Thursday, 27 November 2014
Saturday, 1 November 2014
Wednesday, 22 October 2014
Friday, 10 October 2014
Friday, 26 September 2014
Conventional wisdom that I agree with states that it is imperative that each person identifies and nurtures a relationship with a mentor. It is both smart and Biblical with prime examples being in the corporate world as well as extraordinary characters that were at some point mentored by someone else. Therefore, I count myself as extremely blessed to have three men in my life who are not even mentors per sê, they are great people that God in His great wisdom planned that I’ll learn, glean and copy from. They may seem ordinary but they are not. And as the last one of them departs the country today, this is just a piece that I hope to read years from now and recall these great pillars in my life.
I’ll probably never forget a time I wasn’t feeling good enough about an acting role he assigned me. His response was a tale about a small nail holding the doors of a big cathedral. He said though seemingly insignificant, all parts work together for good. Just do your part and leave the rest to God. ‘Johnny’ was his nickname and I guess his wife can now release a remix of the hit song by the same name since they found each other.
Upon completing high school in 2007, Kenya was engulfed in the post-election violence that spilled over to the beginning of the next year. That’s when I attended The Diguna School Leaver’s Camp of 2008. This is a Christian Mission Organization and though reluctant at first, I had no option but attend the youth camp since there’s wasn’t much to do as the violence persisted. A few days into the camp, I met Alan Mwangi, the guy responsible for me being there in the first place since he had catered for my admittance through my small sister who they’d been friends for long. I immediately thought he was the singer Kanjii as he trained us a rendition of the song ‘Under the Rock’. Though his dancing resembled that of Machang’i, the legendary Kikuyu actor and that is one aspect of his life that will probably never change.
So in that January of 2008, little did I know that the youth camp would change my life forever and since then, Alan has been an ever present figure in my life. Witty and wise, he is the guy you can trust to urge you on with life no matter how bleak matters appear. His passion for God and people has allowed Him to be a source of inspiration to many and I am no exception. I think he is the guy who I’d not want to leave behind when I go to my future in-laws for rũracio as not only would he take brilliant photos as is his ability but he’d help my case in the quest for a future soul-mate. You see, I always think he can make a great lawyer or politician for his convincing prowess. Either that or a renowned talk show host . But for now, the Kingdom of God continues to expand due to Alan’s diligence and zeal. Press on, brother!
The same first camp I attended at Diguna will always be special to me. On the first night, the last session was movie time and we were watching the brilliant ‘Black Diamond’. Suddenly, just before climax, the movie was rudely interrupted by a guy simply because there were rules to follow and it was past 10p.m., the allotted bed time. I disliked that guy there and then but God used him two days later as he led us in a session for prayer and I gave my life to Christ. Behold, Tony Ouma-a man who is more of a brother than a friend. I’ll forever be indebted to him. Immediately upon my salvation, he founded a bible-study group on realizing the need for spiritual guidance and till today, I always wear a wristband bearing the BS group name; Chosen 8 29.
Immensely gifted with eloquence, singing ability and tons of wisdom, God has surely transformed the lives of many young people through this fan of K’galo and the former giant Man Utd... Inadvertently, time has now flown and so has he today aboard a flight to a land far away. However, the seeds Tony has sown in my life and in that of many others will hopefully be replicated. A skilful footballer, that’s probably the only thing that failed to rub off on me J but I hold many memories mostly on matters spiritual, relationships and football. Ever approachable, I’ve probably opened up about the most personal battles over the past few years in my metamorphosis from a boy to a man with Tony.
There are many other great people in my life and I thank God for them. And this post is not about perfect people...no, far from it. That would be utterly superficial. But I’ll remain forever indebted to Anyangu, Mwangi and Ouma for their patience with me, their zeal and genuine love for God and their passion to impact our generation. Now that the three have families (Don’t get ideas, ladies), I pray that they’ll be immensely blessed especially with love, health, peace, joy and prosperity.
God bless ya fellas. I celebrate you.
Thursday, 14 August 2014
I had the privilege of going to Maasai Mara sometime back courtesy of the Mara Wildebeest Resort, an idyllic lodge of its kind tucked at the banks of River Mara that is on a transition path to its former glory when it was under different ownership and name. As promised, it was possible from the porch of the cottages to spy on crocodiles and hippos going about their business in the river unperturbed.The style is rustic, the setting is wild, but the experience is, to say the least, thrilling!
We met in Nairobi on the planned Saturday morning and set off at exactly 8 o’clock in the morning in a procession of three safari vans. Carrying forth from the abnormally freezing temperatures of the capital city, I hoped in my mind that the weather in the Mara would be less harsh. Travelling with professionals from the tourism industry always brings with it stories to no end. Thus the company I had were brilliant. Being approximately 300 kilometres from Nairobi, the journey there was expected to last around four hours with arrival slated in time for lunch. We had a brief stop in Narok town, the epicentre of Maasai country in Kenya. After having a brief stop, we proceeded on towards Bomet and branched from the very smooth tarmac road and onto a laterite road while maintaining the high speed. This I learnt later from our driver guide that it helps cushion the vehicle from all the physical shock of moving on a rough road.
Gradually, the vegetation changed and the weather was pleasant for a safari in the world’s best nature conservancy. The name ‘Mara’ is Maasai for scattered thicket. Maasai on the other hand are a unique people found in Kenya and Tanzania who are proud of their unique culture that they have not let go off even with the advent of modernization. Maa is their language and they are truly the face of Kenya abroad.
|The outside dining area|
Even before making it to the Sekenani Gate that serves as one of the official entry points, we could see wild game in the vicinity. Herds of zebra grazed alongside their herbivorous friends in wildebeests gazelles, antelopes and a couple of the unique looking eland. Being a National Reserve and not quite a park, the Mara is thus not fenced. This ensures that the local community can access and enjoy the natural resources. This includes pasture for their herds of animals, water and even the collection of firewood is allowed. It is especially a mutually beneficial relationship between the Maasai and the Mara since the former don’t hunt down game for its meat since it is abhorred by their custom. The same scenario is reminiscent of the National Reserves in Samburu.
We checked into the lodge, ushered in by the kind of smiles I have only seen in Kenya. A wet medicated face towel in hand as we were led to our rooms designed in a spectacular manner. The lodge-formerly known as the Mara Buffalo Camp is built adjacent to the Mara River that hosts many hippos and crocs as well as being the stage on which the dramatic annual wildebeest migration occurs. Lunch was sumptuous and we were taken round the lodge by, Mr. Frank Neugebauer our German host who is also the General Manager. As the sun prepared to set behind the hills to the Western side of the Mara, we set out on a game drive. As the animals head to the water-holes and the nocturnal ones prepare for the night ahead, there is no better time to view them than in the evening. It was eventful and we got to see all the big five-bar rhinos among others.
Back at the lodge and dinner was served in true African style. Above our heads were countless stars being replicated below by a huge bonfire. The background music was the constant bellowing of hippos half submerged in the Mara River waters that went on overnight. Sadly, we could only experience the magic of Mara for one night and it was time to return back to the city.
It was truly a remarkable weekend. The Mara is a gift that every Kenyan at one point in their lives should experience. The wild is untamed, the undulating topography to behold, the wild animals are in high numbers and accommodation is of various kinds, from high range luxury lodges like the Mahali Mzuri owned by Sir Richard Branson, various categories of hotels and even camping sites for the tourist that is truly adventurous.
Thursday, 7 August 2014
|City in the Sun|
When in primary school, all of us pupils back then used to look forward to when the term would end and have our holidays. As the exams of end of term came to an end, we would fantasize on all the activities to carry out and especially games to play in the whole month of April, August or December. I remember the closing day ceremony on 7th August, 1998. A relatively cool morning in Nairobi, we assembled as a school on that Friday morning and by 10:00 am, we were sprinting home. I couldn’t wait to tune in and catch the morning cartoon shows. I remember finding my mother seemingly agitated. Not a fan of TV, she was keenly drawn to our 14” Great wall TV and I couldn’t figure out what the matter was. Without a word, I tried to make out what it was on TV. It seemed like a horror movie…flames engulfing a few buildings, people running in all directions, most covered in blood and melee that indicated something was very wrong.
But this was no movie as it was easy to identify that the horror on TV was in Nairobi and without any reporting, a caption on the bottom of the screen solemnly read: BREAKING NEWS-BOMB BLAST IN NAIROBI.
|Devastation in the City|
By that time, all I knew about bombs was what I’d seen on Hollywood flicks in movies and the pseudonym term we used for farting. With time, it was emerging clear that a catastrophe had befallen our Nairobi-the city under the sun. I was young back then but the reality dawned harshly on all of us as Kenyans. Over 200 people lost their lives on that fateful Friday morning. Thousand others were injured and millions of us acquired emotional scars that have never healed completely. In 1998 was the first time I learned of the term ‘terrorism’, a cowardly act of segments of people who like to have their agenda known or taken seriously by robbing of others life.
I remember 16 years later, the terror and anguish that gripped us as children. I was not even double digits old and I can never forget how with my small sisters-two years my junior, how we would put Bibles beneath our pillows in the night. We needed divine protection. I almost swore to never step into Nairobi the city. A tiny blast, even that of a balloon bursting would send cold shivers down our spines. We were scared.
|Names of the 257 that perished at the Memorial Park|
It’s now 16 years since Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda cronies based in Sudan back them decided to and executed terror unknown before to a people who were known throughout for their hospitality and peaceful nature. Almost two decades since that dark day in Nairobi’s history. It would be a forlorn look back at history if the events of that morning were just but a part of history. Sadly, things seem to have only gotten worse. Terrorism is now a global calamity that takes away the lives of thousands annually. Only three years later was the world shaken to a standstill when the US-seemingly the most secure nation on Earth suffered even worst attacks with 0ver 3,000 people perishing in the terror attacks of 9/11.
To compound the matters, a majority of victims have never had justice. And even if the American government decides to compensate the victims of the attack in 1998, some things money just cannot restore, especially to families and loved ones that had people’s lives snatched away from then in an instant. An instant of madness. An instant that proves that man is inherently evil.