So today we tried to advice this team to get back to the "fundamentals," forget about the equipment and big names and go back to the people, but I don't think they really heard us.They say they've hired a consultant who has advised them to buy this latest tech equipment which even I, who isn't an expert, will tell you that you don't need. You see, even we educated professionals are dishonest (or at least, we're not always objective). If you tell a techie that you have funds to buy the latest equipment, he will go on a spending spree for the latest gadgets which he'd always dreamed of using but knew he couldn't afford (and could frankly do well without). And the county is paying this guy consultancy fees, while we gave our advice - that was more useful - free of charge.
And that's where your taxes and mine will go, on glory projects by well meaning government officials. But even in private institutions, the story is the same. Within educational institutions, alot of money is used hyping courses, equipment, IT, but try to get 200 bob for refreshments for students to network with guests from the industry, or pay for posters for a project, or hire a vehicle for a field trip, you're made to feel like you're pulling out teeth. I guess the idea is that if you're asked what your legacy is, its easier to talk about roads and than to talk about people. Yet Jesus left us no temples. He left us with stories, faith and lives that were changed.
But today's episode has reaffirmed for me the value of a liberal arts education, or education in the humanities. My colleague Larry Ndivo and I were able to talk to this team because our education is in the basics - language, literature and the humanities, whose focus is human beings. In fact, we were trying to suggest that probably the best way forward is to train people in story telling, writing and collecting their heritage before jumping to film making, cinematography and recording. However - and no disrespect to my counterparts in communication - Kenyans have decided that studies in language and literature, compared to communication, are not "commercial," as my friend Ngala Chome puts it, or "sexy" as I put it. So we're jumping to the cameras, makeup, costume and films before we've decided what exactly we're going to say, and about whom we're going to say it. And like I've said, universities are encouraging this warped intellectual development by supporting infrastructure more than the development of the students' minds and experience. It's really sad.
But isn't that what our national leaders are doing? The current government won by a slim majority, which meant half of Kenya still feels alienated from this country. The national priority should have been the alienated, but instead, they were told to "accept and move on," or "look at the projects we'll do, and forget how you feel." But the truth is, it's the people who matter most. We cannot be a nation based on roads and facilities - a nation is her people. Kenya must be for the people. As our Lord put it, Sabbath must be for human beings, not human beings for the Sabbath.