Let's Talk

General talk.

People walking from stadium to town is not even a joke. What about a person who is unwell and has to go to hospital or a mother with kids? Huh? Now if someone is in town and wants to take a matt to community where do they pick it from? The people issuing this transport directive are owning cars so how do they really know what the 'mwanainchi' wants or needs? My two cents is that matatus should still come to town, removing them from CBD is not a soulution at all. It is just making Kenyans suffer. I mean, even some Kenyans who have cars sometimes leave them at home and use matatus because fuel is expensive and now, taxed. There needs to be more public participation involvement because it is the wananchi using the mats not the directive issuers. This is our country, a democratic state, Have we all agreed or said matatus should not be in the CBD? The wananchi should be asked.

The directive issuers, do me one favour. BOARD A MATATU, ALIGHT AT STADIUM AND WALK TO TOWN. THEN FIND YOUR WAY TO YOUR WORKPLACE BY MATATU MEANS. DO IT IN THE MORNING AND THEN TELL US IF THAT SYSTEM YOU HAVE SET IS NOT ONLY BROKEN BUT HAS ZERO SUSTAINABILITY METRICS APPLIED (#PLOLumumbaEnglish). YOU TRIED IT WITH THE REFINED MAKADARA RAILWAY STATION SYSTEM AND THE PREZZO TESTED THE SGR WHEN IT WAS LAUNCHED RIGHT? SA PIA HII YA MATATUS NOT ENTERING CBD MANENOZ, MKUJE MTEMBEE PIA MHISI INAVYOFEEL.Nonesense!!! HOW CAN YOU SET A SYSTEM YOU YOURSELF HAVE NOT TESTED OR EXPERIENCED TO SEE HOW IT TRULY, TRULY FUNCTIONS ON GROUND AND ITS HOLISTIC FEASIBILTY? HOW? AND YOU DARE CLAIM YOU ARE SERVING THE PEOPLE? WHICH PEOPLE? THE ONES YOU ARE TESARING TO WALK TO WORK SO THAT OUR ECONOMY IMPROVES? Verily verily I tell you, the matatus have to enter CBD BUT THE PICK UP AND DROP OFF SYSTEMS IS WHAT SHOULD BE ORGANIZED INTO A BETTER SYSTEM... and enough thought should be put into it. I mean, even in developed countries, the buses still access the city but congestion is managable because of proper systems. We are a very highly populated nation but with numerous broken systems... unless we fix our systems, our performance will always remain mediocre. While on it, whose dum idea was it to extend footpaths in the CBD when parking is clearly the problem... those footpaths tayari zinatutega,,,, again ask the public what they truly need... that is the essence of service to the people and not to self... also a key entrepreneurial concept in terms of innovation and creativity. The market is educated, empowered and informed... it knows what it needs. In conclusion, why is the city submerged in crayon like structures and looking like a kindergarten. All this painting nonsense is not even beautifying our nation... why doesnt that money be put on infrastructure development, specifically, our roads... like that road right behind heshima road which bumpier than the rocky peaks of the Himalayas....I LOVE MY COUNTRY BUT SOMETIMES I JUST WAKE UP SAD AND CONCERNED... Who is in the high seat of thought, planning our nation, crafting our future, forming and strengthing our sustainability plans as a nation? They need to have a seatdown with some high level thinking kenyans and also some common wananchi. We are truly our own solutions.... #ifikiegovernment #spokenlikewakenyamia

Concerned Kenyan,
Muthoni Kirumba.

Volunteerism is a great humanitarian, charitable and social activity recognized worldwide that enables people to give back to the society and community using their talents, skills and abilities.
On the 25th September, 2015, Volunteer Action for Change Kenya (VACK)- a Kenyan based volunteerism company- hosted an event tagged ‘volunteering as a means of empowerment and social inclusion’. The event was a culmination of the Moving People with Volunteering capacity building project which is co-funded by the Erasmus+ program of the European Union. Partner countries with VACK included Italy, Nepal, Vietnam, Hungary and France.
The MPV program was focused on capacity building, creating co-operation with other countries (earlier mentioned) specifically in the youth field. It included activities such as youth exchanges, EVS-(European Voluntary Service) mobility experiences and job shadowing while working with volunteers from all over the world.
The EVS mobility is a voluntary international service program with the aim of enhancing personal and professional competences of the volunteers and to support the hosting organization through non-formal education methods.
The program focused on:
Promoting young people’s social inclusion
Sharing good practices between organizations
Promoting and supporting competence of volunteers
In the event of this, we saw two youth from Kenya secure a 6 month volunteerism fellowship in Italy and Hungary. They were able to share their rich and diverse experiences with the conference participants to especially give a feel to some university students who had never volunteered before but greatly desired to. They talked of the program being holistic and life-changing giving them a fresh view to life.
The hosting and co-ordinating companies support the volunteerism programs by ensuring the volunteer receives:
Accommodation, board and any local transport are covered by the project.
Individual support (an amount of pocket money) and also is covered by insurance.
For grant support to travel costs in the Erasmus+ Programme, travel distances must be calculated using the distance calculator.
Both talked of change/experience of different cultures, from the food to how the people in the host countries viewed them as Africans or foreign guests. From the adult to children’s perspectives. Also the weather, where Mercy- who volunteered in Hungary talked of it being quite cold in Hungary but she was privileged that her hosts picked her from the airport. Living in a volunteer house for her was also a whole different experience. She had a mentor from the host country whom she could enquire all kinds of questions and that really helped her. She also had to learn a bit of Hungarian to survive.
As for Felix who volunteered in Italy, you can read more about his experience on this blogpost: http://maya.co.ke/index.php/blog/let-s-talk/142-volunteering-experience-in-italy
Both of them encouraged young people to begin volunteering in their home countries before they ventured to apply for the tasking applications of volunteering abroad; it would give them an upper hand. Also, to have a goal or a challenge as to why they truly want to volunteer or rather get their priorities right.
Benefits of volunteering were stated as mind-opening, creating friendships from all over the world, experiencing different cultures, travelling opportunities amongst others.
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Some of the questions that arose in the conference during the round-table session with regard to volunteerism were:
I. What drives one to volunteer?
People have different reasons but most view it as a means to give back to society as they also shape their character in the process. Also to meet new people from different parts of the world, get work experience, reflect upon oneself and rediscover oneself, know one’s competence and acquire more through the social and community work, for example, through the 6months EVS program.
II. Is it difficult to recruit volunteers and why?
It is quite a process which is necessary either way. Owing to the different cultures of the world and many other factors, volunteers must be interviewed on various grounds before they are accepted to do a program in another country. They must express their enthusiasm to be in a program, their motivation, expectations, prior experience, future goals, social skills, general character and also commitment. This is because the volunteers not only represent the organizations that send them but also their entire country as well.
In terms of culture, the host companies go the extent of Skype chats just to generally know the person and if they can adapt to the different food, dressing and tradition of the host country amongst other factors.
III. How does volunteerism help the local community---
As a sense of entrepreneurship, bridging the innovation and creativity gap in local communities by acquired knowledge. Volunteers coming from different parts of the country and the world have varied knowledge and experiences that enable them to see things in a different view in the local communities. They utilize their smart minds to come up with innovations that help the local communities better use their resources.

Some volunteers who are passionate but also touched with the programs they are involved with return to their home countries and rally finances together with other resources to help their community projets.

For more information with regard to this blogpost and the volunteerism activities discussed please check out the following websites:
Also, follow them on the facebook social media handles.
Article written by,
Muthoni Kirumba.


Due to technical difficulties.... kindly press link to read from the facebook page


Thank you all.


This is an interview carried out on an interviewee who recently volunteered in Italy, from Kenya and we would love to know his volunteerism experience. He got the opportunity to visit there through VACK-Volunteer Action for Change Kenya- an organization that facilitates volunteering programs in Kenya and worldwide as well.

Interviewee: Felix

Interviewer: Miss. Muthoni Kirumba, Kenyan business blogger on www.maya.co.ke and www.muthonikirumba.com.

  1. What activities were you actually participating in, in the volunteering program in Italy? Would you say it was well structured?

    Yes the team both in Kenya (VACK) and Italy (CESIE) did a wonderful job, the activities were structured to suit both volunteers and the centres where my colleagues (fellow volunteers) and I worked.

  2. Do you feel as though the 6 month experience transformed you in any way? Kindly share.

    An experience like this always changes something in you unless you had no goals or mission. Personally it changed my point of view on some areas of life and how to approach certain situations. Also I had fun and made friends along the way.

  3. Which other volunteerism activities have you partaken in before getting the opportunity to travel to Italy as a volunteer?

    I’ve volunteered twice in western Kenya just after I had completed high school at Virhembe and Shinyalu work camps for a duration of 3 to 4 weeks. Participants included both local and international volunteers.

  4. Are there any different aspects when volunteering in Italy and volunteering in Kenya?

    Yes, the environments are different, cleaner - better infrastructure; the management of projects is also different but there are some similarities as well.

  5. Would you encourage Kenyan youth to embrace volunteerism and how beneficial would it be for them?

    Yes I would encourage Kenyan youth to engage themselves in volunteerism because it’s an opportunity to learn and open one’s mind to things they normally don’t see in their daily routine /experiences. Such opportunities give you that one on one experience of making a difference in our society.

  6. Which challenges did you experience? Home sick perhaps?

    The biggest challenge I experienced was the language barrier, also the fact that I was a minority and African locals assumed I was an immigrant and I say this with some humour because we know there are no Kenyan refugees per se. From time to time I missed home, my friends, family, the local food etc but since it wasn’t my first time travelling out of the country for a period of more than 3 months, it wasn’t so difficult.

  7. Do you intend to keep in touch with the friends you made in Italy and work on further projects? Any particular one that you discussed about?

    Yes I still communicate with the friends I made while in Italy both on professional and personal basis. Right now there aren’t any specific discussions on a project per se.

  8. On a light note, how much ice-cream and pizza did you have while in Italy and which other delicacy or drink did you enjoy?

    The thing I miss most when it comes to food is ice-cream, there are so many flavours to choose from and I think I tried over a dozen. I give credit to the Italians, they have the best ice-cream hands down.

  9. What’s your parting shot?

    Get out of your comfort zone and keep an open mind.


One of my earliest experiences of bad customer service was when I was about 13 years old. I had gone to the supermarket to buy some ice-cream. When I reached the counter, I had to request for the attendant to pack for me the ice-cream in a black paperbag. You know, the one which cannot easily expose what you are carrying? That one. Guess what? He refused and said, “hio hatupackingi kwa karatasi ya black.” Well yeah, this is broken swahili meaning ‘we do not pack ice-cream in such paperbags.’

So what am I to do? I was not a drama girl those days just like these days, (sort of), anyway I left with my yummy ice-cream in a clear bag. Tamaa yangu, I decided to take a bite and eat the rest at home because I knew my sisters would borrow some when I arrived. In fact the plan was to take a bite, walk quickly and upon reaching the estate gate to begin eating again fast as I slowly walk to the house. Yes, I have always been so strategic;)

No sooner had I began to execute my young strategic plan than a street boy snatched my delicacy from my arms. It happened so fast. I didn’t even see where he had come from but as I looked again, it was as though he and his friends were watching me all along. So the savings I had for my delicacy all disappeared at one go.

Now if the supermarket attendants had packed my ice-cream in a black paper bag, as I had requested, the street boys would not have seen so clearly what I had carried from the supermarket. The thing is when you show a thief what they want to steal, it provokes them to act faster. Am sure those kids would not have wanted to steal a wire gauze, soap or a book from me. Not even a packet of rice. My ice-cream on the other hand was ready made food. That was something of great interest to them. Plus, the weather was hot and I had something cold.

Now, the story continues. The next year that small supermarket was shut down. I stayed in estate phase II and the other branch was in phase I which had just as bad service as their sister branch or should I say brother branch. Thinking about it, the supermarket attendants in the supermarket never smiled. They were always unhappy. The supermarket itself (both branches) never had good stock. It just had a few items to sell and always lacked a lot of essentials. I haven’t gone there in so long but I promise to visit and tell you guys how I found my experience 10 years later.

Well the thing is, I never desired to go back in such an unwelcoming place. Another one of my sisters bought ice-cream there and it was stale, or had yellow residue at the bottom. My mum bought milk there and it was spoilt, she had to return. This was all a long time ago.

Customer service determines a lot in an industry or company and how it performs. If this is how members of my family were treated, then am sure it was the same for other clientele. See, customer service is a whole chain from great products, to the service, the order in the premises and even the smile upon the attendants visage as they serve. The warmth that a client feels while shopping because of the great service transcends their experience and determines their customer loyalty.

See you on phase II of customer care best practices.

Muthoni Kirumba,