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How a Trip Helped Me

In the photo above is (from left) my eldest brother Joe Kagigite, me and Dad on a trip to Mombasa circa April 1996. More about that trip in the story of mine below.


While on a school holiday in April 1996, my father woke me up earlier than usual one morning. He asked me and my brother Joe Kagigite to get prepared for a trip. I obeyed his commands without knowing where we were headed to. Well, he had informed me the night before that we would be travelling but he didn't make the destination of the trip known to me.

My father, Kagigite and I left home early that morning when it was still dark. We boarded a bus to Nairobi where we stopped for a few errands including having our shoes polished. Afterwards, we boarded another bus.

Sooner than later, I saw airplanes through the bus window. Seeing the planes at close range made me fizz with excitement. Before then, I had been accustomed to seeing them fly over our home from where they looked like small noisy toys in the sky. It had never occurred to me that I would get a chance to see planes so close. So you can imagine how excited I was that morning.

We alighted from the bus at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. After going through the required clearance, we were led into an aircraft scheduled for Mombasa, a city in coastal Kenya. The mid-sized plane, a Fokker 50 owned by Kenya Airways, looked heavenly on the inside compared to the public service vehicles I had been used to. And I noted that most passengers in the plane were whites - how civilized!

My father allowed me to sit next to the window from where I observed things on the ground shrink in size as the plane ascended to the clouds.

The plane didn't fly directly to Mombasa. It made a stop in Malindi, a town also in coastal Kenya. And on the flight to Mombasa from Malindi, I saw some rivers flow into the Indian Ocean.

We arrived in Mombasa before midday. The exact order of activities we did in the city has long since faded from my memory. All I remember is us boarding a ferry, taking photos on the seashore and touring Fort Jesus (a historical site in the town) after which we went back to the airport to catch a flight back to Nairobi.

That one-day trip to Mombasa helped me to better understand Robinson Crusoe when I read it a dozen months later.

Well, Robinson Crusoe is a novel by Daniel Defoe in which Robinson Crusoe is cast on shore by a shipwreck wherein all the men perish but himself. Robinson then lives alone for twenty eight years on the island on which he is cast by the shipwreck.

Having seen the expansive blue ocean on my one-day trip to Mombasa in 1996, I could picture Robinson Crusoe stranded on an island. Later on, I would fantasize myself also getting stranded in an island where I would feast on coconuts and fish.

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Getting Rid of Resentment



In my previous story in this lovely blog of mine, I talked of how guilt has hindered me from enjoying solitude. The other emotion that has prevented me from enjoying my own company when alone that I didn't mention in the story is resentment.

Well, there have been people who have stolen my property, spoken rudely to me or treated me unfairly. And when I sometimes think about those people and how devilishly they acted towards me, I feel resentment towards them.

I know the godly among us would advise me, "Thuita, just forgive them and forget what they did to you."

Okay, I am alive to the fact that forgiveness is honourable. But what makes forgiveness hard and difficult is that it is more about feeling it in the heart than proclaiming it by word of mouth. Sometimes we can decide to forgive someone only for resentment to re-surface in our souls when we think of how evil that person was to us. Ha! That reminds me of the following poem I came across in John F. Kennedy's Profiles in Courage :
There was a [dog] once so long
He hadn’t any notion
How long it took to notify
His tail of an emotion.

And so it happened, while his eyes
Were full of woe and sadness,
His little tail went wagging on
Because of previous gladness. [1]
Yes, forgiving others is hard and difficult because it is more about feeling it in the heart that declaring it with our mouths.

All the same, carrying resentment in our hearts is unhealthy for our souls. Will Smith, the Hollywood movie star, observed: "Throughout life, people will make you mad, disrespect you and treat you bad. Let God deal with the things they do 'cause hate in your heart will consume you too."

Then the inspirational Book of Sirach in the Catholic Bible beautifully captures it this way in Sirach 30:22-25:
Gladness of heart is the very life of a person,
and cheerfulness prolongs his days.
Distract yourself and renew your courage,
drive resentment far away from you;
For grief has killed many,
and nothing is to be gained from resentment.
Envy and anger shorten one's days,
and anxiety brings on premature old age.
Those who are cheerful and merry at table
benefit from their food.
Resentment is, I repeat, unhealthy for our souls. So as for me, I have decided to exorcise it from my soul by consciously getting rid of any thought that may breed hatred. Like Booker T. Washington put it, I will permit no one to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate them. Or as Martin Luther King once said, I will let no one pull me so low as to hate him. Adieu!

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[1] I have extracted this poem from Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy, published in 1955 by Harper & Brothers.

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