I am just back to the office having taken a few days off last week to attend to what I call extra-curricular activities. Things have settled at home and Shiro has calmed down after talking to the children through my mother’s phone. It also seems that my mother gave her kudos for “allowing her grandchildren to come home”. Coming from my mum to Shiro, such a compliment is as huge as it is unexpected.
Shiro also seemed to have overcome her misgivings regarding the visit and I was pleasantly surprised when she told me, “It seems the kids are having a blast and they are learning a lot. Maybe they should do this every holiday.” I dared not encourage this to proceed any further since she would point out my mistake of not informing her on time. I concurred with her when she said, “I think that you need to plan for them to also visit my folks so that they can get a sense of how all families operate”.
Since the issue of the children was now sorted, I could focus on other matters in the village. It all started last year when one of the candidates for the MP seat approached what he called “the professionals in Nairobi”. He said he wanted us to brainstorm on how we can “use our skills and experience to better the lives of people back home”. We met a few times and I must say that the guy — his name is Peter — seemed to have a plan for what he wants to achieve.
I was very shocked when early this year he told me that he had appointed me the chairman of the infrastructure programme. I was initially against the idea and said, “aren’t you setting me up against your other politicians over money for roads?” He told me, “relax, you will be my think tank providing my team and me with advice on the best decisions to make regarding infrastructure — so that we can get funding from investors and from the government”.
I was flattered by this appointment and even Amisi, my life coach, seemed to think that the appointment was a good idea.
To ensure that the meetings were fully attended, I decided to set up bi-weekly Saturday breakfasts, which only go on for 40 minutes with a clear agenda. It has been also interesting because I have already been able to figure out the members who have the potential to disrupt our agenda with their comments. One member, Billy keeps going on and on about how our constituency has been marginalised since time immemorial and I have to keep reminding them that we do not exist to sort out historical injustices, we are here to give advice.
A month ago, my leadership skills were tested when Peter, the MP called me and said, “Josphat, I need you and your team to make some time for a retreat at the Coast.” Retreat conjures nasty thoughts of unnecessary expenditure and I said, “why do we need a retreat in Mombasa?” He said, “I want all my think tanks to meet so that we can discuss various projects and ideas and develop a master plan?” I was against this idea and said, “why can’t we meet in Nairobi, surely who will foot the bill?” He said, “Fear not, I have some budget and the idea of the retreat is so that all of you leave your distractions and focus on work.”
I thought that most of my committee members would share my view, so you can imagine my shock when most of them said, “yes let us go to Mombasa — clearly Peter is taking our work seriously”. There was another school of thought that was completely opposed to the idea and we ended up bickering for more than an hour. However, at the end of the day, Mombasa won the day and we all ended up at the Coast for three days. The jury is out on the success of the trip for all I can recall is the intensity of my hangovers.