Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Notations On Our World (Special Tuesday Edition): On #Turkey; #Syria-On the View From the Ground

As we went to press, the Turkish Army continued its' assault in Northern Syria.     President Trump imposed sanctions and noted that Vice President Pence and the National Security Advisor were slated to be dispatched to try and end the fighting.   Vice President Pence was adamant in stating that the United States did not give a green light to Turkey to invade.   There was a perception that the United States was trying to mitigate what was perceived as a Foreign Policy blunder.  

As our team continued to assess the changing true realities on the ground, we captured the following which captures the profound seismic shift in the Middle East right now : 

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Notations From the Grid (Special Sunday Edition): On #Turkey, #Syria & the War...

It has been a challenging few days as the Turkish Army continues its' assault in Northern Syria.   The National's Joyce Karam released the following to get a sense of the challenges at hand in this regard as the United States is withdrawing Troops:

UPDATE: #Syria - #Turkey • Kurds/SDF STRIKE DEAL W ASSAD • Syria Regime Deployments NE to counter Turkey • 24 Civilians Killed (SOHR) • US to start withdrawal “in days” • Trump declined defending SDF • Merkel
Erdogan • US to stay in Tanf (Al Monitor) • Putin
This is shaping up as most chaotic US withdrawal from region. Rivals hurrying to collect the spoils. With Assad deal with Kurds, a Turkey- Syria regime battle in horizon. Russia role on the rise as Trump packs and leaves

A Sampling of the engagements over Social Media underscored the challenging reality on the ground :

This is a sense of the aftermath of President Trump's Decision on the long-term impact of the challenging times before us: 

 The Economist' Kal also weighed on: 

Friday, October 11, 2019

A pictorial Memoir of my days in Kenya, Summer 2019 ( Part III)

Breath-taking only begins to make meaning here!

Now I know why President Jomo Kenyatta, the first President of The Republic of Kenya made a very profound statement : "Facing Mount Kenya!" My experience was of a nourishing beauty.

So beautiful to say the least.

Rich soils, rich vegetation. It is amazing that the Cradle of Humanity spreads this far in deep Africa!

Final work of an intensive Results Oriented Management Course at St. Mary's S.S., Vocational training and Child Rescue Center, Nyeri, Kenya.

Statement of Belief

A home where we were at home and where we were told of the ancient myths of Mountain Kenya. At 5,199 meters above sea level, Mountain Kenya is the second tallest mountain in Africa! Here Ngai a great God among the Kikuyu shared nature with humans. This same Divinity is called Engai, among the Maasai.

Charts showing Logic Frames

River Chania coursing through this family's garden and many other gardens is part of the clean water sources used by Nyeri Town

Mighty Chania churning away!

A Furniture Mart that serves as an internship point for St. Mary's S.S. Vocational Training teams

And back to the gardens. It was that hectic!

Back to the Furniture Mart!

The Basil plants, made our herbal teas so savoury! From garden to Kitchen to Table lifestyle!

Summer And One African-American Student's Journey in Kenya-2019 (Part II)

Hi there!

In the last blog article, I promised to share with you my sojourns during summer. These sojourns have enabled me get more out of life as well as give more of myself.

I set about to spend this Summer in Africa. I wanted to immerse myself among cultures that use Swahili for communication. I chose Kenya because of its cosmopolitan nature and its being the Eastern Africa hub.

You may want to visit the UN agencies, most of the embassies or just take in the diversity of nationalities? Come to Kenya. You will meet almost everyone from any corner of the world in general.

In my case, I wanted to do the more mundane. I wanted to meet refugees, asylum seekers, people living with HIV, Girls who have had children by the time they were 15 years, communities as they go about their chores.....you name it. Definitely, I also wanted to sample the local foods, take in the night life and most of all visit the vast Savannah areas from Marsabit, Samburu to Mountain Kenya. 

At continent level, Africa has some very nice spots that one with a Summer bucket list should add or have visited already. At country-level, Kenya has some of the awe inspiring destinations. I went to many but Nyeri took the highest points. One, because while there I got a chance to engage in a social development consultancy on a volunteer basis. I also got the opportunity to live with the Brothers of Christian Schools. It was while I was with them, that the Director of the Brothers' Community there took me around the Center they are running: St. Mary's Secondary School, Vocational and Child Rescue Center, Nyeri, Kenya.

I ended up immersing myself in a task whose outcome was two fold:

1. To consolidate over 40 years of service into a service package that stimulates continued learning and sharing for the students who join St. Mary's S.S. (as they like to call it).

2. To work with the Brothers, develop memoranda through which tracking of progress at the Vocational Department of St. Mary's is possible.

This took me to different places of Nyeri because it was also a time to put in practice the saying: "Work, work, work without play makes Jack a dull person!"

Turning pass-time sports or recreation activities into incubators for professional sports. This is one of St. Mary's S.S., Vocational and Child Rescue Center is doing. There motto goes: "Give a boy, and I give you a man!" Mr. Murithi is the Soccer Coach but at the same time manages a furniture workshop. He has been a great support to the students.
This is poignant! Do you know of a term "Facing Mountain Kenya?" Do you recall who made it famous? It was the First President of The Republic of Kenya-President Jomo Kenyatta. Jomo Kenyatta, described the importance of the mountain to the local communities, saying that it “supplies their material needs and enables them to perform their magic and traditional ceremonies in undisturbed serenity, facing Mount Kenya.

This is one of the vast plains skirting Mt. Kenya. The Kikuyu, called the Mountain by the name "Kirinyaga!" The Egyptians, Romans and Asians had written about this mountain in many of their reports. I had the opportunity to meet a Kikuyu Family tracing their roots so far back before Colonialism. They have tilled the same lands until presently. We used this family land to demonstrate to communities skills in Permaculture. 

The Principles of Permaculture: Soil regeneration, seed bed preparation, irrigation, small plots, crop mixing, fallowing and mixed farming.

Am so happy, I made time to go to Africa and used my time effectively. In this picture, we had just met the community leader of a low cost area. We wanted to be allowed to do activities for 4 days here. Majengo, Nyeri Town, Kenya.