Reconnecting With Music
As I have said before in this blog, I decided to switch churches when I was leaving Starehe Institute in April 2007. I looked for one in Nairobi where I could be worshipping during my university time in JKUAT which I was slated to join the following month. Having been brought up Roman Catholic, I visited two catholic churches in Nairobi but they didn't click with me.
Then one night that April as I was surfing the internet in a Starehe Institute computer lab, I thought of going to All Saints' Cathedral. My Starehe schoolmate Moses Aran had told me of the rousing reception he had received in the cathedral after he played the trumpet during one of its services.
That night as I contemplated of visiting All Saints' Cathedral, I asked Moses Aran for directions to the cathedral as we surfed internet in the Starehe Institute lab I have told you about.
"It's next to Uhuru Park," Aran replied, a tad too lightly.
Armed with that scant knowledge given by Aran, I set off for the cathedral the following morning. And I didn't have trouble finding it when I reached Uhuru Park. I entered into the cathedral and sat through one service and after it was over, I approached the organist who didn't show much interest in me.
Undeterred, I attended the service that followed and after it was over, I again approached the organist. And wow! This time, the organist was an amiable gentleman called Dr. Imbugi Luvai who turned out to be very welcoming. As soon as I told him I was a Starehe student with skills on playing the piano, he went out of his way to introduce me to the cathedral's 9.30am English service choir which I joined and came to love being part of.
Two or three Sundays after my first visit to the cathedral, Dr. Imbugi Luvai allowed me to help him out on the organ during church service by letting me accompany the majestic hymn I Will Sing the Wondrous Story. I played it so well which was nothing new to me since I had accompanied hymns on many occasions during my time at Starehe. But guess what! Some of my fellow choristers were taken by surprise that I could play the organ. They looked at me with amazement and wonder as if I had just discovered a cure for HIV/AIDS.
For the next one year or so, I continued attending church services at the cathedral where I learnt more hymns and accompanied a number of them on the organ. And oh my, aren't Anglican hymns beautiful and inspiring!
But guess what again! Beginning some time in August 2008, I stopped attending church in the cathedral when I started going astray at the university in JKUAT. And for the next four or so years, I also ceased playing the piano regularly and the organ as well.
A few friends became concerned that I was wasting my talent in music by failing to practise the piano during those four years. One friend called 'Sir' Emmanuel Karanja, a brilliant house-mate of mine at Starehe Boys' Centre who I met in JKUAT, told me on several occasions, "Thuita, you can play the piano!"
Even my brother Paddy asked me some time in 2009 whether I still played the piano. I told him I did which was a lie because I had no access to a piano and was then not regularly attending church as I used to before I went astray at JKUAT in 2008.
Come 2012, I decided in earnest to reconnect with my music talent by getting myself a piano keyboard. I asked for help from my friend Shemaiah Mwakodi, who used to run a piano school in down-town Nairobi, but the piano keyboard he gave me was too old and decrepit to be of any use to me.
Around that time I was craving to acquire a piano keyboard, something fortuitous happened which I think was a divine intervention. My brother Paddy organized for me a job to teach piano to the family of Mr. Seni Adetu, the then CEO of East African Breweries Limited (EABL) who was about to emigrate to England with his family. I taught his family for only three weeks and, believe it or not, the money I earned was enough to buy myself a piano keyboard.
That afternoon after I was paid for my teaching services at Mr. Adetu's posh home, I hastily bought a piano keyboard in down-town Nairobi. I felt a deep sense of fulfilment as I travelled home with the keyboard; the kind of fulfilment that authors feel to have their first book published. The piano keyboard helped me to reconnect with my music talent. I still have it to this day here in my room; it makes me fully alive when I play songs on it.
Plato once stated that music gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. I have therefore purposed to fully reconnect with music by playing my piano keyboard regularly as well as by listening to music in my laptop with a faith that I will develop into the creative and motivated young man I desire to be. So help me God.
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When I was at the University of Nairobi in late 2010, a History lecturer told us during one lesson that men who have never been touched by a woman's love tend to be very cruel and tyrannical. He gave an example of Adolf Hitler, who I have learnt while doing research for this story that he was only married for less than 40 hours. Going by that lecturer's inference, I am thinking that I too would have become cruel and tyrannical had I not changed the bad attitudes towards women that I had in my teens. Okay, let me tell you the full story.
I grew up as a girl-shy boy, something I have said before in this blog. At Noru-Moru where I had much of my primary school education, I rarely talked to girls even though I admired a few. Then in the year 2000 when I transferred to Kunoni Educational Centre where I finished off my primary school education, I found myself in a class whose boys had a culture of not talking to girls at all. The boys even considered looking at a girl as an act worth ridiculing. I quickly became absorbed in that culture.
Eventually during my time at Kunoni, that culture of not talking to girls led me to develop a strong dislike for women. Like I felt very jealous when I heard in the news of girls trouncing boys in KCPE and KCSE exams. I was also consumed with jealousy when President Daniel Moi appointed Dr. Sally Kosgei (a woman) as the Head of Civil Service and Secretary to the Cabinet sometime in 2001 when I was in Standard 8. Imagine I came to dislike women so much that one day while at home here in Kiserian, I perused through an old encyclopaedia trying to look for facts that would convince me women are inferior to men.
After we finished our primary school education, one of my classmates named Calvin Morekwa told me that he thought our Kunoni culture of not talking to girls was stupid. I can't recall what I thought of Morekwa's remarks. All I can tell you is that I continued avoiding girls like plague well into my high school years at Starehe Boys' Centre.
At one time in 2003 when I was in Form 2, a senior staff member at Starehe named Mr. Kennedy Hongo came to lecture us on the dangers and spread of HIV/AIDS. During his talk, I stood up and suggested that one effective way of not contracting HIV is to avoid talking to girls. I can't recall Mr. Hongo's response to my suggestion but when I reflect on it now, I find it absurd and far-fetched.
That year when I was in Form 2, some of my classmates, led by my good friend Rocky Mbithi, wanted to hook me up to girls in another school. I resisted the idea as strongly as a little child resisting a vaccine injection. But as my high school years at Starehe rolled by, I began to like and appreciate girls. I remember in the year 2004 when we broke for December holidays, I made a conscious effort to interact with girls I met in my home-town of Kiserian and in church. And, believe it or not, I even hugged one during that holiday.
When I entered Fourth Form in 2005, I started talking to girls during school functions when they came visiting in our school or when we visited them in theirs. We used to refer to those school functions as funkies. At first, I felt very nervous about approaching girls for a talk during those funkies. But as I attended more of them, I developed the chutzpah to initiate talks with several girls though I doubt where I ever managed to make a good first impression that would make them thirst for me, so to speak.
However, there was one funkie that I really enjoyed talking to girls. It was on the day we sat for KCSE Music practical exams during which girls from a school called Riara came visiting. I felt unusually happy and clear-headed that day. After we finished the exams, I approached two of the girls who were then in Form 2 and had come to our school to accompany their Fourth Form school-mates in traditional African folk songs. As we talked, I took the two girls for a walk around Starehe, even inside the school chapel where I showed them the grave of Dr. Geoffrey Griffin, the founding director of Starehe. From the way I conducted myself that day, I am of the opinion the girls were impressed with me. And they probably miss me to this day, wherever they are.
Yes, I came to love talking to girls during funkies. To be honest, those funkies are what I miss most from my high school years at Starehe especially at this time when I am looking for a soul-mate. And they led me to like and appreciate women for who they are. As I speak now, I can hardly wait to fall in love with the woman I envision in my dreams. Adieu!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story of mine on how I came to appreciate women, you might also enjoy another one I wrote sometimes back on "Improving Social Health". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.