Positive Quote For Today

"We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty."— Maya Angelou

How Drug Abuse Can Ruin

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With permission I have extracted this picture-quote from Wordsaregod.com. All rights reserved worldwide.

There is a music skill that I missed learning when I was being taught how to play the piano in the late '90s by a brilliant seminarian named Br. Peter Assenga. That was how to compose songs with a counterpoint harmony. It's a skill that my immediate elder Paddy acquired with admirable proficiency. (If you don't know what a counterpoint harmony is, don't worry; neither did I back in the '90s.)

When I was in Starehe Institute in 2006, I developed a desire to know how to compose songs with a counterpoint harmony. So I approached a guy by the name Kamau to teach me. He readily agreed to tutor me. And soon afterwards, on a warm Sunday afternoon, he sat me down in an empty church for a lesson in music theory.

As Kamau began to teach me that Sunday afternoon, I expected words to flow from his mouth with fluidity - the way Br. Assenga used to speak while teaching us music theory in the late '90s. But guess what! After Kamau uttered his first two or three sentences, he was totally clueless on what to say next. He had to cut the music lesson short. And never again did he sit down with me for another music lesson.

Kamau was a fairly gifted pianist. I had known him since the late '90s when he was in high school at Kiserian Junior Seminary. Some time in the year 2000 when I met him on a street in our hometown of Kiserian, I enthusiastically greeted him by his name. I don't know in what tone I greeted him because before I was able to say anything else to him, he pinched me on my face and instructed me to address him with respect. He embarrassed me by pinching me in front of passers-by but I took his reproach in my stride.

After Kamau finished his high school career at Kiserian Junior Seminary, he was admitted at the Apostles of Jesus Major Seminary in Nairobi to pursue priesthood studies. I once heard that he was inspired to become a priest after he narrowly missed being trampled by a moving bus on a highway in Nairobi - a story I have never corroborated whether it was true.

While studying for priesthood, Kamau began messing up with drugs. The drugs altered his behaviour to a point of making him fall out with a certain priest called Fr. Charles Nyamiti who used to offer music lessons to seminarians at the Apostles of Jesus Major Seminary. Fr. Nyamiti was so perturbed by Kamau's behavior that when my friends and I visited him on one Sunday evening, he cajoled us to stay away from drugs so that we wouldn't end up being like Kamau.

With such kind of substance abuse and behavior change, it's no wonder that Kamau eventually dropped out of his priesthood studies. After dropping out, he landed an opportunity to fly to the United States, the so-called land of freedom and opportunity. I gathered that it was his sister who organized for him to live in America where she resided. And I don't know what happened to Kamau in America because after a while, he was back in Kiserian. My brother Bob Njinju informed me that he was deported to Kenya for messing up with drugs - a side of the story which I tend to believe is true.

On settling back in Kenya, Kamau opened a music school in Kiserian. But the school never flourished either because he was too much into drugs or folks in Kiserian weren't just interested in learning music.

Due to his continued substance abuse, Kamau started exhibiting strange behaviour in my hometown Catholic church - the kind of behaviour that would leave any normal person reeling with guilt. Because I have long since ceased attending mass in the Catholic church, I don't know how the church authorities dealt with Kamau's antics.

One Sunday morning in 2013 or 2014 when I dropped by Kiserian Catholic Church to catch up with old friends, I found Kamau playing a piano keyboard just before a mass was about to begin. I approached him and struck up a conversation with him, in the course of which we had a discourse on drugs. He strongly advised me never to indulge in drugs, especially bhang. And from the way he was speaking with feeling, I could tell he was talking from experience. I took his advice to heart.

Over the past several years, I have been meeting with Kamau in Kiserian every now and then. What I find impressive about him is the way he always greets me warmly, sometimes by my name. He seems to have given up the pride and arrogance that made him pinch me sometime in 2000 as I have narrated to you. Once when I met him walking to Kiserian, I asked him how he found California when he was living in America. "It's very beautiful!" he replied in Kikuyu.

Sometime in 2017 or 2018, I observed Kamau eke out a living by hawking sweets in Kiserian. On one or two occasions, he has begged me for money. Earlier on this year, I spotted him carrying a pile of firewood on his shoulders. And then last Saturday, I saw him talking to himself while throwing his arms in the air as if he was fighting an invisible ghost. Judging by such kind of behaviour, you didn't need to be a genius to figure out that all was not okay with his head.

Kamau is now a walking example of how drugs and substance abuse can ruin our lives. Wonderful opportunities came his way (learning to play the piano, getting admitted at a respected seminary, being granted a visa to live in America) but drugs spoilt him. What a pity!

By the way, I have never learnt how to compose songs with a counterpoint harmony, but I am now content with not possessing the skill since I don't compose music for choir. My focus now is on coming up with songs for solo singing. Adieu!

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Reading Novels

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This is me today in my den holding John Grisham's The Partner, an absorbing thriller I read earlier this year.

Back in the '90s when my siblings and I were growing up, our Dad used to encourage us to read novels. He bought for us plenty of novels which he probably thought would help us fare well in school. Despite his efforts to have us read novels, only my eldest brother Joe Kagigite became an avid reader of novels. I would observe him exchange novels with his friends who visited him at home in those days.

One afternoon in 1997, I passed by Joe's room at home and found him with one of those big novels that he read. I picked the novel up, opened it and then burst into excitement after I recognized several words in it. So much did I feel excited at being able to recognize words in the thick novel that I boasted about it to my other siblings that day. Little did I know that there is more to reading novels than recognizing words; we have to understand the story that the author is narrating.

In spite of Joe having been an avid reader of novels when he was in high school in the late '90s, he didn't manage to score an 'A' or an 'A-' in English in the final high school exams known as KCSE. That makes me wonder if he really ever understood the novels he read. Later on in the year 2010 when Joe offered me a lift in his car as we headed to his house, he told me the novels he read in the '90s have made him more creative in his work. So it appears they were never a waste of time for him.

As for me, I didn't start reading novels till 1998 when I was in Standard 5. But unlike Joe, I only went for the thin novels such as Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe which made me fancy being stranded in an island like Robinson Crusoe. I continued reading those thin novels occasionally as my primary school years rolled by. Looking back, I find it was wise of me to have only read the thin novels when I was in primary school as I was still too young to understand the thick ones.

When I joined Starehe Boys' Centre in 2002 for my high school education, I read medium-sized novels by African writers but only over school holidays because I was too focussed on excelling in academics to read novels at school. Furthermore, it was an offence at Starehe to read novels in class. I remember during one night prep in 2002, Gilbert Kimani - the then school captain of Starehe - came into our class to check if there was anyone with novels. He didn't find any.

You know what? During my final two years in high school at Starehe, I stopped reading novels apart from Chinua Achebe's A Man of the People which I studied because it was a set book for our 2005 KCSE exams. I only read that novel as I feared reading other novels would take up space in my memory that I wanted to reserve for the academic knowledge I needed to excel in school. Sometime in 2004 when Dad urged me to read novels, I pleaded with him to let me read only academic books. I almost cried while pleading with him to leave me alone to study what I thought was fit for my memory.

It seems to me now that my fear that reading novels would take up space in my memory was unfounded because when we were sitting for our KCSE exams in 2005, I spotted my classmate Brian Nalyanya reading during a night prep a book that looked to me like a novel. Nalyanya went ahead to emerge among the top 10 students in the country in the KCSE exams. He scored an 'A' in all the subjects he sat for, including English which I got an 'A-' in despite having applied myself to studying only the set books. When I was in Starehe Institute in 2006, a female teacher informed us during one lesson that Nalyanya wrote some of the best KCSE compositions. And she was quick to tell us she didn't know who that Nalyanya was.

After I finished high school in 2005, I never became an avid reader of novels like the way my brother Joe Kagigite was when he was in high school. Imagine between 2006 and 2019, I only read about five novels which I regrettably never kept in my room for future re-reading. Boy, how I would have loved to have those novels in my room just to take pride in knowing I have read them!

This year, I have started reading novels avidly - the novels that Dad used to buy for us when we were growing up here at home. Unlike before, I am now reading even the thick novels and keeping in my room the ones which I find spell-binding. Why, you may ask, have I chosen to read novels avidly? Because I believe reading novels improves our thinking and communication skills, and ultimately the quality of our lives. That's all I am saying.

RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on reading novels, you might also enjoy another one I wrote earlier this year on "How a Trip Helped Me". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.


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Bible Quote

"Always be full of joy in the Lord; I say it again, rejoice! Let everyone see that you are unselfish and considerate in all you do... Don't worry about anything; instead pray about everything; tell God your needs and don't forget to thank Him for His answers. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand."

~Phillipians 4:4-7 (TLB)

About the Author

Name: Thuita J. Maina
Nationality: Kenyan
Lives in: Kiserian, Rift Valley, Kenya
Mission: To inspire the world to godly living, one person at a time.

Just For Laughs

There was this drunkard named Azoge who loved drinking at Josiah's Bar. On being told a certain Hon. Nanga was flying to America to be conferred a law degree so that he could be admitted to the bar, Azoge replied, "Why fly all the way to America to be admitted to the bar while you can get into Josiah's Bar any time?"

The 7 Deadly Sins

  1. Pride
  2. Envy
  3. Gluttony
  4. Lust
  5. Anger
  6. Greed
  7. Sloth

Author's Note

I am learning to treat life as a journey, not a destination. So I am trying to enjoy each day as I anticipate to fulfill my dreams especially meeting my soulmate and traveling abroad. Tomorrow may never be mine.

Fun Facts

  1. The fear of having no cell-phone service, running out of battery, or losing sight of your phone is called Nomophobia, reportedly affecting 66% of people.
  2. A single Google search needs more computing power than it took to send Apollo 11 to the moon. The Apollo computer was less equipped than a modern toaster.
  3. Besides being some of the biggest names in the tech industry, HP, Apple, Google and Microsoft share another commonality. They all started in garages.
~Extracted from Codingforums.com

Health Tip

So many of us take for granted the wonderful construction of the human body and the workings of its various parts. Some of us even expect it to function efficiently with less than the minimum care and attention. Learn the much you can about your body and how the care of it can help to give you that greatest blessing of all - good health.

Wonders of the Modern World

  1. The Simplon Tunnel
  2. The Sky-scrapers of New York
  3. The Boulder Dam of Colorado
  4. The Panama Canal
  5. The Golden Gate Bridge
  6. The Taj Mahal at Agra in India
  7. The North Sea Oil Drilling Rigs

Great Example for Politicians

"My life in politics was a joy. I loved campaigns and I loved governing. I always tried to keep things moving in the right direction, to give more people a chance to live their dreams, to lift people's spirits, and to bring them together. That's the way I kept score."

~Bill Clinton

Scientific Marvels

  1. Space travel
  2. Heart surgery
  3. Fibre-optics communication
  4. Concorde
  5. Computers & Radios
  6. Anesthetics
  7. The atom bomb

My Supreme Desire

Although I'd like to be rich and famous, my supreme desire is to be radiant: to radiate health, cheerfulness, calm courage and goodwill. I wish to live without hate, guilt, worry, jealousy, cynicism and envy. I wish to be honest, natural, confident, clean in mind and body - ready to say "I do not know" if it be so and to treat all men with kindness - to meet any loss, failure, criticism and rejection unabashed and unafraid.

Greatest American Presidents

  1. Abraham Lincoln
  2. George Washington
  3. Thomas Jefferson
  4. Franklin Roosevelt
  5. Theodore Roosevelt
  6. Woodrow Wilson
  7. Andrew Jackson

Making Peace With the Past

"Dwell not on your past. Use it to illustrate a point, then leave it behind. Nothing really matters except what you do now in this instant of time. From this moment onwards you can be an entirely different person, filled with love and understanding, ready with an outstretched hand, uplifted and positive in every thought and deed."

~Eileen Caddy

Toughest Colleges to Get Into

  1. MIT
  2. Princeton
  3. Harvard
  4. Yale
  5. Stanford
  6. Brown
  7. Columbia

Why You Should Trust God

"Men and women who turn their lives over to God will find out that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities and pour out peace."

~Ezra Taft Benson

The 7 Greatest Scientists

  1. Albert Einstein
  2. Isaac Newton
  3. Galileo Galilei
  4. Nikola Tesla
  5. Aristotle
  6. Archimedes
  7. Charles Darwin

You Matter

"Always be yourself. Never try to hide who you are. The only shame is to have shame. Always stand up for what you believe in. Always question what other people tell you. Never regret the past; it's a waste of time. There's a reason for everything. Every mistake, every moment of weakness, every terrible thing that has happened to you, grow from it. The only way you can ever get the respect of others is when you show them that you respect yourself and most importantly, do your thing and never apologize for being you."


The Most Industrialized Nations

  1. The United States
  2. Japan
  3. Germany
  4. France
  5. United Kingdom
  6. Italy
  7. Canada

Keys to Success

"...in his effort to withstand temptation, to economize, to exercise thrift, to disregard the superficial for the real - the shadow for the substance; to be great yet small, in his effort to be patient in the laying of a firm foundation; to so grow in skill and knowledge that he shall place his services in demand by reason of his intrinsic and superior worth. This is the key that unlocks every door of opportunity, and all others fail."

~Booker T. Washington

The 7 Social Sins

  1. Politics without principle
  2. Wealth without work
  3. Pleasure without conscience
  4. Knowledge without character
  5. Commerce without morality
  6. Worship without sacrifice
  7. Science without humanity

Cherish What You Love

"Cherish your visions, cherish your ideals, cherish the music that stirs in your heart, the beauty that forms in your mind, the loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts - for out of them will grow all heavenly environment, of these if you but remain true to them, your world will at last be built."~James Allen

The World's Largest Cities

  1. London in England
  2. New York in the United States
  3. Tokyo in Japan
  4. Berlin in Germany
  5. Chicago in the United States
  6. Shanghai in China
  7. Paris in France

Benefits of Optimism

"In terms of success, optimistic people out perform their pessimistic colleagues. Research shows that they are consistently promoted higher and make more money while working fewer hours than those who think pessimistically. Optimists also contribute more significantly to social progress. It is the optimists who start and run successful companies, who win elections and carry out reforms, and who make breakthroughs in the realms of science and technology."

~Pepe Minambo

The World's Greatest Lakes

  1. Caspian Sea in the Commonwealth of Independent States, C.I.S. (formerly U.S.S.R)
  2. Lake Superior in North America
  3. Victoria Nyanza in Central Africa
  4. Aral Sea in C.I.S.
  5. Lake Huron in North America
  6. Lake Michigan in North America

Demonstrating His Love

"Take your communication for instance - the way you address others. It ought to be with loving, gracious and edifying words. Never talk people down. Never use words that hurt and demean people. Communicate excellently with others without destroying their self-image or making them feel sorry for themselves. Talk to people in a way that they never forget the excellence of your words, the love and grace of Christ that you communicated. It's how God wants us to love."

~Dr. Chris Oyakhilome

World's Longest Rivers

  1. Missouri-Mississipi (U.S.)
  2. Amazon (Brazil)
  3. Nile (Egypt)
  4. Yangtse (China)
  5. Lena (Russia)
  6. Zaire (Central Africa)
  7. Niger (West Africa)