Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Of Books And Life

I am not an educationist and I really don't know whether our education system really delivers. But I loved school. I loved school especially because it exposed me to all kind of people. And learning about people is one major life lesson. This is because people are the main component of life.

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My mother while commenting on books would say, "people are books; letters from God. You can learn a lot from people". And true to her words, people are a vast reservoir of resources and wealth. No wonder I love observing people. I love watching people. Tracking their lives. And, I do learn a lot. 

School exposed me to all kinds of people. Little flowers budding. No one really knew what life had in store for any of us. And every time I observe how life unfolds for different people, it gives me perspective. It really hits me hard when you receive the bad news that so and so is no more. Why does it always happen that those that I never imagined dead, die? Or you meet the guy who tied the knot on the number line every end term and he challenges you to the core. Life truly is unpredictable. And when the unknown becomes know in hindsight, it humbles me. Who would have known?

I have tried to reconnect with most of the people we shared something while growing up, some were my classmates, others were village mates, others were work mates while others were church mates. All kind of people. And it amazes me that I can actually pick out something valuable I learnt from them. One day I write out my lessons from different people and I am so sure many of them will not believe. I have learnt so much from people. Lessons they may never be aware they passed to me and that have stuck with me.

Last week I was thinking about this girl I schooled with in primary school. She was so academically challenged the school administration would push her to the next class just to have her clear school now that her age mates were way ahead of her. I caught up with her in class seven and she was pushed to class eight. This girl had never really passed any test in her entire life. It was such a surprise when for once she beat us all by passing the pregnancy test and graduated to the highest education, motherhood. I wonder how life eventually turned out for her. 

And as I keep reading books, interacting with people and learning from them, I have come to understand that true success is not in getting ahead of others. True success is in getting ahead of yourself.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Tyranny Of The Next Thing

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There is a lie that humans tend to believe. That life will get better when we get the next thing. It could be the next job, the next house, the next car, the next big thing. The lie says that if only I could get this other thing, then my life will be much better.

Life is about moving forward and making progress. And true we have to keep aspiring and reaching out and getting the next thing. But when you are at it, don’t get caught up in the tyranny of the next thing that steals away the joy of the present and that postpones life’s delicacies to tomorrow.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Milk Gone Bad

I have just had a glass of sour milk. Actually truly speaking the milk got spoilt and could not make what it was intended to. Some of it was given to the pigs and we kept just a few litres for ourselves. Not everyone wants to take this milk. Some say, it is bad milk, others say it is smelly rotty. I think it is fine.

Did you know a ripe banana is a green banana going bad but we hijack the rotting process and eat them and say, hurray, that banana was yummy! That banana was fresh.

And did you know you can never eat anything fresh? Let me say that again, we eat dead things. Slaughtered animals or cut down plants. And is water dead or alive?

Others say you are what you eat. True maybe, but what are you when you are fasting. And is aging a process of keeping fresh or a process of rotting?

Things are not as they are. They are as we are.

Cheers to another glass of bad milk!

What a fresh drink!


Friday, September 11, 2015

Things That Change

It has been ages since I wrote here. Not just here, it has been long since I wrote an sms.  When was the last time you received a text from me? Sometimes one's crime levels upgrade and you are careful not to leave a trail of evidence behind. Or maybe I lost my mind and can no longer say something meaningful, or maybe there is no reason. It is just life happening where Instagram looks cooler than Facebook and Twitter more trendier than Linkedin. The same reason that makes milkshake more romantic than maziwa mala. Pop corns healthier than mahindi choma. It is when talking to strangers is more fulfilling than late night conversations with friends. When you scroll your phone and you have no one to ask for some loan. Thank God to *844# you can always get sorted. It is when fiction give better company, silence and solitude gives you better therapy.

There is no greater discovery than understanding what it means to be a human being. The larger percentage of the seven billion people on earth have no clue. There is just something way way way beautiful when a mortal soul touches the reality of what it means to have breath. Nothing else really matter much than being. Being human and being sure about it.

Maybe that is what I have been upto..... 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Fattened For Slaughter

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When Isaac was born (Genesis 21), he did not know that he appeared in the middle of his father’s journey. Abraham who had left his home land to a place to be shown by God, had gone through a rough process. He was old, his wife had been barren, he had gotten a child with their maidservant and He had God brooding over him.

Have you ever seen a child being raised by wealthy grandparents? That is how it felt for Isaac. He was a child of the promise. He was an explosion of joy not a just a bundle. I see Abraham showering his son with everything sweet and beautiful. I see Isaac growing into one happy chubby boy. Let’s say a little obese. Every birthday, Abraham would throw such a huge bash and they would feast to their fill.

Abraham must have done his best to teach Isaac about God their father. I see him giving Isaac stories that seemed fictions.  How he had lied about his mother in Egypt. How he thought God was never going to come through. How Ishmael was supposed to replace him and how he had a great promise following his life. I just wonder how Isaac took all this.
Then one day, kaboom! God appears and demands Isaac for sacrifice. Abraham knows nothing but perfected obedience. But that does not deal with the matters at hand. Now how do I break this news to my dear aging wife Sarah? How do I bring Isaac, a now stronger man than I to lie on the altar?

Isaac was so used to his dad’s escapades it seems. This 3 days trips to the mountain to sacrifice to God without a sacrifice on sight was unusual. “Is dad getting too tired to remember we need a ram?” He must have wondered.

When it dawned on Isaac that he was the one to be sacrificed, he must have wondered. You mean my dad has been fattening me for slaughter? You mean I am just but a delicacy? But then again, what can I do but be for my dad his delight, and to His God, now our God, a fulfillment of His desire?

And at times life feels like that. We experience so much goodness and favour just for God to come back and demand the same. Did you just get a pay rise and now struggling to give more? Have you just gotten married and now unable to serve in ministry? Have just had a baby and you now have no time to pray? Has your business received a new contract you have no time to engage with God? Has God showered you with so much blessing, you are too chubby to fit through the doors of the church?

Indeed the test of perfected obedience is more challenging when you are walking in abundance than in lack.

Here a poem to summarize this thought

Fattened for Slaughter

Picked from the wild
Into a pen placed
Daily fodder provided
Fresh water availed.
Well sheltered
All needs met.

Home have I found
My shape now round
Check out how so proud
I bounce and sound.
Freed yet bound
Here now am ground

Picked from the flock
Now the owner's choice
Keenly He eyed me
For this great day
Guests already settled
Dressed ready to feast.

Facing the knife
The culmination of this life
My now fatty meaty heart
Is making dinner delicacy
Fulfilling the very reason
He gathered me in His pen.

And it’s a matter of laughter
How I was fattened for slaughter
But what other reason greater
Than be slayed for the master

Thoughts by Josef Munuhe

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Important Notice

I have struggled in getting a title for this post. This is because it is difficult to summarize what I want to talk about.

Read the sentences below and take time to 
feel them. Feel each sentence independently without being influenced by the previous one.

  1.  You are not important.
  2. Are you really important?
  3. You are important!
  4.  You are really important.
I hope you have managed to feel each sentence independently. The truth is, the feeling you felt about the first sentence influenced the others. To most of us, the first sentence kinda really penetrated inside, making the rest unimportant!

Before coming up with this exercise, I was analyzing how most people feel about being important. One thing I realized is that most people’s importance is affirmed by other people, especially people we look up to. We all speak to ourselves, affirming who we are. But have you realized how sometimes our own voice is not as powerful as the voice of others?

We have all struggled with a notorious mosquito. The kind of mosquito that makes you wonder, are mosquitoes important? And as much as we might feel as if mosquitoes are not important, their importance is not determined by our opinion of the same.

Some people don’t feel as if they are important. Yet if you told them in the face that they are not important, affirming their inner voice, they would get really offended and become defensive, a feeling produced by the first sentence above.

Other people really feel important. And most of these people feel important because of something external. An accomplishment, a recognition, a status or something. And if a stranger who was not aware of who they are came and told them in the face that they are important, it would feel awkward. This is because their importance is tied to something known. And if they lost that thing, they would feel unimportant.

It therefore seems the issue of importance is really a personal issue. And when I was thinking about it on a personal level, I realized how unimportant I have felt because my inner voice was not as powerful as the external voices. It is as if someone telling me am important has a greater value than I, who knows myself better, telling it to myself. And to some extent I would find myself wanting to hear someone tell me I am important.

And imagine if I had titled this blog post with either of the four sentences. Had I titled it.. You are not important.. Those I know and who expect me to know they are important would have felt bad, those who are doubting their importance would have sought to look for an affirmation and those who I don’t know would have wanted to prove that I am wrong. Had I titled this blog post.. You are important, those I know, seeking an affirmation would have felt really good to read on, those who I don’t know and they feel important would have ignored while most people would think it is just a cliché.

Now, what if I had titled it… I am not important… So many of you would feel so sorry for me… and wonder why I feel this way. Others would actually agree.

The essence of this post is to encourage you to know that you are important. And your importance is not pegged to something external as much as is, your intrinsic value. We should learn to believe in who we are and be impervious of the external voices that may or may not agree with us. We should give more weight to the voice in our heart more than the voice of others. That our importance is first and foremost ours to feel, to know, to be.

Could it be being that being important is not something to feel? Could it be something to know, like head knowledge? Just a thought.

Are you important? You tell it to yourself!

Monday, September 10, 2012


We all focus on being leaders. And yeah we are leaders in one way or another. Some of us are positional leaders while others are more of influential leaders even without a position. But we must agree that there can be no leadership without followership. And no matter what kind of a leader you are, to a larger extent you too are a follower.

I would like to extract some followership principles from Jesus as shown in John 10:1-13. We know that the Leadership of Christ is accurate, perfect, complete and lacking nothing. So today we won't talk about quality leadership because we are following a perfect leader (assuming you follow Jesus). We will look at quality followership.

  •  Leadership (Jesus) comes through the GATE.

Jesus does force his way into the pen but He uses the gate. He uses legitimate means. He must be let in. You are the owner of your heart and you regulate who comes in and who goes out. So you must give Jesus access. Quality followership means giving authorization and building a connection. Have you given the shepherd access to your heart? The man who enters through the gate is the shepherd. 

  • Robbers and stealers come through other means.

The robbers break in. They force their way. The enemy does not ask for permission, he invades. How fortified is your pen? Quality followership means being fortified so that we can deter robbers from accessing the inside. Fortification means building ourselves strong enough to withstand the tricks of the enemy.

  •     The watchman opens the gate for the shepherd.

The watchman is the Holy Spirit. Quality followership means being led by the Holy Spirit. It’s through the Holy Spirit that our hearts are able give access to the Shepherd.

  •  The sheep listens to His (shepherd’s) voice.

Have you ever heard a parent describe an obedient child? They always say….. This one listens me. (Huyu mtoto huniskiza). Listen here means obedience. It is not listen in the usual sense, it is being able to figure out what you are required to do and doing it. Quality followership means walking in obedience. Should I add that it should be complete obedience?

  •  He calls his own sheep by name

Where I came from, we used to give names to cows, but not to goats or sheep. It’s funny to note that these sheep of Jesus are called by name. Name here stands for destiny and purpose. Quality followership means allowing the shepherd to define us and to unfold our purpose.

  • The shepherd goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow because they know his voice.

Again where I came from, we used to look after the sheep from behind. We could not trust the sheep to follow us, so we looked after them and not lead them. Quality followership means knowing how to be led and knowing how to follow. Tracking the shepherd, trusting the shepherd to know your needs and where the pasture is and believing the shepherd is better than us.

  •     They will never follow a stranger but rather will run away from stranger’s voice.

My grandmother’s sheep were like her babies. If she would get late and you try to get them outside the pen, they would literally refuse to move. Quality followership means being intimate with the shepherd. This intimacy becomes a protective means against stranger’s voice.

  •    A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

True leadership is demonstrated through service and sacrifice and the fruit bore. Has the shepherd produced more life for the sheep or has life been destroyed, killed or stolen? How protected is the sheep when the wolf comes? Is the shepherd hired or he is a co-heir? Quality followership means being under a true leader.

  • I have other sheep that are not of this pen, I must bring them also.

Followership does not end with being a follower; it ends in bringing others to where you are. Quality followership facilitates the development of other followers. Followers must understand that they too are leaders.
  • Is this man demon possessed?... maybe not.. how does he open the eyes of the blind?

Leadership is an eye opening experience that brings followers to a place of clarity and sight. Quality Followership is walking under a leadership that takes you to the next level.

Thank you for being a quality follower of this post I hope it’s been worthwhile.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Tales From The Garbage Collector

Image Credit: nola.com
"How come you got a baby and you didn't tell me?" My garbage collector asked me the other day. "How did you know?" I asked. "I am your garbage collector", he retorted. Ala! Had I missed the memo? I wondered to myself...

I tend to keep to myself. To mind my own business. To lead a quiet life. You can say am a bit snobbish but am not anti-social neither am I arrogant or rude. I will say hi to people, like the gate man, the shop keeper, the mama mboga, the taxi man, the butcher man and the garbage guy. I will also engage in small talk when they are serving me, but nothing elaborate, nothing personal.

So, I found it a little intruding when the garbage guy demanded to know why I had not informed him of the new development. He says he actually felt cheated to have to discover that for himself. To find the evidence in the garbage bag.

The garbage collectors knows so much about people, more than we want to imagine. Apparently, he is the person who ends up with the evidence of our lives. He knows the kind of lifestyle a family leads. He know their attitudes, their preferences, and he has the incriminating specimens as well as the treasured lessons from each family.

As we engaged in this conversation I sought to know the kind of family we are, based on our garbage bag. I was surprised at his 3 major findings:

  1. We hardly waste food. He had noted that we hardly have left overs stuck in the garbage and he wondered why. I was a bit shocked by that revelation but again it reveals who we are... a finishing generation. We eat it all. And again, economy imekuwa tight. Apparently he had noticed that very many families still waste a lot of food.
  2. He never gets paper bags and plastics which are his highly sought after treasures. Thinking about it, we collects plastic bags and plastic bottles keep them. Then when we get a visitor who would benefit from such, we give them. 
  3. I am the one who removes garbage. I laughed at this one. I can't remember my wife and I agreeing that I am the one to be removing the garbage, but that is a role I have played all along. 
This conversation taught me so many things about people and mostly about ourselves. That as much as we may not be close to people as we think, there is so much we can learn and teach just through observation. And there is so much our garbage bag can tell about us, more than we would be willing to expose. I was tempted to ask about other people, but then I remembered that is wrong and curiosity killed the cat. Maybe I should volunteer for a month in our estate and I will have a story about my neighbors. 

My garbage having had collected our garbage for more than 3 years, had made such a connection with us. A connection that I had no idea. He considered us family, and unfortunately to us, he was just a garbage guy. What a revelation. 

What does the content in your garbage bag say about you?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Why You Should Not Pray For Food!

We have this religious act that just gets into my nerves... mumbling some words before we take food in the name of prayer and grace. I find it very fake. If prayer is a two way communication, have you ever paused a little to get authorization from God to eat or not eat the food you have prayed for? Or you just assume since you have asked him to bless the food he has done it? Oh, and what is that part of sanctifying it? I thought that was dealt with earlier? The worst is when we ask our children to pray for food as a way of impressing the guests on the table. Don't give me that look, you know we have done that and we felt so proud.

But let me brain wash you on why you should not be praying for your meal....

It is so naive for you to pray for food for our body and ignore the junk our souls are indulging in daily. How many times have you prayed for the stuff your mind feeds on? Have you even considered that the stuff you feed on your mind needs to be sanctified? Stuff we get from the media, the philosophies of men, stuff we are taught in school and stuff from the world around us? How many times did your mind capture a dirty song just because you had to use a matatu to church? How many times did you get influenced by someone opinions from a  newspaper column that is contrary to the will of God? How many times have you responded in fear when you watch a news items instead of standing in the faith based on what God is saying? How many times have you been influenced by a soap opera or a novel or a person's experience to accept something that God say's He detests?

Whether we like it or not, we are living in the information age where our souls are offered all kind of delicacies to indulge in. Sadly, you will find people who call themselves Christians who only feed on the word of God on a Sunday from the pulpit and yet they can never fail to pray before a meal.

Even this article is trying to feed you soul, and that is why everyday we need to be careful as we interact with stuff we allow to reach our soul. And just like Daniel in the bible was offered the King's delicacies and chose to do veges, we must be selective on what our soul feeds on. There is this lie that tell people they need to be open minded and flow with whatever you are feed on. But I warn you, an open mind can easily fall of your head. You need to guard your heart, your mind and your soul. Feed yourself with something edifying!

And so the next time you are praying for your meals, first remember to pray for the meals your soul is feeding on.

Friday, August 24, 2012

God Is Our Life-Building Facilitator

I am a team building facilitator. My job requires me to coordinate experiential learning processes for teams. My role as the facilitator is to provide a safe (physically and psychologically), supportive, non-judgmental atmosphere, in which participants try to accomplish tasks beyond their self-imposed limitations.

So when a team contacts me, we do a need assessment that guides me in formulating activities and a program for them. These needs are the things that are hindering the team from performing as a team and achieving more. The activities are supposed to produce learning points in line with the needs identified. 

So as I set those challenges for the team, I have in mind what the team needs are, I have in mind what this activity seeks to achieve and I have the confidence that the team process as they do the activities, will produce the required lessons for them. The only way to assimilate the lessons from an activity is through what we call a debrief. The team sits back and starts reflecting on their process, analyzing their feelings, analyzing their actions and their responses and articulating their learning points.

When I was thinking about my work, I started thinking about how God is our life building facilitator. He know the things that are hindering us from achieving our purpose and call. And so everyday he sets challenges for us, knowing that our processes will produce learning points that if assimilated will make us a better people, able to do life as He wishes. And as much as we might feel as if a challenge is impossible, (just like my teams do all the time), when I engage with him and allow him to facilitate me, He guides me through my processes until I manage. He also knows our self-imposed limitations and He wishes we could break those limiting barriers and be the people He created us to be.

Unfortunately, we don't see it that way. Some of us shun away from challenges, some of us are not focusing on becoming better and others are prisoned by their self imposed limitations they can hardly do a thing. They are slaves.

But God is our Life Building Facilitator. Let us learn how to allow him to guide us through life, to teach us thing through our process and to trust him that though he sets ahead of us challenging things, he know that we can surely do it. 

And yeah, you must make it a habit to always do a debrief with God. Take time everyday to reflect on your learning points and allow those lessons to become part of you.