Remembering a Maths Teacher
A True Story
on Jan 25, 2021
How can I forget Mr. Samuel Obudho? He was the head of the Mathematics department and also the Form 3 Senior Master during my high school years at Starehe Boys' Centre - in those days when Starehe was well-known in Kenya for its exemplary performance in the national secondary school exams known as KCSE.
I remember Mr. Obudho as a dutiful teacher who loved his job and held students to high standards of discipline and performance. At one time in 2004 when I was in Form 3, he fixed me for a severe punishment for just not wearing a tie during a Chemistry lab session we had on a hot sunny afternoon. How humiliating it was to do the punishment!
Not only was Mr. Obudho tough on Form 3 students but also on teachers. Sometime that year when I was in Form 3, he reproached a humorous and easy-going Maths teachers of ours called Mr. Joseph Kasili for not tutoring us well. Mr. Obudho came to our class one morning at that time to inquire from us something about Mr. Kasili and his teaching methods. I really sympathized with Mr. Kasili to see him being reproached by Mr. Obudho like a primary school pupil.
That morning when Mr. Obudho came to our class to inquire about Mr. Kasili, I voiced a complaint about our English literature teacher - an attractive lady named Miss Gathige. And guess what! A day or two later, Miss Gathige informed us that she was being questioned by Mr. Obudho. When she asked us who had reported her to the Form 3 Senior Master, some of my classmates started shouting my name. Feeling embarrassed, I repeatedly denied that I was the one who had complained about Miss Gathige.
Because of his duties as the head of the Mathematics department and the Form 3 Senior Master, Mr. Obudho used to teach only one class in Starehe, and it was a Form 4 class. In 2005 when I was in Form 4, it was our class that he taught, replacing Mr. Joseph Kasili - that humorous and easy-going teacher I have told you about.
Shortly after he became our Mathematics teacher in 2005, Mr. Obudho got to know me by name. And I must have been an excellent student of his because of the way he had a high opinion of me. He once asked me during a lesson to go to the blackboard and solve a Mathematics problem that was troubling my classmates.
Sure, I was an excellent student of Mr. Obudho. I will never forget the time Mr. Obudho came to our class and handed some of us the results of a Mathematics paper we had sat for in a major exam; I was among those he handed the results, and when I found out I had scored over 80% in the paper, I went dancing around the class.
As my high school years came to an end in 2005, Mr. Obudho aspired to succeed Mr. Yusuf King'ala as the principal of Starehe following the death of Mr. King'ala in October or November of that year. Unfortunately for Mr. Obudho, some senior members of the school administration opposed him.
Early in March 2006 as Mr. Obudho was embroiled in a dispute with senior members of the Starehe administration, I chanced to meet him one evening walking on a highway in the school. After I greeted him, he asked me how I had fared in his subject in KCSE exams. He was pleased with me when I apprised him I had scored an 'A' in the subject. And that was the last time I recall seeing Mr. Obudho in Starehe, for he left the school shortly afterwards, ostensibly because he couldn't put up with the school administrators who had opposed his ambition to be the principal of Starehe.
A couple of years after I left Starehe, I spotted someone like Mr. Obudho walking on a peopled street in Nairobi. I would have loved to greet him but because I was not feeling high in spirits, I didn't summon the courage to approach him and introduce myself to him. Failing to greet people I know when I meet them on the streets has been a weakness of mine whenever I am feeling low in spirits.
Over the years, I became curious to know what became of Mr. Obudho and how he fared with life after he left Starehe. I also wondered how he reacted to news of Starehe's declining performance in KCSE exams in the last one decade. Part of my curiosity was quenched mid last year after I learnt from Facebook friends that Mr. Obudho had passed on after a long illness.
Learning of Mr. Obudho's demise has made me appreciate the gift of life and of good health that I am now blessed with. It has also infused me with gratitude for the life of my father who is an age-mate of Mr. Obudho. My father also wears glasses just like Mr. Obudho used to do. Till we meet again, rest in peace my beloved Mathematics teacher - Mr. Samuel Obudho!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story of mine on a Mathematics teacher I remember, you might also enjoy another one I wrote in 2018 on "Remembering My Teachers". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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Why We Should Read the Bible
A True Story
on Jan 20, 2021
Let some people say what they may but the fact remains: life is hard. We all go through challenges such as theft, injuries, accidents, sicknesses, technological problems and loss of loved ones. We feel insecure about who we are. We suffer from guilt over what we did in the past. We hate those who have wronged us in some way. We worry what could happen in the future. We fear what others think of us. We go through temptations to overeat, oversleep and engage in pre-marital or extramarital sex - sins that complicate our lives.
In our efforts to make ends meet, we find ourselves dealing with difficult bosses, getting conned out of our money, being taken advantage of in the workplace or arguing with negative workmates who seem to get a kick out of putting us down. And when we run out of money to meet our needs, we are forced to cheat, steal or cut corners - some other sins that complicate our lives.
And as if all those challenges were not enough, we find ourselves feeling jealous and envious of what others are achieving. When we strive to also be successful, we are rejected from jobs we apply for. We go through issues when dating. And once we get married, marital problems arise that threaten to tear our marriages apart. If we get lucky to have children, we eventually grapple with rebellious teenagers who are on drugs or in bad company.
As a young man who has lived and worked in Nairobi, I know the challenges young men go through in the city. Challenges such as being forced to work in boring jobs just to put food on the table, waking up in the morning with difficulty, dozing in the bus while commuting to work while wishing the bus ride would go on forever and getting reproached by cyber-cafe attendants for viewing adult content in the Internet.
Indeed, life is hard. And life is hard for everyone, whether you live in a leafy suburb in Switzerland or in a remote village in Bangladesh. No one is immune to experiencing the challenges of life, regardless of their looks or wealth of their families. Every soul goes through its moments of trial and tribulation.
Fortunately for us, God gave us a book with instructions to help us rise above the difficulties of life like an eagle soaring above the clouds in stormy weather. And that book is the Bible which was written by men who understood the nature of life.
The Bible is full of insights and gems of wisdom that can prepare us to deal effectively with any challenge or temptation that can arise in our day-to-day living. And it is full of stories that can make us wiser people.
Having read the whole Bible from preface to index, I have been amazed by how it delves into all the issues we go through during our sojourn on this planet. It offers advice on how to relate with other people, how to conduct our business affairs, how to get along with our spouses and children, how to have hope in the midst of tribulation, how to deal with anger and irritations, and so on and so forth. It also talks about sex, love, money, romance and alcohol.
Although the Bible can sometimes be hard to understand, the hardest part is believing in what it says. I have to confess that I, too, have struggled with unbelief. There have been times I have questioned the accuracy of the Bible and whether all the supernatural miracles it narrates actually happened. But after all I have been through, I have finally decided to believe in it.
Of all the six English versions of the Bible I have in my room, the one I have read thoroughly is the New International Version (NIV) Bible. I find the NIV Bible beautifully written; that's why I feel at home reading it. Whichever people compiled the NIV Bible must have been great storytellers.
Ten years after I bought my NIV Bible, it's now getting dog-eared and torn apart due to too much referencing. But the positive thing is that it has made me a wiser young man. It is like what the great author Charles Spurgeon said, "A Bible that is falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn't."
In my efforts to become the cheerful young man of integrity I am aspiring to be, I am planning to read other English versions of the Bible as the years roll by. I am especially desiring to read the books of Psalms, Proverbs and Matthew in a variety of versions because I find those three books to be treasure troves of wisdom and insight on how to live nobly.
My dear reader, I beseech you to also get into the habit of reading the Bible if you want to rise above the difficulties of life and lead a victorious life. As I recently heard my friend Peter Daniel say on Facebook, the Bible is more up to date than tomorrow's newspaper. So read it, believe in it, and perhaps most importantly, practise what it says. That's all I am saying.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on why you should read the Bible, you might also enjoy another one I wrote more than two years ago on "Part 2: Lessons From the Bible". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.