Praying For Mum
A True Story
on Sep 21, 2020
About two or three years ago, my brother Paddy visited us at home with his family on a warm Saturday afternoon. When he entered our mansion that afternoon, he found a lady who had come to check on our ailing Mum. After they exchanged greetings, the lady went ahead to tell Paddy that it was a big blessing for him to come home and find our parents. I couldn't agree with her more.
Our parents aren't the rich, glamorous people whose adventures and relationship issues are the stuff of radio talks, TV shows and newspaper tabloids. Our parents are modest folks who have toiled in oblivion to put food on the table. But that doesn't diminish the importance of their existence. They have raised us well to be law-abiding and God-fearing citizens. And for close to forty years, they have stuck together through thick and thin.
Now as they approach the fortieth year since they had their first son, they are grappling with health problems. They have been on medication for hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and more other ailments than I care to understand. Mum has especially been hit hard by health complications. In 2013, she suffered a stroke that necessitated her to close down her grocery and rest at home.
For some strange reasons, Mum has gone through mood swings over the past three years. Sometimes she has been happy and caring, a mood of hers that has buoyed my spirits as I find it wonderful to see her laugh. But at other times, she has been irritable and quarrelsome, a mood of hers that has bothered me, especially when I see her vent her spleen by throwing things around the house.
Since she started having mood swings three years ago, I have regularly prayed that God would take away her negative temperament. But instead of my prayers being answered, things got worse this year. One morning earlier on in the year, Mum fell down with a thud and dislocated one of her pelvic bones. Since then, she has never walked again; we have been moving her around in a wheelchair.
That week after Mum dislocated one of her pelvic bones, she was in constant pain that made me sympathize with her deeply. The pain prevented her from sleeping soundly. I prayed that God would take away her pain and this time, He answered my prayers because Mum's pain gradually subsided. For the past two months, she has been resting well but her dislocated pelvic bone has made it uncomfortable for her to walk.
Last Thursday, my family took Mum to Kijabe Hospital which is renowned locally for its bone-fixing surgeries. She was scheduled to undergo an operation on Friday to fix her pelvic bone but due to the medication she has been taking, the doctors at the hospital found it wise to defer the surgery to this week.
After Mum was admitted at Kijabe Hospital last Thursday, I suddenly missed her presence at home. I longed to hear her speak, laugh or even yell angrily. For the first time in many days, I didn't seem to mind whether she was in a bad mood; all I desired was her company. So I phoned her on Thursday evening but sadly, she didn't receive my call. That made me agree even more with the lady who told my brother Paddy of what big a blessing it is to have parents at home. It also made me understand the true meaning of the saying, "You never miss water till the well runs dry."
Happily, Mum called me Friday at around 4.00pm. We had a short cozy chat during which she asked me whether I had gone to my hometown of Kiserian for my evening walk. I informed her I would be doing so within the hour. She also inquired from me about some farming activities that she had delegated to some workers here at home and I gladly updated her on what was going on.
Hearing Mum speak on the phone was like receiving a warm ray of sunshine on a chilly day. It buoyed my spirits so much that I switched on my piano keyboard and joyfully played "Amazing Grace" - that wonderful, old hymn that is ever fresh to my ears. And when it hit 5.00pm, I went jogging to Kiserian, full of peace and happiness.
Since that call on Friday, I have been praying for Mum that all may go well with her surgery. The great thing is that she is not being operated on such vital organs as the heart or brain. Still, I am asking God that her operation may be successful. My wish is to see Mum walk again on her two legs and that she may live to witness me walk down the aisle with my future wife. So help us God.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on praying for my Mum, you might also enjoy another one I wrote earlier on this year on "Appreciating Mothers". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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My Biggest High School Disappointment
A True Story
on Sep 17, 2020
In January 2002 as I commuted home after collecting my Starehe Boys' Centre admission letter, I opened the letter and was pleased to be congratulated for having been accepted at Starehe. The letter went on to inform me that Starehe was part of Roundsquare, a worldwide association of schools. I must have been elated beyond measure to hear such encouraging news about the school I was about to join.
When I enrolled at Starehe for my high school education later on in that month of January, I eventually confirmed that Starehe was indeed a member of Roundsquare. And in those days when I was in the school, Starehe was the only Kenyan institution in the Roundsquare association of schools. I also got to learn that a conference is held every year in one of the Roundsquare schools, and that three third-formers are selected to represent Starehe in the conference.
What's more, I got to understand, without being told, that the Starehe teacher responsible for coordinating Roundsquare activities was Mr. Peter Ndung'u, a no-nonsense kind of a man who used to grow long hair that he combed backwards. During my time in Starehe, Mr. Ndung'u accompanied the third-formers chosen to attend the Roundsquare conference.
In 2002 when I was a first-former, the Roundsquare conference was held in a school in Germany. My immediate elder brother Paddy, who was also in Starehe, was among the three third-formers selected to attend the conference that year. When Paddy jetted back to Kenya from the conference, I heard him speak highly of Germany and all the marvels he had seen there, such as underground railway systems. Attending the conference was a real eye-opener for him.
In 2003 when I was a second-former, the Roundsquare conference was held in a school in South Africa. Perhaps because the school was not far from Kenya, four third-formers (not three) were chosen to attend the conference. One of them was a housemate of mine called James Ebenyo who hailed from an impoverished arid area in northern Kenya.
One evening a day or two after Ebenyo came back from the conference, I happened to walk with him from the dining hall to our dormitory. While we walked, I inquired from him how the conference had been. He responded to my questions with an enthusiasm that evinced how honoured he felt to have flown to South Africa. And when I asked him where the conference would be held the following year, he replied that it had been decided it would be in the United States of America.
I recall feeling delighted to hear from Ebenyo that the 2004 Roundsquare would be in America. Because I would be in third-form that year, I began to harbour hopes and dreams that I would be among the three third-formers picked to attend the conference, just as my brother Paddy had been selected in 2002.
When 2004 came and I became a third-former, I kept aflame my hopes and dreams of flying to America that year. I would sometimes stare at a map of the United States that was hung on a wall in the Starehe Boys' library, and then visualize myself touring some of the states during the Roundsquare conference. Oh, how I longed to fly to America - that rich, developed land of freedom and opportunity!
As my days as a third-former wore on, I kept anticipating being summoned by Mr. Peter Ndung'u to be told I had been picked to attend the Roundsquare conference. That I can recollect dreaming in my sleep on two nights in 2004 of myself touring the United States shows how ardently I desired to attend the conference.
But then came one morning in 2004 when I overheard my deskmate Martin Wamoni mumble something about Roundsquare conference participants in a conversation he was having with my classmate Lawrence Sikuku. I didn't hear clearly what Wamoni said but from the way he looked crestfallen, I instinctively sensed that three third-formers in my year had already been selected to attend the conference.
My instincts were right because a few days later when I asked my brother Paddy which third-formers were flying to America for the conference, he went ahead to apprise me who they were, and I was not one of them. (Paddy was then in Starehe Institute and was part of the team of senior prefects charged with the task of picking the conference participants.)
The news that I hadn't been chosen to attend the Roundsquare conference in America hit me hard like a destructive missile. For several days, I was beside myself with gloom. But I didn't share my gloomy feelings with anyone, not even with Paddy; I just bottled them up without allowing the feelings to interfere with my focus on excelling in academics. And my not being selected for the 2004 Roundsquare conference in the United States turned out to be my biggest high school disappointment.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story about my biggest high school disappointment, you might also enjoy another one I wrote last year on "Reacting to Setbacks". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.