About the Author - Reflections of a Young Man™

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About Me - Thuita J. Maina

Thuita
This is me circa May 2011. The dusty shoes notwithstanding, I looked handsome, cultured, determined and focused back then; the kind of person I am striving to be these days.


About two hundred metres from Starehe Boys' Centre in Nairobi is Pumwani Maternity where on the last day of 1987, a handsome, bouncing baby boy was born: me! After birth, my mother headed back to her home at Kiserian in Kajiado County. My father had acquired a piece of land there a year earlier (1986) and built a house on it. And that has been my home all my life.

I have very little recollection of my first three years of life, as it is with every person. The little I can remember was being carried on my mother's back as she took friends for a walk around the home garden.

My awakening to life began in late 1992 when I can vividly recall hearing political campaign noises while in the home's small, sooty kitchen feasting on ugali. Back then, my home had no electricity, radio or television. Life must have been tough for my family as there was no piped water or borehole either. We depended on fetched water from a nearby river.

To be honest, I somehow loathed my family when I was growing up because they were harsh on me and made me do household chores that I deplored. Like they would force me to go scavenging for firewood on bitingly cold mornings while my neighbors' children were either still asleep or watching TV. But looking back, I have discovered God blessed me with the best family in the world which inculcated me with a spirit of hardwork and honesty. And the family has granted me the freedom to be the person God intended me to be. Oh, how I appreciate my family these days!

On January 1993, I joined Naru-Moru Primary School, a two kilometre walk. I remained in the school for seven years until the third term of Standard Seven after which I was transferred to a private primary school of affluent families, Kunoni Educational Centre, where I finished my primary school education.

In the final national primary school exams (KCPE), I performed so well that I was admitted at the prestigious Starehe Boys' Centre in Nairobi. If you remember, Starehe Boys' is about two hundred metres from Pumwani Maternity where I was born.

Getting admitted to Starehe was one of those lucky breaks that completely altered the course of my life. And I thank God for it because it is at Starehe where I learnt to always aim high. I concentrated on my studies in the school with the focus of a laser beam that I managed to rise academically from the bottom of my class to among the best in the final national secondary school exams (KCSE).

My impressive grade in KCSE secured me an admission to one of the local public universities to study a course of my choice. During the gap year after finishing high school and before joining university, I pursued a Diploma in IT at Starehe Institute where I became fascinated with how computers work. That fascination led me to apply for a degree in Electronics & Computer Engineering at Jomo Kenyatta University (JKUAT).

I matriculated in JKUAT on a lovely day in May 2007. In my first year at the university, I spent my time attending classes. But in the weekends, I would dash off to All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi where I sang with the choir and played the organ. It is at All Saints Cathedral that I learnt the true meaning of Christian faith; that is to think noble thoughts, to love all people, to work hard in life and to help the less fortunate.

For some reasons I will not explain now, I dropped out of JKUAT in my second year and decided to apply to top American colleges to study a less-demanding course. The colleges I applied to were Harvard, Yale, Stanford and MIT. My applications were unsuccessful.

Life since leaving JKUAT has been pretty tough for me. I have suffered from low self-esteem, sorrow, loneliness, guilt and rejection as well as back-slid in my Christian faith occasionally. But I have not regretted those experiences because the background they have provided has helped me to formulate my philosophies of life.

In June 2010, I decided to matriculate at the University of Nairobi to pursue a degree in Political Science, History, Economics & Public Administration. What struck me most about the degree is its simplicity compared with engineering, at least for me. There were no formulas to memorize, and there was room for self-expression as opposed to working with pre-defined formulas. For those reasons, I loved my new course. But because of financial constraints, I had to drop out of the university. The degree was costly.

Besides pursuing my studies, I have ventured into politics. I unsuccessfully ran for my home area County Representative seat in the 2013 General Elections in Kenya. It was a good learning experience though.

With politics now aside, I am reconnecting with my passions (socializing, teaching, reading, writing, web design, computer programming, walking, public speaking, singing, playing the piano) with the hope that something interesting will come up which will launch me to the life of my dreams.

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