Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Emali Diary Part I (Day 1- Day 7) : By Officer Recruit Benjamin Kinyili (Manager, Nyandarua Forest Zone)

Day 1: Sunday 7th /2/2010:
The 35 participants assembled at Kenya Forest Service Headquarters at 9.00 a.m were issued with uniforms by the Quarter Master – Inspector Namagwa who accompanied them to APSSTC – Emali for handing over to the Commanding Officer (CO).

The participants were welcomed by Commandant KFS – Rtd Col John Kimani at 9.30 a.m who called out the names and made sure that all participants were present. He encouraged us and told us to take it positively and be psychologically prepared to surmount the monumental tasks ahead of us at Emali. Charity Munyasya was given the opportunity to lead with a word of prayer which she was assisted by Pastor Musau. After seeking journey mercies and spiritual protection, we were on our way.

Looking around I noticed down cast faces of the participants as they boarded the two buses. They must have been worrying about the unfamiliar destination they were headed to. Apart from the Assistant Commandants and a few officers who passed through NYS in the 80s, the rest had anxiety written all over their faces.

We left Karura at 10.00 and had a stopover at City Cabanas to pick some participants and do some shopping at Uchumi and Nakumatt Supermarkets thereafter we were on the way to Emali Town.

We arrived at Senior Staff College at 2.00 p.m and received by the able Commanding Officer who provided very encouraging welcome. He made the course outline sound like fun and exciting. The survival tactics we will learn here will help to mould better officers who can transform forestry and face the challenges of 21st century. We will further be confident officers who should enhance the image of KFS.

After a sumptuous lunch was served at the officer’s mess, we observed the mess etiquette and protocol of leaving the caps/hats outside and being properly dressed.
A quick inspection was conducted and participants with long hair, and beards were sent to Emali Town to visit a barber, then the rest of the team did their final shopping after being shown the accommodation where two participants shared a room in self contained houses with two rooms (for four participants), a lounge and kitchen balcony.

One of the participants was elected as the Group’s Chairman for the course’s duration. This responsibility befell Mr.Cosmas Ikiugu – HOC Mau.

Day 2: Monday 8/2/10
The day started at high note with physical fitness exercises having woken up at 4.45 p.m so as to assemble at drill grounds at 5.00 p.m to start morning runs all the way to Mombasa-Nairobi highway and back to the drill ground.

At 6.00 a.m the participants were allowed to clean, and prepare for breakfast which was served at 7.00 a.m.

At 8.00 a.m we were taken through orientation of the College. We were shown the Hostels, staff houses, borehole, main offices, drill ground, lecture rooms and general view of the college. We started lectures at 10.00 a.m with field craft and tactics followed by introduction to the laws of Kenya Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), Penal Code, Arresting search and Prosecution. The Lectures were very interesting and exciting.

Day 3: Tuesday 9/2/10
- Physical fitness – 5.00 p.m
- Breakfast – 7.00 a.m
- Drill 8.00 a.m
- Lectures 10.30 a.m to 3.00 p.m
- Physical fitness assessment test
- Press – ups, sit-ups and 3.2 km run which were to assess each individual’s physical fitness in comparison to age and health

Day 4: Wednesday 10/2/10
- Physical Fitness – 5.00 a.m
- Breakfast – 7.00 a.m
- Muster parade – 8.00 a.m.
- Lectures at 9.00 a.m
- Official opening by Senior Deputy Director KFS – Mr. Emilio Mugo, DD – HR Mr. Julius Olayo, Mr. Wellington Amkaya, Head Communication – Mr Raphael Mworia.
Dedication, discipline, commitment and endurance were emphasized as necessary to make uniformed and disciplined officer.

This was followed by a presentation on field craft and tactics. The long standing co-operation between the APTC and Kenya Forest Service was commended. The day was graced by two most distinguished guests which up-lifted the spirit of the participants.

Day 5: Thursday 11/02/10 and Day 6: Friday 12/02/10
These two days were most impressive for the Officers had gotten used to the early waking up and morning runs. The pains on the aching muscles had subsided and they fitted well in the drills, parades and saluting. They could march as uniformed and disciplined officers with ease. They vowed if forgoing and sacrificing their comfort for the well being of the forests in Kenya was the price they had to pay, they were ready. You could see how eager, energetic and enthusiasm flowed in them as they marched and saluted, no doubt ready to conserve our forests. We were ready to execute our duties with a bang and completely transform the forest sector.

Day 7: Saturday 13/02/10

This was the icing of the cake, with Officers making history in their own Guinness Book of Record by doing a route-match of 35 Kms around the College from Emali through Kajiado District- Mashuru Division and visiting Nkoso Primary School where the officers noted lack of trees for beauty (authentic), shade, windbreak and pledged to go back for a serious campaign on tree planting whereby each pupil will adopt a seedling. We crossed the Kenya Pipeline, the Mombasa-Nairobi road then the railway which is the boundary between Rift Valley Province, Kajiado District and Eastern Province, new District and penetrated inside to Ithunja Hill and finally came back through Simba Town Centre to.

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