One Poet; One Life At A Time

        Talking to young poets in a mentorship class in Ongata Rongai
Both my parents are teachers.I hated how part of our upbringing was because home many times felt like school. I loathed the idea of being an administrator. Funny enough, my father and mother are both first borns in their respective families. You can imagine how important the subject of leadership has been at home, and what I had to go through to be a ‘straight’ son.
The last thing I ever thought was that someday I’d be teaching the young and old about life, the passion we share for poetry and art; and just how our day to day experiences are vital in the shaping of our understanding of love. It’s against all odds that people pay attention to what I have to say; my ideas, instructions, advice and directions. And to bring myself to the knowledge that it is not really about me, but the God I serve, and that leadership, really, is about serving people so that our lives could collectively get better as opposed to enriching one person or just a few people, takes so much courage, heart, and spirit.
God has a sense of humour. In places we never saw ourselves indulging, there does He take us. So I teach, like my parents. Some things you surely cannot run away from. I love every bit of what life throws at me; the beautiful stuff, and the ugly stuff. It might seem as if teachers never go wrong, but it might surprise you that they learn much from everything that’s happening around them. Sometimes I’m the last person expected to talk about God, or love or grace, because I fall short so many times. My ugliness is so unattractive even to myself.
There is still much to learn, but I’d still give much credit to those who sacrificially molded me to the writer and poet that I am today, with special mention to Asali MsaniiRichie MaccsKevin OratoSharon Moragwa OguguNamatsi LukoyeOduor JageroMwangi KaffyNuru Bahati Shukraniand many other important contributors and family members of Hisia Zangu Poetry. I will always go back to these for teaching, reflection and instruction, for I am their child and will always be.
To whoever has something going on in their lives that they call a passion or a dream, my call to you is that you have a lot to work on. There will never be an end to work even when you will feel like you have made it. It takes sweat to reach to the top and it takes sweat to remain there – not in terms of the bigness of your name, but in terms of the quality of your service to people and to God. You will always be sweating. So shop for the right clothes.



Post Author: Eric Onyango Otieno

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