The Sad Story of Simon Makonde - Reflections of a Young Man™

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The Sad Story of Simon Makonde

Photo courtesy of Ogeezone blog. Copyright © all rights reserved worldwide.

There was this story of Simon Makonde that is said to have been in an edition of a lower primary English textbook of the '90s here in Kenya. I can't remember though of myself reading that story despite having had my lower primary school education in the mid '90s. Maybe that's why I was ridiculed as a dull and dumb boy.

I have however been able to get the gist of the Simon Makonde story from two blogs. It was the story of a man who never achieved anything worthwhile and legendary in his life. He was just born, baptised, married and then he died as depicted in the photo of the story which I have displayed above.

That reminds me of an epigram I came across in Being the Best by Denis Waitley which goes as follows:
"There was a very cautious man
Who never laughed or played
He never risked, he never tried
He never sang or prayed
And when he one day passed away
His insurance was denied
For since he never really lived
They claimed he never died."[1]
Coming to think of it, these world has been and still is full of Simon Makondes. You see, people fear standing out from the crowd. They fear failure, criticism, rejection and even success itself.

I therefore today challenge you and me not to lead our lives the Simon Makonde way. Let us endeavour to do something worthwhile and legendary with our lives so that after we die, it will be said of us that "we came, we saw, we conquered".

[1] I have extracted this short poem from page 133 of Being the Best by Denis Waitley, published in 1987 by Pocket Books - a division of Simon & Schuster Inc.


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A Homage to Mr. & Mrs. Moore

This is Mr. & Mrs. Moore, the wonderful couple whose foundation sponsored my education at Starehe Boys' Centre at a time when my family was undergoing hard financial times that began when my mother underwent a heart surgery at the turn of this century.

The great inspirational figure and educationalist William Arthur Ward once said, "The mediocre teacher tells, the good teacher explains, the superior teacher demonstrates, the greater teacher inspires." I can't find a better example of inspiring teachers than Mr. & Mrs. Moore, the wonderful couple in the photo above who hail from the bountiful state of Indiana in the United States. Mr. Moore taught me History while Mrs. Moore taught me English - both in junior high school.

Although I was never a star student in their classes, the Moores inspired me to learn more with their dedication and creativity. They went out of their way to give us files for arranging our papers and expanded our knowledge beyond what was required of us in the curriculum. Like Mr. Moore had us know that Guglielmo Marconi was the inventor of the radio. And that 50% of the world's wealth is in the United States - I am not sure if that's still the case given the recent rise of India, Brazil and China as world powers.

But what I enjoyed most in the classes of the Moores were the fun-facts they told us at the beginning of every lesson. I still remember some of them like that Mr. Moore was a school-mate of Neil Armstrong, the first man to land on the moon.

I also remember Mrs. Moore asking us in one lesson, "What do George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Mr. Moore have in common?" We all tried to guess what they had in common but nobody figured out which forced Mrs. Moore to tell us that they were all left-handed.

That the Moores cared deeply about our education was revealed in the way they invited one Mr. Kennedy Hongo to one of their classes to lecture us on the dangers and spread of HIV/AIDS. I enjoyed listening to Mr. Hongo; his lecture probably explains why I have refrained from engaging in pre-marital sex. And I am thankfully glad to report that going by the HIV test I underwent recently, I am negative in so far as having that deadly virus is concerned.

Not only did I appreciate the Moores for their dedication in teaching but also for their unending generosity. They used to lend me newspapers when I was in Form 2 which made me stay abreast of what was happening in Iraq during the Gulf War 2 that was engendered by the Bush administration following the infamous 9/11 attacks. And my education at Starehe, as I have pointed out in the caption of the picture above, was sponsored by the Moore Foundation. Actually, it's their son - Mr. Mark Moore - who sponsored me under the umbrella of the foundation.

We, the Moore Foundation fellows, were always treated to special dinners and trips. We feasted on sumptuous dishes at the school canteen on special occasions, went golfing at 5-star hotels and toured the Nairobi National Museum. Can you see how generous they were?

I have kept in touch with the Moores over the years, including at one time when I begged fees for my university education from them but they flatly replied that they don't sponsor anyone beyond Starehe years. And I was a bit saddened when Mrs. Moore informed me sometimes last year that Mr. Moore passed away on 22nd May of 2016.

For some reasons, Mrs. Moore has tactfully refused to share with me the contacts of Mr. Mark Moore, her step-son who I have said sponsored my education at Starehe. Maybe she fears I might pester him with pleas for financial assistance. But I want to let her know, if she's reading this story of mine, that I have matured up. As in, I no longer nag people for help and I nowadays don't dish out contacts of important people in my life to friends and strangers alike.

All told, the Moores inspired me. They were the kind of teachers that the great inspirational figure and educationalist William Arthur Ward would describe as great. I thank God for having let them cross my life. And I have resolved that should I ever get a chance to visit the United States, the most successful nation in history and the land of my heroes, I will have to drop by their home in Indiana to catch up. So help me God.


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An Inspiring Advert

Over a decade ago while preparing to report back to Starehe Institute for my final months of a diploma course in Information Technology, I was browsing through an old Time magazine when I came across an advert on rolex - the classy watch made in Switzerland. I was so inspired by the advert that I penned down what it said in a notebook I still have to this day. The advert said:
"There are people who believe that the world moves forward on the back of inspiration and ideas. For them, a day is more than 24 hours. A day is an opportunity to make something happen - to make a positive difference. They are the people who believe that making a contribution matters. And they find it impossible to go about their lives any other way. These are the same people you'll often find wearing rolex. Not because they have to. Because it's who they are.

A rolex watch will never change the world. We leave that to the people who wear them."
So inspired was me by that advert that I used its words to interview Starehe Institute students who wanted to join - an educational website I co-founded with my classmates Stephen Mutevu and Kennedy Munene. I have long since ceased to be part of the website. Same with Munene. But Mutevu still runs it with admirable persistence and professionalism.

That rolex advert still inspires me to this day though am not sure if I will ever buy the classy watch. Maybe I will when I get as rich as King David, my hero in the Bible.

By the way, I have a friend called Rolex Mwamba who I noted doesn't like getting known as Rolex. He calls himself Mwamba Onyiego on Facebook. I will let him read this story of mine and hopefully by the time he finishes reading it, he will become proud of his name Rolex.


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