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

Tragedy in a Swimming Pool

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

During our time at Starehe Boys' Centre where I had my high school as well as college education, all first formers were required to attend swimming lessons on weekend afternoons right from their first weeks in the school. The swimming lessons were compulsory and any first former who dared miss them risked being fixed for "working party", a severe Starehe punishment in which culprits were forced to work shirtless for three hours on a Saturday afternoon.

As was the case with most first formers, I never got into trouble for missing the swimming lessons because I loved swimming - an experience I had never had before I joined Starehe. I still remember how elated I felt the first weekend afternoon I stepped into the swimming pool. It having been a hot afternoon, my fellow first formers were equally jubilant as we bobbed up and down in the waters of the shallow end of the swimming pool.

After my Form 1 year came to an end in November 2002, I ceased swimming over weekend afternoons. From Form 2 onwards, I only swam during some PE lessons. And I do recall when I was in Form 3, my deskmate Martin Wamoni, who was a better swimmer than me, was fond of torturing me at the swimming pool by forcefully submerging my head under water. On running out of breath, I would try to loosen myself from his firm grip, and when I didn't succeed in doing so, I would feel like screaming for help. Martin seemed to get a special kick out of seeing me gasp for air as he gripped my head.

Of course I ceased swimming on weekend afternoons after I finished Form 1 so as to give first formers of subsequent years a chance to also learn swimming. And I am sure they too enjoyed being in the pool on weekend afternoons, especially when the sun was blazing down from a clear blue sky.

One Sunday afternoon in 2004 when I was in Form 3, the usually fun-filled first formers' swimming session took on a nightmare quality when it was discovered the following morning that a first former had drowned in the pool and died. News of the boy's death spread around the school like bushfire, and at break time that Monday morning, scores of students were milling on the corridors of a building next to the pool, having a look at the dead boy. I also joined the students. And from the second floor of that building, I saw with my two naked eyes the body of the boy, lifeless and floating in the deep end of the pool.

Dr. Griffin, the then director of the school, was also at the scene that Monday break time. When he saw us milling on the corridors of the first and second floors of the neighbouring building, he was angry at us. With his commanding, sonorous voice, he instructed us to come down from the building. I don't know why he got mad with us; maybe he feared we might fall from the building as we viewed the boy's lifeless body. Or maybe he was just stressed by the tragic death of the boy.

When our class convened after that break time for a geography lesson, our teacher - a likeable lady called Miss Mwangi - asked us to imagine how the boy's parents would react on hearing their son had drowned in a swimming pool. She really felt for the boy's parents.

I can't remember what I made of the boy's tragic death. All I know is that I wasn't saddened by his death since I didn't know him personally. I am however sure his classmates must have dearly missed him as they stared at his deserted desk on that fateful day.

Soon after we convened for the Geography lesson, I complained to my deskmate Martin Wamoni that he could cause me to also die in the swimming pool if he continued submerging my head forcefully under water during PE lessons. Though I was damn serious while warning Martin that he could kill me in the pool, he took my comments lightly. I wouldn't be surprised if he can't remember me telling him so.

Looking back on the events of that day, I am sure Dr. Griffin, as the head of the school, must have had a difficult time breaking the news of the boy's death to his family. Maybe that's why he had looked stressed during the break time of that day when he saw us milling on the first and second floors of the building bordering the swimming pool.

Questions were raised on what could have led to the boy's death and investigations were carried out. Were the swimming pool attendants and supervisors negligent in their duties? Did the boy's house captain notice he was missing on the night of that Sunday he drowned? There was a suggestion that the boy could have hidden somewhere near the pool, waited till the swimming session was over and the pool's gates closed, and then dived into the swimming pool to have fun all by himself.

I wasn't curious enough to find out what the investigations came to. But I do recall hearing through the grapevine in Starehe that the boy's family was contemplating suing the school for his tragic and untimely death. I don't think the family sued the school because the issue died down as my years in Starehe wore on.

Also, I can't remember what Dr. Griffin told us when we gathered for evening assembly that day. The little I recall from that assembly is us singing a hymn that touched on the subject of death in one of its verses. The hymn was either "Abide With Me" or "Rock of Ages" and it was specifically chosen to mourn the boy's death. And it was my immediate elder brother Paddy, who was also in Starehe at that time, who accompanied us on the piano as we sang the hymn - a befitting hymn for the mood of the day in which we had learnt a Form 1 brother had left us for the hereafter.

RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed the above story on tragedy in a swimming pool, you might also enjoy another one on "Thinking About Death" which I wrote two years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.


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Part 2: The Starehe of Our Time

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Although Starehe Boys' Centre was a great school during the era of Dr. Geoffrey Griffin, its founder, the institution had its share of challenges and imperfections as I hinted in my previous story on this blog. There were cases of theft and student misdemeanours during our time in the school. When I was in Form 1 at the school for instance, I remember hearing of a hot-tempered student who in a fit of rage sank a pointed object into another student's face. The case reached Dr. Griffin but I was not curious enough to follow up on what happened to the hot-tempered student.

Then when I was in Form 3 in 2004, we entered our classroom one morning, only to find out that it had been raided by a gang of thieves the previous night. The gang stole our textbooks and one of them defecated on the floor of our classroom.

On hearing the news about theft of our books, the school administration swiftly conducted an investigation to find leads on who could have committed the heinous crime. Our classes were interrupted that day as some staff members and senior prefects ransacked our lockers in an effort to trace the thieves. During the investigations, a couple of my personal books were found in the locker of a certain prefect who happened to have been my housemate. I was informed about it.

While I didn't get to know if the thieves were caught and brought to book, I vividly recall Dr. Griffin boasting that his administration had recovered some of the stolen books. And I heard through the grapevine that the leader of the gang of thieves that raided our classroom was an old boy of Starehe. So it seems not every former student of Starehe practises Dr. Griffin's maxim that says, "if you are given a coffee cup to wash, wash it cleaner than any other cup ever washed before."

And then during my years as a third former and fourth former at Starehe, someone used to routinely steal from my box where I kept my things in our dormitory. My box could be locked with two padlocks. Initially, I used to lock my box with only one padlock, but when I realized someone was accessing it on one side to steal my stuff, I added another padlock, thinking the box was now safe and secure. But alas! Soon after I added another padlock, the thief cut through the metal holding the second padlock and continued robbing of things from my box.

I came to suspect the thief who routinely stole from my box was the prefect in whose locker were found my books during the investigation that was carried out that time in 2004 after a gang of thieves raided our classroom. But I didn't act on my suspicion till one time as my high school years at Starehe were coming to an end.

That time, when I found my box had been pilfered again and one of my books was missing, I went to the prefect and cleverly lied to him that someone had informed me he had my book (the one I had found stolen in my box). Guess what! The prefect immediately retrieved the book from his pile of papers and handed it to me, thus making me confirm he was the guy who had been stealing from my box. I however didn't put him to task over the issue that day as I was in a good mood.

Around that time I confirmed the prefect was the thief who had been stealing from my box, someone broke into my locker in the Study Block - the building where fourth formers had their preps - and walked off with my Oxford dictionary and some other personal books of mine. When I found my Study Block locker broken into, my prime suspect for the theft was the prefect who had been stealing from my box in our dormitory.

Unable to stomach his constant raids on my properties any more, I cornered the prefect one night outside our dormitory and angrily accused him of having been stealing from me. The prefect felt embarrassed and melted away from the scene without uttering a word. Shortly afterwards, I reported him to my house captain. I didn't get to know if the captain took any action against him. All I know is that the prefect was not accepted to join Starehe Institute in 2006, which in my opinion was a wise decision. It turned out my house captain also had issues with him.

My dear reader, such was the kind of life in Starehe during our time. The school, as you can deduce for yourself, was not the kind of paradise that some primary school kids imagined it to be. Those challenges and imperfections notwithstanding, Starehe was still a great school which remains dear to my heart. Adieu!

RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed the above story on part 2 of Starehe of our time, you might also enjoy another one I wrote two years ago on "My Encounters With a Legend". 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)