Benefits of Writing - Reflections of a Young Man™

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Benefits of Writing

When I bought my second android tablet in August 2015, I downloaded a journalling app called Penzu with the intention of using it to save writings that inspire me in my wanderings around the world wide web so that I can read them again. So far, I have saved quite a number of writings in the app like one on the health benefits of drinking purple tea.

But the Penzu team doesn't know I use their app to save writings by copying and pasting. It thinks the contents on my Penzu account are my own. So whenever I don't paste something into the app for some time, I receive the following email:
"Hi [Thuita],

We noticed that you haven't written in your journal recently. Did you know that journalling has many health benefits, including:
  • Less stress & improved moods
  • Reduced blood pressure & improved immune system
  • Improved memory
Just click the button below to jump straight back into your Penzu journal. It'll be like you never left!

Write on!

The Penzu Team"
That email usually encourages me to keep writing. Only that I don't do it on my Penzu app; I write in this website. (Psst! Don't tell the Penzu team!) And given the joy, peace and mental clarity I derive from writing, I can attest that those benefits of writing that the Penzu team lists are true. So I encourage you to write as well.


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Forswearing Foolish Ways

This is the family of Jesse Nyoro - the encouraging senior who gave me a warm reception at Starehe Boys' Centre. I have displayed the photo here with his permission. Copyright © all rights reserved worldwide.

I first reported at Starehe Boys' Centre as a student on a lovely Thursday afternoon on 17th January of 2002. Back then, I didn't realize how fortunate I had been to be admitted to the school which treated new students as brothers. It's only in recent years when I have heard of how some of my friends were bullied in their first days in high school by their seniors that I have thanked God for taking me to Starehe which had a tradition of assigning every new student to a second-former who would orient him to the ways of the school.

My second-former was one friendly Leon Osumba from the Luo community of Kenya who was a bit hearing impaired but compensated for that disability by wearing hearing aids. He went out of his way to introduce me to other schoolmates in Chaka House that I was part of. His amiable demeanour explains why I have a visceral hatred for any sort of discrimination on the grounds of age, race, faith, tribe, gender, disability or sexual orientation. And it also explains why I wouldn't mind marrying from the Luo community, provided the lady is a person of fashion and sense.

The captain of Chaka House back in 2002 was one Michael Mwangale who received the first-formers of that year amicably including me. He used to hold regular meetings with us during the first half of Term 1 in which he would mentor us on a myriad of issues including the spread of HIV/AIDS. Like I remember him telling us that it is unwise to ruin our lives with two minutes of sexual ecstasy. And the night before we broke for mid-term holidays in that term, he organized a small bash for us in which we feasted on biscuits and drank plenty of tea. Oh, how I miss those good old days!

But perhaps the Starehian who gave me the best reception in the school was one Jesse Nyoro who was six years my senior and whose photo I have displayed above. He introduced me to Music teachers when he heard that I could play the piano. And he made some very congenial compliments about me to my fellow first-formers. Later on, he encouraged me to accompany hymns on the piano during assembly by giving me a music score of a hymn in Starehe Boys' hymnal. I can't recall the exact number of the hymn in the hymnal. It must have been either hymn no. 31 or hymn no. 59 because they were the only hymns I learnt to play on the piano in my first year at Starehe.

I still love those two hymns today for their beautiful melodies and inspiring lyrics. Like the first verse of hymn no. 59 in limerick form goes as follows:
"Turn back, O man, forswear thy foolish ways;
Old now is Earth, and none may count her days,
Yet thou, her child, whose head is crowned with flame,
Still wilt not hear thine inner God proclaim:
Turn back, O man, forswear thy foolish ways."
Nyoro treated me like a brother despite the fact that I was a confused new student while he was a famous senior in Starehe pursuing a technical course in the institute division of the school. He still remains my friend who has counselled me on several occasions in recent years.

Like he called me on phone the other day to inquire how I was fairing in life. I told him that I am still working hard and praying for breakthroughs, to which he replied, "What breakthroughs are you praying for Thuita? Don't you realize that your breakthroughs happened a long time ago? Do you know how many people wish they could own a website like you do and write as you do? Stop this business of saying you are praying for breakthroughs."

He proceeded to tell me of two disciples who walked with Jesus without realizing they were with Him until He gave them bread. The point he was trying to make in that reference to the two disciples is that God has already been with me and I only need to open my eyes wider to sense His presence. For whatever reasons, I cannot remember reading about that story of the two disciples walking with Jesus without realizing it in spite of having studied the whole Bible from preface to index.

I however tried to clarify to Nyoro that by praying for breakthroughs, I meant earning money. And I wish I had told him like by winning a lucrative advertising contract in this blog but he cut me short when I mentioned the word money by replying, "Thuita, money only accounts for 10% of happiness. So long as you have food to eat, clothes to wear and good health - those alone are big breakthroughs."

Nyoro's advice made me think of myself as one ungrateful, stupid bloke. Maybe I need to forswear my foolish ways and proclaim my inner God as that wonderful old hymn I have mentioned exhorts in its first verse. Actually, that's what I will do. So help me God.


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Fulfilling Our Dreams

When I was in my first year in 2007 at JKUAT where I was pursuing a degree Electronics & Computer Engineering, I used to love spending my weekends at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi. I became so hooked to the church because of its modern facilities and friendly congregation.

It was in one of those church attendances that I decided to buy from the cathedral's book-stand a book titled Think Big by Ben Carson - the retired paediatrician who became an overnight success in 1987 for leading a 70-member team in separating Siamese twins co-joined in the head. He is currently serving in the Donald Trump administration as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

I was touched by the Ben Carson story as he narrated it in his endearing book. Like how he rose from the bottom of his class in academics to the top which led to his acceptance at the prestigious Yale College. His book was more than well-written; it was inspiring.

Unfortunately, someone stole the book from me at that time when I screwed up at JKUAT. Actually, I never got to know when it was stolen from me because I lost interest in books after I was forcefully admitted to hospital at the university in late 2008. I only realized later on in this decade when I regained my mojo that it was missing in my collection of books.

But I am glad that I still remember some lessons I gleaned from that Ben Carson's book. Like that every piece of knowledge is important, be it Calculus, Chemistry or even Helminthology (study of worms). So if your child ever decides to drop out of a degree course in Finance to study Helminthology, don't discourage him from his decision; he could end up discovering something that will revolutionize treatment of cancer.

Perhaps most important, I learnt from Ben Carson that the keys to fulfilling our dreams are identifying our talents and developing them. So sometimes in 2015, I took time to list my talents and dreams which are as follows:

Talents Dreams
ReadingBuild a resplendent home
WritingHave great friends
Public-speakingGet engaged to a winsome lady
Web designDrive a classy car
Computer-programmingTravel overseas
WalkingBecome famous
Piano-playingHave inner peace
SingingDo a job that I love
SocializingHave a successful political career
Encouraging peopleStart a business
Gardening & cookingHandle challenges rejoicingly
TeachingHave a colourful wedding
Working with numbers Help the less fortunate

After reviewing that list yesterday, I was impressed with myself for the effort I have put in honing my talents since I listed them about two years ago. I can't help but believe I shall soon fulfil some of my dreams. And I beseech you to join me in this journey of fulfilling our dreams.

Identify your talents. Take time to develop them everyday. Persevere when things seem not to be unfolding according to your plans. And remember that what you want to do with ease, you must first learn to do with diligence. Over to you!


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