Positive Quote For Today

"The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself."— C. JoyBell C.

JKUAT: A Splendid University

Thuita's photo
This is a building at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture & Technology (JKUAT). More about JKUAT in the story below.

For quite a long time, my biggest high school disappointment was not scoring eight 'A's in my KCSE exams. I got six 'A's and two 'A-'s, which made me miss appearing in the list of "Highest Academic Honors" that was printed on a board in the assembly hall of Starehe Boys' Centre, my alma mater. (Only those Starehe students who scored eight 'A's had their names printed on that list.)

Robert Mugo, the bright and adorable lad with whom I reported to Starehe on the same day, made it into that list of "Highest Academic Honors". So did Kennedy Munene, another bright chap. It is worth noting that Kennedy and I got the same average marks in KCSE exams but Kennedy had the extra merit of scoring 'A's in all his eight subjects.

Had I appeared on that list of "Highest Academic Honors", I'd have been very proud of it. I'd have gone back to Starehe to boast about it to current students. And I'd have taken a photo of the list for sharing on social media. If you were my friend, you'd have heard no end of it.

Interestingly, I have never seen or heard Robert Mugo and Kennedy Munene flaunt about their names appearing on that Starehe list of "Highest Academic Honors". Maybe they have been more modest and level-headed than me.

Looking back, I am now glad that I didn't make it to that list because if I had scored eight 'A's in my KCSE exams, I'd have matriculated at the University of Nairobi to pursue a degree in Actuarial Science, a course I missed qualifying for by one point. As it happened, I ended up enrolling at a local university called JKUAT.

The degree course I chose to pursue at JKUAT was Electronics & Computer Engineering. It had a nice ring to it but it wasn't just the name that attracted me to the degree course; I also had a desire to understand how computers work.

On the day I reported at JKUAT in May 2007, I was assigned to stay in a hall of residence called Hall 6. Later on, I learnt that back in 2007, Hall 6 was not for government-sponsored students like me. How I ended up there remains a mystery to me.

I lived in Hall 6 for the three years I was in JKUAT. During my first semester, I stayed with a suave, peaceable and fun-loving roommate named Mikhail Mbelase. I would sometimes criticize Mbelase for some of the things he did in our room but he would take my criticism in good faith.

Then in 2009 before I dropped out of JKUAT, I stayed with a roommate called Zachariah Mokua. Even though Mokua was a humble fellow, he would sometimes offend me by hiding the starter for lighting the fluorescent bulb of our room. Apparently, he didn't want me staying up late into the night as he tried to catch some sleep.

Those conflicts with my roommates notwithstanding, JKUAT was a splendid university during my time there. Besides its praiseworthy learning facilities, its brilliant student body and its delectable food, it also had a rigorous engineering curriculum that forced students to study a lot. That's why I am glad I ended up at JKUAT.

Splendid as JKUAT was, it didn't appeal to me that much. My desire was to study in a more prestigious university in America. So, in my first year at JKUAT, I spent a considerable amount of time applying to four top American colleges.

The wonderful thing was that the subjects I was learning at JKUAT in my first year helped me ace SAT 2, an exam whose results were required by the American colleges I was applying for admission. Even Joseph Mugisha, a friend of mine then at MIT, remarked that my SAT 2 scores were excellent.

And the JKUAT academic calendar dovetailed nicely with the application time of American colleges. I took my SAT exams on Saturdays when we didn't have classes at JKUAT and sent my applications to the four American colleges shortly after we broke for long holidays at JKUAT in December 2007. Had I been accepted at any of the four American colleges in March and April 2008, I would simply not have reported back to JKUAT in May 2008 for my second year.

Although I didn't finish my engineering degree at JKUAT, I somewhat enjoyed the three years I was there. I made some friends who have remained close buddies to this day. And I got to experience how campus life is like. If you are a Kenyan student looking for a university with a strong background in science, technology, engineering and math, I'd recommend JKUAT!

RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed reading the above story on JKUAT, you might also enjoy another one titled "JKUAT: Kenya's MIT" which I wrote more than six years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.


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The Mighty Chaka House

Thuita's photo
These are students of Starehe Boys' Centre milling around Chaka House, a dormitory in the school. More about Chaka House in the story below.

Starehe Boys' Centre, a prestigious institution in Nairobi where I had my high school and college education, has a residential housing system similar to that of Yale University. Once a student is admitted at Starehe, he is assigned to board in a house that he stays in throughout his years at Starehe.

The housing system of Starehe makes life interesting for its students. Houses compete for various awards in music, sports, academics and cleanliness. And students get to form lasting friendships in the houses they reside in.

I very well remember the day I reported at Starehe to begin my high school education. It was on the afternoon of Thursday, 17th January 2002. Accompanied by my mother, I felt somewhat joyful to be joining the school that had been ranked the best high school in Kenya the previous year.

Because newly admitted students reported to Starehe on different days, we didn't find a long line of boys waiting to be attended. In fact, the only boy I recall reporting with at the same time on that afternoon was Robert Mugo, a bright and adorable lad who grew up to be a doctor.

I must have been eager to don the famous Starehe uniform of red and blue given the way Mum irritated me for delaying in taking me to the admissions office. As I chatted with Robert Mugo, I felt like yelling at her to stop dawdling and have me admitted. If my memory serves me well, Robert Mugo was cleared before me.

Mum's delay in taking me to the admissions office made me get assigned to Chaka House, a dormitory that was named after the Zulu chief who founded Southern Africa's Zulu Empire in the 19th century. Being taken to Chaka House turned out to be a great blessing, for I ended up making friends in the house who impacted my life positively.

Among the friends I made was Michael Mwangale who served as Chaka captain in 2002. On my first evening in Starehe, Mwangale had me address my fellow housemates. And he once remarked to my brother Paddy, who was also in Starehe, that I was such a good boy.

But what I recollect most about Mwangale were the meetings he held with us first-formers during our first weeks in Chaka. He would give us pieces of advice and share with us his future plans of studying overseas for university education, a dream of his that I have never bothered to find out if he attained.

Another friend I made in Chaka was Jesse Nyoro who was six years my senior. Nyoro was exceptionally kind to me during my first weeks in Starehe in 2002. And three years later, after he had left Starehe, he taught me the traditional Agikuyu folk song that I presented for my KCSE music exam.

Then there was 'Sir' Emmanuel Karanja, a nerdy housemate a year ahead of me who inspired me to learn computer programming. Karanja used to carry around hefty books on C++. And he was not even a computer student. Programming was just a part-time hobby of his.

So much did Karanja inspire me to learn computer programming that when I was preparing to join the institute division of Starehe in 2006, I was determined to pursue a diploma in information technology. Not even my brother Paddy could convince me that studying accounting was better than pursuing a course in information technology.

And then there was Stephen Lenai, a lanky classmate who rose through the leadership ranks to become the Chaka captain in 2005 and 2006. I will always remain indebted to Lenai for making my time at Starehe Institute enjoyable by allowing me to sneak out of school on Sundays to be with my hometown Catholic church youth group.

As a Chaka member, I got to participate in a number of inter-house competitions. Chief among them were the music and volleyball contests. I tutored by house choir in 2004 as well as in 2006 and managed to take it past the preliminary stages in both of those two years.

All those friendships I formed in Chaka and the competitions I took part in made my years in Chaka worthwhile and memorable. Had Mum not delayed in taking me to the admissions office on that unforgettable afternoon I reported at Starehe, I wouldn't have boarded in the mighty Chaka House. It's interesting, isn't it, how small turns of fate can have a profound impact on our lives.

RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed reading the above story on the Mighty Chaka House, you might also enjoy another one on "Forswearing Foolish Ways" which I wrote more than six years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.


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Bible Quote

"Always be full of joy in the Lord; I say it again, rejoice! Let everyone see that you are unselfish and considerate in all you do... Don't worry about anything; instead pray about everything; tell God your needs and don't forget to thank Him for His answers. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand."

~Phillipians 4:4-7 (TLB)

About the Author

Name: Thuita J. Maina
Nationality: Kenyan
Lives in: Kiserian, Rift Valley, Kenya
Mission: To inspire the world to godly living, one person at a time.

Just For Laughs

There was this drunkard named Azoge who loved drinking at Josiah\'s Bar. On being told a certain Hon. Nanga was flying to America to be conferred a law degree so that he could be admitted to the bar, Azoge replied, "Why fly all the way to America to be admitted to the bar while you can get into Josiah\'s Bar any time?"

The 7 Deadly Sins

  1. Pride
  2. Envy
  3. Gluttony
  4. Lust
  5. Anger
  6. Greed
  7. Sloth

Author's Note

I am learning to treat life as a journey, not a destination. So I am trying to enjoy each day as I anticipate to fulfill my dreams especially meeting my soulmate and traveling abroad. Tomorrow may never be mine.

Fun Facts

  1. The fear of having no cell-phone service, running out of battery, or losing sight of your phone is called Nomophobia, reportedly affecting 66% of people.
  2. A single Google search needs more computing power than it took to send Apollo 11 to the moon. The Apollo computer was less equipped than a modern toaster.
  3. Besides being some of the biggest names in the tech industry, HP, Apple, Google and Microsoft share another commonality. They all started in garages.
~Extracted from Codingforums.com

Health Tip

So many of us take for granted the wonderful construction of the human body and the workings of its various parts. Some of us even expect it to function efficiently with less than the minimum care and attention. Learn the much you can about your body and how the care of it can help to give you that greatest blessing of all - good health.

Wonders of the Modern World

  1. The Simplon Tunnel
  2. The Sky-scrapers of New York
  3. The Boulder Dam of Colorado
  4. The Panama Canal
  5. The Golden Gate Bridge
  6. The Taj Mahal at Agra in India
  7. The North Sea Oil Drilling Rigs

Great Example for Politicians

"My life in politics was a joy. I loved campaigns and I loved governing. I always tried to keep things moving in the right direction, to give more people a chance to live their dreams, to lift people's spirits, and to bring them together. That's the way I kept score."

~Bill Clinton

Scientific Marvels

  1. Space travel
  2. Heart surgery
  3. Fibre-optics communication
  4. Concorde
  5. Computers & Radios
  6. Anesthetics
  7. The atom bomb

My Supreme Desire

Although I'd like to be rich and famous, my supreme desire is to be radiant: to radiate health, cheerfulness, calm courage and goodwill. I wish to live without hate, guilt, worry, jealousy, cynicism and envy. I wish to be honest, natural, confident, clean in mind and body - ready to say "I do not know" if it be so and to treat all men with kindness - to meet any loss, failure, criticism and rejection unabashed and unafraid.

Greatest American Presidents

  1. Abraham Lincoln
  2. George Washington
  3. Thomas Jefferson
  4. Franklin Roosevelt
  5. Theodore Roosevelt
  6. Woodrow Wilson
  7. Andrew Jackson

Making Peace With the Past

"Dwell not on your past. Use it to illustrate a point, then leave it behind. Nothing really matters except what you do now in this instant of time. From this moment onwards you can be an entirely different person, filled with love and understanding, ready with an outstretched hand, uplifted and positive in every thought and deed."

~Eileen Caddy

Toughest Colleges to Get Into

  1. MIT
  2. Princeton
  3. Harvard
  4. Yale
  5. Stanford
  6. Brown
  7. Columbia

Why You Should Trust God

"Men and women who turn their lives over to God will find out that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities and pour out peace."

~Ezra Taft Benson

The 7 Greatest Scientists

  1. Albert Einstein
  2. Isaac Newton
  3. Galileo Galilei
  4. Nikola Tesla
  5. Aristotle
  6. Archimedes
  7. Charles Darwin

You Matter

"Always be yourself. Never try to hide who you are. The only shame is to have shame. Always stand up for what you believe in. Always question what other people tell you. Never regret the past; it's a waste of time. There's a reason for everything. Every mistake, every moment of weakness, every terrible thing that has happened to you, grow from it. The only way you can ever get the respect of others is when you show them that you respect yourself and most importantly, do your thing and never apologize for being you."


The Most Industrialized Nations

  1. The United States
  2. Japan
  3. Germany
  4. France
  5. United Kingdom
  6. Italy
  7. Canada

Keys to Success

"...in his effort to withstand temptation, to economize, to exercise thrift, to disregard the superficial for the real - the shadow for the substance; to be great yet small, in his effort to be patient in the laying of a firm foundation; to so grow in skill and knowledge that he shall place his services in demand by reason of his intrinsic and superior worth. This is the key that unlocks every door of opportunity, and all others fail."

~Booker T. Washington

The 7 Social Sins

  1. Politics without principle
  2. Wealth without work
  3. Pleasure without conscience
  4. Knowledge without character
  5. Commerce without morality
  6. Worship without sacrifice
  7. Science without humanity

Cherish What You Love

"Cherish your visions, cherish your ideals, cherish the music that stirs in your heart, the beauty that forms in your mind, the loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts - for out of them will grow all heavenly environment, of these if you but remain true to them, your world will at last be built."

~James Allen

The World's Largest Cities

  1. London in England
  2. New York in the United States
  3. Tokyo in Japan
  4. Berlin in Germany
  5. Chicago in the United States
  6. Shanghai in China
  7. Paris in France

Benefits of Optimism

"In terms of success, optimistic people out perform their pessimistic colleagues. Research shows that they are consistently promoted higher and make more money while working fewer hours than those who think pessimistically. Optimists also contribute more significantly to social progress. It is the optimists who start and run successful companies, who win elections and carry out reforms, and who make breakthroughs in the realms of science and technology."

~Pepe Minambo

The World's Greatest Lakes

  1. Caspian Sea in the Commonwealth of Independent States, C.I.S. (formerly U.S.S.R)
  2. Lake Superior in North America
  3. Victoria Nyanza in Central Africa
  4. Aral Sea in C.I.S.
  5. Lake Huron in North America
  6. Lake Michigan in North America

Demonstrating His Love

"Take your communication for instance - the way you address others. It ought to be with loving, gracious and edifying words. Never talk people down. Never use words that hurt and demean people. Communicate excellently with others without destroying their self-image or making them feel sorry for themselves. Talk to people in a way that they never forget the excellence of your words, the love and grace of Christ that you communicated. It's how God wants us to love."

~Dr. Chris Oyakhilome

World's Longest Rivers

  1. Missouri-Mississipi (U.S.)
  2. Amazon (Brazil)
  3. Nile (Egypt)
  4. Yangtse (China)
  5. Lena (Russia)
  6. Zaire (Central Africa)
  7. Niger (West Africa)