SGR vs. KR

Travelling on the New train in town aka Standard Gauge Railway alias Madaraka express is a nostalgic experience.

I like the new train, it is definitely more spacious, modern and newer than the old. The new is always exciting and interesting. You get to see a new way of enjoying things especially when one needs to escape the humdrum of city transport that is such a sore toe.

I am a Kenyan from the west who has always turned right at the Uhuru highway round about. Most if not all of my holidays before I turned 13 were spent in the leafy suburbs of my grandparents farm. The mode of transport was the good old KR- nostalgic is an understatement, it was glorious.

The train journey was a serious affair for our family. From the meticulous planning to the daydreaming and finally the actual stepping in the station area and feeling awed by the majestic creature that was the train to Butere.

Our journey usually set off at 5.30pm, my parents travelled with us most of the safaris and that provided great lessons on manners and modesty as well as geography.

Mama provided food and accommodation on the train which was perpetually third class, the maroon cushioned seats provided enough comfort. By the way the accommodation was provided below and above the seats and we had long nights as we snaked our way from Nairobi to the Rift Valley, to the Nandi escarpment, approaching the warm lake basin, where the train changed its “head”. It is also here that the radio was changed to the radio Kisumu frequency.

We refreshed at Kisumu too. Some people had time to even take a shower. We needed to arrive in our leafy suburbs clean and fresh.

The journey towards Butere was always filled with wonder… I liked it because it was home, the landscape and the language people spoke became familiar and made you have the home feeling.

There is something strangely engrained in the old train and I know what it is. I was young, my eyes were feasting on new information, I had my sisters, I had mom and dad. The train linked my modernity with my heritage.

The old train has memories the new train can barely scratch their surface. And so we form new memories with my daughter and take her for her first train ride, just as my mom Beatrice and Dad John did for us.

Who knows, her trains may be doing supersonic speeds and she will write her blog on how mum and dad put her on the slow SGR and this time turn left at the Uhuru highway round about.

Who knows? I still love the old iron snake


Principalities and powers

This week has been a bit more difficult to me than it would purport to appear today. For some reason, our health has been down, fatigue levels had reached fever point and we have generally been down.

Our daughter turned two this week and we are grateful to God for the year that was. With the new age in addition to tantrums and a lot of new words, a runny stomach with the smelly kind of gas arrived

This was my first principality.

The constant changing of the diapers, one after another…we have shelved the potty training which by the way is principality number two… I was beat and exhausted by this constant attack on my girl’s stomach.

So I asked God for help, picked her up and headed to the clinic.
Of course principality number three is my daughter fighting the doctor, fighting the nurse, fighting weighing and temperature measurements. I held her close and wrestled every medicine down and I prayed for myself.

Then the stomach issue migrated to Lisa’s dad early in the morning. By mid morning he was sick enough to check himself in the hospital. I have been at home just asking God for grace to pull through this weekend. I clearly need a break…we all are in need of a break.

Principalities or no principalities we are taking a break and you are going to watch us do it.
Enjoy your weekend folks and in every circumstance, choose to honour God and do not be ashamed to invite Him into the battles. Even those with smelly principalities.
See you soon

Make Friends Slowly


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When we consider the blessings of God—the gifts that add beauty and joy to our lives, that enable us to keep going through stretches of boredom and even suffering—friendship is very near the top.”

—Donald W. McCullough, Mastering Personal Growth

My daughter Elle has a neighbour who is 3 weeks older. They are literally twins. When Elle wakes up each morning and after every meal, literally any time she can dash out of the house….she goes shouting Amaaaraaa ! It does not matter the hour, whether she is smelling good or bad, whether she has had a cup of tea or not. Amaaaara is always on her mind.

Elle and Amara have many behavioural similarities being toddlers and so it is natural for us their parents to expect that our children should be friends by force or by fire !

Woe unto us because as we watch the friendship grow, it is not our will but their will and they are growing it too slowly for our liking.

Our version of developing the friendship includes ridiculous notions like not fighting, pushing, shoving, biting, being mean, jealousy, crying, etc. But by God’s grace we as the parents are beginning to back down and to allow the friendship take its course without forcing it.

We have to learn how to restrain our tongues, hands and hearts as they form it. We pray that God will help their friendship blossom for His glory and not our benefits.

What type of friends do you have ? I wonder what kind I am. Indeed I am the best friend to somebody (hopefully my husband). The value and depth of friendship is a factor if time both quality and quantity, the intensity of life moments you have shared, shared interest and worldviews. All these take a lot from you and the other person.

One of my best foods on this planet are those from Uganda, The Kenyan Coast and Western Kenya. The secret is in a cooking technique called slow cooking. You can enjoy finger licking dishes sometimes with no oil required just right seasoning.

Friends should be made slowly. Then you can enjoy them, then you can count on them, then you can be yourself, then you can ask for help without second guessing where your help comes from.

As Elle and Amara grow we pray that they may forge a good friendship that no matter where they go they will have Jesus in their hearts and have each others back.

Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is truly reliable ? “

Proverbs 20:6

A tribute to Janet Kanini Ikua

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When my father dropped me at Precious Blood Riruta on my first day in Form 1 in 1993, I did not know that my life would be interwoven with your life. From the House- Ruwenzori, from the room and the decker bed. Who would have known that I would have shared the same room and bed space for 3 years!

Janet Kanini Ikua then known as Muiva, was a charming room mate and decker mate. I think she was created on the day when smiles were being dished and a light spirit was being released. I remember Janet mostly through singing and humming her way through the day- at least most of the days. It was just refreshing to watch her. As a Form One, there is a lot of fear and trepidation as you face an unknown future with totally new people. I remember I was constantly afraid, timid and not sure of myself, but Janet my roommate together with the other roommates ensured that I settled in well.

I could not make my bed properly and she would tuck the bed for me, the PB style with the mitered corners. I came from games and somehow was not able to clean my feet well and my crisp clean sheets were soiled with red earth soil and she empathized with my stress. I would forget to get my water for bathing and sometimes I would find it graciously fetched for me. Life as a Form One was more bearable and enjoyable, she would wake me up if i tended to oversleep and just fun and a joy to be around with.

Janet was an interesting person. She possessed serenity and mischief in equal measure. She could gaze out of our room window for long on Sunday afternoons when a compulsory nap was mandated by the school. I wondered what she thought about but being a sweet soul, I am sure she mused about family-especially her family.

Janet was talented in the Arts, yes she was a bright girl academically, all rounded socially but Music and Drama were her love loves. She was the school dancer! My roommate was the school Drama and Music Festivals Lead dancer. During those long days of practice, she would be exhausted and worn out and so I chose to minister to her and fetch water and ensure she was not bothered by things i could do, even washing clothes. Janet was kind, it was a joy to serve her.

When Janet left PB in 1995, I was sad, I lost a friend…our phrase was “If we do not meet on earth, make sure we meet in heaven”. For me Janet kept in touch even though the difficulty then was lack of such social media as we have today. A few months after she left, she wrote me a long 5- page letter. I do not remember much of what she wrote, all I know is that she updated me on what she was up to especially the acting and being well. I was thrilled that she considered me significant to pen such a letter to.

After that her rise was meteoric, on TV and more TV and more TV, her marriage, her father’s demise, her children and so I just told people my decker-mate is Janet. That is how I kept tabs with her. Then- Janet disappeared and when she re- emereged it was the Deep Venous Thrombosis Diagnosis.

Of course it has been a difficult journey. Janet has suffered in the body, her soul has been in anguish but I am happy to report that I met Janet about a year ago. I bumped into her at a dental x-ray clinic on Old Mutual Building. It was a short 10 minute meeting, I introduced her to my husband, did a little chit chat and exchanged contacts.

That was the last time. I saw her. Then the drama that has unfolded in the last few months unfolded. Janet finished her race in the Lord. There is no greater joy for me to know that Janet will meet me when I arrive in heaven.Janet the beautiful soul on earth not in the presence of our saviour. the one who carried her through the pain of Chemo, held her hand in the throes of fear. Halleluyah! What a saviour!

Janet leaves behind a husband and two beautiful children, her mother and her sisters together with their families. The story of Janet must be written for all to read. To inspire those suffering, to shine the Light of Jesus in the darkest days. May the family and friends be comforted to know that their loved one has run her race and finished it-well. God who has been with them continues to be a friend and a helper in time of need. I will think about you for a long long time.

In the meantime, Fare Thee Well Janne, you are at the best place any of us can be- Resting from your labours.

May the Name of the Lord Jesus Be Praised

Your Friend

Caroline Chimoyi- Kasaya