Helping Little Girls
A True Story
on Nov 28, 2022
If there is anything I am sensitive to these days, it is being taken advantage of by others. I just don't like it when people make me do things I shouldn't be doing. Worse still, I hate it when someone asks me to do for free something I should be charging a stipend for doing. My goal nowadays is to be useful, not used; to be motivated, not manipulated.
About two years ago while I was taking a walk in the evening in my hometown of Kiserian, an elderly man stopped me and asked me to help him cross a busy road. Seeing how his body was stooped due to his advanced years, I sympathized with him and slowly led him across the road.
Shortly afterwards, I regretted having helped the elderly man cross the road because I thought he was probably paying the price of being alone after mistreating his wife, and now he was taking advantage of me by asking me to do something his children should have been doing. I resolved that the next time a person requested me to cross a road, I'd either decline or charge a stipend for my service.
My resolution was tested about two weeks ago when a small girl sidled up to me as I was walking in Kiserian. At first, I thought the girl wanted to beg for some money from me. But when I paused to listen to her, she cajoled me to assist her cross the road. The tenderness with which she spoke to me melted my heart so much that I yielded to her request.
I held the girl's hand and guided her across the road. And after we were safely on the other side of the road, she uttered a sincere "thank-you" and then dashed off to wherever she was headed. Unlike the evening two years ago when I helped an elderly man cross the road and regretted it, this time I felt elated for guiding the little girl across the same busy road. A voice in my heart, which I believe is the voice of God, told me I had done the right thing. I walked home a happy man.
Then last Wednesday, a beautiful girl in school uniform stopped me as I was heading home from my evening walk in Kiserian. She was carrying on her back a baby that I assumed was her younger sibling. When I paused to hear what she had to say, she humbly implored me to help her cross the road. (What's with people asking me to help them cross the road?)
Afraid that the beautiful girl could be taking advantage of me, I inquired from her whether she was in the company of adults who were walking beside her. After she reassured me that she was alone, I held her hand and guided her across the busy road. The girl, despite her physical beauty, wasn't bright enough to thank me for my help. But I felt useful, not used, and proud that she had seen in me a confident man she could rely on.
As I walked home feeling pleased with myself for assisting the beautiful girl cross the road, my mind flashed back to the times in my childhood years when I was also helped by complete strangers. I recalled, in the mothballs of my memory, a man in my neighbourhood who used to help me carry a heavy jerrycan of milk that Mum gave me to deliver to a certain food cafe in Kiserian in the morning.
That man used to do me a world of good by helping me carry the jerrycan of milk that was too heavy for my small body. On several mornings before setting out for Kiserian to deliver the milk, I would silently wish to meet him on the way. And whenever I met him, he would unfailingly take the jerrycan of milk into his own hands without me asking him to do so.
I remembered, too, a policeman who on two different afternoons in the mid-90s stopped some men and instructed them to help me carry a heavy load that Mum had given me to take home from her grocery shop in Kiserian. (Oh Mum and the heavy loads she forced me to carry!) While helping me carry the loads, the men would engage me in a conversation. One of them told me to tell Mum not to give me such heavy loads again.
Because those complete strangers assisted me to carry milk and heavy loads when I was too young to remember faces, I will never get to know who they were. And when memories of their kind gestures came flooding back in my mind last Wednesday, I thought I had paid forward for their services by helping the two little girls I met in Kiserian in the past two weeks. Honestly, didn't I do a wonderful thing by helping the girls cross the busy roads in Kiserian?
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on me helping little girls, you might also enjoy another one on "Identifying Our Virtues" that I wrote more than four years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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Rooting For Brazil & England
A True Story
on Nov 23, 2022
As I wrote four years ago, I had this high-school classmate called Wesley Chege who loved soccer. He used to engage some of my classmates in spirited conversations about the English Premier League. His favourite soccer star was Thierry Henry, a prolific Arsenal striker in the mid-2000s. And Wesley emphasized to me on several occasions that the name Thierry Henry is pronounced as "Tieri Onri".
Looking back, I wish I had also taken an interest in soccer earlier in my high school career because it would have helped me develop my social skills as I debated with Wesley and other soccer-loving classmates about the latest developments in the English Premier League. By participating in such discussions, maybe I wouldn't have grown into the timid and confused teenager that some people said I was.
I watched my first English Premier League match in November 2005 as my high school years at Starehe Boys' Centre were coming to an end. The match, held on the eve of a KCSE Geography exam, was between Chelsea and Manchester United. And after watching it, I was hooked on soccer.
When I reported back to Starehe in January 2006 to pursue a diploma in Information Technology in the institute division of the school, I became an enthusiastic watcher of professional soccer. Early that year, I skipped a school baraza on a Friday night and went to watch an Africa Cup of Nations final between Egypt and Ivory Coast.
Having come to like soccer, I watched several English Premier League matches during my time in Starehe Institute. I particularly recall the Sunday evening when I sneaked out of Starehe with my classmate Kennedy Munene to go watch a game between Arsenal and Manchester United. Both Kennedy and I enjoyed the match.
And then guess what! As we were heading back to Starehe on the night of that Sunday, we found near the gates of the school a number of prefects who were writing the names of the students who had sneaked out of school to go watch that highly publicized match. Kennedy chose to evade the prefects by going to a certain section of the school wall where he could slip into the school unnoticed. And I, like a fool, was left alone waiting in the cover of darkness for the prefects to leave.
After waiting for what seemed like forever without the prefects abandoning their duty, I courageously emerged from the darkness and strode into the school. I am sure some of the prefects saw me entering the school at around 9.00pm of that Sunday but thankfully, no action was taken against me.
Perhaps the professional soccer matches that I followed with the greatest interest in 2006 were those of that year's FIFA World Cup held in Germany. I remember with nostalgia sauntering back to Starehe at night with some of my institute schoolmates after watching a match featuring Brazil, the team I was strongly rooting for during that World Cup.
Unlike my high-school classmate Wesley Chege who admired Thierry Henry, I came to adore Ronaldinho de Gaucho (see photo above) when I developed an interest in soccer. Ronaldinho was a talented Brazilian playmaker. I adored him not only because of his soccer skills but also because of his radiant smile and his faith in God which was apparent in the way he made a sign of the cross after scoring a goal.
Ronaldinho made me so enamored with soccer that I would fantasize myself scoring spectacular goals in a packed stadium like he did. I was especially fond of imagining my team being five goals down before half-time and then me scoring six goals in the second-half, thus making my team win by a score of something like 7-6. Such imaginations used to engage my mind with child-like interest, but I have ceased entertaining them in my mind, for I now find it unwise to waste my brainpower visualizing deeds that will never happen.
It's now November 2022 as I write this story, and the FIFA World Cup is under way in the oil-rich Islamic nation of Qatar. Even though my interest in soccer has diminished compared to my days in Starehe Institute sixteen years ago, I am rooting for Brazil as always. And if Brazil doesn't make it past the semi-finals, I am hoping England does. Viva Brazil and England!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on the teams I am rooting for in this year's FIFA World Cup, you might also enjoy another one on "Scoring in Life" that I wrote about six years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.