Pure Madness

My thoughts on the "behind the scenes" of life. You will find inspiration here. Share it generously


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20 Years Later and Death Still Hurts As Much

It was August 27th 1995; we were in school for remedial tuition. I was called from class by Mrs. Wang’ombe. This was not strange since I was the class prefect and it was common for teachers especially my favorite (Miss Carol), to call and send me out of school over lunch.

Guess who that sweet baby is...

Guess who that sweet baby is…

Something was different though. I could feel it. Mrs. Wang’ombe told me I needed to go see Mrs. Mathenge who lived near the school. She asked me to make sure everything was in order before leaving. As I walked to Mrs.Mathenge’s   I thought about many childish things but I never anticipated what I was about to be told.

I found Mrs. Mathenge waiting for me at her house. She started with some chit chat about how big my dog had become (a German shepherd I gave her since my mum would not let me keep it). Her eyes were blood shot red. I could tell she had been crying for a very long time. After trying to make me as comfortable as possible she finally gathered the courage to say it.

The entire world sunk. I became numb and every second seemed like a hundred years. I stared blankly at Mrs. Mathenge as she moved closer to where I was seated. She started crying and that’s when everything sped back to normal. I wailed heavily and from the heart. “You are a man Githaiga and you need to be strong for your sisters,” she said. At that point my tears dried up instantly and I never shed another tear until the day of the burial.

Mrs Njuguna back in the day

Mrs Njuguna back in the day

The last time I saw her, I was out playing with my friends. I saw my uncles walking her to the car and I dashed to say hi. “I am fine,” she said. “Go back and play, I will be back in no time. Please behave yourself. OK?” and she got into the car and they drove off. I went on to play. Everything would be OK. I was so wrong.

Mrs. Margaret Waihuni Njuguna was a woman I loved deeply. Even though I denounced her as my mother a million times, I loved her. Mrs. Waihuini was unpredictable. She was the love and terror in equal measure. She would switch between both characters anywhere and in a second. I seemed to provoke the terror side more than anyone else.

Mrs. Waihuini loved her family and especially her mother. Mrs. Waruguru Githaiga was the world to my mother and when she passed on my mother evidently lost her zeal and vigor. She was never the same again.  She had lost her source of inspiration. It’s like all she wanted was to go be with her mum. God granted her wish a few months later.

The Njugunahs. See those socks that boy is wearing?

The Njugunahs. See those socks that boy is wearing?

I lost the two most important women in my life at that time. My mother gave me over to my grandmother when I was a young boy. My grandmother ceasing the chance tried to take me to a local school but I couldn’t learn in the language they were using and so I refused to go back. I got my stubbornness from these two women.

My mother’s death was not painful until four years later when I finally cracked. It soon dawned on me that I was always too busy trying to be a man that I forgot to mourn her. I became bitter at the world for robbing me of my mother; my life, my everything. I was even more bitter at God because of not doing everything in His power to stop death from taking my mother.

What kind of a God can’t stop death? What kind of good God allows bad things to happen good people? Why would He take both of my parents when they world had billions of people he could take. What made it even worse was that “His people” said the wrong things in an attempt to console my sister and I. “She is in a better place”, “We loved her but God loved her more”, “She is watching over you from up there. “Though meaning well, these statements came back to haunt me four years later and I was furious because God seemed to have told everyone else about my mother’s departure apart from me.

Mrs Waihuni Njuguna. Quite Fashionable

Mrs Waihuni Njuguna. Quite Fashionable

When my mum died, my world ended. I was convinced that life wouldn’t go on. I believed that was the end of time as I understood it. I stopped dreaming unless the dream was about being with my mother. I hid my heart from hope and from faith. Nothing was worth holding on to. Moving to Nairobi made things worse because I was constantly reminded that I am in Nairobi because my mother was not around.

It’s been 20 years since my mother passed on. I have lived longer without her, something I never thought possible. Even though every now and then I miss her, I have learnt to live with the scars of her absence. Death of a loved one is a language that is unique to an individual but it’s the most painful experience anyone can ever go through. It only gets worse with the unanswered questions, the missed opportunities, and the ‘if onlys’ continue to haunt us long after the world has moved on.

Mr and Mrs Njuguna on their wedding.

Mr and Mrs Njuguna on their wedding.

I scoff at people who demand that we “move on.” Yes our lives must go on and they eventually do but if we are honest enough we will admit that we left a huge part of us “back there.” All the same the longer we live; the pain becomes part of us enough to be bearable. We learn to see the benefits of being alive. God grants us “better moments” every now and then like finding love, fulfilling our dreams, having our own family, being a source of hope to someone else or making a difference in other people’s lives.

But the more “better moments” we get, the more we wish our departed ones were here to be part of the stories they inspired. It’s been 20 years since I got to the end of the road. God has been gracious to give me many “better moments” including surviving a snake bite and life continues to surprise me every day. My mother’s corrections and affirmations continue to influence the kind of person I am today.

For everyone who is still asking the questions. There is nothing wrong with you. There is no expiry date to missing someone who passed on. One day, twenty or so years from now your “better moments” will creep up on you and warm your once frozen heart.

The Njugunahs representing about 25 years or so years ago

The Njugunahs representing about 25 years or so years ago. Do not look at the feet.

Hope.

Edited by Wanjiku Kimaru


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My Land, Was Kenya

“The good you do for others always comes back to you” said my grandmother Shelmith (read Sheromithi) Waruguru Githaiga. She would repeat these words to us every day as a motivator, a compliment and as punishment. These profound words never made much sense back then but today, they haunt my every decision, good or bad. I will tell you why.

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Photo Courtesy of Nostalgic East Africa

When we were growing up, Kenya was such a super power in our eyes! We talked and sang about it with pride. In our “Patriotic” (remember that word) stories no country came close to Kenya’s might. Well there was Israel (God’s territory according to Sunday school) and there was America aka US of A (the home of all heroes; Cynthia Rothrock, Chuck Norris and Van Damme). There was no comparing those two countries to Kenya. They were allies.

If you wanted to know how “bad” Kenya was, the Olympics told it all. Douglas Wakiihuri, Kipchoge Keino and John Ngugi ruled the track, mark you, doping scams were unheard of then. I remember when John Ngugi tripped during the 5,000 meters Olympic race and then went ahead to become second missing first position with milliseconds! I must have cried that day. Then there were other heroes like the late legendary boxer Robert Wangila Napunyi. I have never been a soccer fan but I knew Joe Kadenge (Kadenge na mpira would perhaps ring a bell).

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Remember Ian Duncan and his co-driver Ian Munro driving a Subaru Supra and winning the Safari Rally in 1988? Of course you cannot talk about Safari Rally without mentioning Patrick Njiru with his co-driver Dave Williamson. Back then, Subaru Legacy was an airplane on wheels. Easter holidays were to die for. Every kid in town had their own version of a race car made from Kimbo, Cowboy and Kasuku tins. It took days of dedicated work to put together a race car especially one that you could open the doors! Forget this nitro nonsense on Ps3 and X-box. We knew how to say “X to the box” (I had to say thatJ).

Then The Rare Watts and Jam City changed the entertainment scene in Kenya forever. Jam city of course won the Fiat Uno but we all thought Rare Watts were the life of the competition. Back then, TV was full of local content. Forget Scandal, Prison Break or 24 we had our very own Tahamaki, Tushauriane Tausi, Professional View, Dunia Wiki Hii, Mamboleo and KBL Festival of darts. These were somewhat family shows that we endured watching as we waited for not so good shows, or ‘adult rated’ shows like No One But You and The Rich of Also Cry.

Being a Kenyan those days in my mind was the best thing anyone would wish for. The song “My Land is Kenya” by Roger Whittaker was like an extension of the national anthem. Speaking of which, back then we knew the national anthem word for word in both Swahili and English. We knew the composers, we recited the loyalty pledge with pride. Even the president loved his country and would stop on his way to any destination to give out Orbits. (I never got but I hear he used to).

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You were not truly Kenyan if you did not have a Dash t-shirt; a locally made good quality t-shirtbrand. Towels were made by Fariji Towels and all other fabrics and bedsheets came from Rivatex Textiles. Buying anything second hand was uncommon. (Yes youngling you best believe that!). As a matter of fact there was a local car assembly for certain brands. Uhuru (not the current President) was one of the locally assembled cars. You had to literally kill this car for it to stall.

Government parastatals were functional and were a source of employment for many. Local products were the best brands on the shelves. KCC produced Ghee, great UHT milk and milk powder. I loved their butter even though my mum would not allow us to touch it in her absence. Kenya Meat Commission provided all kinds of meat and National Pencil made their own HB pencils. National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) was ever full. I don’t remember hearing about starving Kenyans back then.

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Photo Courtesy of Nostalgic East Africa

I lived in the best country ever. Until I grew up and ruined it. I did not take care of it and left that responsibility to someone else. I started seeing things going wrong and never said anything. I looted my country with “deals”, avoided paying taxes and gave sidekicks. I was seduced and gave in to “outside brands” and abandoned local products. Perhaps that is how the tag, ‘Buy Kenya, build Kenya,’ came up.  I learnt the art of corruption and passed with flying colors. My view of my country changed. I soon developed preferences and they started being reflected in the way I voted. I forgot what it meant to be a brother’s keeper. Everyone for himself sounded better.

My heroes soon changed from athletes that made my country proud and freedom fighters who put their own lives on the line to make sure I did not lose my rights, to national looters. I affirmed my support for them every five years. I sent them out to “harvest where they had not sowed.” They were so ruthless, that they started harvesting my future and that of my children. When the time for justice came, I “testified” in their favor and gave them a new chance to loot what was left.

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Photo Courtesy of Nostalgic East Africa

If you are keen, you will see me and you still ruining the country further. I will give you a bribe to look the other way, pay you extra to cut “a few” corners and side step procedures. Yes you will catch me asking you to give me the tender and you will get your fair share. It’s not uncommon to hear me tell my children and yours that’s how the country is after all. Take a sit. Watch and learn. Let us show you how things are done. Come along, I want to introduce you to my business so that when I am gone you will run it the same way your father did and perhaps even better.

So here I am today caught between the fairy tale of what I know my country could and should be and the nightmare of what is. What has become of you and me? Is it all lost? Is there hope? Who will take us back to the days of childish faith in our country? Is it you Mr. President? Is it you my fellow Kenyan? Is it me? What if you and I refused to let things get any worse? What is there to lose that we haven’t lost? My Land still is and will always be, Kenya.

Edited by Wanjiku Kimaru


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The Days of Our Lives

I don’t like death. Well, I am yet to meet anyone who does. My greatest frustration with death is that no one survives it to give a detailed account of what exactly happens when someone dies. I have a very inquisitive mind so you can imagine the “uncertified” ideas I have about death. Movies have not made it easy either. Some people “die” violently, others just close their eyes and are no more. Dead.

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Many cultures in Kenya consider it a taboo to talk about death. Perhaps that is why you will find people crowding around accident spots or crime scenes. It’s our chance to glimpse at death. Have you ever noticed how people queue for hours to just glimpse at the body of a prominent person?

No one gets used to death and no amount of preparation or information can shield you from its pain and grief. Even when you thought you saw it coming when it finally checks in, the death sting will always hurt as much. It is not a respecter of age, marital status, wealth, profession, religious belief or education background. It strikes whenever and wherever it wants.

I started having questions about death when I was very young. Every time any of my pets died, I was devastated. My mum, like many other parents would attempt to comfort me by saying, “It’s in a better place.” This of course left me wondering, “Was I that bad that it had to go somewhere else?”

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The older I got, the more frustrated I became with death.  There was no stopping it. It came after my family and after my close friends. I was bitter for a very long time. Every time I heard about death even if it was a stranger, my own “death wounds” ached.

Every time I thought I had “enough experience” to encourage people who were dealing with death, my own heart demanded answers. It seemed unfair and unjust to rip precious ones from us without our consent. In my attempt to comfort the victims I ended up saying things that in retrospect made the situation worse.

Recently, when I was bitten by a snake, death was on my mind a lot. “What if I die?” I kept asking myself. What if this is it. The end of my days. What if I don’t make it out of this alive? What does this mean to my family, my relationship and my friends? What awaits me? Have I lived my life well enough? What will I be remembered for? Am I even ready to die?

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We are often very reflective when someone close to us dies. We swear to ourselves to be better people, to live for what matters, to be there for other people and to make our lives count. We promise ourselves that we will embark on a new and more meaningful life from that moment on. The brevity of life finally dawns on us and it scares us to know that there is a part of our life that we don’t have control over.

But this new revelation is often short lived. We soon go back to our “normal” fast lives. Yes “our” lives. Before we know it, our new values and resolutions take a back seat. We lose sight of what we resolved to uphold. We go back to living for ourselves, ready to do whatever it takes to seal that deal. We put our health on line and throw our conscience out the window, fight whoever stands in our way and step on others if only to “get there” faster.

The fortunate yet unfortunate bit about life is that it does not give you a death rehearsal. You only live once and most certainly, die once as well. Every day you are alive you are living and rehearsing to die at the same time. Some of us of course have perfected the “art of playing with death” through our driving, diet and drinking habits but even then, we all don’t know when and how we finally bow out.

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One day, it will be us that people mourn. It will be our departure that will make people rethink their lives. How sad it will be that at the end of the days of our lives all we will have to show are graveyard resolutions that never got to live.

It’s sobering to know that we have no control of when we die. It should be. This does not mean that we ought to live in fear of death but we cannot ignore it altogether. In my view, death should be a motivator for living and not a source of fear. The snake bite and a gangster waving a gun to my face experiences made it very clear to me, it could be anytime. What is sad is that I will soon forget that am not here forever. Neither are you.

So while we are still here, today, let’s make it count. Let’s be the best we can. Let’s aspire to live behind a legacy (and not a Subaru, blue or otherwise). A legacy that generations after us will remember. A legacy that you and I, left “our environments” better than we found them. This is not the responsibility for the Mheshimiwas; it’s for all of us. We owe it to ourselves to leave a good story behind. Not just an “I was here.”

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Today you get to rehearse for your death by living. Put on a good show. It could happen anytime. Maybe not a snake bite but who knows when it’s your story that makes us reflect on The Days of Our Lives.

Editing by Wanjiku Kimaru


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My pledge, Children and Girls

Photo courtesy: www.flickr.com

Photo courtesy: http://www.flickr.com

The evening news can be a source of heartache and stress more than it can be a source of information. I have heard many people say that Kenyan news is too depressing to watch. If it’s not the leaders we woke up early to go vote for doing everything but what they promised to do, then it’s the society turning against itself in every way.

A man who hacks his wife and children to death before taking his own life, the rising cases of violent crimes, road accidents, community intolerance, hate speech you name it, it will be on your menu everyday on the evening news. As if you don’t get enough of the bad news at the end of every day, the newspapers will be ready to remind you the following morning how bad, the bad news was yesterday.

In media they say that good news is not news. If a dog bites a man, that’s not news. But if the man bites the dog, well that is something to talk about. Truth be told, we don’t watch the news hoping to see anything encouraging. In most cases we will flip through the channels to get different versions of the same bad news we saw on one station.

But bad news is not always bad for us. There is need for you and I to see what is happening around us in our communities and the country at large. It is important for us to see what our leaders are doing after we voted for them (*coughs* Gilgil weigh bridge). It helps to know what other communities are doing (and not doing) with what they have. It is here that we too can and should see opportunities to engage and impact our culture and communities.

How many children don’t have access to basic education or study in very harsh conditions? How many young people need a mentor to guide them in their career choices? How many women need access to better maternal health care? How many men need information on better business opportunities so that they can better provide for their families? What can we do about the issues that consistently affect our country; hunger, insecurity, alcohol and drug abuse and many more? Can you and I help in any way?

You would be surprised to find out that most of the needs around you don’t need a member of parliament or local leader to solve. You would probably do more with the “little” that you have than the so called leaders. Some of us work in organizations that fund different developments but we will never consider reaching out to our community leaders to let them know of the opportunities. Some of us are teachers but we have never thought that maybe during the holidays we could offer the children in our neighborhoods remedial lessons. We like to see that as someone else’s “problem”.

There are many opportunities for us to give back to society. We don’t have to wait to be in political offices to influence change. In fact, that mentality is what makes our leaders feel like they are super heroes and not servants. We can change that. If every one of us finds an avenue to support and influence our communities, the dependency on leaders to do everything for us might just end. Imagine what would happen in our society if you and I could use whatever we have.

I love radio and I believe that it is one of the most important tools that can be used to influence change. This year there are two things that have captured my heart (well, they always have but I am putting in more focus); Children Hygiene and Female Genital Mutilation.

Many children die every day because of diarrhea and other hygiene related diseases. These diseases can be prevented through simple acts like washing your hands with clean water soap. But many communities in Kenya still don’t have access to clean water or soap. For us who do, we don’t take advantage of this privilege. We don’t have to lose any more lives, we can influence change. We can teach communities how to save lives through better hygiene practices like hand washing.

I recently saw a shocking video of what happens during FGM and it shattered my heart to know that young under age girls will drop out of school to be forced to get married after this extremely painful ritual. Their chances of a better future that education offers us will traded for cows and goats and that is if they survive or don’t get infected with HIV/AIDS. Surely everyone should have the right to an education. I don’t know how to influence this sector yet especially because it is a deep seated cultural practice, but am willing to learn what others are doing and contribute their efforts.

This is my influence plan for the year. What is your influence plan?


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Whatever will be, will be.

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December is often a month of celebrations. It’s a culture that has been adopted across the world. Apart from the “normal Christmas celebrations” many companies have end of year sales and clearing stock offers. Our employers organize end of year parties and school leavers are the target of many sponsored events with everyone trying to make “a kill” out of the jingle bells month.

For some of us, we celebrate the end of a year that has been very good to us. Our prayers were answered, we got the job of our dreams or we got promoted. Some of us got funding for projects we were undertaking while others finally ventured into self-employment and it the business looks good. We traveled the world, bought the car and the house of our dreams married an angel for a spouse everything worked out more than we ever imagined. We are happy. We don’t remember how it felt to have a hard time. It’s not pride, it’s the truth.

For others, they are enjoying the joy of parenthood. After “trying” for a really long time, we finally got a baby. For some our kids started school this year and what a joy it has been to see them learn so many things in school.  Some of our kids actually graduated this year are now preparing for the next phase in their lives. Oh, the joy of parents seeing their kids turn out better than they anticipated!

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There is the other side of the coin though. For some, this year has been a constant nightmare. If life had a “CTRl+ALT+DEL” button some of us would erase this year from their memory, empty the recycle bin and probably even format our hard disks. It’s been a difficult year. Some lost close relatives and friends while others received unbearable news. It has taken effort for you to wake up every morning. The thought of going back to that office or to that house has been such punishment and torture.

If there was a train to “anywhere but here” we would have been so gone. Decisions that seemed right at the time later turned out to our worst choices. How could we not see what kind of person our spouse was? Wasn’t that deal too good to be true? We should have listened to our instincts. Something was wrong with that house girl. But here we are; the consequences of our decisions weighing heavily on us. Where is that “undo” button when you need it?

Maybe for most of us, this was neither a good year nor a bad one. We were just there. The usual. Nothing we couldn’t handle. Most of the things went as planned with the usual disappointments and delays but nothing out of the ordinary. Just life. We applied for a few jobs, we got a few responses, went for a few interviews but couldn’t agree on the perks so we went back to our not so bad jobs.

You started a business venture and broke even, got some profit but it’s OK. Things could have been better but they could have been worse as well so hey. You had a fight with your daughter for getting drunk at the school party but at least she got home safe and she is not pregnant. Your son has become detached and “a bit weird”. He never leaves his room without a fight but at least he is in the house. This has been a “normal” year. Such is life. “Que Sera Sera”. (Whatever will be, will be).

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However your year has been, good or bad what matters most is that you are still here. Your year was great, maximize. Who knows what next year will offer. Memories of the good things that you experienced this year will keep you going if next year is not as good. If you had a bad year you can hope for a better one next year. If you have lost all hope then you are lucky. You cannot be disappointed when you don’t have any expectations.

Time has a way of changing things. It’s the best gift you can get this December. It’s also the best gift you can give to your loved ones and anyone else. So, regardless of whatever you are going through, take time to do something significant for yourself and others. Your worst could be the best to someone else. Your little could be a lot to someone else. Time has a way of changing things. This time next year you will definitely not be where you are this year. Invest your time. Invest it in yourself and invest it in others. Time does have a way of changing things.


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My Sister (Not in Acting Position)

My sister Mercy, graduated from campus last week. Being a mother (to twin boys), a wife and working a full time job am amazed at her multitasking skills! She is consistent. She does not over commit, she knows her limits but is not afraid to go after her dreams. She has now achieved what she set out to do and for that, we her family and friends, are all proud of her.

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Am sure there were moments when she wondered if it was worth the sacrifice; getting home tired and late, going to class tired after a long day in the office, working on assignments any time she got the chance and not forgetting having to deal with the monster that is Nairobi traffic.

Mercy’s journey has not been a smooth one. Having lost both parents while still young, she had to learn to be independent early in life. Life after high school can be quite a lonely journey. You leave behind friends that mean a lot to you because they were there when you went through unfamiliar changes in your teen age. For my sisters, it was even harder because we had to relocate to the big city to start a new life.

A new life, a new environment, new responsibilities, new territories and new rules. Life changed. Her mum was no longer around to affirm her that she is going to turn out just fine and even if she didn’t, she always had a safe place to fall back on. She couldn’t ask her mum to pull a few strings for her in her networks neither could she access her mums vault of experience. She was alone, a young lady in the big crowded city.

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Those days, there were two things that would ruin your reputation (well, your parents reputation) in Nairobi; getting pregnant out of wedlock and dating a matatu conductor. You can imagine what kind of reputation you got if you were impregnated by a matatu conductor. I found it funny that while we thought being a conductor in those days was funky and rebellious (in a good way) and most of all, a gateway to the world of women, our parents saw them as demons that needed to be exorcised!

Mercy knows what it means to start from the bottom but she never lost sight of where she wanted to go. I always found her speeches annoying rather than inspiring. Whenever I got hot headed and thought that I was the savior the world was waiting for, she would always remind me of her journey and how she made a difference with the little she had. I would rather have listened to a prosperity preacher or a get rich quick schemer who gave me a better alternative and told me what I wanted to hear.

Looking at her this past weekend smiling in her graduation gown, made me appreciate her more and the many Kenyans who are going through difficult times but not giving up their dreams. Fathers whose greatest drive in life is that their children would have a better life than they did. Mothers who for the love of their children, have abandoned their dreams that they might be part of their children’s dreams.

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Brothers and sisters who took up the responsibility of taking care of their siblings so that their parents would breath and rest a bit. Grandmothers who never saw it as a mistake when their children got pregnant. They brought up their children’s children as their own giving their children a chance to still realize their dreams.

Young mothers who chose not to abort against all odds. Young fathers who took up the responsibility of bringing up their kids even though they were not ready. Aunties and uncles like mine who took us in when our parents passed on and gave us everything we needed. Head teachers and teachers who give “undeserving” kids a second chance in their institutions. Doctors who perform expensive procedures for free, policemen who make sure true justice is achieved, these “beneficiaries” may never say enough thank yous and the world may not celebrate you as it should, you are a true Kenyan hero (and not in an acting capacity). Someone paid the price to get us where we are now. It’s time we too felt the pain so that another person may fill the joy.

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Mr. Politician, its time you too paid the price and made someone else’s life better. Church leaders, many of your congregants go the extra mile for the many worthwhile initiatives you run, its time you too felt the pain of giving. Big boss man/lady it’s time for you to give back to your workers. There is always a need that you can meet around you. Like Mercy would say, make a difference in the little way you can, the rest will take care of itself.

We are all Kenyans and not in an acting capacity. Let’s make it count in a little way.


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Just The Two Of Us

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According to my birth certificate, I was born in Kitale General Hospital in Trans Nzoia.  Who cares? Am glad you asked.  Honestly, no one cares. Not even me. Allow me to explain why I brought it up in the first place.

See, like many of you, I am tired – dead beat! (If you right click on the word tired it will show you other synomyms that might help drive the point home). We can’t keep coming back to this conversation year in year out. We have got to deal with this issue once and for all.

Last week the social media was awash (right click) with hate speech and incitement and abuse and fliers and photos and opinions and speculations and arggghhh… enough things to make you explode! (After using the word explode, I now have security agents listening in as well)

Sadly, as we always do when something bad happens and we feel helpless, we played the tribe card. What a shame.  I read a heartbreaking account of how someone spent the night on the toilet floor on the Daily Nation Online, but when I got to the comments people were talking more about tribe than the trauma that person and many others will have to live with! Suddenly, we had become one! (And with one I mean individuals).

If our young generation commonly referred to as the “xaxa” generation (ages between 16 -25 years) are so bitter and bold to talk so loosely on social media about another tribe, where is our hope as a country? I thought my generation was so radical in denouncing our father’s tribalism that we even came up with names like “Neema Imani”. Hadn’t we outrun this hatred? How is it then that our younger brothers and sisters have already “been affected” and have taken the war to unfathomable levels on Social media?

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Here is some truth you may not want to hear (it’s a bit foolish for me to engage in this conversation but it’s necessary). You and I have failed our country. More than anyone else, you and I should take responsibility for where we are.  First of all let’s get this idea that if a president is from your tribe, everything is working for you. You are a fool if that’s how you think.  We have had two kikuyu presidents right? Well do you know that in the last 11 years I have bought milk and bread at the same cost as everyone else? No special price because the president is from my tribe!

I went through school like everyone else. I don’t have an honorary degree from state house. I have to go through campus like everyone else – and pay. There is no bursary or fund for the president’s tribe. I stayed without work for a couple of years and just like other Kenyans, I too worry about my security. I too want a safe environment to invest my future in. I get a cold like everyone else and when I go to the hospital, the doctor doesn’t give me priority because of my tribe. I get in line.

I wish they asked for my ID when I go to the supermarket or board a matatu but guess what, that old fifty shillings you got as change came from me. When a driver speeds I fear for my life just like you do. My landlord doesn’t care about who is in state house, if its end month he understands one language – rent! I don’t have benefits at work because of my tribe. If I don’t perform as per my contract, I will lose my job regardless of my tribe.

None of the presidents know my name we have never met we may never do. My fate is the same as yours and same as that kid being born in most remote part of this country. So guess what my friend, you are you worried about your country? So am I. If this country burns to the ground, (FYI that will be you and I who will do it) there is no secret tunnel that leads to State House and a door that has a password in my tribe. Nope. If we burn this country to the ground for whatever insane reason, you and I will share the same fate, brother.

So if you think that the president is doing something wrong, most likely so do I!  If you think that the president is making bad decisions and that more focus needs to be put on making sure that citizens are safe, well, that makes two of us.  You voted for the president so that he can work for you and so did I. Do you feel like some things are not going as they should? Guess what so do I!

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Is the point home? No? When your child is sick and you rush him/her to hospital do you sit and wait for a doctor from your tribe to come and treat your child? Don’t you just want anyone who can help your child? I am so sure that if I took today’s newspaper and looked through the obituaries there must be some people from the president’s tribe who have passed on and there is nothing he can or will do about it. The family will mourn like any other.

Lets a talk about retaliatory groups or whatever your tribe calls them now that they seem to be “our tribes” salvation. When these groups sit and plan to revenge “our blood” will that bring back my loss?  When you cause pain to innocent people because of their tribe in the name of fighting back for your community, how are you helping me get back what I have lost? Who appointed you to be my tribes’ watch guard or spokesperson? What qualifications do you have to occupy that role? So a politician somewhere gathered a group of people and commissioned them to work for us? A politician?

Come on Kenyans! None of us before birth was given an application form to fill and tick which tribe they want to belong to. But now that we are here, can we make what we have work for us? I did not choose to be born in Trans Nzoia but that’s where I was born. If you wake up one day and evict me where do you expect me to go?  Where would you go?

I am so tired. I am tired of politicians or anyone else including “clan heads “using us as dogs; fetch this bite that sit, down boy, bad boy… Surely by now we ought to know better. Let me tell you what your regular leader and politician wont. You are a side show in his theatrics. While you were busy fighting this and that community, your President, his Deputy, The CS, The Judiciary and your local Mps did not deliver on their promises – unless of course incitement and hate speech was part of their manifesto.

My point is this; we are all affected by the same things. High cost of living, unemployment, insecurity, poor education and health service and many other things. Chasing you away from my area won’t make my MP deliver on his promises. If we don’t have schools in our area, burning down your house won’t make us educated.

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 As long as God has given you and I today, we have a responsibility to ourselves, our children and most of all to our country.  Don’t fall for the lie that this country belongs to the president or the Governors or the MPs. It belongs to you and I. When they are gone and often it’s pretty soon, their kids will be in international schools and their businesses will be thriving. You and I on the other hand, will still be here. Our children will still have to go to public schools, public hospitals and public toilets. So before that public servants leaves office we better make sure that everything public is at its best condition.

It’s not about tribe; it should never be about tribe. It should be about a better country for you and me. No matter where you are and no matter which community you come from.  You should be getting the best services. If we are not, someone is not doing their work, and that person should account. Do you know what you want? That’s where we all need to begin these conversations.