Find out about the river that is nearest to you. For me it is Nairobi River. Take a walk to that river’s riverbank. Etch your feet into the soft ground and fix your gaze on the river’s flowing waters. As you do so, whisper this to the river, “am deeply sorry for having let you down.”
Listen keenly to the river’s flow and continue with your riverine confession, “am sorry for allowing your purity to be compromised.”
Because the river cannot voice words like you can, there will be only one way of knowing if you have been forgiven - restoration. The day that you walk to that same riverbank and find that the waters are no longer colored by the black of industrial effluent or by the brown of human waste; or by any number of pollutants that keep harming it, you will know that the river has forgiven you.
Let us restore our rivers. Let us restore that transparent color that reveals our reflections when we gaze into the river; let us restore that gentle, yet powerful flow that never, ever ceases. Even better, play your part in restoring that awesome river that flows nearest to you.
7.30AM. I start reversing, eager to get started with my trip to western Kenya. The rearview mirror reveals a little boy walking towards my car, a blue plastic chair on his head. That lady, in black leggings and a black top matches into Mburu’s shop with a pink non-plastic paper dangling in her left hand. When I drive into the Southern bypass fifteen minutes later, I find cyclists all over the place. It must be a popular cycling route. I should try it one day.
Half an hour later, I refuel at a Shell in Lari then speed off past Lari town. This road here has taken a whole two years to fix and it seems far from over. Why do our roads take this long to complete? It’s because of me. Corruption whispers into my ear and I frown at it.
On the right hand side, I see Soko Mjinga. It looks different. One hundred meters later, I notice that there is a new Soko Mjinga. Am certain the traders don’t like is as its further from the road, not next to the road like the original Soko Mjinga. On the left I see a safaricom mast. I wonder how much Safaricom invested in these masts that dot the country! Billions probably.
The Growler, my beloved car, roars into Kinumbi, that infamous climbing stretch that can drain even the strongest of cars if they are having a bad day.
Nakuru. Java Coffee House. I am responding to Ofhani, sending her a quotation of her latest order and sipping Fanta, because it is the cheapest drink. And now am taking off. See you tonight.
I will run the first kilometer in less than 5:20 minutes. I will then run the second kilometer in less than 5:40 minutes.
These two resolutions were ringing in my mind as I slipped on my purple running top and marched out of the house into the biting cold of a July morning. Bariki, our long-serving neighborhood shopkeeper was still asleep, as was evidenced by the darkness in his shop.
Four minutes later, I was at Kamuti’s butchery, the starting line of my morning run.
On your marks… I told myself… Set… Go! I sped off, eager to complete this first kilometer in less than 5:20 minutes. After the first few steps, I breathed a sigh relief. My hips, knees, thighs and ankles felt good so I gradually increased my speed.
I knew that this would be a good run when I ran effortlessly past a STOP sign where I normally pause to rest for a few seconds. When I finished this first kilometer, I was thrilled to learn that I had completed it in 5:10 minutes. Awesome! I fist-bumped the cold air.
I ended up finishing the second kilometer in 5:16 minutes and the third one in 5:15 minutes. Because I finished the fourth and fifth kilometers in 5:44 minutes and 5:23 minutes respectively, my total time for the first 5k was 26:48 minutes.
By my standards, this was a blistering pace that set the tone for the rest of the run. It took me 1 hour, 6 minutes and 8 seconds to complete the 11.57-kilometer run. This translated to an average pace of 5:42 minutes per kilometer – a new record that beat the old one of 5:46 min/km by a good 4 seconds.
In the words of Bwak the Bantu Poet, ‘consistency delivers the sweet taste of victory.’
The warm glow that am feeling in my spirit has nothing to do with chicken biryani, one of my favorite meals. Rather, the warm glow is stemming from a sip of sour porridge from Gatanga. Every sip seems to set ablaze a joyful campfire in my heart.
The main gate to our court was locked. So I had to touch it in order to open it. In these Covid-19 days, one thinks twice before touching public places. But I had no option, so I cast a glance at the security guard cubicle and opened the gate. The guard was deep asleep.
A quick note to my future wife - if you furtively me catch me in the act of dashing to the washroom with my Samsung phone all the time, it is not because I want to send a quick message to an old flame. The only reason my phone escorts me to the small room all the the time is because I enjoy reading stuff as I sit there.