– Plus Life and Times of carolkmail


Tax Return, Login Math, Service Pack and Prison Stripes

I tend to be clueless every so often. Take this monster called Income Tax Returns. Not to say that I have not been filing the darn things, but I have been fortunate enough to have the nice accounts guy previously file the said animals for me. Now this time round, I happen to be the everything in my new position. That means, filing the Tax Returns alien animals falls squarely on my docket. How did I find out? It was on 29th June, yes, yesterday at 10 o’clock tea that I was told not to forget to file the Returns. You can imagine the look I gave to the person passing this information on. I swear if I had the laser eyes that I have often wished for, I would have melted the skin off her body.

Moving on, since I had no choice, I decided to save the laser eye skin melting procedure for another day and salvage the few remaining hours. Luckily (or so I thought at the time) I do not have to go to the dreaded Times Towers, where the government Returns are filed. Trust me, that building is where nightmares are brewed. The government have done and gone digital and seeing as I count myself as part of the digital era (debatable), my life was nearly saved from the nightmare world (or so I thought).


Back to the online filing. See, we have been priding ourselves, as a country, as being the Silicon Savannah (I need someone to explain this to me). That means that our technology is beating a good number of African countries hands down. I am told that we have even knocked South Africa off the park of technology. Our government is also hot on the heels of technology and since she wants her good citizens to have it easy reporting our earnings, she has gone ahead and gone digital *sigh*. Me and my excitement decided to load the government online portal to fill in the Returns. Enter hurdle one. Having had an account whose password I could not remember (do not even think of judging me you have been here), the first thing I needed was to be reminded of my password. After hitting refresh a total of 30 times and getting the above error (true story) I managed to retrieve my password. Oh and let’s mention here that every time you access the login form, you have to do arithmetic. Math and me were never bestie. Like ever! It seems that all of the Kenyan population minus the line snaking round Times Towers had decided to do a last minute job and hop online. That portal had never seen traffic like that and I am sure when they were testing the system, they did not anticipate a total of 500,000 Kenyans accessing the portal at the same time! Yeah, Kenyans and our last-minute rush, even after we have been reminded since January that this was coming.

Enter hurdle number 2. Figuring out the system. For the averagely savvy Kenyan woman like me, figuring the portal was not difficult at that point. Smoothly I sailed, still refreshing the darn page, till I reached the point where they say “download form this or that”. Let me tell you, with age comes patience because a younger me would have thrown a few stones across the town direct to the said Towers. The download itself, after 7 attempts, took 30 minutes. Let’s chalk this one as well, to all of the 500,000 people trying to download the same form. Now, form downloaded!


Remember I mentioned that I was an averagely savvy woman? My Savvyness does not go past the “download form and activate macros”. No, seriously! How in the world would someone who doesn’t use computers figure this out? Well, I do and I went ahead and tried to activate macros *sigh*. At this point, my machine says that I need to “upgrade to Service Pack 2”. Say what now? Remember, I am on a deadline. This is now 9:00pm. This process started at 12:00 noon. I am nearly having to build a brand new computer in order to file my tax returns! This is where I call on all the friends, frienemies and enemies that I had not talked to since December last year. I will not let some “Service Pack” keep me from being an upstanding citizen! Shaaaaah!!!!! I am this close to plucking out a loc or 2 of my hard hair that took half a decade to grow!


Finally! A service pack this or the other has successfully installed. Back to filing the annual returns. That took all of 15 minutes. I know, right? I should have gone manual! But remember I am on a deadline. Now, back to the Portal Of Death. Upload attempt No.1. Message? Validate your form and submit again. O_O Seriously???? It’s 11:00pm for heaven’s sake! I have one more hour to get this thing online! Back to the microsoft thing and macros. Look for the ‘validate’ button. Press it to kingdom come and hope my machine forgives me tomorrow. Validate and uploaded with 15 minutes to spare Yaay!

Following morning, after wearing my bragging badge over my head, some soul with a death wish declares with an overly loud voice that the deadline, in fact, was not on 29th midnight but on 30th June. Before midnight!


Moral of this story? I hate technology. I should wear a headscarf when dealing with anything government, otherwise my locs are in jeopardy! Also, the government needs to get a better portal thingie, otherwise this one is shot to hell. Also, *repeats to self* I shall never ever ever wait until June to do the blasted returns. Also, I will  not let this hell of a system make me a bad citizen. Mostly because I don’t look good in anything stripped and I figure the prison stripes will make my butt look fat.

Change The World. #BeASpark With Spark* International

Growing up, I always knew, deep down, that I wanted to do something that made the world a better place. “Blame” it on my mother’s upbringing. Till today, she is always trying to help out whenever she can. That is why she took up a career in the service industry. As a nurse. She has always taken every opportunity to include us in her latest ‘help-the-community’ projects and we are always happy to do help, my brothers and I.

After various stints and tries and false starts in employment, I always felt very dissatisfied. My life can’t be just about this, surely, can it? What am I doing past the 8-5 that I can truly say it satisfies my heart and is of true service to others? Long sleepless nights later, it came to me. I love to read. I have always loved to read. My reading and writing skills have been my companion since I was little, as an introverted child. What if I introduced leisure reading and artwork to children? The aim being, to let children be children and take their adventures through books, which is affordable for any child from any background.

What started as a raw ‘get kids together and get them to read’ project attracted the attention of the amazing people at Spark* International (link). I never knew what to expect. I just knew that I had the passion, but I needed the guidance as well. Few years later and through a lot of hand-holding and guidance from a group of world-class mentors, I am now changing the world through the most vulnerable group of people and loving every minute of it! The children of the world. I can still re-live my childhood, have fun, and help out children in the process.

In my travels and interaction with people, I have come across people doing amazing work, changing their communities. From water related projects, to education, to caring for the elderly. These are the true leaders of our communities. The ones who have responded to the plight of their peoples, no matter how minute or mundane it seems. They grow to make the greatest assets. Case in point, Mother Teresa and Mahatma Ghandi.


You too can be a leader. A spark. A changemaker. With the guidance of Spark* International and the Spark* Kenya Changemaker family, you can change the world, one person at a time. So what are you waiting for? Apply now!

Want my advice? Please feel free to write me!

The Driest Diaper In Kenya – Pampers Baby-Dry Officially Launched

Procter & Gamble has today launched the new Pampers Baby-Dry the driest diaper now with stretchy sides into the Kenyan market. The new range of Pampers that seeks to ensure baby’s comfort is uniquely constructed with added features that are tailored to ensure baby remains dry. With features such stretchy sides and 4 layers of dryness, the diaper is a demonstration of Pampers response to the markets demands.

The new Pampers baby dry comes with stretchy sides that adapt to baby’s movements. As it is important for baby to remain comfortable throughout the night, the sides of the diaper can stretch for up to 10cm’s. Researchers have found that baby can move even up to 10 times more than adults in their sleep, and it is for this reason that Pampers have developed a diaper that ensures baby’s development is not interrupted. The diaper also comes with a super gel that absorbs and locks liquid.  This winning combination of a stretchy sides and dry diaper makes the new Pampers baby dry the best diaper for baby.

Pampers Communications Manager, Tomiwa Ajewole said the introduction of the new diaper is as a result of research and innovation and caters to the needs of mothers in Kenya. Pampers driest diaper with stretchy sides and soft outer cover, will ensure the ultimate comfort for baby.

“Mothers always want the best for their little ones. The new Pampers diaper is our driest diaper and will ensure that little ones are able to remain active and have uninterrupted sleep. Kenyan mothers have asked for a diaper that keeps baby dry and comfortable and this diaper is the perfect fit for their little ones”, said Mr. Ajewole.

“The Pampers diaper has a unique set of extra features: It is even more absorbent, has cotton-like softness, a soft outer cover – to help skin breathe while in the diaper, and stretchy sides to find the perfect fit. The stretchy sides of the diaper ensure that baby will remain dry through-out the night with no leakage.  It is simply our driest diaper now with stretchy sides. It will retail at the current price point and will be available in all sizes and comes with a concentrated core of absorbent gel material (AGM), which absorbs and locks in wetness and four dryness layers  thus keeping it away from the baby’s skin,” added Mr. Ajewole.

Speaking on the launch of the product, Dr. David Githanga, Chairman of the Kenya Paediatric Association said that diapers play a vital role in the healthy development of babies through uninterrupted sleep. Quality, uninterrupted, sleep is important for every baby and helps them wake up well rested, cheerful and ready to start the day.

He also added that “A baby makes up to 30 moves in an hour while sleeping. The new Pampers diaper is designed with stretchy sides mimic the movement of baby. This ensures that baby remains comfortable another important factor for baby to sleep through the night.”

Pampers Brand Ambassador

At the same time, the winner of a 3 months supply of diapers, was announced. Margaret Wambui and her little one received their award from Pampers Brand Ambassador, Janet Kanini.

KPA has been working together with Pampers to educate mothers on the importance of quality sleep and fresh air for their babies while offering tips on they can establish routines to ensure the same.