Tuesday, September 30, 2014

TIME BOMBER | Review by Richard Peacocke

Dr. Robert Wack with
his book, Time Bomber
Richard Peacocke of Ottawa, Canada had some nice words to say about Robert Wack's Time Bomber (Boissevain Books, 2014).

He posted a 5-star rating on the Amazon listing of the book and had the following to say about the book, which he writes that he tried to post but may not have succeeded:
Gripping narrative of warfare and moral choice, underpinned by a far-reaching mathematical theory about space and time. 
Highlights for me are the authentic scenes in the RAF squadron and gripping episodes in the fields of Normandy. The book weaves together the history of several places and time periods, with inspiration drawn from the real-life Dr. Willem van Stockum. 
There is a great deal of action, but while there is bravery and cowardice, there is little or no glory. The character studies and human experience in wartime ring true. 
All the way through the reader has an uneasy feeling that something unknown and mysterious is occurring. This is based on a soaring mathematical theory, the intricacy of which is touched on, but not laboured over. The theory is based on Dr. van Stockum’s work and allows the protagonist to bridge fiction and reality. I couldn’t put the book down.
Thank you, Dick Peacocke, for sending this along.

Monday, September 15, 2014

TO AFRICA WITH A DREAM | Olga Marlin Is 80

Olga Marlin's memoir, 2011 edition.
Nov 12, 2014—Olga E. Marlin, M.A., D. Litt. is 80 years old today.

Her autobiographical book, To Africa with a Dream," was first published in 2002 by Sceptre Publishers in New York.

A second edition, with six pages of photographs and a new Prefac,e was published by Boissevain Books in 2011 and is sold on Amazon.

Her brother John says: "I was proud to be by my sister's side on June 24 of that year as she waited to receive her Doctor of Letters — D. Litt., honoris cause — degree from Strathmore University in Nairobi."

The year 2011 was the 50th year of Strathmore's life, first as a college and then as a university. Olga Marlin has been a Kenya resident for more than 50 years and became a citizen of Kenya in 1969, six years after independence.

Kenya Television Network (KTN) interviewed Olga on her 50 years of work in Kenya. The interview aired as part of KTN's weekend news show, right before "House" and "Law and Order" and "Mad Men".

Prof. John Odhiambo, Vice-Chancellor of Strathmore
University and Olga E. Marlin, D.Litt., in 2011. (JT Marlin)
Here is what Strathmore University posted to announce the impending award of the honorary degree:
The University will during its 2011 graduation ceremony on Friday, 24th June award an honorary Doctor of Letters (D.Litt. Honoris Causa) to Miss Olga Emily Marlin, the first Principal of Kianda College; a member of the University Council, and the author of the autobiography "To Africa With a Dream". The title of the book now in its second edition captures the inspiring vision behind Miss Marlin's outstanding contributions to the multi-dimensional development of women since her arrival in Kenya 50 years ago. She arrived with a group of ladies with the aim of starting a school, one open to women of all races and beliefs. It was a challenging adventure.

Very few African women had access to a formal education. Women rarely went beyond primary school as they were married at a very early age. They owned very little or nothing, had no voice in decision making and were mainly confined to the homestead, the "shamba", and the raising of children. Miss Marlin's dream and commitment was to change this situation of women in the home, workplace and society. 
Olga's Remarks at 2011 Ceremony. (Photo by JT Marlin) 
Academic Background

The eldest of six children [all of whom are living, in four countries], Miss Marlin was born in New York, N.Y. USA on 12th November 1934. Her primary schooling was at the Blessed Sacrament School, Chevy Chase, Maryland while her secondary schooling was successfully completed at St. Paul's Academy, Montreal, Canada. In 1956 she graduated with an M.A. in Modern Languages from Trinity College, Dublin and obtained her Higher Diploma in Education from University College, Dublin in 1957.

Fully equipped with academic content and educational skills, she arrived in Kenya in 1960 as a young competent graduate - enthusiastic, spiritually and humanly committed to her dream. Her main area of specialisation was Education with a flair for languages. Miss Marlin is able to speak English, French and Spanish fluently with a basic knowledge of Kiswahili.
Contributions to the Multi-Dimensional Development of Women
The education of women is one of the most important aspects of the growth and development of a nation. Together with other enterprising women, Miss Marlin began the challenging task of the multi-dimensional development of women through carefully selected academic course units and practical training in a variety of learning institutions, initially in the Nairobi area and with time in the tea growing region of Limuru, the Coast Province of Kenya and later in Nigeria.

Leadership for such initiatives were taken and monitored by Miss Marlin through Kianda Foundation, of which she is the Chairperson and Founding Trustee since January 1961. Some of the significant and successful institutions where Miss Marlin played a pioneering role leading to the betterment of the status of women will now be highlighted.

Miss Marlin started her teaching career in two well established British schools: Kenya High School and then Delamere Girls (now known as State House Girls High School) where she served, in each, for a term. In this scenario the two schools had little to offer the indigenous woman as the opportunities were limited or non-existent. However, this experience did not deter Miss Marlin's vision for change. She managed to make friends with the staff and students who enjoyed her French and English classes. She then moved to the Royal Technical College (now University of Nairobi Main Campus) as a lecturer in English Literature for a brief period.
As Kenya's independence approached many British women left Kenya creating opportunities for well paid positions in the public and private sectors of development.

Kianda Secretarial College was opened in 1961 with Miss Marlin as Principal. Many African girls could now pursue a secretarial career while interacting for the first time with girls from other races on an equal footing. Their training helped the girls to become financially independent and provided the necessary means to help their families and communities.
Olga Marlin, D.Litt., with well-wishers in 2011.  
This initiative was supported by well-known Kenyan women such as Mrs. Jemina Gecaga, Kenya's first degree holder and member of Legco; Miss Margaret Kenyatta, the first lady Mayor of Nairobi and Ms. Maria T. Temes, a keen historian and an able administrator. The integral training provided at the College helped to break the racial barrier and enriched the personalities of all. Eventually, Kianda Secretarial College became a part of Strathmore University.
In 1971 and 1972, Miss Marlin was instrumental in setting up a similar college known as Lagoon Executive Secretarial College in Lagos, Nigeria.

Eventually Kianda College became a 'launching pad' for past students who moved on to obtain university degrees or become owners of their own secretarial bureaus and businesses. At the same time, there were other women who qualified as teachers and remained to take an active part in running Kianda College and other institutions.

In 1967 Kibondeni College opened, offering a practical marketable training in the hospitality industry. The students learned to value their career and to give personalised attention to the people they serve.

Through Kimlea Girls Technical Training Centre, whose present Principal is a past student of Kianda College, less privileged girls and mothers from the Limuru tea estates are taught agriculture, knitting, sewing and how to run their own micro enterprises.

The latest development is that of the Tewa Training Centre at Kuruwitu in Kilifi District inaugurated in February 2010. It promotes the education of very poor women and girls in the area to meet the demands of the job market in the hospitality industry. The outreach programmes are designed to uplift the living standards of the women and help them earn a living. Already the beginning of a revolution can be seen among the girls, women and families in the production of food to the astonishment of the local community.

Since 2005, Miss Marlin is a member of the University Council of Strathmore University where her expertise, human warmth and contribution is valued as Chairperson of the Education Policy and Standards Committee of the Council. An Opus Dei biography of her appears here.

Here are congratulatory comments to Olga on the announcement of the Honorary Degree posted on the University website during the first two days after the degree was awarded. 

K. Muchemi
Well deserved.Enhorabuena Dr. Marlin. ¡Salud!
Comment made on 2011-06-23 03:37:49

jacinta makau
Very impressive Miss Marlin, through you our lives have really been transformed. some of us wouldn't be here if it weren't for you. We are proud of you Miss Marlin.kudos...
Comment made on 2011-06-23 04:00:14

Wow! Ma'am, Thank you. I have read the book, 'To Africa With a Dream' We celebrate your life...
Comment made on 2011-06-23 06:04:46

I am delighted that our university has taken the step of honouring Ms. Marlin in this way, as she has contributed so extensively to promoting education and development for women in our beloved country! She is an inspiration to us all!
Comment made on 2011-06-23 06:51:13

moses w.
Congratulations! You have done a lot.
Comment made on 2011-06-23 07:11:42

Hongera Olga!!!! After reading your book,'To Africa With a Dream' I was moved by how hopeless the situation was in the beginning. Thanks for the priceless contribution to the Education sector in Kenya.
Comment made on 2011-06-23 07:12:16

Lillian O.
As you climb to the top Olga, rest assured that grateful hands will be holding the ladder from the top and below. Many congratulations!!!!
Comment made on 2011-06-23 07:57:01

David Ndolo
Without a shadow of doubt, Ms Olga Marlin is one of the unspoken heroines of independent Kenya. You are an inspiration...HONGERA!!!
Comment made on 2011-06-23 10:23:22

Joan G.
Congratulations, we appreciate the work you have done, because am not sure where some of us would be! Asante sana na hongera kwako!!!
Comment made on 2011-06-24 06:49:02

Wow!!!! Excellent Marlin. This is the shining star which has inspired many. Congratulations!!!
Comment made on 2011-06-24 07:27:34

Tania Vaporidi
I fully agree with the comment made by David Ndolo. It is amazing how much Olga (and her team of committed ladies) has done for Kenya and Africa. She is truly incredible but she is not alone. She couldn't have achieved all this without the Grace of Our Lord. Bravo dear Olga. We are so proud of you, our Principal at Kianda College and my friend, spiritual guide and guardian of my faith.
Comment made on 2011-06-24 18:08:33


Via the Internet

The second edition of To Africa with a Dream, with six new pages of photographs and a new preface, is published by Boissevain Books and is available online from Amazon. The price is US$15.95, which is currently discounted by $1.34. Shipping and any applicable taxes are calculated during the ordering process.

Through Bookstores
The book is expected to be available for purchase through the following bookstores (list in formation):
- Portico Books
Nairobi, KENYA
- Strathmore University bookstore
- Kianda School bookstore.
Bookstore terms are available by contacting Kate at Boissevain Books.