being around…

I just realized it’s only four (4) more weeks for me over here in Germany. Jessas! How time goes by these days….four more weeks of working on some papers and studying for an exam in hydromechanics. Four weeks left to vacate my current flat, to pack my stuff up again (relocation No.11), to give away half of the stuff that has been accumulating here and has never really been used (so why keep it?) and to repaint the flat. Four weeks that will get me away from here and back on the road again into UHURU – freedom and independance. A lovely, scary feeling!
And then?


Embu, Kenya. For at least 3 months until some time in January 2007. Doing an internship @ a state office on behalf of a German Agency. Will keep you updated on this as blogable content comes up – I am really dying to cover this on my blog as it involves some form of nation building, something with a meaning and hopefully a win-win situation for both sides involved: Kenya & Germany. For my partners at the office, and for me as a student.

The Tana river in Kenya has the biggest catchment area – and Kenya being a country of various landscapes, it will be particulary interesting to see how strategies for integrated water resource management can be implemented in reality and how to scale these complex and sometimes also confusing dimensions on a local level. Consequently, my approach on this isn’t the “mzungu coming to Aaaaafrika to change everything” attitude, but to listen and learn and help where I know an answer.

Now, for others wazungu that have come to Kenya (~you are prolly aware of the stereotyped pic), this might just be a single step on their career, but as for me – I really tried hard to convince the involved agency in placing me to Kenya (and not somwhere else) as I would like to take this opportunity to contribute something from me to the place where I grew up. And let me be honest – the “Kenyan part” in me of course asks why I should leave my comfy nest with 24/7/365 electricity, warm water and broadband inet for such a job. Well, why? Because I can. Because I was given this chance to learn more. And I think that’s reason enough.

Now, enough turgid words – let me go back to my papers and see how this adventure turns out…(yes, I am a bit scared :-)

(Ati, four weeks? Haiyaaaa…..*gulp*)

Author: jke

Hi, I am an engineer who freelances in water & sanitation-related IT projects at You'll also find me on Twitter @jke and Instagram.

9 thoughts on “being around…”

  1. You will be fine, kijana and we shall be looking forward to blog and photo updates from Embu :)

    Several people I know have either relocated or planning to relocate, haiyaaa!

  2. Oh, I envy you. Hope to hear nice stories and see great snaps. And who knows, maybe we’ll meet in Kenya in Feb next year, because they won’t let you go.

    4 weeks, aya, u betta start jumpin up and down now.

  3. What are you afraid of? You have lived in the country, you can practically speak some swahili to save your soul or better yet some kikuyu in that part of the country, you are innovative incase money runs out or something like that, you can eat githeri LOL plus if the worst happens, you still have a safe haven in Europe.

    ” “mzungu coming to Aaaaafrika to change everything” attitude, but to listen and learn and help where I know an answer” = good approach”
    For the agency being reluctant to send you there = there are enough graduates in Kenya who can do what you are going to do there if only they are given a chance, they do not need someone all the way in germany for that, so maybe that is why.

  4. Sorry Irene, but just because there are Kenyans in Germany who are qualified enough to do the same jobs Germans could do as well, it does not equaly mean that there are qualified ppl in Kenya to do the job I am about to start.

    WHY? Becos in Kenya, no one works for free and just because of good motivation. Also, the hydrologist jobs are online, in English and German – ANYONE can apply. I did, just like my colleague Kilonzo (a Kenyan) applied for this other position. And while he applied for a job with a certain income, I just applied for the internship. What I get pays for the flight, which was my condition to take the offer.
    Also, there is NO (nada, hakuna, nothing) SAFE HAVEN for me in Europe EXCEPT maybe for my passport but in terms of location, possessions, goods, etc = nothing. Get my point?

    I am throwing aways all these securities just to do something else. And that’s why I am afraid. And because I HATE to see Kenyans seeing the rich person in me just because I am white and asking me for something small ALTHOUGH your politicians are richer than any of ours. I SO MUCH hate this typical “you wazungu do this and that” attitude.

    I know you didn’t mean it this way, but pls – these agencies are professional enough to recrute their staff locally and I think they offered this internship to me because I asked the right guys at the right time and *maybe* also because I am qualified enough!??! Well, wtf, of course I am!

    I fully agree with you though that all these aid schemes are job machines but then – would you also tell that to your World Bank friends in DC? “Hey guys, why does the WB need to ship you all the way from Nbo to DC if there are US-americans who could do the same job?”….etc…maybe the image would be different if there were less UN-red-number-plated “diplomats” or missionaries (in a country which is already religious enough) that have spoilt the conception for the suffering masses.

  5. Kikuyumoja – I hear you brother, and I agree. It is freaking scary to give things up. Everytime. For me who moved 13 times in the last 17 years I know it is. And after having moved so many time I know why. Every move detaches, unroots, puts you in a learner position, an outsider, a foreiger of somekind – yes even when u get back to “home” (wherever that is anyway) you are changed and different, alienated. It removes you of your social network, your proximity place – like the pub, the supermarket, the known things, and you need to learn. You know your expectation will not be met in whatever way, and you will not meet someones expectations. You know you will need to learn, get to know, and find a foot into – that new place. And heck, it would be scary if that wasn’t scary. So JKE – thumbs up, good-on-ya (as the aussie’s say) for stepping out of the boat, dare to move, walk by faith, trust in the good, be idealistic, have passion and stand strong – DESPITE knowing those things while come. So be encouraged and fear not. Run the race, win the price, let action follow your word, leave the comfort behind, be tough with yourself and kind with others, and change the world. Kabisa.

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