Hi dear readers, I finally come back to my writing after a long break. The break was due to a mission. To be precise, it was a soul searching mission. Did I find my soul, how does it look like? I have no idea, so it’s best not to ask.Enough of the preliminaries, now that I am back let us talk.
Last weekend I was privileged to be part of a group of 5 wonderful people led by the Kenyan Writer Kinyanjui Kombani that went to give a motivational talk to students of Iteani High school at Makueni County. Now I think I have to explain a little bit here. Makueni County is next to the famous Machakos County that has been revamped ever since you know who, became the governor.
So after breakfast at TTOT restaurant (their Samosas are great by the way), we started the long drive to Iteani at exactly 9 a.m. We were expected to be at the school by 9.30 a.m. Sometimes the long route is more convenient.
We decided to take the short one and were treated to a safari of sorts. I lost count of the dried up seasonal rivers we passed. The rough unforgiving terrain was just well, rough. I felt sorry for Kinyanjui’s red car as it hit the rocky terrain and got scratched. But giving the details on that would lose you.
We encountered a group of men looking at something, while one of them was furiously hitting at something. We stopped out of curiosity to find out what it was. “Ni nzoka” _Kamba for “it’s a snake”, one of the men standing by told us casually. Moments later, a snake just about two meters long was hurled out of the grass. Just then, the writers in the vehicles started a discussion about the stories behind the snake killing ordeal.
We also stopped because we wanted directions. The map we had drawn for us was proving to be too simple, and the directions had to be clarified. Did I mention Google maps? Yes, Google maps proved to be a vital companion thanks to Brian Omino. We finally reached Iteani high school at 12.30 p.m. We felt a tinge of guilt when we were welcomed to breakfast. Breakfast at 12.30, meaning that they waited for us, their guests to arrive before they had their breakfast.
After breakfast we went into an auditorium full of about 500 students. We talked to two schools, Iteani boys and their sisters Iteani girls. Bryan Onyino went on to tell the students that they can make it no matter their background. He shared how he at 26, is now a stock dealer in the banking sector. How he stuck to his goals, and talked about goal setting.
I came forward and spoke about peer pressure and how to avoid getting swayed by side shows. I of course could not let this opportunity pass without sharing my experiences as a student, wanting to fit in and loosing track altogether. How during the years of my life, when I was supposed to be building my career, I was busy trying to hide the evidence of the mistakes of my past. I also told them of the second chance that life has given me and a few things that I have done.
Then Muthoni Gatheca Wa, came on stage and shared how at 27, she was already an headmistress. Now she is in the acting industry. She talked about self esteem and her charisma just captivated the audience. She told the students to believe in self and not in other people’s definition of them. She shared how as an actor, even at auditions, one’s ego can be crushed. “Grab that small role you are handed, you never know where it might take you.” She said.
Then Bonnie Kim, the author of 10 books crowned it. He too shared from his school life. It was about time management. He shared of his turning point when he realized that he is alone in the journey of pursuit of knowledge. “Everyone has a personal commitment.” “Those who wake up early now will not have to wake up as early when working.” He said. “Those who choose the comfort of sleep while in high school will be forced to wake up earlier than the rest to go make their lives comfortable at work.” Foolishness is selling a cow only to take another cow to school- Bonnie Kim.
The trainer in Mr. Kombani was evident as he facilitated the whole process. He asked questions and rewarded the students with his books. He even led the students to goal setting for where they want to be. The students decided the school which they wanted to beat. Operation M…. Out. (OMO).
It is amazing how such a remote school can bring out great people in society. Yes, Kinyanjui’s colleague who organized this whole initiative was once a student at Iteani High school. You never know, maybe all that students need is to see and hear from people who have gone ahead of them. It really does not matter which school you come from, you just have to have the determination to make it in life.
The mission at the school ended on a high note and the journey back to Nairobi started in the same fashion. At some point we had to come out of the car so as to reduce the weight for it to pass. Coming back, we only took 30 minutes to Machakos. It was all for a worthy cause and I am ready to do it all again.