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Lessons From Ngong Hills

On the background in this photo are the world-famous Ngong Hills that form the Western horizon of my home-area. And that's where I occasionally see the sun disappear in the evening from the verandah of our bungalow.


I can still remember that day I climbed Ngong Hills with my schoolmates at Noru-Moru Primary School way back in 1999. That day, I woke up early eager for the adventure which had been organized by some of our teachers in the school.

Before heading for Corner Baridi (a place on the Southern foot of Ngong Hills where we were to converge), I packed a bottle of soda and bread into my bag. Then I went to the home of one of my class-mates named George Gitonga to pick him up so that we could walk to Corner Baridi together.

I arrived at Corner Baridi with Gitonga in time. After waiting for all school-mates to arrive, we began our hike through the hills.

Now, Ngong Hills consist of a series of hills that make a ridge. That day, as it is the case with all climbers, we ascended and descended each of those hills like a yo-yo. And wa! What a taxing task climbing those hills turned out to be!

I recall vividly of me getting exhausted at having to climb some of those steeply hills and looking forward to when I would be done with ascending and start descending. And, believe it or not, I also found descending some of those hills equally taxing.

Fortunately for me that day, the daunting journey through the hills was spiced up by my love feelings for Veronicah Kitmet, a beautiful and attractive classmate I secretly admired. Imagine as we climbed the hills, I occasionally felt like turning back to carry her on my shoulders. You can call me naughty if you like, but I am telling you the truth.

After what seemed like an eternity of ascending and descending the hills, we arrived safely in the afternoon at Ngong Town, which is on the Northern foot of the hills, where we partook whatever we had carried for lunch. As for me, I had carried a bottle of soda and bread as I have already told you.

For quite a number of years, I often felt I never had another day in which I walked as much as I did that day we climbed Ngong Hills. And today, as I reflected on that adventure, I have discovered that it bears resemblance with real life on a number of aspects.

First, like climbing Ngong Hills, we are always experiencing ups and downs as we journey through life. The ups are those moments of excitement we feel when we achieve something. The downs are those moments of pain, conflict and disillusionment we often feel once in a while. As I have told you, Ngong HIlls are made up of a series of hills which have to be ascended and descended. So how does that relate to real life? That when we are feeling low, we are just at the right moment to taste our next victory.

Secondly, climbing Ngong Hills requires that you carry some snacks to eat. In life, we also need education if we are to endure the ups and downs with satisfaction.

Thirdly, we fare much better in life if we have someone to love and share experiences just like the way my love feelings for Veronicah Kitmet spiced up the taxing journey through the hills.

The last lesson I can deduce from climbing Ngong Hills is about enjoying the little pleasures of life. The hills provide a spectacular view of the Great Rift Valley which climbers are free to savour as the hike through them. In life too, there are many little pleasures for us to enjoy: music, books, food, sports, movies, sunsets - just to mention but a few. My advice to you is, as you journey though the ups and downs of life, take time to enjoy those little pleasures. They may end up making a big difference in the quality of your life. Adieu!

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Benefits of Physical Exercises



When I went astray at the university in JKUAT exactly ten years ago, I was forcefully admitted at Thika Nursing Home and then at JKUAT hospital for a period amounting to about four weeks. All I did during those four weeks was eating and taking medication. I didn't do any form of physical exercise or intellectual activity like reading.

By the time I was getting discharged from JKUAT hospital, I had grown big with a capital B. Several of my friends discerned that easily and commented on how plump I had become. Like my brother Bob Njinju asked me in the December of that year 2008, "Thuita, are you really feeling comfortable in that weight?"

Then my high school desk-mate Martin Wamoni asked me when we met several months later, "Did someone pump something into you?"

Such kind of reactions didn't impress me because I had never wished to grow big all my life. In the months that followed, I battled to lose that excess weight which I eventually succeeded in 2011 thanks to doing a lot of walking.

I still do try to keep my weight under control by exercising regularly. These days, I have formed the habit of jogging and walking to Kiserian Town, which is about three kilometres from where I live. Good heavens, it's turning out to be fun!

And exercising physically is good for health and peace of mind. In his best-selling autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, Nelson Mandela wrote, "I have always believed that exercise is the key not only to physical health but to peace of mind."

Then Voltaire, the 18th-century writer, historian and philosopher, wrote to a friend, "The body of an athlete and the soul of a sage: these are what we require to be happy."

A wonderful book I own titled Glencoe Health: A Guide to Wellness, says that physical exercise:
  • strengthens your cardiovascular system,
  • helps you control weight,
  • burns off unnecessary fat,
  • improves your appearance,
  • improves your sleep,
  • improves your breathing,
  • reduces stress,
  • improves your mood and outlook,
  • decreases your appetite,
  • gives you more energy and decreases fatigue,
  • uses time productively,
  • reduces boredom,
  • provides social opportunities,
  • boosts your self-esteem![1]
So my dear reader, I beseech you to join me in embracing a lifestyle that includes physical exercises so that our bodies may glow with good health. That's all I am saying. Adieu!

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[1] I have extracted these benefits of physical exercises from page 17 of Glencoe Health: A Guide to Wellness (Texas Edition) by Mary Bronson and Don Merki, published in 1987 by McGraw Hill.

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