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


The Starehe of Our Time

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These are students of Starehe Boys' Centre demonstrating something to President Mwai Kibaki during the school's 2003 Founder's Day. Looking on was Prof. George Saitoti, the then Minister of Education, and other high-ranking government officials.

My younger brother Symo has this close friend of his called Allan Mwangi who hails from a home not far from ours. I find Allan such a friendly and helpful fellow. One day in 2014 when he visited Symo at home, he walked into my room and engaged me in a conversation in the course of which he asked me, "How was Starehe?" He was talking of Starehe Boys' Centre, a charitable institution here in Kenya where I had my high school as well as college education.

I was lucky to have attended Starehe in its heyday when Dr. Geoffrey W. Griffin, the celebrated founder of the school, was its director. For quite a number of years before I joined Starehe and during my time there, the school was always either position 1 or 2 in the final Kenya's high school exams known as KCSE. That was apart from the 2002 KCSE exams when it emerged number 5 nationally.

We, the Starehe students, used to get excited during the release of KCSE results. Media cameras would roll into the school to capture the atmosphere of excitement among Starehe students on evening assembly. Some Form 1 students, eager to appear in the media, would scramble to sit on the front benches of the school assembly hall.

When Starehe emerged number 5 in the 2002 KCSE exams, there was a palpable wave of sadness and disappointment among students and teachers of the school. Some members of the Starehe community suspected the KCSE results were doctored at the examination centre. And quite a number of that year's Starehe candidates paid to have their KCSE papers marked again. It just wasn't usual for Starehe to be number 5.

I attribute Starehe's exemplary performance in KCSE exams in our time to the way it admitted the brightest boys in the country, the crème de la crème. After the release of Kenya's national primary school exam results, most top-performing boys when asked which high school they wanted to attend, would say it was Starehe Boys' Centre. And Starehe attracted the brightest boys owing to its culture of excellence. For most of us Starehe students, the desire to excel academically was in our DNA.

Our culture of excellence was apparent in the way we kept the school neat and tidy. We used to have what we called the inter-house cleanliness competition in which the cleanest dormitory would get recognized fortnightly. The announcement of inter-house cleanliness competition riveted junior boys who did the donkey work of keeping the school spick and span.

Standards of discipline among Starehe students were also high during our time in the school. Pocketing, oversleeping in the morning, not wearing a tie in class or speaking rudely to a prefect could get a student into hot water. But if a student felt he was being punished unfairly, he could air his grievances during baraza, a weekly meeting between students and staff of the school. Most of us found barazas to be very entertaining, just listening to our fellow students complain about something or propose a new idea.

Starehe teachers also played a pivotal role in infusing us with a culture of excellence. Devoted and competent, the teachers administered tests like clockwork, sometimes over lunch hour. And some of them offered remedial classes to the academically weak students.

Perhaps due to its renowned culture of excellence, Starehe occasionally received high-profile visitors. When I was in Form 1 in 2002, Princess Anne - a member of British royal family - was the guest of honour during that year's Founder's Day. In days leading to the Founder's Day, Dr. Griffin kept reminding us of the impending visit of "Her Royal Highness". I wondered what he meant by "Her Royal Highness". And from the way he pronounced it made it sound to me like "Her Royal Hyenas". Only until much later did I realize that that was the respectful way of referring to Princess Anne.

Then the following year in 2003, our school hosted President Mwai Kibaki on Founder's Day. During one baraza a week or two before that year's Founder's Day, Dr. Griffin joked how those of us receiving prizes would shake the President's hand. Because I was slated to get a prize on that Founder's Day for being the best music student in junior high school, I looked forward to shaking the President's hand. So when the day reached, I ironed my best school uniform and wore it in preparation for my face-to-face encounter with the President. But alas! When it came time to receive my prize, it was not the President who gave it to me but Prof. George Saitoti, the then Minister of Education. I was proud of my achievement nonetheless.

And then in 2005 when I was in fourth form, Hon. Moody Awori - the then Vice-President of Kenya - graced us with his presence on that year's Founder's Day. (Dr. Griffin was conspicuously missing on that occasion as he was in hospital; he died a few weeks later.) Seated on a podium as a piano accompanist that day, I happened to observe Hon. Awori closely as he delivered his speech. And wow! So impressed was I to hear him speak fluently without reading from written notes that I pointed out his eloquence of speech to my classmate Wilson Chira who was also seated on the piano dais. Chira enlightened me that the Vice-President was reading his speech from a set of two screens mounted in front of him.

Yes, Starehe was a great school during our time. That's why teachers from other schools regularly came to our school to learn the secrets of our success. I remember walking into a lecture theatre where a group of visiting teachers had been given a talk and found written on the theatre's blackboard the number of 'A's and 'A-'s that Starehe had registered in the previous KCSE exams. The numbers were impressive to say the very least.

Don't get me wrong; I don't mean to say that Starehe was an utopia during our time. The school had its share of challenges and imperfections. I'd have loved to tell you about those imperfections but to keep this story shorter than a novel, let me do that in my next story. So stay tuned to this blog.

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RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed the above story on the Starehe of our time, you might also enjoy another one I wrote two years ago on "Developing Mental Clarity". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.

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A Priest I Will Never Forget

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This is Fr. Deogratias Rwegasira who I shall talk about in the story below.

I was brought up as a Roman Catholic; I just had to because both of my parents were, and still are, Catholics. As a boy growing up in the '90s, I attended mass every Sunday at my hometown Catholic Church where I interacted with nuns, priests, seminarians as well as fellow Christians, old and young alike. Among the priests I interacted with, and one I will never forget, was Fr. Deogratias Rwegasira. Or Fr. Deo in short.

A native of Tanzania, Fr. Deo was posted in the '90s to serve as a chaplain of Kiserian Junior Seminary, a high school that is next to my hometown Catholic Church. It was during his tenure in the junior seminary that I got to know him, for he would often come to our church to preach and teach songs to our church choir. He had a passion for music which was evident in the way he owned an amplifier and a piano keyboard on which he had inscribed his name.

When I began accompanying our church choir on the piano in 1998, I loved to hear the choir sing alongside a piano keyboard hooked to Fr. Deo's amplifier. So I would at times take the initiative of fetching the amplifier from Kiserian Junior Seminary and bring it to our church. I can still picture myself as a boy strutting on an aisle of a fully-packed church, with the bulky amplifier in my hands.

Back in the '90s, I once overheard a friend say that Fr. Deo could play only one Catholic hymn on the piano. I think the friend was right because I once observed Fr. Deo connect a piano keyboard to an electrical socket and then test it by playing the only Catholic hymn he was purported to know.

Although Fr. Deo could only play one Catholic hymn on the piano, he was a superbly gifted musician. He composed a number of songs that he taught our church choir. And wow! His songs were so tuneful and beautifully crafted that they stuck in my memory like glue on paper. To this day, I still find myself crooning them as I got about my daily business.

Besides his musical talent, the other traits of Fr. Deo that endeared him to me were his compassion and kindness. I vividly remember a Sunday afternoon in the late '90s when my friends and I spotted Fr. Deo approaching from a distance. On seeing him, we quickly and cleverly agreed amongst ourselves to yawn as Fr. Deo was passing by to show him we were hungry and arouse his sympathy. The ploy worked like magic because when Fr. Deo saw us yawning, he had compassion on us. He dug into one of his pockets, took out a Ksh. 100 note and gave it to us for buying something to eat.

Excited to receive the money, my friends and I went to our hometown of Kiserian where we bought from a food cafe a type of mandazi we used to call "half-cakes". The half-cakes we purchased were hot and fresh from the kitchen. I started eating my share with gusto but after several bites, the half-cake began to cloy due to too much fat.

Talking of his kindness, Fr. Deo once gently refused to give me a copy of the cassettes that our church choir produced in 1998. I kept nagging him to give me my own cassette to an extent of following him to wherever he went. Despite my persistent nagging, he never lost his cool. With kindness and consideration, he kept turning down my request to give me a cassette until I finally gave up pestering him. He truly practised the grand old biblical virtues of kindness and gentleness that I have seen lacking in some of the Christians I have interacted with over the years.

Because of his musical talkent as well as his compassion and kindness, Fr. Deo was a charismatic and well-liked priest. Some church congregants enjoyed listening to his sermons so much that I noticed how they would smile whenever he was preaching as if they were also listening with their teeth as well. Fr. Deo delivered his sermons with a passion that was rooted in his firm belief in the Bible as the inerrant Word of God.

Why lie, I also liked Fr. Deo. Unfortunately, I got out of touch with him after he left Kiserian Junior Seminary in the late '90s or early 2000s (I can't recall the exact year he left). Sometime in 2014 after someone shared his email address with me, I sent him a message, hoping to reconnect with him. For some reasons I can't tell, he never replied to the two emails I sent him. Last year when I googled his name, I gathered he was posted to a church in the United States where he was eventually granted American citizenship. So America must now be benefiting from his enormous musical talent and his extensive experience as a chaplain.

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RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed the above story on a priest I will never forget, you might also enjoy another one on "The Day I Visited My Mentors" which I wrote sometime in 2018. 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."

~Unknown

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)