Gratitude

More often than not, life is smooth; our health is good, finances secure, family safe etc. And just when you are getting comfortable on this smooth road, something happens and you are plucked from it and set on a thorny path. It  might be an acute illness, sudden financial ruin, death of a loved one etc. In the midst of it all, it easy to become bitter, shake your fist at God and feel justified in doing so. However, a more noble choice would be to be grateful.

I have been recently reminded of this in the usual way. I was about my business when I fell ill. Nothing serious so do not get worried and all worked up. Just a cold (but if you know most men’s temperament, catching a cold is really serious!). Hence, I was forced to slow down a little bit. Knock on that doctor’s door. I can complain, get peevish at the slightest inconveniences. Nonetheless,  I choose to be grateful. Grateful that I can still continue with my work albeit at a slower pace. Grateful that I can still play with my daughter though not for long lest she gets it too. Grateful-eternally grateful-of being reminded of my human frailty and consequently, of God’s power to heal and restore.

Yep! Gratitude is a choice we make. Life happens to us. There is nothing we can do to alter its course. However, how we respond is entirely our ball to play. We can choose to sulk and complain or be grateful and experience God’s joy. I choose the latter. I hope you do too.

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My Annual Dose of Wisdom

 

It appears I have formed the habit of doling out wisdom on my birthday every year. While some may be of the view that such is unwarranted, let it be known that I do it solely for my own pleasure. It is true of course that there are those who may benefit from this annual random musings. I truly appreciate them. However, let it never be misconstrued that I write for them. Nay, I write for me. I write to make sense of it all, to laugh at myself, to bring myself back to the straight and narrow road. Once I am treading therein, then the ‘other’ benefits.  And since I have no intention of dropping this tradition, here goes.

You may be aware from my previous post that my wife is heavy with a child-a baby girl

[Long Pause]

I am terrified.

No one prepares you for this. You marry and everyone wishes you well. You go for your honeymoon, come back and settle into marriage. You no longer spend the evenings in a local restaurant sipping tea and watching news with strangers. No, you go straight home after work and reach around the same time with your wife. You cook dinner together and do the things that married folks do e.g. washing dishes, budgeting…and pinching your snoring partner while tugging at the blanket lest you are left in the cold (what were you thinking married folks do?).

It is all very well structured; regular times, movie night, and once in a while giving each other space.  Then a third one-forming in the womb-enters the scene. It is almost as if she is an intruder. A friend once described them as guests who never leave and are fully dependent on you. It shocks you-takes a while before it hits you. You then realize life is about to change forever. There is a slight resentment at all this. Then again, there is an excitement that cannot quite be captured fully in words. You are about to become a father. Nothing compares to it.

In relation to fatherhood beckoning, I also realise I have come of age. Go on, take a minute and laugh. It is true.

There are things I did back then, that I would not dare do now, like quitting a job without a plan B. Recall that time I walked away from banking after 37 days? Well, if that was now I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I was young, hungry, with no care in this world and had a distinct distaste for routine. I still do-hate routine I mean. However, now I am forced to live with it. You know, so that I can still pay the bills and all. I take solace in the fact that I can shoot birds in my free time (with a camera of course) but even so, I get weary in my job.

Hence to the young I say this; live your lives. Let no one tell you what you can and cannot do. Stuck in a rut? Quit. Bored with your campus lectures? Take a road trip. Got a windfall? Shop till you drop. Frugal is not a word to be found in the vocabulary of a twenty-something-year old. Want to splash your new vanities all over the internet? Hey! Your funeral!

Live your life. I assure you a few years from today, you will look back and say, ‘boy, those were good times, we sure had fun!’

[Another long pause]

Well, it seems that is all I have to say.

I have my evening well planned out-pick up my wife, go home, freshen up, go for Bible study, come back home, sup, read one chapter of The Idiot, be in bed by 10pm. I intend to enjoy this structure while it lasts.

So long dear reader.

Fatherhood Beckoning

sunshine2

I vividly recall the first time my wife told me she is pregnant. It must have been in the evening. We had just come back from work and she was feeling a little bit off. We bought a pregnancy kit; you know, just to rule out that she is pregnant. Well, she took the test without me and informed me the next day that she is pregnant. I could not believe it. The doubting Thomas in me demanded to see the kit but she had already thrown it away. I just had to take her at her word. I did but the skeptic in me demanded to see proof.

This proof was provided later when we went for an ultra-sound. The sonographer ushered us in. He perceived we were first time parents and took the liberty to manage our expectations; it is too early know the sex of the child, it is crucial that we take measures to ensure viability if the foetus beyond the first trimester, my wife should eat well-no junk food, plenty of water (I avoided mentioning am a nutritionist) plenty of rest and of course, tone down on activities in between the sheets. I took this latter advice very seriously. I was ready to forego my conjugal rights for even a year as long as the baby is fine. However, I get ahead of myself. Let us go back to the ultra-sound.

My Sunshine was gently told to lie down on the high bed just beside the ultra-sound machine. A jelly was smeared on her lower belly and spread side to side with a mouse-like device connected to machine. The sonographer took us step by step as to what he would do next. He was quite reassuring. This was quite helpful especially since my dear had freaked out during an injection for blood works. She was still rattled and the sonographer must have perceived this as well. Anyway, I digress but you can tell I was really impressed by the professionalism exhibited by the guy.

It was still too early for the baby to have clearly distinct features. We did the scan at three weeks. We were able to see the placenta and a few other things that I do not vividly recall. Nonetheless, one thing remained with me-the heartbeat. My eyes moistened at the sight of that little beating heart-150 beats-per-minute it was. I believed.

Now most of you know am a man of words and pictures. I love creating stories through both avenues. Moreover, I have a distinct disinterest in photographing humans. This is because there is no randomness to the art compared to photographing wildlife. However, this one time I was enthralled by the image of the little one. At home, I kept leaving whatever task I was doing just to glance at the scanned images. It brought back that sweet memory when I first heard that heartbeat and it also drifted me into the future. What sort of girl would she grow up to be? Yes, it’s a girl, a fast growing girl.

By our last scan she is already 2.7kgs, and by all indices at 35 weeks even though by gestational age she is about 34 weeks. It is a great feeling this fatherhood. I have seen the joy children bring to their parents. Apart from going home to the arms of the one you love, it is immensely satisfying when there are children chattering about. It reminds you why you toil so hard and gives meaning to the whole 8-5 shenanigan. Furthermore, it is endearing to know that you have been tasked with that great responsibility to bring up a godly generation, one that knows Jesus as their Lord and Saviour and is untainted with the passing pleasures of this world. It is truly endearing and terribly horrifying.

My wife and I could worry ourselves to death over this little one. However, we have grown to be certain that the Lord gives life and protects. We have committed ourselves to raise a girl who knows what she is about; brave, intelligent, loves the great outdoors, loves people and above all fears God. It is a huge task, one which will take the hands of many to make it a success, including you, dear reader.

That’s all for now, watch this space!

 

 

My 2015 Favourite Movies

The ‘race’ word has been thrown around much in this year’s Oscars. While I can understand where those who chose to boycott the awards are coming from, I simply cannot understand why some movies missed out this year. Hence, I have decided to list the movies I really enjoyed for the year 2015. Some  such as Mad Max and Bridge of Spies made it to the enviable list but most did not. It may be inconsequential to the world at large but these movies were worth my while every Friday night.

10. Mad Max: Fury Road

Although I am not much into action movies, I happened upon Mad Max and I was hooked from start to finish. The action was not senseless and barbaric, there was a storyline, however simple and the imagery was surreal.

 

5. The Martian

Matt Damon and Chiwetel Ejoifor? A botanist in space? Oh, and making water from the elements? What was there not to love? This was one of the best feel-good movies I watched last year.

6. 45 Years

I looked for a word to describe this movie and all I could think of was sublime. The acting was superb; the tempo just right and the central them-regret-played throughout the movie.

 

7. Mr Holmes

I am not quite sure what endeared me to Mr Holmes, an old man and a boy as the protagonists or the many insights into human nature seen here and there. All in all, I enjoyed this one and would not mind watching it again.

 

6. Concussion

The Kenyan in me liked the fact that Nairobi is mentioned in the movie albeit once or twice. Nonetheless, If a black man was to be nominated for an Oscar, it would not have been Idris Elba for his role as a war lord in Beast of No Nation. It would be Will Smith for his role as a pathologist in Concussion-I cannot recall a single moment in the movie when his eyes were not moist.’Tell the truth. Tell the truth’ remains with you long after you have finished watching. I am not saying that emotion for its own sake is worth meriting with an Oscar but Will Smith indeed does justice to true stories.One taint in Concussion though- I do  not understand how a priest can ask a single man to house a single girl in the name of helping her settle down.

5. Woman in gold

How far would you go in pursuit of justice? This movie was all about a dogged determination of a fledgling lawyer to return a painting in the hands of the Austrian government to its rightful owner; definitely worth watching.

 

 

4. Suffragette

Ever since Calvary, I have held a soft spot for Brendan Gleeson. Herein, he acts as a police inspector mandated with quelling a riotous group of women agitating for their right to vote. Meryl Streep appears here and there but it is the courage of a few women that gives the movie an edge. Their sacrifice, even to the point of death, was something to behold.

3. Bridge of Spies

This is Tom Hanks at his best. An unflinching lawyer with great foresight, unappreciated at the time of defending a Soviet spy but much applauded after a while. ‘A standing man’ he was; very inspiring.

 

2. Brooklyn

Perhaps it is the story of all American immigrants. The land of opportunity beckons, a love is struck, tragedy hits back home, one returns…and is torn between going back to America or staying. No matter, this was a story beautifully told.

1.In the Heart of the Sea

I have often quoted Moby Dick in my writing. Hence, I looked forward to its adaptation with much anticipation. I was not disappointed. Perhaps because it was Brendan Gleeson that acted as the Older Ishmael that made it my number one 2015 movie or the rivalry between Herman Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne that was subtly captured in the movie. Whichever the case, I thoroughly enjoyed it and would not mind watching it again and again.

 

 

 

Anthony Trollope; English best kept literary secret

You have probably seen it around town but you cannot vividly recall where. It stands at approximately one and half meters long and is cylindrical in shape. It is cast in iron. It is red in colour and if you look close enough, you will see the words POST OFFICE embossed on it. It seems to smile for it has a slash in its upper body through which it swallows letter whole.  Dear reader, it is called the pillar box.

pillar box

A few years back, before the advent of internet and subsequently the entrenchment of email, the pillar box was a pivotal piece in communication. We dropped letters inside it and hoped the mail-man would pick them up in due time. A week or so was given for the letter to reach its recipient, then another week for the reply to be received. Yes, it was essential to communication. Now, it serves as a relic of an era gone by and to the nostalgic, of a time when we really communicated. Nonetheless, today I am not so concerned with the pillar box but rather its inventor, a little known gentleman called Anthony Trollope.

Anthony Trollope

Anthony Trollope worked at the General Post Office in London where he invented the pillar box in order to make the collection of letters in bulk from far flung stations easier and consequently reduce the time it takes to send and receive a letter. Although he led a distinguished career at the GPO, Anthony Trollope was also a writer. I recently came across what many literature critics consider to be his masterpiece- The Barchester Towers.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of his novel, perhaps it is prudent to introduce its author properly.

Anthony Trollope was born in 1815, the third son of a barrister who ruined his family prospects by giving up law for farming. His mother, Frances Milton Trollope, supported the family through writing. She had fifty novels under her name. In 1834, Anthony joined the GPO workforce where he worked seven years for a pittance. In 1841, he was transferred to Ireland as a surveyor’s clerk, where he began to make good money which enabled him to marry in 1844 and settle in Clonmel. He tried his hand at writing but his first two novels which were devoted to Irish life were failures. In 1867, Anthony resigned from the GPO and spent his time travelling, fox-hunting, playing whist, socialising and of course, writing. He woke up at five thirty am everyday and wrote for two and half hours at the rate of one thousand words an hour. His average annual income from writing was £ 4,500. As elucidated in a foreword by Professor David Skilton, a professor of English at Lampeter University, his writing style was unique.

Anthony’s contemporaries such as Charles Dickens and George Elliot wrote of the world as they knew it a few decades earlier, and hence were able to draw on the enormous and fertile reserves of childhood and adolescent memories in themselves and their mature readers. Anthony Trollope, however, wrote about the world as it was around him at the time, trying to explain the functioning of the English upper-and middle class society in the very years he was writing. Furthermore, there was a proliferation of religious fiction during the time of his writing Barchester Towers. He could have maintained the status quo and gone on to deliver an excessively exaggeration of religion as other fiction writers were wont to do, However, Barchester Towers had its own comic ordinariness, which was found to be a breath of fresh air as was noted by the Saturday Review:

[Anthony Trollope] has the merit of avoiding excessive exaggeration. He possess an especial talent for drawing what may be called the second-class of good people-characters not noble, superior or perfect but still good and honest with a fundamental basis of sincerity, kindliness, and religious principle yet with considerable proneness to temptation, and a strong consciousness that they live, and like to live, in struggling, party-giving, comfort-seeking world. Such people are so common, and form so large a proportion of the betterish and more respectable classes, that it requires a keen perception of the ludicrous, and some power of satire to give distinctness to the types taken from their ranks by the novelist. Mr Trollope manages to do this admirably…

Now that we have a glimpse of who the creator was, let us delve into his creation.

The novel is centred on the question, who is to be the new Bishop of Barchester?’ Right from the first sentence to the last in the novel, this question looms large over the reader and the intriguing characters jostling each other for the position.

The Bishopric seat is left vacant following the death of old Dr Grantly who ‘died as he had lived, peaceably, slowly and without excitement’. His death marks the entry of other characters onto the stage: Harding, a man known for his stubbornness but good heart, Dr Proudie, an ambitious man of the cloth set to succeed the late DR Grantly, Mrs Proudie a no-nonsense woman who knew how to tug at her husband’s heart-strings to her favour, Mr Slope, Dr Proudie’s Chaplain and an intelligent slippery character whom all men of Barchester who considered themselves religious loved to hate, the hopeless Stanhopes, the intelligent but clueless about a woman’s love Mr Arabin…and of course Mr  Quiverful to whom the concept of family planning was dreadfully foreign.

Throughout the novel, the reader is treated to interesting twists and turns and is taken right into the heart of church politics. Of course, the characters stick to the script and do not resort to unholy means (read murder, sex, etc.) to acquire power such as their counterparts in Parliament may do. However, tensions rise and quite often, anger is expressed in the strongest of terms. Nonetheless, it does seem that there is an Unseen Hand that keeps matters from tipping over. Once in a while, the intrigues get to the press, and under the table arrangements are made to gain favour with the who’s who in Church leadership. These were all interesting but that really hooked me to the novel and reeled me in was the insight of Anthony Trollope on human nature. Sprinkled over the pages of the novel were gems of wisdom that were often delivered in a humorous, scathingly  tender tone that made me ponder awhile before resuming reading. Here are just but a few:

On lengthy Sermons bordering on falsehood

‘There is perhaps no greater hardship at present inflicted on mankind in civilized and free countries than the necessity of listening to sermons. No one but a preaching clergyman has, in these realms, the power of compelling an audience to sit silent, and be tormented. No one but a preaching clergyman can revel in platitudes, truisms, and untruisms, and yet receive, as his undisputed privilege, the same respectful demeanour as though words of impassionate eloquence, or persuasive logic, fell from his lips. Let a professor of law of physic find his place in the lecture room, and there pour forth jejune words and useless empty phrases and he will pour them forth to empty benches. Let a barrister attempt to talk without talking well and he will talk but seldom…a member of parliament can be coughed down or counted out. Town councillors can be tabooed. But no one can rid himself of the preaching clergy man. He is the bore of the age, the nightmare that disturbs our Sunday rest, the incubus that overloads our religion and makes God’s service distasteful. We are not forced into church! No: but we desire more than that. We desire not to be forced to stay away. We desire, nay, we are resolute, to enjoy the comfort of public worship; but we desire also that we may do so without an amount of tedium which ordinary human nature cannot endure with patience; that we may be able to leave the house of God, without that anxious longing for escape, which is the common consequence of common sermons.’

On persistence in creativity

‘There is no royal road to learning; no short cut to the acquirement of any valuable art. Let photographers and daguerreotypers do what they will, and improve as they may with further skill on that which skill has already done, they will never achieve a portrait of the human face divine. Let biographers, novelists, and the rest of us groan as we may under the burdens which we so often feel too heavy for our shoulders; we must either bear them up like men, or own ourselves too weak for the work which we have undertaken. There in no way of writing well and also of writing easily. Labor omnia vincit improbus- Persistent work overcomes all things. Such should be the chosen motto of every labourer.’

On maternal love and it’s permitted excesses

‘As a general rule, it is highly desirable that ladies should keep their temper; a woman who storms always makes herself ugly and usually ridiculous also…but if there be a time when a woman may let her hair to the winds, when she may loose her arms, and scream out trumpet-tongued to the ears of men, it is when nature calls out within her not for her own wants, but for the wants of those whom her womb has borne, whom her breasts have suckled, for those who look to her for their daily bread as naturally as man looks to his Creator’

On love and appetite

“Don’t let love interfere with your appetite. It never does with mine.” 

On holier-than-thou personas

‘There are such men; men who can endure no taint on their personal self-respect even from a woman; men whose bodies are to themselves sacred temples, that a joke against them is desecration and a rough touch downright sacrilege ’

I obtained Anthony Trollope’s Barchester Towers from a street book vendor, one of the ubiquitous common sights in Nairobi. However, the literary style and wisdom exuded during my reading of it have been anything but common. It has been a pleasure reading Trollope and I highly recommend him to any reader of English literature. It is worth the while.

 

I Did It God’s Way

Perhaps this is my most important birthday yet. At 32 years, I perceive I have truly come of age.

In the recent past, I was involuntarily unemployed. Now, anyone who has experienced unemployment knows very well how utterly frustrating it can be. There is no glory in sleeping in; nothing to wake up to; nowhere to go, nothing to do. I went through the motions of unemployment for quite a while; throwing a pity party here, taking all conceivable measures to avoid the public eye. I became a self-imposed misanthrope. I tried to fight it but more often than not, I was the one licking the dust while the shadow of unemployment gloated over me. Perhaps this was my fault. Several jobs came my way. However, they were all ‘arranged’. An invisible hand had played in my favour and somehow, a job was offered. These I turned away. I was not prepared to work under such arrangements. My conscious would have none of it.  Nonetheless, not every day was as gloomy. It is during my stay in this valley that I truly found myself. I am not certain when but as night slowly gives way to day, so it was I realised am not defined by what I do. Nay, I am not a human doing. I am a human being. Since that realisation, my worldview completely changed.

I took up writing once again, an art I thought I had completely lost. Now two short stories of mine have appeared in The East African, a newspaper with distribution in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda (The Morning of an Important man to be and Madness as a refuge from the world) Furthermore, I have started work on a novel. By God’s good grace, the manuscript should be ready by the end of this year.

I also became acutely aware of the beauty around me. This led me to try my hands on photography. I visited wetlands around my neighbourhood in an effort to take photographs of the birdlife around me. I could be seen in a pair of gumboots wading through long papyrus reeds for a closer shot of one or another beautiful bird. One photo has been considered for publication with the Kenya Birding magazine 2015. Indeed, looking back, I now realise that God was with me during those escapades. I felt His presence. In fact, the call from Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital confirming me for a Nutritionist position came through when I was birding. I recall standing for a while with an absent-minded look on my face after that call. I did not bribe for this job. I did not have a godfather greasing a few hands here and there in my favour. It was all the hand of the good Lord and the resignation of a tired son to His will whatever it may be. Yes, it has taken a long while but it has been worth it. I now work with the most brilliant minds in East and Central Africa when it comes to Children’s healthcare.

This birthday is also very important to me because I am now married. Lucy Wanjiku Kibuthi is her name and she is a pillar in my life. I shudder to think how I would have survived those days when I was at my worst. Depressed, melancholy, sullen…are just but a few words that she never used on me even though there were moments she would have been justified to do so. Some battles are never meant to be fought alone. I am glad that in this slough of despond called earth, I am not alone. God has given me a witty, compassionate friend with whom I can trudge through it and come out victorious at the finishing line.

And now to conclude this matter, I refer to Frank Sinatra. I enjoy listening to the man. One of my favourites is his collaboration with Louis Pavarotti in My Way. At 32 years (by God’s grace many more to come) this song pretty much sums up how I feel today. I have taken the liberty to make a few changes here and there to reflect my walk with God. Here it is in its entirety.

And now, the end is near [hope not];
And so I face the final curtain [of single-hood]
My friend, I’ll say it clear,
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain.

I’ve lived a life that’s full [almost].
I’ve travelled each and every highway [almost];
And more, much more than this,
I did it God’s way.

Regrets, I’ve had a few;
But then again, too few to mention.
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption.

I planned each charted course;
Each careful step along the byway,
And more, much more than this,
I did it God’s way.

Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew.
But through it all, when there was doubt,
I ate it up and spit it out.
I faced it all and I stood tall;
And did it God’s way.

I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried.
I’ve had my fill; my share of losing.
And now, as tears subside,
I find it all so amusing.

To think I did all that;
And may I say – not in a shy way,
“Oh no, oh no not me,
I did it God’s way”.

For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught.
To say the things he truly feels;
And not the words of one who kneels.
The record shows I took the blows –
And did it God’s way!

Yes, it was God’s way.

The First Encounter

Irunya’s memory never fails him whenever he contemplates the day he first met Rege. He was in class four and rumours had it that there were new admissions in school. The bullies were very much elated. They viewed new admissions as a new supply of pleasantries during break time. Their eyes gleamed with pleasure whenever the subject of new comers was brought up. It was during Miss Waihenya’s class that the newcomers were introduced to the class. Irunya liked Miss Waihenya. Her skin was dotted with black spots. On any other person they would not have been noticeable. However, on the five footed, light skinned Miss Waihenya, one could not miss them. Other women would probably recoil at the thought of black dots all over their face but not Miss Waihenya. She walked with her head held up high. This air of confidence left quite an impression on all who crossed her path. Among those who were quite impressed was Irunya. Nonetheless, Irunya liked her more because she taught literature. It was the only subject that allowed his mind to roam beyond the four walls of the classroom. Nothing excited Irunya more than creating characters every time they were required to write compositions. Furthermore, Miss Waihenya had a way of bringing fictional characters to life. Besides she was kind. She treated the students equally irrespective of their backgrounds. No student got special favours because they were children of the local Chief. Yes, Irunya liked her very much. It only seemed fit that she would introduce the newcomers, add colour to an otherwise dull ceremony.

‘Class. As you are aware we have some newcomers joining us today.  I would like to introduce them. I hope you make them feel welcome’ said Miss Waihenya bringing the class to a pin-drop silence.

The students sat up straight in the chairs. The bullies were almost standing. They surveyed the newcomers as a Cheetah surveys a herd of Impalas; sizing them up, wondering who would make for easy picking. Irunya felt sorry for the newcomers but he was also excited at the thought of making new friends.

There were four newcomers in all; three boys and one girl. One boy towered over the others. He was restless. He fidgeted with his scrawny schoolbag. His sweater sat awry on his shoulders. His eyes shimmered with wonder as he passed them over the heads of the seated students He had a smile stuck on his face that remained unfazed even at the jeering look of the bullies seated at the back of the class. Irunya could not help wonder at this new boy. It wasn’t natural for newcomers to appear bright on their first day. In fact, if he was on the verge of shedding a bucket full of tears, Irunya would have been at ease. This was natural. However, this new boy beamed that everything and nothing. When Miss Waihenya asked the newcomers to state their names, he almost burst with joy. He should be trembling at the thought of speaking in a room with forty strangers, so thought Irunya. Irunya was intrigued by the new boy. It seemed there was something peculiar about him and Irunya had the peculiar feeling they would become very good friends. It was now his turn to introduce himself. While the other newcomers were shy and withdrawn, the new boy was loud and extroverted.

‘The name is Irege but my friends just call me Rege. It sounds easy to the ear’, said the new boy.

‘Well, Rege, we are not animals, are we now? I am sure you have two names. Out with the first.’ retorted Miss Waihenya while blessing the boy with the most genteel of smiles.

‘Why Madam, I believe it is James. I have not used it in the longest time that I thought I had forgotten it completely.’ the new boy rejoined with a slight bow of the head and that infectious smile still stuck on his face.

The class could not help bursting out with laughter. He was a charmer alright. Such fine English he spoke for a boy in class four. And with that single rejoinder he became the darling of the class including the gracious Miss Waihenya. As she showed the newcomers to their seats, all eyes were fixed on Rege. James Rege. He walked with an aura of confidence never before exhibited in the class nor the school at large. The girls giggled in a most silly manner. The boys beheld him with wide eyes. They worshipped him. Miss Waihenya allowed the performance to continue for a while before bringing the class to attention.

‘Right, let us now turn to Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s Weep Not Child’

Irunya fondled the novel while still eying Rege who now sat a few desks to his left front. Irunya could not help smiling. He foresaw interesting times ahead with Rege around. And indeed he was right.