My Fascination With Airplanes
A True Story
on Aug 20, 2020
Ever since I was a small boy, I have always been obsessed with the idea of flying in airplanes. Back in 1994 when I was seven, I loved visualizing myself flying all day in a plane. And whenever I travelled to Nairobi City in those days, I would bubble over with excitement on seeing small aircrafts at Wilson Airport. I really was fascinated by airplanes.
Fortunately, I had a chance to fly in an airplane in 1996 when I was nine. And in case you are curious to know how that chance came about, let me explain.
Well, my father used to work with Kenya Airways in the 1980s. When he resigned from the company probably because of poor pay, he was offered a golden opportunity to be flying for free in a Kenya Airways plane once every year together with Mum and two of his children, provided the children weren't over eighteen. So every year during April school holiday, my father would pick two of us (his children) for a trip to Mombasa, a city in coastal Kenya. In April 1996, he picked me and my eldest brother Joe Kagigite for the trip. And that's how my first chance to fly in an airplane came about.
During that April 1996 trip, we flew to Mombasa and back to Nairobi in a mid-sized plane called Fokker 50. And even though I was thrilled to fly in an airplane for the first time, I didn't feel particularly proud to fly in a Fokker 50 since the plane resembled the small aircrafts I used to see at Wilson Airport. My desire was to fly in a commercial jetliner such as an Airbus A320.
In April 1999, my father picked me again for the annual trip to Mombasa together with my brother Bob Njinju. This time, we flew in a commercial jetliner as it had been my desire. I however didn't note the make of the jetliner we flew in. (It must have been an Airbus A320 or a Boeing 737.) All I remember is that I enjoyed the trip so much that I fondly missed it the following day and wished I could have a similar opportunity in the future.
The following year, in April 2000, my father picked my brothers Bob Njinju and Paddy for the yearly trip to Mombasa. But Paddy declined to go for the trip and instead chose to report back to high school at Starehe Boys' Centre because the day of the trip coincided with school opening day at Starehe. So my younger brother Symo took the place of Paddy on that trip to Mombasa. And Mum didn't go for the trip that year for she was recovering from a heart surgery she had undergone a few months before.
I heard that when Dad, Bob and Symo flew to Mombaa in April 2000, some complications arose that necessitated them to make the return trip in a bus instead of an airplane. Probably due to those complications, my father didn't fly to Mombasa in the year 2001.
Come April 2002, I was firmly sure my father would pick me for the annual family trip to Mombasa. At that time, I was a Form One student at Starehe Boys' Centre where my immediate elder brother Paddy was also schooling. So obsessed was I with the idea of flying again in a jetliner that I would spend many minutes over that April holiday gazing at the planes flying above my home-area and imagine myself riding in them. Unfortunately, my father also didn't take us to Mombasa that year. And the strange thing is that I never mentioned to him about my burning desire to be in an airplane again.
Actually, my father never took us to Mombasa again after the year 2000. The complications that arose in April 2000 discouraged him from taking advantage of the golden opportunity he was awarded by Kenya Airways to be flying in its planes for free once every year. But that didn't diminish my fascination with airplanes. During my adolescent days and well into teenage years, there were times I would drool over pictures of Airbus A320 that were in a colorful Airbus prospectus.
I still have in my room that Airbus prospectus which I have gone through a number of times in the past four years. And I also occasionally gaze at the planes that fly above my home-area. (I think the planes usually come from Western Europe and the Middle East.) The fact that I still admire airplanes in a prospectus and in the sky above my home shows that I am as fascinated by airplanes now as I used to be when I was a boy.
Interestingly, despite my fascination with airplanes, I have never longed to be a pilot. My desire has just been to be a passenger in a jetliner. That's all. It is a desire that I will strive to fulfil before I depart from this grand and magnificent planet. So help me God.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on my fascination with airplanes, you might also enjoy another one I wrote two years ago on "How a Trip Helped Me." Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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Comfort & Joy
A True Story
on Aug 15, 2020
Last Tuesday, it became cold and windy here in Kiserian at around 5.00pm. Dark-greyish clouds hung overhead, threatening to pour down their contents any minute. Despite the unpromising weather, I decided to go for my one-hour evening walk to my hometown of Kiserian. Thankfully, I reached the town without it having not rained.
As I was walking in Kiserian, I saw a flock of birds flying above a two-storey building that houses a supermarket called Hypercity. The birds were hovering around the building while whistling. And they were hovering so swiftly that I couldn't tell whether they were martins, sparrows, swallows or woodpeckers. They looked very full of life and joy.
Seeing the birds full of life and joy has reminded me of the times when I, too, have felt joyful. Like there was a Saturday evening in 2008 when I felt a surge of happiness in my soul after coming from a choir practice at All Saints' Cathedral in Nairobi. Fuelled by that happiness, I roamed the fields of JKUAT university while reciting "Abraham Lincoln's Letter to His Son's Teacher". It really was a terrific evening for me.
Then there was another Saturday afternoon in 2012 or 2013 (can't recall the exact year) when I again felt a surge of happiness in my soul. In my state of excitement, I headed to All Saints' Cathedral to be with the choir I used to regularly sing with when I was at the university in JKUAT. At the cathedral, I found a chorister named Susan teaching the choir a song titled "Comfort and Joy" which I had never heard before. Those three words "comfort and joy" perfectly explained how I was feeling that afternoon and what I would always like to feel, at least most of the time.
While we rehearsed the song, Susan asked each tenor to sing a few lines that were troubling us. When it was my turn to sing, I sang the lines very loudly and enthusiastically, especially the words "comfort and joy". I am sure some of the choristers who heard me sing that afternoon wondered why I wasn't turning up for choir practice as often as I used to do when I was at JKUAT a couple of years before.
I still believe in those three words: "comfort and joy". They aptly summarize the kind of atmosphere I would like to have in my soul, whether when alone in my room or when chatting with folks. And from my experiences in life so far, I have realized that feeling comfort and joy in the soul is both a skill and a decision. And I will tell you why.
Well, there are people out there who seem blessed in every way but are quite unhappy in their souls. They are blessed with riches and fame but still leading a life of quiet desperation. Others are well physically but mentally, they are tormented by such negative emotions as hate, fear, worry, guilt and jealousy.
Then there are people who are facing challenges but are happy and content with what life has to offer. A good example is a distant neighbour of mine called Mrs. Mathenge who was crippled by a disease. She once told me that sometimes she gets so wrapped up in what she is doing that she doesn't realize time pass.
It is people like Mrs. Mathenge that have made me realize that feeling comfort and joy is both a skill and a decision. I believe we are all capable of having "comfort and joy" in our souls regardless of the challenges we could be facing. And how can we achieve that? By trusting in God, counting our blessings, forgiving others, repenting our sins, being optimistic, reading good books, pursuing our hobbies, doing physical exercises, listening to uplifting music, relating well with others, leading a life of integrity and not sweating the small stuff.
Perhaps most importantly, we can experience "comfort and joy" in our souls by entertaining noble thoughts in our minds as St. Paul advises us in Phillipians 4:8. If we strive to plant beautiful thoughts in our precious minds, our lives will begin to grow beautifully and our bodies will become clothed in beauty and youthfulness. And we will move around with energy just like the flock of birds I saw fly swiftly above Hypercity Supermarket in Kiserian last Tuesday.
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