The air around me grew thinner. There was a hint of smoke floating around. Breathing was becoming difficult. What time was it? Where was I? Why was it so dark? I’m not afraid of the dark but this was the kind that came bearing bad omens. Maybe I was no longer dreaming. I should wake up just about now. And what’s that beeping sound? This is a weird dream. A gush of cold wind brushed my bare hands sending a chill down my spine. This had the makings of a nightmare that my mind couldn’t save itself from.
Tim.. (silence).. Tim! No answer yet again. TIM TIM TIM!
What do they say about dying in a dream? That if you die in the dream you cannot wake up in real life? Was this the end? I had pictured my life ending completely differently. After a long day of passing blessings to my great grandchildren and sunset gazing. Then I’d quietly slip into bed after my last supper and bid farewell to this world. After all it was not my home
TIM MAZE!! TIM AMKA! TIM WACHA UFALA, WAKE UP!
I could see my friends shaking me violently. Probably disturbed by how much of a heavy sleeper I had become. If not that, clearly about to execute the best prank in the middle of the night. Which they somehow managed to involve our whole dorm. The beds near me were empty, not well made but apocalypse empty. Like everyone had been picked from bed and not given a chance to tidy up.
But something was off, why was someone banging the metallic door that marked the entrance to our dorm? Why was everyone rushing to the door?
The room was dense with black smoke. The wall adjacent to my bed looked charred like someone had lit it on fire. The smoke detector was beeping loudly. For a July, it was unusually hot this night. Especially for a school set in a hilly area known to be cold even in March.
My shoes were set at the bottom of the bunk. Jumped down and slipped them on. Everyone was rushing towards the door. The man at the door was trying to regulate the human traffic but his efforts were thwarted by the impeding stampede. Noises rent the air. Screams mixed with panic. We need to get out of here! Swinging past the metallic door onto the stairs. Our dorm (the building) was a two storey building divided into six smaller dorms. Two at the bottom, four at the top. I was in the upper floor. The stairs were flocked with people in their pyjamas. The thin door at the end of the staircase not prepared for such mass movement. In panic it was significantly harder to leave the stairs. But nothing prepared anyone for what was beyond the small door
Windows breaking. Not because of a protest no. Everyone was running to safety. A surge of temperatures. A massive orange flame raged on and on. Fire, was the welcoming party beyond the small door. A party of confusion. Shock. Despair. Wonder. Sadness. Everyone stared on helplessly. Why was a dorm on fire? What was happening?
Buckets of water rushed from different taps, the brave trying to tame the orange monster with buckets that only saw the light of day during Saturdays as we washed our clothes. Fire extinguishers were decommissioned. Nothing was working. But the brave few were energetically trying to put off the fire. The fire brigade nowhere to be seen. It was dark after all. We were phoneless, who do you call? The teachers in school stood still in shock and some joined the students in their futile attempts at quenching the thirst of the raging fire
What could have possibly gone wrong? A first of electrical failures in decades? I doubt. Could it be love gone sour? Had history come back to haunt us in the middle of the night? The proverbial brother turning against brother. What could possibly warrant a brother to turn against another? Love turned to deep hatred? How deep was this hate for whatever, that it resulted into arson as an attempt to wipe it out? Was the neighbour not loved as much as self? Was there no honour among comrades let alone thieves? What could have pushed love to its limits?
Dear dream book, I might need to wake up now! Anytime…. No?
Author: William Kasina | Date Created: 2017-09-15 02:36:04 | Comments: 0
People have been telling me to have hope. But hope is something that is so difficult to have. It's not like pain, because you can see what causes pain. Like that time when I fell off my bike because I was riding too fast, I felt pain on my elbows and I could see that I was bleeding. I knew why I was in pain.
But hope? Hope is hard. When I did my Math exam; I stayed up reading until 2a.m doing algebra that I really suck at. I felt like I was getting it right finally on my own, I felt like there was a chance I was going to pass those exams, but I didn't pass them. That's when I knew that it was certain that I'd feel pain. Mr. Odede's cane would make sure of that.
And that's the problem with hope, it's uncertain; you can feel lied to after believing so much in something you wanted. Pain on the other hand? Pain is certain, pain is real, pain can be seen. When I'm disappointed, I know why, when I'm hurt, I know why, when I'm bleeding I know why.
I was so disappointed in myself that I'd failed the Math exam. But I couldn't spend so much time thinking about that because the play that we'd been rehearsing for was to be acted out the next week. I had to focus on doing my best, because it was my first time acting and Fred and the rest of the squad was going to come through to see me.
That was one long week. We were rehearsing late into the night so I couldn't chill with the homies, I couldn't go for preps, I couldn't even play football man! But I didn't mind it so much because acting was so dope.
The day finally came, and I was mad sweaty because I was nervous. I couldn't even believe that I was actually going to be on stage and everyone was going to be watching me what?! So I prayed, and when my scene came, man, I was nervous as hell! But Sydney was even more nervous than I was! So when he and I were having a dialogue on stage, he stammered and forgot some of his lines so I had to keep stepping in and making jokes to keep the dialogue going. I guess being a woman in the play wasn't too easy. Only the guys who knew the script knew it wasn't going according to the plan because at the end everyone clapped for us and cheered and threw flowers on stage! Fred and Brian even bought me smokies after the play. Mr. Odede patted me on the back and congratulated me on the job well done. Mr. Odede!! Who had just beaten me a week ago!
I know Math is a big deal, and not passing that exam, and questioning myself all week was also a big deal. Wondering what I'll become, wondering if I'm just destined to be nothing, wondering whether I'll live up to mum's expectations. I worry a lot, and I talk down to myself a lot, and I don't pass some exams, but I'm still here. Life has its ups and downs, and painful moments; but without questioning myself, would I have been hungry to find answers? Without the pain of disappointment would I want to prove that I'm good at something? Without failing the Math exam, would I have known how to stay focused and have an amazing performance the next week?
I guess what this taught me is that sometimes I don't always get what we want, because there's something better ahead, as long as I keep moving. At the end of the day, whether good or bad things happen, I'm still going to end up where I'm supposed to end up, and everything will be just fine.
Author: Martie Mtange | Date Created: 2017-09-07 02:31:44 | Comments: 0
In the recent months, I have been doing a campaign called ‘I WANT CHANGE’ trying to highlight things in the country that I feel need to improve. I did this in the simplest way I know how, byusing my art to pass across the message. I started with an online pictorial campaign where I took pictures of different people holding a placard written I WANT CHANGE then uploaded them on social media with different captions on issues relevant to the photo or the subject of the photo. For the campaign to work, I needed to take lots of photos, which I did. The results were quite fulfilling. I then went on to record a song and shot a music video for the same. The campaign gained a lot of traction and attention from different people ranging from individuals, fellow artists to organizations. The music might not have gotten a million hits on YouTube my message was definitely passed across.
It’s easy to feel like your impact as a young person in society is irrelevant especially when most of the things happening don’t seem to affect you. Or you feel like you’re limited in resource or ability to actually effect the change. Totally understandable. Till today I still feel the same way sometimes.
‘But it doesn’t affect me!’ I bet you use this line all the time. Unfortunately, most of the things that happen in the country affect you in more ways than you know. You’re just cushioned by your current position in society (mtoto wa mummy na daddy). When you walk these streets, you’ll see and feel the difference.
‘But aii HBK, Can I really make a difference? I’m so young!’ Yes you can! In a big way! I challenge you with this.
Right now you have access to social media, one of the most powerful tools of our generation. What do you use it for? (Watu wa memes na puns, I see you).
I tend to be very passionate about cleanliness and proper waste disposal and I really try and advocate for a cleaner, better environment by calling out people who litter in my presence and also through social media. Once, while I was hiking up Mt. Longonot, I saw so many plastic bottles along the way, I decided to collect as many as I could. They were so many that I had to use my jacket to carry them. Still I couldn’t carry all of them. I was sad. But when I got to the foot of the mountain with the heap, I took a picture, posted it on Facebook and started a conversation about littering. I definitely influenced some people positively, my concern was real and I had the proof to back it up. Sound like something you can do? Well, there you have it!
Change isn’t just about the government doing this or that. It isn’t about those with ‘power’. Change is not for adults only. Change is everyone, it’s you and me! It’s the small things you do that make the world of a difference. YOU have the POWER! YOU can make a DIFFERENCE because YOU ARE CHANGE!
Author: Kichwatah | Date Created: 2017-08-31 06:13:43 | Comments: 0
The truth is diary, I am tired! I throw my hands in the air and just don’t care anymore. It’s not like anyone believes I can do it anyway, so why bother myself? Why give myself the headache? Mum thinks I should be a nurse, well at least its science oriented. But dad has thrown my idea out the window completely and thinks I should be a journalist! He clearly doesn’t believe that I can do the sciences and in my head, I’m just thinking, if my folks don’t think I can do it, then who will? I mean they literally gave birth to me!
Then don’t even get me started on life being the eldest. I mean no one really says it other than mum sometimes, about how I am the hope of the home and an example to my siblings. Look! I’m a little fed up to be honest, come on people cut me some slack! I mean who do I look like Jesus? You can’t expect me to hold in my hands, my future and the future of all the ones who were born after me, it’s not logical, it’s not even fair! Wake up and smell the Roses guys’, I am not Jesus! Notice my skirt? I’m a girl!
Then the other day when Sammie, Trevor and Lexy came to visit, oh that was helpful! I know you can’t see, but I have rolled my eyes so far back I can literally see my brain. They have life all figured out and they are clearly happy and content. I am clearly the only one still trying to figure myself out. I am the only one going koo koo!
I mean look at me I am most likely going to end up a beggar living on the corner of Moi Avenue and Kimathi Street. You know what since my fate is clearly already sealed I might as well get a head start on my new life. I simply can’t take it anymore and I just don’t want to care anymore. I don’t want feel the pressure and I won’t! I have full control over what will happen and I just choose not to care anymore. Whatever happens, happens and I’m alright with that. Whatever!!!!!!!
If anyone needs me I’ll be on the corner of Moi Avenue and Kimathi Street not caring about life, and anyone who is opposed, well too bad! I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life.
Author: Ivy Sheri | Date Created: 2017-08-29 08:19:11 | Comments: 0
Will I ever…
Will I ever… Will I ever be able to get out of bed and do what I love for the rest of the day?
Will I ever be able to dream and turn my life into a masterpiece of joy and happiness?
Will I ever be able to understand that the dream born inside my heart will never exist, if I do not conjure up the power to make it come true?
Will I ever be able to grasp the moon and grab a handful of clouds as I float off into space?
Will I ever ride on that endless wave of stars on the milky way?
Will I…will I ever…
I’m scared…As a matter of fact I’m petrified. I’m petrified because I don’t even have the slightest clue if I will ever achieve or become. I’m panicky simply because of the uncertainty that lies before me. It’s funny how I can brave the spiders and the roaches yet when it comes to what I want to accomplish my nails get the most of it.
Jiraiya Goketsu (One of the Legendary Sannin) once said “A Shinobi's life is not measured by how they lived but rather what they managed to accomplish before their passing on." Will I ever be able to accomplish all that I am and all that I can ever be before my time has come or will I simply be a fading memory in a life relatively/sort of well lived?
Will I… will I ever…
I want to feel the hunger of making a difference as I pursue my dreams. I want it to add meaning to my life and make the efforts worthwhile. I don’t want to cease to dream because ceasing to dream is like ceasing to live. Will I ever achieve what I deserve? Nothing but the best?
A great Shinobi (Naruto) used to say “I won’t run anymore…I won’t go back on my word…that is my ninja way.” (Pause for dramatic effect)
You see Naruto made a choice, a vow…a vow that he moved heaven and earth for. He had a dream of becoming Hokage (village leader.) He not only made that promise to himself but to others but all the things he went through were simply signs to him to quit and fall back on anything but the things he wanted to achieve. But look at him now. He is finally THE ninja... He is Hokage…Now, did he have moments of “Will I” or did he just flow through the sands of time?
What is my Ninja way? What is my vow? What are my dreams? What are the things I need to achieve?
Will I…Will I ever...
Will I ever be able to get the fact that failure is part of the journey or the fact that I need to track my progress as I go? Will I ever be able to be motivated enough, take action, not be afraid of my dreams? How does it work world? How does it?
But imagine this... If I ever…
If I ever, I will experience things I probably would never imagine. If I ever, I will realize the incredible things that I am able to do. If I ever, I will love being around me and my joy and happiness will be contagious. If I ever, life will become that more beautiful and I will connect with the world on a deeper level. If I ever……Will I ever though?
Author: Bryan Ichigo | Date Created: 2017-08-24 04:04:15 | Comments: 0
I first recognized what I eventually came to know as leadership when I was a young child, while watching the Madaraka Day Celebrations. I was enamored by the men in uniform who moved in singular motion, matching in order and on order. The matching, impressive as it was, served only as a complement to the unseen but most clearly heard booming baritone voice of the parade commander. There was something almost magical about how an unseen and mostly incomprehensible (at least to us civilians) voice would cause such change - some dramatic; such as the taekwondo kick match, some intricate; such as eyes-right command. Supernatural still was how multiple grown men with the capacity to make their own decision would respond without a moment's hesitation to the command of one unseen. What discipline? What order? What form? What power? I perceived the men as unstoppable and the voice sounded to me unconquerable. I wanted to be amongst them more especially the voice that so guided them.
At such time I did not know what was required to attain the same nor was I aware whether I had it but I was determined to get it. It was helpful that I had already began to demonstrate some capacity for the same - my childhood nickname was boss for I was often found commanding or attempting to command anything and everything that I imagined could be commanded. Given this initial potential and the determination to be as had been demonstrated to me, I began my journey into leadership. The first thing I had to learn in leadership was how to follow: I had to be obedient to those who knew better or were otherwise stronger than me. I did not know but in this way learnt that the power to command comes from having more strength and better knowledge than the one receiving the command. I also learnt the better I followed instruction the easier it became to give them and the more they were received by the one to whom they are given. Secondly, I learnt that leaders had to step forward and separate themselves from the crowd. You had to be exceptional especially with regard to strength and knowledge, in terms of how to acquire them and utilize them. Again listening to the ones in authority was very useful to these ends. Third, I learnt that 'power pass power', leadership was hierarchical and that there was always someone stronger than the one stronger than you and someone weaker than the one weaker than you. Leadership could therefore be given to you or taken by you. The stronger had to give it to you: but you had to prove willing and worthy to receive by meeting their standards. The weaker only responded to your strength either by willingly yielding or forcefully surrendering when and only when you stood up and required them to make the choice.
These lessons were, however, not taught in a classroom so that I had them before hand and applied them as taught. No! They were hard-earned through the school of hard knocks - the school of life. In the midst of attaining them I have faced several difficult milestones including: ignorance and arrogance - personal and of others in the hierarchy; confusion and self-doubt: deceit, betray and sabotage by self and others (especially those close to me); lack and loss of faith/confidence leading to giving up or, even worse, lack of trying. Lastly and most difficult failure, for reasons outside myself such as the actions of others and the realities of life and due to my own misdeed either in failing to do something or doing something wrong. Many times I have been punished for failing to live up to the standard and have punished myself for falling below my own and others expectations. The saving grace I have found is two things: so long as there is life there is hope, one can recover from most if not all things; God has a say in all things and He is always good. I say this that it may be understood that the most important things to the attainment of talent/life goals: one is life itself, two is the operation of God in that life. So long as you can eat and breath time will resolve all things: for example, the ignorant gain experience that rids them of their ignorance and those who fail regain their strength and try again. God is a force that saves in times of trouble, reproaches in times of arrogance, teaches in a time of ignorance, consoles in times of failure, rewards in times of success and avenges in times of betrayal while he remains faithful always. In regard to leadership God is king of kings and Lord of lords so he is highest in the heirarchy determining the position of all others in it. His word is the final command/ instruction that cannot be undone. A reliance on him and his revelation and word is best and surest way to ascend that heirarchy (power pass power).
Finally, leadership and command are a question of self. One must master themselves before they can master others: how well one has mastered themselves determines how well you master others. God himself honours personal will and choice so you have to make the choice to stand out.
Author: Johnstone Daniel Mutua Jnr | Date Created: 2017-08-17 22:47:15 | Comments: 0
Dear Dream book,
I really want to be better. But constantly my world dares to prove me wrong, that good won’t win. How many good guys are in great places, few probably. But that’s just in the environment I’m in. I wouldn’t dare to expand my scope, things might get worse or better. Worse is bad though. So I have to keep the hope up. Or not. Whatever
Just the other day I was talking about corruption with my classmates. They really are oblivious to how dangerous it is. Given we really don’t feel its effects. More often than not we are recipients of it. Our parents benefit we do. It’s a plus for us. I can only imagine what other things grown-ups have saved us from and we won’t have to deal with them come of age.
I remember mum the other day saying the economy is bad and she’d want a change. Times are tough she said. But I couldn’t help her. What could I do but listen? If I had that responsibility I’d not be any better. I’d destroy a nation simply. But apparently, we are the future leaders lol
Man I look at my life and see no difference. If I can’t help myself how can I help my country? Mum barely knows how far off I am from the son she dreamed of raising. I would be ashamed if she came to the realisation of who I am. But somehow she sees someone who could be salvaged. She sees opportunity for change. Yet when I look in the mirror all I see is despair and a failure. How can I be a product of change, when my life is falling down faster than the apple that hit Isaac Newton’s head?
I’m I too young to be the change the world needs? That’s too far off. My country needs? If I’m not then how do I become that? Because I look around see how messed up my country is and I smile, cause we are in the same boat. Maybe, just maybe, we (read I) should be left to our own destruction. After all good only wins in Marvel and DC movies.
Author: William Kasina | Date Created: 2017-08-11 07:10:07 | Comments: 0
I know I can, so I plot and plan,
I take shots like a gun, success is sort of fun.
I'm the boss I'm the man, I won't sink, I swam,
I've got motivation like a thousand group of bees, I'm swarm!
I know I can, yes I'm number one,
Maybe not in your books but I won't say no I can't.
I know I can, I'll never ever chicken out, it's not in me,
Instead, I'll check in at chicken inn and check out celebrating with chicken wings!
I know I can, my future is bright and colourful like a rainbow,
I'll have my cake and eat it plus a buffet on the table.
I know I can, if Kantai can then who am I, why can't I too?
I know I can is the song I sang, now victory's here what can't I do?
I know I can, I'm ready to shine like the sun,
I know I can because by my side is the Son!
I know I can and after all is said and done,
I'll be chilling on the run having 'Koffi' (coffee) with 'Anaan' (naan)
I know I can because I yield to God's master plan.
I know I can, that's why I'm called AFRI - CAN!
Author: Kichwatah | Date Created: 2017-08-10 00:56:31 | Comments: 0
Lost. That’s how I feel … exceedingly lost. Who and what am I? I know what people say I am but I don’t really know it for myself. I’m drowning in my own self-doubt and lack of identity. And you know what? No one sees it. No one knows. And even if they did they wouldn’t care.
Diary, the last thing I want is to be a disappointment to my parents, siblings, friends and teachers. I work hard, at least I think I do. But I honestly wonder if all that hard work pays off. I’ve been thinking and trying to discover what I’d really want to do with my life and to be honest it’s quite the mystery. It’s not that I don’t have ideas but the things I’d rather do are so unrelated that it makes no sense.
Why was I even created? Like what’s my purpose? Do I have one or I’m I just here to fill up space on this big earth? I listened to Sammie, Trevor and Lexy when they came to visit me in school and guess what? They know exactly what they want to do when they grow up. Like I’m the first born and I have no idea of what I ought to do with my life and here are some little minions who have a vision. But everyone has their own plan for my life, it’s like I was born for people to live their dreams through me.
So, dad thinks I should be a journalist. Like honestly, a journalist!! He says I have impeccable English. No argument there (clearly, I just used impeccable) but if I was a good dancer would he want me to be Bruno Mars’ backup dancer? I highly doubt it. Then mum; sigh! My beloved mother wants me to be a nurse. I know she wanted to be one at some point in her life but wasn’t that her dream? Why should I, who hates needles, pick this dream of hers and make it my own?
During visiting day, we had a minor scuffle with the folks. And no Diary, it wasn’t my fault. Anyway, remember I told you that my parents told me that science is for boys, rather they implied it? Well, I went ahead and picked the three sciences either way. You see I want to study forensic science, like all that Navy NCIS and CSI stuff. I am exceedingly intrigued by crime scene investigations and laboratory analysis and stuff. I’m like Dexter in my head apart from one thing; the Sciences are so darn hard!! I barely understand a thing in class, no matter how much I ask questions and do extra work and actually purpose to read. It’s like my brain automatically filters the sciences out of my system. I’m so nervous about exams cos I kid you not if I fail those sciences, my folks will have the I told you so Tess face. Like what I’m I supposed to do with that face but feel like a total loser?
As if Samuel dumping me on a letter couldn’t make me feel like a greater loser! Apparently, he can’t handle the distance since I joined boarding school. And he also feels we aren’t looking for the same things, whatever that means. Sigh, I digress. I just feel like quite the loser (and heart-broken). My siblings look up to me and I can’t even understand the basics of what I want to become. Maybe I should just give up this dream once and for all. Maybe my dad is right, I should just become a journalist and make do with that.
Or maybe I could become a photographer and… sigh see what I’m telling you Diary? I can’t even think straight. Who am I? And will I ever make anything of myself?
Author: Joyce Mutunga | Date Created: 2017-08-04 05:58:51 | Comments: 0
For the longest time, I have wanted to be a pilot. The way they dress, the title 'captain', travelling the world and being in the company of beautiful ladies, that's just a bonus. I think they're trained on how to speak and not just speaking but addressing the heart. They reassure passengers of safe travel even during a turbulent flight. That's who I wanted to be even before I knew what a career was.
Then there was a traffic police. Please note, TRAFFIC!!! These are people with immense power. By the raise of an arm, it doesn't matter how fast you are going, thou shalt halt. It's fascinating, isn't it? This guy is on his two feet but you will be driving a four-wheel drive or a twenty something wheel truck but you will stop nonetheless. That's huge power and responsibility. Not forgetting how in most movies they drive amazingly fast cars, save for those where the villain drives a faster car. This is where the idea of becoming a rally driver came in as I did not aspire to be a villain.
Whenever we traveled, I would convince my dad to sit with me at the front of the matatu. The purpose being for me to learn how to drive through observation. I would keenly look at how the gears were being shifted and the fascinating noise that followed but above all, the beautiful art of overtaking. Very beautiful. The speed governors were the only party poopers; they restricted the fun to only eighty kilometers per hour, who does that??? My father said it was for safety. The question in my head was always; if it's for safety then how come you'll hardly ever hear of a death case in rally cars? So it's safe to be a rally driver, I concluded to myself.
As I grew older, I realized that I am artistic. I drew anything that pleased my eyes or would get the attention of art lovers in the hope that someday, I would become the African Pablo Picasso. I was ten steps ahead of my peers. My works were the envy of every boy and girl my age and above, heck even my parents’ peers. With this came the realization that careers do not necessarily have to be office jobs; it just had to feed you. From then I started discovering my talents and claimed them based on how popular they were.
I was good in football, I want to believe I still am. I was given very many nicknames for it. One of the very notable ones was Zizou also known as Zinedine Zidane. He was and still is a legend as the current Real Madrid head coach. Football fanatics know what I mean but even though you aren't, you might remember the infamous headbutt which earned him a red card and cost his team the world cup. I wasn't given the name because of butting people but because he, and I, had admirable skills. Others include Inzaghi (legendary Italian skipper), Saha (French and former United player). I say this to emphasize my skill on the turf.
One day I woke up to "You shall not become a footballer or a Pablo Picasso or whatever his name is in my house". That was where my dreams were crushed, together with my heart. I went back to being a pilot. I thought I was safe from criticism till my cousin referred to them as elevated bus drivers. But how? All the aura and awe they possess and you call them bus drivers? I couldn't pick up the pieces of my heart even if I wanted to. I was then redirected to aeronautical engineering. I didn't know much about it, all I knew was that apart from a pilot, the only other two constants in a plane are the engines and an engineer to respond to any malfunction if it arises. I stand corrected but this meant that as an engineer I would fly as much as a pilot. Jackpot!!! So I was destined to be an engineer. What I didn't realize was there was only a diploma course in Kenya at that time and I needed a degree.
Confused is what I became. I didn't know what to do, know who I would become in future or who I really was. Who am I? Am I a footballer who draws and flies planes as he repairs them? Am I what my parents want or don't want me to be? Am I what my relatives and friends see in me or am I a sum total of all these which in all honesty don't add up. Who am I? Somebody help me, WHO AM I???? ¿¿¿¿
Author: Philemon Mutuma | Date Created: 2017-08-03 04:09:09 | Comments: 0
I think it’s now safe to say that I really struggle to understand my friends and they also struggle to understand me. I really don’t get them these days to be honest. It’s like every suggestion I make to them is wrong nowadays, what’s happening?
So, in school, I signed up to act in the upcoming school play that happens at the end of every year. It was my first time doing this so I was a bit nervous because I didn’t know what the other guys would think, and I don’t like speaking in public and I don’t know what everyone else expects from me. I’m still doing it though, because I think Idris Elba is G, maybe I’m G also.
Obviously because of my beard, I can’t act like a young boy any more so they gave me the role of being the father of the main character or “protagonist” as these play guys call him. It was cool, I like acting because I get to be someone else and act like someone else. It gives me room to express all the weird things I wouldn’t normally do in my own skin. Anyway, so when I was going to tell my homies that I’ll be acting in the school play, they all looked at me so weirdly, and Fred even started laughing. What?
So Fred asked me “Why the hell are you acting man? Like why?” Then they started laughing again. I didn’t understand why they were laughing though, because Adrian does chess, Brian does French, Fred is in the freaking choir. The choir! What are they laughing about?
“Yo, why are you laughing?” I needed to know, before I decided to stop acting. I don’t like being laughed at, especially by my friends. “Which cool guy in this school do you know in drama club? Everyone in drama club is a wimp man, look at Sydney, he’s a sissy; he even plays volleyball man. What are you doing there?”
Fred had a point. All the guys I was with in drama club were weird guys. Sydney usually played the women’s roles because we are an all-boys school so there are no girls for the feminine roles. Ah! But I like acting! Fred had started laughing until there were tears in his eyes, and now I felt bad for real.
“But you sing soprano in the choir man!” I told Fred, and he stopped laughing. He knew what I was saying; that girls are the ones who usually sing soprano in the choir, and there were no girls in this school, so he did it, and he was good at it.
“Would you stop singing just because someone told you that soprano is for girls?” I had to ask, and he paused, and shook his head. “And you Adrian would you stop playing chess just because someone said chess is for nerds and geeks?” Adrian just looked at the ground and didn’t say anything. “Would you stop going for French classes just because someone told you that French is for girls and boys learn German?” I asked Brian.
“No, I wouldn’t, I’d do both French and German!” Brian replied and then gave Fred a Hi-5.
“We get what you’re saying bro, we get it. You do what you have to do, and tell us when that play is. We’ll come there the way you’ve been coming for our gigs.” Fred said, finally standing up.
I like acting, and I like the feeling that I get when I act. It is happiness and fulfilment and I feel it also when I play football. I don’t want anyone to stop me from doing what I like doing just because of what they think. My friends don’t understand me sometimes, so either I can help them understand me or do what I need to do any way.
Author: Martie Mtange | Date Created: 2017-07-31 04:01:05 | Comments: 0
In the jungle the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight. Wimoweh wimoweh wimoweh wimoweh!! Well in this case the cub sleeps tonight. Mufasa is the king of the jungle, the king of pride rock. All who are under his reign worry not about where the food comes from because he keeps the balance. The king of Pride rock chases away the hyenas so they don’t eat everything and upset the circle of life.
The king makes all things work. He keeps the herbivores in plenty so they can eat the grass, the carnivores eat the herbivores and when the carnivores die they become the grass. All things are interconnected.
This is kind of like our relationship with God. God is Mufasa and we are pride rock, he takes care of our circle of life. You can only imagine Timon and Pumba don’t worry about where they are going to get grub for the day. The king keeps the world in check and things going. Timon and Pumba wake up to a land that is well kept all they need to do is go look for the food and play their part in the circle of life.
So who is in control? The king of the jungle of course. It is when we understand that there is a higher being who is willing to keep the balance that we can enjoy being pride rock. With nothing to worry about, we can go about our business and let the king of the jungle do his part. We can be the cub that sleeps in the jungle tonight and every night knowing that there is a king who has it down, he has it under control. Or we can be Timon or Pumba.
When Simba stands on the edge of pride rock looking into the land, he knows that everything that the light touches belongs to the king. In the dark shadowy parts is the outlands that the hyenas stay. Simba isn’t worried if the hyenas come and try to take their herds or eat their food because the king will keep them in check. He will come and roar and they will tremble and know they aren’t meant to eat more than their share.
All was going well till Mufasa died and Simba ran away. The land wasted away because the Scar took over and let the Hyenas roam free to destroy everything, Scar didn’t understand the circle of life. The animals ran way and the pride rock wasn’t something to be proud of anymore. The Hyenas ate all the meat till there was nothing left and no one had anything left to eat. Scar even though he was a lion like Mufasa wasn’t the right king for the job. Scar didn’t understand the importance of the Circle of life
So the question is, Who is the ruler of your pride rock?
Author: Ivy Sheri | Date Created: 2017-07-12 10:40:41 | Comments: 0
What are some of those things that bring us tears right now but will in the long run be greatly enjoyable? What brings us joy now but would potentially bring us pain later?
Growing up we were made to believe that men don’t cry. I guess that is why very few boys in primary school carried handkerchiefs. Maybe.
I hated being told, “foot-ball shall take you nowhere”. Most guys can relate. This was not said in a mean way, most of the time. It was more of a wakeup call. It does not mean that I, you or your friend cannot make a future out of it. If we’re honest enough with ourselves, most guys have an obsession for football. We think about it day and night. All your conversations rotate around the current transfers. Being a die hard, you have your favorite and have probably earned a nickname, the name of your favorite. You imagine getting off that pitch having delivered an electrifying performance and everyone’s singing your praises. It’s almost like a dream. Your dreams are valid, Lupita reassures you.
Why do you wake up every morning to go to school? Have good grades? Hang out with friends? The system is set that way? Persevere through school so as not to be the stupid one of the crew? So get educated yes? Well at least some part of you. Create memories is another good reason. But every so often getting a decent grade pops up in your head and somehow make a name for yourself in a possible future. Not too bad, not too bad.
But just like the journey towards becoming a footballer, this one in school is riddled with challenges. At least this one is not a parent or guardian breathing down your neck telling you it’s a worthless pursuit. Rather it’s the same people breathing down your neck telling you, you can do better. You take one glance at their lives and you either want the same or better. Yet you know how to make it happen but you don’t want to pay the price.
Every great successful athlete became friends with pain and the expense of handkerchiefs to wipe away all the tears. Not only athletes but also the great men and women we look up to. Somewhere in their past are hard sacrifices, hard choices and more so the proverbial blood, sweat and tears. The sacrifices were never in vain, because now they are thriving, and all we can do is look up to them. Probably, die a little inside with envy, because they have what we desire.
What are those things that cause us pain now but will eventually cause joy? Books, doing homework and assignments, listening in class; these are some the things that will earn you insults, ridicule and all sorts of nicknames and making you infamous with your classmates. It will not be easy, great things aren’t easy otherwise everyone would have had them by now. On the flipside; your grades shall go up, you shall draw nearer to your lucrative career you have longed for but above all your education will be more worthwhile. You will not hate lessons, teachers and assignments but you will look forward to better tomorrow through the work you do daily. The only key is keeping your eyes on the prize at all times.
Maybe I would have become a footballer had I bought the handkerchiefs and not wallowed in the tears. If only I had put in more energy and effort. If only the obstacles would have motivated me? But who knows? I don’t because I didn’t become. But you have that chance to be who you want to be.
If at first you don’t succeed, pick yourself and try again. Dust yourself up and try again.
Author: Philemon Mutuma | Date Created: 2017-06-29 03:42:34 | Comments: 0
I remember sitting in the field with mum and dad as they advise me on which subjects to pick. The idea of all three sciences has crossed my mind once or twice… alright you got me Diary, more than once or twice more like a hundred times over. But you see you don’t understand, it’s not normal to do all three, I mean I am a lady now. Mum keeps telling me that I need to start acting more lady-like and women aren’t scientists they are historians and linguists.
They make it sound like we should leave science for the boys. I look at mums face as she and dad discuss on what would be the best choice for me. She’s worried. She’s probably thinking that I will want to quit eventually. “You know Tess, three sciences can be really hard, and what if you can’t handle that kind of work load? You know, you can’t go back?” dad says to me. Do they think I’m incapable because I am a girl? I’ve heard them talk about their high school days, about how most of the people who did all three were boys, and the girls ran away from physics and did biology because it was more reading than math. But I am not afraid of a little math. In any case I like math. Its simple to me, it’s straight forward and all I need to do is understand the concept then I can do anything. Is that strange?
These are the thoughts that cross my mind as I look at the paper to fill in what I want to do. My physics teacher, a woman is such an inspiration always telling us “Girls, do what you’re passionate about” and I hold these words close to my heart. But what if it’s true; what everyone is thinking but not saying? That girls aren’t just not cut out for this kind of work and we are the weaker species. We will never be as good as the boys or that we just don’t understand these things, because you know it’s in our DNA. What if I pick all three then I wish I hadn’t? What happens then, Diary?
So I take myself to the physics lab going to talk to my teacher about this matter. I find her testing out a few experiments that I think are for the form fours, it looked pretty cool. While talking to her about the matter she looks at me, smiling and says after I play out for her my inner monologue of the back and forth between being a strong woman of science and woman over taken by fear, too scared to follow her dreams and she says to me. “You know what Tess I can’t answer this question for you. The only way you will ever know what you are good at and what you aren’t, is if you try. So my question to you is, do you love what you’re doing in all the three? Does it make you happy? Do you love reading and gaining knowledge about it? And if your answer is yes, never let fear be the reason you didn’t try. People don’t regret the things they tried and failed at but they regret the things they wanted to do and let fear stop them”
So am I scared? Heck yes! But do I regret MY decision to do all three? Heck no! I am happy with my decision. At the end of the day I love them all. I’m willing to go against the odds and be different, for the love of science and the drive to do what I love.
Author: Ivy Sheri | Date Created: 2017-06-19 15:14:48 | Comments: 0
A story is told of a young girl. This young girl was one of the clever lasses all through her primary school life, was very active in her church singing group and was well liked by those around her. This collectively outstanding performance in life opened opportunities for her to go to some of the most prestigious international schools for high school education.
As a result of her qualifications, she came highly recommended for a job when she was just about to clear high school. Those hiring her considered her mildly suitable for the job but went on ahead to hire her after she completed the interview. During the training for the job position, she was required to undertake the activity of successfully caring out a high rope element, as were other recruits.
The task did not look impossible at first. However, when it came to her turn, she went up a few steps and climbed on to a platform and froze there for close to twenty minutes. The thought of being above the safety of the ground was more than she could bear. The thoughts flooding her mind varied from falling, breaking of bones, the embarrassment of not being able to do the task at hand, the weight of how it looked to her superiors and the question on why she ever agreed to do this; in that order.
Meanwhile, those below attempted to encourage her to proceed and accomplish the task, but she was not able to hear them amidst the louder voices of discouragement she had allowed to have an audience in her head. Eventually, she reluctantly went on to accomplish the task. Ironically, the job at hand entailed facilitating people to become Kenya’s finest by overcoming their fears. Undertaking the high rope elements was the confirmation of overcoming fears.
To proceed with the story, the girl managed to get the job and facilitate people to successfully carry out the high rope elements, but she felt cheated because she had not been able to overcome her own. She figured that you can only lead the crowd when you know the way to the Promised Land and she was not confident she had achieved this knowledge.
Then came the silver lining in the story. She found an opportunity to attempt a high rope element again. This time she was determined to let go of all those fears that were holding her back, no longer would she talk to people about successes without knowing what it means to concur your fear and taste the feeling. Okay, okay, I’m the girl.
To my surprise, I did it. Yes I was able to successfully slay the giant swing (one of the high rope elements). I realized that I am in control and that small fears lead to big setbacks and therefore overcoming small fears will lead to bigger opportunities for growth. My fear was heights, but I am on the path to successfully concurring that fear.
In conclusion, do not allow the sky to be a limitation, let the sky be the limit.
Author: Letty Mtange | Date Created: 2017-06-19 14:54:37 | Comments: 0
Dear dream book,
I just watched Lego Batman today and maaaaaaannn was it epic. We can all agree Batman is the greatest superhero of all time. Yes? Good! (Well there is Chuck Norris but that is a story for another day)…Anyway...back to Lego Batman. Let’s talk about Robin for a second. Batman has always battled alone against the forces of injustice and evil, but now he’s suddenly got a kid sidekick to deal with. Yassss que ROBIN!! Where Batman is silent, serious and brooding, Robin is loud, enthusiastic and constantly bursting with excitement at getting to work with his favorite super hero and new dad.
At the beginning, Robin starts off very weird and quirky and Batman doesn’t really like him and it’s at this point before he is adopted that we see him make a decision. This decision will either make him become the boy wonder he is meant to be or become something else contrary to that.
Robin decides to simply be himself and not conform to whatever it is Batman wants him to be. He doesn’t try to fit in and change his weird quirky self, in fact he just becomes a better version of himself. I find that so bomb dream book, I really do and that’s simply because I can relate to that. Robin makes the movie so much fun and so cool that I am probably going to watch it every week till I’m 40.
He’s taught me a lot about who I am and how to embrace all my awkward and quirky shenanigans. I think my biggest challenge as a teen is trying to fit in and trying to get everyone to like me; but the truth is not everyone will like me all the time and that is something that when I accept I won’t waste time trying so hard to impress people.
"In fact, fitting in is the greatest barrier to belonging. Many of us suffer from this split between who we are and who we present to the world in order to be accepted.”
If I don't spend so much time and energy worrying about what others think of the real me (or trying to hide the real me), I'll have lots more left over for dancing the macarena. Do you get me dream book? I am slowly but surely getting to understand that I shall not try to fit in but I shall try to fit out. By fitting out I will be who I am even when people insist that I have to change. Fitting out will mean that I take up my space and not apologize for people who want to put labels on me. Nakaa unga ya chapatti? *For our international students…Do I look like Chapatti flour* (I don’t know what chapatti is in English)….In baby talk it means…*shdcvjshv basbojea biiajf*
So I’m a little weird…I will work it! Oh! I’m different? I shall own every bit of it because that is who I am and I can only get better. It may not be easy and I get that but I will not stop trying to be who I really am and who I can be. I will not be so quick to cut away pieces of myself to suit a particular relationship or a circle of friends. I need to understand that I don’t have to fit in and it’s okay.
I am not saying change is bad. Change is good only if I am not becoming a lesser version of myself. I am awesomely beautiful with the heart of an avocado and my bushy eyebrows. Today I choose to commit to belong because of who I am and I will not give in to the soul sucking goal of trying to fit in. Today I choose to be Robin, dream book. I will enjoy every bit of who I am. It will be hard especially when I need to stand out amongst my hommies but it’s a journey I am willing to take and in that other people will see me for who I am and accept me for everything I am and love me for me. Hmmmm, I kind of sound like a super hero don’t I dream book?
“Hey, Batman, I’m rubbing my butt all over your stuff. You’re going to have to rename this the Buttmobile” Lol. That one is for you dream book. :)
Author: Bryan Ichigo | Date Created: 2017-06-19 13:54:17 | Comments: 0
“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new”...Albert Einstein
This week, these words from Einstein have meant so much more to me compared to the first time I heard them. Such profound words coming from this world renown genius. I also realised, that this is a reality everyone must choose to either accept or reject.
Experience has also taught me that failure is just a wonderful part of a success story. Usually when I evaluate the lives of everyone I consider successful, inspirational, worth listening to or learning from and all these other brands I give people I admire, I realise the reason I admire them is actually because they allowed me to connect with their human side. You see, these people have been transparent with their lives, they allow me to see and even count the number of times they have failed. I connect emotionally, physiologically and even intellectually with them, as a result, admiration, encouragement, inspiration come flooding in and suddenly I am much more psyched to pursue my goals and dreams.
The clouds that make failure dull and gloomy are blown away by a light that reveals that it is only but just a part of the cycle of succeeding in life. Failure is no longer embarrassing, and a label I have attached to myself, but only the next chapter of what I believe is MY success story.
Phew, now I can breath and look up again, now I can put my head back up and face my “giant” once again. Wisdom has taught me since I failed the last time , I might want to try doing things a little differently this time. Perhaps, I can get a little more input from my instructor, perhaps if I am open enough, I can tell him what really happened, and I can be sure he will shed the much needed light on how to move forward. Maybe if I did a little more research on this subject and project I failed last time, I would have more insight. I realise I might need the help my friend offered after all. He is much better at organizing than me, that’s for sure, and Jennifer is much better at numbers than me. I should probably get her on board this project. I’ll just stick to communicating the vision and implementing it. Those are my strengths, and now I see that different strengths will help me move to the next step.
I am encouraged. Failing is only just a part of the process. Failure will never be my name or character. Infact, I would rather fail than not try at all. I refuse to wallow in self pity and disappointment. I am gifted, creative, energetic and enthusiastic. I can do this. I will get back up again. Success is just another step forward.
Author: Neema Kung'u | Date Created: 2017-06-15 14:01:30 | Comments: 0
Do you believe in ghosts dear dream book? Because I’m certain I didn’t slam the door that hard. Certain. So it banged itself and now dad thinks I have an attitude. What is an attitude anyway? Are we African children allowed to have that? Amidst the slaps the body injuries and what not, that must have died somewhere as I grew up. If I had any to begin with.
Of course I’m not talking to him today. He wouldn’t understand. This isn’t the late 70s, if anything he’s late to the party. He lived a life very different from mine. Back then phones were not that popular, so he bought his first with his own money. But those backward days are over. Everyone has a phone and I don’t because it broke (itself, ghosts I tell you). So we had a heated debate about his priorities and it ended with a strike one notice. What happened to freedom of expression?
Just the other day, I tell him I’m going for a sleepover at my friends place. Of course I have to be light on the details as he’d question everything to his satisfaction. All was well. Until I mentioned the name of the friend and whose child they are. All hell broke loose. Judgement galore. So I asked him whether the problem was the family or that He was undergoing loneliness after mum’s unfortunate departure. Caring act yes? But not to him. He said I’ve become disrespectful and it’s probably a product of the people I’m hanging out with. As if we spend time talking about our parents. The ordeal ended with a strike two notice.
Strike three happened today. That’s what brought me her. This camel’s back is broken. So many straws and no drink. Modern day slavery. Today I came home a bit late. 9pm. This is the time the night begins, again not the 70s. He asked where I was and being the grown up I was, I didn’t feel the need to go into details. He’s raised me to be responsible. Technically, I know I am. Therefore, there’s no need to question my every move. I told him I was out and about, just a bit of fun here and there. HE went on a rampage, how I have time to have fun while my studies are suffering (he had to go there). The debate got heated and I gently walked away, then gently locked my door. But the ghosts of conveniences slammed the door for me. Now my dad is busy banging the door threatening to knock it down.
He says I have an attitude. Do I dream book? Do I? You understand me of course! And I know you don’t think I have one. I love you. Please talk to my dad. I don’t have an attitude and that’s final (said gently). Thanks.
Author: William Kasina | Date Created: 2017-06-13 04:34:43 | Comments: 0
Since I finished high school I’ve never really been single, (coughs). I never thought I could be (just over here feeling myself), there was always a girl I was eyeing or there was always a girl eyeing me (this hasn’t changed much). I never dated for fun though, every relationship I was in was serious with a clear goal (marriage and twins, still goals). I grew up in church so I knew that it was a man’s duty to love a woman will all his will and might. I didn’t quite understand what that meant as I later came to find out. Something was missing. Loving myself first was important. Developing my inner being was a stage I could not skip. That’s why I am here right now (sitting on the couch in my house eating cookies as I write this), very happy and single!
Most people think being single is a curse but oh please allow me to correct you. It is far from the misery and loneliness every other single person out there is trying so hard to portray, (also, you don’t have to put up with anyone else’s farts other than your own). It is an opportunity to self-discover, to create and build, to polish and practice being the best version of you! I’m not saying that being in a relationship is a bad thing, not at all! It is actually quite amazing if in the right time. But since I’m not in one at the moment you’re stuck with my example (muhahaha!). I have been single for at least 8 months now (this is a big deal) and in this beautiful journey I have discovered more about myself than in the last 10 years. I have also made significant progress in both my personal life and my career. I am rather happy and satisfied.
Now, I wanna share five basic principles I discovered. They’ve helped me work on so many areas of life like my patience in situations, how honest I am with people, my level of perseverance and the amount of effort I put into the things I do, just to mention a few.
I hope they will help you better yourself and your character in all ways.
Most people are scared of themselves and they don’t know it. You’ve spent your entire life feeding off people, you don’t know how to feed yourself (sigh). So you always feel like you need to be with people, to copy what they do and how they think. You figure that if you allow someone else’s positive character around you, you’ll probably have the same character. As true as that is, I believe there’s a more sure way to it. You see, if that happens, all you have is someone else’s character, not your truly found own (it’s like calling yourself ‘The Stone’ after hanging out with ‘The Rock’). You haven’t taken time to look at yourself and see what about you makes you who you are and whether it needs to change or improve. It’s good to have positive people around you, but that should be after you have discovered who you are as a person. Then you will know why exactly these people are there. Do not be afraid of being alone once in a while, you learn a lot this way, so accept the challenge.
Before you allow people to influence you, first know in what particular area you want to be influenced. Keep in mind we’re still on positive vibes here (only positive influences allowed).
You do this by identifying your weaknesses, why and how they affect you and those around you and then finding someone who has these as their strengths. Then, because you already know what you want to achieve, you can allow this person to help you get there (I believe this is called mentorship). The reason why having a framework is important, is because sometimes this other person’s way of doing things might not necessarily appeal or work for you, so you have to figure out your own methods. You also need to establish your own value system. It is important to know what you stand for and what set of principles are right for you. Personally, I base my framework on God’s word, Romans 12:9-21 (read it). Here I find what He says about me and how he says I should be. What’s your framework?
A framework is only as good as its practicality. You can’t say you want to learn if you don’t allow yourself to be taught, and by allowing yourself to be taught I mean also learning on your own, doing, practicing. Character is what defines you, so everything you do matters. If you do not practice what you learn then you really haven’t learned anything. Understand that character building is a lifelong process so discipline is key.
The problem with most of us is that once we gain a little mileage, we get comfortable and feel like we have arrived at our destination. In the workbook BECOMING KENYA’S FINEST which we use to train our CLASS EIGHT groups, there’s a topic called ‘MY UNLIMITED POTENTIAL’. One of the lessons in this topic is that we should never settle for past successes or even failures. Simply put, you can always improve! No matter how good you think you’ve become there’s always more ‘becoming’ waiting. Take for instance, the first mobile phone or car to be invented. We knew (‘we’ here refers to the human race, just in case you’re confused) we had discovered something huge. At the time, the inventors probably didn’t think things would improve as much as they have now, but that didn’t make them settle did it? Make improving a habit.
As is with pretty much all other areas in your life, there’s this ‘ka-temptation’ called conformity. The Bible (manze si nimeokoka!) again in Romans 12:2 talks about it (uuhmm, read it perhaps?).
Most of us make such good progress then we suddenly shift back to our old ways. We allow ourselves to conform to worldly ways and forget our WINNING WAYS. This is caused by so many things we face, the desire to fit in, to please other people, etc. My best friend and I sat outside on his living room balcony a few weeks ago talking until 3am (sema bromance). He said to me, “Dude, you are important! Your values are important! Your feelings are important!” Now I say this to you. YOU ARE IMPORTANT, YOUR CHARACTER IS IMPORTANT!
Once you get here, do not go back, do not allow anyone to take you back to how you used to be. Stand your ground. Whatever you lose in the process was never meant for you. Stick to your lane!
Author: Kevin Kamonjoh | Date Created: 2017-06-08 05:50:41 | Comments: 0
The past couple of months have been a roller-coaster ride for me. Sometimes I love myself but other times I hate myself with equal passion. Some days I feel like the most beautiful girl on planet earth and other days I feel like the k in knot.
At first, I was super excited that my crush had finally noticed me and so I embraced the changes. I felt more feminine and visible than I ever had been before that. I strutted along the school paths as a queen and was delighted to be receiving some ‘positive’ attention for anything other than academics.
However, with time, I have come to detest the so-called changes. My pretty outfits no longer fit quite right and it is getting harder to predict my size. My body seems to have a life of its own and every so often, the changes surprise me. The growth spurts occur so regularly I feel I will soon be bigger than my mother is. Oh the horror!
Nothing quite prepared me for these changes. Teachers and parents alike skirted around the issue without fully addressing it. My mom simply told me that soon I would be a woman and I need to carry myself as a lady, meaning with dignity and high social standing. The teachers demonstrated what to do when the red monster arrives. But no one talked about the social and psychological changes that accompany the physical changes.
In my anticipation to grow older, I did not anticipate that with these changes came added responsibility. I can no longer play with my brother as I used to because it is not lady-like. The freedoms I craved seem illusionary now. I wanted to be in charge of myself, but that thought now scares me. What with the men around me who are always looking at me differently? Different because I can’t tell if they want to help or they want their share.
I am hungry all the time but the more I eat, the bigger I become and the uglier I feel. The uglier I feel, the more moody I become. The moodier I am, the more I feel like eating. Such a vicious cycle, I want to die. Then do not forget the mean peers: those who never cease to remind me of my ugliness. Ugliness because I look different. Why would God give me such a deformity? I just wanted to stand out for all the good reasons, not become the sore thumb.
I just wish to go back in time to the time before I ‘blossomed’ and be free to be me. No stares. No new clothes. No attention. Just a petite small me. Help? Anyone?
Author: Keziah Mutua | Date Created: 2017-05-31 07:13:56 | Comments: 0
Dear Martie Junior,
Let me tell you something: you made it homie. Like you’re older now, and bigger, you have all those biceps you wanted to have, and you’re really working on that beard you always wanted and it’s coming out really well. Right now they’re laughing at you and calling you “Mtungi” just to make fun of your last name “Mtange”, but it’s okay, relax, they are just being kids. Don’t hate them, don’t hold grudges because they really don’t know what they’re saying, they’re just making fun. It’s not easy to be a pre-teen, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not that hard either. I’ll give you a few pointers to show you what I mean.
Remember when they laughed at all your pimples and you had to use drastic measures to try and stop your face from being a case of “connect the dots”? It was a big deal, you felt terrible about it, and you wondered why the acne only came to you and Jason still had a smooth face. You thought the girls didn’t find you handsome, and you scrubbed at the acne every night to try to get rid of them. I want to tell you that it’s okay, and that first, girls are not everything, secondly they actually confessed later that they liked you because you were smart and funny and third that the acne will disappear, and you’ll look really good. That said, there will always be something that everyone thinks isn’t right about you; it’s okay, be yourself anyway. At the end of the day, all you have to love is yourself because you’re the one who will nurse yourself to sleep every night, you’re the one who’ll have to live in your own skin, and you have to protect your inner peace. You are all you have, you cannot afford to hate anything about yourself, so love yourself, with or without acne, with or without biceps. If something makes you feel bad, you can either change it or accept it and move on; you have no energy to feel sorry for yourself, you only have energy to keep moving on. You will need it.
Martie, there are some things that you will be right about that everyone else will be wrong about. They will not trust your intuition, but you will know that you’re right, not because you’re Einstein but because sometimes God speaks directly to you. You will feel like you don’t fit in, so get out of that crowd. You will feel like that school you’re in is draining you and you will want to leave and go somewhere else, so fight, and leave that place that is draining all your energy. Any place that robs you of your peace of mind is not worth it, because you’re not weak, and you’re not a victim, when you want something to change, it’s because you know better. Trust your intuition, and make the changes you know you need to make, be it school, be it friends, be it careers, be it habits because trust me, all the changes you make based on solid intuition will work out for your good.
Boy you better learn from your parents! I know, I know how this sounds, a bit contradictory to what I said up there yeah? But it doesn’t have to be because you have good parents who always want the best for you even if sometimes they don’t seem to understand where you’re coming from. In some of the decisions you will make, one of them will always be on your side, even if they don’t say it in the open. Mum will fight for you to go to a better school that understands your needs and dad will fight for you when you want to do business and everyone else thinks you’re crazy. Most importantly, learn from them. Learn what you should do and what you shouldn’t do. Watch them and what they do, pick what gives the results you want and from what they do that doesn’t work, figure out how it would work if you were in their shoes. These will help you later on.
Last thing but definitely not the least homeboy: relax, calm down, not everything has to be reacted to in an extreme way. Right now you worry about so many things, you get angry really easily, you take offense so easily and you think that everyone is out to attack you because of your acne, because your voice is too deep, because you’re smart. You need to calm down, and relax, and not have to go out of control about every small thing that happens to you. If you don’t do it now, the ulcers will force you to relax later on in your life. Trust me, it’s not fun having acid in your stomach because of stress. So relax, step back for a minute if you feel like something will stress you, really consider whether it’s worth stressing over, if you can change it, do it, if you cannot, accept it and move on. If it’s someone that is stressing you, realize that whatever they are doing or saying is a reflection of their own madness, it really doesn’t have much to do with you, move on with your life. Trust me, this is much better for your peace of mind than trifling over every little thing a small mind says.
The next few years will be good for you, better than you can imagine actually. The girls will come through so respect them and the biceps will come through so maintain them. You’ve done well so far, you will get rid of your mind-blocks and you will become a very healthy person. No matter what, don’t stop, keep blooming homie.
Author: Martie Mtange | Date Created: 2017-05-31 07:07:08 | Comments: 0
My life is over. Like O-V-E-R, OVER! And no, I am not exaggerating… at least not this time. Seriously. Take a load of this. My psycho parents decided that I am going to boarding school, secondary boarding school to be precise! What kind of decision is that? That is equivalent to imprisonment.
I know, I know this is a new stage of my life and I should be excited. However, kindly explain to me how I can be expected to be excited about child labor. Apparently, I will have to wash my own clothes. First, what happened to washing machines? You know the big machine where I throw in my clothes and it does the rest? Why can’t I at least go to a school that has some? Or better yet, stay home? Secondly, I will have to do chores… DAILY! DAILY! Like occasionally is good by me but daily? I’m I going to school or work?
Rumor has it I will have to have a roommate, a random one who shall be handed to me or me to them. Whatever happened to personal space? What if it’s a senior? Oh God, my parents have clearly not thought this through. Bullying is real! My cousin told me so, I’ll spare you the details but just know her experience wasn’t pretty. I just don’t understand why my parents would take such a risk when there are so many day schools out there where they can drop me in the morning and pick me in the evening. Guess what dad says? He says I’m spoilt and I should thank God that I don’t have to walk to school like they used to in their days. As if I believe that. I mean even Flintstones shows us there was a mode of transport so what is this walking business he keeps going on about?
Remember, that time in Class 8 when I wasn’t doing so well and they took me for some camp? The facilitators there kept talking about changing my attitude and embracing change. Believe me I’m trying, maybe change should embrace me instead cos it keeps escaping me. Well my marks improved but you cannot compare camping to child labor. What happens if I miss home? I only get to come home once a term. Visiting day is also once a term. What happens to my phone while I’m gone? How will I talk to Samuel now? Like seriously, are my parents just trying to break us up? Mum says I can as well write letters. Haha, she’s funny. Even pen pals use email at least.
This is so unfair! What did I do to deserve this? I’ve been so well behaved. I improved in my exams. I went for tuition without fail. I do my weekly chores (see WEEKLY! Not these daily things I’m being tossed to). Geez I even cut back on screen time. So why I’m I being punished?
I know what I’ll do. I’ll pack a bag and run off to Shosho Njeri’s place. She’s cool and she understands me. Maybe she can convince them to take me to a day school. I’m simply not ready for all these boarding school changes. Besides, I deserve better!
Author: Joyce Ndinda | Date Created: 2017-05-26 00:31:30 | Comments: 0
Dear Dream book,
diary, I always forget it’s dreambook. Where do I even begin? *sigh* It’s been four months. Four… months. IT’S BEEN FOUR MONTHS and this “thing” on my face is not going anywhere anytime soon and I don’t know what I feel about it .
Ever since I can remember, I wanted facial hair. I constantly talked to you about it in diary one “The chronicles of a beardless teenager” way before you became my dream book. I really wanted a full beard simply cause I thought I would look really cool and badass. :-) But alas the universe was against me, against me and my dreams *sob*. At that point in time I realized my limitations as a human and I knew I'm not going to be able to grow a beard. I really did want one though.
Oh dear, remember the first time? It was magical wasn’t it? I woke one morning went to the mirror to wash my face and BOOM. There it was staring at my face in all its glory. Three strands, three strands of beautiful hair on my chin taking a breath of fresh morning air for the first time. I was so elated. Being 16 I felt like I had just found my purpose in life. TO GROW A BEARD. That day I walked all over school chin up so that everyone could see my accomplishments. No one was allowed to touch them and at some point I actually considered having a stand in the field during funkies so people could line up and see what it was actually like to have a beard. I felt like Chuck Norris. Maybe I should change my name? Chuck Tim Norris: I don’t shave my beard. My beard just grows to a perfect length then stops….hmmm…We will think about it. :-)
Sadly, the first two-month journey of my beard was just patchy strands of microscopic hair and it was a living nightmare. Imagine going for funkies with a beard that looks like a cat fought with three other cats, a pair of scissors then tossed it in the drier. And all the poor cat has to show is the patches on his/her fur. It was a disaster. All the excitement I had slowly slipped away. It’s pretty much like taking a moustache to a beard fight; you cannot win no matter what. Even shaving became a problem. At one point I had pimples the size of my thumb and it wasn’t pretty. It’s not easy to shave patches of hair. :-(
Four months down the line everything has changed. A glimmer of hope, a new start to my beard chronicles. All of a sudden I wake this morning and ‘oops I have a beard.’ And I’m not talking about patches of strands…I have an actual beard…a full beard. :-) Finally!!*proceed to do the Macarena* For the first time in a long time I feel like I am on top of the world. I feel like I have the mane of Mufasa.*queue ‘oh I just can’t wait to be king’*
Or not. People are giving me weird stares. All of a sudden I feel old. I feel like Mr Mwachanje. We’ve started looking alike. Should I shave or should I maintain it? I wanted it. I really did. I didn’t know it came with this much attention. I don’t know.
But I think I’m at a point where I can’t get rid of my beard. I’ve had it for so long that at this point it makes decisions for me. But oh well… I don’t know I just don’t know. Help? I grew a beard!
Author: Bryan Ichigo | Date Created: 2017-05-26 00:29:39 | Comments: 0
Log entry 1.
Things are changing. So there I was minding my own business in one of mum’s rooms, then something snapped. It was so cool cause for a moment I was flying. But it didn’t last long coz then I was on the ground, so I thought mum was just giving us a day out. But I heard her shouting, “Alright, my babies you’re all grown up now!” That’s when I knew something strange was happening. But then it wasn’t that bad, mum wasn’t so far away (I think) and I could still talk to all my friends. After all we were all peas from the same pod, they’d say in the future.
Log entry 2.
It’s dark in here. So, the other day a tall figure with rather shiny black feet that then turned into fluffy brown at its knees, came with a big spoon. It was poking around on the farm and I think by accident it turned me over and now I’m in the dark. I tried to scream for help but the figure didn’t hear me. Last thing I remember hearing mum shouting was “You’re going to be alright, you’ll be out soon.” At this point I’m sort of confused. Did I do something wrong? Am I in trouble?
Log entry 3
It’s been about four days, and I’m really confused. Its dark and crummy around here, ‘they’ keep pouring water on me I think to cool me down, or to keep me hydrated, I don’t know. Suddenly I’m always so thirsty. Did I mention it is hot in here?!
Log entry 4.
Things are beginning to get really weird. Things are growing out of me. I think my friends will notice that I am changing. No one else is changing. I think something is wrong with me. Tell someone you say?! Heck no! They will most likely remove me from this place I’ve grown to call home. I think its best if I just lay low and hope if we ignore it, it will go away. What would mum do if she were here?
Log entry 5
I’m really freaking out here. I know it’s going to sound strange but there is a green long thing growing out of my side. It’s been growing for a while now and I’m afraid there will be others. I can’t hide them anymore. They are beginning to show. If this is my last log entry, just know that the scientists got me and I will probably never see the light of day again.
Log entry 6
My tentacle (I heard the long green thing was called this) has tentacles! I can kind of move them around, I think that’s kinda cool. I’m still thirsty though. I have been feeling a breeze on my head. The same breeze as of the cool of the night, I think they are letting me out. But I have changed so much. I’m not brown and fat anymore, I’m tall and green. Will they accept me? I’m scared, I have no control over what is happening to me. What if they laugh at me?
Log entry 7
I saw the sun rise today. I had missed it. I have tentacles below that are still buried in the ground and that I’m now using to look for water. They are helpful to curb the thirst. And now around my neck are these really pretty green leaves like what mum had. I can see her now, she looks so happy and proud. Funny enough all my friends look like me now. Looks like it was a natural and normal thing… hmm who knew?
Word on the street is I’ll turn into a log soon, I look forward to log (pun-intended) entry 100. But I’m no longer afraid. Change feels good, looks good. I might end up liking this fully.
Author: Ivy Sheri | Date Created: 2017-05-25 03:17:36 | Comments: 0
I would change how I look; my face, my teeth, my eyes, my hair, where I was born, who my siblings are and where I went to school. The only two things I wouldn’t change are my feet and smile - they made me famous.
Hold on a second, what was the question again? Yes! I, just like most of you, went for things I totally have no control over. To be honest there are very few things that we can control but they are capable of changing those we don’t have control over. As paradoxical as it seems, it’s been proven. I have to warn you, to understand it you need to have your open mind cap on.
First. Have you ever wanted something but did not achieve it? What stopped you? In the spirit of being keen to the question, I will point out the fact that this question talks about WANTING as opposed to having done it at all. This could actually mean that all the effort you made was in just wanting but not doing anything about it. You could argue that the circumstances did not allow you to do it. I would say that your desire was uninformed. My example; I wanted to drive by the time I was 16. Before you laugh at me, if you already haven’t done so, in the United States of America one can drive at 16. What I did not consider, or just chose to ignore, was the fact that Kenya is not among those states.
I conveniently chose to ignore the fact that my father would not allow me anywhere near his car, if he had one, before I had a driver’s license which also meant having an Identification card. What was wrong with me, my dreams were valid but misplaced. On the brighter side, I am almost the designated driver especially when he needs something done but wants someone else to do it. I am therefore right to say that I should have known I had control over the way things were to go if I was well informed or just not ignorant.
Second. Have you ever tried something but failed? Why did you fail? I tried being top of my class in upper primary but failed. Before you judge me as being lazy and wasting my parent’s money, hear me out. I was a well behaved, always well performing student but I was not the best. If you have been or are in the 8-4-4 system you are sure to understand what a big deal being the best means. Every teacher will take your answer for gospel truth; every parent will use you as an example and a good one for that matter. But most importantly, you will get a gift of your choice although limited to a certain value pegged on the range you left your biggest rival, second position.
How do I know I was capable? I was always top of my class in lower primary and in upper primary I was always between the ranges of tenth to fifteenth position. My father once promised me a camera if I got to the fifth position at the end of the second term in class five. I did everything and the long and short of it, I got the camera. I cherished that little black thing and it was analogue so I was limited to between 24 to 36 pictures per film depending on the film. I was therefore capable of being the best if I really wanted it as bad as I wanted the camera.
Back to the original question, what would I change if I had the ability? My attitude is it. My attitude towards my parents when they “denied” me the chance to drive before I came of age. They were protecting me from myself. My ignorance blinded me from the dangers that come with driving early: the law and careless driving which the younger me would have termed as adventurous driving. My attitude towards my education, the hard work was not just for immediate gratification but for a greater good and a brighter future.
The greatest step in one’s growth is having the right attitude towards oneself, authority and everyone else around you. Have the right attitude and you will be surprised by how much more you can achieve and move closer to your destiny, greatness!
Author: Philemon Mutuma | Date Created: 2017-05-18 03:49:46 | Comments: 0
At times growing up, the saddest thought was we never got to choose family. Was it too much to ask for a ruffle draw where the winner got to be Bill Gates’ child? Nope I don’t think so. Maybe test tube babies have it better. I mean, they get the best genes from each donor. What did we end up with? Everything. Just like the githeri made by our friends from the Central part of our beloved country. But we grew to love our family, well at the very least tolerated them. Because when all is said and done they really became an important part in our growth. Whether the family was oppressive or kind and loving. Whether we were beaten to smithereens for non-issues or our successes were not celebrated. There was love somewhere there.
The FAM. The only place where all our madness was/is accepted. The only place where you could be threatened to be kicked out for finishing the milk
in such a bad economy, while knowing mum will be making you sausages the next morning anyway (or maybe not). Top gamble that one. But because you loved milk and the only way to have it was through tea we grew addicted to tea and now you realize you have a tea problem in your family. You’re not alone.
Only place where you bought or still buy your clothes with your family members in mind. I remember growing up, my sister and I would share a wardrobe. So if I was buying a black cardigan she would too, but a white one, so that our closet had variety. We learnt to share. Later on my sister grew bigger than I, so we couldn’t do this anymore. But mum and dad had thought this through. Or so I hope. So they had my younger sister and I could fit into her clothes. I remember once I stole her pants and I told myself ‘how else will she know she has a sister if I don’t steal her clothes?’ And now I think I had the potential to be a criminal.
Only place where the hallways were a highway on Sunday and someone always had the comb or the shoe brush; even if you woke up late to ensure everyone was ready and you’d have your space. Fake news! Only place where you could be free and weird and no one will judge you or they would. If not, you’d be reminded to whom you belong. ‘You are your father’s child’ Mum would say in a whisper.
Then the rewards for doing great weren’t as severe as the strokes for being in the wrong. Being in the wrong was ‘celebrated’ more than being right. African parents. You’d think they didn’t sleep at night thinking of punishments to give when you broke a glass. Everything was a potential weapon. And all weapons fashioned against you had the possibility of being prosperous. Numerous things were said in the process of punishment and one would leave there as physically bruised as emotionally. The next few days you’d spend thinking was it worth it? And then vow to not talk to anyone (as if they cared)
But it was in these moments that we learnt to be careful. That every decision/action had its consequences and we should be ready to face them. It is in this place that you learn that we are all different and you either accept each-others madness or accept it. You learn that love isn’t just the feeling but it comes with devotion and trust. Trusting that that person has great intentions for you even if you can’t see. And so we care.
It is in these moments that you realize that you need to have each-others backs. Just not at home, even in life. It’s these moments that teach us invaluable life lessons and that home is not just a place but it’s the people. And every so often you look back and whisper thank you mum, thank you dad. You molded me into the being I’ve become. Or at least they tried, you just failed. Even when memories bring bitter feelings we remember to become better people than those we hated. And the world becomes a better place. We aspire to dream because someone somewhere dreamt of a beautiful life for us and they tried to actualize it. Was it done well? Probably not. But it was something. And we owe the next generation better.
At the end of the day, we smile amidst tears and say “There’s no place like home” Home is where I live, learn, grow. Most importantly where I belong.
Author: Ivy Sheri | Date Created: 2017-03-02 04:45:20 | Comments: 0
He sat in the waiting room. Legs crossed and hands on his lap. His attention elsewhere. He didn’t notice the glaring eyes fixed on him, watching him breath in and out. We were all waiting for our names to be called. The room was silent, cold even, though the window was closed. The atmosphere tense. He caught the glares of those sitting around him and it suddenly dawned on him that he was different. It suddenly dawned on him what they must be thinking. He could see their thoughts through their eyes; “How is he planning to get a job looking like that?” “Who is his mother? Is she proud of him looking like that?” “How does he expect to be taken seriously?” His eyes dropped in self-awareness. A breeze brushed the left side of his head reminding him of his freshly cut patch, bringing to his attention that he had long hair only on the right side of his head. Or the earlobe gouge in both ears and his nose. ‘Mali, Mali Tofauti,” called this well dressed lady, bringing him out of his trance of self-evaluation. He answering to his name, got up and followed her down the hall and into the interview room.
As soon as he walked into the room. It was evident that he didn’t meet their expectation. It was clear that they were both surprised and appalled by his choice of dress. Never the less he dazzled them. He stuck out like a sore thumb but with a character like his, he revealed that he is a force to be reckoned with. Needless to say, it was what he was made of that got him what he wanted. It wasn’t what was painted on the outside.
A lot of things will get you a lot of places but good character will keep you there. This I know you must have been told so many times. We live in a society where we want to be whoever we want and do whatever we want, but with freedom comes great responsibility (would you look at that Mr. Miagi was right). I read a quote once that said the same water that hard boils the egg will soften the potato. So it’s not the circumstances that make you who you are, it is what your made of.
Life is so much easier when you have you head screwed on straight. When you’re doing the right thing at the right time and with the right people. There will be more freedom to the good in character, they are trusted with more and they achieve more. Yes, I know it can be hard but life is hard anyway. Being of good character is being the good guy in the movie when doing the right thing is hard. Being of good character is resisting the darkness that will blacken your heart and turn you into the dark one. We all want to be the super hero in our fantasy story but none of us want to make the right choices that turn us into the hero or the good guy. As we all know the good guys win and the bad guys loose.
Author: Ivy Sheri | Date Created: 2016-11-03 05:49:36 | Comments: 0
Talent. When people say talent, it sounds weird, “So what are your talents? What are you good at doing? What are you interested in?” They don’t understand that they are actually asking me three different questions. I’m interested in so many things: cars, food, painting, dogs, money, those are all things I’m interested in. What am I good at doing? Well for one I’m good at reading books, I’m good at thinking of funny jokes, I’m good at feeding the dogs, at least that’s what my dad says because they don’t seem to like anyone else as much. What are my talents? I really don’t know. Are they hobbies, or are they the activities that I enjoy ? Are they the things that come naturally to me, what I do outside the classroom for fun? I know I like playing football sometimes but I’m definitely not as good as Alvin. I like listening to good music but even God knows I cannot play a flute as well as Njambi. So what are my talents? Well I’m good in class, I’m good in mathematics and reading and writing, so does that mean I am talented?
I think in pictures, and so do you, but you don’t do it like me. You will go ahead and say “cat” and the first thing that will come to my mind is Garfield; I will laugh by myself at this thought, then start drawing so many pictures of Garfield and everyone will think that it’s finally happened, I have finally gone crazy.
Did someone say cat? I love cats! They are so smart, and cute and huggable. I really like cats, and dogs, and rabbits, and strawberries. Okay fine, I just like animals and nature, all kinds of animals, even ducks. Who likes ducks?- I do!!
Duck! In fact that’s exactly what I did. I ducked that tackle. These guys don’t know that I’m actually quite good at this; that if you try to slide-tackle me, you will miss and I will embarrass you. I’m Messi on that football field, no, not messy like my room, Messi like Barcelona. Got it?
Barcelona? Bar-seeh-loner? No. Bus-eh-lowna? No. People really like to misspell things right?The word is there; if you say it enough times, you will probably get the spelling right. I read about Barcelona in a travel magazine. I like to read a lot, and I’m actually about to start learning Spanish so that when I go to Barcelona, I won’t feel lonely. That’s for later though, right now let me concentrate on Mr. Omondi and his Swahili class. He’s about to misspell something. I know it.
This Swahili class; I don’t understand much. All I’m really thinking about at the moment is my drum-set, my piano at home and how I will learn how to play the saxophone. I use my biro pen more for drumming against my desk more than I use it to write “misamiati”. I drum so many songs in my head; I make so much music in my head. Whenever my friends say something I already know how to make it rhyme and I already have a beat in my head.
Someone said friends; I love my friends! They make me so happy; they make me laugh and cry and comfort me when I am sad and laugh at me when I’m in trouble. I guess I genuinely like people, because I make friends easily, and my friends come to me for comfort and advice when they have problems. Most of the time when the teacher asks who will lead our class presentations, people look at me; and when the teacher needs someone to pass a message to the students, they call me. I guess they know that I like everyone and everyone likes me so they’ll listen to me.
I don’t think that everyone in class likes me; but it’s okay, not everyone has to like me because the important thing is that I like myself. I know that I’m a bit awkward, and I’m not so popular but I also know that I’m smart and inventive and I know how to tell when I’m sad or when I’m happy and when I’m about to do something I’ll regret. I know myself really well, no one can take advantage of me, but I’m also learning how to learn others too. Maybe they’ll start to see I’m just calculated and introverted and not a snob.
Calculated. Calculations. I don’t know why but I like counting things and solving maths problems and figuring out Sudoku puzzles. I can sit with a newspaper and crack the whole Sudoku puzzle like a hobby, the way my brother plays the piano or my sister has many friends. I’m usually the best in math in my class and that makes the teachers really like me. I like it when things make sense, and I think that’s why I’m so good at math, because it’s easy for math to make sense. I don’t know why everyone else finds ratios and percentages so difficult to understand. I feel like I have no talents though. It’s like I’m only good in class.
Sometimes people try to define talents as “being outside of an academic ability” when really it’s not. Our talents actually come from our mental processes and how we take in information about the world and organize it into our internal mind cabinets. Some of us learn about the world through music, others learn about it through our interactions with nature and animals, others through engaging with others around the world, others through generating theories in their heads about how the world works, others through sports and being in touch with their body functions, others by drawing mathematical and logical connections in their minds about the world, others through words and languages and others still by coming up with mental images that help them understand things better. Our modes of learning define our talents; and our talents are developed by realizing how we learn and take in information. Someone who likes to play with words is likely a talented writer, someone who learns through role playing is likely a good actor or dancer, someone who learns through interacting with others is likely a good leader and so on.
Other people can develop your talent, but you first need to know how you open yourself up to the world and through this knowledge, you can easily discover what your talents are. We can wait for people to help us develop our talents or we can start that journey ourselves, now. Everyone has a talent, whether it is appreciated by our societies or not, finding it is always the first step. Happy discovery! ☺
Author: Martie Mtange | Date Created: 2016-10-18 03:15:18 | Comments: 0
the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.
Character can be defined as the way someone thinks, feels and behaves; your personality. Further simplified, Character is a set of qualities that make someone different from other things or people.
Who are you? What makes you you? What defines the bare essence of who you are? You see guys, we are all on a road of self discovery. Every day we are on a journey of getting to understand ourselves better. We keep working on our appearance, behavior, mannerisms and so on. We find ways of becoming better at who we are no matter how small it is.
So let’s look at it like this. You are a writer, a script writer to be exact. You have been given the opportunity to create the next Kung Fu Panda animation; all you need to do is introduce a new villain. To create a totally new villain means you need to sit down and come up with an amazing evil antagonist. You are essentially giving life to something that wasn’t there before. You need to come up with a name, what he wears, how he walks and talks, how he behaves and pretty much how he looks. So day in day out you are sitting in front of your laptop to come up with ideas to make this villain a living embodiment of what you want him/her to be.
“Life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker what he thinks into it”
Now that’s pretty much what we do each day. Life is not only about finding oneself but also about creating oneself because in the end it’s not the years in your life that count it’s the life in your years. Our character is something that needs to be a reality that is experienced and that is why we need to have a constant need to develop our characters to be the best versions of ourselves. The same way a character in a story undergoes change is the same way we need to undergo that very change, that kind of development.
I encourage us all to take interest in all the details of life. How can we do that? We simply need to discover that one thing that not only helps us grow but that which defines us.
So what defines you? Is it how much money you have or how many friends you have, is it how fast you can gobble down a hamburger or how you’re the only one in your squad who can lick their own elbow? There are so many times that we see people defining their worth based on the things that they own or the titles they hold. There’s nothing wrong with titles or material items as a part of your image, but you need to back up those things with a life of substance.
Who do I see when I someone looks at me? Who do I see when I look in the mirror? Who do I see when I take that selfie with the sqaud after class? What is my character and how do I develop it?
One way to get the most out of life is to look at it as an adventure, an adventure full of purpose and self discovery. Our character tends to show who we are and with that we are able to not only impact the lives around us positively but also we end up growing from such experiences.
Character is simply a beautiful fairytale.
Personally I’m working on my character so that when people see me and interact with me they will see love, love that was placed in me by a God so merciful. Jesus took the cross for us and that just screams love. So I want God to define my character. I want Him to be the reason I will become the person I will be. Stumble and fall? That will happen more often than I may want but the kind of person who defines my character is Jesus so it can only get better.
So who are you? What makes you you? What defines the bare essence of who you are?
So let’s fill what’s empty, create space for what is full and scratch where it itches. :)
Author: Bryan Ichigo | Date Created: 2016-10-06 03:10:38 | Comments: 0
Sarah was not an average student, at least academically speaking. Her friends thought she was a bit weird because she could not swim and puberty had struck her a bit earlier than expected. In her class, it was rare to find her outside the top five positions, but never number one. No matter how hard she tried, she just could not get to be number one, and it was not because any particular person was number one all the time; it was almost like there was a monkey with “uchawi” dancing on her luck.
So her Kiswahili teacher, Mr. Oloo called her to his office one day and asked her, “Sarah, what’s wrong? We all know that you are capable of being index one when your turn to represent our school in KCPE reaches. What is stopping you from being number one?” He was really concerned about her stagnation. It seemed like the teachers already chose her as their index one despite her only being in class seven.
“Sit down here, let’s look at your past report forms.”
Sarah sat uncomfortably, but she already knew what the problem was as she fidgeted in her seat and played with her fingers beneath the chair where Mr. Oloo could not see them.
“So, here you have straight 90s in Mathematics and English, then you have 80s in Social Studies and CRE as well as Kiswahili and then we have Science here where you are just not on the map?! What’s going on?” Mr. Oloo asked, very surprised.
“Well teacher… it’s just that… that I don’t think I’m very good at Science” Sarah responded nervously.
“Who told you that?” asked Mr. Oloo.
“No one, it’s just that I do not understand it and I always fail so I just stopped trying.”
“Have you ever gone to Mrs. Ng’eno for tuition?” asked the teacher again.
“Yes I have. My mother made me start tuition but it hasn’t helped me so much. I just improved a little. I’m just not good in Science teacher.” said Sarah sadly.
This happens to so many of us often; we decide we are not good at something even before we give ourselves a chance to explore it as far as we can. Sarah had already decided she was bad at Science just because it had given her poor results a few times, and had closed her mind off to the possibility of being good at it ever again and by extension, she had closed herself off to being index one.
Sarah has what we call a fixed mindset rather than a growth mindset. The difference between the two is that someone with a fixed mindset is focused on challenges rather than chances to grow, gives up easily and sees the efforts they put into achieving something as useless. Someone with a growth mindset sees challenges as opportunities to grow, sees effort as a way to becoming better and finds lessons and inspiration in the success of others.
Sometimes our friends limit us, our parents limit us, our teachers even limit us by things they do; but we are not really in trouble when that happens because you can choose to overcome it and prove them wrong. We get into trouble when we limit ourselves, because we are all we have. Any time we decide that “You know what? I can’t do this.” is when we are really in trouble. Sarah could not become number one because her Science grades pulled her marks down and someone always found a way to overtake her because of that. Even the tuition could not help because no matter how hard someone else tries to help you, when you’ve decided you do not even want to help yourself, then you will still fail. You have to overcome the fixed mindset so that you can accept others’ help.
One thing that can help you overcome a serious setback to achievement is replacing “never” with “not yet.” So for example, Sarah could say that “I have NOT YET been able to pass Science” instead of “I will never pass Science.” The difference is that one shows that you are one day planning to, and the other makes sure you will never pass Science.
To cut the long story short, Sarah actually became index one and went on to love Chemistry in high school, but she really did not enjoy Physics. That was actually the part of Science that had been dragging her down in Class Seven. The truth is that if you read this, and you get inspired for three days and then you run out of steam, then you were just reading it with a fixed mind. This is something you have to live by persevering through setbacks, stretching yourself and deciding to practice and keep on practicing what you know you are not good at even if you do not enjoy it so much. Keep on growing.
Author: Martie Mtange | Date Created: 2016-09-21 01:55:46 | Comments: 0
R.E.S.P.E.C.T. find out what it means to me! I know there is no way you say that without singing the song. Respect. Maybe we are all guilty of thinking that this word is only ever in reference to someone else. Listen to your mum, respect your elders. Well I think none of that matters if you don’t show yourself some respect.
How do you have respect for others yet lack it for yourself? How will you know how to treat people? And if you already treat people with dignity and respect then why haven’t you done that for yourself? Aren’t you worth it?
If you don’t love yourself enough to keep yourself in the right places doing the right things and at the right time, then later on you will be looking back at your life, thinking ‘I wish I hadn’t.’
So life can get hard and stuff just gets real. Sometimes we just want to run away. Go be in an alternate universe even if it’s just for a few minutes. But what use is five minutes in the clouds if it means a lifetime in and out of hospital. I mean organ failure, cancer of all kinds and not to mention you being grumpy and boring all the time coz you’re not sober! What fun is having fun that you can’t remember?
My motto in life is three things. 1. You only live once. 2. Regret nothing and 3. Live laugh love. Yes, this is a LOL moment when you realize how young I am. However, these three statements are the best statements in the world. Let me tell you why.
Author: Ivy Njeri | Date Created: 2016-07-21 07:28:40 | Comments: 0
I have 40 GB worth of music on my hard drive. I have so much music that I haven’t even listened to most of it. I have so many albums that I don’t even remember downloading or “stealing” from my friend’s iPods. Some people ask me why and honestly speaking I have no idea. After sometime I decided to put all that music in an amazing playlist, leave it on shuffle on the off chance that I won’t hear a certain song more than twice. After creating that playlist I came up with a ritual, a ritual that I have every morning the moment I wake up. I take my laptop, sit on the balcony and just listen to these beautiful artists doing what they do best. As I listen to this glorious music I take my mind to another world and just dream the morning into existence.
The thing is we all have dreams, fantasies and all sorts of ambitions for our lives. We have so many cool things we want to achieve in this life we have been given and our imagination takes us so far to the point we can even think of being astronauts or drifting off into Narnia to meeting Aslan. Oh! The Narnia thing is only me? Tihihihi Oh well. We all have that special place, that place in our mind that makes us feel safe, I call it ‘The Mind Palace.
Every time I drift into my mind palace I review every big and small detail of my life. I dream up and create all the things I would like to do with my very being. There is this one dream I think about more often than not. It’s me gracing the red carpet and receiving that Golden Globe award or just seeing myself on the split screen for being nominated as the best actor in a feature film at the Oscars. Oh man! It comes so alive in my mind that I can’t help but smile and feel like I can storm off into the day. I feel like have a pocket full of sunshine and I just want to dish out this amazing feeling to everyone I meet, even that creepy guy who just looks at me as I walk to the stage.
But…There’s a but. How will I be able to achieve that or live that dream without doing anything about it? My dreams and ambitions motivate me to be the best me that I can be. If my dreams and ambitions don’t propel me they cease being dreams that can be achieved and become dreams that are just vague stories of a future I will never have.
The world has given us a twisted notion of who we should be. Who determines me? Who determines my character? Is it the world? Is it that latest episode of Glee or Gossip girl?
God has given us the ability to dream and live big. He has given us the power to be amazing in our various fields. We have all these big dreams but we are so scared to act on them thus limiting ourselves and in turn we end up not being who we are meant to be. AWESOME!
Let’s pick up our dreams by the scruff of the neck and bring them to life. Let’s live our lives with so much passion to the point the next person looks at us and is awed by our very existence, by the aura that we put out. We have to create a culture in ourselves that pushes us beyond the limits and embrace every struggle that comes our way. The good, the bad and the ugly times will only propel us to create better versions of ourselves. We already know the destination so let’s discover this epic journey full of tears, joy, struggles, happiness and so much more.
At the end of the day we should all be able to tell a story but not just any story, a story that will be told for decades to come.
We live in a world that needs us to stand tall. We stand tall and leave each day giving it our best shot and strive to make ourselves better people. We need to sit down and reevaluate our lives and come up with strategies that will keep us accountable.
So let’s pick our dreams and tread through the murky waters of the Amazon, let’s walk through the sands of the Sahara, let’s bask on the beautiful shores of Hawaii, let’s run away from the zebras in the Serengeti and throw snowballs at each other during winter in the heart of London. But then only we can do this is if we actually take the first step, the first step of making ourselves better dreamers and better over comers of our obstacles.
Author: Bryan Ichigo | Date Created: 2016-07-13 03:57:16 | Comments: 0
I have a friend with whom I like arguing a lot, and recently, I realized that we argue just because we want to force one of us to surrender to the other, but we basically always have the same ideas.
Me: I’m hungry, let’s find somewhere to eat. Where do you wanna eat?
Her: You’re always hungry. Let’s go to a place with the burger festival thingie
Me: Yeah, you must eat only where there are offers
Her: I was actually going to give you my free burger but I’ll save it for my dinner
Me: You won’t even finish it
Her: I will, I’ll finish it during dinner time
Me: I meant you won’t finish it now when we go
Her: But I’ll finish it eventually, and you won’t taste it
Me: Si I have my two. I don’t need yours!
Her: Si I’m also getting two but unlike you I’ll eat mine in shifts
Me: *sticks tongue out*
This is basically how all of our conversations go. Just so you know I ended up touching her second burger with my saucy hands so that she would not eat it. Yes, I’m a sore loser, so what?
Human beings care about so many things: we care about trees, animals, the environment, our careers, our houses, our cars, our schools; we care about so many things but most of all we care about each other. Animals may keep us company sometimes even more effectively than human beings but they can never empathize and understand us on the level that only another human being can. At the end of the day, as human beings, all we have is each other and ourselves especially because we are social beings.
Communication is a large part of being human beings. We communicate with each other and other species through our words, our actions, our gestures and even more through our inactions and the things that we do not express openly. Communication involves talking and listening then giving feedback to restart the process. Clearly, in my conversation with my friend Michelle, we can see that no one is particularly interested in listening to the other, so we always end up in some form of friendly banter because we want to. Talking is the easy part; listening is where the strong are found.
For the longest time, I talked to people, and talked and talked then talked some more, only to realize that when you actually look at it, no one is really listening to you. I was convinced that people are selfish and they like being listened to. You can reply, or choose not to and it will actually be fine, they will keep talking because they want to talk. Through talking people release, and unload and feel smart, and figure out problems and listen to themselves and bandage emotional and mental wounds, and unlock the past as they prepare for the future. Talking is definitely not selfless because you are releasing what has been threatening to burst out from you into a world full of other people who are so busy trying to reply and fill the world with more noise rather than sitting down to listen. If any life skill has helped me get where I am today, it is listening.
A life skill is basically anything you have worked to develop in order to help you be successful, in your own way, in your life and in others’ lives as well. You do not need any employment to know that listening is important. If you interact with plants, or animals, or people, or things, listening is so important. I like to expand listening to not just using your ears, but using all your senses to understand the world; being conscious. If you listen, the world is always telling you something, the people around you are always telling you something. The things around you are always speaking. All you need to do is listen.
Let us close our eyes after reading this to imagine the scenario I am painting out: you have broken a glass tumbler at home by mistake when you were trying to pour yourself some OJ (orange juice). Your mother rushes in and slaps you across the face and says, “Don’t you know how expensive those tumblers are? Break all of them then!” These are multiple messages being given, the obvious ones being that she is not impressed with your clumsiness and that she values those glasses, you should not break any more. The more hidden messages are that there is no money to buy such good tumblers right now; you have destroyed her set of tumblers so that when visitors come she has to give them different sets of glasses; dare you break even one more; I will need to get new glasses because this set is now incomplete, there goes my pedicure money. Another example, when you are vomiting, your body is telling you that you have eaten something that your body does not like and it needs to get out, so find out what you have already eaten that your body is trying to expel, rather than getting medicine to stop the vomiting.
The world around us is always trying to tell us something that will help us; always. Only the calm few really listen, understand and apply what is being said. To truly understand this world, listen to people when they talk, listen to God as you pray, listen to dogs when they bark and be ready to learn something new. You may have uncovered the most important life skill. When you listen, be quiet, because there is a reason why “listen” and “silent” have the same letters.
Author: Martie Mtange | Date Created: 2016-06-29 05:08:24 | Comments: 0
I sat at the back of the class staring at the back of Cynthia’s head. “I don’t understand how she is able to look that good every day! What is it that I am not doing? Her outfit is so simple. But she looks so good.” I thought to myself “she seems so successful, like she has it all going for her. She looks like she has a plan for her life. Is it that I don’t think about my day and my choices as much as Cynthia does? Or is it that I don’t care like she does about the little things?”
We have all been like this before. Looking at the man or woman in the matatu or on our T.V screens or on Instagram that looks like a straight up Boss. They have all that we desire of life; they look successful, happy or like they have it all together. We have our own Cynthia. Who is yours?
The question that I have myself asking after looking at Cynthia is, what can I do differently so that I become Cynthia to someone else? A motivation to someone else to be a better version of themselves. And not only for others after me but for me as well.
Suddenly she lifts her hand to answer a question. Such eloquence, such confidence in her speech. And I am taken back into my self-evaluation. I look down at my sweatshirt, jeans and vans outfit and I decide that this has to change. I need to love myself a little more.
So what if I told you that your success in life is determined by how you look at yourself, how much you value yourself and how you think of yourself. I’m going to be honest with you, IMAGE IS EVERYTHING! I know a lot of people don’t think so but think about it. When you look good, you feel good. And when you’re confident, you perform better. You walk into that study room confident that you will understand all that you are going to read. Therefore, by you already believing that you can hold it down, you walk out of that study room feeling even more confident than you did when walked in. It’s all about how you look at yourself. Therefore image IS everything!
So I started out by doing the small things for myself like, making my bed every day. Why? Because I am a Boss and I deserve to have a neat bed. I deserve to treat myself with enough respect that even the tired version of me is worth the extra effort in the morning to have a neat looking bed. Now even my bed is worthy for the Boss that I am. Then I took time to study my body shape and size. This was for the next time I go shopping or I’m picking the outfit of the day.
Next I started to read more. Why? Because again I’m a straight up Boss and the Boss that I am deserves to be smart and in the know of things. I mean I am such an intelligent and capable creature, and it was about time the world knows this. I deserve the hard work. So I read more and harder not because I need to pass my exams, but because I needed to prove to myself that I am a straight up boss and I can handle all the challenges that are thrown at me.
So this is my challenge to you. Treat yourself like the straight up boss that you are. Work hard because you think you’re worth the extra effort, and you are worth it. Be the boss that you are. Bosses treat themselves to all the good things in life. They eat healthy, they exercise, they read a lot, they don’t procrastinate, they forgive, they don’t give up, they ask when they need help and they make sure that their friends are bosses as well so they help others become the best that they can be. After all what good is a legacy if it dies with you?
Author: Ivy Njeri | Date Created: 2016-06-16 02:07:59 | Comments: 0
The day was October 31st; it was my fourth birthday and I sat in those mini-chairs inside my pre-school class, waiting patiently for two o’clock. It was all meant to go down then. It was half past noon, and there still seemed to be no sign of anything coming. In my school, it was custom that on everyone’s birthday date, the whole class was to be baptized in sweets, snacks and soda with a grand finale of cake for the whole class. I left home, reminding mum, more like pestering her to make sure she does not forget that my class had a tradition. For good measure, I approached dad as well and reminded him that I was turning four today, and that the whole class was counting on them. The weight of an army of the four-year olds was on their shoulders.
It was two o’clock, and the tables were empty, there was no sign of balloons or snacks or tiny voices singing for me. “Martie, isn’t it your birthday today?” Teacher Francesca had asked me in front of the whole class, I suppose as a well-meaning gesture, to get the class to celebrate me because my parents had decided otherwise. I nodded in agreement, as the tears danced around my eyes and a huge stone-lump formed in my throat. Teacher Francesca read the situation and asked the class to sing for me despite the lack of snacks; I silently hoped that they would have energy to sing for me even if they had not been fuelled by Ribena or cake. At that moment I wondered whether my parents had heard me in the morning.
At half past three o’clock as we were packing up our tiny belongings that mostly consisted of an array of break boxes and “Ladybird” books, my uncle Kennedy burst into the classroom carrying a huge box in his left hand. In his right hand was another box with several packets of Ribena juice and a packet of éclairs perched atop the box of juice-packets. He looked exhausted, and I wondered why he was late and why it was not dad who came himself, but I did not care past that. I set the cake box down for him and grabbed the packet of sweets and set them on the teacher’s desk. Everybody automatically started singing for me with a renewed vigor. There was feet-stomping and hand-clapping and a few tiny hands tried to steal the packet of sweets from me. I swatted them all away; and I was so proud of myself, I had beaten the deadline and kept up the tradition of blessings on the birthdays. Mum and dad were my parents again.
Looking back, I was able to put a few pieces together of why the events of my fourth birthday unfolded as they did. At that time, my father had lost his job and my mother was pursuing her Masters’ degree full time so she was not working. Basically no one in the house was working and life was rolling us steadily into poverty. On that particular day, my mother was headed to university and my father was going for a job interview, therefore no one was free to bring my cake and it would have been preferable to buy food instead of sweets and boxes of Ribena. However, my parents did not want to let me down, and I expected them not to. Most times, we forget that being a parent is not equal to being a superhero, even if they constantly fill in that role as well. Being a parent is just another role like being a sister, or being a friend, and primarily, parents are just human beings, with the added benefit of having offspring. Sometimes we may be tempted to think that “we did not ask to be born” and therefore our parents should bear the responsibilities of our wants, tantrums and cravings because we are here because of their actions. If our parents could effortlessly provide everything we needed, I’m certain they would provide, but just as life throws surprises every-which-way, one can never fully be ready for what life throws every time. Still, parents try their best even when it takes away from them, to give us normalcy in situations where they know it does not exist, for our smiles and our peace of mind.
Empathy is a skill where we learn to step out of our shoes and put ourselves in others’ shoes to try to see a situation through different eyes to gain understanding and appreciation of their circumstances. Why can we not begin this charity at home? Maybe to understand our parents better and have a better relationship with them, we could learn to see things from their eyes first before we stare through our own. We may feel entitled to what they have because after all we are their children, but sometimes our demands give our parents sleepless nights and unnecessary heartache when they feel like they are not good enough as parents because they were unable to provide according to our demands. As children we should understand that parents are still human beings who need to rest, and breathe, and take care of themselves because unlike us, they have no one else to take care of them. So before we throw that next tantrum, or make a demand, or expect something from our parents stop and wear their shoes; read the circumstances and determine whether they will be able to provide. Should they be able to, show your gratitude and some love, just the way you know you would want to be appreciated if you had done the same. Let’s treat parents as human beings because they are just as human as we are.
Author: Martie Mtange | Date Created: 2016-06-07 03:01:42 | Comments: 0
Relationships between us and our parents differ in important ways but one of the amazing things is that with those things that differ, unique relationship qualities arise. It’s a bond that is not only wonderful but also profound.
Parents and children hold such a special relationship that is easy yet tricky to understand. Let me put it this way…
There is more to a girl than what her mother sees, there is more to a boy than what his father dreams and there is more to our parents than our eyes can perceive. We live in a world with all kinds of relationships swimming in an endless pool of love and fellowships.
I love you mom I care for you dad, I love you son I care for you my daughter. These are words we seem to know but hardly ever say it enough. We hold these words in such esteem but we keep it on the down low and keep it hush hush.
The relationship that is there between parents and children should be something that is deep and beautiful, fun and exciting. However, most of all it needs to be an experience, a journey, a path that leads to the strongest bond that can ever be within a family.
The relationships we have between us and our parents may not always be a bed of roses and it may not be a walk in the park either. Times will come when we will argue about washing dishes or what time our curfew should be. Times will come when you want to do something but mom or dad won’t let you even though your heart desires to do it. Times will come when all you want to do is leave the house but you have to clean your room but you don’t want to. Arguments will be there and fights will arise but let’s all remember one thing…..Love. Love is a unifying factor. Dear teens… Love your parents and vice versa. Whatever we do let’s do it out of love.
Parents! Can I get an, “Oh yeah?” Being a parent isn’t easy. Take time to genuinely listen to your kids, kiss them goodnight and set firm but gentle limits. Help them do their homework and laugh with them every chance you get. Hold them when they cry and tell them everything is going to be fine. Teach them how to ride a bike and play football with them. Teach your sons how to treat and respect a girl and teach your daughters how to love and respect themselves. Enjoytime with your babies.
“Having children is wondrous. It is to forever have your heart go walking around outside your body.”
Affirming words from moms and dads are like light switches. Speak a word of affirmation in your child’s life and it’s like lighting up a whole room full of possibilities. Love and understand the situation your babies are in. One day just decide to walk a mile in their shoes and see what it feels like to be a child in this day and age. But above all love your babies. (Even though they are above 13 they are still your babies :)
Teens…Where you at? You are amazingly beautiful and wonderfully cool in your own way. Love your folks and love them hard. Try and understand your parents; love and respect them in spite of your own feelings. It may be hard but in time you will see the vision in their wisdom. Wash the dishes, clean your room, hug your parents in the morning and give them a high five in the evening. Make the small things count then focus on the big things. Your mother can understand what you can’t seem to say and your father can see what you cannot see. Love and respect goes a long way. No matter how old you get you will still be your parent’s babies and it’s not such a bad thing. Try and see through their eyes. Look up to them and say I’m sorry, see the good intentions and not what they are keeping you from doing.
Guardians, parents, children, let us not be afraid to be deep and learn to strengthen our relationships and bonds. Let’s learn to give each other second, third, fourth, a hundreths chances. Let’s give each other time. Let’s care for each other and let’s shower each other with love.
In this journey we call family lets experience every soulful little detail with love and respect and we shall look back and thank God for every good and bad moment that helped us not only learn but grow into amazing relationships that we can pass on to friends and relatives. Let’s show the world how beautiful our relationships can be.
Let’s love and let’s hug
Author: Bryan Ngugi | Date Created: 2016-05-24 04:19:20 | Comments: 0
The memory is still clear in my mind. I am asleep and then I am suddenly unable to breathe. I feel two fingers firmly pinching my nose. I wake up in a panic to see my father’s towering figure standing by my bed. “Wake up. It’s time to read,” he says and walks out of the room. It is 4:00a.m. I get out of bed reluctantly. I’m definitely not going back to sleep.
Some of you might be able to relate to me, waking up in the wee hours of morning to study. There are different extremes we’ve had to go to just to ensure we get a good grade. Sometimes we do achieve our goals, other times we fall short. How can we maximize on time to ensure we are as prepared as can be right before exams?
1. Organize your study space.
Ensure you have enough space to lay out your books and write your short notes. Do you have optimum lighting to study in? Do you have all the stationery you may need? Pens, highlighters, books, notepads?
If you need complete silence to study, ensure you are in an environment where you can have that. If you study better with background music ensure you have your music playlist ready. Got that in place? Good on to the next thing.
2. Give yourself ample time to study.
Human beings are diverse beings and have different concentration spans. Ensure your set timetable does not work against you. If your concentration span is 1 hour per subject don’t push to study the same subject for 2 hours non-stop. Some subjects may need more time than others, however, ensure your timetable has a fair balance.
Also try and find your optimum study hours. You may study best early in the morning or late at night or maybe for you it doesn’t matter what time you study. However, strive to study at the time when you are able to grasp most of the content you have.
3. Go through past papers.
This helps you get used to the different formats of questions and how to answer them. You may be surprised to know that examiners are sometimes repetitive and going through past papers will definitely work to your advantage. This is not just cramming the answers but also knowing why and how you got the answer you did. Past papers help you read broadly and cover different topics within a shorter time span.
4. Take regular breaks and eat well.
My mother once woke me up to study and made me a mug of coffee to help me stay awake. Despite her efforts to help me keep awake I went straight back to sleep and needless to say got late to school that day. I should have simply told her that I was too tired to study that morning and taken a break.
Rest helps boost your memory and retention rate. Inasmuch as exams may be staring straight in your face with a menacing grin it is important to ensure you rest enough so as to be able to study effectively.
It is also important to eat well-balanced meals and drink water so as to keep your energy levels up. Reduce on snacks and eat brain food such as Yoghurt, fish, nuts and bananas among others.
5. Finally, do your best and let God do the rest.
With those few study tips I hope preparing for exams will be a more joyous process. Remember you may study for hours and achieve minimal results if you do not have the proper studying techniques.
Author: Joyce Ndinda | Date Created: 2016-05-13 07:30:06 | Comments: 0
Are you sure you will be there; to dry my tears and stroke my hair? Are you sure you will be there when I have chosen not to care? Are you sure you will be there when I’m doing it all wrong, when I’m no longer strong? Are you sure you’re going to be there when I walk into the tree you told me about? Are you sure you’re going to trust me to run, when yesterday I ran into your now broken favorite bowls?
Am I angry? No! I’m livid!
Because I remember the look you gave me when you saw me first; that of belief and acceptance. The one that told me that I would grow up to be great, the one that told me… that told me that no matter what you would love me. But you forgot the promises that your eyes made. You forgot the trust that I gave you; to hold me as a naked babe. You forgot how vulnerable I stood letting you see it all. You forget I let you see all my flaws. You forgot that I expected you to be there when I fall, that I am still your little girl. I don’t need your unkind words you wouldn’t give them to me then, why give them to me now? You forget that children don’t forget, and what you said will float over my head. And you forget that to you I will always be a child
You made me who I am. Remember I’m but a reflection of you. Maybe you’re angry at me because you’re angry at you. But you forget that I need you, to trust me, to love me; the love that never fails, the love that is ever true. A love that is kind all the time, a love that is wise. I need you, to put away your fears, put away your disappointments, to put away your doubt. I need you.
If you don’t appear then I will grow up saying I want to be nothing like you. Fighting to be something different. Looking down at my little babe but really repeating the cycle. The cycle of what I grew up seeing. Then my little bae will one day write me a piece just like this.
So this is what you do, in case you’re confused. Hold your tongue; the things you say today for me never go away. Be kind when the sky is blue but be even better when I stand in need of you. Not just as my mother but as my friend. To laugh with me when jokes are funny, to hold me when there is bulge in my tummy. To love me when I make mistakes, to trust me when I burn the pancakes.
Author: Ivy Njeri | Date Created: 2016-05-06 03:06:23 | Comments: 0
Remember the song by the Power Puff Girls- love makes the world go round? When the evil clown, went around spreading gloom to the citizens of Townsville? And they illustrated this by sad faces and black and white picturing that had no life. I remember when the Power Puff Girls sang the song love makes the world go round, the color started to come back and the smiles on the faces of the citizens returned. And for that episode the narrator said, “And so the day was saved thanks to the power of love.” A little love can make someone’s day. A little love can make the world go round.
If there is at all any magic in the world, it would be love. Love makes us all do seemingly stupid things; I mean look at Jesus. It was love that He willingly came down from His comfort in heaven to come and die. It was love that made Him take the blame for crimes that He didn’t commit. It was love that made Him who had no sin, become sin. If that is not enough, it is this same being that looked at Paul, the Paul who killed Christians and He forgave him. Love conquers all things. Love makes people and even God do pretty strange things.
This is the kind of love that we hope all the campers feel while at camp; a love that never fails, never gives up and never runs out. We know that the world isn’t a nice place. There is so much expected of you, and sometimes all we really need is some love to keep the fire in our hearts burning.
Life can be hard, and when you’re young so much is changing so fast. Sometimes all kids really need is a little love to make the world go round. Love is patient, love is kind. You will be surprised that a little love is all you need to change the world.
Letting camp be the time that there is no more fear, is what we live for. Creating an environment where you’re allowed to be whoever you are. Let’s face it we are all a little weird. You’re weird. I’m weird. We look for friends whose weirdness is compatible with ours, thus joining us in mutual weirdness that we now call love.
Camp is where all these things happen. Friends are made. Relationships are built, mended and understood. And most importantly weirdness makes the world go round. So let’s spread some weirdness and watch it fuel the world to go round.
Author: Ivy Njeri | Date Created: 2016-04-26 23:05:00 | Comments: 0
It's in my roots,
It’s in my veins
It's in my blood ….
And no; these are not lyrics to Adele’s River Lea.
Adventure is the juice that runs in my system
It’s the rhythm in my heart
The beat in my dub-step
It’s the glimmer in my eyes
The jig in my step
Adventure is slumber under the open heavens,
Experiencing the freedom, both internal and external;
It’s the joy of conjuring ideas in the late night,
Learning that perseverance goes a long way;
It’s the thrill of extreme sports,
Remembering that pride comes before a fall
Knowing that it may seem easy
But it doesn’t mean it’s child’s play
Adventure is the build of anxiety before trying new things,
Embracing courage and self-drive as you go along
It's the a mix of fear and excitement,
It’s the fatigue after hard work considered play,
The doubt in self, turned into belief that nothing is really impossible;
Adventure is the refined process of going out of the norm,
And making it worth your while
Cos it’s in my roots,
It’s in my veins,
It’s in my blood,
Let adventure run its course.
Author: Joyce Ndinda | Date Created: 2016-04-20 01:41:28 | Comments: 0
One of my first experiences at Camp Winning Ways was a retreat to Lukenya. It was a facilitators' retreat and a form of induction into the family by taking us through exactly what we were to take our campers through. So we were to experience a horror called "Pipe dream". Consider this: I'm afraid, not of heights but of falling (saying that makes me feel so self-aware and sophisticated). Insert finger snap.
Basically, I was to climb up a pole laid out vertically, about fifteen feet into the air using metal rungs as steps and walk across a length of about fifteen more feet to the next pole then be brought back down. My only companions were a belaying harness from the people supporting me below, a helmet, the Holy Spirit and my pee which was itching to personify my cowardice.
After a failed attempt at hiding from my punishers, realizing that perhaps Lukenya was too far from home for me to start running, and also discovering the interesting fact that letting others go before me was just increasing my anxiety, I confronted my fears and climbed. I didn't look down until I was up, and then my legs became jelly but I still had to make it across. I looked down for the first time and most of the people were cheering for me, some were laughing because my legs could almost start a fire in a jiko. It dawned on me that I wasn't the first person to do this, and I was not going to be the last. It hit me that I couldn't not do this because I had to prove the people laughing at me wrong, I had to prove to myself that my worldview is right in saying that every problem hides a solution and can be overcome. The fear I felt at that moment was just a story that I was going to tell someday and that this challenge was a stepping stone to getting over greater life problems that lay ahead. So I did it, as my legs still shook, I got to the other side and was lowered back to the ground safely without urine as a companion, yay!
This is what we call adventure learning at Camp Winning Ways: the use of the external environment, particularly nature, to learn more, not just about the world, but about ourselves. There is no text book, no formal examination, and no teacher to reprimand you when you're wrong. You learn through trial and error and you grow in knowledge and experience; your resolve is your examination and experience is your teacher. This is how we learn at Camp Winning Ways; even better, this is how we learn in the world. Let’s keep learning.
Author: Martie Mtange | Date Created: 2016-04-13 06:40:30 | Comments: 0
Camping changed my life. Allow me to speak from experience. I remember my first ever camp. It was at Nakuru National Park; that was way back in 2007. It was the first time that I ever slept in a sleeping bag, in a tent, outside; although I did vow to myself never to go back there because it was so cold at night. I remember not sleeping the whole night because my sleeping bag was freezing at the bottom. And I remember baboons coming to my tent window and scratching it, wondering what it was and why it didn’t open. And amazingly I loved it. It was an oasis.
Imagine a place and a time when none of your problems matter. You don’t have your anti-social devices so you get to know people, I mean really get to know them. You learn so much, about yourself and about other people. No more concrete jungles with loud migrating cars from point A to B. Imagine a place and time that the air is thin, light and crisp. When there is no electricity so you can see all the night lights. Imagine a place and time that you lose track of time because life seems to stand still. And all your problems, for the time you’re at camp, wait for you to come back.
While at camp, life seems to be so simple. Everything is so clear. You know that place in your mind with a beautiful view. The place that you go where you do all your best thinking? If you don’t have a place well, that’s because you haven’t tried camping.
Camp is place that all the lessons you learn are from the things you see, hear, feel, and touch. Camp never gets boring because it’s never the same. Camp is an adventure. The greatest adventure you can ever go on and all great adventures happen outside. When you’re not in your comfort zone, that’s when you really begin to live.
Author: Ivy Njeri | Date Created: 2016-04-07 07:31:18 | Comments: 0
We’ve all heard the phrases; home is where the heart is. Home sweet home. Charity begins at home. Home this, home that, home, home, home. Home is our safe space, our nest or safe haven at the end of every grueling, awesome, funny, sad day. But why? Why do we tend to feel so safe in the comfort of our own personal space? Why is it that at most times we can’t wait to get home and fall flat on our beds and sleep or open up our laptops and start watching that new episode of King Julian? Personally, I think it’s simple. We feel safe and comfortable. We feel like that is the place we need to be at to know that we are in a haven of endless awesome possibilities. We know that we belong here. We know that no matter what the circumstances are we need to be in this place to achieve a certain level of peace or happiness or whatever it is we crave for.
The other day I was at a friend’s sending off get together party and there were dozens of people I didn’t know. In fact I only knew my friend and his dog. Everyone else was but a mystery. At some point I kept thinking how I felt singled out because everyone was having a good time; or how awkward I felt trying to laugh at everyone else’s inside jokes then when someone asks me what I’m laughing at I’d decide to fake an urgent phone call. I felt like the mere presence of the people around me inhibited me from being myself. It’s simply because I felt like I didn’t belong. New people, new things, new situations. They are scary. They can drive us insanely mad with constant thoughts of how we feel like we don’t belong.
A sense of belonging is an important sentiment in so many arenas of life. At some stage in life we will feel like we do not belong somewhere, be it at school or at birthday parties or even just casual circumstances.
At different points in life we just have an urge to belong somewhere. Camp Winning Ways offers that platform. It’s a place where you can be free to express yourself in the company of so many diverse individuals and still be true to who you are. You have a sense of belonging that sends you to a beautiful place full of love and acceptance. Camp winning ways creates a safe zone, a nest, a trust tree. Here you will not only feel acceptance and love but also a sense of belonging. You will learn how important it is to build relationships and bonds that could last a life time.
Camp Winning Ways will share with you beautiful and wonderful moments that will leave you in awe of all its values working together to give you a timeless experience of having a place to belong.
Author: Bryan Ngugi | Date Created: 2016-03-30 04:42:26 | Comments: 0
How many are we? Well that’s a tough question to ask because, see, we are so many but at the same time we are one. Does that make sense? We are the best definition of the story of the little wave; ever heard it?
Well there was this little wave in the middle of the ocean just chilling and enjoying itself. As time went by, it realized that it was getting closer and closer to the beach, and all the waves in front of it were crashing against the shore. The little wave started panicking, and getting agitated. The wave behind it noticed the agitation and asked, “What’s wrong?”
“Well can’t you see what’s happening? Can’t you see that we are all going to crash and become nothing? Isn’t that terrible?”
The second wave replied, “No, you don’t understand. You’re not a wave; you’re a part of the ocean.”
Who are we? This conversation is getting very tricky but I do hope you catch my drift.
Well, to be honest we are a many-headed creature with just one body. Some of us are tall, dark, and dread-locked; some of us are short, light and still dread-locked. Some of us are family by blood, others are family by Christ; some of us carry our smiles on our sleeves, others sit silently in the corner, wearing our smiles in our hearts. Most of us undoubtedly love barking orders, while the rest of us comfort each other’s sorrows away. We are all each other’s “beaus” without discrimination. It’s all a game of acceptance and helping hands, just like a child playing a piano piece in front of a large audience, and the nervousness makes him blunder and trip on the keys. Then his dad runs on stage and sits behind the child and lends a helping hand; the duet sounds literally like music to everyone’s ears. That is who we are; a couple of different and imperfect people, warming up a cold and imperfect world together; one person at a time.
Why do we do what we do? That’s a really tough one. Maybe because sometimes this world is a cold, dark place with faceless strangers bumping into each other on the streets; or that roommate you laugh with every so often will be crying alone five minutes later. Perhaps because there’s a candle in each one of us just waiting for the right match-stick to light up a whole room; or because we all need to know that someone out there actually cares about strangers. We want to let you know that not everyone who smiles at you wants what you can give, like that chocolate peeping from your bag. We want to let you know that acceptance is not something you earn, but something you deserve, if not from those closest to you then even from complete strangers.
That’s what Camp Winning Ways is: a haven of acceptance. Something that I define as any place where someone can call home and be who they are without fearing the wrath of judgment.
Author: Martie Mtange | Date Created: 2016-03-23 01:26:17 | Comments: 1
Hello everyone and welcome to the Camp Winning Ways blog space!!! We guarantee that this will be a platform where you can live, learn and grow into one of Kenya’s finest! On this blog, you will find great reads on all kinds of topics, including but not limited to personal development and other issues that teens go through that we are sure will benefit all our readers. For now, we want to introduce you to Winning Ways and we will continue to give you a broader perspective of who we are as the weeks go by.
So what do we stand for? The core values that drive us are Acceptance, Love and Belonging, let us elaborate…
Winning ways is a place of Acceptance. It does not matter what background you are from, your social status, religion, race, gender or the kind person you are!! We love everybody and we will go out of our way to make sure you feel accepted just the way you are because YOU ARE IMPORTANT!
Winning Ways is also a place of Love. We are intentional about demonstrating God’s grace, mercy and loving kindness to all with our thoughts, with our words and by our actions so as to win others to Christ.
Finally Winning Ways is a place of Belonging and this we do through building intentional and genuine relationships with one another. Making new friendships is a major focus for us and it is always our desire that these friendships will bear good fruit through our interactions with you!
Over the next couple of weeks, you will get to meet different writers of this blog. Each individual is different and unique. It is our desire that you will log on every week to meet the authors and read what they have to share with you. We hope you will look forward to meeting Sheri, Brian, Martie, Joy and Neema. These are amazing guys who love life and have lots to share from their own personal experiences and what they have learnt over the years!
Feel free to give feedback and let us know what you would like to know about Winning Ways, or any topics you would like us to address on the blog and even in our programs. We would love to hear from you!
See you soon!
Camp Winning Ways Team!
Author: Neema Wangui | Date Created: 2016-03-23 01:25:52 | Comments: 3