Ladies and gentlemen, I am happy today as we start a new journey with the Nation Media Group.
Let begin by saying our goal at CHAMS Media to produce informative and inspiring content that transforms lives. We think we live we dream happy stories or call them feel-good stories. We produce unmatched documentaries and features. Daring Abroad is one such product. It focuses on people who have ventured beyond the borders of their home countries in various fields including entrepreneurship, leadership, education, sports, and culture. Simply, people, it is about those who have dared live, work, or do business abroad and how that has impacted on their lives. We live in a global village.
Daring Abroad has captured the imagination of audiences not only in Kenya but across the world. It has become a club where people source inspiration, business ideas, networks, exposure, and knowledge. The experience of a Nigerian teacher in Seychelles may not be the same as that of a Kenyan teacher’s experience in London but when those experiences are shared whether positive or negative, they not only enrich the profession but also showcase our unlimited boundaries and potentials.
Daring Abroad has been along for five years. It is now re-loaded with two fresh segments. There is Kenya to The World that traces the value chain in Kenya’s products making it to the global market and My Magical Kenya in which the presenter, yours truly will be sharing his experiential journeys in Kenya.
Our goal blends well with Nation Media Group’s aspiration which is to empower by informing, educating, and engaging our diverse audience
On behalf of the CHAMS Media, I humbly and sincerely thank the Nation TV for giving us the opportunity to partner with them as the broadcaster of Daring Abroad. NTV like other Nation Media Group platforms is a strong brand in current affairs in Kenya and the region.
We look forward to a fruitful relationship. The journey towards this relationship ironically began at the most unexpected time. While everything looked gloomy and vague, due to the Corona Virus crisis in March 2020, talks for this partnership began with both parties seeing the potential of this program with COVID or not. Those talks have yielded what we are doing today. Putting pen to paper. And the icing on the cake is the MOU we are signing alongside the Daring Abroad agreement, to share news content.
The plane has taken off
Thank you very much!
ALEX CHAMWADA – FOUNDER AND CEO
The Kenya Government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has responded to reported mistreatment of Kenyans living in China. This is after a video emerged on social and mainstream media on Thursday showing foreigners of African descent, including Kenyans, being evicted from hotels and Chinese apartments over claims of importing the deadly coronavirus.
The Ministry says in a statement that it has noted the concerns that arose from the situation and treatment of the Kenyan nationals in China and that the Kenyan Embassy in Beijing is closely monitoring the situation and will respond to all the challenges.
"The Ministry's attention has been drawn to information concerning the situation of some Kenyan nationals in China specifically with regard to a recent decision by the Government of China to undertake stringent testing of foreigners and Chinese nationals alike, to forestall imported and asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 in Guangzhou and other areas of China," reads the statement, in part.
Adding that "Unfortunately, these measures have in some instances precipitated unfair responses against foreigners particularly of African origin, from some members of the local community in Guangzhou, especially landlords. The Ministry through its Embassy in Beijing is seized of this matter and has officially expressed concern about these developments and is working with the Chinese authorities to tackle the matter expeditiously."
The video caused an uproar on social media, with Kenyans expressing their anger at the mistreatment of their fellow Kenyans in China, and called for swift government action.
Here is the statement in full.
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
PRESS RELEASE ON THE SITUATION AND TREATMENT OF KENYANS IN CHINA
The Ministry's attention has been drawn to information concerning the situation of some Kenyan nationals in China specifically with regard to a recent decision by the Government of China to undertake stringent testing of foreigners and Chinese nationals alike, to forestall imported and asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 in Guangzhou and other areas of China.
Unfortunately, these measures have in some instances precipitated unfair responses against foreigners particularly of African origin, from some members of the local community in Guangzhou, especially landlords.
The Ministry through its Embassy in Beijing is seized of this matter and has officially expressed concern about these developments and is working with the Chinese authorities to tackle the matter expeditiously.
The Ministry has received assurances from the Chinese Embassy in Nairobi that the Government of China takes a serious view of the situation and that the local authorities in wGuangzhou have been tasked to take immediate action to safeguard the legitimate rights of the Africans concerned.
In view of this commitment and cooperation, we expect an early and comprehensive resolution of this matter to the benefit of Kenyan nationals in China. Our Embassy in Beijing remains available to attend to any challenges that may arise and to do so in liaison with the Chinese authorities. All Kenyans in China are therefore encouraged to remain in touch with the Embassy either directly or through their Kenyan community leaders.
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
10TH APRIL, 2020
Malawi is a beautiful country known for its friendly citizens and its extraordinary fresh water lake known as Lake Malawi. There are a good number of touristic attractions in Malawi including a branch of Sunbird Hotels and Resorts known as Sunbird Nkopola. Sunbird comprises 9 hotels, and it is here, at Sunbird, that the highlight of our show is today.
Yusuf Olela was born in Karachuonyo Kanyaluo location in Homa Bay County and studied at Kisumu Day High School. He is a graduate of Kenya's Utalii College and explains that he had never envisioned heading such a big entity, away from his home country. He is also a graduate of Kenyatta University in hospitality management. After his diploma, his first job was in Mombasa as a trainee manager at Shelly beach before venturing into fast food as a shop manager. Later on, he rose through the ranks until area manager. Few years later, he went to Midland in Nakuru as a hotel manager after which he moved to Uganda. Eventually, when he returned back to Kenya, he worked as a group and sales manager for Kengeles then went to Tanzania as a general manager.
In later years, he again returned to his home country and worked as a banquet director to F&B, then came 2015 when he became the general manager when he moved to Addis Ababa.
Sunbird brand and popularity goes hand in hand with what Malawi is known for. "Malawi is very rich in culture. So we have invested in water sport activities because the lake offers opportunity." He explains that the people are also the biggest strength of the country. This is because they are very friendly and open minded. He says that it is the major reason why his family even agreed to move which him abroad since they enjoy the climate, the food, and most importantly the people.
Yusuf believes that tourism on the continent will flourish if African countries remove trade barriers. He is also lear when he explains that dreams can be achieved from anywhere in the world. "People must know that you are a brand on your own. Thus, you must take yourself out there and tell your story. And through that story you will inspire other people!"
Many Kenyans have over the years desired to get opportunities worth daring abroad. Well, it is one thing to dream, and it is another to make that dream come to life! Chams media team this time, on its weekly program, Daring Abroad, takes you all the way to Dallas, Texas; where Pastor Samson Muniu explains that his calling was to minister abroad.
His ministry work all began way back, in Egerton University, where he served as a student pastor for four years. In an effort to expand the university to Nakuru, a town campus was started, and he was instructed to serve in Nakuru town. It so happened that the then Chancellor of Egerton university, the late Bethwel Kiplagat, wanted to bring new developments to the institution so he instructed everyone to step up academically.
He says,"The Dean of students one day called me and said I needed to upgrade. Thus I decided to enroll in Egerton for a masters in counselling."
However, he never got chance to attend the classes after enrolling at the institution since his leadership team advised him to go study abroad instead. This is what drove him to apply and quickly get a full scholarship. He then flew to the US in 2004.
Pastor Muniu went to the Southern Methodist University and graduated with a masters in Divinity Studies. He had earlier on thought of returning back to Kenya, however, he got a job opening as a youth pastor at Upendo Baptist where he served for 4 years. From Dallas, he and his family moved to Wichita Falls Texas where his wife was also going to work as a nurse. It was while he was there that he decided to return to Dallas and start a church.
"I do mission work there. I also have children who I support back at home... We cannot forget home, Kenya is home."
Indeed, just as he believes, it was God's doing that saw him aim higher and continue to grow even while in Dallas. He advises everyone aspiring to travel abroad, to take the opportunities that come their way, whether while abroad or at home, and do better!
KAJIADO COUNTY- Off to a first world country, and nature throws a curve ball. It appeared promising until he set foot. Then he had a brush with reality, the sad reality that university graduates can actually work as cleaners. With no canopy, to Shield him from the brassy situation, George Mathenge, present day principal of Brookhurst International School settled for the little or worst yet, that came his way.
He was overly excited since all looked promising- he knew his life was headed for the better times.
After all he had read about how lives of those who flew to developed nations made fortune. He foresaw the Prestige. But no one had prepared him for the tough life that awaited him.
He longed to pursue a masters degree, just not in Kenya so he chose to explore academics and life at large, abroad, the urge that informed his decision to travel to the United Kingdom. With him was Ksh 60,000 only, as his security, and a bachelor’s degree in Education - science - from Kenyatta University. He had no alternative but to roll up his sleeves for the dirty work that was going to save him from lack. Undeterred he gave it his one hundred the effort that paid off.
The menial jobs ordinarily meant for the uneducated or less fortunate are the hope of a Kenyan abroad. He later managed to pay his fee for a Master of Science in Bio-medical Science. The milestone that presented a beam of hope. Having had taught during his undergraduate years, he had gained vast experience in the field. That way he secured a job as a teacher upon accomplishing his Msc. A white color job, eventually.
Mr Mathenge's experience is over the top and he attributes this to the degree of exposure he gained in the UK. He got to learn how to relate well with students. To date, students find him approachable. He also adopted favourable conditions that enhance proper learning is schools such as reaching out to each student individually, upholding dignity and making them feel respected.
"If you have taught in London, then you can teach anywhere in the world, " he indicated.
He also recalls how wild students were and how tasking it was to tame them. The experience in teaching saw him secure the position of a principal in a renowned international school.
Culture shock too was evident. The culture was not appealing to him, consequently he would not have started a family, at least not in an environment he could not have raised children in. He prefers African culture to European which he deems to be rather 'artificial' due to their closed off nature.
"You know here in Africa we are social, tukikutana kwa mat tunabonga.. (when we meet in a bus we can strike a conversation..)" he said, appreciating how open and social Kenyans come across, compared to the closed off people he had had to put up with.
Five years later the 36 year old would sit down with himself and agree that his heart was home, not in the foreign land.
"I would like to provide an international curriculum with Kenyan discipline. I don't want to teach the culture, " Mathenge intimated.
He therefore resolved to return home to settle then start life. It took him a year to get himself a job at his current place of work, Brookhurst International School as a principal.
"If you have started a good life, my friend, just continue. If you have an opportunity to go there and improve yourself, do it, just know it is not easy," Mathenge reiterated.
Feature written by Ronah Saada
LONDON, UK- Macharia Gakuru is one Kenyan who's been to hell and back, quite literally. A busy man, who's love for bio-medical engineering saw him traverse the world, at one point almost lost it all.
He fell ill, unsure of the exact ailment, but he was ill. So ill that he had to be flown to London from Darfur to seek medical attention. That was the beginning of a whole new journey. A new chapter. One of resilience, determination, a bit of lost hope and resurgence, nonetheless.
"I was told I was very ill, I was not urinating and was going into a state of a coma, I lost appetite, symptoms of kidney failure, one morning the doctor told me it has been confirmed you have kidney failure, so you have to go on dialysis," Gakuru opens up to Daring Abroad.
Also on Daring Abroad: How Joseph Warungu cheated death while working in war-torn Congo
Having studied biomedical engineering, Gakuru flew to the United Kingdom with determination to further his studies. Before pursuing further studies Gakuru had gained some exposure here through exchange programs in the medical field in the early 90s which made him marketable upon his return to Kenya.
On the show, Macharia Gakuru narrates to Daring Abroad how kidney failure changed his life, how he dealt with it and what he has been doing from then on. This was in May 2008.
"I was very ill, unable to urinate and was going into a state of a coma, I lost appetite," narrates. "These are the symptoms of kidney failure and one morning the doctor confirmed I had kidney failure so I had to go on dialysis."
Despite all these and all thanks to her sister who donated a kidney to him, Gakuru soldiered on, seeing an opportunity to help other people affected by the same. That back at home, victims of kidney failure deserve a second chance
"In this life, people have different callings, for me I want to see transformation of kidney transplantation in our country," he says. " I would not want those who have kidney failures to die but to travel my path," adds Gakuru.
Macharia Gakuru's inspiring story aired in last week's Daring Abroad that aired on both KTN and KTN News channels. In his life as a daring Kenyan , Gakuru has dared so many things; including vying to be a councilor in the UK in vain. He went to the UK in 1995 for further studies and later became a publisher, writer and broadcaster all in one.
So how was he able to juggle the many responsibilities?
"The whole purpose of coming here was not really to learn about medical engineering but the learn about the culture and the people of this country," he tells Daring Abroad. "I wanted to integrate, I wanted to learn how they do things and take them back to the Kenya I love."
It is a condition in which the kidneys lose the ability to remove waste and excess water from the bloodstream. As waste and fluids accumulate, the other body systems get affected, potentially leading to complications. Kidney failure is divided into two categories: chronic kidney disease which is a longstanding disease of the kidney leading to renal failure and acute renal failure, a condition in which kidneys suddenly cannot filter waste from blood.
"Funny thing about kidneys is that if they fail, they fail both of them, when they work, they work both of them," says Gakuru. Adding that, "That is why kidney transplantation has nothing that would disable the donor, if you want to donate a kidney to your sister or brother there is not danger in you doing so."
LUTON, ENGLAND- The Daring Abroad UK edition continued last week as we featured another Kenyan entrepreneur who has gone an extra mile to establish a shipping business in Luton Town, England.
Morris Njuguna went to the United Kingdom in 2003, a year after he graduated from the University of Nairobi with a degree in Economics and Social Studies. Ideally, he flew to the UK to further his studies, and that ambition gave birth to Kenya Exports Limited.
Also on Daring Abroad:
Like any other determined entrepreneur, Morris juggled studies, hustle and distractions with an aim of making ends meet, quite literally. And despite being holder of a Masters Degree in Accounting, he still had to fight lack of opportunities and ended up losing the war thus resorting to business.
"By 2007 , I came out with a Masters and in 2008 I was working on projects.. later on found out I had nothing to do that is why I went into business," tells Daring Abroad.
His small savings helped him put his fast foot forward to start the Kenya Exports Limited company that helps Kenyans in the UK and other parts of the wold in shipping their goods to Kenya.
"Kenya Exports Limited offers solutions to Kenyans who live in the UK or who live anywhere in the world and would like to ship anything from UK to Kenya," Njuguna further narrates.
Adding that, "We handle all the preparations, inspection, booking of containers or airline, space and we ship them to Kenya."
With his background in economics and further experience from Shiefiled Hallam University where he studied accounting, Morris Njuguna narrates to Daring Abroad the factors to consider when starting a business, cost implications and what to do when things seem to be going south in business.
"When I started this business I was in London, I used to live in one bedroom flat, that is where I started my business," he says.
"I looked for storage, with time family grew, we were constantly looking for somewhere knowing how London is I had to look for somewhere else for parking place for my business, looking was suiting me better, space and cost."
ESSEX, LONDON- Anne Wafula Strike is like the proverbial cat with 9 lives. In her whole life, she has defied odds, fought superstition and challenged status quo because she was meant to live like a normal human and not be locked up in some hut in Webuye, Kakamega County.
Her story is that of determination, guts and positivity. It is inspiring and motivating especially when you look back to her days growing up. And in that spirit, Anne Wafula Strike has defied all the disability odds to become a powerful, admired role model in the United Kingdom. She literally dines with royalty.
"I was born as a normal healthy child- that is what my parents tell me. And when I was two and half years, I got very ill; nobody knew what was happening," she says.
"And because of the kind of life then, there were two minds. Christians believed I was cursed by God and the traditionalists believed I had been bewitched."
Also on Daring Abroad
Apart from championing the rights of persons living with disability in the UK, Anne Wafula Strike is also a paralympian. She has participated in five Paralympics since 2004 and has also been to World Championships. But it has been long, a very long story, she says.
Had it not been for the aggression of her father though, a former military warrant officer, Anne Wafula Strike would not be who she is today. Her entire family had to fight superstition, primitive and archaic beliefs of her community back then, to let her live and see her dreams come true. And that her father did, against all the odds.
"The traditionalists expected my father to abandon me because they started seeing me as an outcast, a burden just like other disabled children who are locked up in houses," Anne tells Daring Abroad.
"It was then that my father took me to Kenyatta hospital where I was diagnosed with polio."
On Daring Abroad tonight, Anne Wafula-Strike also tells Alex Chamwada how and why villagers back in Mihuu, Webuye wanted to burn their home, how they managed to escape and the role her father played during the tumultuous times.
"We had to flee our home and ended up in Kahawa Barracks because my dad was in the army," she narrates.
Losing a loved one is quite a painful and costly experience. This is even more costly for Kenyans living in the diaspora and fundraising is no longer tenable.
Kenyans living in the US can now breathe a sigh of relief as one creative mind has come up with a scheme that makes funeral arrangements for families residing in the US easier and cheaper. He is based in Los Angeles, California and his name is Dr. Aquillahs Muteti.
His journey began in Makueni County, where he was born. In time, he joined the University of Nairobi, Chiromo Campus, and in 1990, he graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics.
He was employed into various small businesses afterward where later he ventured into private businesses dealing in computers and automobiles. Later on, while at a conference in Atlanta, he got inspired on thinking big. He made an application and got admitted as a student. Eventually, after his newly found passion for teaching, he found himself in Los Angeles, California where he taught Math at a local high school.
Currently, he is an Assistant Principal in a middle school in California and also an adjunct professor. He lectures in two universities one of them being the National University, where he teaches the masters program for teachers.
However, while working, he could not help but notice the great difficulties that Kenyans in the American Diaspora faced when it came to the loss of loved ones who were domiciled both inside and outside the United States.
"A family could receive 3000$ from the welfare associations and then the question remains, 'Do they buy a ticket or send that money home despite them wanting to go back home and bury their loved one?'" With this in mind, Dr. Muteti founded Ukarimu in 2016, a corporation registered in the State of California that offers families bereavement support after they enroll as members.
''Death is inevitable and you may have insurance but US companies will not touch someone who is not in the US. However, Ukarimu does,'' he says.one joins Ukarimu by paying 414 dollars, a one-time enrollment fee, then pays 45 dollars a month if covering for a family of up to 10 members.
Any extra beyond 10, one pays an extra 2 dollars. For one to be a member, he has to be in the USA but his dependence can be from wherever as long as he/ she is a relative.
He explains that the major challenge is that people are yet to understand who they are. They still have to keep on explaining to many that they are not an insurance company and that Ukarimu has a lot of benefits to offer. Once a member, one has to wait for four months before accruing any benefits. Their enrollment period is twice a year i.e. from June 1st till July 31st and from December 1st till January 31st.
"In order to protect ourselves, we must have those limited set periods of time when only few members can join our organization," he goes further to explain. For you to register these members you have to give them their dates of birth, their ID number and their legal names as they appear in government documents then it allows Ukarimu 48 hours to actually verify that death and the relationships back in Nairobi.
Since its incorporation, Ukarimu has close to 500 members and has assisted about 25 families who have lost their loved ones. In just two years they have given out about Ksh. 20,000,000 to bereaved families, a statistic that Dr. Muteti is proud of.
"We are here to really make sure the Kenyan community is really in a good place as they continue growing here and as they continue supporting their families back home," he concludes.
NAIROBI, (KENYA)- The decision by Nairobi County governor Mike Sonko to kick out of the city public transport vehicles caused an overwhelming uproar that saw it revoked 12 hours after its unprecedented implementation.
It was a decision that saw many city dwellers walk for long distances to and from their places of work with some of them accusing the governor of being inconsiderate.
"It was made in a rush," someone argued while others said the County government should have provided an alternative transport system in and out of the central business district before banning matatus.
While suspending the decision, governor Mike Sonko apologized to Nairobi residents saying the intention was not to cause pain but decongest the city and also keep Nairobians fit.
There has been a lot of talks about how to decongest Nairobi's central business district for a while now, a step that requires expertise, wider consultations and public participation.
While this is happening, there is a Kenyan scholar who has helped transform the transport system in London, United Kingdom. Prof Washington Ochieng from the Centre for Transport Studies at the Imperial College in London is the brain behind the revered transport system in London and some across Europe. He was featured in Chams Media's The Chamwada Report show in 2016.
In an interview with Alex Chamwada then, Prof Ochieng termed Nairobi's transport system 'clumsy.'
"When I go to Nairobi, it (transport system) is like free for all. Things appear to be chaotic," he said.
However, he believes the situation can be salvaged with expertise and lessons learned from other countries including the UK.
"What needs to be done is to produce a strategic longterm transport masterplan. But you need to put the initial house (current situation) in order first."
"And that masterplan must include all policymakers, stakeholders and the public," he said.
Prof Ochieng, who is originally a civil engineer with a surveying background, however, said it is not as easy. From his past experience in developing the European navigation system and London congestion charter, a lot of factors must be considered. And Nairobi's makes things even more difficult.
"I was instrumental in creating the first ever European space navigation system. I am also involved in transforming London."
"To do these you really have to understand the culture of the city itself. Then there is the question of capacity and capability of a nation to do that."
Prof Ochieng also said that issues like corruption and the type of governance also play a role in aid of proper transport structure in a city.
"Good governance is also an issue- that significant investment must go the exact amount."
Watch the full interview in the video attached.