This week I was invited to speak at Chosen Children of Promise Kawangware. A talk which had been postponed for a long time.
I wondered what to say to those young people. In fact, while walking to catch a matatu to Kawangware, I became so absent- minded just thinking of the right words to say that I tripped on the pavement and fell. Fortunately, there were two helpful ladies to help me get up. One went after my water bottle, while the other carried my laptop bag.
I was slightly injured, but that was the least of my concerns. “I hope the laptop has not been ruined”, I said. “Help me up”, was the next thing I said. Because chivalry is a rare thing in Nairobi, I thanked the ladies whom I did not know. In a hurry, I dusted myself as I walked to get a Matatu to Kawangware.
I reached the center at 2.30, half an hour late, but just in time for my turn to speak. Now, seeing the diversity in ages of my audience, I had to think of a tactic to keep them engaged.
Through experience, there are some talks I have had before that left my audience staring in shock, probably wondering, ‘how the hell is this person still alive to tell this story?’
I don’t enjoy traumatizing my audience with my story. It beats the purpose of educating a specific audience. I think that’s why I chose to go slow on the talks. I chose to go slow on a couple of other things, just to reflect on the benefits I was giving my audience. Such a break is healthy. It even promotes growth.
Anyway, so this speech was about a young girl called Jackie. She was just any ordinary teenage girl who was drawn by peer pressure to the seemingly good things in life. Her family lived in poverty, and could not afford to give her the things she wanted.
She met a man who promised her that he would take care of her. A man who was courteous enough to take her to her first movie date. A man who didn’t drink or smoke. A man that even though she was still a student, she used to dream of marrying. A man who also changed her life for good.
At the end of the talk that was engaging, yet had a not so preachy message at a vocational bible school, I revealed who Jacky was. “The girl standing in front of you”.
Every time I talk to an audience, I learn a different thing. On this day, I was reminded that no matter how many times you fall, you do NOT stay down. You have to get up, dust yourself, and get on with the call. Sometimes you have to separate yourself from a story for it to have the desired impact. It is not my story anymore. It is HIStory.