On Truth & Truthfulness - Reflections of a Young Man™

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On Truth & Truthfulness

The great American president Abraham Lincoln once quipped, "You can fool all the people some of the time and you can fool some of the people all the time but you cannot fool all the people all the time." See?

I have come to agree with that Lincoln's statement a 100%. That's why when I re-branded this website to its current look and started writing stories afresh, I decided to get rid of all the plagiarism that I used to do in most of the stories I used to write in my previous version of this website that I christened "Polly".

And because I want this website to endure for many years to come after I die, I also decided to get rid of all the lies and exaggerations that I used to tell in the "Polly" website. You see, I didn't want to eventually suffer the unbearable shame of eventually getting found out that all I did was lie and exaggerate because as Lincoln put it, we can't fool all the people all the time.

Take, for instance, a story I wrote in late 2015 titled "Homage to Friends" which began as follows:
On the night I officially left Starehe Boys' Centre as a student in early April 2007, I sat down at home to list all the hobbies that I enjoyed and made me fully alive. And I then decided to build my life with the hobbies; so I penned down my life goals which I would accomplish by indulging in those hobbies.

I have long since lost the paper on which I wrote down the life goals but they remain fresh in my mind: to be a good man, make great friends, have a wonderful family, produce inspirational songs, write great articles/books, be a motivating teacher, become a compelling speaker, start a business/organization, have a successful political career, drive a classy car, own a resplendent home and travel around the world.
O what lie the above passage was! I didn't sit down to write those goals as I pointed out. On the contrary, I was a confused young man that time I was leaving Starehe. And assuming I had been that focussed, I would be a much more successful person right now; I wouldn't still be living with my parents as I am doing now.

To tell you the truth, I just wrote down those goals later on in 2010 after reading the autobiography of Bill Clinton which inspired me to have a vision for my life. And I basically copied Clinton's goals, then I added several more which prompted a few friends to criticize me that the goals were too many. Even my brother Bob advised me to choose one goal and pursue it.

Anyway, talking of this re-branded website of mine, I have successfully managed to get rid of all lies, exaggeration and plagiarism. Like whenever I am in doubt of something, I usually turn to Google for clarification. I can assure you that all the stories in this website are 98.67% true.

My new mission of writing the stories in this website is: tell the truth, only the truth and nothing but the truth. And that's what makes me think that this website will endure for many years to come even after I die. So help me God.


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Part 2: An Inspiring Advert

For quite a while, I had been pondering on whether I should ever take up drinking alcohol or not. I came to somehow loathe alcohol after having observed it ruin the lives of people and tear families apart.

But then again, I came to understand that a little alcohol is good for the soul just as St. Paul put it in 1st Timothy 5:23. So I made up my mind sometime in 2016 that I would start drinking quality wine when I became rich.

I have however retracted that decision by resolving to never drink alcohol even on my wedding day, God-willing. Why? Because I now prefer the natural high of a life well-lived, just like does my wise friend Joe Mazzella who lives in the beautiful state of West Virginia in the United States.

That notwithstanding, I really came to like an advert in a local newspaper that was promoting a popular beer made by East African Breweries Limited (EABL). The advert caption read as follows:
"There are those that push into the unknown
Those that push past haters and doubters
Those that push no matter what.

Like them there is a beer that sets them apart
Breaking convention and conformity
Making others play copycat and catchup
It's the beer for those who shine a light for others to follow..."
So much did I like the advert that I shared it with my brother Joe Kagigite who works with EABL. I liked that advert even though I am a teetotaller because it inspired me to continue chasing my dreams in spite of the criticism and rejections I have gone through.

You see, I have a talent for writing. Sharing stories is one of my passions. But since I first began sharing stories in 2010, I have faced criticism and rejections as I have pointed out.

There are those who told me to desist emailing them. Others blocked me on Facebook. One even told me that he didn't appreciate getting inboxed with stories that didn't add value to his life.

Adding value to life? How I had thought my stories entertained people and instilled them with a sense of self-respect while at the same time offering valuable lessons in grammar, if not in life! But here was I being bluntly told that my stories were as useless as the asteroids between Mars and Jupiter.

Such kind of negative feedback did discourage me but I managed to dust myself off and continue honing my writing talents. This lovely website of mine is a testament to that persistence and determination.

I have a feeling that this website will not only become an international hit but will also live on after I die. And I can't wait to see other people play copycat and catchup as the EABL advert put it. So help me God.

If you have read the title of this story, then you know I have flagged it as Part 2. Click here to read Part 1 of the story.


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Celebrating JKUAT: Kenya's MIT

These are the enduring students of JKUAT's Electronics & Computer Engineering Class of '11 in their fifth and final year of the degree course. I would have been in this photo had I also endured the course but I ignominiously dropped out in my second year. Photo courtesy of my friend Peter Karanja. Copyright © all rights reserved worldwide.

At the time I was matriculating at JKUAT in May 2007 to pursue a degree in Electronics & Computer Engineering, I also landed a part-time job to teach piano to a daughter of an affluent couple who lived in a leafy suburb of Nairobi. I didn't perform well in the job because I was young and inexperienced but some remarks I heard while teaching there impressed me.

"This young man is an engineering student at JKUAT.," remarked the daughter's mother while talking of me to a lady with whom she was having tea.

"JKUAT!" the lady exclaimed, "That's a university for brilliant guys unlike XY University [name withheld] which is for jokers."

That lady must have been right in saying JKUAT is for brilliant guys given the experiences I had at the university. Okay, let me narrate the story.

I enrolled at JKUAT with the intention of transferring to MIT in my second year. But then, I scored the following grades in my first semester at JKUAT:

Workshop Processes and Practice IB
Chemistry ID
Workshop Practice IIC
Communication SkillsA
Calculus IB
Physics IC

Having scored all A's in my high school KCSE exams, I became disturbed by those JKUAT first semester grades, especially the D in Chemistry. And I think that D was well-deserved given the trouble I had in understanding the subject which we were taught by an abrasive and commanding lecturer named Oyaro. Like Oyaro taught us a structure of the atom that was radically different from the simple one I had learnt in high school. For me, understanding the structure of the atom that Oyaro taught us felt like I was learning Greek.

Those first semester results were a rude awakening that I wasn't as brilliant as I had perceived myself. And they forced me to change my plans of applying to MIT as a transfer student and instead chose to re-apply as a freshman.

My second semester results at JKUAT were even worse because I failed in Material Science. And I am thinking I failed in the subject because its comprehension required that I had understood the structure of the atom that Oyaro had taught us the previous semester. Given the trouble with which I have said I had in understanding Chemistry, little wonder that I failed in Material Science which I failed again when the university asked me to repeat the exam - a further proof that JKUAT is for brilliant guys. See?

Those results notwithstanding, I treasure the experiences I had during my two-year stint at JKUAT. First, I had the opportunity to study with seven former students of Alliance High School in the Eletronics & Computer Engineering Class of '11. I had read that Alliance sent a larger number of students to top American colleges than any other high school in Kenya did, which I still think is the case. So that's why I felt honoured to school side-by-side with those seven former students of Alliance High School.

Secondly, I loved JKUAT because it was close to such big urban areas as Thika and Nairobi yet it was pristine enough to offer a rural environment that made me stay in touch with nature. As I wrote in my previous story in this lovely website of mine, I enjoyed roaming in JKUAT's bucolic fields to read and reflect.

Lastly, I came to love JKUAT hospital, a spacious well-protected one-storey building, where I was admitted twice after I went bonkers due to the hard times I underwent while trying to cope with poor grades in class, failure to get accepted at MIT among other issues. So much did I love JKUAT hospital because of its cleanliness and the friendliness of its staff that I later on sometimes wished I could get sick again so that I could get admitted back to the hospital where I had been looked after like an infant baby.

Before I end this story, allow me to mention two shortcomings I observed at JKUAT which put the university reputation at stake. It's main campus neighbouring communities have dusty roads as well as shanty houses infested with petty thieves. A lot of dust stirred by vehicles cruising in those dusty roads usually ends up in JKUAT. And the petty thieves sometimes get into the university to pilfer such stuff as garments on clothes lines.

Given an opportunity to meet the current JKUAT vice-chancellor, I would advise her to partner with the university's neighbouring communities (like the way Yale University does with New Haven) to seek solutions for those two shortcomings because the university's reputation is inextricably intertwined with the wellness of its neighbouring communities. That's all I am saying.


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