For the love of coffee!

On July 27, 2010 my Facebook update reads: “anyone know a coffee/tea addict in campus? Holla!”

Four minutes later, half a dozen comments fly in. One of them smacks me. It’s a claim that my University Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC) is an addict. His name is Dr. Jon Masso, the current DVC-Academic at Daystar University, a private university in the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya.

“He carries his thermo cap everywhere. Seriously, it’s an addiction. ..Avoid too much coffee dear,” Faith writes.

“He still does?” The next comment reads.

Faith: “Masso is de no 1 coffee addict. … As in, he can’t make 2-3 sentences in class without a sip. And he’d excuse himself from class just to get some more,” she adds.

I figure I need to talk to him so I book an appointment.

The magic coffee mug

Dr. Jon Masso’s love for coffee spans decades. He is a personable physicist whose sense of humor easily sends you into guffaws. However, it is the broad-mouthed narrow bottomed 500ML silver colored coffee steel mug that’s most memorably associated with him.

“Mostly it’s just nice to sit down and have something warm to sip during the day,” he says. Facing his desk adjacent to the wall, are three thermos flasks on a stool. It is 4 P.M, and the DVC thinks he’s probably at coffee mug number 5.

He refers to his coffee mug as a ‘very useful tool’ for teaching Physics. “If I raise it up to a certain height, I could ask students how much work I have done,” he jokes.

The mug has certain social aspects to it, he adds: “The traditional view (America) is that University Professors should smoke pipes. Whenever they had a difficult question whose answer they didn’t know, it gave them time to think.” The mug comes in handy too, allowing him time to think as he slowly sips.

“I take instant coffee, which is the lowest form of life,” he says. “If I didn’t let cost be a factor, I would take real brewed coffee from Dormans or Java (some of the popular coffee shops in Kenya). Pretty soon you go broke when you do that often.” Once in a while, the DVC treats himself to white cappuccino. He also takes quite a bit of decaf.

So is he hooked to the stuff? “I don’t think I am,” he says. “If you’re addicted to coffee, it must be the caffeine you’re addicted to. It’s just nice to have something warm to sip on, sort of like a security blanket,” he adds. However, a day without coffee would probably make him a little dull.

He fell in love with the drink in his heydays as a university student. “I haven’t done it all of my life – yet” he jokes.

He’s in good company. My uni pals can’t get enough of the brew either.

On Facebook one says: “Mines black, two sugars thank you!”

“And I like it white with four sugars please,” the next comment reads.

Dr. Masso prefers black coffee with little milk in it. “It’s not coffee if you put sugar,” he says.

And Eve, who had minutes earlier, accepted my friend request writes: “so w@s with the coffee addicts vybe? Am one of them.”

This article originally ran on the LeafBerry website. It is reposted here in memory of Dr. Jon Masso.

THIS CHILD WILL BE GREAT

THIS CHILD WILL BE GREAT

I wrote about Jane on this blog not too long ago. Now she’s found her voice and is writing! Her first post below.

childofpromise2016

I borrowed the title above from Liberian president, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s memoir depicting the remarkable life of Africa’s first woman president. In the thought provoking memoir,she bares it all revealing snippets of her childhood, experiences with abuse, her meteoric rise to power against all odds. By penning down this stirring read, Sirleaf seeks to fan the flame inside everyone that with perseverance and hope,we can change our world.

I decided to start this blog,albeit with alot of apprehension initially. I was afraid to pour out myself; the raw emotions, the pain, the confusion (yes! am still trying to come to terms with it all). But the Lord impressed upon me that my pain is not mine alone. It is meant to encourage and build up; inspire and ignite hope to so many. Pain has led to my purpose;brokenness to my beauty in an endeavor to face my fear and finding my…

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11 things to know before you travel to Egypt – Guest post by George Gathima

Egypt is the place with one of the 7 wonders of the world. I tell you, the Great Pyramids are a wonder. Try as you might, you won’t comprehend how they were constructed, and that was over 5,000 years ago!

Egypt visit 1099

I loved my stay (but the demonstrations at Tahrir square which made me not to visit the Egyptian Museum, spoilt my plan..)

Moving on swiftly!

Things to know before you travel to Cairo

1. Know where you are going–and get an English speaking cab guy otherwise you will get so lost.

2. You will get many offers for tour guides– most of this people are not real guides,

do your research first and make sure they know English and not Egytinglish…which is what we can call Arabic with some seasoning of English.

3. The Airport is huge –Know your gate well- you need a cab from one gate to another.

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Great view of runway

Cairo from the skies above!

Cairo from the skies above!

Sun dunes of the Sahara Desert

Sun dunes of the Sahara Desert

4. Crazy traffic jams (never seen such before in my life- Kenya traffic ni shadow)- Plan your time three hours ahead always.

5. Once in the hotel room ask  someone write all your destinations in Arabic  ( If not, Enroll for Arabic classes 🙂

6. Use METERED taxis only.If you use the rest, you might be over charged.

Number plate

Number plate

7. Tahir square is in the heart of Cairo- beware of any demonstrations.

8. Friday is the prayer day — No work. Sunday is the Monday.

9. Visit the great pyramids and the Sphinx— it’s BREATHTAKING- makes sure your camera is well charged or you have spare battery.  I LOVED ALL THE TOMBS AND THE HISTORY – IT IS LOVELY

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Great view of the Pyramid of Khufu under the desert sun!!

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The Great Sphinx on guard behind is the great pyramid of Khafre

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The Great Pyramids of Khufu, Khafre and Mankaure (note the smaller queens pyramids and the sphinx)

Egypt visit 1302

The Great Pyramid of Khufu (google the details 🙂 )

Egypt visit 1262

Egypt visit 1248

See the Queens and Kings Mothers smaller pyramids

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Actual Tomb where a sarcophagus is laid

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Lovely King Tut’s painting on Papyrus

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Sarcophagus artifact

Hieroglyphics

Hieroglyphics

Boat pits next to the pyramids

Boat pits next to the pyramids

King Tuts Artifact

King Tuts Artifact

Damage to your pocket to see this great wonders of the world! (actually priceless to me :) )

Damage to your pocket to see this great wonders of the world! (actually priceless to me 🙂 )

10. Visit the great holy mosques – some are very ancient and very big

11. Visit the church where the HOLY FAMILY – Yes, Mary mother of Jesus, Joseph and Jesus stayed when they were in Egypt and where they prayed.

Holy Church where Jesus, Mary and Joseph prayed when in Egypt (Abu Serga Church)

Holy Church where Jesus, Mary and Joseph prayed when in Egypt (Abu Serga Church)

Holy Church where Jesus, Mary and Joseph prayed when in Egypt (Abu Serga Church)

Holy Church where Jesus, Mary and Joseph prayed when in Egypt (Abu Serga Church)

Journey taken by the Holy family to the church above

Journey taken by the Holy family to the church above

Original section of the church roof from Biblical times

Original section of the church roof from Biblical times

12. See the well from where the Holy Family drank from.

The well

The well

10. Go for a night cruise at night — see belly dancers do their thing.

Lights! Camera! Action! at the Action packed Nile Night cruise

Lights! Camera! Action! at the Action packed Nile Night cruise

Night cruise in the Nile

Night cruise in the Nile

Sumptuous food at the aboard the cruise

Sumptuous food at the aboard the cruise

11. If you have time and money– Go to Alexandria and Memphis cities.

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More photos from my trip below. See you on the next flight!

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Somewhere in Cairo

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Handmade bottles for Essence from a factory in Cairo

Handmade bottles for Essence from a factory in Cairo

Cairo by night

Cairo by night

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HORUS- the Egypt Air inflight Magazine—great cover pic!

 

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Man and Money – Notes about starting out

I think Dan Awendo had a way of telling it better than I’ve heard it before. As he talked, I was caught up between listening and making notes.

My attempts below:

Man and Money

If God is not at the centre of why you’re pursuing wealth, you’re doing it wrong.
You need to have your objectives very very clearly.

Presentation in three parts:
1. God’s original plan
2. Sources of wealth
3. Life plan – our time here is counted

1. God’s original plan
In Genesis 1:28, God gives man dominion over everything. These were among the first words from God to man.
“Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it . . “

God tells us to MULTIPLY, and replenish the earth. Not addition but multiplication. If there’s an area in your life you’re not multiplying, you need to do something about it.

Remember it is God who gives us power to make wealth.

2. Sources of wealth
Primary sources are either work or business or debt or a grant or investment (equity)
“If debt is for anything to do with consumption, it is bad debt. If it is anything to do with investment, it is good debt”

Is land an investment?
If it is not going to be converted to cash shortly, and has no cash flow, then it is bad.

Is mortgage an investment?
Mortgage if for yourself, it is bad debt. If for rental then good.

I know this is a controversial way of looking at it, but with our current lending rates, not many people can get enough to cover their mortgage from renting out property. You find you’re still getting money from your pocket to top up the rent amount.

Good debt should not take money from you.

It’s better when that mortgage money is coming from another source (e.g side business) such that you don’t have to wake up everyday to work for it.

When getting a loan that you will service out of your salary, you must keep reminding God to keep you safe and healthy for you to facilitate that loan. Not a good way to live.

Secondary sources of cash:
Salary – if it is key source of revenue, remember you have to wake up and work for it.

Self employment – if you fall sick or go on holiday so does your business. You must institutionalize your business against this risk.

Business – best source as it is not dependent on you being there. I. e there’s a system in place.
Investor cash e.g venture capitalist – you’ve invested into other people’s businesses whereby you receive a dividend or sitting allowance at a regular frequency. This is another great source of wealth.

You must keep asking yourself: How do I move from employee or self employment status to business or investor.

Listing of company should a major aim for your business, and there’s no reason why yours shouldn’t be listed.

The more mistakes you make earlier, the better. Falling is part of the game.

Be clear about the source of money you’re in and where you want to be.

What steps are you currently taking to get there?

At the end of it, it’s by God’s help: Favor disqualifies qualifications

3. Life plan
Life has certain important stages:

• When under 21 – you’re supposed to be in school
• Between 21 – 42 – many drift to employment. This is a stage for collecting networks and experience.
• Between 43-63 – if still employed, you are either a CEO or senior manager/ or you have already transitioned to business
• Above 64 – you have little energy. Even sleeping is a problem sometimes.

You must be careful to know where you are and what is expected of you at your current stage of life.
What is expected of me at this level? What do I need to do at this age bracket to prepare me for 43, 64. .

Life is different at different ages of life

Financial freedom
Financial freedom simply means that our expense base is very manageable.

When we are starting out in life, about 19 years, most of us are already experiencing financial freedom. But we slowly start accumulating unnecessary debt.

It is important to invest the money you earn and keep being financially free before obligations come.
We make financial mistakes often when we are in a hurry. And that’s when there are already obligations and we’re trying to be financially free.

Try be financially free first.

Why not focus on the important things in life first? Avoid going for car first. Go for investment of some kind to support your monthly expenses first.

Get into financial freedom first before you look for wealth.

Lamu

On my first visit to Lamu;

I was picked at Manda Airport and tossed over the ocean in a boat. My first ever; I wore both excitement and fear, which I strapped tightly with an orange life jacket.

That evening I absentmindedly stared at couples seated between glowing restaurant lanterns listening to the soft ocean breeze, and I thought about the woman I loved.

I remember spending my last day – a Saturday – riveted to the allure of the oldest National Museum in Kenya which soaks in history dating as far back as the 12th century. Try as I might, I couldn’t absorb half of it by midday, and had to reluctantly leave.

My second,
third,
fourth visits, I can’t remember much. But I certainly can’t forget my most recent.

July 15th. I hurriedly shot off for an emergency mission as Mpeketoni Attacks tapered off. Tense, cold. Streets bare, and business at a zero. Religious fangs were out and an uneasy silence stooped over Lamu island.

I must have held my breath till I left. But not before visiting the mainland where pain had found a home. I wrote some accounts here.

On my last day, I took a walk in the island. Lots of construction using stone blocks, instead of coral was going on (stone blocks restricted after Lamu was declared a UNESCO heritage site). On my last day, I walked by a crowd surrounding a man lying prostrate – unconscious after a drug overload. Common scene.

As I hovered over the island, I stared out my airplane window thinking about a text message I’d received from my mainland volunteer translator two nights back: ‘there is a shoot-out happening outside. . . what do I do?’ 
I stared outside feeling like a spurned lover, nostalgic about good old days; wishing I could call them back. And lovingly gaze outside that window. With my woman.

It’s a year down since Mpeketoni Attacks.

Dance with me :)

I want to dance with the lady in red.

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I want to see how she twists, turns. . .And feel the rhythm when she moves.
Maybe this alone will cure my two left feet.

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I want to sit quietly when she speaks.
Watch her earrings nod, and her hands sway this way and that. Hear her voice rise and fall.
She must have something important to say.

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Ha, I want to be playful!

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. . . and serious 🙂 IMG_6119

I want to smile so effortlessly,
and warm the world with my eyes.

When we finally dance, nothing else will matter.

Her name is Jane Mwangi. Walking home from church, she was accosted by thugs who shot her at close range after she surrendered her phone and other valuables. 

The bullet went right through her chest touching her spine, making her unable to walk

With your help, Jane will walk again.

Here’s Jane telling her story.

Support Jane by sending your contribution through: 

MPESA Paybill NO: 596018 Account Name: Jane Medical Fund

or Equity bank A/C No: 1450164274483

Jane’s Fundraiser takes place on November 6, 2015 at Marble Arch Hotel.

See you there.