Wrong turn?


I’ve been on this path for as long as I can remember. I have memorized all the bumps and potholes. Day or night, I can walk through without hitting my toe on a rock. And now you say I made a wrong turn?

I am especially fond of that evergreen stop next to our rock. Its simply heavenly. The soft grass on my feet every time I dance to those tunes you hum; its perfect. Eiffel tower doesn’t come close to the serenity of this surrounding. The soft sound of the river water, just a few centimeters away blesses my soul. And that rock, it bears my name in all types of fonts I am able to create. The latest carving of my name is followed by a heart shape. This is where you taught me self love and ever since its been the pillar of my success.

So tell me, what wrong turn did I make? Where? Is it the turn to the left just before our stop? I don’t think so. This turn leads to the clearing where cows graze everyday. You remember what we love about this place? The ease with which we can see the stars on a clear night. No telescopes, just your voice whispering into my ear and your finger pointing at the beautiful moon. Have you forgotten those moments? I haven’t. This place is where you taught me to see past what my human eye sees and appreciate the beauty in everything.

Help me understand where the ‘Wrong Turn’ sign is along this path. The only sign along this path says, ‘Keep Off the Forest.’ Despite this, we still pass through the small openings on the fence and run into the depth of the forest. The monkeys love our company. The paths in this forest; we created them with our muddy shoes. We use them every time and we never get lost. You remember the mango tree somewhere in there? Seasonal as it is, we always climb and every time you hold me and make sure I get to the top. I never told you but this is where you taught me to always fight my way to the top and never settle on average. How can this be the wrong turn?

I’ve fallen but I always rise. I’ve experienced dark nights with no stars but the sun always rises at day break. So where did I make a wrong turn?

Wish Away


There was a time when I wished a lot. I was younger then and all I could do was wish. I could ask for it but we don’t always get what we want, huh? So all I had was wishful thinking. It was great when it lasted because all I could say was, “When I’m old enough…” It was easier that way. Just wishing away and keeping hope alive that when ‘old‘ comes knocking I’ll get all my wishes. 

No one ever tells you that part in the middle where wishful thinking only exists in fairy tales and stuff. You grow up, years go by and you’re always waiting for ‘old’ to come knocking. What you don’t realize is that ‘old’ comes knocking every year without fail but because your body is still vibrant and young, you still wait. 

The rude shock is that as you grow older the wishes also mature and you no longer want barbie doll-themed parties. You want or rather need trending fashion to get yourself popular in highschool. It doesn’t end there though, five years later you need a car to get you to work. Years later, you wish for a good school for your pretty princess or handsome prince as they go to kindergarten. Its not long before you begin wishing for grandchildren too!

Some of us are blessed enough to get all our wishes fulfilled but a huge percentage give up somewhere along the way. There’s no such thing as luck by the way! Wishes don’t come on a silver platter, you have to work your butt off. I have no doubt everyone knows this but there’s a difference between people who work so hard and get their dreams and those who work hard as well but do not have any of their wishes fulfilled.

It all lies in your motivation. You know, life goes so fast at times that we may forget to enjoy it and just focus on paying bills and school fees. Let your dreams and wishes be your motivation. It doesn’t matter how far gone you are, all that matters is that you paid attention to your purpose and fulfilled your dreams and got your wishes at some point in your life journey. 

Take a step back and just do you for a minute. Write those songs, cook those new recipes, learn how to play an instrument or two, go to the farm and do some ploughing, go on a road trip; point is take care of yourself and enjoy your youth before every other thing crops into your life and you lose track. Smile more, laugh a lot and stay happy ☺. It only takes a little motivation to get those wishes fulfilled. 

After all, the sole purpose of dreaming and wishing is the satisfaction of getting what you really desire right? So dream on! You are closer than you think.

Blessed


Dear Kwaru,

It’s been months since you departed and not a single day has gone by without a thought of you. Sundays have never been the same for me. The warmth, love and joy that surrounded my Sundays aren’t a part of it anymore. I tried for months to make sense of your departure and I couldn’t find any reason apart from the painful realisation that it was time for you to go home and rest. Blood or no blood, you were family to me; a true friend.

My memory still lingers around our last goodbye. I didn’t see it coming. Not by a long shot. I still see you on that hospital bed barely able to hold it together but still showing so much hope. The smile on your face was priceless. Age couldn’t do a number on your smile, not even if it tried. Despite the pain, you stayed strong. All that could escape your mouth were praises to the Almighty. 

I remember asking God to restore your health. I kept telling Him to remember how you’d dedicated your life to serve Him. I said it over and over again as I walked out of the hospital that day. ‘Dear Lord, if not for my sake, but for the sake of  your servant lying on a hospital bed. Kwaru has served you in honesty and truth. Please remember him. Please’

When Dani called on Sunday morning, I was scared. All kinds of thoughts rushed through my head and I kept telling myself all was well. Dani said you were no more. Those words rang in my ears even after I hang up. My friend was no more. I just couldn’t comprehend it. I tried to hold back the tears as I tried to reach everyone who knew you to let them know of your passing. I just couldn’t do it. I broke down and I let them flow. There was no comforting me. I wanted to shut down and hibernate but I just couldn’t because I had to be the big girl. I had to be strong! 

Kwaru, I know you rest peacefully in heaven dancing with the angels and watching over us. I will never forget your silent teachings. You were the most humble, hardworking, generous and loving human being I met. You would always check up on me more times than even my agemates did. My name was always on your mouth when you prayed and to be sincere I believe that your prayers kept me going. Your smile would always shed light on me. Your unconditional love; those who knew you know exactly what I mean. For the short time I knew you I learned one important thing,

“Loving people out of your comfort zone, people who don’t share blood with you, people who actually need your love and care; costs you nothing! Being selfless in a selfish world is one of the most courageous things to do. You may have nothing material to show the world but all the things that make you special will count at the end of the day.”

I’m not sure any expression of emotions or articulation of words could ever quantify what a blessing you were to my life and many other people. I’m not even near half the person that you were but I really hope that I will follow in your footsteps. 

You are loved dearly. 

Your friend,

Me.❤

In memory of my departed friend, Mariko Obiero. Forever in My heart.❤❤

So long…

​Loneliness. Its all that surrounded me these days. It was like a big dark halo above my head and my arms couldn’t just extend high enough to pull it down. I had a permanent sombre mood except when Paps came in. Paps, she lit up my face like the fourth of July every single day at 9 o’clock. She was the cleaner that changed my sheets every single day. She didn’t miss a day. Part of me thought it was because it was her job but I later came to realise she found me interesting. It didn’t come as a surprise to me though. I found me interesting too. Weird huh?
My best hours of the day, apart from Paps’ time, was late afternoon when Junior dropped by with the nanny. My little piece of heaven; he made my days despite my current predicament. There’s one thing I loved about being a mother to that little boy, it was an unbreakable and untamable kind of joy that just springed from within. It didn’t need no pushing or any sparks. It was just there always. Junior always found a way to make my evening. Despite his young age and of course the irony surrounding it, he still managed to make mummy crack up. Being bedridden for months now, I got around to learning the sound of his footsteps and when they were closer I would break the prettiest smile ever to hide all the agony I felt inside.

Today he was early. I didn’t get to prepare that superwoman type of smile but trust me a mother will always find a way around everything. He was happy which was good because today I needed him to distract himself with his own joy. He hopped onto the bed and hugged me tightly. I tried as hard as I could to hold him tight until he muffled, “Mummy can you let go now. You’re hurting me.” Haha, I know baby, I know. I didn’t mean to hurt him but I just never wanted to let him go. It hurt me to know that somewhere at the back of his mind he knew mummy might never come back home.

“Mummy, tomorrow is my birthday!”
“Yes honey, It really is. Are you turning 20?”
“Haha, not yet mummy. I’m only seven.”
“I know love. I just thought you’d grown bigger last night”
“Wanna guess what wish I’ll make when I blow my eigth candle?”
“Let’s see, err, that your front teeth would grow back?”
“No. I wish that God would heal you mummy and bring you back home.”

Wow! This was totally beyond my adult control. It was more of an involuntary reflex. I couldn’t help it. My lacrimal glands betrayed my otherwise motherly instincts. He couldn’t understand why I kept stroking his hair and crying. He was confused. I was too. All I knew is that my condition didn’t give me any pain. Junior’s welfare was all that mattered to me. The knowledge of having no one with him was painful. Like I said, my life was a lonely one. My only visitors were Paps and Junior. But again, I didn’t care. As long as my baby knew how much he meant to me and seeing his face alone worked magic on my wrinlked one. It’s all I could ask the Almighty for.

Goodbye. I hated them a lot but Junior had to go home, do homework and prepare for school the next day. He looked at me before he jumped down and said, “Mummy will I see you at home on my birthday?” I looked at him and tried not to tear up. I couldn’t find the right words. I choked on my own words and I just managed a smile and a slight nod. He smiled big and said, ” I’ll not say goodbye because I’m gonna wake up in your bed mummy. Laluu❤!”

Seeing him disappear into the corridor holding the nanny’s hand made me a little jealous. It had been long since I held his hand and walked with him to the swings. My baby was just seven but he’d learned to sail through life without mummy being there all the time. It hurt me a lot to have to raise him that way but if I had another way out I would take it. The slightest possibility of not making it home for his birthday drilled holes into my heart. Even more, I felt guitly for not telling him the truth. As much as I hated goodbyes, this one was inevitable…

TIME

She pulled the end of her gown and her hand sunk inside. Gently, she wiped away her tears. It was like running water; the more she wiped them away, the more they poured. The noisy tractor on the farm muffled the sound of her cries. The setting sun kissed her face as the gentle wind swayed her gown. Little bumps formed on her thighs as it became colder. She ran her hand through her hair and turned her head towards the living room. She noticed the blood on the floor. Broken pieces of glass on the floor were stained with her blood. She didn’t feel the pain though. She couldn’t compare any amount of pain inflicted on her at that moment with the pain she felt within. She was bruised and broken. Her mind couldn’t completely register what had just happened to her. It was as if her whole life had been turned upside down and she just didn’t have a map or rather a guide on how to get back to wherever it is she knew as home. 

On her mind was the question, WHY? It didn’t matter what came after the why part of the question. All she wanted was reason. She wanted to be explained to, like a toddler for her own understanding. She wanted to get it clearly without having to doubt herself. 

Was it her fault? Was she pushy? Was she over reactive? Did she give away too much? Did she allow herself to be vulnerable? Was it because she kept so much to herself? Was it because she wasn’t good enough? Wasn’t she deserving of the best? Was she too needy?…. WHY?

She didn’t think she could ever survive it. She didn’t think her tears would ever dry. She couldn’t picture herself, even in her wildest dreams, smiling and laughing again. All she could see was a black halo hanging over her head carrying along sorrow, regret and sadness. Everyone kept telling her that time would heal. How could time heal something she didn’t even know how to explain? 

But, she believed! She waited on time. She clung to that hope even in the midst of dried blood and broken glass. She began imagining herself growing back into her free spirit. She could see herself shine brighter than a star. She saw herself rise like a phoenix from the ashes. 

No one tells you how much time you need to go through a dark cloud in your life. No one can even quantify it. All they can do is help you cling to that hope and push you towards greater things. They are never sure you’ll make it through but still their being there for you should be a reminder that people love you even at your lowest. They pray with you and take care of you. Time heals, however short or long it might take, it surely does! You’ll see:):)

No longer a slave.😌

I’ve read so many heart breaking stories in my short life and the common thing about them is that at the end these subjects always have a breakthrough. When you’re reading these stories, there’s always this small voice at the back of your head that keeps screaming, ‘If I had to go through this I would handle it so well’. You would never say it out loud but its what is in your head. I admit that 90% of the time I just can’t help but feel this way. Its not until you experience it that you realise you are just as vulnerable as any human being on this damn planet.

I swore I’d never let myself be vulnerable for any reason. Believe me when I say I really tried. I calculated all my steps, counter checked all my words and apparently tried out this ‘keep calm’ thing. At the back of my mind I was proud of myself for not letting myself down. If you’ve already gotten the flow of this piece you’d agree with me when I say I was extremely careful.

It wasn’t until I realised that I was being too careful until it just felt like a lie and all I wanted was something real and tangible. I thought to myself, ‘ A little telling won’t really hurt’. So I started telling and I never stopped. Little did I know I made myself very vulnerable. The worst part is my story didn’t have a happy ending like all the others I had read.

Guess what? Gone are the days when people used to take advantage of your weakness and turn you against the very thing that makes you, YOU. My story didn’t have a happy ending so I just thought that maybe I could just turn my ending into my beginning and make me happy for once. Well, I turned out pretty amazing. I’ve gotten to a point where I’m so grateful to the people who made me question the beauty that is within me cause without them I sure wouldn’t be here today.

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So I’m pretty much here to bring to your attention that your story doesn’t have to end in tears and ‘I wish I knew’. It could as well be your ‘From grass to grace’ narrative in a couple of years. Believe me when I say, “Been there, done that!” and baby don’t I love me some good memories now! 😉😉😉

Society’s opinion doesn’t count!🙅🙅

We live in a society that classifies us based on our physical. One look at your fellow classmate and some crazy thought pops into your head. You find it funny so you go tell it to others. The next thing you know, its all around campus. You hear them judge every aspect of other people’s physique in low tones and loud laughters. It could be how thin or crooked your legs are. Your figure could be their centre of gossip. It could also be your pimpled face. I mean, they will find a weakness by all means. It doesn’t matter what good is in your heart. To them, its all about the things about you that you couldn’t change and have learnt to live with.

Many times they will throw you off your A game because, lets face it, you’re human. Human beings have been known to be creatures that crave attention and complement. Sometimes that little voice in your head tells you that you need to make changes and adjust some of the major headlines about your physique so you go ahead. Google makes all things easy right? The internet gives you several solutions from other people who have gone through the same predicament as you and have invented ways to help them cope. So you stumble on one that fits you and there you go, trying to alter God’s amazing creation.

But let me ask, is it worth it? Being society’s puppet, is it worth it? You know, in business class, we are taught about the nature of human beings and one of the major ones is that they are insatiable. So you found a lotion that makes your face smooth, they will complement you for a week then the next week its all about your skin. They will keep at it and you will keep doing it until google runs out of solutions for you and by that time you’re no longer who you knew yourself to be. Your own parents can’t even recognise you.

You go into depression and you start wishing and regretting. Therapists take your money and because they want to keep it coming they tell you exactly what you want to hear. You are then caught up in an unending battle between the society and your therapist. You are in between and you have no idea what you can do about it. Its so hard for you to cope with all the insults and the gossip but truth is, you did it all wrong.! From the beginning, you started fighting the wrong battles. Changing your physical appearance was the wrong move. I know its human nature to respond to all the bad being said about you but just stay with me for a while and lets reason together here.

The scripture says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, in His image and likeness. It does not say we are perfect. No one is. Only the Almighty. You are beautiful/handsome. It doesn’t matter what other people say. The minute you know this in your heart, gossip ceases to affect you. You need to be comfortable in your own skin. That weakness they think they can use against you, turn it around to your strength. Inspire others. Teach them. Use your pimpled face to encourage other young people that pimples or no pimples you’re just as beautiful as any other girl on this planet. Be proud of who you are. Don’t give them a leeway to use your weakness against you. You are exactly who God created you to be. If they think otherwise that’s their business.

People will always try to bring you down because somehow in their sick mentality it raises them up. Pulling others down works for them and they feel like they are worth something too. Now that is their bone to chew, you shouldn’t meddle. Your response to them is the ultimate game changer. You react by hearing them and going all things google, they win. You assume and keep loving your skin, they lose but they learn a valuable lesson from you in the process; Its okay to be flawed. It is okay to be imperfect. It is our imperfections that make us all the more beautiful.

Society won’t agree with me and yes I know its not an easy topic but I want you, my dear reader to know, it doesn’t matter what you think of as a flaw on your body. He who created you calls you beautiful/handsome. He calls you loved. He calls you child of the King. You’re enough. Just as you are. You are created with purpose.

People don’t easily acknowledge the good in your heart and they never take time to know you for who you truly are and not for what they see but that shouldn’t discourage you. They say ‘be good but don’t waste time proving it’. It doesn’t matter how much you prove it to them, they will always find a leeway to bring you down. So why not just take the high road and love yourself unconditionally?:(😌😌

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Breaking the habits

Making friends had never been my strong suit. I just didn’t have it in me. And my parents did not just understand why. Probably because they are excellent at it. If given a chance, I’d probably have preferred solitude to a group of people.

Somewhere deep within me I craved true friends. Or rather a bff. The problem was I used to be antisocial. Proud of it? Naah. I always wished I could change. My mum would always quarrel me about it. She would be like, “Speak up girl. Talk to people. Find out how they are doing.” When she was around I’d try but it was so plastic. I mean anyone with eyes could tell how plastic it was. It was so hard for me especially with my little brother being the social guy with smiles all around.

I remember in high school I was a mathematics guru and everyone would be so awed by my prowess. I liked it actually and it seemed like it made me friends without even having to try by myself. Trust me when I say it was worth it when it lasted. Somewhere at the back of my mind I always knew that they were just my friends because of the glory and all but they weren’t true. It got so bad that I got to a point where my pocket money worked the magic for me. I’d buy them bread or crisps and share my snacks in an effort to keep them because somehow my fears told me they would leave if I had nothing to offer. It wasn’t easy. Sometimes I look back at me as a teenager and I wish I wasn’t so insecure.

Well, after high school I had lots of phone numbers from the ‘
lots’ of friends I’d made. I couldn’t wait to get home and hit them up. My parents didn’t think I needed a phone right away, for reasons the younger version of me never got to understand, so I didn’t get one until later. By the time I got a phone, most of those phone numbers weren’t working.  Surprisingly, it didn’t quite affect me. I settled back into the peace and quiet of solitude.

My eighteenth birthday quickly approached and my parents thought to throw me a big party. I was excited, I mean who doesn’t want a pretty party thrown for their eighteenth? Right? Well, reality settled in when I had to send out invites and I realised I didn’t have friends to send them to. Mum kept asking me who I’d invited and I just said a few people. You can guess that it wasn’t true. The D-day was here and guess what? If you haven’t been so lucky to guess right, lemme break it down for you. The attendants were my uncles and aunts, my parents’ close friends and the kids under my mum’s sponsorship programme. Ikr?!?

Now don’t get me wrong, they made my day a success and all but somehow at the back of my mind I would have wanted some of my friends to be present. It was at that moment that I realised being a maths guru and spending my father’s money on a bunch of classmates wasn’t really worth it. I had done it all wrong. I can tell you right now with no apology that I am in no sort of contact with most of my former classmates. Maybe just three or four who have stuck around and have proven to be true friends.

So what I’m I getting at here? I’m trying to tell you my dear reader that you don’t have to possess something to offer so that you can make friends. Friendships based on material things don’t even deserve to be termed as friendships. Takes me back to a time when I had to pay half fare for a friend to come visit me. Crazy, huh? I know! The word in your head right now could be desperado and I agree but you wouldn’t understand if you haven’t somehow gone through it. It would probably seem like a story but trust me, its real!

True friends are a blessing from above. The Almighty knows each of our needs and using the things He’s blessed us with as a sketchy shortcut to getting friends is just wrong. Over the years I’ve learnt that not everyone who walks into our lives with a smile and open arms is meant to stay. Sometimes God wants you to learn just one thing from the person and move on. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you are undeserving, No! He just wants you to be patient and say the right prayers. You’re probably thinking its weird to ask Him for trustworthy people in your life.

Well, let me be the first to inform you that its not. The scripture records that whatever we ask for in prayer and with a righteous heart, He is faithful to give us. It doesn’t matter what you need. My case was just an example. I needed to break the antisocial habit and I actually used my inability to make friends as a starting point. Guess what? The Lord has been faithful. I look back and I compare with now and I can’t help but be thankful. I’m not saying I have a truck full of friends, I’m simply saying that I’ve got my priorities straight and I’ve experienced a breakthrough.

Hey, I did it, who says you can’t too?;);)

A Piece

The soft sound of the wind as it swayed the palm trees side to side. The roar of the motorcycle as its owner brought it to life. The hooting of the vehicles as they rushed to God-knows-where. The kids’ laughter in the school just across the road made her smile. The smile, it was rare of late. She wanted to stand and go watch them play and have fun.

She found herself in a world of so many possibilities and could see herself playing with Timmy on the swings. That was the happiest Timmy had been. The thought of soaring into the skies and hiking on some pretty birds gave them the urge to scream, “Higher mummy.” The sky was beautiful and the possibility of staying permanently in the sky with the sun, the moon, all the shiny stars, the planets and of course Jesus, was their definition of perfection at the time.

“Bumblebee, hey.”

She was shaken out of her reverie by the sound of Timmy’s voice. It had always been the voice that could find her amidst all the daydreams. It was the one part of her life that was so much better than her dreams. He still looked awesome just like when they were kids. The smiling machine. She hadn’t figured out how he did it. Amidst his pains and frustrations he always managed to put a smile on her face. He’d always been her strongest point.

“Bumblebee come on lets play. I will reach the sun today .”
Mini her ran towards the swings and quickly sat on it. She looked back at him struggling to get to the swings and waited for him. It was a race but Timmy was always short of breath when they began to race. Most times she slowed her pace just to let him win. Mummy always said Timmy was her responsibility. She always had to take care of him even though she was a year younger than he was. As the years had gone by, they switched roles unknowingly. Timmy made a point of taking care of her and he did it so well that she sometimes forgot how fragile he was.

“Bumblebee did you hear what I said?”
“Sorry T, what was it you were saying?”
“I said go home and take a nap or something. You look freakishly bad.”
“I can’t leave you here…”
“Come on, I’m a big boy. Go on.”

Big boy. Yeah, right. That phrase almost made her laugh loudly. He always used it when he wanted to convince her that she needed to stop worrying too much. It worked, sometimes but this wasn’t just the day to use it. Her full time job was to worry about him. Most people who didn’t know her very well thought she was all over Timmy. Truth was, mummy’s last words were still the same words she’d been told when she was six, “Take care of Timmy for me Meghan.”

“Go home Meghan. I can handle a couple of hours alone. Go ahead.”
He only used her official name when he meant business. She didn’t have an option. She’d go take a walk around the block and come back in five minutes. She was hungry so she’d probably buy a burger before getting back. “I’ll be back in five T.” He grinned at her and shook his head. He must have been thinking of how relentless she was.

She held his hand for a few seconds and looked into his eyes. Behind the azure eyes which smiled back at her, she could see the fear, pain and anger. He hid it so well but she knew him well too. He could smile all he wanted but she knew he was as scared as she was. He was so strong even in his pain. He took one day at a time, never worried about tomorrow. After all, he didn’t have control over what tomorrow could bring.

She closed the door on her way out. The feeling of the fresh air in her nostrils just rejuvenated her. Timmy was right, she’d needed some air. The sounds she had heard through the hospital windows were now vivid. She’d been inside there for too long until she felt like she had forgotten the beauty of just walking around in town and enjoying the scenery. It was surreal but she wished she could share it with Timmy.

He just had this aura of calmness and a welcoming radiance around him that just pulled people towards him. His smile was infectious so he’d never had a hard time making friends. He was a keeper.

But he was gone. He promised to be there when she got back, at least his eyes did. He wasn’t there. He probably thought it would be easier for her if she didn’t see him in his weakest. Well, it wasn’t! A year down the line and everyone expected her to get over it but she couldn’t. Her last stop was always his grave. She felt at peace there. She was free to be anything she wanted when she was sitted there. Her daydreams somehow came to life when she spoke to him. She just wanted a piece of him to stay with her…

God-Sized Dream

“A round of applause for our guest speaker today, Miss Juanita. Welcome.”

The students kept clapping even after she’d taken the stand. She was nervous and a little bit shaky. She could see them settle down into their chairs ready to listen to her. They had so much zeal that she doubted if she would meet their expectations. She’d given talks in so many schools and she’d never felt so nervous before. She looked down at her notes and smiled at the thought of her assistant saying, ‘Stick to the notes and you’ll be fine.’ Somehow she felt inadequate, like the notes wouldn’t just work. This audience needed more than just hours of notes from her assistant. This audience needed her to embrace the very thing she had avoided throughout her career.

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“Good afternoon girls, as aforementioned, my name is Juanita Ndege. I am a lecturer and a part time motivational speaker. I’ve been to several schools before but this audience is just special. I’m not sure how or even why but I’m hoping we’ll find out. Okay?”

“Yes ma’am,” they shouted in a chorus.

“So I’m going to speak about, ‘Living a God-sized Dream‘. We all have dreams. Some want to be great politicians, others want to be doctors, others nurses and so on. This is what we want but we’ve never taken time to realise what it is God wants for us. Each one of us has been created with their own destiny to fulfill in order to contribute to the will of God. Sometimes the dreams we have for ourselves are based on our human flesh and the far we can see. This, however, might not be His plan for you as a person…”

She continued reading her notes to the girls and taking time to explain some of the points that were written down. She, however, felt like she was doing them a disservice. She’d managed to keep her story a secret for the past two decades or so because she felt people would think less of her if she told it to them. At this moment, she felt a strong urge to let go and speak it out. She cringed at the thought of telling her story. People would definitely change their perspective of her. She’d gotten used to being viewed as the daughter of a rich pastor that she didn’t want to change it. But the girls needed to hear it. They needed to know that she wasn’t always as perfect as she seemed.

“I’ve been standing here for the past one hour debating whether I should tell you this story or just continue talking and I’m not sure I’ve come to a decision so I hope I’ll find my bearing as we continue. So most of you know Juanita Ndege as the daughter to Pastor Ndege. Well, that’s not the full story,

“I was born to Mr. and Mrs. Otieno of Kamenya village in June of 1995. I am the first born and only girl in our family. I was raised in the village. At the age of nine, my parents passed away due to a pneumonia attack. We were left with my maternal grandmother. My siblings were five and four years old at the time. Despite being old and tired, our grandma made sure we never slept on an empty stomach. She would work on people’s farms and feed us. When she fell ill, she couldn’t take care of us. I had to take up the responsibility of taking care of my family at that young age. School was just a fairy tale to us,

“A year later grandma passed on and we were left alone. Everyone saw us as baggage. They didn’t want to have to add to their budget. I kept taking care of my siblings until one day someone came. My mother’s sister. She took us all in. She wasn’t some rich lady with a fancy house and so much food but she still took us in. With the little she had, she raised us. She paid our school fees from her small tomato business. Our cousins were like sisters and brothers to us. We’d finally found home and a family,

“After my class eight, I scored 314 marks. I didn’t really qualify for high school and even if I had my aunt wouldn’t manage the fees. Just when I thought God had done so much for us, he opened another door. I got a fully sponsored high school scholarship from a lovely family in the US through my second mother, Mrs. Ndege. It all seemed like those princess fairy tales my cousins always talked about. I didn’t deserve any of it but God thought I did,

“I scored a C+ in my end of secondary school examination. I hadn’t done well. I couldn’t go to the university but my mum kept encouraging and praying for me. She encouraged me to apply for a degree in education. I looked at her and asked her how it would even be possible. Who would pay my fees? The parallel programme was too expensive. She looked at me and said, ‘The Almighty will provide.’ I didn’t understand how she could have so much faith in me when I didn’t even have any in myself,

“I went ahead and applied for a Bachelor of Education (Science) degree at some University near home. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would get a chance there. I was prepared for a letter of rejection. But it seems like God had it all planned out in a different way. I got provisional admission and the amount of money needed to get full admission was many thousands that scared the hell out of me at that time. Mrs. Ndege found some sponsor willing to pay the fee within a week. Believe me when I say I’ve never cried so much before. I just couldn’t control myself. Here I was, a total orphan with a future much brighter than anyone else I’d encountered in my village yet so undeserving of all of it. God simply thought that I was made for greater heights even when what everyone else could see was a poor orphaned girl…

“To shorten this story, here I am today. My siblings are coming up better than anyone expected them too. My aunt is still a blessing to me even in her old age. Its taken me years to embrace where the Lord has brought me from because I thought people would view me differently but I just thought you girls should know that it doesn’t matter your background, hell it doesn’t matter where you come from, if God has a destiny for you to fulfill He will use anyone to make sure you do. Despite the situations of pain and worry you find yourself in, if He’s got a plan for you He will surely see you through.”

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When she looked up at her audience, they were all on their feet clapping vigorously. Some were in tears. Some had their faces covered in smiles. She hadn’t expected this reaction but one thing was for sure, she’d kept her word.