Models of Generosity
St. Paul authored thirteen books in the Bible known as epistles which are so full of wonderful and life-nourishing words of wisdom. I have come to love and adore those epistles so much that I have began memorizing verses from them. Like today, I have memorized the following lines from 1st Timothy 6:17-19:
Command the rich people of this world not to be arrogant nor put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way, they will lay up for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.Thank you so much St. Paul for those wonderful and life-nourishing words of wisdom. Now let me take it from there.
When I think of living examples of those lines I have quoted above, the first people who pop up in my mind are Mr. & Mrs. Moore - the wonderful couple I have told you about in the photo above who hail from the bountiful state of Indiana in the United States. Mr. Moore taught me History while Mrs. Moore taught me English - both in junior high school.
Although I was never a star student in their classes, the Moores inspired me to learn more with their dedication and creativity. They went out of their way to give us files for arranging our papers and expanded our knowledge beyond what was required of us in the curriculum. Like Mr. Moore had us know that Guglielmo Marconi was the inventor of the radio. And that 50% of the world's wealth is in the United States. (I am not sure if that's still the case given the recent rise of India, Brazil and China as world powers.) If my memory serves me well, I also recall hearing that Mr. Moore was a school-mate of Neil Armstrong, the first man to land on the moon.
That the Moores cared deeply about our education was revealed in the way they invited one Mr. Kennedy Hongo to one of their classes to lecture us on the dangers and spread of HIV/AIDS. I enjoyed listening to Mr. Hongo; his lecture probably explains why I have refrained from engaging in pre-marital sex. And going by the HIV test I took last year, I am thankfully glad to report that I am negative in so far as having that deadly virus is concerned.
Not only did I appreciate the Moores for the dedication in teaching but also for their unending generosity. They used to lend me newspapers when I was in Form 2 which made me stay abreast of what was happening in Iraq during the Gulf War 2 that was engendered by the Bush administration following the infamous 9/11 attacks. And my education at Starehe, as I have pointed out in the caption of the photo above, was sponsored by the Moore Foundation. Actually, it's their son - Mr. Mark Moore - who sponsored me under the umbrella of the foundation.
We, the Moore Foundation fellows, were always treated with special dinners and trips. We feasted on sumptuous dishes at the school canteen on special occasions, went golfing at 5-star hotels and toured the Nairobi National Museum. Can you see how generous they were?
I have kept in touch with the Moores over the years, including at one time when I begged fees for my university education from them but they replied that they don't sponsor anyone beyond Starehe years. And I was a bit saddened when Mrs. Moore informed me that Mr. Moore passed away on 22nd May of 2016.
For some reasons, Mrs. Moore has tactfully refused to share with me the contacts of Mr. Mark Moore, her step-son who I have already told you sponsored my education at Starehe. Maybe she fears I might pester him with pleas for financial help. But I want to let her know, if she's reading this story of mine, that I have matured up. As in, I no longer nag people for help and I nowadays don't dish out contacts of important people in my life to friends and strangers alike.
All told, the Moores were a generous couple, willing to share their wealth and knowledge with children of humble backgrounds. They were the kind of people St. Paul would describe to have taken hold of the life that is truly life. I thank God for having let them cross my life. And I have resolved that should I ever get a chance to visit the United States, the most successful nation in history and the land of my heroes, I will have to drop by their home in Indiana to catch up. So help me God.
 Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (NIV). Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of International Bible Society. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Day I Visited My Mentors
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.