A True Story
on Dec 2, 2017
UPDATE: I have removed this story for reasons I beg not to explain. Sorry for any inconveniences.
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How a Friend Helped Me
A True Story
on Nov 20, 2017
Peter Kariuki (yes, the young man I have mentioned in the photo above) was a schoolmate of mine at Starehe Boys' Centre but he never got to know me during our time in the school because he was three years my senior and we didn't board in the same house. He was promoted to be the school captain of Starehe Boys' Centre some time in 2003 when he was in the institute division of the school.
After completing his one-year term as school captain, he was awarded a scholarship to pursue a post high school diploma at Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts, United States, from where he was accepted in 2005 at the renowned Stanford University where Bill Clinton's daughter had received her Bachelor's degree a few years earlier. A lucky young man he was.
For some reasons unbeknown to me, some fellow students at Starehe hated Peter Kariuki with a passion. "Those guys are evil!" one housemate of mine told me while pointing to a team of the three most senior captains in Starehe that included Peter Kariuki.
Then when Peter Kariuki flew to Deerfield Academy, one of my classmates ruefully remarked, "Let him fly to America; he will still come back to Kenya." And he uttered that remark in a tone that suggested how intensely he loathed Peter Kariuki.
Never one to hate a person just because others are doing so, I befriended Peter Kariuki via email in 2006 when I was first applying to top American Colleges that included Stanford while I was in Starehe Institute. I however cannot remember the advice he offered me at that time. As it happened, I was rejected by all the colleges I applied for admission.
When I re-applied to the top colleges for the second time while I was a freshman at JKUAT where I was pursuing a BSc. degree in Electronics & Computer Engineering, I contacted Peter Kariuki again. This time round, I remember him advising me to be grateful that I was in JKUAT. But guess what! I never felt proud to be in JKUAT because I really wanted to study in a First-World environment where I could interact with people of other races. As it happened, I was again rejected by all the American colleges I applied for admission.
And when I re-applied to top American for the third time in 2009, I decided to maximize all the help I could get from Peter Kariuki. I requested him to review my application essays. He obliged and offered me his honest assessment as well as suggestions to improve the essays.
Like on one short essay in which I wrote of how I evangelized the gospel to distressed people (that was a big lie! I have never preached the gospel to anyone), Peter Kariuki suggested I explain how evangelism enabled me to know what drives people and how people make life choices and choose ideologies to believe and live by. That subordinate clause I have displayed in green are the exact words he used. I so loved them that I copy-pasted them into the short essay.
Apart from reviewing my essays, Peter Kariuki advised me to also apply to less competitive colleges because Stanford's standards are high. Guess what again! The other colleges I applied for admission were Yale and Harvard which are as highly selective as Stanford, if not more. They all rejected me.
Grateful for the advice he had offered me freely when I applied to top American colleges in a span of four years, I continued keeping in touch with Peter Kariuki via Facebook. In early 2011, I asked him in a Facebook chat which of the schools he had attended (Starehe Boys', Deerfield Academy & Stanford University) that he had found the best. He replied that it was Starehe Boys'.
And guess what again! Some time in March 2011, I extracted from Peter Kariuki's Facebook album two photos of him taken while he was asleep in bed. I combined the photos using a photo editor and wrote on top of them "Kulala Tu!" Then I posted the edited photo on my Facebook wall while poking fun at Peter Kariuki as an oversleeper. Mark you, oversleeping was considered an offence during our Starehe years and captains like Peter Kariuki were charged with moving from dormitory to dormitory at dawn to apprehend oversleepers.
When Peter Kariuki learnt what I had done, he felt offended. He sent me a message warning me that it's wrong to use other people's images without their permission. Then he later on blocked me on Facebook. Since then, I have never heard from him again. I would like to let him know, if he's reading this story of mine, that I have matured up. As in, I no longer use people's images without their permission.
 "Kulala Tu!" is a Swahili statement which translates in English as "Just Sleeping Only!"