Monday, 28 February 2011

Meeting with the Regional Postal Manager - samosas, sausages and tea

After our early morning run in the hills of Nyeri, we got a phone call from our friend Mr Mulundi - Head Postmaster A in Nyeri. "When are you guys coming for tea?" He was apparently sitting together with his manager; the Regional Postal Manager who is the Postal Manager for all of the Central Province and he wanted to meet the new celebrities in town - team Twiga!
So we called another friend of ours  - the taxi driver Josef - and went immediately after breakfast to see the Regional Manager in downtown Nyeri. The meeting which lasted for 3 hours and included Kenyan tea - with milk and sugar - accompanied by samosas and sausages, turned out to be very successful.

Mr Mulundi, Bill, John, Mr Gathura, Francisco, Eva
 We got a lot of questions answered and received a lot of new ideas.
Spent the rest of the day in the office in the hotel.

Offical team Twiga office including Tusker's

Sunday, 27 February 2011

The wildest weekend

Roger, roger, simba, simba..... our safari driver and guide is talking over the radio - we are looking for lions. We are at the Samburu national park for the weekend and what a weekend. We have seen four out of the big five: Lion, Leopard, Elephant and Water Buffalo - here is the proof:

Simba drinking water

Chui having his freshly killed breakfast

Elephant family

Water buffalos
We also saw a lot of twigas - giraf's:


We stayed in a tent camp in the savanna - together with a naughty group of baboons. At night we heard the lion roaring and hyenas drinking water just outside our tent. In the morning we could see elephant pooh in the camp.....!
Me and Luan in front of our tent

We also visited a village with both samburus and turkanas.
New friends

And finally we made a "Canon stop" at the Equator.

The middle of the world

I enjoyed the weekend so much. A great combination of wildlife and culture in the village.
Kenya is GREAT!

Sun is rising in Samburu national reserve

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Interviewing the locals

Again another busy day with lots of new impressions. We kicked off the day in the gardens of Green Hills Hotel while the "house storck" wandered by. We wanted to interview the locals about their use of the post office and their needs for additional offerings. Our marketing expert - John - prepared a questionnaire. We walked into town, went to a photocopy shop and made 50 copies and wandered off into the street to catch some locals that were willing to talk to us. Most of the locals were very willing and had a lot of information to give to us. The trend was clear quite early - most of them don't use the post office for anything else than picking up the mail. Some do pay their bills there but many goes else were. Everyone thought that the post office was old fashioned. So there is definitely a need for our help in advising the Postal Cooperation of Kenya on how to improve.
Lunch at a local restaurant. John (US), Luan(Switzerland), Bill (US), Reka(Hungary), Joshua(China), Anna (South Korea), Eva (Denmark), Bianica (US), Haruta (japan)

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Settled in Nyeri

We have finally settled in Green Hills Hotel in Nyeri, which will be our home for the next 3½ weeks. The hotel is  ½ km out of town. Even though the town has 200.000 citizens there is only a few roads with tarmac the rest is dirt roads. We went for a run this morning a 7 o'clock, up and down the hills in an altitude of 1800 meters. We met at lot of children on their way to school and they were all shouting "hello Mzungo" - hello white - raising their hands for a high five. We also went for aerobics in the hotel today - with mr Speedy Gonzales. I have never done aerobics at a pace like that - still in 1800 meters..... I was breathing my lungs out.

Our project is progressing well. Today we met with the head postmaster of Nyeri - Mr Mulundi. He was so happy to have us visiting him. He offered tea, showed us around the postoffice and gave us a lot of important information for our project. The headmaster was very surprised to learn that we have mail boxes in front our houses. He said that this would never work in Kenya as people would be stealing the mail - "very thing will get broken in Kenya" he said.

Posta Kenya - bike

1 month of paperwork at the postoffice
We have also met the Provincial Commissioneer and the District Commissioneer. There are only 8 provinces in Kenya - so the PC is a man of importance. Therefore we were very pleased that he wanted to meet with us.

Monday, 21 February 2011

The Power and Passion of IBM

Today we showed the power and passion of IBM to our partners - at least this is what we did according to Muriuki - he has very high thoughts of us. We finally met with our partners: Postal Coperations of Kenya, the ICT board and e-government. We presented our workplans and they actually seemed quite happy with the job we have done so far. I think all of us suddenly felt the passion for the job and we are all eager to get settled down in Nyeri tomorrow where we can start our work. I hope there is a whiteboard - there are so many things that needs to come up there.
Today we also met with our colleagues in IBM and had a changes to talk to the account managers of our 
The Global IBM team

Francesco pushing a dying Posta Kenya car
  Even though we were all very tired after a long day we decided to go to "Nairobi by night". We had a night club to ourselves since it was Monday night. Drove back home with a taxi driver that was either drunk or stoned. The very well organized roads of Nairobi was a perfect racecourt for him.
Bill's doing the limbo

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Orientation day

Alex and Muriuki
A very busy day is coming to an end. We spent the morning with Alex and Muriuki from DOT who are our NGO partner during our stay.

We prepared for our meetings tomorrow with our "customers".  My team - "Team Twiga" -  is going to work on "strategic directions for competitive postal financial services" for the Postal Cooperation of Kenya (PCK).

After a very quick lunch our great driver Raphael and his team of drivers took us to "Bomas of Kenya" where we saw traditional households and 2 hours of dancing and singing. We sat together with a bunch of school girls.
They were absolutely thrilled by the dancers and they were almost dancing and singing in their seats. I think the music is in their blood.
School girls enjoying the music

Saturday, 19 February 2011

The Adventure has begun

The adventure has begun - I arrived yesterday in Nairobi from my skiing holiday in Austria. Quite a change! Both cultural wise and weather wise. I was picked up in the airport by Raphael and taken to the Country Lodge were I met with a few people from the team.
The team consists of 12 IBM'er from all over the world - we are here to work for one month on three different projects for IBM's Corporate Service Corps

Today is Saturday and 6 of us managed to meet in the hotel even though we have never seen each other before. We only know the team from weekly phone calls since Christmas.
We decided to go for at short walk to the national museum. The short walk turned out to be a 2 hour walk in the heat of the sun and the dust of the road before we finally reached our goal. We probably didn't take the shortest way. We were happy when we managed to cross the roads - traffic is hell. But we followed some of the locals and managed to get over the road in one piece. We toured the museum and had a lovely lunch at a cafe and went back to the hotel - this time by taxi.

Joshua, Anna, Nimesh, John and Eva in front of the National Museum

Later tonight we are meeting with our NGO representatives and the rest of the team - can't wait.