The other day I was driving down this familiar road that appeared entirely new because I had taken a long to pass through it. Interestingly, nothing was fascinating about it: broken culverts, gaping potholes, and common drainage issues. However, I do not want to talk about physical roads today. Why don’t we discuss the road of life?
The Enormous Question
What is it that comes to your mind when you hear about the road of life? If you are reading this piece, you must be on a journey that has an ultimate destination with several goals in between.
Alternatively, you could walk through several routes converging at the same point. Well, I even don’t know whether the statement above makes sense itself. But the fact is; eventually, you want to be somewhere in life if you are of a sound mind.
Greatness is in all of us
One pure truth about life is that everyone born of a mother under the sun has an inherent desire to be great. And some driven by vice have used crude methods to get to the top. Isn’t it true that some of our political leaders have killed and exiled their rivals and political opponents to get to the top? Well, you may say you fight for power and don’t beg it, but no one has the right to take away life.
One pure truth about life is that everyone born of a mother under the sun has an inherent desire to be greatJob Kiniale
What’s your view of success/greatness?
If you are still there, I want to talk partly about my experience in the Kenya Education system 8.4.4. Has not education played a major role in shaping our lives? Whether or not you went through it? There must be one or two things you learnt from it.
When I was in primary school, pupils who had done their last exams and left; probably joined national schools would come back visiting. We used to revere them and see them as our heroes because they achieved what we hadn’t.
We viewed them with awe and admiration and imagined the wonderful life they were leading in national schools. Our teachers could celebrate them, telling us to be like so and so.
Oblivious to us, they were also the typical high school students on a life journey with the core desire to make their lives more meaningful. Back in primary school, we imagined an excellent experience in a prestigious national school after that. Time passed, and the lucky ones like me (or should someone else be saying this) found themselves in high school.
Know things for What they are
We realized high school wasn’t a bed of roses either. Primary school was a walkover. In my case, mine was an excellent performing provincial school whose promotion to a national school was long overdue.
They deemed the school among the best in Western Kenya under the leadership of the head teacher we had nicknamed “Jeshi”. In high school, it was survival for the fittest.
A series of CATS, assignments, and quizzes. We met poor performance with some hard lashes on our sitting apparatus, and our teachers would threaten us with repeating classes.
So this is what the heroes we revered in our primary school days went through? The food was not much different from the one we used to consume with relish back in primary school but was better in my opinion.
Over time, I watched as guys gave up when things became tough. Some stricter subjects like Mathematics, physics, and chemistry proved to be a tall order for many.
In primary school, for instance, you could gamble with multiple choices and scoop 97/100%. If you have been through the Kenya 8.4.4. In the education system, you must relate to this.
I wouldn’t want to talk about myself here lest I brag or get biased. Add to the indiscipline cases that bedeviled the crooked ones.
As a high school student, the word expulsion or getting expelled was so dreary that thinking about it would send chills down my spine. Actually, to a high school student, it was like your life had ended abruptly.
While going home after getting expelled or suspended, you needed to think hard to fabricate lies that you would use to convince your parents why you were out of school or otherwise, your goose would be cooked.
And what were the villagers expected to think of you? After hearing the son of so and so joined high school and is now passing the time at home.
Many guys we schooled with in primary school got expelled or suspended indefinitely for many indiscipline cases.
The lucky ones would get suspended for two weeks, get back, and write course notes for missed classes. However, the worst would await them.
If students had done any exams during their suspension period, it means they would rank bottom, and “Jeshi” would shame them during the academic parade.
In the wildest of our dreams in primary school, this is not the life we had dreamt of or envisioned.
The Good Memories
On the flip side, there was the fun part of it. Graduating from putting on shorts to trousers. Writing letters to girls and interacting with them. Entertainment on weekends and abrupt changes with something delicious on the menu.
Also, not forgetting games, Mathematics contests, Science Congress, Drama and music fests, and many other co-curricular events.
In high school, we had revered visitors who could stop by for their teaching practice. Talking of an AGM, a complete bull would go down for parents’ lunch. The dining hall would instantly become a no-go zone for students.
Source of Hope
Among the revered visitors were the old boys who would motivate us to work hard. We would find great relief in listening to them, not because they were talented speakers but because they had gone through the system.
In them, we found the hope to join University via the government program called JAB–Joint Admissions Board, known as KUCCPS.
We also saw superheroes, role models, and guys who were already making it. To us, these were making it on the road of life. Looking back, I imagine the life struggles they also faced even though they appeared as heroes in our sight.
Now, I had this fairy picture of a university. I imagined a place where young adults were well-behaved, disciplined, focused, go-getters, and all the positive words you can think of.
Well, but wait till you visit the washrooms. Hahaha. Wait till you go for student elections! People would get stupid, forget about ideologies and primitively go tribal.
Add to the injury, the many tribal associations still exist within our campuses. Ooh! Kitwek Student Association! What for!!? Students would speak vernacular in some of these meetings. I thought we derived the name university from the adverb universal. Don’t we?
Logically, this would be expected regarding student elections. Weren’t their sponsors the same tribal kingpins we see in parliament buildings?
A friend once mentioned how University thwarted his expectations.
To him, the university was a citadel of research, where guys were immersed in research on several topics. Shockingly for him, it was an endless journey of lectures, the same handouts, and exams.
The White Lie
Talking from the eyes of a Kenyan graduate University wasn’t a walk in the park as our high school teachers would want us to believe.
If you burned your Chemistry book after your final exam imagining Chemistry was over, you would be in for a rude shock. Science-based courses still had elements of Chemistry and biology in the first year.
Freedom was at its peak on campus, and you had to learn discipline, manage your time, money, and foodstuffs.
Come exam time; people would read and study like there was no tomorrow. Even the best of jokers would seclude themselves and get down to business.
Apparently, at every stage of life, the Darwinian selection theory applies. By the fourth year, some chaps we began with were missing for myriad reasons. A proof of the fact that every stage on the road of life has lessons to offer.
Some reasons, such as having no school fees, were rather pathetic. However, cases of indiscipline, missing classes on end and getting pregnant along the way would make life difficult for many.
The Situation as it is
Four years later, everyone was out again, and we mingled through social media and WhatsApp groups.
Some came out married, others engaged, and some marriage was a distant dream far away. Still, when joining, others came from the North but left going South in search of greener pastures.
Others lingered for a while, perhaps waiting for a sign from God knows where.
For those who were partly students and partly engaged in businesses, it was merely a matter of transitioning from being a part-time student to a full-time business.
To them, education was a tool for relevancy, but they appeared to have their lives figured out already.
As of writing this, it’s another four years since campus. Time seems to have moved fast but with minor changes.
Young families are still coming up. Some saw the need to advance their education and returned to it again. Interestingly, a few unheard-of chaps have taken the world by storm.
They now driving gigantic machines and living a life that would only amount to wishes and dreams at our age.
You would think because they live largely, they would be quick to lift and support others. But nothing could be further from the truth.
Success is a process. You get to apply for jobs and not even get a regret email. You try a business, it somehow cannot see the end of the year. You try relationships; you get some rough rides before a soft landing.
You would think because of them living large, they would be quick to lift and support others down the ladder. But nothing could be further from the truth. Success is a process. You get to apply for jobs and not even get a regret email. You try business it somehow cannot see the end of the year. You try relationships; you get some rough rides before a soft landing.
Now to somebody who has achieved some sense of significance without going through breaking a sweat, the need or the heart to help may not even exist.
Some who had relatives and friends in prominent places knew they had well cut out their road of life only for matters to take a downward spiral.
The Big Questions
Essentially, the big question to ask ourselves is, where are we walking on this road of life? Why all the toil and sacrifice? Is it worth it? Is there a crown awaiting you at the other end of the tunnel?
Is it to disapprove of people who never believed in you, or what fuels you to keep walking? What meaning or significance are you looking for in life? At the end of your journey, what do you want people to remember you for?
That you paid school fees for orphans or built and lived in the most expensive house? Let me know in the comments below.
Strictly speaking, things could differ from reality, however much you may think someone is living the best of life. As I wrap this up, it’s more important to know where you are heading on the road of life than just dragging yourself by.