Having been brought up in the city is a blessing I give thanks to God for. I not only see it as an opportunity to build myself, create a better tomorrow for my family, and shape what my life stands for; but to also go back home and help the community in whatever way I possibly can.
For if everyone had not forgotten their roots; for if everyone had gone back home: schools would have been built, churches would have increased, roads would have tarmac, talent would have been nurtured, hospitals would have been thought of and enough circulation of money would be present.
But maybe it’s easier said than done, right? So I’ll keep to my own counsel.
Helen Keller once said, “The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight but has no vision.”
I ponder on this and wonder how many people are pathetic.
We make that which is mundane seem and sound profound.
We focus so much on what restaurant to dine and forget of the person seated right opposite the table.
We put much emphasis on the clothes we wear and forget of the character within us that wears.
We have nothing to celebrate but still party every weekend.
We miss so much, let so much go.
We prioritize the things that don’t die to those that die.
We focus so much on the houses we build and forget about the homes that are dying.
We park our Land Cruiser VxV8 outside the hospital and inside we are grasping for oxygen about to kick the bucket.
Our hearts are on a chase of wealth to the extent of grabbing land at the expense of our children getting a playing ground.
We get drunk in power forgetting tomorrow it is the same us who will hand over the baton to the next leaders.
We strive to be a success, rather of value.
We have sight but no vision. (Of course, not everyone in the city.)
This is why I go home.
Not because of its calm and turquoise nature or walking past the fields and vineyards or taking a bath at the river but because it brings me back to reality. It keeps me in touch with reality.
A place where Instagram is not known and WhatsApp is just but heard.
A place where rice, potatoes and carrots are seen only during Christmas and if you haven’t eaten ugali (a maize cake), you are deemed to have slept hungry that day.
This reminds me of one day, the Deputy Senior Pastor, during a prayer service, said, “If you have the luxury of choosing what food to eat today, you are highly blessed.” Please stop and think about that for a second or two.
A place where hard work is all that is needed to survive. Where the old line remains brilliantly true: ‘the harder I work, the luckier I get.’
The people rise when the cock announces the start of a new day and retire with the presence of the moon.
Satisfaction is only realized when food is on the table and school fees has been paid.
Most people that run the world today came from humble beginnings – rural life. They are people who wore passion on their sleeve and held their heart in the palm of their hands. And in the back of their extraordinary achievement you will discover extraordinary effort. Read about Barack Obama or even our own Wangari Maathai.
Look closer, our parents.
Maybe that’s why whenever we interact with them, they never cease to preach the message: There is no way a hard worker will be ignored but will always be rewarded.
The Bible also gives us an insight to the same, “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” (Proverbs 14:23)
A place where students are not brilliant, but are diligent.
A place where you experience a clear starlit sky that makes you wish you had a special somebody with whom you’d both lie on your backs and stare up at the starry sky and make a wish.
A place where people seek God and surely find Him.
But it’s also a place where poverty and scarcity is abundantly crystal.
Torn clothes, walking bare foot, mud and grass-thatched huts, working for a sh. 20 pay…
A place where electricity, mobile phones and running water is for the haves.
A place where mothers spend much of the day foraging for firewood and toting jugs of water from distant streams.
A place where women are seen selling vegetables by the roadside.
A place where boys are asked to take the animals to the fields and milking of livestock is done by hand. Sheep and goats live in the compound and some are kept inside the huts at night.
A place where young men are trapped in alcoholism and they just cannot wait to wake up so as to find another drink.
A place where pregnancies are unplanned.
This is home.
I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw: There is a whole panorama of life out there. Not just the bold and beautiful but also a reality of pain, hopelessness and darkness.
I urge you: Get in touch with reality.