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.

People Need The Lord

This is the majestically vaulted main sanctuary of All Saints' Cathedral, the wonderful church in Nairobi that I joined after I left Starehe Boys' Centre in April 2007.

When I left Starehe Boys' Centre in April 2007 and just before I matriculated at the university in JKUAT, I looked for a church where I could assist in piano-playing. Having been brought up as a Roman Catholic, I went to two Catholic churches but they didn't click with me. Then I wandered into All Saints' Cathedral, an Anglican church in Nairobi. And wow! The warm reception I received in the cathedral hooked me immediately to the church. I especially came to love being part of the cathedral's 9.30am English Service Choir with which I sang tenor and played the organ.

So much did I love being part of the choir that I narrated in the essays I wrote to the top American colleges I applied for admission that year of how a devoted choir member of All Saints' Cathedral I was. And I must have thought that mentioning in the essays that I was part of a choir would improve my chances of getting accepted into those top colleges because they admit students who excel not only in academics but also in extra-curricular activities.

You see, before matriculating at JKUAT in 2007, I had applied to four top American Colleges the previous year but was rejected by all of them. But being the ambitious young man that I was, I still fervently desired to fly to America, so I decided to re-apply in 2007 during my first year at JKUAT.

For many days, I attended the church with high hopes of eventually flying to America for undergraduate studies at one of the top colleges I applied for admission. Imagining the colleges to be of the same high standards as All Saints' Cathedral, I would at times gaze at the majestically vaulted main sanctuary of the cathedral (see photo above) and visualize myself doing the same at Harvard. Of the four colleges I applied in that round, Harvard was my first choice.

But it was not only my desire to study in the United States that glued me to the cathedral. I aso loved being part of the church's 9.30am English Service Choir because of its spiritually enriching songs and its buddy-buddy monthly fellowships.

Yes, I did learn quite a number of hymns which deepened my faith in God. Among the hymns I learnt were: Have You Been to Jesus for the Cleansing Power?, Jesus Stand Among Us, Lead Us Heavenly Father Lead Us, Father Hear the Prayers We Offer, Be Still and Know that I am Lord, and my all time favourite, Every Day They Pass Me By, whose first verse goes as follows:
Everyday they pass me by,
I can see it in their eyes,
Empty people filled with care,
Headed who knows where?

On they go through private pain,
Living fear to fear,
Laughter hides their silent cries,
Only Jesus hears,
People need the Lord,
At the end of broken dreams,
He's the open door,
When will we realize,
People need the Lord?
I loved that first verse of the hymn so much so that I found myself singing it out aloud to myself. But little did I know back then that God would test me whether I could live by what the hymn said: that people need the Lord at the end of broken dreams.

Well, my dreams of schooling in America failed when I was rejected by all the top American colleges I applied for admission in 2007. Then I started skipping classes at JKUAT when I reported for my second year in 2008. What's worse, I stopped attending church services at All Saints' Cathedral. My change in behavior led me to be forcefully admitted to hospital.

By the time I was getting discharged from JKUAT hospital in late 2008, I had grown fearful, hopeless and overweight which led me to feel withdrawn. I tried to resume attending church at All Saints' Cathedral but I found myself feeling so alienated and demotivated that I began to miss the days when I was full of high hopes. And then I would pity myself and wonder what on earth had happened to me.

My mother coaxed me to continue attending church at All Saints' Cathedral by giving me bus fare to Nairobi but I would at times instead go sleep at a recreational park where I was on one Sunday incarcerated for almost an hour for urinating on a fence. Eventually, I gave up attending church and for several years, I didn't sing or play the piano.

I have now sprang back into good shape thanks to the Lord my dear God. He has guided me back to the path of eternal peace with His amazing grace. And all I can say now is that people need the Lord at the end of broken dreams. He's the open door for shizzle.


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Leadership Lessons

This is the 2006 Starehe Boys' Fire-fighting Squad which used to conduct a more than four-month gruelling physical fitness test for new members. Photo courtesy of Fred Kithikii, the 2006 Squad Commander.

Bear with me, if you will, as I recount on yet another wonderful experience I had during my high school years at Starehe Boys' Centre. I am just developing a hobby of reflecting on my past days, both the heart-warming as well as the buttock-clenching ones, with the aim of either gleaning valuable lessons or enjoying my life again. And that hobby, which I am finding more refreshing than watching a wacky movie, is inspiring me to live an honourable life while still a youth so that I can get to enjoy it again when I grow old through beautiful memories.

I joined the Starehe Boys' Survival Club in my first term in Form 1 back in 2002 after magically passing an interview conducted by commandos - as the club leaders were called. And with time, I came to enjoy the camps and hikes we had in the club. Well, I didn't enjoy the hikes because they involved a lot of trekking through hilly countryside. But the camps, during which some commandos wore stetson hats that made them look like American cowboys, were quite another thing; I enjoyed them especially the singing we did around night camp-fires. We sang funny ditties while making fun of commandos.

Among the many jokes we cracked during those camp-fires, the one I found funniest was this one directed at a commando by a fellow Survivor Club member: "You see the grandmother of Commando 'X' - she grew thin and thinner and thinner and thinner and thinner until she disappeared!"

So much did I come to enjoy being part of Survival Club that at one time, I wanted to be a commando in the club. I however gave up on the ambition when I realized I couldn't withstand joining the Starehe Boys' Fire-fighting Squad (see photo above) which Survival Club commandos were expected to join. But with all the confusion and timidity that Starehians saw in me, I doubt whether I would have been selected a commando anyway.

I therefore left the club in Form 2 but after having gleaned the following leadership lessons which I hope to apply in my future family of which I will be the head, God willing:
  • Rise early
  • Be physically fit
  • Ensure everybody in the family has a meal before sitting down to eat
  • Create some time for family fun in which everyone is free to tease each other
  • Keep disagreements with wife and bedroom affairs unnoticed by children
And how did I glean those valuable lessons? Mostly when we went for Survival Club camps and hikes during which I would observe, among other things, commandos projecting a spirit of unity and having us wake up early in the morning for physical exercises.

Later on in 2012, I became interested in memorizing the values and mission statements of Survival Club as they may have been outlined by the club founder in 1989. So I visited Starehe Boys' only to find that the club had been displaced from the cottage we used as the Survival clubroom in our days to a small room partitioned in an old classroom.

With that kind of change, I sensed the club had lost its glitz and glamour. I informed Ken Ogutu, one of the commandos in '02, about the change but he didn't seem surprised. He just told me they used to refer to the cottage we used as Survival clubroom as the Bush Embassy. I found that Ogutu's remark amusing because it implies that if you wanted to go to the bush, you first had to get a visa from the Survival clubroom.

And by the way Ken Ogutu, who I have approached to be my legal advisor, went on to study law at the university and was accepted at the renowned Harvard Law School for a post-graduate course. My friend, that's the end of my story, and I have had a nice time telling it. Thanks for bearing with me.


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