Playing It To The Bone

DiligenceIts the last official day of summer!

Still a bit jet lagged. Having problems sleeping. Haven’t found my groove.

1st Accelerator Session today. Wonder what I really signed up for.

I won’t duck and run!

This is Truston Ailende. I am a member of the Zished Team and this is my 5th day in Kenya.


Taking The Leap of Faith

Take The Leap of Faith

At junctions in our lives, there is always a conflict. One film that accurately captured this was Spirit. It is the story of a horse who wants his freedom. In the climax of the film, the horse must escape through the grand canyon. After a breath-taking chase, the horse and his rider must make a jump for the other side. The distance is really impossible but by putting everything on the line, they make it.

I feel like my life is at that point where I must reach deep within myself and pull off this last move. I think of all that has been done to get here starting in 2001. I am sorry for the people I have hurt along the way but I am also grateful for who I have become.

That is the reason why I go on! At this stage of my life, I am no longer afraid of failing. Been there done that! I am now more afraid of futility. That every road taken, every encounter and every lesson learned would have been for nothing. For me that is unacceptable.

The cold still gnaws at me. Yesterday I wore a singlet, a shirt and a sweater. When I was still feeling cold, I wore a suit jacket yet the cold is unabated. It gnaws at me but I am committed to the mission. So as the week ends and we begin our classes officially tomorrow, I make a commitment to give this all I’ve got. More than that I cannot give.

This is Truston Ailende. I am a member of the Zished Team and this is my 4th day in Kenya.

Getting Around

Kenyan Bus

Kenya is 3 hours ahead of Ghana. One of my first tasks in Kenya was to reset all my timepieces. I got a 3 months visa so I am staying put. I have no taste for flight until sometime in late November or December. The only place my heart wants to be at the end of the day is with my family. But I guess that will now have till wait till Christmas.

Yesterday Kojo and I went to town without our City Guide. She came in before our appointment at iHub meaning to take us there but we insisted that we had better start figuring out the town ourselves. What followed would be a reminder of my childhood with me going off to school after being fussed over by my mother and sister.

Fortunately for us, the iHub was not too hard too find. We got in an had a meeting with our contact and later headed for home. What for me is kind of hard getting used to is the cold. I am still cold. Despite wearing a singlet, shirt and sweater on top, I still freeze at night.

This is Truston Ailende. I am a member of the Zished Team and this is my 3rd day in Kenya.

Going To Town

Town Scene

Yesterday was the first official day spent in Kenya. The package we came on was excellent. In addition to getting a taxi from the airport and an apartment  we got a city guide who took us around for orientation. Being a tech I asked to be allowed to visit 88mph which is also a business accelerator. But sincerely comparing 88mph to iHub is like comparing the Nigerian Defence Academy to SandHurst. While I accept that they are both world class military officer training academies, let me not say anymore before I kill myself.

I was impressed by the size of the place. Then it hit me. My whole life I always over-estimate the supposed opponent and I am also always disappointed when I finally meet him. When I have approached any opponent with initiative, faith and the will to win, I have found out that non of them have ever been a match. Proof I am still here!

From 88mph we were guided to the iHub where I got to meet the Community Manager for iHubiHub was closed because they were having a hacker camp for kids. I was impressed with the depth of the topic coverage. They were teaching the kids how to program robots. My views on this will wait till another time. We were taken around to the various units of iHub. The iHub is divided into Research, Consulting, User Experience and High Performance Computing.

High Performance Computing has always been a special interest of mine. Most of my weekends this year in Ghana were spent at AITI KACE learning from Mr Earnest Ofori. Those times where the most productive time in my entire life. So today, I intend to see the guy in charge and find out how I can join. I also also look forward to gaining insight into User Experience but I have to attend with Kojo. High Performance Computing is related to my gaming interests.

After visiting the iHub, our guide decided to show us an alternative route to our apartment and I learnt that entering a bus in Kenya is similar to how we do it in Lagos. Fortunately, I did not disappoint myself by falling down. There is still some Nigerianess that Banku and Kenke can never make go away.

Mentally I am yet to recognize that I am no longer in Ghana. I don’t miss Banku and Kenke although I fell in love with them over there. There is something I have noticed about my stomach over the years, its only complain is being empty so long as I settled it, I never have any worries.

In Nigeria, I would fall in love with Eba. In Ghana, I would fall in love with Kenke because of the Kenke Warriors. They were an elite band of eating men and a lady that taught me how to eat Kenke. They are also my Ghanaian family.

This is Truston Ailende. I am a member of the Zished Team and this is my 2nd day in Kenya.

Landing In Kenya

Flag of Kenya

When I would leave Nigeria in 2012 to search for a vision for the rest of my life, my thoughts were geared towards going to Ghana for a soul-search and coming back home to Nigeria. However yesterday with 6 days left to stay in Ghana, I would leave Ghana and head to Kenya.

Why? Well I got a once in a lifetime opportunity to get funding for a start-up that I was with in Ghana. So I headed out. Hard to think that I was packing up to go home.

In The Lord of the Rings, Bilbo Baggins states that the trouble with leaving home is that you can be swept off down the road far from where you started from. That is what happened to this Nigerian.

The trip would start off with the decision to go. Here I was about to go home after 14 months away and I could get a chance to get VC Funding in Kenya. That is like asking a devout muslim if he wanted to go to Mecca. So I said yes.

I would be traveling with a member of the team Kojo Ayirebi who would be handling the financials on this operation. My job would be to go in as a programmer.

We would have to get our yellow fever vaccinations ahead of the trip. From then on, all hell would be let loose. We would have like 5 days to leave Ghana. Buying the tickets was a breeze because they were bought online but the other preparations of traveling at short notices like the saying of goodbyes to friends weren’t.

Our trip from to Kenya would involve stops at Lagos, Nigeria and Kigali, Rwanda. We got to Lagos on time to pick up more Nigerians for the trip and I was happy to hear Yoruba once again. When the plane landed at Kigali, you could hear the Yorubas enter church mode. I have forgotten how much Nigerians love God.

Getting into the Nairobi was easy getting out of the airport wasn’t. All West Africans entering Kenya must apply for a visa. For Ghanaians it is free but for Nigerians (The Kings of Africa), it is not. You have to pay a fee of $50 and you better hold cash because the immigration officials will detain you until you come up with the money.

Being from Ghana, we assumed that since this was the almighty Kenya, getting an ATM at the airport would be easy. Wrong move! Since the fire at the Kenyan Airport, all the bank ATMs no longer work. So here I was stuck in a foreign country for 2 hours until we could come up with the payment. Lesson Learned :- Nigerians are the kings of Africa and it doesn’t help a king not to bring tribute when he is traveling to the house of another king. Kenyans are the Kings of East Africa. If you are a Nigerian and you think that way, you will never have a problem.

With the immigration issue out of the way, Kojo and I get a taxi that had been waiting for us since we arrived and he took us to our apartment from where I am writing this. We met our caretaker and thankfully there is food to eat.

A note about the weather before I leave. KENYA IS COLD. LIKE REALLY COLD. Even now with no air conditioning, I am freezing. My hands are chilled. We didn’t bring sufficient clothing so later today, we need to get clothes as well as know where the iHub is.

This is Truston Ailende. I am a member of the Zished Team and this is my 1st day in Kenya.