Day 10: Swahili and Sheng for Dummies

I came to Kenya and I wasn’t smart enough to look up a few basic words before I arrived. Greetings are important in East Africa and you don’t launch into a conversation or even ask a question without first saying “hello, how are you?”. Since Swahili is a second language to most East Africans, they’ll understand a little broken Swahili, and they’ll certainly appreciate your efforts. Sheng is a Swahili-based cant, perhaps a mixed language or creole, originating among the urban underclass of Nairobi, Kenya, and influenced by many of... Read The Rest →

Day 9: Branding and Design Guide

There are several aspects to the Shujaaz experience that is being designed by a few different people, who all seem to have different styles. There is the Shujaaz comic book, the TV show Jongo Love, DJ Boyie’s Facebook page, a Sound Cloud page for DJ Boyie’s pirate radio program, and a YouTube page for the Hustler’s clips. As WTS moves toward a single Shujaaz 360 experience, where each aspect of Shujaaz feeds to another and vice versa, the brand’s voice needs to be solidified and someone needs to manage the... Read The Rest →

Day 8: Color and Type

The most interesting topic I have mentioned so far is the psychology of color. They looked at me like I was magic when I said people often use the color blue to give users a sense of trust and security. So, I will be capitalizing on this interest and sharing as much as I know about color theory. While I know color and mood is extremely interesting, color is more powerful than having an influence on the way users feel. In my very biased opinion, color is one of the... Read The Rest →

Day 7: Mood Boards and Branding Fun

This morning the design team worked together to create a “mood board” of ideas they felt embodied the Shujaaz brand. I feel like they are really focused on being “grunge” and “retro” and styles they think are cool rather than focusing on broader design principles. My time at Microsoft is paying off. I just kept asking them “why?”. Why is it grungy? Why are you using accents of dripping paint and rough textures? It didn’t take long for them to reveal its not really “grunge” they identify with, it is:... Read The Rest →

Day 6: Writing a Design Brief

Today, I did not get up bright and early because I helped myself to the minibar last night, which is complimentary. What a wonderfully terrible idea. There is one of every time of liquor, Belvedere Vodka, Tanqueray Gin, and a few South African wines that I like more than I should. There are mixers, candies, chips, nuts, its just not great for someone with little self-control. Nevertheless, there was not much to do until I had to head into the WTS office park to meet Rob, Bridget and Esphan. We... Read The Rest →

Day 5: Nairobi National Museum

I woke up and immediately got ready to go to the Nairobi National Museum in the Central Business District. So far, I have only seen Karen, so I wanted to venture out. My taxi driver, Chris, was immediately excited to show me everything he loves and hates about Nairobi as soon as he realized I had never been to Africa before. He promised to take me through Kibera, the third largest slum in the world. With a population of approximately 2.5 million dwellers, the slum of Kibera, located 7km southwest of... Read The Rest →

Day 5: Madaraka Day and Afternoon Tea

Today is Madaraka Day, so there will be very little sightseeing. Madakara Day is commemorates the day that Kenya attained internal self-rule in 1963, preceding full independence from the United Kingdom on 12 December 1963. While it may be just cautionary, this is a political holiday, and the US Department of State has released a warning to all US citizens traveling in Kenya to avoid areas where demonstrations are likely to take place. Seeing as how I have never been to Nairobi and am unaware of said places, I am laying low and... Read The Rest →

Day 4: Souvenirs and Kazuri

After the Giraffe Centre, I had already spent more than half a day sightseeing and petting adorable animals, so I decided to save the Nairobi National Park for another day. I stopped at a small roadside shop in a tin shanty that sold handmade African sculptures and jewelry made of Olive, Teak and Ebony woods, metals, etc. The shopkeeper handed me a basket and promised to give me a great deal, that everything was affordable, and I would not be disappointed in my purchase. Lies! Nothing had a price tag,... Read The Rest →

Day 4: The Giraffe Center

After leaving the elephant orphanage, I headed over to the Giraffe Center, another highly recommended location to visit while in Nairobi. However, I had spent almost all of my shillings at the orphanage adopting Barsilinga (only 50 USD), so I needed to hit an ATM. Andrew, my diver, took me to a nearby shopping mall. Due to the recent increase in terrorist activity in Kenya, security is extremely thorough everywhere you go. Every single establishment has a large metal gate with armed guards. You must state your reason for entry,... Read The Rest →

Day 4: Barsilinga and The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Today is the first day of a long weekend due to a national holiday on Sunday, Madaraka Day, so my gracious hosts have laid out a nice plan for me to see Nairobi in all its glory this weekend. I started off at The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Born from one family’s passion for Kenya and its wilderness, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is today the most successful orphan-elephant rescue and rehabilitation program in the world and one of the pioneering conservation organisations for wildlife and habitat protection in East Africa.... Read The Rest →

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