A Joke That Had Me Laughing
When God created our planet Earth, He endowed it with wonderful resources and living things that make life beautiful for man. Resources such as oil, gold and sand. And living things such as bees, fish and livestock. God was such a creative being, wasn't He?
Of all the wonderful living things that God put on Earth for man's benefit, the honey bees are the most amazing. I find it a wonder the way those dainty insects are able to produce sweet honey that leaves us licking our fingers whenever we taste it. And that honey is not only sweet; it also has health benefits for us humans. Health experts tell us that honey contains antioxidants that reduce the risk of getting stroke, heart attacks and some types of cancer.
As useful as honey bees are, they can be nasty because they sting. I remember back in the mid '90s, there was a swarm of bees that used to occasionally invade a bridge near my hometown of Kiserian. And whenever the bees invaded the bridge, they would make it impassable. But some people would outwit the bees by walking across the bridge with their faces covered with a sheet.
One afternoon back in those days, I happened to be heading to Kiserian when I found the bridge full of bees. I must have been an unwise small boy because I strolled towards the bridge. And lo! The honey bees descended on me and stung me mercilessly on my face. When I went back home with a swollen face, Uncle Ndonga teased me that I looked like a boxer.
I heard through the grapevine at my primary school that some farmers got rid of the honey bees that used to invade the bridge by blocking their nests with mud. As to why the farmers did so, considering the benefits of honey bees, is something I don't understand. There ought to have been a wiser way of dealing with the bees.
We were fortunate to have an abundant swarm of honey bees on our farm in the '90s. They had created a nest for themselves in a certain tree where we used to graze cattle. And I can't recall anyone in my family getting stung by them. Our only shortcoming was our lack of skill in practising bee-farming to produce honey for sale and for home consumption. The bees fled from the tree when some of my family members harvested honey from their nest in an unprofessional way. To this day, more than twenty years later, the honey bees have never gone back to that tree.
Fortunately, there are some honey bees that have settled on another section of our farm in the past several years. This time, my family - led by my senior brother Bob Njinju - are trying to practise bee-farming by harnessing honey from the bees. A few months ago, Bob hired a carpenter to construct five beehives that were placed on that section of the farm where bees are.
Because the bees are yet to occupy the beehives that the carpenter made for them, Bob bought last Thursday a type of wax that smells like honey with the intention of using it to attract honey bees to the beehives.. He melted the wax and applied it on one beehive for a start. Then he instructed our farmhand to place the beehive on the farm at night to minimize the risk of being stung by bees.
That Thursday night our farmhand took the beehive to the farm, I heard him joke to Mum that people could mistake the beehive he was carrying for a coffin. Hearing him say so made me explode into laughter. Then I added in Swahili, "And people would get scared and run away from you!"
I found that joke so funny that it had me in stitches for the next ten minutes or so. It also reminded me of another joke I heard some years back of a thief who stole a coffin one night at Lang'ata Cemetery in Nairobi. When a policeman saw the thief carrying the coffin and confronted him, the thief replied, "I was buried at Lang'ata Cemetery and I didn't like resting there. So I am moving to another place." That reply must have frightened the policeman out of his wits. Or what do you think?
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on a joke that had me laughing, you might also enjoy another story I wrote sometimes back on "Laughing Like a Little Child". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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Lessons From Barack Obama
Last Monday evening as I was walking to my hometown of Kiserian, I spotted a young man ahead of me. His hair was unkempt. And he was wearing one of those T-shirts that were dished out by Jubilee Party during the 2017 Kenya's electioneering period. The T-shirt was dirty, creating the impression that the young man had either not washed it for a month or he had been engaged in tough manual labour that day.
I also noted that the young man had folded to his knees the right side of his pair of trousers. Because he would sometimes stop and bend to re-fold the trousers, I caught up with him. And when I was passing him by, I realized he was insane from the way he was talking aloud to himself and kicking the air with his right leg.
Seeing the insane young man fold his pair of trousers on only the right side reminded me of my younger brother Symo who once teased me that I admired Barack Obama so much that if Obama went mad and started rolling up his pair of trousers to his knees on one leg, I would also do the same. That's funny, isn't it?
Yes, I used to admire Barack Obama even though I have to admit I felt a bit jealous when he was elected as the 44th President of the United States in 2008 and when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. I was also green with envy to see him getting talked about so highly in the Kenyan media as the 2008 U.S. elections were nearing. Like one Sunday morning in 2008 while I was heading to church at All Saints' Cathedral in Nairobi, I was envious to see newspapers with a front-page headline that read, "Obama the Great!"
Jealousy aside, I was a fan of Barack Obama for shizzle. I loved listening to his speeches again and again whenever I was in high spirits. The speeches that thrilled me most were his 2004 U.S. Democractic National Convention (DNC) keynote address, his 2008 Iowa caucus victory speech and his 2009 inaugural address. Imagine I listened to those speeches so many times that I can now spout off some lines from them.
Like in his 2004 DNC keynote address which made him instantly popular, Obama said that Americans must "eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white." He also talked about believing in things not seen.
Then in his 2008 Iowa caucus victory speech, Obama extolled the virtue of hope. He said that "hope is not blind optimism or ignoring the enormity of the task ahead"; hope is that thing inside us that tells us a better future awaits us if we are willing to work for it and fight for it.
And then in his 2009 inaugural address which he delivered with exemplary clarity and eloquence, Obama mentioned the following virtues that have been the bedrock of America's success: hard work and honesty, tolerance and curiosity, courage and fair play, loyalty and patriotism.
Besides listening to Obama's speeches, I also read two of his books that became best-sellers during the previous decade: Dreams From My Father and The Audacity of Hope. Though I disliked the way Obama used some perverse words in his memoir Dreams From My Father, I liked the way he narrated in the book about how he was led to Christ.
What was special about Obama's election as the 44th President of the United States in 2008 was the fact that he was black. For a long time since the founding of America in 1776, blacks had always been viewed as an inferior race. And no matter how diligently they laboured, there were barriers born of bigotry and discrimination that made it impossible for many blacks to achieve success. Hence the uniqueness of Obama's election as president. And I think that must be the reason he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009.
And Obama turned out to be a competent president because he was re-elected in 2012. During his two terms, there was no major scandal in his administration; the American economy recovered from the worst depression since the Great Depression in the 1930s; unemployment rates in the United States went down; and America not only enjoyed peace but it also became a more respected nation in the world.
There are three lessons we can learn from Barack Obama and his rise to be the most powerful man on Earth. The first is that we have to work hard if we are to realize our dreams. Obama didn't just dream to be president of the world's strongest economy; he summoned the discipline to get there. He read books and travelled the world to open up his mind. He studied at Columbia University and Harvard Law School. (Those of us who have applied to universities in America know very well that Columbia and Harvard are not easy to get into.)
The second lesson we can glean from Obama is identifying our talents, developing them and choosing a career that makes use of them. Obama discovered he had a talent for leadership and public-speaking when he moved to Illinois to work as a community organizer, a job that had little pay. He tapped into those talents and chose a career in politics that made use of the talents. As a result, he rose to the top in his field.
It is interesting to note that black Americans are not the only ones who voted for Obama. Americans of other races did too. And supposing only blacks had voted for him, their votes would not have been sufficient to win him the presidency. Therein lies the third lesson: that success only favours those who have discovered their true identity. That's all I am saying.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story of mine on lessons from Barack Obama, you might also enjoy another one I wrote on "Lessons From Ronald Reagan". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.