Martin Muli – Our Man in Nairobi

Who are you?

I am Martin Muli Makau Muli a young energetic 28 years old single man- I just realized that am growing old and therefore am contemplating changing my name to Mateen which is sounds and looks more youthful and appealing. I come  from a small village called matuu near the famous Ndallas hotel  but  I stay in Nairobi the city in the sun.  Nairobi is in Kenya and Kenya is in Africa!

What do you do for fun?

I ussually hang out with friends interested in discussing world issues including a critical analysis of local politics, entrepreneurship and social issues. Of late, i have found myself gravitating towards movies- the funny family kind of movies. I hate horrors though!  I am also into swimming a new hobby i picked up in Merville a small village in BC, Canada. I can now comfortably do back strokes!

What is your Favourite Community?

Politicians and entrepreneurs form my favourites communities.  They alway think outside the box and are always faced with new challenges each day. I am fascinated by their ability to build something from nothing and at the same time turn friends into enemies and enemies into friends.

What is your superpower?

Listening. Smiling. Analytical.

I listen like a homicide detective. This gives me a lot of stability and control over situations and therefore i am able to handle crisis and help people get over tough situations.  I share alot with entrepreneurs and politicians who face challenges everyday. I am able to analyze and disseminate all information with a simple smile.  Just imagine you tell me how tough and complicated things are and then i look at you, smile and start talking. Listening is for grasping the real scenario, Smile for disarming all negatives and Analytics is for putting you back  on course!

How do you use it to build community?

Two words: smile-analysis.

My Three Favourite Things About Martin Muli Are…

1. Dancing. Having a dance party? Be sure to invite Martin Muli. He’s a dance-machine who can dip and bend in ways that make un-rhythmic North American Germans like Kurt Heinrich shudder and stiffen. Martin Muli dances his soul.

2. Generosity. I’m lucky to know that when Michelle and visit Kenya we will be welcomed into the Muli family’s home with open arms. This may or may not be why I ensured that the Daily Gumboot finance the opening of a bureau in East Africa…

3. “Canadians are not passionate.” This comment came out during a discussion of Kenya’s near-collapse into anarchy. Martin Muli asked me what it would take for Canadians to show a Kenyan-kind – or any kind – of passion towards their politics. As much as it stung, I appreciated his candor, honesty and, well, that he’s pretty accurate in his assessment of our being a pretty wussie nation of non-boat-rockers.

As told by John Horn…

Fifa World Cup: Africa Makes History

After 80 years of waiting, Africa’s history has been modified and strengthened by hosting FIFA world cup 2010. The vuvuzelas, the heavy traffic and city modernization efforts initiated and executed by South Africans to bring the 2010 soccer extravaganza to Africa is commendable. This is beautiful and big history for Africa! Africa will benefit from the 2010 world cup for years to come.

According to research posted on www.fifa.com, an accumulated audience of over 37 billion people watched the France ’98 tournament, including approximately 1.3 billion for the final alone, while over 2.7 million people flocked to watch the 64 matches in the French stadia. This gives an idea of how many people are watching the World Cup and how Africa can use this platform to change its negative image forever. For PR purposes we should have the following infomercials aired before the beginning of every match, at half time and at the end of every match:

Johannesburg is not the capital city of Africa, Africa is actually a continent with more than 52 countries! Africans don’t keep Lions as pets, Lions are dangerous wild animals only found in the parks!  ..and That Mandela is the President of South Africa and not Africa. All these infomercials  can help change the perception in the West about Africa. A good example is Melissa who toured Africa the other day and uploaded this on her facebook status “ ..Just learnt that Africa is not a country and that Egypt is found in Africa. This is all news to me as I thought Africa was a country  and Egypt was in the desert and that you would never get pyramids in Africa, just like you would get elephants in Egypt… apparently I am wrong.”

Pundits predicted that Africa could surprise many and lifting a FIFA World Cup Trophy. However, Africa has been surprised. South Africa has written history as the first host nation of a FIFA World Cup not to qualify for the second round! That means Bafana Bafanas’ dream of playing the eleventh World Cup special match ball named Jubulani made by the German sports equipment Adida at the finals will never come to pass. Jubulani is a isiZulu word which means “bringing joy to everyone”.

Ghana has made history as the only nation in Africa to qualify for the second round. Figures are crossed and many have sworn not to miss any match being played by the new “African heroes”. My friend who is a tech wizard in a busy organization and a football fanatic developed a solution named “ FIFA  World cup2010 boss management solution”. I have decided to share the same with you so that you can have freedom at your workplace and watch any world cup match without being terrorised by your boss. Remember this solution has worked in some organizations in Kenya and is only applicable until 12th July 2010. It reads:

Dear Sir / Madam,

I wish to let you know that the FIFA World Cup is about to begin. This is not just any other tournament, it’s the World Cup! Please note that this tournament takes place every four years and a month to finish, i.e. from 11th June to 11th July for this year. During this period take note of the following:

1. I will be knocking off earlier than usual in order to watch the kickoff of the first game.

2. Do not be surprised if I report a little bit late every morning, it will depend on the time the last game finishes.

3. Production will go up during this month as almost all employees will be happy and highly motivated (Check Maslow’s Motivation Theories with Human Resource).

4. I know you are into other boring sports like cricket, bowling, etc. Please, if you want to fit in the work environment for the next one  month, try to know something about soccer, even asking a foolish  question like “Is Malawi playing tonight?” that is if you really want to  fit in, or else you will be a loner for one full month.

5. Greeting each other in the morning will change from “Good morning” to “How was the game last night?”

6. I will not accept to work overtime during this period as no amount of money can buy me to miss a game. Therefore make sure you don’t give me any work after 16:30 hours.

7. I will need to be up-to-date with the latest; therefore, the first hour every morning is for accessing sports websites and other updates on the internet and also chatting with friends on phone.

8. Lastly, please do not think you can fire me should you decide to break any of the above rules, as you will have to fire everyone.

Thank you for your understanding.

Yours faithfully,

Staff

Cc:   Management

Cc:  Secretary General, Central organization of trade Unions

cc:   Human Right Commission

cc:   International Labor Organization

cc:   United Nations Council for Human Rights

cc:   FIFA

cc:  Moreno Ocampo, Prosecutor, International Criminal Court Prosecutor

The Gumboot’s World Cup Anthem – Round 1

The Setup – Editors’ Cultural Editorials

John: A few months ago Superstar Correspondent, Alex Grant, and I engaged in what bloggers and social media experts have called “the most important back-and-forth-community-based-basketball-related-satire-in-the-history-of-blogs-about-gumboots” – well, Kurt and I have taken that idea and made it global, baby! Over the next three weeks, the Editor-in-Controversy and I will discuss the World Cup and all the community-related events and ideas that spawn from it. We will also talk about soccer/football and make predictions. Most importantly, we will have fun with it!

For me – a Canadian’s Canadian – the World Cup is a sad time. As we know, Canada sucks. At soccer. So we never have a team in the running. Consequently, Canadian soccer fans reach back to their immigrant roots and pick a team associated with the “old country” part of their family tree. Well, my ‘people’ have been here for awhile, so, unless Newfoundland fields an independent team any time soon, I’m stuck giving random allegiance to whoever tickles my fancy come tournament time. Honestly, it’s a pretty hollow existence and I feel a great swell of envy for Kurt, who can throw his support behind his two-generation-removed-homeland, Germania.

Kurt: And so you should John. Cheering for your long removed hereditary team is pretty much the coolest thing ever. It’s something that’ll unify the German diaspora around the world and bring us together in a great moment as we watch hard work and discipline (not fancy feet) – hopefully – pay off! So I don’t know any of the German players’ names. So I don’t own a German jersey. So I’m still convinced Oliver Kahn will be starting in net. For a fan like me, stats and “information” just get in the way of a good time! Go Deutschland Go!

An African Moment

John: So many negative aspects of Africa’s plight make up our narrative of the continent here in Canada. For example, a few days ago, South African authorities rounded up all the street kids in the cities hosting various footballing venues, like Durban, and, well, shipped them all into the countryside. This has been done to accommodate World Cup tourists visiting the beach-side luxury resorts in the community.

Not supercool.

What is supercool are the texts, tweets, Facebooks, emails, and IMs I’ve been getting from my friends in Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, and South Africa. They espouse pure joy and inspiring hope for an historically memorable event.

I’ll think of the latter example for this week’s African Moment!

Kurt: South Africa has long been perceived as a nation wracked by endemic violence and racial issues. One of the first thing that pops in to my mind when I think of the place is the country where flamethrower cars were invited (designed to light potential car-jackers on fire). Crazy. But now, two decades after the end of apartheid it’s going to be exciting to see the multiplicity of stories the country will be bringing to the table. Just like during the 2010 Olympics, hordes of media will be descending on the country to tell its stories and share them with the world. Tens of thousands of fans will return home after this glorious month with new perspectives on a place once known for incredibly high rape and murder rates. I’m betting a lot of these stories will be positive and am excited to hear them.

Predictions – Group Play

John: Let’s face it, the African teams are going to get some amazing home-town refereeing. And why shouldn’t they? The continent’s best team got thrown into the Group of Death, the best team’s best player broke his arm, and the legacy of colonialism is still horribly prevalent in too many African nations. It’s about time for a break and, hey, for the IMF, World Bank and the UN, fixing a few soccer matches is way cheaper than, you know, relieving debt or working to reduce cash-crops and re-invest in local, diverse food production. So, that’s why I predict Nigeria and Cameroon will make it out of the group stage.

Speaking of colonialism, the European Powers (save King Leopold) will advance, too: England, France, Spain, Germany, and Portugal. Italy will advance, too – they just never really ‘nailed-it’ when it came to taking places over.

I like Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay representing Latin America in the Round of 16.

The United States and Australia will also get out of the group stage, and 17 people will care about it.

Kurt: John, I for the most part agree with your take on the tournament so far. I too expect the European Great “Soccer” Powers to do quite well in the initial rounds. While Portugal will doubtlessly advance they’ll do so with more dramatics than one typically sees at the theatre.

One of the big initial opening questions will be England and the USA. I truly hope the USA trounces England just for hilarity-sake (at least a few red-blooded Englishmen will probably jump off Big Ben if that happens), but I’m not particularly convinced Rooney will let that happen – especially not after the recent – and terrific – Nike video in which he stars.

Then there’s North Korea. They’re in a group with Brazil and Portugal. And if fate, the Gods or Karma have anything to do with it, they’ll be leaving the group dead last considering the abysmal behavior in recent months of Dear Leader – that is unless the Gods are both crazy and STALINIST!

[INSERT TRASH TALK HERE]

John - age 6.

John - Age 6.

John: Full disclosure. Kurt Heinrich didn’t know how to fill out his bracket, so I had to help him do it. I’m not saying that this is a true representation of his soccer skills, but I’m not not saying it is, either. Kurt’s inability to read – coupled with his lack of killer instinct (see photo) – will make this exchange nothing short of a cake walk. Perhaps, Kurt, you should just give me the $10 now. Also, Ballack (he’s your goalie) was the linchpin of Germania’s team – with him gone you have nothing. Nothing except an unmatched work ethic, chiseled features and a terrible history with which the country must try to reconcile on a daily basis. Your move, Heinrich.

Kurt - Age 10

Kurt: John the fact you can’t identify a hereditary team to cheer for means you may not have a soul after all. Sorry, but Godfrey and I are already snickering. While I agree with many of your predictions, your inability to cheer for a team you loyally adore (through loss and loss again) means you’re less of a soccer fanatic than me. The only way to prove me wrong is to break a bottle of beer over your head and eat the shattered glass – an act even the craziest and most fanatical English soccer hooligan would be hard pressed to do. You won’t do it. DO IT!

[poll id="6"]

The East African Douchebag

The Daily Gumboot team is more than convinced that the population of douchebags is higher in East Africa than any other part of the world. Well, the inhabitants of East Africa exhibit a combination of sophistication and traditional behaviours except for a few wannabes who’s lifestyles is a true imitation of the glorified Hollywood stars. While the bigger percentage of East African are extremely jovial and interesting, Hospitable and indeed fascinating, a few are extremely irritating, disgusting and serial imitators. We cannot forget how Clint Eastwood the famous American Actor, composer and film star influenced Kenyan bad boys and rapper wannabbes with his 1983 Sudden Impact Movie.  In an effort to identify with Hollywood stars, Kenwood wannabes borrowed a line from Clint Eastwood and the controversial Makmende was born.

Makmende is a glorified mid – twenties trendy lad who dons afro hair style and belly bottom trousers that sweep the streets of Nairobi better than the city council brooms! Single men hate him because he is a guy who will unapologetically and fearlessly date your girlfriend, your friends’ fiancé and neighbour’s daughter at the same day, at the same time, just at different venues! Professors call him genius, while the villagers believe he is an outcast. They have accused him of impregnating a high school girl by just standing next to her!  It is claimed that when Makmende was in high school, the school Principal used to wash his shirts and brush his shoes! He was a ruthless bully to the administration and a hero to the helpless.

Just a band http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mG1vIeETHc&NR=1 featured Makmende in their hit song Ha-He and within a few days, Makmende was the hottest item on Facebook and Twitter. CNN investigative journalists where extremely shocked by how controversial Makmende was. They recently released shocking revelations collected from Kenyans who tried to explain who Makmende is:

  1. Makmende can die and read his own eulogy.
  2. Makmende will never be allowed in McDonald\s…it’s a conflict of interest!
  3. Makmende once visited the British Virgin Islands. They are now known just as the British Islands….
  4. Makmende is so huge, he can’t fit in Wikipedia
  5. Obama insists Makmende is his young brother. He has ordered DNA test after Makmende disagreed.
  6. Only makmende can pocket when he is naked.
  7. Makmende can squeeze orange juice out of a lemon.
  8. Makmende is a disgusting douchbag; he uses Viagra as his eye drops just to look hard.
  9. When he was born he cut his own umbilical cord!!!!!
  10. Moulder and Scully tried to investigate Makmende, thats why the X Files were completely sealed.
  11. Makmende is the only one who can walk to hell and the devil says “OMG”
  12. When Makmende’ sister lost her virginity, he found it and gave it back to her!

Do you agree with the first part of number 8? Have I found a douchebag in Africa?

Thank you.

This has been a profile of the East African Douchebag by Martin Muli who is not yet a douchebag!

DANGER: The Sun will Melt Your Community!

Undeniably – at least here on the West Coast – summer has arrived. And, for 99% of the population, the sunny days of May, June, July, August, and some of September make for an “enjoyable” and/or “the best” part of peoples’ year. Today, though, I’d like to talk about the 1% – or less – of people who truly dislike summer. In this group you’ve got your goths, vampires, body-self-conscious-folks, ice-fisher-people, and senior citizens (but, really, they don’t like any season because of how young people today have ruined it). Also included in the 1% are people like me, who are both terrified of and angry with Mr. Sun because we are allergic to him.

The condition is called porphyria. It is very rare and was made famous by vampires and King George III, who allegedly “went mad” on account of his Sun disorder (as it turns out, monarchs have to be outside a lot). Fun fact: King George III was the guy who “lost” the American colonies to a group of tempestuous oligarchs, and the United Kingdom has been pretty much anti-Sun ever since.

There are different kinds of prophyria out there, and the one I was lucky to win in the crappy-disease-lottery is called eurythropoietic protoporphyria, which means that, because of extremely heightened photo-sensitivity, the porphyrins in my blood react very, very badly to ultraviolet rays – I describe this way: “it’s like being sun-burned from the inside-out – basically my blood boils, my energy is sapped, and, if it gets bad enough, a chain reaction of swelling, sores, scabbing, and scarring will put me out of commission for a few days.” For me, summer is a time of war against an unbeatable nemesis. His name is Apollo and, cloudy or not, he meets me for battle every single day.

For the record and with full disclosure, I have a very, very mild case of porphyria – there are folks out there who can’t go outside during a full moon, even with SPF 60 sunscreen.

So why am I telling you this? Well, the world being too hot and sunny is one of the biggest problems facing our global community these days. In the middle of our planet – and for a myriad of human and natural reasons – desertification is slowly eroding lush greenery and the water sources and two/four-legged food that make it a habitable place. With the greenery gone so goes most, if not all, of the natural shade. Such an inhospitable environment creates climate refugees – people who have to travel North or South in search of, well, let’s just call it “shade from the Sun” and let that be a metaphor we can all understand. More or less.

So, such is the case today in places like Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Australia. But what about here, in Cascadia, twenty years from now? How will we cope with hotter, sunnier summers?

From me (a guy who has the superhuman ability to find shade and protect himself from the Sun) to you (a person who probably knows what suntanning feels like), here are some tips on how you can prepare for the future:

  1. Invest in a wide-brimmed hat. Cowboy, Tilly, Pirate, or Sombrero – they’re all good and they will all be in high demand in the future; start your stockpile today!
  2. Make friends with tall people. Tall people are automatic shade-makers. Enough said.
  3. Buy or make a UV-proof umbrella and/or tarp. Cool, shady brands like No Zone aside, such inventions are, sadly, few and far between; using umbrellas to ward off harmful UV rays is already popular in Asia and Africa, so you can start the trend here on the West Coast with one of these fine designs.
  4. Long sleeves, long pants and gloves. Let’s face it, gloves are cool and historically sexy – since Pharaohs sought to protect themselves from dust, Sun and slaves, gloves have been a part of out cultural fabric. Wearing them here and now might feel weird at first, but you’ll get used to it.
  5. “The Full Ninja” (pictured). Pictures say a thousand words, and this happy little outfit has gotten me through hikes, camping and road trips, as well as a jaunt through East Africa.

John and his friend, Sun-worshiper Natalie, on a summer hike across Nootka Island on the West Coast

So there it is. With this knowledge in your toolkit, I think and hope, you will be well-prepared to cope with the Sun. Now, if you’ll excuse me, it takes a bit of time to layer-myself-up for the walk from my office to the bus stop.

And, believe me when I say this, friends, whether it’s tomorrow or a billion years from now, the Sun has a pretty clear and transparent plan to engulf us all in giant balls of fiery death. I recommend you start planning for tomorrow today.

Good luck. And have fun with it.

Masthead photo courtesy of White93 on Flickr