CEPHALUS: You don’t come to see me, Socrates, as often as you ought… For let me tell you, that the more the pleasures of the body fade away, the greater to me is the pleasure and charm of conversation.
– Plato, The Republic (Book I)
You’re probably wondering why a random 19 year old just pulled a line from Plato, one of the greatest Greek philosophers. Not that 19 year old’s these days can’t read philosophy. Honestly though, I have no idea why I did either. But I think that’s the best part about having my own blog, I can do whatever I want!
But okay seriously, there’s a way more important reason why I started with that quote, and (PLEASE dont scroll down) the following one at the end (seriously, don’t scroll!).
Even if you did ignore all my ELABORATE warnings, the quotes wont make sense till you know what my first blog post is all about. You ready? Here goes. My first blog post, ever, is about, wait for it, my shosho*.
*(that’s Gĩkũyũ for grandma)
Why? That’s another story. Here’s what happened though, on her visit to back home to Kenya from the U.S, I sat down with my shosho and decided to have a interview/ heart-to-heart conversation with her about her childhood, life, and aspirations for the next generation. And let me just tell you, it, was, AWESOME. I learned a lot, like, mind-blown a lot. It was like a history lesson on Kenya, the genealogy of my family (on my mum’s side), a motivational talk (damn mock exams were coming) and dashes of matured wisdom all poured into one glass.
Before you get to it though I just have to mention that: 1. I only put down the more general questions and answers (sorry guys, gotta avoid the super personal stuff) and, 2. I’ve tried to set out the notes I took in first person which I really hope can do some justice to her amazing voice, and the conversation we had. But enough with the pep talk and excuses. How about I just get into it?
What was life like growing up?
I was very dependent on my parents when I was younger. I spent a lot of time outdoors walking. There were very few cars back then so we often had long walks. And I never wore shoes outdoors! It wasn’t a problem in those days. I often walked to fetch water because most homes were not piped. Communities were also quite close so as children we used to gather to talk a lot.
What did you do for fun as a child?
Sports were very popular, I used to play “tenquite” and volleyball most of the time. There was a children’s club where kids could practice skills like singing and drumming for events and celebrations like Christmas. Farming was also quite common and I kept a small garden of my own where I grew flowers and vegetables.
What were you most afraid of as a child?
Snakes and snails!
What was your first job? Did you like it?
My first job was helping to pick coffee to try and earn some extra money while I was still in school. But after my studies I worked at a bank. I started as the secretarial, and then I became a teller. After some time I was moved up to the chief teller.
What was your dream job? Did you ever get it? If you did, how was it? If not, why?
My dream job was to be an air hostess. I managed to get the job but it was too inconvenient. The job was in Embakassi and transport was an issue as there were very few cars.
Who has been the biggest influence on your life? What lessons did that person teach you?
The biggest influence in my life was my dad who used to run a college. He taught me how to be responsible. He used to wake me up early to help him at the office and often came home very late.
What was babu* like?
*(Swahili for grandpa — he died before I was born)
He was a very responsible man. Friendly and liked to help others. He was also very fond of children.
What was it like raising kids?
Raising kids wasn’t easy especially financially. We had to borrow money a lot and I took two jobs, the second one in the evening after my day job. But children are very good company and they also began to help as they grew. They took pride in their education, especially your mother. She was a very good orator!
What was the happiest moment of your life?
My happiest moment… That was when we got the Buru Buru house after a lottery win while the kids were still in school. We used to live in Kariobangi South and around the time we won, we were looking for a bigger house.
What was the saddest moment of you life?
The saddest moment was when babu died. That was in 1988.
Who was the most important person in your life?
My husband, your grandfather. While he was growing up he always wanted to have a farm of his own… He had all the qualities of a husband, and a good father.
Who has been the kindest to you in your life?
That would be my mother. When she lost her own mother, she gave up school to take care of her younger sister. My mother taught me kindness and shared her gift with many others.
What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?
I would say, how to bring together family members who have betrayed one another. Learning to forgive when you have been betrayed.
What are you proudest of in your life?
I’m most proud of your mother. As the oldest, she really stood as a role model for the rest of her siblings. She was always obedient, trustworthy, and put great value on her education.
Are there any words of wisdom you’d like to pass along to the next generation?
The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.
Always obey your parents.
Help as much as you can, even with the little you have.
And try to see the needs of others through God’s eyes.
Is your life different from what you imagined it? How so?
I wanted to be an air hostess, but instead God made me his vessel to spread evangelical healing to others.
How would you like to be remembered?
I would simply like to be remembered as “Sinner Forgiven”. I don’t want any gossip, I just want people to remember that all I did was for God.
What’s the first question you would ask God when you meet Him?
“Lord have I been right with you?”
SOCRATES: There is nothing which for my part I like better, Cephalus, than conversing with aged men; for I regard them as travelers who have gone a journey which I too may have to go, and of whom I ought to enquire, whether the way is smooth and easy, or rugged and difficult.
– Plato, The Republic (Book I)