Wealth & Honour
A True Story
on Dec 20, 2019
When I was leaving Starehe Institute in April 2007, I became intensely ambitious. I wanted to start a business and grow rich while still a young man. At that time, I remember engaging Evans Ogari, a bright schoolmate of mine at Starehe, in a conversation on how businesses are founded.
During the April 2007 holiday that followed after I left Starehe, I began to mentally note the names of car manufacturers. As a result of that effort, I got to know the logos of BMW, Toyota, Volkswagen and other vehicle-making companies. Given how ambitious I was, I must have been thinking that I would own a car by one of those companies in a few years time.
While walking on the streets of Nairobi during that same April holiday, I started to envy people having a meeting on tables of aristocratic restaurants along the streets. That envy led me to dream that I would also join the league of businessmen meeting in such restaurants. And I shared that dream with my senior brothers Joe and Paddy on one night that April as we were having a lively discussion here at home.
Also during that April holiday, I read a few books on how to get rich. One of them was about how its author became a dollar millionaire by the age of 26. Unfortunately, I have long since forgotten the title of that book as well as the name of its author. The other book I recall reading during that holiday was Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich which added fuel to the flames of my ambition to be a rich man.
Fuelled by that ambition, I soon began to harbour in my mind an idea of founding a company that would operate a chain of cyber cafes in cities and towns in Kenya, much in the same way some companies run a chain of supermarkets. And to make the cyber cafes operated by my company a cut above the rest, I envisioned the company to offer refreshments in the cyber cafes as well as tutorials on how to use computers effectively. It was an idea that I perceived would make me rich. And the name I christened the company I intended to found was Mtandao Super-cyber.
I went ahead to write a business plan for the Mtandao Super-cyber company that I intended to found. Actually, I didn't write the business plan; I just plagiarized it from an example given in a certain website that I came across on the internet. A classmate of mine at Starehe Institute called Stephen Mutevu complimented me for the well written business plan. Little did he know that it was a product of plagiarism.
After intelligently plagiarizing the business plan to make it appear my own work, I emailed several prominent people in Kenya and shared my idea with them in the hope that they would contribute the start-up capital. The prominent people I contacted were businessmen Chris Kirubi and Manu Chandaria as well as Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, the then Kenya's Trade Minister. All of them didn't bother to reply to my email but Manu Chandaria was kind enough to forward my email to one Mr. Kevit Detsei who invited me to his office in Nairobi to discuss my idea.
The evening before the day I was to meet Mr. Detsei, I felt very happy and confident about my idea. And I became even more enthusiastic when I read that same evening a motivational book that encouraged me to act on my ideas.
But alas! The following morning while commuting to Mr. Detsei's office, my moods began to change as I became dull and confused. By the time I was meeting Mr. Detsei, I was a complete wretch. Well, I tried to sell my idea to Mr. Detsei by pointing out to him how the printing press revolutionized the world and saying computers were having the same effect, so my company was destined to be a big hit. But probably because I was confused, Mr. Detsei listened to me for a few minutes and then called an employee in his company named Rocky Mbithi to deal with me. (Rocky Mbithi was a classmate of mine in high school and I hadn't known he was an employee in Mr. Detsei's company till Mr. Detsei called him to deal with me. That was a surprise for me.)
Those frustrations of prominent people not responding to my emails and of Mr. Detsei not listening to me made me give up on my idea. And when I matriculated at the university in JKUAT the following month, the challenges I underwent through killed my ambitious spirit. Challenges such as of being told how confused I was, of having poor social skills, of having trouble understanding engineering concepts that we were being taught at the university and of being forcefully admitted to hospital after going astray. Those challenges killed my ambitious spirit for shizzle. To this day, more than a decade later, I have never grown rich enough to afford a car.
Today, I have resolved to resurrect in me that ambitious spirit that I once had of growing rich. This time, I want to gain not only wealth but also honour like King David, my hero in the Bible. And now that I understand life better, I will just continue developing my talents while praying for breakthroughs. Hopefully when I die, it will be said of me, as it was said of King David, that Thuita "died at a good old age, having enjoyed long life, wealth and honour". Adieu!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story about wealth and honour, you might also enjoy another I wrote sometimes back on "What I Didn't Understand at the University". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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A Disturbing Heartache
A True Story
on Dec 18, 2019
Last Saturday, my parents were attending the wedding of one of my cousins. Even though I have never interacted with the cousin who hails from a wealthy family, I decided to also go for the wedding so that I could get to know people. We left home at around 12.45pm in a taxi. As always, I carried in my bag a book to read during any idle moments that may arise.
When we got inside the taxi, the first thing the driver did before switching on the engine was uttering a prayer. While leaving home, the driver preached to my ailing mother how important it is for her to have faith in God if she wants to get healed from her ailment. And as we were heading to the wedding, I noted the music he was playing in his taxi was all gospel. I loved some of the songs I heard, especially Don Moen's "God Will Make a Way". And I also noted the driver had put religious quotes in the taxi. The quotes I managed to read were "God First" which was on the windshield, and "God is My Protector" which was on a sticker glued on the dashboard. The taxi driver was such a religious man.
As we got stuck in traffic, I read the book that I had carried in my bag. Perhaps because I was in a good mood, I enjoyed leafing through the book. I recall reading that insecure people find it hard to apologize to those they have wronged because saying sorry makes them feel weak. I also recall reading from the book on how we can maintain our integrity by not talking ill of those absent.
We arrived at the wedding venue at around 3.00pm. So we missed the wedding church service but we were on time for the reception. By the way, the wedding venue was in the posh Windsor Golf & Country Club, which is about twenty kilometres from Nairobi City.
While we were alighting from the taxi, the driver asked me to leave my bag in the taxi but I refused. With the bag on my back, I walked into the tent where the wedding reception was being held. I found people lining up for food, so I also lined up. On being served with food, I scanned the tent for people I knew. Most of the folks in the tent were strangers to me but I recognized a few faces.
After I became satiated with food, I began walking around the tent, talking to the people I knew and introducing myself to those who were strangers. And I was carrying myself around the tent confidently as if I owned the place. Mark you, this was Windsor Golf & Country Club, a place that is frequented only by the rich.
Guess what! When I went to a certain table and sat next to a white woman ready to initiate a conversation, a guard came and whispered to me, "I want to talk to you." He led me out of the tent. And as we were walking out of the tent, fear ran its icy hand down my spine. Had I done something wrong? I worried.
When we got out of the tent, the guard informed me that people were suspicious of me because of the bag I was carrying on my back. He asked me to take it to the car. I humbled myself and took the bag to the taxi driver who was seated inside the tent. Upon telling him what the guard had instructed me, the taxi driver just put the bag under the table while telling me I should have listened to him when he asked me to leave the bag in the taxi.
I then went back to the guard and apprised him that my bag was in the custody of the taxi driver. Looking satisfied with my action, the guard asked me to sit down and relax in one place. I went inside the tent and got seated while feeling bothered by what the guard had put me through.
Guess what again! As I was sitting down pondering about the action that guard had taken on me, the wedding emcee approached me from behind and inquired from me whether I had an invitation card to the wedding. I replied that it was my parents who had the card while pointing to him where they were seated. He then left me alone.
Although the guard and the emcee had talked to me in a kind manner, I felt hurt by their suspicion of me. It was like I was a nobody in the wedding. So much was I hurt that I lost my appetite for the cake that was being served. The good thing with me was that I remained calm throughout the whole ordeal.
I continued feeling the hurt in my heart on our way back home, so much that I didn't read when we got stuck in traffic as it is my habit. At one point as he drove home, the taxi driver told my parents that I was asleep while I was in fact mulling over how I had been treated like a nobody in the wedding. It hurt me like hell.
Over the past few days, I have caught myself replaying in my mind the images of the guard informing me that people were suspicious of me because of the bag I was carrying and of the wedding emcee inquiring whether I had an invitation card. And the ache that those memories have inflicted on my heart has made me more sensitive to the heartaches of other people.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on a disturbing heartache, you might also enjoy another one I wrote last year on "Gaining Wisdom in Pain". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.