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Congratulations on Your Graduation

This poem is for all my amazing friends who made it through to the end of their first degrees 🙂 I am mighty proud and very happy for all of you 🙂

Sixteen or so years you have heard them say,
“Oh work hard and do not stray,
Stay in school, please do not bail;
Be up and on your toes lest you fail,
Get out, get going and keep your head!
To school we send you to be well read,
Out here awaits you your dream job,
So  keep at it until you wear that black robe!”

And so you tried and toiled
If only to see that day,
When all you’d hear them say
Is ” well done dear!
For braving your fears,
Laboring in tears;
For not veering off course!”

And here we are,
Saluting you ma’ams and sirs,
For being workers austere;
The pride of your Fathers and mothers,
Role models for your brothers and sisters.
“I want to be just like you!”
Squeals an excited cousin;
“Share your secret, what did you do?”
As questions and congratulations buzz in,
You can only smile and thank them.

For there is no file big enough,
To document your academic journey at length;
There is no time long enough,
To narrate the joys and tears,
Of the spoils and the peers;
Of the days of panic
and those of utter surrender;
Of the wins
and the even bigger wins!

There is no canvas fit enough,
To draw out the years,
The memories,
The friendships,
All the knowledge you’ve acquired
And the wisdom you found.

And at the end of the day,
When they grant you the Power to Read;
I hope your world will stop,
If only for the longest time possible;
To thank God for planting the seed,
For watering and tending to it patiently,
For bringing everything to fruition,
For continually loving and lavishing you like  so.

Congratulations my friend,
You did it!!!! 🙂

Colossians 3:23
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,

Psalm 20:4
May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.

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Posted by on June 22, 2012 in Poetry

 

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Death of The Old Self

Maybe it is not enough to grow up and grow old. Perhaps we all desire something more, deep inside- beyond blowing out the cake candles and singing along to birthday songs. Surely, there has to be more to the lives and times of all of us, hasn’t there?

Everyone else seems to have gotten it- their niche I mean. Winning medals and awards, getting recognition for their exemplary works in all fields possible, thinking up million dollar ideas overnight! Me? Well, I have tried, tried and tried again. Sometimes I feigned interest in different works, other times it was genuine; but most times if not all, I missed the mark. So I got up, decided it was someone else’s field and I moved on, to covet and subdue new lands. But history is keen on repeating itself. Years upon years of hustle and trying in vain before running away did nothing but leave me scathed and scarred, rebellious, desperate and frustrated. Wondering where all the energy went, why I felt so wasted, why I had nothing to show for all that time i was alive, skilled and enabled.

And in a sunny and boring week day, I stopped dead in my dreary tracks and remembered a wise man’s quipping: one sharp tool surpasses the utility of ten blunt ones in the hour of need. It was time to slay this dragon of defeat and lack of direction lest it baked me in its sweltering heated breath and swallowed me whole.
Change of plan: Time to stop running, time to start working smart and hard, sharpening skill in what I know I should work towards and become  thoroughly good at .
Change of authority: I can no longer be trusted to make decisions. Total demotion of self, utter devotion to God. I die daily.
Change of attitude: I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. All things, including shutting down my pity-party, comparison and belittling factory and setting it ablaze.
Change of diet: Remembering at all times that I am what I read, I am what I watch, I am who I hang out with and what I listen to and believe in.

It is indeed not enough to grow up and grow old without purpose. Perhaps there is no time like the present to do away with irrelevancies and time wasting pursuits, to actually stop first and decide to start over on a clean slate. There is just one you- not twenty, not ten, not two. So why waste you? Ask He who knows the length of your days and the number of hairs on our head to help you know who you are and what you are about.
Then, onwards onwards! The world needs you 🙂

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2012 in Prose

 

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Christmas in Kakuma 4

The Seven Brothers

I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it. – Pablo Picasso

December 30, 2011- On this day, we were torn between visiting Lake Turkana and going to see life in the refugee camp. We settled for the latter. To get there, we had to cross a dry river bed (whose banks were unbelievable far apart) and walk a long distance. The camp set up was the last thing we expected. Semi-permanent and permanent houses, clearly labelled streets, retail shops selling the latest shoes and clothes, an Ethiopian restaurant and very many motorbikes to ease movement in the camps. This was one the six or so parts of the camp we were told. In some parts, the refugees live in tents and do not have as much as these ones do. But money is not the question here for home is where the heart is. They all share a common dream, that life here will not last forever. We took no photos or videos in the camp, it is illegal. But we had lunch at the Ethiopian Restaurant before heading back to pack up and catch our 3pm bus to Kitale.

After a one hour delay, we were finally on our way. Barely two minutes into the journey, the conductor started demanding tickets from someone at the back of the bus. We, however, could not see who it was until the bus driver pulled over at a police post. Six teenagers and a small boy of Sudanese descent were asked to step out of the bus. After a minute or so, one of them returned and removed all their belongings. The seven brothers had paid for three or four seats and wanted to travel in the bus to Nakuru where they were to meet their sponsor. All their documents were legit, but the conductor insisted they were too old to share seats the whole way. The lads had no extra money though and after a lot of grilling, the driver intervened and they were let into the bus. What intrigued all of us, however, is that one of them almost hit a woman when they got back into the bus- reason being that she had sat at the window seat they had paid for. So much for all the trouble!

Anyway, the rest of the journey was event-free, mainly an opportunity to reflect on all that we had seen and experienced. We spent the next day resting and visiting in Kitale then journeyed home on January 1, 2012. We wish to thank everyone that made the quest possible, everyone that believed in, prayed with and cheered us on. God richly bless!

If you have much, give of your wealth; If you have little, give of your heart – Arab Saying

The human contribution is the essential ingredient. It is only in the giving of oneself to others that we truly live. – Ethyl Percy

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2012 in Christmas in Kakuma, Prose

 

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Christmas in Kakuma 3

A Day in Lokore Village

You cannot afford to leave out giving in your life plan. You cannot afford to leave it to chance occurrence. David Cameron

29th December 2011– I rarely shower with cold water, a bad habit I am trying to be rid of. 🙂 But in Kakuma, the sunrise wakes you up and heats your water just enough for you to enjoy the bath. But water is a great luxury and our hosts were kind enough to pay someone to ensure we had water everyday. 🙂

Some of the villagers from Lokore. 🙂 More came later 🙂

So after laughing at each other for looking so sleepy, we actually sat up and had devotion then got ready for the day. We visited a very very nice cafe for breakfast and all agreed it would be our food joint for as long as we were in Kakuma. There are very many wholesale shops in Kakuma, but as we were told, food costs less at the refugee camp. Although that was the case, the transport costs to and from the camp were too high and we decided to purchase flour, legumes and cooking fat in bulk from one of the wholesale shops with all the money we had gotten from family and friends (29, 500 shillings). We also got complimentary sweet packets from the wholesaler which we gladly shared among the children.

The Church in Lokore Village

Lokore Village is about twenty five kilometers away from Kakuma. When we arrived, everyone was away at work- the men were out herding their flock while the women had gone for firewood in the woods. (yes, they have woods). They only fetch water early in the morning and late in the evening. Younger girls had been left in the village to care for their siblings and clean up. Some sat in shades plaiting each others hairs and the elderly were either working on making mats or just resting. For the record, if you ever need sister locks, take a trip to Kakuma, it will be worth all your effort 😉 One or two homesteads had a ‘shop’ of sorts set up selling avocados, match sticks and other basic things. We were asked to wait for an hour for the rest of the village to return since they had been notified of our coming a week before. We took the time to offload all the donations and to visit all the homes that had people just to get to know them, see how they live, etc.

Introducing ourselves in the church. We had to use fluent Swahili.

At about one in the afternoon, we all gathered at their church. There was so much energy and excitement all over. Looking back, it is at this time that it hit us how blessed and elated we all felt to be there.

Some of the donations you guys sent us with 🙂 On behalf of Lokore Village, thank you. 🙂

They danced really vigorously and we honestly had a hard time keeping up 🙂 but oh the joy! Afterwards, we had the opportunity to introduce ourselves (Swahili is a really important language to learn and converse in. Refresh your knowledge of it everyone 🙂 ). One of us shared the gospel and three people gave their lives to Christ! No greater joy! No greater delight! Luke 15:10

Since we had sorted clothes out, we were able to take children outside and leave the adults in the main church. Distribution of the donations was a very demanding but exhilarating process. It taught me one thing: girls everywhere are very picky and specific in their tastes. 🙂 In the end, we left a happy village and were a grateful team to have made it there. I am unable to express how endearing the process was, but i’m sure everyone knows it was life changing, for the villagers as much as it was for us 🙂

Thank you, you all made it possible in one way or the other.

I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver – Maya Angelou

To God be the glory!

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2012 in Christmas in Kakuma, Prose

 

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Christmas in Kakuma 2

The Journey to Kakuma

You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.  ~Wayne Gretzky

It is a hard task to convince man to forfeit celebrations and times with family and join you in a desert. It is even worse if you know not where it is you are going: how it looks like, which way to take, how the food is like and the people,  et al. But we set out, an amazing team of ten, to explore that part of the nation where the concept of holiday is as foreign as aliens are on earth 🙂 I digress.

 December 27 2011– Departure-from-Nairobi day. It rained heavily that morning, so much so that some arrived very early and others were a whole two hours late. But we set out all the same and albeit the morning hiccups, got to Kitale an hour before dusk. I especially cherish the stop we made at Kenya Cooperative Creameries(KCC) in Eldoret, where we were given as much cartons of whole milk as we could carry. We did not know it then, but the village we visited in Kakuma had so many children and milk was just the perfect drink to share with them. Every child had enough (about 3 packets) and there was lots left to give to the parents as well 🙂 That evening was spent giving thanks, dining, bonding and resting. I doubt if anyone managed to watch Courageous the Movie in its entirety though. That is how tired we were.

December 28, 2011– After breakfast and time in prayer, we had to sort out all the clothes and shoes that had been donated. we had four bags marked Boys, Girls, Women and Men. While at it, we realized there were specifics that could not be worn in Kakuma. These, we put in a fifth bag. We purposed that those ones would go to The Esther Home: a home in Kitale that houses teenage mothers that have been chased away from home for getting children out of wedlock. At Esther Home, they are taught life skills like tailoring and tutored so they can sit for their KCPE exams then join high schools after that. 🙂

There are two bus companies that leave Kitale for Kakuma everyday: Eldoret Express and Dayah Express. The former is more expensive and more comfortable, in the opinion of most that we asked. We thus opted for it. In Nairobi, it would be equated to being aboard the big (and older) buses that have three seats on one side and two seats on the other and which serve different routes in the city. Our bus left at 11am, full of people and laden with luggage. From an hour into the journey, the bus stopped everywhere there were people by the road to carry them and all their luggage (it was a lot every time!). No one was left behind. We were sitted at the front and could hear how much they were being charged. At all times, the extra passengers had to part with a thousand shillings or more for gracing the bus with their presence and if they had luggage, that was charged separately- and exorbitantly. “They have money,” the conductor said in a dialect I understood. So they put their luggage in the aisle and sat on it the whole way. In a funny incident, a woman actually sat on one of the team  member’s lap. The language barrier just made it funnier for us as he tried to find out what was going on and politely ask her to sit elsewhere. She eventually sat on her luggage, but seemed quite unhappy!

it was green the whole way, contrary to our expectations

The countryside is breath-taking. 🙂

Our first main stop was at Lokichar. Very hot town that stands in the middle of desert-like land, full of mini sand-storms but a flourishing town no less. We had been advised to eat fried or roast meat in one of the hotels and true to our advisor’s word, it did not disappoint and no one had tummy upsets 🙂 It is here that one of us was almost beaten up for taking photos of the town structures and of the little children nearby. An enraged man kept saying we should pay for taking photos which we will later sell and get rich. Anyway, the conductor took even more passengers; only that this lot had very hostile characters. They had knives in pouches and small rungus and stools on their hands (which is normal I hear) but were very rude to the conductor and to other passengers as well. Long story short, they alighted at Lodwar two hours later and we carried only their memory with us beyond that point. Lodwar is a busy (and seemingly big) town. It is here that you either branch to Lake Turkana or take the road to Kakuma.

We finally got to Kakuma in the dead of night and had a momentary scare when the conductor refuse to unload any of our luggage saying it was very late in the night and he was not authorized to do so. But we had great mediators in the team and empathetic friends we had made while travelling in the bus. At everyone’s request, all our luggage was offloaded. Thank God! I try not to wonder what would have happened otherwise. So we found our way to the compound in which we would be sleeping and carried all our luggage from the road into the house, taking turns to watch over the roadside luggage with flash lights and carry the rest to the house until it was all in.

And just like that, like campers at the Mara or closer home, like most other people in Kakuma, we got ten mattresses from the house, put them on the dusty ground outside, prayed, sang, recounted stories and slept- right under the stars. 🙂

sleeping outside was quite an experience for us. More importantly, it is a way of life for the people in Kakuma.

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2012 in Christmas in Kakuma, Prose

 

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Christmas in Kakuma 1

Christmas in Kakuma 1

The Dream and the Team
The music blaring from an old speaker, the ringtone on your friend’s phone, the pair of shoes you wore to work today, the book you are currently reading- everything around us is inspired. It doesn’t matter how upbeat or sleek or boring it is, inspiration is key, Christmas in Kakuma was no exception.
One day on social media, a friend of ours made it known to us that she would be away from her friends and family over Christmas as she still had to work at the Kakuma Refugee Camp. Moved by it all, friends decided it wouldn’t be Christmas if we let her be there alone, so we all wanted to go there and take Christmas with us to her and the Kakuma community.
In a span of six weeks, it grew from a rushed reaction on social media to a planned undertaking. Most parents wouldn’t hear of it though, especially because most assumed Al Shabaab terror alerts were rampant all over the North of Kenya. We consulted with the missionaries from Youth Apart, tried to get letters from the government authorizing us to visit the refugee camp and asked our families and friends to support us in prayer, cash and kind.
From an original nineteen, a solid nine made it to Kakuma. In the next four or five blog posts, I will try to walk you through our experience. We wish to thank God for making this possible and being Omnipresent :), everyone who donated food, clothes and money, everyone who kept calling to find out whether we are ok, the guys that prayed with us, Youth Apart, Kenya for hosting us in Kitale and Kakuma and the people of Lokore Village for receiving us with so much love and appreciation 😀
The Team:

Zach: Our friend from Kitale and guide to Kakuma 🙂 🙂

 Winnie: Youngest in the team. Great story teller, dancer and down-to-earth person. Last of the ‘triplets’.

 Lynn: The Miss with the smiles 🙂 Brings life, joy and laughter to everything.

Walter: Behind every unique photo was this guy. Super funny, full of stories and witty reactions to every single statement

Brian: Simply put, the guy who would own a bakery and eat everything in it- for the love of cakes! But seriously, perhaps the most quiet and sane person in the team. Android is this man’s best friend 🙂

Budgeree: Yes. She is as serious as the photo. Great singer and guitarist and quite the opposite of Liz as regards time. That was the basis of their friendship btw 😀

Liz: The girl with a  British/French accent and deep-rooted Kenyan mannerisms. 🙂 Time keeper to the core and a very great risk taker. If you know her, ask about Lake Turkana 😉 The first of the ‘triplets’

 Ragai: One of the lead organizers behind this noble undertaking. A smart worker and really supportive!

Serah: The Blogger and number two of the ‘triplets’

Dave: One of the lead organizers and the man behind most videos and photos in this venture. 🙂 The rest is a story for another day. 🙂

As diverse as our backgrounds were, we were drawn together by our love for God, people and a common desire to make a difference. It was an amazing and life changing experience for us. In the end, we not only made a difference, but found  family in the friendships we formed and in the village we visited. 🙂

PS: All photos were taken during the Kakuma trip 🙂 Look out for other blog posts detailing our experience 🙂

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2012 in Christmas in Kakuma, Prose

 

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The HA! Poem

When i say HA! I am laughing at the enemy,
HA! Laughing at all those lies he said to me,
HA! Booing him for thinking i’d never be,
The girl who for Jesus gets on her knees;
So HAHAHA! Shame on the enemy!

When I say HA! I mean HAlleluya
For i am so blest, my cup is full, yea!
And if hear this i bet you’ll say ‘true that!’
For my life is renewed, made fresh as the new year;
So HAHAHA! HAlleluya!

When i say HA! I mean How Great Thou Art
To the one Savior who’s in my heart,
Same Jesus who gives us all a fresh start 🙂
If you know this is true just shout ‘What?!’
As i say HAHAHA, How Great Thou Art!

When i say HA! I mean i am so HAppy,
No longer gloomy, grumpy, even crappy
See my life has been hard, stormy, even bumpy,
But journeying with Jesus is such a fun thing 🙂
So HAHAHA, I am so happy!

When i say HA!I mean HAllowed be God’s name,
Since He came, nothing that was has been the same
He came to earth, died for me and carried my shame
Took my misdeeds so lame
So let Him take all the glory and fame
As i say HAHAHA, HAllowed be God’s name!

When i say HA! I mean How can i serve you Lord?
You see, i am just a man, a mere dot,
A girl you’ve chosen to love, my life you decided to sort
See my being you bought even before freedom i sought
Oh the thought that you promised to leave me not!
So HAHAHA, How can i serve you lORD?

When i say HA! I mean you can HAve your way
For I have tried my own only to stray
So I will do what you say
This and every other day
Oh help me Lord I pray
As i say HAHAHA, you can HAve your way!

When i say HA! I mean its gong to HAppen
Nay, not all of a sudden
But it will, see it did for Daniel
So will it for us who are heavy laden
One day our shackles will be no more even our burdens
So believe as i say HAHAHA, its going to HAppen!

When i say HA!
I mean exactly that…
HArp in my hand,
Heaven in my Heart,
HA! It is my time to laugh!

Nehemiah 8:10
“…for the joy of the Lord is your Strength…”

😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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