Monthly Archives: November 2015

Thanksgiving weekend

The long weekend us coming to a close and let’s just say it was 4 miserable days spent indoors. It’s rained day and night and the temperatures dipped to near freezing. Add that to the heating system in our dorms not working and it’s good to say the long weekend was slow and painful.

Thanksgiving lunch was great. The force support squadron outdid themselves and prepared a great meal for all those who remained on base over the long weekend. There were officers welcoming us in the Dining Facility  or DFAC as we call it. There were officers and Senior enlisted serving us. It was great seeing them out there while they could have been hanging out with their families.

Luckily with good Wi-Fi and my handy apps, I’ve been able to watch all the big college and NFL games. I was also able to catch some European soccer action during the week. All my UEFA Champions league and Europa cup games. Thanks to technology and a few free daytime hours my sports appetite was fed.

There are still block tests to pass to get out of here so done study time had to be set aside. With good study his put in that has been a breeze so far.

There is an app airmen use on base called yik yak. It’s so interesting watching airmen say things they don’t have the willpower to go out and do. People will complain about their roommates behaviors but won’t tell them face to face and they are in the same room. Y generation at it’s best. The same goes for asking ladies out. They’ll compliment someone on the app instead of going out and saying in person.

It’s also the local Craiglist. Airmen buy stuff they don’t need with money they don’t have. Sooner or later they are broke and want to offload stuff for cheap to get some cash. I bought 2 pairs of brand new Converse shoes for 30 bucks. Who does that? Why buy them in the first place? I’m not complaining though. Others are about to ship to their first base and have too much weight to carry on the plane or even take with them. So there are a tonne of TVs, Xboxes, 200 dollar Nikes and Beats headphones..these I don’t get but hey everyone wants to have their Beats and then realizes they are not all that..All the while me and my Bose are having a great partnership.

It’s back to class for now, winter gear in hand..

Naivasha Relay 2015 (Hash House Harriers)

Adventure With Mash

It was after an evening Hasher’s run around the Parklands area of Nairobi that I heard about the Naivasha Relay. Plumber who is one of the seasoned Nairobi Hashers couldn’t stop on how much of an experience the relay is. As I downed my beer, my adventurous streak started pushing the idea of what an adventure this one would be. I thought of running down the Rift Valley escarpment to Naivasha, the rough terrain, the danger of running into a herd of buffaloes or getting a snake bite while running in the savannah grass and I was sold! I signed up for the relay and ordered another beer 🙂

Hashers getting ready to leave Nairobi and start the Naivasha Relay 2015 Hashers getting ready to leave Nairobi early in the morning and start the Naivasha Relay 2015

The relay route starts at Dagoretti in Nairobi away from the busy highways and off to a dirt-road track that meanders down the Rift Valley…

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Winter is coming

I’m still in training in th the middle of nowhere. I’m nearly getting done with this phase and then I’ll be on to my first posting. That should be interesting.

This place hasn’t been too bad. The town near the base is not too small. It has the necessities. I got to go off base last weekend and checked out the mall. Got cold gear while I was at it. Let’s just say winter is fast approaching and in this flat bare space around us, the winds are painfully cold. The cold gear on the other hand is quite expensive but it’s bc necessary if you don’t want to freeze.

When I’m off duty I minimize any outdoor activities. In uniform unfortunately we don’t have much of an option. We are out in the cold matching everyday at 0630hrs when it’s freezing cold. There are regulations as to what cold gear one can wear with in uniform. We can have gloves and beanies in addition to the issued gear. My face is a mess. It’s cold-burned by the wind. The days are much warmer though so that’s not too bad.

Luckily we have super fast internet in the dorms which we pay dearly for. I’m not complaining though as I’m able to watch live TV on my phone. I’ve found great apps which allow me to watch all the European soccer on the weekends. I’m watching Tottenham Vs Westham game live. Talk about keeping up with my favorite stuff. I’m still learning how the American football is played but at least I know a touchdown which is similar to a rugby try. College football is just as big as the NFL around here and I’m getting to know all the best teams. The Ohio State, Baylor and Alabamas.

It’s Thanksgiving week so we only have 3 days of classes then a 4 day weekend.  I’ll just remain on base and have my roast turkey in the DFAC hall or mess as other branches call it.

Have a warm week and be blessed.

Veteran’s Day

It’s Veteran’s day today. It’s a free day with no classes. We did a parade on Friday to honor those who’ve served before us.

The base I’m in right now is mainly a training base. There are thousands of trainees doing different courses here. We are all divided into squadrons which is the Airforce lowest grouping.

It’s a holiday and there is not much to do around here as it’s in the middle of nowhere and I don’t play computer games. X-box, PS3,4..that kinda stuff. It’s so big around bases I’ve been too that they have game shops in the BXs (Base Exchange) on base. My roommate plays so he’s on his computer most of the time.

Luckily they just installed some fast wi-fi so I’m online most of the time. There is ping pong, basketball, football but it’s getting chilly here. I don’t fancy being outdoors in 50,60 degree weather. I’m from Africa and that’s kinda chilly. Most people here are walking around in shorts and vests. Not me for sure.

We have exams all the time so even if it’s a holiday, my class has a study session later in the day. Not ideal but who wants to fail and get washed back (aka go back in time and wait for the next group taking your course to get to where you failed). Not funny.

We just got more freedoms this week. Since we’ve been here, we’ve had to be on uniforms at all times on duty and off duty hours. We can now wear civilian clothes but we have to earn it first by passing two room inspections and two open ranks. That’s uniform and personal grooming inspection in military speak. After that you get paper work signed off and are issued an ATP (Advanced Transition Phase) card which you must show when exiting the building in civilian attire. It also allows you to go off base during off duty hours and can consume alcohol.

I haven’t had a beer in over 3 months. I look forward to having one soon. After I pass my exam off course. It’s interesting what happens to young people after they get these freedoms. They go crazy. Get high, drink while under 21, drive while they are intoxicated and sexually assault other Airmen.

Woe unto to the unlucky ones who the military police of the Airforce, also known as Security Forces arrests..there is the military justice also known as Uniformed Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) waiting for them. Punishments vary from reduction in rank, money taken out of paychecks for months, letter of counseling (LOC),letter of reprimand (LOR), confinement, and ultimately dishonorable discharge.

Such is the life here. Stupid decisions ruining people’s lives forever. It’s not that bad but some young and older people don’t take in seriously until they are in too deep in trouble.

I’m enjoying my time here and not so much the “death by PowerPoint” that we have to go through. It’s a phase though and it should be over soon.

Thank you to all those who served before us. We are here because of you.

Happy Veteran’s day.

Out of hibernation

I haven’t posted in a while now. I joined the US Airforce and was out for a couple of months. A different kind of disciplined living the military way. I made it in one piece. It wasn’t too bad. Not what I expected apart from all the screaming MTIs or Military Training Instructors.

We didn’t have phones for the duration of the training and only got 2 fifteen minute calls. They were timed and we all called at the same time. Imagine 50 guys all talking at the same time with a MTI reminding you of the time left. Not ideal but we lived to tell the stories.

We learnt to live with each other. Guys generally don’t have a problem with that but add the group showers, dorm setting for the 50 plus guys with some snoring and it gets pretty interesting.

Following orders comes naturally after the first few days. I will never forget how the on the first day the bus stopped in front of this building. A female MTI got in the bus and gave us 40 seconds to get off the bus. We took 50 plus seconds. She wasn’t impressed and made all of us get back on the bus for a “take 2”..44 of us managed to get off the bus with seconds to spare..we learnt about urgency the hard way.

The first week was a blur to say the least. Most of us to this day don’t remember what we did. We were what was called “zero weekers”, a term used to describe newly arrived trainees. We did everything funny, from marching awkwardly, wearing sneaker shoes with our uniform, looking confused everywhere we went and many grave errors which we quickly learnt was bad for our survival.

We had early morning starts and short nights. We were always tired. We ran, exercised six days a week, marched everywhere we went and always had to be with a “wingman”, another trainee whenever we went.

We are done now and are in follow on training across the country. We made lifelong friends from all over the world and will always remember the time of our lives in boot camp.

School is crazy but we have more freedoms now..and most importantly we have our phones back. We learnt we could survive just fine without them after a while.

I won’t be posting as much as I would love to. There are rules on stuff we can’t be posting out here. I represent a bigger organization than myself and I’m a reflection of the Airforce whether on duty or off duty. I’m glad I’m doing something I can call worthwhile with my life a year abd a half since I arrived in this great country called the US. I thank God for all the things I’ve been able to accomplish so far.