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Guest Post: Never Taught in Class.

Post by Samuel Muthomi a.k.a Dj Somi.

When Kawiria asked me to be a guest writer, I was gobsmacked because I’m a big fan of Kawi’Snippets (Stupendous Tidbits).  Her blog has been an inspiration to me and many others. Sharing her life experiences made me realize that it is sharing ones weaknesses that helps other people in their need, not your strengths. I hope to share some of my life experiences that you will never be taught in any class.

Guest Post


Humility Makes you Grow.

Humility sets one on the path to success. Pride will keep one from growing, because one is not willing to learn. Let’s get one thing clear, no one has it all together! I have been successful on the academic front, not because I was the brightest student in class, but because I was willing to learn. If you humble yourself, you become teachable because you are willing to learn.


Remember Pleasant Memories. Forget the Rest.

We can never reverse the past. Sometimes with hindsight, there are things one wishes they had done differently in life. At one time or another in life, there is someone who has deeply hurt you. Learn to let go because regret and resentment doesn’t hurt anybody but you. Learn to forgive others even when they do not deserve it. Be grateful for the good in people and choose to remember the good things about people, the good times and the positive experiences. Pleasant memories are a choice; do not dwell on the negative memories.


Make a Difference. Give.

It is the smallest gesture or thoughtful assistance that makes the biggest impact. My folks have taught me to be generous even when you don’t have plenty to give. My folks came from humble begins and the little that God has given them, they have used to educate a lot of people and help others set up their own business. It feels one with so much joy when you assist someone and help them realize their potential and fulfill their purpose in life. When God gives you the vision, he gives you the provision for it. My vision this year was to start Kipaji Agency Limited and help nature talent. I hope I can make a difference in people’s lives.

Guest Post


Good Friendships Take Time.

To build a good relationship, one needs cultivation, work, and time to build a deep connection with someone. Every deep connection requires communication, commitment and companionship. You don’t need many friends to make it in this world, but a few good friends. Focus on having good (quality) friends not many (quantity) friends.


Serve Other People.

We are God’s stewards and God does not give us gifts, talents and abilities for our own benefit. Our gifts, talents and abilities should be used to serve other people. I’ve always had a passion for music and deejay’ing but I’ve learnt over the last one year, that God didn’t give me my artistic ability just so i can enjoy it. It took me a couple of months of soul searching for me to realize my vision and dream of music being an avenue of service others. Ubantu Festival was thus birthed as a celebration of the historical, cultural, artistic & philosophical legacies of Africans from past times to the present.


Integrity is the Key to Leadership.

The big things in life do not create a good leader. Living a life of integrity doesn’t mean perfection, we all stumble at times. Leadership is built on the small things of life. Our integrity will be tested in our homes, relationships, work place e.t.c. A politician who lies to his wife will lie to his constituents. That is where ones leadership is tested in life. Ones private integrity (behind the scenes) choices of life, makes one a great leader.

Guest Post


Short Term Thinking Robs your Future.

Short-term thinking is one of the great weaknesses of today’s culture. It reminds me of the trending socialites who rob their future to enjoy today’s fame. A person who focuses on short-term gain is doomed to fail. It reminds me of my school mate in Lenana who went into a life of crime after finishing high school and is now serving life imprisonment at Kamiti. Short term thinking sets one up for years of un-payable debt to future generations.


Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*

Guest Post: Understanding Celebrity and Success.

Post by Pete Njenga.

A week ago, fellow scribe Kawiria proposed that I do a guest post in the ‘What’s Your Story’ section of this site. Well, who am I to deny such an affable, lovely lass some words we can hopefully learn from? What gives me that right?

“Mama mama nataka kuwa rapper,
Mtoto wee umenishinda,
Nataka kuwa famous kama Kalamashaka.
Je ukishindwa?
Please nitakupa kile unachotaka,
Nataka tu kuwakilisha hip-hop culture.
Acha kuwa mjinga, 
Ni sawa tu.
Next utaiba,
Si hata hiyo, ni sawa tu?”
- Nazizi, Ni Sawa Tu.

So began the song that introduced Nazizi to the Kenyan music scene. She would later be christened the First Lady of Kenyan Hip-Hop. With Wyre and Bamzigi (who later left), Necessary Noize topped charts in East Africa and brought us household anthems such as Bless ma Room, Shujaa, Kenyan Boy Kenyan Girl and several other hits. This is just one example of someone who sought celebrity from the start, and thankfully got it.

Thing is, almost everyone wants to be famous. In fact, the ‘Zuqka’ pullout in Daily Nation has “Be Famous” as its tagline.

We are so attracted to fame and fortune, that we spend hours watching other people making money from TV shows that supposed reveal their “ordinary” lives. We then wonder how these same people are successful while we are not, forgetting that we made them rich as we bummed on the couch through TV ratings, and buying their merchandise. For the uninformed, reality shows such as Keeping up with the Kardashians, Nicolle Richie & Paris Hilton’s The Simple Life, even The Bachelor or The Bachelorette – these are all scripted.

Here then, is my story when it comes to fame, fortune, popularity, success and the celebrity lifestyle.

Back in the Day

Growing up in the 80s and 90s, I was a victim of Tall Poppy Syndrome both at school and in my neighborhood. Unpleasant as it was, I do believe this is the single most important thing to have happened in my life.

For this reason, I did not succumb to peer influence, never got the chance to hang out a lot with neighbors and friends and ultimately, learned to restrict my support group to my immediate family and others whose well scrutinized objectives and intentions I could trust. I was taught early on in life to define my success, and to never let the noise of other people’s opinions drown out my inner voice.

In high school and at University, the situation was somewhat remedied by the fact that I was amongst equals – at least academically. Here, merit is what determined one’s progress and our backgrounds rarely interfered with how we related to one another.

Fame, Popularity and Celebrity

The reason I am telling you about my background is to illustrate how I have escaped being hopelessly beholden to fleeting and material possessions that the few use to elevate themselves and look down on the majority who opt not to think on their own.

Thankfully, I remain impervious to the sway that politicians, musicians, TV and Radio personalities, the filthy rich, actors and others wrongly considered celebrities, do have on the masses. Their lifestyle, shenanigans, and whatever else they are up to does not stop me from “kuria na kunyua” (eating and drinking) as we often say in my mother tongue.

Many of us have lost our sense of purpose and abandoned self-esteem, unduly influenced by those we look up to as role models and blindly emulate. People whose lives are not worth celebrating are now what our youth hope to become when they grow up. The rich who amassed wealth by running down public companies and embezzling funds pretend to now guide the youth on how to become billionaires and business moguls. Politicians continue to flaunt their ill-gotten riches while Kenyans do not even pause and wonder how these guys got up there. What kind of sheeple have we become that do not even pause to think?

Precious Illusions

Looking at the current leadership we voted into office in 2013, it pains me to realize that very few of them are in office for the right reasons. At the workplace, few go to work every morning for any reason besides making money at end-month. Many Kenyans have hopelessly subscribed to a misleading quest for money at all costs, thanks to common stereotypes about making it and success. It is for this reason that many have turned to crime, other continually fall for get-rich-schemes and our youth are now at the mercy of sensational and transient fads whose main thrust is making money and spending it as fast as possible, sans any thinking about securing the future. We are continually comparing ourselves to others and will do anything, including crime to outdo them.

We have so far forgotten that it makes more sense to be a person of value and not of success. As Albert Einstein prompted many years ago, we need to examine ourselves yet again and re-order our priorities, asking ourselves? “What is really important?”

In May 2013, I wrote a post that detailed what I hope would be my legacy. This should be in no way any one else’s legacy and I do not mean to impose my will on another person who also has the presence of mind to make their own decision.

What I continue to urge you is that we should take another keen look at what we place priorities on and aspire to be. Is it famous people of questionable character or is it deeds and initiatives that make the world much better? Are we willing to do anything, including criminal acts, to gain riches or can we instead take time to improve social conditions?

What does it mean to have succeeded? Here is something from Bessie Stanley, but often attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson:

To laugh often and much;

To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;

To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;

To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;

To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.

This is to have succeeded.

What drives you?

I end this post with some words by the man who wrote The Prince. Take time and give the following some thought:

“The great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearances, as though they were realities, and are often more influenced by the things that seem than by those that are.” ~ Niccolo Machiavelli.

Thereafter, do the needful.

* * *
All said and done, do you still crave fame, popularity and celebrity status?

Is this allure influenced by your peers, role models or the very substance of what such a life entails? What does success mean to?

We believe that there are different strokes for different folk … ni sawa tu.

The Traditional Ceremony.

I came back from my leave. It seemed long at first, until the days flew by and the next thing I knew, Sunday was here and I was putting my work things together – the handbag I mean. When I get off work, I always throw it in some corner in the house and forget about it – it sort of symbolizes the work – home switch. It sure did feel like opening day when I was resuming on Monday morning. Your brain has to adjust to the environment. However, I totally enjoyed having both a mental and physical break. Sometimes your body and mind need some R&R to restore your mojo for everything.

We also had our Ruracio. You know, the traditional ceremony. Just a sneak peak of what it’s all about. The man’s family first visits the lady’s family, for a formal introduction. In Meru, during this formal introduction, miraa (khat, whether in its physical form or cash) symbolizes the booking of the lady. After this, no other man can come to the lady’s house and declare interest. It also helps that you both no longer have the awkward “this is my friend, good friend” conversation with your parents & relatives every time you meet. They know he’s the man you intend to spend your life with. Then once the introductions have been done, the man’s family is then told what the dowry entails and they’re meant to negotiate for thee lady (me in this case). Traditional ceremonies are fun, but of course when you’re on the spectator part of the field, not when you’re the man in the arena. At that point you’re tense from your hair strands to your toes.

So once the man’s family has negotiated with the lady’s family, comes the 2nd meeting which is the Ruracio. They present part of the dowry to the lady’s parents in the presence of the relatives. Apparently, the dowry can’t be paid all at once. It’s an act that’s done over a lifetime, it’s a relationship that has just began. And that’s how you become traditionally married. It’s no longer, the man’s family now but the in law’s – in love’s perhaps. I’m traditionally someone’s wife now. And the question everyone is asking, is what next? “have you set dates for the wedding?”, “have you gotten a dress?”, “what’s your theme?”, “have you settled on a venue?” No one gives you a break to even absorb the fact that you two just made what was possibly the biggest decision (i.e. a lifetime commitment to each other) in your lives just yet.

But we’re not complaining, we’ll definitely need to be bound by law and make that covenant before God and man. And that’s coming soon to a garden near you. Gadamn! How grown up have we become already?

The ceremony was a small one. With family and close friends in attendance. We invited some, others we forgot, important ones, but it was nothing personal. When you have these events – especially if you’re not an events person or quite the planner, your memory tends to be obscured by the event, that’s all you think & dream, the last thing on your mind are who the guests will be in attendance. While we’d have loved to have everyone on board, it was virtually impossible. There are constraints like; their availability, hosting capability, pressure to deliver, and so on that exist. It’s quite an interesting road to pass through because it opens your eyes and it makes you understand why people do things the way they do.

It’s definitely a story worth narrating another day, and using it to encourage others who are going through the same process. We got a lot of support from family and friends. From our friends, I learnt that sisterhood and brotherhood does exist – that your friends can be there for you, even when you haven’t asked them to be. They volunteer, just because. There’s not a day we lost sleep over how we’ll get some things that were expected of us, despite us being clueless about how to go about getting them – from BIG sufuria’s, leso’s, honey and much more. We got so much encouragement, we shared stories and experiences, we laughed, we ate and we celebrated together. But even better, friendships got sealed & our families got bigger. To us, that’s what mattered the most.

To those who wished us well, we are grateful. Lots of love & light!

Ceremony, Ruracio, Traditional Ceremony, Marriage

*Funny, I barely took any pics with my device, the ones I did were a blur. When I get the some good pics soon (from my baptized photographer of the day), I’ll be sure to share.

Signing off ~~~ *Kawi*

 

Say No To Hoarding.

Being a self-confessed hoarder, I was recently struggling with the case of having so many clothes but on the contrary, no clothes to wear. It’s rather disappointing and annoying to a great extent. When you have 3 wardrobes, with all hangers full, and clothes almost bursting out of them but when time comes and you’re dressing up for an occasion or even on a normal day, an emptiness lingers. You feel like you own no clothes. Sometimes you can picture an outfit you want to wear but you can’t find bits of it because it’s hidden somewhere between the clutter.

That’s was a clear indication that there was a problem. A problem that needed to be deal with accordingly. The thing with hoarding, is that you feel the need to keep the things you don’t need. Your mind tells you, “You’ll need this someday, just keep it.” Even when the day never comes, you look at it and you’re like “the day is still coming.” Sounds stingy, no?

Say No To Hoarding

I thought my cousin was crazy when one day “something got into her” she emptied her closet and only remained with the clothes that she constantly wears – which were a handful. She gave out the rest to people who she needed them more than she did. I was one of the proud beneficiaries – I fancied her style. Remember when hand me downs were a common phenomenon. It mostly happens when you’re in your teens. You know that stage where your parents can no longer keep up with your growing self and changing fashion style. So they stop buying you clothes and you don’t have money to buy clothes – because well, your income is the pocket-money they give you. For some reason it’s never enough. It’s at that point you become a “hand-me down” charity case.

Well, whatever thing got into her, eventually got into me. I was done with the myriad of clothes & shoes that were not doing it for me. Whether new, old, fitting or not-fitting – considering that I got some of those clothes out of peer pressure, others I’ve out grown, others I just don’t feel the style anymore. Is that what we call maturity? I finally made a conscious decision to just go and bin (give away) those clothes, which is like ¾ of my wardrobe. Someone else needs them more than I do. There’s a teenager out there going through the “hand-me down” phase. On the upside, I have less clothes, which means less stress during dress-up, less organizing, less complaining and more space. It helps more that I know what I have, what I don’t have, what I need and what I don’t need. Considering I’m not a big shopping fan (I must be the only girl who isn’t, hence this post, and this post), this makes planning for it easier and more targeted.

But honestly, it felt like a load off my back and mind. I’m sure my wardrobes feel a little lighter too. Such a liberating experience. Maybe you should try it out and Say No To Hoarding! I could possibly be an activist, and that my cause. Isn’t it a social cause? It’ll save someone and also save you some more.

Long weekend around the corner for my Kenyan peoples. Happy Hump Day Lovelies!

Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*

 

Curves and All.

I read this article on Bev’s blog. Like she had advised, I clicked on the original story, and I was touched by what I read. That’s what informed my post today.

Meaghan Kausman, Curves

Meaghan Kausman’s photoshopped image is above; the untouched photo is below. Credit: Instagram.

In our society, size is a weighty matter. See what I did there. But it is, for everyone really, regardless of your size. “You’ve become skinnier”, “you’ve gained some weight”, “there’s no clothes your size”, “try a size bigger”, “maybe you should try sit ups, press ups or planks”, “you should eat some more”, “no, just eat less – more fruits & vegetables, some protein and less starch”, “don’t eat past 7pm, digestion doesn’t take place”.

I’m pretty sure you’ve encountered some of these random statements in your conversations, if not all of them. And boy isn’t it exasperating. I use them too, so I’m as guilty as charged. How does it make you feel? Well, it makes me a little more conscious about how I look. It makes me think, maybe I can do something about it, like I can make myself shrink instead of expand superpowers. Even when really, it’s nature organizing your body for you. Curves and all.

There’s also this belief that petite people shouldn’t talk about weight, because well, they don’t have weight to talk about. But funny enough just as anyone who’s not petite is affected by weight, so are the people you see as petite (which is relative by the way). So it’s awkward when I tell my friends I’m feeling like I’ve grown a little bigger, but they cannot see what I’m talking about. Sometimes I see it, sometimes I don’t too – it could depend on what I’m wearing, what I’m eating, and other times, just hormones – those that make you feel like you don’t look as hot in the present or as you envision yourself.

The other day, I found myself thinking, “Damn, my clothes are definitely tighter”. My once flat tummy, is not so flat anymore, there’s that bottom bulge. My hips, oh well, they’re shaping up, like they weren’t already. Considering I’m not a big shopping fan. You’ll find that I still have clothes that I used to wear way back in campus which until now still fit. Until one day, I’m finding myself having to jump up and down for them to fit. I’m in disbelief. In all honesty, if I could stay the same size I would, but then I’d have to starve or gym myself to skinniness. Nah, I can’t deal. So I try to keep fit by doing some housework here and there, skipping,  planking sometimes, but mostly, just trying to eat healthy.

One thing I told myself is that, I ain’t 22 anymore. I’m aging and growing and it’s not only the age number that  increases. The height and weight too. Remember, Body Mass Index (BMI)? Remaining the same size will be a little too ambitious, although some people make it happen – genes, regulated meals, some serious work out.

I feel that there’s some alluring confidence and sexiness that comes with embracing your body, as is. Also, not everyone can be a size 8, or a size 14, the world would be a boring place. God knew what he was doing when he made us all different, but still in his image. Rock you, as you are! However, that doesn’t mean you let loose and care less about your appearance or size for that matter. It means don’t look shabby, actually, never look shabby. Always, take care of yourself, look and dress pretty, keep healthy. Don’t Photoshop your body either. When you love yourself, even the people around you accept & love you just as you are, because you are a beautiful petal.

Embrace your body, curves and all.

Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*

Back to Life.

Let me tell you something we (bloggers) don’t tell you; sometimes, we run out of things to say, then we get a sudden epiphany or an inspiration from the people or things around us. Other times, you have things to say but you question its validity. Considering everyone has their own personal opinion on that thing that you’re about to write on, yet you’re putting your opinion out there for it to be judged. It’s a tough hobby this one, but fun all the same because you put your mind out there.

Where the old school people at? Remember Soul II Soul’s – Back to Life? They had such cool rhythms and flows then, that when you think of a word, the lyrics all come flowing, even if you’re poor at cramming lyrics like I am. I just thought of “back to life” and the next thing that came along was “back to reality” and a tune to back it up. Also, made me think of LPs and how cool they were and if they’re available anymore, even on the olx.com.gh’s of this world, they’d make good keepsake’s now. Took me back for a moment there.

Anyhow, I divert. This weekend we did our 1st traditional visit – I was in the clouds, now I’m back to life. You know where the fiancé comes over with his boys and his uncles to book his girl (for lack of a better way to say it), state their intentions and discuss the way forward in terms of dowry and the marriage that follows. It was a new experience and quite interesting too given the . Life is about learning, unlearning and re-learning – that’s one thing I appreciate about it. There are things they never teach you in school and this weekend I got a dose of what they didn’t teach me, our culture and its importance.

I always wondered why folks made a big deal about the culture. I didn’t think it’s necessary at some point, I thought it was just a way of them making the process hard for you, you know like their parents did. At the mention of culture I cringed, because of the stories I’ve heard. Stories about the bride’s family extorting the groom’s family. I always wondered why people in the western world just went ahead and dated, engaged and got married without any internal processes taking place. Maybe I got that wrong, because I’ve never actually been in one or know a friend who told me the story, it’s what I saw in movies.

I won’t lie, I wasn’t nervous at first because I know my family. I know my parents, my aunties and my uncles, but the more I let the thought of “what if the stories I hear come closer home”, I started becoming nervous. Then I expressed my fear to my parents and aunts and I loved how they taught me this lesson.

Like a girl attending a basics class on tradition and culture 101, they first explained to me how theirs went down. They were all so funny, because none of them were even there, their parents are the ones who carried out the process because they were far but had identified their spouses, but for them to go ahead and get married, the families first had to meet, know where each other is from and create a bond. And this is what the introduction, dowry and many other process did.

Every society has a culture. Culture is made up of traditions, beliefs, and ways of life, from the most spiritual to the most material. It gives us meaning, a way of leading our lives. Without which we’ll lose ourselves and the core of who we really are. Culture is just not another adornment or accessory that we human beings can use, it’s what makes us human. Culture helps us to define our relationships and engagements with our immediate family and the society at large. It’s also what helps us grow the bond between the different societies, by allowing them to identify with others of similar mindsets and backgrounds. The meeting and mutual respect between two different cultures and how they merge to become one big family.

This weekend, I am proud that my family finally connected with my fiancé’s family and that by living up to our different cultures, we were united. And truth be told, now that it all makes so much sense, when I have kids, I will make sure that we do the same. It’s something to be proud of, especially when done with respect and love … it depicts appreciation to the parents for raising you and that you still want your family (from both sides) to be a part of you. This was just the beginning of many more to come, looking forward.

Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*

 

 

What Next?

Dreaded question? It could very easily be mine.

One of those that fall under the “best and worst question”, all in the same intensity. Best when I know what’s coming next, like I have it all planned out, with the answers at my fingertips, more like a – bring it on – kind of scenario. Worst when I’m trying to figure it out. Chances are that I haven’t even given it a thought or talked about it yet because I fear the answer is “I don’t know”. I was brought up being told to never say “I don’t know”. I’d rather give you a tentative plan or an “I’ll get back to you”. I can’t recall where I picked up that habit from, and I don’t think it was not home, because I was never harassed for not knowing. Maybe school. Well, at least it helped because I never left any blank answers during exams. I’d rather cook up an answer than admit that I don’t know, then find out later what that was all about.

What Next?

What Next? Is that kind of question that’s hooked to the human DNA. We usually feel the need to ask it especially after receiving some good news. You’re never given that honeymoon period to gloat in your glory. The moment you share something exciting, the next thing is, “What Next?” I’m guilty of doing the same thing to others and even to myself. Someone just got engaged, so when’s the wedding? Someone just got married, so when’s the baby coming? Someone gets a baby, so when’s the next one? Someone gets a job, so what are you looking for next? Someone graduates, so what will you study next? Someone chops their hair, so what will you do with it next? Someone buys new shoes … ? It’s crazy, the little heaven here on earth is always so short-lived.

I got my Post-Graduate certificate … finally! It’s one thing to graduate, but it’s another to actually get a clean bill of health from the University and receive the certificate. The excitement lasted as long as the hand over.  We can measure that in seconds. As soon as I received, the question I asked myself was, what next? Then I bump into my friend and share the same news right outside the school gate and she asks me, so what next? PhD?

Graduation, MBA, Strategic Management,  Daystar University, Thesis

I told her, kids, but of course I was kidding (see what I did there). Truth be told though, I had a plan to do a PhD, I even know what it’ll be on – that was in my young and school-loving days, but today, I’m not entirely ready. The thought of lectures, assignments, evening classes, quarterly exams, dissertations – I’m just not ready for that kind of torture just yet. Unless, I’m the one on the front side of the class making other people feel that way *smirk*.

Sometimes, I wish we had the answers to all things future. That we always knew what next or even where and what you want to be? So that when someone asks you, you don’t look like you just swallowed a hot potato. It could very well be a conversation starter, a tough one though. Same thing as asking someone, what their 5 year or 10 year plan is. Now that I’ve mentioned;

What’s your 5/10 year plan? (10 if you think 5 is too shortsighted. I’ll accommodate y’all). Let’s think about it together, then individually jot it down somewhere (a permanent place that is, like a notebook, not your phone, technology is tricky  – it could crash or become obsolete. It’s a funny thing that books still live and last longer).

Then 5/10 years down the line, we’ll retrieve it and see if we’ll have gotten there. If we stuck to the same plan, changed course or well, it just didn’t work out and you did something different. Because we never give up, yes?

Have a Super-Charged Week Champs!

Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*