Keeping Good Company
When I was discharged from the University of Nairobi clinic in April 2011, I didn't want to go back to my home in Kiserian, about 40 kilometres from Nairobi. I disliked staying at home back then because I would be forced to do such boring menial tasks as fetching firewood, milking cows and cooking meals in a sooty kitchen. So I asked my family to let me live in Nairobi instead of going back home.
At first, some of my family members objected to me staying in the city because they thought I should live at home where I could be monitored as a recovering patient. But somehow, I succeeded in convincing them to let me stay in Nairobi in a hostel whose rent they agreed to pay. I chose to stay at a hostel in Ngara, on the outskirts of down-town Nairobi, a few days after being discharged from UoN clinic. My good friend Michael Njeru helped me carry my belongings in his car.
That night after I reported at the hostel, I found myself in the same room with a guy called Derrick. Several days later, another guy called Charles joined us. I got along with those two room-mates well for a few weeks. And they seemed to be good company because they counselled me in my low moments.
But alas! How wrong I was to think that Derrick and Charles were good company! They both loved drinking. But it's their violent outbursts that I came to loathe. Imagine one night after his drinking, Derrick became hostile towards me for no reason. He shouted at me angrily and smashed a bottle of beer on the floor. Luckily, he didn't do any physical harm to me.
Then several days later, Charles became angry with me after I took his belt without his permission. In his anger, he threw water at me while asking me whether I learnt any manners at Starehe Boys' Centre, my Alma Mater. And then he bluntly told me the books he had seen me reading would never add any value to my life.
I somehow managed to tolerate Derrick's and Charles's violent outbursts towards me. But I did feel resentment in my heart towards them during my time in the hostel.
One night during that time I was staying in the hostel, I decided to take a walk around Ngara. Just in case I got mugged, I left my phone in the hostel. And guess what! As I was walking in Ngara that night, I discovered a road a few hundred metres from the hostel was littered with prostitutes. This came as a surprise to me because before then, I had thought street-walkers were only in Koinange Street in down-town Nairobi. It hadn't occurred to me that they were also in Ngara where I was staying.
The prostitutes I saw in Ngara were dressed to kill. And I confess that I developed a habit of visiting that road they did their business just to admire their bodies. But I am gratefully glad to report that even though I did admire their bodies, I never became one of their customers.
What I found enlightening in my visits to the red-light district was that some of the prostitutes looked like mothers, the kind I had been taught to trust and obey. Others looked young and innocent, the kind I would naturally want to ask out for a date. Learning that such beautiful and innocent-looking women could be filthy was truly an enlightening experience.
Around that time I discovered the red-light district of Ngara, I happened to hear my room-mate Derrick lament his bad moods one night. He looked visibly disturbed and downcast. And I remember him saying he felt like going to the red-light district to have an affair with a prostitute. That tells how bad a company I was getting into.
Fortunately, I decided to go back home in Kiserian after staying in the hostel for two or three months. It was fortunate of me to go back home because I wonder what would have become of me if I continued keeping bad company of Derrick and Charles as well as the prostitutes I had come to enjoy seeing. I am sure they would have ruined my character because as St. Paul says in 1st Corinthians 15:33, "Do not be misled: 'Bad company corrupts good character.'"
I urge you, my dear reader, to also strive to keep good company. If you live with people who lack ambition, who are slovenly, slipshod or with people of low flying ideals, you will also tend to reflect their qualities. If you read inferior books, or associate with perpetual failures, with people who botch their work, your own standards will suffer from that contagion. That's all I am saying.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story of mine on keeping good company, you might also enjoy another story I wrote sometimes back on "Book Review: Be Inspired Before You Expire." Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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Obeying God's Laws
The Book of Deuteronomy says in chapter 28 that if you obey God and follow His commands, enemies will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven. But if you disobey God and do not follow His commands, you will come at your enemies in one direction but flee from them in seven. I didn't fully understand those words of wisdom till I reflected on what happened to me at the University of Nairobi (UoN) in April 2011. Okay, let me tell you the full story.
As I pointed out in my previous story in this blog, I dropped out of JKUAT in 2009 where I had been pursuing a BSc. degree in Electronics & Computer Engineering. The following year, around September 2010, I applied for admission at UoN to pursue a B.A. degree in Political Science, History, Economics & Public Administration. I was accepted.
Matriculating at UoN turned out to be a good decision because I came to love and enjoy my new course which expanded my intellectual bandwidth. The subjects I enjoyed most were those in the field of Political Science. Like I learnt how some African dictators impoverished their nations by stealing from government coffers and stashing the money in overseas bank accounts.
I also formed some lasting friendships at UoN. Among the numerous friends I made was Jeremiah (I only remember him by that name) who later on helped me produce a song that didn't hit. And then there was Gaetano Lovins Muganda, a nice guy with a pleasing personality who inspires me these days with some of his Facebook posts.
But the problem with me matriculating at UoN in 2010 was that I did so without thinking where my fees would come from. My father really struggled to pay my first semester fees because unlike when I was in JKUAT, this time I wasn't on a government scholarship. We paid my first semester fees in instalments, and when my father was unable to pay the whole amount by the time we were sitting for end-of-semester exams, I had to dig into the loan I had received at JKUAT to settle the fees.
That first semester as my father struggled to raise fees for my university education, I vividly remember seeing one of my classmates with a pay-slip indicating he had paid fees worth Ksh. 100,000 which made me wonder whether I would ever afford such an amount. Well, I did try to look for alternative sources of funding my university fees. Like I talked to my then home-town councillor called Peter Munene who gave me a small amount of bursary which came too late. I also approached a number of friends for help but none came through to my aid.
Perhaps as a result of that frustration in raising fees, I woke up one morning, around March 2011, and messaged my family that I would never go back home again. This alarmed them and they began searching for me. They tried reaching me via phone but I ignored their calls and text messages even when my father texted me that my mother was crying. I can't really tell what was going on in my head as I ignored those calls and messages. All I can say now is that I was behaving foolishly, and very foolishly indeed.
After a few days though, my family caught up with me with help from Safaricom, the leading mobile-phone service provider in Kenya. And after they found me, they forcefully took me to the university's clinic where I was admitted for several weeks. I am sure the doctor who admitted me to the clinic must have been told of my previous hospitalization when I was at the university in JKUAT. For how else can you explain I was admitted at UoN for the same reasons I was admitted at JKUAT.
The evening I was discharged from UoN clinic, I felt terribly guilty as I walked home. It was the kind of guilt that makes you feel the whole world is laughing at you. On reflecting about that guilt, I am of the opinion that it was God's way of punishing me for disobeying His law by causing grief to my father and mother. For as the Book of Proverbs says: "A foolish son brings grief to his father and bitterness to the one who bore him."
I had disobeyed God for shizzle and failed to follow His commands as the Book of Deuteronomy puts it in chapter 28. And as a result, "enemies" came at me in one direction and I fled from them in seven, and one of them was feeling guilty.
By the way, a few months in 2011 after getting discharged from UoN clinic, I stopped seeing my doctor and taking the medication he recommended. Over the years, I have sought healing in writing, music and prayers. And these days, I am striving to walk in obedience to God's Word. That's all I am saying.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story of mine on obeying God's laws, you might also enjoy another one I wrote sometimes back on "The Doors God Closed For Me". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.