Ochar: My High School Hero
A True Story
on Mar 11, 2021
Every now and then when I feel bored or in need of something stimulating, I sometimes take my mind back to my high school years at Starehe Boys' Centre. I think of all the knowledge that I acquired in those years, the people I interacted with as well as the activities I got involved in. Such activities as giving speeches, playing the piano and going for hikes with the Survival Club. I find it scarcely impossible to think back on those years without feeling inspired.
Recently, I found myself remembering Gideon Ochar, a charismatic Starehe schoolmate who was transferred to our house to serve as our captain in 2003. Ochar must have been promoted to be our house captain because of his leadership and organizational skills. He exuded confidence and intelligence. And I admired the way he walked briskly and with ease.
As soon as Ochar was transferred to our house, he came up with a well-thought-out duty roster. He took time to explain to us how it worked. Ochar's duty roster was a genius idea because of the way it rotated duties among junior boys. Previously, some of us junior boys would be subjected to doing the same tedious work week after week.
Ochar went ahead to lead us well. I remember him exhorting us during one evening roll-call that we be greeting each other when we met in the streets of Starehe. And it was during his tenure as our house captain that we won the inter-house cleanliness competition - the first time our house did so in over fifteen years.
What I came to like most about Ochar was the way he saved me from doing punishments. Like there was a time a prefect called Mulatya caught me wearing a shirt with a dirty collar. When Mulatya took down my name intending to fix me for a punishment, I rushed to Ochar and pleaded with him to save me from the punishment, while giving him flimsy excuses on why my shirt had been dirty. Ochar empathized with me and had the punishment waived. And after that narrow escape of being punished by Mulatya, I never wore a dirty shirt again.
And then there was a time I used to get into loggerheads with another prefect named Nyoro over petty issues. When Nyoro threatened to fix me for punishments, I would take him to Ochar who would patiently listen to us argue. I can't recall what Ochar did to resolve our conflicts. All I remember is that Nyoro never fixed me for any of those punishments he threatened me with. Ochar saved my day.
One night in 2003 after we came from preps, we found Ochar's study on fire. It was actually a small fire which was discernable because of the smoke it was emitting. But had it not been for our timely intervention of calling Ochar from wherever he was and raising the fire alarm, the small fire would have escalated into a big one that would have caused devastating damages.
After we successfully extinguished the fire, Ochar reported the incidence to higher authorities in the school. He informed them that the fire was caused by heating water in a small, crowded space in his study. Fortunately for him, the authorities listened to his grievances with a sympathetic ear and had an extra study built in our house recreational room.
Ochar emerged from the fire incidence in one piece and continued leading us well. Towards the end of his tenure as our house captain in 2003, he organized a house party that was different from any other that I attended in my years at Starehe as it was held in the assembly hall, not in our house recreational room. All housemates attended the party, a testament to Ochar's organizational skills.
As Ochar was preparing to leave Starehe, I commended him in his valedictory book for having achieved much at Starehe. He had been a librarian, a computer student, a handball team member, a fire-fighter, a Survival Club leader and a house captain. And he still went ahead to score an 'A' in the mighty KCSE exams.
After he left Starehe, Ochar landed an opportunity to pursue a post high-school education at a school in South Africa. Sometime in 2004, a fellow housemate called Wilson Kanyi apprised us during a house meeting that Ochar had won a scholarship while in South Africa for excelling in rugby. It seems the skills Ochar acquired at Starehe served him well in his time in South Africa.
Later on in 2012 when I reconnected with Ochar via Facebook, he told me that God had opened him doors where none seemed openable. It impressed me to know that Ochar still believed in God, and I envied him for the success that had come his way. I hope that I, too, will soon witness God opening doors for me while I pursue my career as a writer and a musician. Adieu!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on Ochar, you might also enjoy another one I wrote four years ago on "Leadership Lessons". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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A True Story
on Mar 6, 2021
When I wandered into All Saints' Cathedral in Nairobi one Sunday morning in April 2007, I was immediately hooked to the church because of its modern facilities and its welcoming congregation. So hooked was I that I joined the cathedral's 9.30am English service choir. The choir became more of a family to me as it gave me a wonderful sense of belonging.
I loved attending choir practices in the cathedral as well as its fellowship sessions which we had once every month. During the fellowship sessions, some choristers would give testimonies of what God had done for them. I remember one chorister named Eng. Musebe telling us how he had been sacked from his workplace and then landed another job soon afterwards. Then another chorister named Dr. Imbugi narrated to us how a group of men helped him push his car after it got stuck on a rural road, and then drove off without the men pestering him for money.
As for me, I never gave testimonies during those choir fellowships. Not that God didn't bless me in any way. It was just that I was way too shy to say anything to the group of choristers, some of whom were my parents' age. Furthermore, I was not that much into Christianity to give testimonies. And despite having grown as a Christian over the years, I have never gotten into the habit of giving testimonies.
Today, I have decided to break the mold and give a testimony of how God helped me solve a technical problem I faced recently. This is what happened: About two weeks ago, I noted I wasn't receiving emails in my inbox. And for your information, I don't use Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook or any of those other popular email providers. I have my own special email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) which speaks volumes about how tech-savvy I am.
After I noted emails were not arriving in my inbox, I sent a message to the technicians whose servers host my email. I did so without knowing how they would reach me since my email address was not receiving emails. When a day went by without hearing a word from the technicians, I contacted the company that hosts my domain name (thuitamaina.com), informing it that my email address was not receiving emails. The company also couldn't reach me because of the hitch in my email.
Come Monday last week, I decided to transfer my domain name to the company that hosts this blog so that I could access all my hosting services under one roof. And what I like most about the company that hosts this blog is its efficient customer care services. On transferring my domain name to the company, I notified one of its employees of the problem with my email system. The employee asked me via a chat-box on their website that I update on their servers what are called MX Records.
Guess what! When I tried to update the MX Records, I was told to wait for 5-7 business days till the domain transfer process was complete. Waiting for 5-7 business days meant I had to go for almost a week without receiving emails in my inbox. During that week, I missed reading some of the devotionals and inspiring quotes that I subscribed to be receiving in my email daily. I also worried I could be missing feedback messages sent to me via this blog as well as updates of any donations made.
As I waited for the domain transfer process to finish, I took to heart the advice of the well-known hymn "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" which says in its second verse:
Have we trials and temptations, is there trouble anywhere?So I turned to God and asked Him to grant me patience and help me resolve the email hitch. And I really believed God would see me through that hitch as He has on all the other problems I have faced in my blogging journey.
We should never be discouraged, take it to the Lord in prayer.
You see, since I took up blogging as a hobby in 2013, I have faced one challenge after another. Challenges such as code not working, adverts not showing and my debit card not getting accepted while making payments. The most stressful challenge I have faced was when my blog was attacked and all my files deleted; I had to reconstruct the blog. And the same God who saw me through all those challenges is the same one I believed would help me solve the email hitch that began about two weeks ago.
Sure enough, God did assist me. He granted me patience as I waited with bated breath for the domain transfer process to finish. And voila! Once the domain transfer process was complete, the hitch in my email resolved itself. How delighted I felt to see emails streaming into my inbox again! I believe it was the Lord's doing that the email hitch corrected itself without much action on my side.
That experience tested my patience to the utmost. It also reminded me to be more grateful for the little blessings in life - such little blessings as receiving inspiring quotes in my inbox everyday. I have therefore resolved to focus more on my blessings than on my problems as I go about my daily living. So help me God.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on a testimony of what God did to me recently, you might also enjoy another one I wrote four years ago on "People Need the Lord". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.