A Desperate Appeal - Reflections of a Young Man™

An Honest Appeal!

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A Desperate Appeal

As I wrote yesterday, I really would love to add more books to my home library because I find reading richly rewarding. I have however decided first to re-acquire the books that inspired me in the past but which I either lost along the way or weren't mine at the time I read them. Let me list them here. And if you are willing to help me re-acquire them at this time when I am economically disadvantaged, I will be eternally grateful. The books are:
  1. Reagan's Journey: Lessons From a Remarkable Career by Margot Morrell - I borrowed this book from the American Reference Centre in Nairobi but had to return it after three weeks.
  2. The 1999 Person of the Century Time Magazine - I bought this magazine when I was in Fourth Form at Starehe Boys' Centre with my pocket money but some wretched rascal stole it from me.
  3. Economics by David Colander - I borrowed this book from the University of Nairobi library and I was very impressed by the author's passion for Economics. I returned the voluminous book after two weeks, so I never had enough time to digest its message.
  4. Coach Yourself to a New Career by Talane Miedaner - I borrowed this book from the American Reference Centre in Nairobi and found its message refreshing. Needless to say, I returned it.
  5. Calculus & Analytic Geometry by Thomas & Finney - I enjoyed leafing through this good-sized book when I was studying engineering at JKUAT but some wretched rascal stole it from me.
  6. The Night Sky (a ladybird book) - I borrowed this small book from Naru-Moru School near my home where I had part of my primary school education and I never returned it. But some wretched rascal stole it from me
  7. Physics by A. F. Abbott - I borrowed this book from my friend Richard Kagia when I was revising for the SAT 2 exams in 2006. I returned it of course because I am a good young man.
  8. How to Develop Self-confidence and Influence People by Public Speaking by Dale Carnegie - I used to own a copy of this enlightening book but some guy took it when I left the book on a desk at the University of Nairobi library to go talk to someone. Maybe the guy thought the book belonged to the library.
  9. Think Big: Unleashing Your Potential For Excellence by Ben Carson - I bought this inspiring book at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi but some wretched rascal stole it from me.
  10. Conquering an Enemy Called Average by John Mason - I found this uplifting book while ransacking my father's property. Unfortunately, I placed it in a matatu's dashboard and forgot to pick it when I alighted.
  11. Principles and Power of Vision by Dr. Myles Munroe - I used to love going through this book but I threw it away because I had a photocopied version. And I no longer read photocopied books. Please don't ask me why.
  12. Encounters From Africa: An Anthology of Short Stories - I read this book in high school as a KCSE set book and really loved its stories. But the copy I had belonged to Starehe Boys' Centre, so I had to return it after I cleared my KCSE exams.
  13. The Power of Positive of Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale - This book deepened my faith in God and in the Bible but I threw it away because I had a photocopied version. Okay, I don't read photocopied books because I like rewarding authors for their efforts by buying their books in their original binding. And I find genuine books to be more visually appealing than photocopied ones.
  14. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey - I read the introductory pages of this book at the Kenya National Library in Nairobi and loved its message. But I couldn't carry it away.
  15. Siku Njema by Ken Walibora - For me, this is the best Swahili novel ever written since God created the universe. I read it in Form 2 but the copy I had belonged to Starehe Boys' Centre, so I had to return it.
  16. John Thompson's Modern Course for the Piano: First Grade Book by John Thompson - I came to like this book so much that I recommended it to almost every student I taught piano at Wynton House of Music in 2015. Somehow, I happened to own a photo-copied version of the book but I threw it away, and I know you now know why, don't you?
  17. A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiong'o - I loved this novel but it was chewed by ants in our old wooden house. The ants ate all the pages of the book but left the cover for me; that's funny, isn't it?
If you are willing to help me acquire any of those books (and I hope you are), just click on the book titles in blue above and you will be linked to Amazon from where you can order them. And then you can have them sent to me by Amazon to the following address:
Thuita J. Maina - TJ,
P. O. BOX 50251 - 00200,
Nairobi, Kenya.
Wait a minute! Please consult me first through the feedback page of this website before ordering a book, just so that I can confirm no one else has offered to buy me the book you want to send me. Thank you in advance for your generosity. You are the kind of person Jesus is waiting for in heaven. Stay blessed.


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Benefits of Reading

This is a section of my room. Can you spot my home library? Of course you can. I just want to let you know I am an avid reader.

When I posted the other day a story in this website in which I displayed a photo of the 2006 Starehe Boys' Fire-fighting Squad, I received a feedback from one Charles Muriithi who informed me he was the 2001 Fire-fighting Squad Commander - that's a year before I joined Starehe. He went on to tell me that he is currently working as the DCIO of Turkana North.

I didn't know what the term DCIO stands for. So I decided to do an internet search with my browsing skills. And I eventually got to learn from a Wikipedia article that the term DCIO in the Kenya Police Service stands for Divisional Criminal Investigation Officer.

The Wikipedia article went on to briefly narrate how the Kenya Police Service works - something that aroused my interest. Like it said the service is sub-divided into the following departments:

  • Flying Squad
  • Anti-Banking Fraud Unit
  • Special Crime Prevention Unit
  • Anti-Terrorism Unit
  • Ballistics Unit
  • Anti-Narcotics Unit
  • Bomb Squad
  • Cyber Forensics
  • Forensic Department
  • Kanga Squad

I laughed out loudly when I read the term "Kanga Squad" because it sounds funny to my ears. But I quickly got serious to ponder about all the evils in this world that the police service fights against. O man, we live in a fallen world for shizzle. And the best we can do to cushion ourselves from those evils is by striving to be discerning and knowledgeable.

To be honest, there was a time I used to only read motivational books about how to be rich and successful. But I eventually discovered the books tended to make me unrealistic with such quotes as:
  • "Just do it!"
  • "If Obama did it, you can do it better."
  • "Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve."
  • "Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it."
Such kind of motivational quotes do contain some element of truth but if that's all we read, we are bound to become unrealistic which will eventually lead to routine depression. We need to be street-wise by reading from a myriad fields of knowledge. I think that's why framers of school curriculum omit how-to-books from students' reading repertoire because true education is not about filling the mind with facts but rather, training the mind how to think.

So as for me, I decided to diversify my home library (see photo above) by including such diverse books as:
  • Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary
  • Roget's Thesaurus
  • The New African Bible
  • Kingfisher World Atlas
  • Joy of Nature
  • Machiavelli: A Man Misunderstood
  • Glencoe Health: A Guide to Wellness
  • The Africans by David Lamb
  • Nelson Mandela by Martin Meredith
  • Your Body
  • AB Guide to Music Theory
  • Thomas Jefferson: The Man...His World...His Influence
  • Communication: An Introduction to Speech
  • Writers' Inc.
  • Diana: A Tribute to the People's Princess
  • SAT: The Princeton Review
  • Kufa Kuzikana (a Swahili novel by Ken Walibora)
  • Book of Wise Sayings
I have become wiser by reading that widely. Or as my fellow country youths would put it in Sheng, "Hizo vitabu zimenichanua." I am eagerly looking forward to adding more books to my home library once I start earning good money like by winning a lucrative advertising contract in this website of mine. So help me God.


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Life Skills

If you ask Kenyans how they are fairing in life, they usually respond in our country's main lingua franca, "Nang'ang'ana na maisha tu!" That's a Swahili statement which translates as, "I am just struggling with life."

And it's true Kenyans really struggle with life. Like I was on one evening talking to a choir director at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi, about a psychotherapy I was undergoing through sometime in 2011. He told me that I was not the only one suffering. "You see these people", he said while pointing at members of the choir he leads, "most of them are taking medication."

Ha! I laughed at the way my friend Peter Kamai wise-cracked on his Whatsapp status: "In this Kenya, you don't need an alarm clock to get you up in the morning. You just sleep and your problems will wake you up."

Aware of the power of words in shaping our lives, I have over the past two years avoided saying that I am struggling with life when asked how I am fairing because I don't want to struggle with life. I want to enjoy it.

To be honest though, there was a time I used to struggle with life especially the time I was undergoing psychotherapy as I have pointed out. But I am now beginning to enjoy it after practising the following life skills I gleaned from a magnificent and colourful book titled Glencoe Health: A Guide to Wellness:
  • Assist others when appropriate.
  • Find something that you can enjoy doing and that gives you a feeling of success. Make time to do that activity regularly.
  • Stop making life a contest. Recognize that there will always be people both more and less able than you are in all areas of life.
  • Aim for improvement, not perfection.
  • Build a network of supportive relationships.
  • Surround yourself with people who respect, approve and accept you as an individual.
  • Accept mistakes and errors as learning tools rather than as signs of your failure.
  • Reject any negative feedback from others that is intended to put you down.
  • Practice visualizing situations in which you are successful.
  • Whenever you look at your weaknesses, spend equal time considering your strengths.
  • Give yourself credit for all accomplishments or improvements, even the smallest ones.
  • Practice basic health habits, giving attention to your physical, mental and social health.
  • .....
  • Improve your mind - read a book, write a story.
  • Use your creative talents on a regular basis.
  • Get some training in an area of interest.
  • Make lists of your qualities, skills and talents. Read them often.
  • Avoid engaging in self-destructive behaviours to escape your shyness or lack of social success. Doing so will just make matters worse.
  • Do something nice for someone else. Do something nice for yourself.
  • Set some realistic, achievable goals, and work at them. [1]
Yes, I am now beginning to enjoy life thanks to those skills I gleaned from that magnificent and colourful book. And I can't help believe that I will soon succeed in all areas of my life and fulfil my dreams especially meeting my soul-mate, driving a classy car, building a resplendent home, having a colourful wedding and travelling overseas.

I advise you to also give those skills a try if you are struggling with life; you will be amazed at how wonderfully your life will change. You will start feeling high naturally with an added bonus of health and inner peace. Over to you!

[1] I have extracted these life skills from page 13 of Glencoe Health: A Guide to Wellness (Fourth Edition) by Mary Bronson and Don Merki, published in 1994 by McGraw Hill.


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