NEKESA-BLOOD DONOR

On Saturday, 14th June, 2008, I donated blood for the first time in my life. The thought of someone sticking a needle into me and sucking out my blood scared me.

I got to the venue which was a tent pitched right next to the August 7th Memorial park also known as the Bomb Blast Memorial Park or simply “Bomb Blast” to the common mwananchi. I was ushered to the weighing scale. I weighed in at five kilos above the minimum required weight of fifty kilograms, thank you very much! I was then given a form to fill in, which was basically to determine if I had been involved in risky behaviour like commercial sex or drug use or what Kenyan law might consider an unnatural act, and to confirm that I was in good health, over 16 years old, not expectant or breast feeding, and that I hadn’t had a blood transfusion in the last 6 months.
the sign by mentalacrobatics the form by mentalacrobatics
When I was done filling in the form, I handed it over to one of the staff members, a friendly looking woman, who asked about my health history and then checked my blood pressure. She then pricked my finger. I cannot tell a lie. That bit hurt like hell! But she needed to do this to check my haemoglobin level. This is the oxygen carrying component of your blood. If your haemoglobin concentration is normal, then the little drop of your blood that goes into the haemoglobin detector liquid should plummet to the bottom of the jar within seconds. Sort of like a rock. If it dilly-dallies on the way down, you may have a problem.. I passed the test.
the prick by mentalacrobatics the liquid by mentalacrobatics
My name was added to a register with a number that corresponded to the number on the bag that I was given for my blood. I was then ushered to a bed where I lay down. A staff member placed one of those pressure cuffs around my upper arm and began to search for a vein. When she finally found one, she cleaned the skin on the inside of my elbow and inserted a needle that was attached to a plastic tube that was attached to the bag that I had been given. She gave me a little ball to squeeze, I suppose to help with blood flow.
the tube by mentalacrobatics lying on bed by mentalacrobatics blood by mentalacrobatics
I watched as the blood flowed from my arm through the tube and into the bag. Suddenly it wasn’t scary anymore. I was over the worst of it and the thought that my blood might just help save someone’s life, maybe even my own one day, made me feel pretty good about myself. A little over half a litre of blood later, a bandage was placed over the needle site and I was done. The whole thing can’t have taken me more than half an hour and at the end of it, I scored a four pack of biscuits and lucozade baby!
thumbs up by mentalacrobatics lucozade by mentalacrobatics

A TRIBUTE TO THE ROCK OF KENYAN RUGBY

Thirty years since its inception, Mwamba Rugby Football Club continues to prove its commitment to creating milestones in Kenyan rugby and has surmounted great odds to emerge as one of the top clubs in the local league.

mwamba scenery by harvesttonesThe word “mwamba” is Kiswahili for “rock”, which signifies stability, firmness and dependability; the precise words that describe Mwamba R.F.C today; stability in its great performance in the local leagues, firmness in its desire to nurture local talent, dependability to the dreams of its founding fathers, its fans and its future. Indeed, the members of this club exhibit a strong spirit to play the game of rugby and while at it, an unyielding desire to outclass every other club in the league.

Mwamba R.F.C. has its home at the Railways Club on Uhuru Highway which lies adjacent to Uhuru Park. Sitting at the stands, one has a breath-taking view of the city centre, which for a few moments takes your attention away from the dilapidated rugby pitch. The pitch at the Railway Club doubles as a football pitch for other clubs and as such, the playing surface leaves a lot to be desired. The try posts lean over and have for several years now, and the few spectator stands are slowly falling apart. Players train under harsh conditions that they have no control over. The place they call home is not really theirs and they struggle to pay their rent. The facilities are not much to speak of.

mwamba pre-match by harvesttonesThis is what makes the story of Mwamba R.F.C that more remarkable. Thirty years ago, in 1978, its founding fathers formed the club with an aim to embed indigenous Africans into the game of rugby. Their black shirts were a testament to the introduction of the game to the Africans and their name, Mwamba, a declaration of their intention to stand steadfast in the face of any adversary. Today, although the face of the adversary has changed from clubs of the old order to difficult economic times, the vision of Mwamba is the same-to create a solid foundation for players to prove their worth and to play a game that they love.

It could successfully be argued that Mwamba R.F.C players form the backbone of the national rugby teams. They are a force to reckon with in the local leagues and have a tendency to cause upsets in both the fifteens and sevens versions of the game. They tackle each game with the same intensity, never underestimating an opponent and treating each game situation as an opportunity to prove their significance. And at the end of each match day, win or lose, they stamp their authority on Kenyan rugby.

Having set new standards in men’s rugby, Mwamba R.F.C went a step further and formed a women’s side, the Angie in action by mentalacrobatics first competitive women’s club in the country, and aptly called them the Mwamba Invaders. Whether it meant playing their male counter parts, or playing amongst themselves, the women were keen on invading the rugby scene with a new brand of rugby; Kenyan women’s rugby. They have beaten all odds and grown from strength to strength, and from a handful of women who trained at the Railway Club grounds when they could get time away from other sports like hockey and basket ball, Mwamba Invaders now boasts close to forty active and committed players. The women are a class above other women’s rugby teams in the country. They naturally form the bulk of the women’s national rugby team in both the fifteens and the sevens versions of the game and recently won the women’s tournament at the 2008 Safari Sevens.

no mwamba no peace by mentalacrobaticsIt is beyond anyone’s wildest imagination what leaps and bounds this team will make in the coming years. They have already made it clear that there is no turning back. After all, now that they have found the winning formula; resilience and dedication from leaders and focus from players, all there is to look forward to is even more success. Truly, if there exist rugby players in Kenya who still play this game at club level for the sheer love of the game and not for image association or club perks, then it is the men and women at Mwamba. It is the heart of these players that keeps Mwamba Rugby Football Club as solid as a rock.