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The Day I Visited My Mentors

With permission, I have extracted this photo from Freshmorningquotes.com. All rights reserved worldwide.

That Sunday last year (I didn't note down the date), I woke up effortlessly early in the morning eager to visit Fr. Peter Assenga and Prof. Charles Nyamiti, my piano mentors, in their place of residence at the Apostles of Jesus Major Seminary in Lang'ata, Nairobi just as I had planned the day before.

I arrived at the seminary at around 9.50am feeling inspired, only to be told Fr. Assenga was officiating a mass and Prof. Nyamiti was relaxing. But that didn't dent my spirits because I enjoyed waiting for them on the verandah of the seminary's library where I struck a conversation with some young men who told me God ended the world; it's only that He forgot to carry His people.

Fr. Assenga did finally finish officiating the mass after which I went to meet him. He looked elated to see me, and he must have sensed I was equally elated to see him because of the way he greeted me jovially. And then he asked me what I work I do. Well, I can't recall what exactly I told him; I just wish I had told him I am an upcoming writer and a musician.

We continued exchanging a few pleasantries as we walked on one of the cloisters of the seminary on our way to meet Prof. Nyamiti, a priest who bears some resemblance with Mwai Kibaki - the third president of the Republic of Kenya, my Motherland.

As luck would have it, we met Prof. Nyamiti heading to the mess of the seminary for his mid-morning tea. So that he could attend to a pressing task, Fr. Assenga left the two of us together.

Prof. Nyamiti couldn't recall my name, so I had to refresh his memory by reminding him of my moniker and by showing him a photo we took together back in 1999. Then as we headed to the mess, he told me of his health problems that included arthritis on his right knee. And when he told me he is 85 years, I quickly remembered Dr. Griffin, the founder of Starehe Boys' Centre, telling us during one baraza that a man is supposed to live for 70 years and any more years than that are just a bonus from God. So I discerned an opportunity to make Prof. Nyamiti feel grateful.

"Someone once told us," I told Prof. Nyamiti, "that a man is supposed to live for 70 years and any more years than that are just a bonus from God."

"Yes!" Prof. Nyamiti agreed, "Even the Bible says so."

Haiya! I hadn't known that was in the Bible in spite of having studied it from preface to index. And I actually confirmed it in a Google search that the Bible says so in Psalm 90:10; a further proof that my memory is not as sharp as some people claim it is.

We continued our delightful conversation in the mess where I partook a cup of tea and bread lined with honey, the kind of breakfast I'd like to be having when I build my own home, God-willing. All told, that Sunday I visited my piano mentors was a splendid day for me. And I am striving to create more such days in the future. So help me God.


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Benefits of Working in a Team

With permission, I have extracted this photo from Pro-development.co.uk. All rights reserved worldwide.

Shortly after I left Starehe Institute in April 2007, I landed a music teaching job at a piano school in downtown Nairobi owned by one Shemaiah Mwakodi, or Shem in short, who became a good friend of mine. He still remains a friend though we haven't seen or communicated with each other for the last two years or so.

I loved going to his music school on Sundays especially at one time when he imported about ten pianos from Japan for sale here in Kenya. It was in one of those visits to the music school that I came across a Success magazine which I pilfered by taking it home without Shem's permission. (Oh! I hope he will forgive me if he happens to read this story.)

While flicking through that wonderful magazine, I came across an article that listed the benefits of working in a team. I was so captivated by the article that I cut out a section of the magazine page that listed the benefits and glued it to a page on an exercise book I christened "Dream Book".

Unfortunately, that Dream Book of mine was later on chewed by a cow at home sometimes in 2010 after I left it on the compound where the cows were grazing. I mentioned that loss to my younger brother Symo who remarked wryly, "Maybe God wants you to change your dreams."

Me thinks the cow chewed my Dream Book as God's way of punishing me for pilfering the Success Magazine from Shem and going ahead to cut out pages from it. I therefore nowadays no longer take somebody else's property without permission. Neither do I cut out images and text sections from books and magazines. Oh! I almost forgot to mention that I also don't leave books outside on the compound after I am done reading them. So shouldn't you.

Anyway, since one of cows chewed my Dream Book, I have no record of retrieving those benefits of working in a team as the magazine so magnificently outlined. I have therefore decided to jog my memory a little bit and see which benefits I can remember. Here are the benefits of working in a team that I can recall:
  • Helps us develop good sportsmanship skills
  • Hones our communication skills
  • Diminishes our fears
  • Improves our confidence
  • Helps us achieve our dreams faster
  • Improves our mental clarity
  • Helps us develop strong interpersonal skills
  • Improves our imagination
To be honest, I have never had an opportunity to work in a team all my life - something my friend Michael Njeru mentioned to me when I forwarded him a job-hunting CV a couple of years ago. But I still haven't given up on that dream of working in a team which I plan to achieve through music.

You see, I have a talent in singing and piano-playing. And I have always desired to produce inspirational songs. Those two dreams of working in a team and producing inspirational songs blend very well because producing hit songs involves working in a team of talented music producers. My prayer is that God connects me to such talented music producers as I continue honing my music skills.


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