The Teacher Who Believed in Me - Reflections of a Young Man™

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The Teacher Who Believed in Me

Sometimes last year while commuting from my piano teaching job, I happened to board the same public vehicle with Mrs. Waguchu - one of my lower primary school teachers who has long since retired. I was pleased with myself for greeting her confidently, a sharp contrast to the fear I felt in her presence during my childhood years. She used to be a forbiddingly stern teacher who never spared the rod on errant pupils, or rather those who couldn't follow her instructions.

Her stern demeanour notwithstanding, I shall forever remain grateful to Mrs. Waguchu for having been one of the few people who spoke words of faith in me as she once did back in 1995 when I was in Standard Two. She was checking my classwork when she remarked to another teacher, "This boy Thuita looks like he will be a great man someday." To which the other teacher intoned, "Yes, but only if he learns to wear a good short."

I can't recall why the other teacher commented on my short but those positive words of Mrs. Waguchu stuck in me. And when I reflected on those words yesterday, I thought of the man I have become more than twenty years later. I am a bit disappointed with myself for not having become the great man Mrs. Waguchu prophesied.

But I have not given up on myself. I am still working towards becoming a man of wealth and honor - the two hallmarks of a great man. And hopefully next time I meet Mrs. Waguchu, I will be spinning my dark-colored land-cruiser in which I will offer her lift. Perhaps then, I will be confident enough to remind her of the words of faith she spoke of me back in 1995. So help me God.


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How Writing Changed Me

Electronics & Computer Engineer - that would be my current title had I managed to finish my engineering course at the university. It has a nice ring to it but the truth is that I would be a very mediocre engineer given the trouble I had with understanding the course. And I see no pride in being referred to as an Electronic & Computer Engineer yet I can't figure out the problem of a broken down computer, let alone repair it.

I found it hard to piece together the subjects we learnt in our first year in an effort to understand how a computer works. Like we would learn Calculus, Organic Chemistry and Engineering Drawing but in the end, I still couldn't relate those subjects with the workings of a computer. The engineering course was in two words, outrightly harassing.

So I melodramatically dropped out of the university in my second year and started hanging around the campus, mostly in the fields and in the library. It was in one of those hanging episodes that I discovered I had a talent for writing when I started typing a letter one morning to my high school classmates in the library computer lab.

I so thoroughly enjoyed writing the letter that I did not notice the passage of time. It only dawned on me that a lot of time had passed when a supervisor notified me that she was closing the lab at 4.00pm.

Later on in life after the depressing ordeals I underwent following my dropping out of the university, I reconnected with my writing hobby. And I shall ever be thankful for the hobby because it has been very satisfying, intellectually as well as emotionally.

If it hadn't been for writing, I would still be undergoing psychotherapy. The hobby has enabled me to penetrate my own life and learn to trust my mind. A very powerful tool for self-discovery. And the skills I have learnt from it have made me an engaging conversationalist and a creative person.

Now thanks to writing, I am in control of my life nowadays as though I am tooling around in a well-engineered car that makes doing 120 feel like 30.


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The Mosquito Problem

I suppose everyone once in a while suffers from what I call the mosquito problem - as in a problem that appears small but with devastating consequences. Like the way a mosquito appears a tiny insect but inflicts life-threatening ailments.

When I write of the mosquito problem, I am reminded of an emperor who used to call himself "Alexander the Great" yet he was killed at a young age by a mosquito.

That was for Alexander. For others, the mosquito problem could be dressing smartly but forgetting to zip the fly. Or laughing loudly only to reveal a piece of spinach stuck in between the teeth.

As for me, the mosquito problem has always been forgetting where I keep my things. Like yesterday, I prepared porridge with my electric heater and filled some in a cup. Then I got sidetracked by my phone after which I decided to sip my cup of porridge.

But alas, I couldn't see where I had kept my cup of porridge! I searched for it in every nook and cranny of my room to no avail. It was like my room had been invaded by devils (what my countrymen call "mashetani") who had made away with my cup of porridge.

Later on, I realized that I had left the cup in the living room when I had gone to talk with my parents. And I hadn't actually filled it with porridge. What a poor memory!

Even though some people brand me a genius, I feel like I am Alexander the Great waiting to be finished by my mosquito problem that is a poor memory. How?

Maybe I will cut my fingers while operating a farm machinery. Or maybe I will forget where I have kept my car keys before leaving my house for a speaking engagement. Or maybe I will forget to fuel my helicopter before leaving for a trip in a remote area.


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