Home Sweet Home
A True Story
on Jan 25, 2020
Over the last six months or so during my regular walks to my hometown of Kiserian, I have been observing a homeless man who spends his days lying under a tree by the roadside. He leads a lonely life since I never see him talking to anyone. And I wonder where he gets his meals from and where he goes to relieve himself. His must be a pathetic life.
Seeing that homeless man has made me feel grateful that I have a place I can call home. As in, a place where I can relax, feel free to be myself and associate with people I love. And for those reasons, I often remember to thank God in my prayers that I have a home. It truly is a blessing that not many people enjoy. Even in America, the so-called land of opportunities, there are folks without a home.
To tell you the truth, there was a time when I didn't like the home where I currently live. I think I began hating home in December 2005 after I finished my high school career at Starehe Boys' Centre because I remember preferring to spend that December holiday at Starehe than at home. So on some days during that holiday, I would dash to Starehe where I whiled away my time sleeping and playing the piano.
And do you know why I hated home? Because my family would have me wake up in the morning to do such boring menial tasks as fetching firewood and cooking meals in a sooty kitchen. Imagine I came to hate my home in Kiserian so much that in 2008 when I went astray at the university in JKUAT, I resolved to never go back to Kiserian. I really didn't want to go home at all. And when my family and university authorities caught up with me and urged me to head home, I totally refused.
It was my refusal to go back home that forced my family and university authorities to take me to a psychiatrist at JKUAT hospital. After questioning me for a few minutes, the psychiatrist had me admitted at Thika Nursing Home, which is about twenty kilometres from JKUAT.
But not even my admission to the nursing home could make me change my mind because when I was discharged after about three weeks of stay, I declined to go home. I simply escaped back to JKUAT and continued hanging around the university as I had been doing before my family and university authorities caught up with me.
And guess what! When I escaped back to JKUAT, I became horribly sick probably as a result of discontinuing the medication I had been taking at Thika Nursing Home. That sickness compelled me to seek treatment at JKUAT hospital. And when the hospital staff went through my records, they found out I had been admitted at Thika Nursing Home less than a month before. This time, they admitted me to the hospital (not Thika Nursing Home) and informed my family about it.
During the two or three weeks I was admitted at JKUAT hospital, my family and the hospital psychiatrist coaxed me to go back home. I eventually relented and when I was discharged, I agreed to go home.
And guess what again! After I went home, two of my senior brothers criticized me for not helping my parents in duties at home. They asked me to assist Mum in cooking and looking after the cattle. Because I was emotionally too weak to speak up for myself, I gave in to my brothers' demands and began helping out in chores at home - the same boring menial tasks that had made me hate home.
I still remember the evening my senior brother Joe Kagigite reproached me for staying at home doing nothing. It was in early 2009. That evening, I had gone to visit him in his rented room in Nairobi. During the visit, I was envious of the kind of lifestyle he was living. He was staying in a self-contained room with painted walls, a ceiling, a shower and an indoor toilet; he had a microwave and a gas-cooker for preparing meals as well as a refrigerator for storing food. I envied that lifestyle for shizzle, and when I went back home, I felt like I was living in a backward world where I had to fetch firewood for cooking.
That envy I felt of the kind of lifestyle Joe was living must have contributed to my desire to also stay in Nairobi. So in the year 2011 after I dropped out of the University of Nairobi for lack of fees, I stayed in a students' hostel on the outskirts of Nairobi City. And when I realized I would be unable to continue staying in the hostel due to the high cost of living, I approached a few friends of mine in Nairobi and inquired from them if they could take me in. I can't recall what they said. All I remember is that I chose to head back to my home in Kiserian where I have been staying since then.
And wow! With time, I have come to love staying at home, especially after my senior brothers constructed a mansion with painted walls, a ceiling, a shower and an indoor toilet. We have in the mansion such modern accessories as a gas-cooker and a refrigerator. Thanks to those facilities, I am now living the kind of lifestyle that I once envied in my brother Joe. What's more, my family no longer subjects me to such boring menial tasks as fetching firewood.
I really have come to like staying at home where I have access to internet, a piano keyboard and numerous reading materials that make my days exciting. Also, I love the company of my parents who tolerate my foibles and never put me down. And because ours is a rural home, I enjoy watching and listening to the sounds of birds whistling in the air, of trees dancing to the rhythm of the winds and of the Sun setting in the Ngong Hills that form the western horizon of our home area.
The more than eight years I have stayed at home have not been a waste because I have come to earn my parents' respect and affection. As a result of that respect and affection, I know they will allocate me a piece of land where I will build an even better home with my future wife, hopefully before the next FIFA World Cup in 2022. I regularly visualize the kind of home I would like to build, how I will fence it and what kind of plants I will garden on its compound. So help me God.
RECOMMENDATION If you've enjoyed this story on my home, you might also enjoy another one I wrote last year on "Keeping Good Company". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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Why It Was Good I Didn't Study Abroad
A True Story
on Jan 23, 2020
In my previous story on this lovely blog of mine, I narrated how I was unable to matriculate at a Canadian university in 2006 and how I was rejected by several top American colleges in the three times I applied for admission. The feelings of disappointment that I had when I was rejected by the American colleges still linger in my memory. It really was disappointing.
Over the last ten years, I have had recurring dreams in my sleep of myself re-applying and enrolling at top American colleges. Like last year, I had two such dreams, and I probably had more only that I managed to remember two after I woke up from my slumbers. That tells of how deeply I desired to study in America, doesn't it?
Instead of forgetting the disappointments and focussing on future achievements, I have to confess that I have at times found myself reflecting on why I was rejected by the American colleges while some of my schoolmates in high school were accepted. (Yes, there were schoolmates of mine in high school who attended such prestigious universities as MIT, UPenn, Brown, Cornell, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Dartmouth and West Point. And some of them didn't do so well in their final high school exams as I did in mine.)
To be honest, there were times I felt that those schoolmates of mine who made it to top American colleges got good breaks they didn't deserve while I was denied opportunities that I deserved. (Whoever said life is unfair had a point.) Then there have been other times I thought that I would probably have been accepted by the American colleges if I had had a professional counsellor guide me through the applications - a counsellor who understood the ins and outs of the admission process.
Coming to think of it, I now firmly believe I didn't deserve to get into the colleges I applied for admission. Why? Because I got average scores in the SAT exams and I did a lot of lying, exaggeration and plagiarism in the essays and recommendation letters I sent to the colleges. Imagine I extracted one recommendation letter from a book on how to get into top American colleges and sent it to the universities. I was such a fool.
Besides getting mediocre SAT scores and submitting untruthful essays and recommendation letters, another reason that makes me think I didn't deserve to get into the colleges was the low self-esteem and poor social skills that I had in my late teens and early twenties. Believe me, I used to sometimes feel inadequate and view some people as superior to me, especially those with a white complexion. That low self-esteem affected my social life because I would at times feel lonely in social gatherings and awkward when striking a conversation with the girls I admired.
Probably as a result of that low self-esteem, I would sometimes make excessive class contributions during school lessons, a habit that I began at Starehe Institute in 2006 and perfected at the University of Nairobi in 2011. One time when I was in Starehe Institute in 2007, a classmate of mine called Kennedy Munene became so pissed off with my excessive chatter during class that he urged me to keep my mouth shut.
Despite my outspokenness during class lessons, the truth is that I was not such a brilliant person, if my mediocre SAT scores were anything to go by. It must have been my way of making up for my lack of good self-esteem. And I wonder what would have happened to me if I had taken such kind of foolishness to America. So in a sense, it was good that I didn't study abroad.
RECOMMENDATION If you've enjoyed the above story on why it was good I didn't study abroad, you might also enjoy another one I wrote sometimes back on "Building Self-esteem". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.