Hey, are you like me? Do you experience a power blackout every once in a while? Do your lights flicker every now and then? I bet you have had a casualty at one time due to these power fluctuations that have become sort of a normal thing these days. I’m taking about electrical appliances.Unfortunately, it’s one of the things we have to live with as a third world country. I hope you don’t expect this problems to end soon, I guess you have an idea of how long a minute it will take. There are so many reasons why this ‘thing’ is here to stay; at least for a generation or two. Some will say it is corruption, others will claim negligence while others just choose to accept that our energy companies are just hopeless. Life has to go on nonetheless.
So today, I was reading the paper as I got my shoes polished when I spotted an ad. Interesting. No. Embarrassing. KPLC have rebranded! How comes no one told me? Well here is my take on what I think of this rebranding. I’m not a public figure but I am confident that my opinions will reach the right ears. I am a shareholder so in reality, I own a piece of this utility. My little share gives me all the rights to comment on how this re-branding will affect my power supply and most important of all, the chances of our people in rural areas ever getting connected to electricity. If you happen to know someone who knows the culprits responsible just pass my love will you?
I am a designer by profession and in my opinion, the re-branding of KPLC is an epic fail. Why? Have you seen the World Food Program logo? Google it. Why the hell does our most significant utility have to ride in an identity that denotes a food relief aid agency? I’m not saying this in bad taste but I think they would have done it better. The logo does not carry any symbolism and worst of all, it DOES NOT communicate. What happened to the days where communication was simple? When did illusionism become part of the corporate communication process? I believe strongly that if your mission is to sell a red dress and make profit, you have no business in splashing your billboards with images of a different item hoping your customers will ‘get it’. Get me?
I have heard complaints from the people at the bottom of the pyramid. People who have absolutely no knowledge in advertising and corporate communication strategy. They say that the new look is scary. I agree. I urge KPLC to ran a poll to dispute my claims and shame me publicly if I am wrong. In fact one of my shareholder friends is fearful that the company is being privatized or sold off. I have also learnt sadly that this rebranding is supposed to be in line with vision 2030. To quote KPLC’s press statement:
“The Kenya Power & Lighting Company has adopted a new name and unveiled a fresh look in line with its strategic plan and Vision 2030.”
Now Vision 2030 is a very tricky subject. I am starting to think that some of us understood it differently especially KPLC. I expected them to begin by first streamlining their operations. Have the flaws in electricity delivery gone away or at least gone down? I beg to differ. I have even been monitoring my prepaid digital meter and it’s a sad affair. I pay more for electricity than I used to with the old system. I was about to celebrate that by going digital, my electricity bills would go down and my share price would go up but no! The share remains dangling at plus and minus 3 while the greedy gadget keeps draining my pocket like an ungrateful brat. I don’t mind paying more if it means someone in Turkana will get connected at my expense but to put my money in a bad re-branding? You need to refund me.
Over the next few weeks, the public will struggle to comprehend what KPLC is turning into and this will have an effect on the share price. Seeing that the milk is already spilled, my suggestion is for the company to step up it’s public education on the re-branding; this I will allow my money to do. The success of any company is also determined by public goodwill. In addition, let’s focus on the important things first. I’m talking about, streamlining our communication and public relation. (I have to commend your presence on Twitter by the way. The person behind it should get a raise.) In addition, let’s try figure out a way of making the rural electrification program as affordable as possible if not free because the potential for business in this category is huge. I also pray that like the rest of the world, we will unveil a green energy generating solution that will ensure we achieve vision 2030. KPLC is a company of the future and we should treat it delicately if we want to achieve the goals of Vision 2030. As for the agency behind the re-branding….HOW COULD YOU??!!!!
So one of my readers (Hi Esy!) asks me to comment on long distance relationships. I am biased. So I turn to my brother Patrick Wanyoike from the University of Iowa. This is what he has to say.
To all my people in HILDAR (Humans In Long Distance Affairs and Relationships)
He opened up the letter with a mixture of anticipation and dread. He had been waiting for this letter for months. His future was literally in his hands. It was good news, great news. But great news didn’t bring with them the sadness that he felt. He didn’t know whether to jump up and down with joy or fall over crying in sadness. He put the letter aside and dialed.
She sat across to him; she could tell he was worried. His voice over the phone sounded vexed. He handed her the letter. She read it and shouted in joy! He had his scholarship to Harvard, a dream come true. Now he could finally live up to his great potential. It finally hit her; he would be 7180.5 miles away, approximately 11,555.89459 km away. She knew this, thanks to Google. She had prayed for, and against it for quite a few months. Her emotions were mixed, should she smile or cry? Why did he have something smart to say? What would that mean for her? For the relationship? Was he breaking up with her?
The months came and went. That night as they took him to the airport, she slowly wept on his shoulder. It was a gloomy night, one of those cold nights in late July. “How befitting,” she thought. Life was so unfair. “Why did he fly out at night? Couldn’t he do it on sunny day?” But even a sunny day would not alleviate the gloom she felt. They exchanged sad goodbyes and he smiled at her and promised to come back to her, someday. They kissed, and she watched him disappear through the airport doors and out of her life. The emails, texts , calls, tweets, pokes, video calls came in a flood as soon as he got there, but as time went by, they slowed down to a trickle and soon it was an occasional post on her wall on holidays and her birthday. His relationship status changed from “in a relationship” to “it’s complicated” to “single” and back again to “in a relationship with (not her name)”. It was over. Who was to blame?
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Maybe it hasn’t happened to you but it happened to someone you know. It happened to me. Long distance relationships are harder than marriages, in my opinion at least. You have two people who want to be together but are physically apart. Hence, a good number of long distance relationships fail, some say over 95%. That means 5% actually survive the distance and make the relationship work. How? Read on….
Relationships are hard work. Add distance to the whole mix and you got yourself a quandary. So how exactly do you work through this? How do you keep the romance alive while being miles away from your loved one? First and foremost, like with every relationship, you both have to agree to make it work. You have to be in sync. The success of any relationship, long distance or otherwise, depends largely on the effort both partners are willing to put in for keeping their love alive. To me, making a long distance relationship work is much like baking a cake. You have to mix the ingredients just right, bake at the right temperature and for just the right amount of time. Mess one of these up and you have a cake yes, but not a very good one. The ingredients to a successful long distance relationship are trust, patience, communication, visits, positivity and an end goal.
Most relationships have an issue with trust. A long distance relationship calls for lots and lots of trust. Both of you need to raise your trust level to all-time highs. You are no longer there to check on who calls him or her. Being miles away from each other is a real test of trust. You have to realize that you are no longer there to police their lives and if you have jealousy issues then probably your relationship won’t survive the distance. Trust comes hand in hand with patience as you might have to wait, a few months or a few years (depending on the distance) before you see your loved one.
Long distance relationships are truly for super people, they have super trust and super patience. Now super communication is needed. Communication has to be constant and more frequent. It has to be part of your daily schedules, which you stick to without fail. It means taking advantage of every form of communication possible. From Facebook to Twitter, Oovoo to Skype, emails, calls, texts. Constant contact ensures that you keep abreast of each other’s ups and downs. It’s the only way that you can help your partner through the hard times and share in each other successes. Without communication, you might as well be strangers whose only connection is a relationship status on Facebook.
People are highly critical of long distance relationships. One popular saying is that, “Fimbo ya mbali haiui nyoka,” But the need to kill a snake, will only arise if you let a snake come into the relationship. A positive mind set ensures that you keep the snakes out and change that saying to “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Take this chance to be more romantic, write a love letter, and send flowers. Let your creative juices flow and come up with ways on how you can keep the love burning. Sending small romantic gifts from time to time are also great ways to impress your partner in a long distance relationship. It is also better to add a personal touch to whatever you decide to send. Undoubtedly, every time your partner sees your gift, he or she will be reminded of you and your love for her/him. For this reason, it is better to select gift items that you can both relate to in terms of each other. If you share common interest in movies or music, creating and sending a collection of your beloved’s favorite numbers often becomes a good option. While spending time away from you, your partner would definitely love to hear your voice time and again. Making some voice recording and sending it as a gift is also a good option in a long distance relationship.
As your relationship progresses it is important to ensure that you do see each other every so often. You need to plan your visits as physical interaction is an integral part of any relationship. With time every long distance relationship comes to an end. It is better to plan the ending rather than have to live with one that fate brings along. Thus it is vital to set an end goal for your relationship. Will one person move? Will you meet halfway? Where are you headed with your relationship? You cannot keep going on with no goals in mind and allowing circumstance to dictate what happens. Take control and make things happen as long distance relationships are not meant to be perpetual.
This is just a rough guide to making a long distance relationship happen and I owe thanks to Liz, Helen and Shiku for their input. For those in long distance relationships, kudos! We could all learn something from you. And here is a little something to make life a little easier. A list of 90 things you can do with your long distance partner.
Earth Day 256, somewhere in the land between two rivers
He drifted into a deep sleep. When he awoke, he felt like he had been asleep for a hundred years. Something was different in his body. It felt as if he’d been torn apart and sewn back together again. He had wandered for many days and hadn’t found what it was, he was looking for. He couldn’t describe what he felt. At dawn, he started feeling something strange. He was used to the sounds and smells of nature so he was sure this[what he was feeling] was something different. Something much more closer to him than the rest of the animals. Then he saw her. Her hair shone in the light of day and her perfect form eclipsed the rising sun. She was disarming and beautiful.
She looked lost and forlorn. She was seated along the brook gazing at the butterflies and lilies in a trance. She turned when she realized she was not alone. Their eyes met and they sat still and stared at each other. The world stood silent and still. It was as if they were lost for a moment in time. He opened his mouth and breathed one word. Eve. He wasn’t sure why he’d called her by that name, but it felt right.
She smiled shyly. She felt hot and ticklish at the back of her ears. For some reason, she felt like she’d known him all her 3 days of her life. She looked at him and placed her right hand on her left rib. She didn’t know why she did it but it felt like the perfect thing to do at the time. Adam did the same. And immediately, he understood. They both understood.
Earth Day 1654, wilderness of Chalbi
Ayek’s eyes stung from the sandy winds. He pressed himself harder on the boulder, afraid that another arrow would strike him should he move. Dusk was approaching fast and he had to act twice as fast. He was wounded seriously and his enemy was still at large. He struggled to remain conscious as he was losing blood fast. If only he could see the enemy’s shadow or at least catch their body scent.
Conflicts for hunting grounds were common place in this part of the plain. In fact, an encounter with wild beasts was more welcome than a clash with the savage tribes that ruled this unforgiving wasteland. His day had finally come. With nowhere to run and nowhere to hide, Ayek kept still and waited for his death. He believed in Ekniak – if it is the maker’s will, it will happen.
The spear sliced through his tired ribs in a deathly-slithering silence and he fell in disbelief. And as if nature knew, the howling wind died out and all that remained was the sound of his blood clogged breathing . Then there was a silence so sacred in the universe, that he could not feel any pain. As his sight faded to mist he saw the figure of his enemy. Slender. Petit. His nose caught the sweet smell of perfume made from wild flowers. Then the darkness took him.
When he opened his eyes, he was in a place he couldn’t recognize. He struggled to get up but was restrained by a hand. He turned and saw her; his enemy. She was the most beautiful creature he had ever seen. There she sat looking at him with the sharp eyes of a deadly serpent. The two ‘foes’ held each other’s gaze. The knew they were meant to be here.
Earth Day 2010, Nairobi
I love Mish-kaki, especially the ones they serve at Steak & Ale. The bar is full and the music is great. I’m meeting up some friends who I haven’t seen in a long minute. I motion to the waiter to serve our table. As we wait, I look across at her. She hasn’t changed in the last two years that she has been away. She’s my good friend. Virtuous and honest. You can tell a person’s character by their friends. She has nice friends who are constantly smiling. Come to think of it, the all look alike! Well… save for one. This one is captivating and sassy.
I look at her and she looks away in response. I am excited. I can’t really tell what I’m feeling but I can swear she knows what I’m going through. She is magnetic and I fear she might have some cultic connections. For a moment, I’m compelled to ask her to show me the leader of ‘her cult’. I would like to join it. I smile at her and she smiles back. The butterfly tattoo on her neck seems to come alive in excitement. We know. I excuse myself from the table. I have this nagging feeling this is the first day of many to come.
Love is a silent language. It starts without warning. It is selfish and doesn’t waste a moment to consume. You will know it when you see it. You will feel it when it is near. It appears anywhere it pleases and doesn’t care who you are or what you have. It is the equalizer of men. What good is a wealth without love? Be warned though, love never makes mistakes. Next time I will report on why Love Lacks Expression in Poverty. Will you be there?