By Richard Ojunga

If we were all born with fins like most water dwellers, then we’d probably have an easier time navigating through water. Unless there is a fish out there reading this, finding yourself alone in the middle of a bottomless mass of water that extends as far as the eye can reach can be quite intimidating. This would be especially worse if you don’t have any means of staying afloat, breathing underwater or don’t know how to swim — let’s not forget whatever might be lurking in the waters. Hopefully none of us should ever have to find ourselves in such a situation. Even if you just learnt how to swim in theory but never actually tried practically, the thought of swimming can be scary. It can be quite helpful to have aids to support you, such as floaters or even a trainer. Slowly, you can gain confidence and skill; and get so good at swimming that you might actually grow fins!


As part of the Youth in Energy Empowerment Program (YEEP), we were fortunate enough to have supportive and well-experienced trainers from the energy space to help us start growing our ‘fins’. After rigorous training to become Energy Audit Technicians, we were placed into the water — attached to various sites for internship. This was a very necessary step in ensuring we get to practice what we had learnt, plus gain more experience and understanding within the energy space. Even better, we are still getting guidance and support. How fortunate! We were ready…or were we?


Is a phrase you might hear being commonly used by Kenyans, usually shortened to “Vitu kwa ground” or “Vitu kwa grao”, which directly translates to “Things on the ground (are different)”. It’s often used to express how differently actual happenings can vary from expectations. Just a month into the internship program on the ground at my host site Wildfire Flowers, and I can relate to the aforementioned saying. There is a staggering amount of, often new, information to process and relate with the theory that our trainers ensured we were well-versed in. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that all members of the first YEEP cohort are ready for the deep-end. I bet we are slowly but surely removing the floaters as we get our footing in, and get more accustomed to the vast facets energy management has to offer — which go well beyond arithmetic calculations.


You might be wondering what potatoes have to do with all this. Well, I recall one of our trainers mentioning something along the lines of, “You are like fully-baked potatoes that are still in the oven” (Sorry to all the potato fans who were expecting a recipe… not today). Currently being a professional-cum-intern, those words from our trainer hit directly home — every day offers a new learning opportunity. Luckily enough, the team at my host site are more than willing to share their knowledge, information and experience which they have amassed over a number of years. On top of some numerical calculations, this same feedback is vital since energy management requires collaborative efforts from all involved parties. All in all, akin to the numerous rose varieties grown at Wildfire Flowers, the experience so far has been a bit thorny but nonetheless beautiful.