Some Mischievous Acts I Liked
A few years ago, I was having a haircut at a barbershop in my home-town owned by my friend Goldine when I spotted a sticker glued on one of the barber-shop mirrors with a quote in Agikuyu language written on it. The quote went something like this: "Nie nyedete ciana; wana niguo itedaga."
In Swahili, that quote translates as, "Mimi napenda watoto; utoto ndio sipendi." And in English, it translates as, "I like children; it is childishness that I don't like."
Though that quote tickles my fancy when I think of it, I don't agree with it entirely because I like childishness to some extent. Or rather, I like mischief provided it doesn't do any bodily harm or frighten the weak. Let me tell you today of some mischievous acts I liked.
There is this friend of mine I met at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi who I call Jack the Jackal. I came to like him during one Bible Study session we were having in the church when he started calling some of the attendants with his phone and then ending the call just as the receivers were about the receive the call - what is popularly known as "flashing" but my dictionary has no such definition of the word "flash".
To give a clear picture of how mischievous Jack the Jackal was, imagine you are in a Bible study when your phone rings. And when you take it out of one of your pockets, you discover that the caller is Jack the Jackal who is seated just opposite of where you are. Haha, how I liked Jack the Jackal for that mischief!
By the way, when I first befriended Jack the Jackal, he used to tell me that he was from Jamaica, the birthplace of reggae music and the Motherland of Bob Marley. I came to believe him given the pride with which he said he was from that country. And he promised me on several occasions that he would one day take me to Jamaica.
But then, I at one time asked Jack the Jackal, "What is the capital city of Jamaica?" He didn't know.
Another mischief I liked was of the students of JKUAT where I matriculated in 2007 to pursue a degree in Electronics & Computer Engineering but dropped out in 2009 after repeating and failing my second year. I visited the university later on in 2012 to reconnect with the classmates I befriended when I repeated my second year who were finishing the degree course then in 2012.
When I visited the university in 2012, I was impressed with how beautiful it had become.. And I was taken aback as I was strolling around the campus that night I visited the university on seeing a neon-lighted signboard that read "FAR HO TEL" pointing to a hostel which was for girls during my days in the university.
Surprised to the core, I paused and asked one of the guys passing by, "You mean they converted this women's hostel into a hotel?"
And the guy was like, "O man, where has this dude been?"
I can't recall what the guy told me but I quickly pieced the story together and learnt that the university had named the hostel as FARASI HOSTEL. Then some mischievous JKUAT students removed some of the characters on the signboard; that's why it read FAR HO TEL.
As to how the JKUAT students could remove some of the characters from the signboard without fear of being caught by authorities or getting an electric shock is something I have never understood. All I know is that I liked the mischief.
Yes, I like mischief provided it doesn't do any bodily harm or frighten the weak. That's why I am a big fan of April Fools' Day. And should I ever get lucky to have children, I will encourage them to be a little mischievous. So help me God.
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How My Captain Helped Me
Some time last year, I came across in my LinkedIn news feed a post on the differences between a boss and a leader that an acquaintance had posted. The differences are:
|Relies on authority||Relies on goodwill|
|Issues ultimatum||Generates enthusiasm|
|Says "I"||Says "We"|
|Uses people||Develops people|
|Takes credit||Gives credit|
And when I thought of a friend who exhibits those distinguishing qualities of a leader, the one who first popped up in my mind was Stephen Lenai - the sensible classmate of mine at Starehe Boys' Centre who, as I have told you, served as my house captain when I was in Fourth Form and in the institute of the school. Okay, let me amplify my point.
For all the time I got to know Lenai since we met in Form 1 at Starehe in 2002, he never said anything negative to me like the way some people did when they commented of how confused I look. Instead, he was an encouraging buddy who sometimes tried to draw out the best in me.
Like I recall during one lunch session in 2005 when we were in Form Four, he called me aside in the dining hall and asked me to be controlling my temper. Believe you me, I sometimes used to erupt violently like a volcano.
Then on our first days in Starehe Institute in 2006, he requested me to be attending the 6.00pm roll-call after I missed it for several days when I reported back to the school for my college education. (Note that I have said he requested, not commanded.)
You see, I felt lonely on our first days in Starehe Institute because my efforts to get a job had borne no fruits and some of my classmates in high school had left the centre. But thanks to Lenai who encouraged me to be attending roll-calls, I eventually felt at home in Starehe Institute where I acquired a transformative Diploma in Information Technology.
And later on during our time in the institute, Lenai used to sometimes ask me to address our house-mates during the 6.00pm roll-calls. It seems to me now that while some school-mates at Starehe saw confusion in me, Lenai saw potential.
There was one Sunday roll-call in 2006 that I will mention here because of how delighted I felt after addressing my house-mates. It was a day before the junior boys of that year began their end-of-year exams and fourth-formers, their final high school exams known as KCSE.
Just before the roll-call began, I had instinctively sensed Lenai would ask me to speak. So to prepare for my address, I wore a winter-coat I loved to wear because it made me look like an American president in a winter inauguration ceremony. And my instincts turned out to be right because Lenai did ask me to speak. Guess what I said?
Well, I just encouraged the junior boys not to despair because they still had plenty of time for improvement. But as for the fourth-formers, I was honest with them not to expect any miracle in their KCSE results if they hadn't been studying well. And when I asked my house-mates whether miracles still happen, some shouted back they still do.
That night, I felt delighted and pleased with myself for the short address I had delivered to my house-mates. Lenai had made my day.
As I reflect on my life since then, I have discovered such a recurring feeling of delight whenever I have done something creative. Like I felt on cloud nine some time in 2012 when I single-handedly created a website for my high school class.
From such kind of uplifting experiences, I would advise youngsters out there to likewise find something creative to be doing - something that will give them a feeling of achievement. It's a far much better and healthier way of feeling high than taking drugs.
Coming back to my story on Stephen Lenai, I shall always remain grateful to him for allowing me to break the rules by sneaking out of Starehe early in the morning on Sundays to be with my home-town Catholic Church youth group when we were in the institute. You see, nothing much used to happen in the school on Sundays. We were just expected to wake up at 7.00am, have breakfast and attend a mandatory church service after which we were free to do whatever we wished.
Looking back, I am thinking Lenai never minded my sneaking out on Sundays because I was always back to the school for the 6.00pm roll-call. But I am sure if some people I know had been my house captain, they would have created hell for me by forwarding me to the school administration for sneaking out. Oh, how I thank God that Lenai was my house captain! He truly was a leader, not a boss.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story of mine on how my captain helped me, you might also enjoy another on a model for servant leadership in which I have mentioned some other two high school classmates of mine. Just click on that link in blue to jump straight into the story.