A Terrible Experience
A True Story
on Mar 31, 2021
At around 5.00pm yesterday, I left home for my one-hour evening exercises to my hometown of Kiserian. I usually do some jogging during the exercises and walk the rest of the way. Part of the reason I do the exercises is to keep myself fit and stimulate my intellectual thinking. And boy, don't I enjoy the evening exercises!
After I was done jogging yesterday, I saw a dark-colored Toyota Landcruiser (also known as Prado) traveling in the opposite direction. Prado being my dream car, I envied the one that I saw and wondered when I will ever own a similar car. That triggered a series of thoughts in my mind during which I thought of the way prominent politicians in Kenya own such Prados.
As I continued wallowing in such envious thoughts, I remembered what the book of Proverbs says about envy: that it rots the bones. So I quickly did away with the covetous thoughts and thanked God that I was feeling happy and peaceful in my soul. I walked on into Kiserian Town, reached a place on the northern side of the town and then turned on my heel for a return journey to my home.
While heading home and while still in Kiserian Town, I felt some discomfort in my stomach. I uttered a short prayer to God, asking Him to heal whatever was wrong in my tummy. But alas! The ache in my stomach persisted and saliva started forming in my mouth. Having found it disgusting - nauseating, even - to see people spit saliva in public, I restrained myself from spitting the saliva that was accumulating in my mouth, for fear that I could disgust other people.
But when I reached a certain place, I was unable to contain the saliva in my mouth anymore. So I pulled down my face mask and spat all that was in my mouth. What came out was a stream of saliva so foamy that it appeared like I had mixed it with a detergent. On spitting the saliva, I spotted a man on the opposite side of the road munching on something and hoped I hadn't disgusted him if he had observed me spitting saliva on the roadside.
As I walked on towards home, my stomachache worsened. I also felt like vomiting. The thought of hiring a motorbike to carry me home crossed my mind but I quickly dismissed the idea. I just had to finish my one-hour evening exercises like I always do.
At some point when the urge to throw up grew in intensity, I strode into a business apartment and headed straight to the loo where I found the toilets open. I entered into one of the toilets and spewed up all that was in my stomach. It surprised me that the food I had eaten for lunch about four hours before was still in my stomach.
Every time my stomach aches and I throw up, I have diarrhea as well. Yesterday when I got into the toilet of the business apartment to vomit, I didn't have diarrhea. And that was fortunate for me because there was no roll of tissue paper in the toilet and I didn't have one in any of my pockets.
After I left the business apartment and continued with my walk towards home, the discomfort in my stomach kept bothering me. I asked God to just at least let me reach home in one piece. And I was so focused on reaching home that I didn't notice the people I was passing by. A lady-friend of mine called Priscilla had to greet me aloud to catch my attention. I responded to her greetings without pausing to exchange more pleasantries. My tummy upset was having a heavy toll on me.
When I finally reached home, I ignored a request from my sick Mum to assist her in something and headed straight to my toilet where I had the diarrhea that I knew was coming. As I sat on the toilet bowl, I thanked God for letting me reach home without messing myself up. Now that I was in the comfort of my toilet where I had plenty of tissue paper, I stayed in it for about five minutes. And when I was done relieving myself, I felt so weak that I contemplated getting into bed earlier than usual.
Because of the sickness I had yesterday evening (stomachache, diarrhea and vomiting), I didn't enjoy my evening exercises as I often do. And that terrible experience has made me appreciate good health. Truly, as Mahatma Gandhi said, it is health that is real wealth - not pieces of gold and silver, or those sleek Prados that I see cruising on the road every now and then. So I have resolved to be expressing gratitude to my Maker whenever I am in good health.
My dear reader, I urge you to also treasure your health - more than even your wealth. Eat well, drink water, exercise as much as you can and sleep fitfully at night. And remember if you have good health, you have the greatest blessing one can ever have. That's all I am saying.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on a terrible experience I had yesterday, you might also enjoy another story I wrote last year on "Appreciating Good Health". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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Seeking First To Understand
A True Story
on Mar 26, 2021
There is an interesting story that we learnt in primary school. As the story goes, the mice of a certain place held a general meeting to consider what measures they could take to outwit their common enemy: the cat. Some said this, and some said that; but at last, a young mouse got up and said he had a proposal to make, which he thought would solve the case of the cat.
"You will all agree," said the young mouse, "that our chief danger consists in the sly and treacherous manner in which the enemy approaches us. Now, if we could receive some signal of her approach, we could easily escape from her. I venture, therefore, to propose that a small bell be procured and attached by a ribbon round the neck of the cat. By this means, we will always know when she is about, and easily retire to our hidings when she is in the neighborhood."
The proposal by the young mouse was met with a general applause. The mice clapped and cheered joyously until an old mouse got up and said, "That is all very well, but who is to bell the cat?" The mice suddenly became quiet; they looked at one another and none of them spoke.
When I re-read that story a few years ago, I thought it contained praiseworthy wisdom. It teaches us to think through issues deeply before opening our mouths. It also teaches us to seek first to understand before airing our views. And as I reflected on the wisdom of that story today, I remembered some people who have offered me advice without taking into consideration other issues that matter.
There is, for instance, a friend of mine called Benedict [not his real name] who took an interest in my life when I began writing stories as a hobby in 2012. One time in 2014 when I informed Benedict that I couldn't view a video he had sent to me due to my lack of reliable internet access, he quickly instructed me to leave my rural home and relocate to a city. At the time, he was a student at a renowned university in America.
Benedict instructed me to relocate to a city without pondering on how jobs are hard to find in the cities of Africa. He also seemed unaware that living in the city comes with it such challenges as traffic jams, urban crime and noise pollution that can be stressful. And he didn't bother to inquire why I prefer staying in a rural setting where communing with nature stimulates my creative thinking. What a shallow-thinker Benedict was!
Then there is this teacher I met at a school in Nairobi where I taught Music in 2015. Let me call him Mr. Nungunungu to hide his identity. Once when I told Mr. Nungunungu that I was still living with my parents, he started lecturing me on what I should do with my life. I will never forget the morning I entered his office to ask for something, only for him to command me to stop playing the piano and find means of living alone.
By commanding me to stop playing the piano, Mr. Nungunungu must have been another shallow thinker. He didn't seem to understand how I love playing the piano and how music beautifies our lives. And he also seemed not to know how some musicians have made a fortune by following their passion of playing a music instrument.
And then recently, a former schoolmate of mine at Starehe Boys' Centre who I shall call Jonathan [not his real name] phoned me at night and engaged me in a lengthy conversation in which he did much of the talking. Jonathan proceeded to tell me that he was disappointed with me that I didn't acquire a university degree. He was disappointed because he had a high opinion of me during our time in Starehe. So he ordered me to go back to university and get a degree. And because he thinks I am a good writer, he asked me to pursue a Law degree.
Jonathan ordered me to enroll in a university without thinking about who would pay my tuition fees and other expenses that come with being a student; expenses such as food and accommodation costs. He also didn't bother to find out whether I am ready to adjust to the life of being a university student; I am not, and so are my parents. My focus now is on developing my talents in music and writing.
To be honest, I felt offended by Jonathan for giving me unsolicited advice that I head back to university. Not that I am proud or thin-skinned. It's just that I don't appreciate it these days when someone instructs me on what I ought to do with my life as if I don't have a brain of my own. For heaven's sake, I am no longer a child; I am thirty-three!
The pieces of advice I have received from people like Benedict, Jonathan and Mr. Nungunungu have made me realize that this world is full of shallow-thinkers. And if we are not careful to deepen our understanding and listen to our inner voice, we might end up being misled by the random opinions of others. Like the old mouse in the story I have narrated above, let us strive to think through things deeply before making our decisions. That's all I am saying.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on seeking first to understand, you might also enjoy another one I wrote some time back on "Lessons I Learnt From Books". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.