiously’ follow. Know the stats (basic or otherwise), buy a team jersey, flag or even key holder or something i.e. be loyal to a team; sometimes even irrationally support that team. Be willing to die for the team. NOTE: Be willing to but DO NOT die for the team. If it gets to that point of dying for a team, it’s ok to run – like a scared little girl if you have to!!
  • You don’t get hooked on senseless Reality TV shows! TV series like soaps, Glee, Gossip Girls and the like should not even matter to you.
  • Have at least one lady TV host/personality with whom, to you, any show is 5 star rated! For many it was Esther Arunga before she was ‘fingered’ out of the equation! Currently, for me, it’s Teroo & Isha Sesay. Enough said.
  • Never concede that another guy looks handsome… wait! How do you even get to gauge that another guy is handsome?! On second thought, don’t answer! I don’t want to know!!
  • That “Get in touch with your feminine side” Oprah & Tyra stuff, forget it! You have no feminine side! The only feminine side you may have is your wife or spouse or sister or mother!
  • Justin Bieber, & boy bands are taboo – ok, some like Boys 2 men & greats like the Commodores, Earth, Wind & Fire (if you can call them boy bands) get a free pass. No explanations and/or reasons needed here!

To be continued… on the comments posts!