Sunday, 15 June 2014

Two weeks later

I've now been home for two weeks and it's of course very different from my adventure in Kenya. The best things with home is my family, friends, colleagues, the fresh air, jogging in the wood and getting our sail boat ready for Midsummer. Our Kenya team still keeps in touch through our Whatsapp group and I think we all appreciate that easy possibility.

With some distance from my time in Kenya, I would like to share my top 5 during my month in Africa in no specific order.

* The possibility to get to know a country beyond the traditional tourist tracks. By going to the WEF office every day, we got to see and experience something else, more everyday life.

* Sailing a hobie cat in the Indian ocean with my friend Malena with the warm winds and warm water splashing over us.

* To see and experience the energy, drive and passion of the people we met in Kenya. They are building up their country and have a goal, vision and purpose - something to work for together.

* My first safari to Amboseli. Fantastic to see all the animals out there with Kilimanjaro in the background. A dream come true for me.

* Our field trip to the women groups in the outskirts of Nairobi. This was an amazing day! To meet and talk to the women and also to see how they live, what they work with and how their lives have been impacted by the possibility to borrow money and start their own business.
#ibmcsc kenya

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Home sweet home

I was able to bring the nice weather from Nairobi with me home :-) so today I took a walk in our neighbourhood...something I really missed in Nairobi.

Thanks CSC Kenya 8 team and DOT for a great month! I'll miss you!

I was happy to meet my sons Erik and Hugo again

Street life in Nairobi

Before I close this blog, I would like to share the street life in Nairobi with you...and I didn't get it all on picture. What I missed is all the people that went in the middle of the road and sold everything you had no idea that you needed. This could be really handy those days we got stuck in traffic and could buy bananas or chips. Below you can see different kind of "stores" along the roads I went by in Nairobi.
#ibmcsc kenya

Our last...

This has been the week of our last of a lot, and a busy one. Therefore you’ll get it all in one chunk from the Kenyatta airport.

Our last weekend in Africa
Luke took us to Gatanga where he lived and worked about 10 years ago. This is appr1 hours drive north of Nairobi, up in the Aberdare mountains. Up here it was really green and the air crisp and clear. A nice change to the diesel and smoke in Nairobi. We met his former colleagues at YARD (Youth Action for Rural Development) that told us about their great work, especially with the children infected of affected by HIV. After coffee and tea, we filled our bus with people from YARD and went even further up in the mountains to where they grow tea and to the artificial lake that provides Nairobi with drinking water. A very beautiful area!
Luke, Sebastian (the founder of YARD) and Nancy

Tea plantations. Look close to see those that pick the tea.

Listening to the stories of the women
We also visited two women groups and were welcomed with singing and dancing. The first group did woven baskets and the second one did farming and had cows and pigs. The second group invited us all for lunch. I was so overwhelmed by the large portion so I totally forgot to take a picture…and more and more was added to the plate. The last group was a customer of WEF and had invested in a green house.

Indian restaurant in the evening and then dancing! The last place, Tamasha in Hurligham, was amazing – great music, semi outdoor and a lot of locals.

Bargaining at the Masai market
Sunday was shopping day starting with the Masai market where I bought a lot of gifts after serious bargaining. I’m getting good at this :-) We also went to the Village market to eat lunch and go to the Kazuri store. I think this place was in the expat area because there were so many white people – more than I’ve seen since I came to Kenya.

Our last out of assignment work - Career fair at Strathmore university
On Monday I was back in my comfort zone. Jackie and I did a presentation on Business Analytics for the students as well as hosting a break out on the same topic. They had a lot of questions like if predictive would have helped Lehman Brothers and if predictive can see when the next recession is coming.

Our last cultural evening
Daniela had this great idea, everyone makes an appetizer from home to share and we meet in her place. So we did. Heli and I made a joint Nordic effort with “gubbröra” and salmon on our appetizers. This was a great evening with lots of delicious food and drinks and laughter.

  Our last days in the office + the final presentation
After a lot of work and a couple of dry runs, we were ready for the final presentation on Friday where we delivered our 12 recommendations to WEF. It was a good meeting with great discussions and a last Kenyan lunch to finish our work together. I was sad to have to say good bye to Millicent and Rosslynne that have taken so good care of us at WEF. Our IBM colleagues were also present and together we went to the IBM office to update the executives on our findings and recommendations in our respective projects.
Luke choosing what to eat at Originelle
After we have finished our presentation

Our last dinner
Helli choosing which part of the turkey to eat

We all went together with DOT and Mildred from IBM to Carnivore. Previously, you could eat meat from the game hunts in the parks here, but nowadays the most exotic meat is crocodile (tastes like a mix of chicken and fish), ostrich, and sliced ox balls. I also tried the local drink Dawa which is like Caipirinha but with vodka instead. After a lot of laughter, we met at the pool at Riverside to listen to and together sing a farewell song provided by Dominic. The night finished with a lot of hugging….. I envy all that will go to Masai Mara together tomorrow, but I also want to go home to meet my family, friends and go out sailing – mixed feelings! I wish I could take everyone incl. the project with me home :-)

 #ibmcsc kenya

Sunday, 25 May 2014

A working day in Nairobi

I thought I would share one of those days I have here in Nairobi.

Waking up in my "tent".

Chaotic traffic. Especially one of the large junctions close to our hotel. Did they run out of money as there are no traffic lights? The other day, none could move so finally a man stepped out of the car and started to direct the others.
Alex, Luke and Raghu in our office on the 11th floor in the NSSF building in Upper Hill.

I've learned that there seems to be no numbers on the houses, just a name.
Lunch in Originelle or the restaurant that advertises that they don't use spices. What you see is a typical Kenyan meal.
A lady comes into our office at 10 and 15 with our tea and coffee. It is always based on warm milk.

Quite an impressive view from our window.
The first weeks we had a lot of interviews. Here we are talking to some WEF officers. They are the volunteers working on the ground with the women groups. Amazing people!
And then finally I arrive at "home" again. I'm living on the top floor which is 5 stairs up. Good everyday exercise :-)

Talking about exercise, at the far end of the hotel is a pool and a gym. Yes, I have been to the gym! 2-3 times a week!

We have an additional apartment for the team where we have our breakfast and dinners if we are around. Millie and Ruth are cooking for us.

#ibmcsc kenya

Friday, 23 May 2014

This week's highlights

I cannot believe it - I've already been gone 4 weeks from Sweden. Time flies!

I would like to share another great week with you:

We kicked off with our mid-term review Monday morning where the purpose was to test our findings and initial recommendations with WEF and to get feedback about where we are heading. The WEF team was represented by the CEO and the managers of the different departments. We had very good discussions and were inspired to continue our work.
After the mid-term review

Tuesday we worked from home partly due to the student demonstrations downtown. It was a good decision as traffic apparently was worse than ever. For lunch we decided to walk to a close by Office park with a restaurant. This was the first time we went outside the gates by foot - felt wild and crazy!

Tuesday night was a treat with delicious food at a Brazilian restaurant down-town. First you went to the huge salad buffe and then all the different kind of meat, fish, prawns and crocodile were served at the table as long as you had the green side up on your card. When you were done you put the red side up.

On Wednesday afternoon, we visited the IBM Research Lab in Nairobi. It's one of IBM's 12 Research Labs and the first one in Africa. It's a very modern office with around 25 researchers within different areas like Agriculture, Water, Education, Financial inclusion, Health, Traffic etc. You can read more about their interesting and visionary projects here. After listening to them describing what they currently are working on, questions like ...and what is my contribution? popped up... Well, lets instead move on...

The same evening we were all invited to the travel agent we are using for our safaris for another delicious meal with great company.

And last night we went to Strathmore university to listen to what apps the students in the 2 week Bluemix workshop (the assignment of other colleagues in the CSC team) had come up with, partly based on our assignments. It was great to be able to see what they had built and discuss their solutions and ideas.

Between all of this, we have had more interviews, researched more and worked on our final presentation. It's understandable that I will turn the lights off in a couple of minutes...
#ibmcsc kenya

Monday, 19 May 2014

Climbing Mount Longonot and looking for lions in Lake Nakuru

Time for a group trip to the Lake Naivasha and Lake Nakuru area NV of Nairobi. We split up into 2 teams where Heli, Jackie, Luke and myself went to climb up the old volcano Mount Longonot. The rest went bycicling or hiking in Hells Gate.

Mount Longonot was steeper than I thought and hot in the burning morning sun. Once up on the rim, cool winds from the inside of the crater cooled us off. What a beautiful view in all directions from the top. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to go all around the rim but we made a dash towards the highest peak....but our driver and guide Justice, our timekeeper, made us turn around to kind of slither down the mountain. It was really great to be able to walk out in the wild after 2 weeks with a driver and asked to stay inside the gates in the evening.

We met the rest of the team and went for an afternoon game drive in Lake Nakuru before dinner. The best game drive was the early morning one with fresh air an many animals out. Another gamedrive after breakfast, lunch and then back to Nairobi to work on our mid-term-review presentation the next morning...

To my list of animals, I was among others able to add white and black rhino, "Pumba", flamingo, many new birds...

Another great weekend with a great team!
Mount Longonot

We made it! Heli, Luke, myself and Jackie

The crater and the highest peak in the background

Lunch for the Hell's gate team

White Rhino at sunset

Baboon at sunrise


This is as close as we got to the lions...

2*"Pumba" running from something

#ibmcsc Kenya