My desire to ensure environmental sustainability.

Point blank on environmental issues.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Omomura Egesora

NOTE: This poem is written in my native language (Kisii). The Kisii people live in Western Parts of Kenya (former Nyanza Province).

Kae omwana ekebago,
Tacha koba ekeb’ago,
Maambia aimokie obokombe,
Aburugere chinsiaga.

Erio mambia ae chiombe,
Na mogoroba aimokie egekombe,
Kogenda konywa amabere,
Na gokombi amakombi.

Ase engencho ne’yaye,
Igo akonywa atari gosoka,
Erio mambia kagosoka,
Igo akororekana egesora!

Akoiyeria emete,
Obutora boronge,
Orangeria Barongo,
Banyebeka irongo,
Eyende baira Birongo.

Moisonde naira chibao Nyabara Ibere,
Bakamoa emerongo ebere,
Korende tagogetigwe nonya,
Aya onsi nase’enengecho atamaeti amariko!

Ma’iga bono oiranire esukuru,
Nario mambia atanga’ainwe naende,
Na mambia ende agende mache ng’umbu,
Gakoirana abe omorai,
Gose omoraria,
Arete oborabu sobo,
Na gotoa ogosemeria,
Oywo nere omomura egesora!







Sunday, 29 May 2016

My Japanese Girlfriend

I am sitting here,
Everything seems to be right here,
But that is not the case,
For something is amiss,
What could be the mess?

My heart beats faster,
My mind so restless,
I am dumb,
My hands so numb,
My legs can’t move,
The eyes out of focus,
Seeing the same image in everything.

All these troubles caused by one situation,
That I met at the auction,
I can’t believe I took the action,
Because I didn’t like such actions,
I don’t know why!

Many had come my way,
I pushed them away,
But things changed at her arrival,
Glad she didn’t find a rival.

No rivalry to my Japanese girlfriend,
She is the only one,
Who knows what I need at what time,
If I need a ride,
She is right there for me,
Just a little lubrication,
Sit on and I keep it calm,
Enjoying the moment.

But oh my!
She demands too much servicing,
Being inflated all the time,
Because deflation is not a choice.

This is task is sometimes daunting,
But I will never give up,
My ego cannot allow that,
For she is too precious,
Too invaluable,
So important,
No option,
She is mine.

She is so loyal,
Making me feel royal,
So eco-friendly,
Making me friendly,
She takes care of me,
I take care of her,
So we take care of each other,
Oh this Japanese girlfriend,
My BICYCLE!

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Judgement

When you say I am educated, remember I searched for it,
I accepted to be a fool,
And the dream became full,
It has taken me time,
And the struggle continues.

When you say I am rich, remember I was ones penniless,
Struggling to get a shilling that I could call mine,
It never came that easy.

When you say I am full, remember there was a time I slept hungry,
My stomach roared,
Downing a cup of strong tea made the night for me.

When you say I am smart, remember I was ones in tatters,
All my clothes full of patches,
Talk of school uniform,
My Sunday best,
And my beloved soccer shorts.

When you say I am riding, remember I ones walked shoeless,
Walking all the miles to school,
And sometimes all the way to the grandma’s place.

When you say I am proud, think of where I have come from,
Only then will you realize the reason for that ‘pride.’

So, please don’t judge me by the present,
But rather where I have come from,
I gave up on many things,
Some good, some bad,
Some sweet, some sour,
Some painful, some pleasurable,
…all those!

That is what it took to be me,
And I am sure it is not too late for you to do it.   

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Forest Certification

Do you read the label of products that you buy? And if you do, what motivates you? I bet most of us could say it is the ingredients because of maybe allergies and religious believes. However, we always fail to consider the channel or the origin of such products; whether the production process was (is) legal or standard. For instance, when we buy wood products, we care less about the certification standards but rather the quality and maybe price. It is require that all forest products should undergo Forest Certification before they are available in the market. The Wild Worldwide Fund (WWF) defines Forest Certification as a “system of inspection and tracking timber, pulp and other forest products to ensure they have been harvested according to a strict set of guidelines.” A number of organizations do Forest Certification, but the most credible one is the Forest Stewardship Council (SFC). Founded in 1994, SFC was a result of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, that suggested formation of an independent worldwide forest certification scheme. This scheme needed to be free of any governmental, political, or regional influences, thus SFC came up.
SFC has established principles that are considered before giving certification to the forest owners. The principles not only consider the type of trees cut but also on the socio-economic aspects of the forests such as the welfare forest employees, benefits to the community including indigenous rights, usage tenure rights, and environmental management and conservation measures. It is only by showing credible application of the ten solid principles that SFC can certify a particular forest. Program for Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC) is also another famous forest certification body.     

I think forest certification has to be the major point of focus if we want to promote sustainable forest management practices (SFM). With most business people rushing for cheap and illegally logged forest products, a strict implementation Forest Certification principle can help address such issues. It should be a law that all commercial forest products must have a “Forest Certification” seal to save on our forests for both the present and the future. Notably, lack of implementing and enforcing such policies as Forest Certification, have seen regions like Sub-Saharan Africa incur huge losses due to illegal logging;  about 17 billion US dollars, while the global loss is 100 billion US dollars (Africa Progress Report, 2014). In his encyclical, “Laudato Si” (Our Common Home), Pope Francis laments that it is quite unfortunate that most countries have masterpieces of laws and policies, but they end up on shelves without implementation and enforcement. As such, it might be difficult to go by these Forest Certification rules, but with cooperation among various stakeholders ranging from global, regional, national, local and private organizations, it is cannot be any challenging. Indeed, Forest Certification is the best way to create a world where social, economic, and ecological aspects positively converge.    

References
Pope Francis. Laudato Si (Our Common Home)

Friday, 5 February 2016

Hurt-on collision

My soul searched,
My eyes saw,
My heart felt,
My spirit accepted,
And my mind discovered.

That you are water in its purest form,
Water tapped before the mountains went forestless,
Water tapped before the rivers knew pollution,
Water tapped before the lakes went saline,
And wells ran dry,
Water driving everyone thirsty.

The water gave me a love potion,
And today I wana make a proposition,
Though it might meet opposition,
I am sure it will be a hurt-on collision,
Thus an amazing coronation,
Calling you my queen,
And me your king.

Then we shall belong to the palace,
Which is the only place,
Where you find solace,
Servants untying your shoelace,
As you step in shoeless,
Your shoulders shawlless,
But to the world you will show less.

When you call me for revenge,
Please don’t find it strange,
For I will bring drama on stage,
And put the enemies in the cage,
As we enjoy at the edge,
Watching the sun come of age,
Thus turning our page.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

The Japanese new-year preparation and celebration; culture at its best

Most people in the world consider the New Year a very special day, where each country/region has its own way of celebrating it. Having celebrated the New Year twice in Japan, I have to say that for Japanese people, this period goes beyond fun and entertainment. Oshogatsu, as Japanese refer to it, is a period characterized with busy schedules of various activities. I think this is the biggest holiday in Japan, for they do not really celebrate Christmas. In Japan, Christmas is more of a commercial activity where you find people buying and or wearing Christmas brands and products, illuminations in the cities, and “Santa clause” on a motorbike to deliver some pizza! But in the real sense, Christmas day in Japan is the time to evaluate your business, finish some experiment or attend a lecture, and most probably plan for an appointment with your client in January. I think end year period is quite hectic for the working class, but the New Year holidays give them a reason to smile and probably rejuvenate for subsequent working days.

Preparations (Decorations)     
They are not decorations as such, but for lack of a better word, I will call them so. Each of them has own meaning with the designs and components specified. 
Kadomatsu
One of such decorations is the “kadomatsu,” composing of plum, pine and bamboo plants. Going around shopping areas, offices, and even homes, the Kadomatsu stands conspicuously along the doorsteps clearly setting you into the New Year celebration mood. 
Hanging on the main doors of buildings is the “shimenawa,” consisting of twisted rice straws and white paper that sandwich an orange. The Japanese people believe that Shimenawa will protect them from evil and any danger throughout the year. “Bonsai” is another ornamental object (mini-garden) that has growing pine, plum and bamboo plants. 

Shimenawa 

Generally, the growing plants on the decorations symbolize longevity and prosperity. 
As such, any time you visit a Japanese house, office, or institution in the New Year you better beware of the importance of such decorations/objects.


Food and Prayer
Although Japanese are not strictly religious, they have time for prayer and meditation in the New Year. One is not compelled to visit the temple or shrine all through the year, but in the New Year, the urge and motivation can be felt. Temples and shrines all over Japan are filled with both the old and young. They all flock in these religious places for special prayers to ask for blessings and good luck for the whole year. Here, they also draw or buy lucky charms for success in one’s activities like sports, passing exams among others. Prayers petitions can also be written on wooden chips and be left in temple or shrine to be prayed over.     
Osechi
Notably, special food (osechi in Japanese) is served in the New Year with every component of the food having its own meaning. One of such foods is kazunoko (fish eggs) that mean one be blessed with many children. Other foods include black beans, egg roulade, and shrimp or prawn, which symbolize health, wealth, and long life respectively. 

However, the taste and appearance of some of the foods has made me not sample (eat) all of them yet. I hope I will before I leave Japan!

New Year Cards
With all the enthusiasm and anxiety that comes with the Christmas celebrations and New Year, most of us like to show and receive love from the people we value in our lives. This can be expressed through various ways such as gifts, sending cards, and making calls. However, in Japan there is a 1,000-year-old culture of making the New Year even more interesting. This is by sending of the New Cards (nengajo in Japanese) to friends, family members, and business partners. Nengajo have been in use since the Heian Period, but came to a halt during World War II when there was a lot of tension in the country. The culture was again revived towards the end of the end World War II, when people used them to confirm the safety of their friends and relatives. According to Masami Ito’s article in the Japan Times, ones the cards reached the receivers, they could respond to confirm that they were alive and safe. The cards have a specific message written in Japanese: “Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu. Kotoshimo yoroshiku ongaishimasu” (Happiness to you on the dawn of the New Year. I hope for your favor again in the coming year- translation by Nihongo Instructor Club). However, in the current times, one can write an additional message or even personalize it to meet what they want to communicate. 

Some of the cards I received in the
New Year (2016)
Moreover, foreigners can write the message in their own language; I am yet to write one in Swahili. That is my self-challenge for 2017!
  
The nengajo has indeed been and is still one of the major lines of business in the Japan Post, but “With more and more people communicating via social media…one has to wonder how much longer thisannual New Year’s tradition will continue.” Indeed, technology has come in a big way to enhance communications especially for those who cannot be able to join their loved ones or friends for the celebrations. That is why Savvy Kenya implores you "keep up to date with the latest tech trends so that you never lose sight of family members during the holidays throughout 2016." In regard to this, Japan post has tried to introduce some new tactics such as personalizing the nengajo, where clients can go online and order for incorporation of photos and special messages before the cards are printed. It is my hope the young generation will have the urge to conserve this millennium-old culture.