Posts Tagged ‘Childhood’

the best things in life arent things

Growing up I thought life sucked. I was a smart kid closely nurtured by two able parents. The extended family was always present. Maua Town in Meru County was a complete set of a sub-set of communities. A community was either based on trade (Miraa being the gold mine), Politics (no one messed with Njuri Ncheke), or Religious affiliation (Christians and the few Somali Muslims had a mutual respect for each other). Mine was a staunch Christian community. Closely-knit and very strict on morals. The pastors and church elders provided able leadership. Grown ups were the role models. The children were required to respect adults and were answerable to the neighbors’ or friends’ parents as well.  Sundays were a real Sabbath. They began with Sunday school in the morning then hanging out at either of the other kids’ place after church and you’d find your way home once darkness kicked.

sunday school

My buddy Kimathi (Kim) and I were a 2-man army and we made it our job to make our childhood rock. We engaged in communal football matches, mchongowano, Sunday school stuff, and still beefed up with boys from ‘the other squad’ whenever the need arose. Chobo Ua was not for the faint hearted. The playlist consisted of Emachichi, Kiande, Roughtone, Henry Mutuko and a bit of Don Moen. Within no time we hit puberty and our habits and interactions advanced. It began with learning the urban slang. Sheng was such a cool way to communicate! Then from watching early cartoon shows like Sesame Street to watching football matches in entertainment spots feeling all grown up. From playing ‘banno’ with other kids and getting whooped by our moms because of dirt to playing pool in not-so-community-approved places. Sometimes we crossed some set boundaries and some people started pointing fingers. We did not care much though. We were beginning to get noticed. We were discovering the world and also ‘getting discovered’ in the process. We discovered and supported Arsenal. We discovered music with more catchy beats and ‘real bars’. Our playlist changed to Esir, Nameless, Juakali and Professa. Then 2 Pac, Biggy and Jay-Z. There was an actual world out there that was unexperienced. We discovered that the world offered much more than we had grown up seeing.

Then ‘growing up’ happened, and it was time to be granted freedom away from the nest. I thought life was about to get beautiful!


Wrong. I had just been released into the REAL world. The real school, The School of Hardknocks. I was about to learn crucial lessons through discouragements, disappointments, heart wrenching heartbreaks, wrong choices, outright mistakes, painful losses, masked ‘frienemies’, and the list goes on.  This is what constitutes pain. I guess the street phrase for this is “Life Happens”. Without it, boys won’t be men, the weak won’t get strong, and the strong won’t realize that they are strong. Worthwhile victory doesn’t come without a price to pay – just like you cannot bake a cake without breaking a few eggs. I have learnt to soldier through adversity instead of wishing it away. I say this confidently because I have loved and lost and won and cried myself to the person I am today – way better than the person I was yesterday.

Trials make you better while they make you sick – Lecrae

On the other hand, I have experienced extreme joys, wow adventures, breath-taking moments, been to amazing places, and met some really great people. Life in Nairobi’s Eastlands has taught me that the world can be a jungle and that just like in the wild, you’ve got to stay alert or else. You snooze, you lose. There is an upside to every downside. I believe there is a reason why God created “the other version” to everything: male and female, light and darkness, water bodies and dry land, David and Goliath. Likewise, there is always a head for every tail and a positive for every negative. Its all about the seasons: a time to win and a time to lose. Time to laugh and time to cry. Time to celebrate and time to mourn. A time to gather, and a time to scatter. Time to initiate and time to terminate. In life there has to be ups and downs. That is called being alive.

ups and downs

I have learnt that learning is a lifetime process that ought to be taken a day at a time. However, some of the life teachings I’ve received in my 20s are the basis to understanding myself and my place in this world. Back then I figured that by this age I would be much happier because I imagined having a few degrees, a six-figure salary, a souped up ride, and a drop-dead-diva for a trophy wife. Now I know better: The best things in life are free – like quite walks in the park, watching the sunset, sharing in love, seeing a smile on someone’s face and knowing you put it there, the list is endless. The best things are unseen. They are felt.

Even now I get discouraged
Wonder if they take it all back
Will I still keep the courage

I refuse to be a role model
I set goals, take control, drink out my own bottles

I make mistakes but learn from every one
And when it’s said and done
I bet this brother be a better one

If I upset you don’t stress never forget
That God isn’t finished with me yet

-2 Pac