Not Exploiting Others
A True Story
on Jul 16, 2023
Probably due to my humble nature, people have had a tendency of taking advantage of me ever since I was a child in the '90s. I can count more than ten times when others have made me do without pay tasks they should have done themselves. Allow me to give you two examples. Only two.
In the year 2000 when I was in Standard 7 at Naro-Moru Primary School, I enjoyed playing as a goal-keeper in the soccer matches we had on Saturday break-times. One Sarturday as we were leaving the classroom for our usual break-time soccer matches, our Geography, History & Civics (GHC) teacher named Miss Esther sent me to buy bread for her from a shop that was about 800 metres away. I obeyed her.
Going to buy bread for Miss Esther made me miss the chance of playing as a goal-keeper in the soccer match we had during the break-time of that Saturday. And after that Saturday, I never reclaimed my role as a goal-keeper in the matches that followed.
Over the last couple of years when I have remembered how Miss Esther sent me to buy bread for her on that memorable Saturday, I have sometimes felt bitter that she exploited me. She didn't share the bread with me. Neither did she give me a tip for my service. What's worse, she made me lose my goal-keeping position in the fun-filled soccer matches we had on Saturdays.
The other incident I will tell you on how I was exploited happened one morning in 2002 when I was a first-former at Starehe Boys' Centre. That morning, I was getting ready for breakfast in the school dining hall when a second-former called Andrew Otando asked me to take to the high-table a notice he wanted read to the whole school. I accepted to take the notice.
Guess what! The captain to whom I handed the notice, a caring fourth-former named Michael Mwangale, inquired who had sent me to deliver the notice. After I informed him it was Andrew Otando, he summoned Otando to the high-table. I never got to know what Mwangale told Otando but I am sure he reproached him for taking advantage of me.
Remembering such experiences has made me sensitive to being exploited. These days, I hate it when someone takes advantage of me by making do tasks they should do themselves. That's why I have made it a rule to either decline or charge a stipend when a person asks me to do something for them.
Last Saturday but one, my eldest brother Joe Kagigite came home with his three kids. While Joe waited for several of his friends who were to visit us later on in the day, he took the initiative of moving parts of a bed from the living room of our mansion to a back veranda. Since I hate being exploited, I was afraid Joe might ask me to help him move the bed parts. I therefore made up my mind that I would tell him I was busy in case he enlisted for my help. Luckily, he didn't ask for my assistance.
When Joe's friends finally arrived home in the afternoon, we had a wonderful time swapping stories outside our mansion as they feasted on toothsome meals. Towards the end of our interaction, two of the visitors took out from a car several cartons of goodies they had bought for us.
One of the visitors asked me to take the cartons to the mansion, a duty that I thought was fair not only because I was going to benefit from the goodies but also because my parents were not strong enough to carry some of the cartons. As I began lifting one of the heavy cartons, I requested Kayla Wanjeri, my 12-year old niece, to assist me. She obliged and quickly took two cartons of milk to the mansion.
Three days later, I felt a tinge of guilt for what I did to Kayla. I thought I had taken advantage of her by asking her to carry cartons containing milk that she would never drink since she doesn't live with us here at home. Honestly, what I did was wrong and I hope her dad, my brother Joe, never complained to her about it. And that guilt feeling has made me resolve never to exploit a child again the way Miss Esther exploited me when I was in Standard 7.
The great American president Abraham Lincoln once said, "As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master." Like Lincoln, I would also not want to exploit anyone just as I hate being exploited. I wish to treat others the way I want to be treated. Not an unwise course of action for you to take as well, my beloved reader!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed reading the above story on not exploiting others, you might also enjoy another one on "Overcoming Timidness" which I wrote about three years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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Place of the Bible in Our Lives
A True Story
on Jul 11, 2023
Last week, I read a 2002 "U.S. News & World Report" magazine that gave information on the best graduate schools in America. According to the magazine, back in 2002, Yale University was the best in law, Harvard was the best in medicine while Massachusetts Institute of Technology was the best in engineering.
The magazine reported that medical schools in the U.S. have a rigorous curriculum that can make their students less empathetic to people's problems. And I think the same goes for law and engineering schools.
With such rigorous curriculums offered by graduate schools in America, it must be easy for their students to negate the Bible as a trivial book. I mean, how can reading the Bible compare with the gruelling studies required in law, medical and engineering schools in the U.S.?
But a casual look at our modern world reveals that we need the Bible as much as we need the knowledge offered in universities. Let's analyze, for instance, the news that is reported in the newspapers every day.
Over the past two years, I have been ardently reading the "Nation", Kenya's leading newspaper. In my readings, I have noted that even though the news change every day, the underlying themes remain the same, day in and day out.
The underlying themes? They are what politicians are saying, how government funds are being stolen, what tragedies have taken place, how people are killing each other, how women are raped, which children have been defiled, how businesses are faring, and how some folks are succeeding in their endeavors.
All those reports in the newspapers are enough to make us fearful of the future. They can also make us sick with jealousy. And we can't successfully deal with that fear and jealousy with only the knowledge offered at the universities. That's where the Bible comes in.
The Bible has advice on every issue we humans face during our time on this planet. It talks about theft, corruption, leadership, and human rights. And it also talks about how married couples should live with each other and raise their children.
Personally, I have seen the relevance of the Bible in my life. In April 2007 when I was leaving Starehe Boys' Centre where I had my high school and college education, I was laden with a lot of knowledge and a number of skills. I could, for example, create a website and play Mozart's "Sonata in C" on the piano.
Yet even with all that knowledge and skills, I struggled with timidity and confusion. I could hardly look people in the eye, something that made me an easy target of slander, bullying and suspicion.
Besides struggling with timidity and confusion, I was also prone to feeling bitter, guilty and jealous. And in 2008 when I was a second-year student at the university, I turned rebellious. Then I became slothful and gluttonous - bad habits that took me over a decade to overcome.
Those experiences, unpleasant though they were, have made me appreciate the Bible more, for I have found in it the solutions to overcoming my bad habits and negative thinking patterns. And that appreciation of the Bible has made me subscribe to daily devotionals on the internet. These days, I delight in studying the Bible as much as I do in eating.
Now that I understand the Scriptures more, I agree with whoever said that the Bible is God's great love letter to us. You'll also agree with that if you've studied the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah.
Although the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah are not as easy to digest as the books of Psalms and Proverbs, they have some inspirational passages worthy of memorization. Who hasn't heard of Jeremiah 29:11 which talks of God's wonderful plans for our future? My favorite passage though, is the following one from the book of Isaiah:
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)I like that passage so much that I sometimes recite it in my thinking, especially when I find myself worrying about the future. It often soothes my soul with its assurance that God is directing my steps.
My beloved reader, I encourage you to also include the Bible in your reading repertoire. Read novels, yes, and books related to your field of endeavor. But don't neglect the Bible since it has the potential to set you free from guilt, worry, jealousy and bitterness. It can also heal you, comfort you and feed your soul. Adieu!
NEW! NEW! NEW! If you missed my social media update three days ago, let me take this opportunity to inform you that I have produced a new hymn titled "One Day". Just click on that link in blue to listen to the hymn.