One year ago, while huddled at a small room in Kabete, an idea hit me. It struck while I was right in the middle of a conversation with my then roommate Ian. I don’t remember quite clearly what we were talking about back then but I guess it was something to do with starting a business or a startup or some venture that could make us billionaires within the next half a decade. That’s the exact dimension that our conversations could take back in the day. We talked everything. We’d talk and talk then I’d go to sleep and leave him taking notes or writing stuff. At some point I’d wake up to his singing or to a loud speech from Dr. Martin Luther King playing on his phone.So amidst one of those chats, I had an idea of starting up a blog. Initially, the plan was to write poems solely. I had this weird fascination with poems that still exists to date. It never goes away. It’s still deep within me.
The idea floated on my head for a while like they usually do. It’s usually exciting at first to have an idea but as time goes by the drive and need to implement it withers slowly like a rose flower does when taken out of its natural habitat. Being the person I am, procrastination got the better of me for the subsequent days till I decided one Sunday morning to push through with the idea. 
The fact that I am writing this post right now means that I am still at it one year on. It’s unbelievable how a year passes in a blink these days. It’s not like the old days when years dragged their feet (with January alone lasting for like three months). Over the past twelve months, I have had quite an extraordinary experience in this space. After writing two poems for my first two posts, I embarked mostly on real life stories of friends and people I don’t even know. That right there is the source of my vast experience in interacting with people and getting to know what goes on between their ears and inside their hearts. 
I can still remember the very first post. A poem I drafted one afternoon while preparing for a CAT which was scheduled for the next day. The post had a total of 89 reads which was so fantastic at their time. I remember constantly checking my account and looking at the number in admiration. I know that’s nothing for established writers or bloggers but what intrigued me was that 89 people took their time and data to go through the short poem. Nothing could be more satisfying than taking that to the imagination and letting it capture you. 
I know Alphayo was the very first person to comment on the blog. After that, there have been numerous comments on subsequent posts most of which have been very positive and encouraging. There are times I read through comments which make heart literally glow and dance in its closet. This is purely because of the inspiration that bestride that section.  I have to admit that some of those comments are among the reasons why I have strived to keep writing the stories that I post here every Wednesday. 
Then there are those people who send their comments through emails. I would be lying if I said I never look forward to those emails. They are not only witty but also uniquely funny and satisfying in the most exponential way I’ve ever known. They are not as boring as those emails Masiga sends when requesting for some course work or when he plans on convening a group meeting. They are the kind that send you giggling like an old granny with no teeth. There’s particularly one person who refers to herself as Light Walker who seems to have a PhD in writing emails. All her emails start with the caption ‘Gosh’ and ends with ‘Turus’.  And midsentence she uses a lot of the word ‘what’. Ooh and of course there’s Drey who’s a grammar Nazi. He is so official and all in his emails that you’d think he’s doing an article for The Times. He has this tendency of reporting to me the grammatical mistakes I make in every Wednesday’s post. He turned down an offer to be my editor (May the gods of Uasin Gishu never let you know peace Drey). 
The journey so far hasn’t been a smooth ride. There have been a huge chunk of challenges coming my way throughout this one year journey. I never expected it to be a smooth. My handling of the challenges has however been nothing short of awful. Consistency is something that I still grapple with every single week. There are those good months where I’m usually at my peak and manage to deliver the stories no matter what. But then there are those weeks when I look for excuses for not writing anything much to the astonishment of some of my friends who’ve grown fond of this place. Those are the times I tell them things like ‘Earnest Hemmingway said that writing is a form of torture’. The thing I like about most of them is that they tell me to stop such bullshit and get on my keyboard. I don’t know where I would have been with the constant reminders they give me every week. 
One particular friend of mine who is never afraid to call me out is Jairus Okello. We all call him the Young Tycoon. I know with certainty that he is going to be a Tycoon very soon. Jairus never minces his words. He tells it as it is. He is never afraid to tell me that I should quit making excuses all the time and plan well for my time. There’s this time, a few weeks ago, when he paid me a visit in Parklands. We talked many things at length and I think I am slowly gaining the discipline that he uses to cruise through his life. He is the only person I know of who wakes up at 4.30 am to go to the gym to work out. And he reads my posts without fail then shares without me even asking. What a man. I think I should probably take this opportunity to return the favor by urging any of you readers who needs some fine clothes (beach shorts, suits, workout attires and many more) or shoes to contact him. He will give you the best deals for the best quality outfits (Jairus- 0718477616). 
I can never thank Naomi enough for evoking my dormant desire to start writing fiction. Thing with her is that she insists and never takes no for an answer. She’s definitely like Jairus. I have learnt a thing or two about lying to her or giving deadlines that I am unable to meet. She never forgets a thing and is always ready to flash screenshots to my face on things like the promises I make in regard to writing fiction stories. 
If there’s one great lesson that I have learnt this past year is compassion. Before all this, I had never known the kinds of things that people go through in their lives. I have been humbled by some of the stories that people harbor within. I remember meeting a young lad called Oscar Mizani one time on my way to Kasarani in matatu. He sang so well and had an exemplary voice but lacked the platform and opportunity to showcase his talent. That’s not even the worst part. The worst part is that he had no home to go to when the sun set each evening. He also told me that food was never a guarantee to him. It crushed me that he lacked in totality some of the things that I had my life and took for granted. He had no family like I do. Neither did he ever get the opportunity to acquire a formal education. Such a humbling story. 
And then there’s Olivia from Milimani, Kisumu. Her husband’s suicide devastated her. She’s in the final stages of healing. She sat me through one hell of a sad story about the husband whose bipolar condition wrecked to the grave. She’s been seeing a therapist for over a year but that hasn’t been as helpful as she had hoped. The mental image of her husband’s body floating on the pool water still gives her nightmares to date. In one of her recent texts to me, she was agonizing about why people lack compassion in this world. She was categorically angry at those folks who keep insensitively bringing up the sad memories of her late hubby which she’s been struggling so much to let go of.
But it’s not only been about pain, grief and sadness. While striving to mirror the typical outlay of life, I have tried my level best to bring stories of happiness too. Happiness, as I have learnt over time, is one of the best aspects of life. I wrote about this beautiful young girl who is my niece. Her name is Joy. She moves through life with unabashed innocence. Her innocent navigation of life still ever strikes me as amazing. She is brutally honest in everything she says. As expected, she’s grown to love gifts and games and hot dogs. Being an uncle has never been as hard I tell you. I used to think that uncles had money till I became one. We still play games as we used to whenever I am in Kisumu. I usually look forward to those moments. I bet every uncle out there does. 
Of course I have written about trips too and reunions and many others that I can’t recollect today. Those were all truly joyous times. I got the privilege of being part of them and I cherished such. I would never trade them for anything. As I stated earlier, one thing that I have learnt is compassion. Every single person deserve to be treated with love and respect. I know that it is in human nature to judge others but this is a prejudice that can be overcome with time. Some of the people who smile on the outside go through a lot inside them. They deserve to be asked how they are doing. And even if they tell you that they are fine like a majority of them usually do, if you are a good friend you should insist and find out more if possible. Your display of compassion may be what gives someone the desire to carry on with this messy life. That simple greeting in the form of a ‘hello’ may be more far reaching than you can ever think. 
I know that whatever I am saying may sound cliché but trust me human beings lead broken lives out here. Some may have the ability to handle things better and remain composed but think of the rest. There’s that small section of people who have very high affinity to depression and may take their lives at a snap. Be compassionate and check out on your friends. That’s my ask of you who is reading this today. If someone needs a shoulder to cry on then you’ll get no harm lending it to him or her. If another needs a reassuring hug then give just that. Those very people you show compassion may just be your saving grace someday. You can never know. No one ever knows. 
I don’t know what is coming up this New Year for the blog. I guess I’ll just be around striving to bring as many stories as I can. I don’t know what better way to go about it other than by doing that. There are those times I thought of quitting but couldn’t. Maybe I will someday but not today. I once read somewhere that when you feel like quitting on life just think of the US NAVY SEALS. They are among the world’s best forces. They are also few in number. They are those dark faced men who traced Osama Bin Laden to his hiding place in Abbottabad, Pakistan then sent him to hell in what has gone down as one of the best executed military plots in recent history. You know why they are the best? They are taught not to be quitters during training. They are subjected to the harshest of trainings you can ever imagine. The best of them hang on to the end but those who quit never join the coveted ranks of being SEALS. 
Thank you all for reading this past year. Onto the next!!
Shall we?
PS: I am accepting cakes or pictures of cakes for the Blog’s anniversary. Let the games begin.

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