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Category Archives: Work

Its been six years! Happy Anniversary Mackel9's Blog

Happy 6th Anniversary to Mackel9’s Blog! It is now 6 years down this line of random stories from the experiences all around the world. I would like to thank all of you fam and a special mention goes to @Woolie he is never shy to leave a trail. That is not to leave out the ghost readers, I always see you in my stats, Thank you! 🙂

Happy 6th anniversary @mackel9'sblog

Happy 6th anniversary @mackel9‘sblog

 

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Amref was E.X.C.I.T.I.N.G for me ☺😉

I have this interest in playing around with data, to bring out different scenarios and when an opportunity presented itself for a short course at Amref international training centre I broke my bank to join the program.

Happy cartoon green smiling frog jumping excited and spreading his arms and legs

Happy cartoon green smiling frog jumping excited and spreading his arms and legs

Amref is the only place where I found exciting to be a reality and not a word put up in their generic value system and hang on a board at the reception. The people were always geared up pumped for action, it made me start looking inwards and asking myself is my life work balance as exciting as these guys and to be honest I think I would love to join amref. Even if it will mean me being deployed to some village in Turkana as long as it is exciting, I’m going to take it.

What is exciting to you? Is your life/ career exciting? Amref was exciting for me. It pumped some life into me. If I start talking about the people I will need a week to finish….

PS. If you know anyone who knows anyone who knows the recruiting manager at Amref holla so that I can prepare my “why I am the right candidate and fit pitch” 😉

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2016 in Adult, Nairobi, Work

 

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Pro bono work for start ups

I had known him for quite some time. From school we had common friends, so we were/are friends. We soon leave school and go find our hustle and guess what we one day bump and realise”oh Jirani” and you know what they say, once you realise a familiar face is stone throw away you are bound to start noticing them more and more often.

Well that was the case until last year when we changed address and I stopped seeing him. Then one day, si you know those days you are just checking out posts on Facebook to see who else got a baby? Yes those days.

pro-bono-image
I scroll scroll scroll and guess who I find? Yes you got it, my friend he talks of having gone it out alone, like in the alchemist to go find his personal legend. He talks of the journey being tough but how he is still holding up.
Then me and my ujuaji, I see an opportunity. Get to do some probono work. Sort of giving back. Then I get his response “sorry dude but of late I have become wary of the so called”pro bono” assignment. I try to prod further and be tells me cut a long story short be has learned it is better to create a budget and hire a consultant than let them offer the same service for free.
This got me to start with searching for start up experience with probono consultancies and here were some of the responses I got:

  • Pro bono guys are hard to manage, because they are giving you “free expertise” they will work on their own terms.
  • The quality of work leaves alot to be desired…
  • I feel that probono guys are here to troubleshoot and find real and imagined problems that they can point out in their recommendations so that I can go back to them for the solutions and I get to pay. It’s like free medical check up but you pay for the drugs…

Are you an owner of a start up? What has been your experience with pro bono work?

 

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2016 in Adult, Opinion, Work

 

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Letter to my fourteen year old self – Guest Post

Now that we are in that phase where many people are discovering themselves, or getting to find their personal legend “yup I finally read the alchemist after a year of procrastinating but that is a post for another day”. My friend was telling me of a story of the things she thought she wanted and how now she looks at herself and realizes her path was paved in a totally different direction. She wishes to remain anonymous so let me welcome miss anonymous 🙂

***

I am not one of the few people who had a career figured out when I was in primary school or high school. It took me a while to figure out that I wanted to be a Human Resources Professional after a stint in an International Trade and Banking. I guess it is because at fourteen years old, I did not have an understanding of what a Human Resources Management entailed unlike in the fields of Finance, Law, Architecture and Medicine.

If I was to write a letter to my fourteen year old self, this is what I would tell her:

Dear fourteen year old miss anonymous,

From an older wiser you, this is what I want you to do:

  1. Continue with your hobby, if you did not have one, find it.
  2. When you join campus, engage yourself in all the activities, sports, clubs etc. There are so many activities that one can get involved in, find at least three.
  3. Party and have fun but also read and make sure you get good grades.
  4. Find internships in where your interest lays, right from the time you are in first year. (I remember I did an accounting internship, and that’s when I discovered I never wanted to be an Accountant, look at who would be doing a boring Accounting job)
  5. Travel, there are lots of opportunities to travel locally with clubs in campus and guess what you get everything at the student’s rate which is way cheaper. Explore your country, maybe go to museums, the national park, the list is endless.
  6. As soon as you get a job, move out of your parents’ house. When you move out, you grow up and start becoming responsible. Lucky me, my parents were not living in Nairobi so I had to move out by force when I landed a job.
  7. Follow your gut. The best advice you will ever get will come from your gut instinct.
  8. Always try something new.
  9. The sky is the limit (cliché I know)

It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about? – Henry David Thoreau
Like wildflowers; you must allow yourself to grow in all the places people thought you never would.

 

With a lot of love I am yours,

Older miss anonymous :-*

 

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Who I am and why I’m here

Hello there, are you there can you hear me?

So after a long time trying to balance time to update my diary and work and the rest of what I call my life now, I realised I hardly have enough time to write on this blog. And like that couple that has be so engrossed with life they forget each other until that day the children start leaving the nest for university and then it hits you, “we are actually a couple, how did it get to this, how did we get here?” I had my “I used to blog, my life was not this “too busy” how did I get here? I realised I needed to do something, and that something is joining blogging 101 courtesy of wordpress’ Blogging University.

So I am now doing my day one assignment, “who I am and why I am here“, Well it has been six years since I started a blog. I just wanted to write and tell stories, being an introvert, my stories don’t always strike a chord with everyone, so as they say I needed to find chickens of a feather to flock with. Oh crap, I didn’t introduce myself did I? Well, I am Mackel Tisa, I am random, like super random, I think life is too serious and tend to be drawn to people who are less serious, who can take a joke, and make me laugh even when they tell you the baddest stuff… I am wild at times but most I am the quiet guy at the corner watching watching what everyone else is doing.

Now on why I am here, well, it started with me just writing for the love of just letting myself out there in a mask. Then I met a friend who told me “oh, so you have a blog? do you know you can make crazy sums of money from working online?” I was like “oh, really!”. Show me how. They showed me a few tricks. Being the procrastinator I am, I tried them but not too wholeheartedly, after few months and my account had $0.50 I decided to leave “making money online to the pros” and continue telling my stories because maybe they make someone laugh or relate going by the feedback I get on twitter. Isn’t it funny that most of the people who also read my blog like being anonymous? They leave feedback everywhere else except my comment section.

Mackel Tisa tell us, what do you write about? I write about life and the experiences I go through and for those who have been following me through out the years might have noticed the transition from college, partying and binge drinking to more on love the the struggles in embracing it. I think I have never sat and thought, “who do I really want to read my blog” I however know who I wouldn’t want to read it….

What I want to achieve this year? I want to have more posts and more hits, yes the hits do matter. I hope that when I write I will get more people can identify with what I am writing and not alienate anyone….

Anything I left out? Please leave a comment 🙂

Mackel

 

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Affordable Lunch in Nairobi for the frugal (You and I)

It being Njaanuary (Njaa=Hunger + January), the cliché spend all money in December and wonder how January is such a long month continue over and over again. Well I will share some of the placed you can get affordable lunch in Nairobi that I patronize and you get to have a decent lunch on a budget. I know these places because I once tried fasting and nearly fainted by the end of the day, never tried that again. So here we go, before that, this list is biased to the places I have visited, please feel free to add your ka joint, so here we go:

  1. Citi Gava

Located in the Nairobi CBD with a branch in Koinange street opposite Teleposta towers and another one on the junction of Haile Selassie Avenue and Parliament lane. I found this one five years ago and you can read more about it here.

  1. City Market

If you like Nyama choma Fridays, like I do, then City Market is worth a try. It is located in the middle of the CBD along Koinange street. It is very Smoky and if your appetite is affected by such, you might want to give it a pass. If you order your nyama insist to wait for it to be cut and go with it inside, you will get a bigger share this way haha. Or like they say, hawatanyonga nyama…

 

  1. KK Restaurant

This one is located on Bruce house in the CBD. It has the same setting as Citi Gava, it is a place you come eat and leave, because during lunch hour there will be dozens of people looking for sitting space.

  1. Tamu Tamu

Located on 1st floor Bandari Plaza in Westlands, is Tamu Tamu, these ones I discovered through my friend Chiry. They have buffet lunch for only 350 bob. So if you have someone you want to buy a decent affordable lunch, why not try Tamu Tamu when you are in Westlands…

 

  1. Kwa Mama

Well this one is a Kibanda along Tausi Road. The reason I love this one is because of the chapatis, they serve their chapatis straight from the pan when they are crispy hot. The first days I would struggle with the hot Chapatis as my friend and lunch buddy Tony laughed at me, but with time I learned to take a bite into that crispy hot chapati and escort it quickly with matumbo stew… Here the prices average at 100 shillings and hardly go beyond 200. Make sure you go early as the guys who work around usually flock and fill the place by 1.15 pm.

  1. Café Naivas

This one is right at the Westlands bus stop opposite Delta Towers. You can get to choose a variety of dishes from their deli and pay according to how much your appetite demands…

  1. Njeri’s

This is another kibanda, located right next to KFC Westlands. You can’t miss it because of the smoke, we loved it because of the nyama choma. As we waited for the meat to be cut, Njeri’s meat guy, Gitau would keep giving us pieces and also passers-by. I think they give away a kilo of meat marketing every day. Then Njeri also has a tremendous derriere, on a low unmotivated day, stealing glances would brighten up afternoons hahaha. You will find 90% of the patrons at Njeri’s are male!

  1. The Navigators

This one is hidden next to Top Plaza in Kilimani. They only serve lunch between 12.30pm and 2.00pm. They have predesigned meal plan for each day so you won’t get too much variety. The thing I love about navigators is the canopies, every time I go there I remember home and my grandfather and this calmness engulfs me. I always leave it happy. The average spend at Navigators is 150 shillings.

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The view at navigators eating terrace

PS:

 I have not mentioned Uchumi and Java despite their sandwiches priced below 200 shillings because, I still do not consider bread as food, but rather a snack haha. Okay I’m done.

Where do you get your affordable lunch in Nairobi? Please do share 🙂

 

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Kisumu – My first time to the lakeside city

Kisumu

When I heard that I was going to Kisumu I was super excited, it was first time to go to the lakeside city. It didn’t really matter that I would be working through my whole stay.  Our booking for the local budget flight was delayed so we missed out and had to take the longer route by bus.  We take the night bus to Kisumu and after we had finished telling all the stories we could think of with my colleague J we start dozing off. We are woken up at 4 am that we are already in Kisumu. There are so many taxi guys at the Easy coach offices offering to take us where we want in dholuo, but all I can say is adek, achiel, okay let me stop, we bargain(I could see the shock on their faces, apparently luos don’t bargain) which is unluo like and go to our hotel.

In the morning we had a meeting with our client for a briefing then we start our work. So here are some quick facts about Kisumu, if you are a first timer:

Weather

Kisumu is hot, and I mean hot and humid. You will need that bucket hat. The nights can get cold so do get a jacket if you plan to be up and about. If you are prone to sun burns and will be up and about please also do pack some sunscreen and lip protection.

Mosquitos

Kisumu is the mother of all mosquitos, I have never been bitten so much in my life, be sure to take some anti malarials before travel, otherwise you will be courting trouble.

Food

Kisumu being the source of most tilapia and nile perch in the country you would expect the staple food to be affordable at the source. This is however not the case, you will have to enjoy it at prices above those in Nairobi. If you are on a budget you can always try café naivas (we found this handy after we had exhausted our per diem on fishes… haha)

People

The people are in between friendly and contemptuous it depends on how you present yourself. Do not come off as “I am better than you”, that will bring out open hostility.

Social places

There is a java, and several watering holes in operation.

Shopping

There are several supermarkets in Kisumu city, from Nakummat, Uchumi, Naivas and Tuskys and Tumaini supermarkets among others.

So back to my story, we finish our work early so that we can get a feel of the town. I specifically wanted to go to the border town of busia and take a boat ride.

Boat ride

We went to KRA port where one pays 20bob to gain entry. They had these big boats carrying fertilizer form Tanzania being offloaded; we also got a feel of the some passenger boats which we learn are unfortunately underutilised. They would be used on special occasions say they are hired for an even like a wedding. We were left wondering how much revenue they would bring had they decided to be taking people on paid rides. We went to Dunga beach where we take a boat ride on a wooden boat. Our guide when we are in the middle of the lake starts telling us horror stories like how this part is the deepest in the lake and if you sink here you will get stuck in the mud below and die! I check the fastening on my life jacket and hold on tightly to the rails of the boat as I say a quick prayer. I still can’t swim to save a life and the thought of drowning is not one I need in my head especially in the middle of the lake. If these guys were unscrupulous and held us at ransom, I would have willingly given all my belongings to them haha.

Busia

Since it was early afternoon we decide to go to Busia. We go take a Nissan matatu that plays tricks on us. They ask for money and they then take the Nissan to a bus and tell us to board the bus. We make a lot of noise but these guys were really arrogant, they even tell us to call the police we won’t get help. This is how they get buses filled because people avoid getting in them. The trick is if you see guys charging before the journey, just alight and find another matatu, insist on paying once the vehicle is on the road en-route to your destination. We were getting to Busia almost six. We cross over to Uganda and do hurried shopping because we had been told that past 6.30 we wouldn’t get matatus going back. By the way things are way super cheap in Uganda, they don’t have so many taxes like us on the Kenyan side.  By 6.20am we cross over to the Kenyan side and since we know the journey would be extremely long we decide to buy some snacks. That was our mistake. Because we get out of the tumaini supermarket and the last matatu to Kisumu had departed. We find a bus to Nairobi that agrees to take us to Kisumu and that is where our adventure starts.

The bus leaves Busia well then continues picking up passengers on the way, at some point they stop and tell us that they had booked our seats to Nairobi bound passengers! We really cause a scene, thankfully because J is 6’5” they give us refunds chap chap because we were really spoiling for a fight, well I was because I knew I had back up lol. It is now 8 pm and we are in the middle of nowhere and there is no other bus that seems to be coming. We start thinking of finding a place to sleep when this long distance trucker stops and asks where we are headed. We tell him Kisumu and he agrees to take us. There were so many hyenas on the road which I came to learn are from nearby Ruma national park, occasionally you would meet the night runner on their trade followed by dogs, this was really new for me. As we are about to get to Kisumu we find a police check road block and our driver decides not to stop. Being unauthorised passengers we knew we were being setup to getting arrested. The cops threw spikes on the road and he had to apply emergency brakes on that thing, if the trailer were loaded we would have run through the spikes. The cops are now suspicious of us and come really furious at the driver. This guy was arrogant he really talks smack at the cops and they see us. J was the first to be told to alight and had cuffs put on him, I joined him and offered my hands for the cuffs and the cop opens one side from J’s cuff and puts it on me. They ask us who we are and where we stay. When I mention Milimani one guy comes and asks me if I am related to some senior bureaucrat in that area. I lie and say yes and that does the trick, we are let go. The driver was at this point talking nicely after being harassed to submission, they let us go and we tell the guy he should have stopped when he say the police check. He tells us how he never stops and we are left thinking this was a scheme whenever he carries guys to get them to pay bribes to the cops and they share the loot.

We get to Kisumu well past 2 am and we go to our hotel and sleep. In the morning after all we should be getting back to Nairobi.

 

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Why I stopped asking random girls for their numbers in matatus

I have been working on this project that had a short turnaround time, and the pressure was mounting since the deadline had been brought forward to meet some special requests from the client.

I wake up early, go through my morning motions on autopilot like always… When get to the bus stop I go sit near a window so I can stare outside as I think about many things in no particular order. Then I hear someone drop themselves next to me. I look to see who they are, somewhat annoyed and then I see this stunning girl who says I’m sorry cheekily. I tell her it’s okay and move back to my thoughts. When we get to halfway in the highway there is a bit of traffic and I mention how we wake up so early that sometimes you don’t believe how many hours you waste on the road. She agrees and tells me how she used to live in Lang’ata and how the jam over there was terrible now it was bearable. She tells me how much she paid rent in Lang’ata and how much she is paying now. The differences between the two houses, how she loved her new house. Being a person who listens a lot than I speak, I am wondering if she is oversharing especially on the details but I decide rather than listen to some two clowns on the radio, I’d listen to her.

I switch the topic to the teachers strike and she tells me she was a teacher by training, now my interest is picked. Her father had forced her to go to the teacher training college but after she finished she came to Nairobi and started a business. Looking at how things were going, she would never go to teaching it wasn’t for her. The bus starts snaking its way into cbd and I ask her for her number, which she gives and tells me to make sure I text her to make sure she gets mine too.

When I get to the office I send her a text of how glad I was to make an acquaintance. She asks me if this is Charles, I wonder how many people had asked for the number that morning haha *jealousy much ey?*. I tell her it is the other guy not Charles. I tell her to have a lovely day we’d keep in touch. In the next one hour I keep getting text messages (70 of them in an hour, yes I counted) and If I didn’t respond she would call, “sasa, kwani hujaona text yangu”. My work became answering texts, I told her we chat in the evening, still nothing. I just decided to block her when the calls became too many. It left me wondering how bad was biashara, were there no clients.

Now whenever I am in a bus, like I was here and here,  the conversation will not get to the part we exchange contacts. Have you ever had a similar experience where an acquaintance turned to be overly annoying?

 

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How to pass an Interview in Kenya if you have less than five years’ experience

This year marked three years for me in the rat race. Over those years and many interviews and failures, well almost never counts ey? I finally took a back seat and started reviewing what it was that I was not doing right, what I needed to change in-order to get to the final stage/ finish line.  I started taking stock of the guys I saw going through to the finish line and this is what I find out.

  1. Document your wins and build a story around them

Always have the greatest achievements in your career. The moment you are asked “tell us about yourself,” during an interview, run with it. Narrate a nice story highlighting `your achievements and tell how they changed the organisation. Give a form of measure be it quantitative or qualitative e.g. I introduces the quality management system that saw us make savings of $ 100,000, this reduced the amount of time my team spent on doing rework and handling recalls….

  1. Brag brag brag

In school we are taught bragging is bad, well let me tell you something, if you are in the interviewee seat, do not shy off of bragging about your achievements. Don’t brag in an obnoxious way, but in a way that rouses the interviewer’s attention. Here you will describe the situation, explain what your role was, what you did and what the eventual outcome was.

  1. Remember it is about you

When talking about a role you played in a project or achievement of a goal be specific about what you did as a person. Use “I” as opposed to “we”. This will also vary depending on what level of leadership or team playing is required by the position. More leadership positions require to see initiative and goal setting abilities and other leadership competencies of the leader, use “I” mostly and we were appropriate. If the role requires you be working in a team setup, bring out of your role in team scenarios use “we”.

  1. Either or ask for feedback

If you do not make it to the final interview round always try to get feedback on which competencies you need to nurture to improve your competitiveness in future. Keep on improving and improving.

  1. Do not give up

I was talking with my friend about this and she told me she had made 200 applications over the past year, people never knew about this, but whenever she got a new job after an interview her friends would always tell her of “how lucky she was” if only they knew. If you have sent out only 20 applications you keep going don’t get bummed by the regret letters.

What else did I leave out, that you think is important to passing an interview?

 

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The Wise Guy

persistence

I told him a story,
He took a moment,
And thought deeply,
Took a deep breath and told me,
The secret my friend is perseverance,
You have got to stop giving up too soon….

albertellis131212

 

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