Re: FIFA World Cup 2014
Good day Bwana Blatter,
Greetings from Kenya. I work with Nacada, the national agency whose main role is to coordinate and facilitate an all-inclusive effort towards prevention, control and mitigation of alcohol and drug abuse in Kenya.
I am writing to express my concern with the World Cup 2014 timetable, your latest football tournament that kicked off in Brazil on Thursday. The event is laudable as it allows best footballers in various countries to battle it out for the biggest prize there is in the world of sport.
My only concern is that with the time differences in the world, you find that many of the matches are happening at very unfriendly hours in Kenya, some as late as 2am and 4am.
I know that in many countries this is not a problem. They are simply sleeping early and waking up in time for their preferred match. Others are taking advantage of the tournament's odd hours to spend time with their mpango wa kando (a term we use to refer to people in a clandestine affair), under the guise of watching football.
In our country however, this is not the case as people are spending their time in a different way. This one month has historically been seen as the period that 'football fans', mainly men, spend drinking themselves silly.
During FIFA World Cup, some 'fans' leave work and head straight to the bar, and wait for matches to start. This happens when countries like Brazil, Ghana and Germany, which enjoy massive support are playing, or when less heralded countries like Honduras and Bosnia are on the pitch.
Whatever time they are playing, fans do not miss out. As they wait, you can be sure they will behave like typical Kenyans; engage each other in heated political debates amid cheering crowds.
However, the more rabid discussions will be on more contemporary topics; who is their favourite 'socialite' and why? How much does it really cost to bleach ones skin versus lightening? Is it not just one and the same thing?
Should we all have statues built for our grandparents so that we may have somewhere to chain ourselves when we fail to get jobs? Should we fire people who are hired to tweet and facebook if it is suddenly revealed they do not to have the qualifications they claimed to have when they got the job?
As the drinks flow and conversations meander, the games start airing on the TV sets but these drinkers won't even bother to follow the matches. They will now be on a drinking mission; their ties around their heads and their shirts untucked.
They will be ogling waitresses who look much older than you Bwana Blatter. The worst part is that the fellows drooling over these women will be rendered 'useless' by the alcohol.
They will not be able to delight their significant others in bed let alone the 'sexy women' – you know, the likes of tintless Vera Sidika. When the matches end, these fellows will ascertain the scores of the match on the their Twitter page, and rush home to make their alibi valid.
The following day in the office, expect employees who are a shell of their normal selves to report to work. They will make numerous trips to the washroom to wash their faces or to nearby shops to buy mandazis just to stay away from their desks.
Those who decide to stick to their work stations will be seen bobbing their heads all day long as they try to fight back sleep. Those who will be overcome by sleep will, in extreme cases, rest their heads on their desks.
However, productivity is not my main concern here as human resource departments can deal with the employees involved. My concern is that all the work we have been doing cracking down on rampant alcohol abuse in Kenya will go down in smoke – pardon the pun– in the one month that your tournament will be running.
We have invested many hours in manpower and spent a lot of money to ensure all systems run smoothly, and with all the happenings, all the efforts will go down the drain.
This is because policemen are humans too and will want to watch the matches as well, which will make it difficult to enforce laws on drinking hours. With these many ills, I request you to please reconsider not running this tournament,
Whispering Hills, Embu/Meru Highway, Embu
Embu county has been in the news lately for the wrong reasons. If it isn't reports of its governor being continually impeached, and its speaker being kidnapped, you will hear stories of residents dying after drinking illicit liquors with noble names like 'Countryman'. With such reports, I was a bit apprehensive when I visited a hotel called Whispering Hills in the town at the weekend.
The hotel is a beige three-storey building on a small lane off the Embu-Meru highway not far from the famous Kangaru High School. I was here to spend the night on Saturday as the rooms are charged a reasonable fee of Sh2,000.
The main restaurant is on the ground floor. I ordered a meal for my partner and I. I also also ordered my cold Tusker, which waiter Martin brought me.
At Sh160 for the beer, I have to say that is fair, which is why I drank there. The chicken was the Kienyeji variety, which was served with sukuma wiki, ugali and kachumbari.
The venue's décor is satisfactory. The restaurant has a TV screen mounted on the wall. It is not connected to DSTV but the manager promised that by the time the world cup kicks off it will be connected. The hotel environment is serene, quiet with fresh air.
Most customers were residents and I could tell from their local “Spanish” dialect. There were a few families, and older men drinking either beer or tea. I am happy to report all is not doom and gloom in Embu.
A quick recap of the venue
Great service, decent décor, clean washrooms, great food, reasonably priced drinks and accomodation,
Out of the way,
A perfect venue for rekindling a romance and to take a family out. A perfect combination of both country and urban. Only two hours drive from Nairobi.