Friday, 16 December 2016

Br Seme

“A beautiful boy” is the literal meaning of the name Seme in his mother’s language! Apparently, there was once a fellow older than Jesus “the human”. He said that one is a perfect fool if he appreciates nothing of beauty and the beautiful ones – that fellow was Plato in his dialogue Happias Major. (I don’t want to be a fool, so I acknowledge Seme). For a person like me whose spirit droop pretty often, we depend on Seme because he is always laughing. Br. Khisa would say “anatoa meno Nje saa yote.” Even when his own spirit is low. I have personally witnessed his mixed up moods with admiration. It is a breathtakingly concocted set feelings that he displays. Imagine this, I and he had a minor accident, he laughed then kept his mouth ajar for like a minute in disbelief of what had happen then fear came upon his skin like a coat. On another occasion, We gathered to come up with a student representative, we unanimously pointed one and Seme alone in the middle of his laughter shouted in protest saying that he did not wish to have a leader like that. We all turned to him and there was a concoction of feelings on his face again – laughter, fear and disappointment, all at the same time. But above all his laughter never goes away! Personally I have come to depend on him on a day like today when I am down. It heals.  

This my personal benefit. He looks at me and he realizes that I am off the beat of life, then he tells me “ama wewe unasemaje?” I wonder what he is driving at, then he continues “Unajua nimefanya research nimejua kitu? Ukitaka mosquitos wasikuje chumbani kwako unafanya nini? Unaacha viatu vinanuka kwa dirisha, hawatakaribia.” (well, that research is very unscientific).  That was enough to jack-up my spirit. Then he laughes his ribs off to the floor. Even if I had missed the jest, I would have laughed at him or still his laughter would have carried me along. Any of them could work. But as for me, all of them worked.  
Indeed, beauty heals the mind and the heart and so is Seme. 

Friday, 18 November 2016

Bro Charles Daniel

Unfortunately I have no memory of how I met Charles. I think he came to exist in my world at the same time as capuchins – the long I have him known is equally the long I have known the capuchins. I will simply refer to him as Obama the master. I refer to him as the master because according to me, he is the master of his life. Few of us determine where life leads us, he does. One person who can predict his pieces with precision. He knows where every piece will fall in future. While most of us wait for life to happen to us, Obama is busy making his life happen to him. That is the person I have known for almost a decade yet I have not seen him make a mistake about anything that is meaningful to him. I would say that if this life was a chess game, then Obama has more pawn and he knows very well that pawns grow to any other piece including to queen. He protects his pawns well more often for the good of those people he cares about.
When we were very new in this capuchin way of life, he acted as our elder brother for a month – it was a very long month. It was necessary that we listen to his advice. So one evening I asked him if according to him I could make a capuchin, he laughed at me saying “Rich maisha yetu ni difficult (Swahili ngumu kwa mjaluo) lakini wewe utafaulu, kwanza unakula chakula kidogo kama paka, huna shida utasurvive hapa.”

Since then I have been surviving probably because of his prophesy!!!

Monday, 7 November 2016

Br. Geoffrey (Jeff)

To all the ladies out there busy kissing all sorts of frogs in search of their “prince charming”, stop wasting anymore time, the fellow you are looking for I think missed his turn in life and ended up right here with us! Unfortunately, the chances of kissing him are pretty minimal. See, now he is already a brother with three vows including chastity – which he takes very seriously. Now, knowing him in person, as I do, you will be awestruck at the realisation of just how true it is that charming has got nothing to do with being humorous, just like a smile has nothing to do with being good. I call him charming because I believe my friends and relatives, who upon visiting me, the only person they tend to tell me to pass regards to when we meet again is him. I often ask why, “because he is interesting!!!” they say.
Mind you, he is not only likable to the visitors and poor of my class but also the strong and the “don't touch” folks. A couple of times I have seen the superior looking for him to discuss “certain issues” and I always wondered what they discussed. Probably because a superior’s call would scare the hell out of my bowels. Apparently, when the superior is looking for you, trust me, you should be on your heels and hastily putting your words in order lest they fly out of you untamed. That is not Jeff as we call him. He is not troubled and he can handle pretty much anyone with fitting words and calm. Always taking things easy, the other day as he offered me a drink he said, “wacha nikakuletee ukunywe juu nimesikia wewe umekuwa my ‘godfather.’” we laughed it off though we both knew those words had been used elsewhere to demean him, yet he took no offense …… I think he is a good deal for a “godson”, he will make fun of it after all and entertain the people with it!!

Monday, 24 October 2016

Br Adam

Well, he has come to believe that my room has a basement room - although I actually live upstairs. I wonder how there can be basement in an upstairs room! His concern is that he is my immediate neighbour yet he doesn’t get to see me once I have entered my room or hear any sound hence the basement thing. He wonders if all is well with “me” when I retreat in the basement! such is Adam the brother of Eve as we usually call him (Eve I hear is his twin sister- I don’t know her).
Upon meeting Br. Adam, you will surely know you are a human person because he will make you feel like one. One fellow who will never assume your presence. He is a true Adam (man) and full of life! He will make you know human beings count over objects. 
Just a memory: A few years ago, as we were doing the dishes, he noticed that I was struggling to dry them by wiping with an already wet wiping cloth. He smiled as he took the cloth from me and he hastily wiped them. Kamrata , was also present and he was taken aback at how Adam was doing it. I also questioned because the dishes were not fully dry. To Adam, that was pretty funny and he laughed as usual. Certainly according to Adam’s wisdom, plate are objects and so he continued placing them in the cabinet as he laughed saying “Huku kuna joto sana, zitakauka upesi, hata mimi nikioga huwa sijipangusi na nakauka mara moja.” And he continued laughing – we joined him in his laughter

Such is him a man who seems to know what to care about and what not to worry about.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Br. Maloba

If you want to make a hilarious story about any community here in Kenya, there is always a mythical story to tell. For instance I have heard that if someone collapsed in my tribe, the best way to resuscitate him is to call his name and say to him, “hey, Njoro yule mzee alikuwa na deni yako ndiye huyu amekuletea”, surely the fellow will wake up energetically. Now brother Charles comes from a community whose hilarious stories have to do with stomach matters. A community in which two fully grown-up folks can stand and have a serious conversation about ugali. Trust me, I have been with him and I know of few people who could equal his train of truly progressive thoughts. He is always speaking in a joking manner yet he raises issues that build communities and particularly my current religious community. I once tried to make a contribution in his conversation and he listened to me. He comically commented, “ndugu una mawazo mazuri. Mawazo kama hayo ni mazuri, inatakiwa yakafundishwe wapostulanti!” and his conclusion was that the advanced ones would not find my thinking quite sensible, I think I also did not find it sensible. I walked away pretty glad that a man of his calibre listened to my deficient thinking.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Br. Njoroge,

Umoja is a very remote place and away from “civilisation” – It is in Mpeketoni where grandmothers teach their young grandsons how to jump on bicycles. Bikes, bikes and more bikes is what you see. On arrival, we were received by a deceptively young priest. Having in mind that I was a young boy, for me to be able to tell that someone is young he must have looked very young, nonetheless I was under his tutelage.
I looked at the many pieces I wrote to pick something about him but I couldn’t tell what to pick but I came across one phrase he uttered in class while sternly looking at me. “hakuna kitu kipya hapa duniani, usidhani utafundisha dunia kitu chochote kipya, ni jina lako tu mpya juu hakujapata kuwa na jina wanyeki hapa shirikani” (now, that is a rephrased eccl. 1:9 and my name added to it). My classmates laughed. I am not sure whether they were laughing at me or not!  
Later on, I saw something new, Fr Njoroge was on a bicycle going for mass. A priest riding a bicycle? Mpeketoni is another world or is it Fr. Njoroge who is from another world of priests? That was unheard of in my world. Where I come from, priesthood and car are synonymous!.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Br. Sammy

          As he prostrated beside me, I recalled how the Turkana make a camel go down on its knees with sweet songs. I listened to the high tuned melodies of the choir as they sung “watakatifu wote mtuombee” and as the whole congregation reverberated in unison in response to the choir. I knew with certitude that a fighter voluntarily lay beside me, not because he was weak, but because he had endured so much as to come this far, and now he lay there on his own.
Similarly, this morning of 19 September, I watch from a distance as he prostrate again for the deaconate ordination. The one who had been struck so many times yet never fell, one who is so prone to all sort adversities yet unequalled in resilience. I want to ask him how he has made it, but then I remember that he will just burst into laughter. Not because I have that sense of humour as to make him laugh, but because his answers are always comical, “leo tumezipunguza. jioni ikifika tunatoa moja. Huwa ni 365 days na kila siku unatoa moja. Kwisha!!.” Now this is a funny way of living. Every day for him is lived as it comes and each day, one is deducted on its own – I think that is how he has come this far (maybe I should not think, I should be asking him).