29 January 2016


Reading Renee’s most recent post here took me way back. Way, waaaay back, to when I first publicly declared my love for math. Even when I wrote it here exactly four years ago, I wasn’t too sure about it. I was just trying to convince myself that I was not totally doomed. You know, like the way we are told to look in the mirror and speak stuff (positive stuff of-course), to our images on the mirror, that is exactly what I was doing. This blog had become my mirror (pun intended). The first time I did it, it felt like “coming out of the closet”. You know, based on what we hear people feel when “coming out”. I didn’t know what to expect. Would society embrace me? Would they accept me for what I loved? Would they respect this love? 

Looking back now, I can’t just believe it. Everything I do involves and revolves around math and statistics (which reminds me of this joke that a friend and I shared a few days ago about statisticians counting sheep. *chuckles* Statisticians can’t count many sheep to induce sleep. They count till they obtain a good enough sample size and estimate/predict how many sheep they will have counted by the time they sleep, making it a futile exercise *chuckles a bit more* Under repeated sampling #BringBackMyLife lol). Don’t look at me like that. That was funny. Okay then *ignores the crickets chirping in dead sillence*, moving on swiftly. But really, my rosy relationship with math wasn’t always like this. 

Like most of people who studied in rural nursery and primary schools, math was a BIG challenge. I would hear math and squirm at the thought of the numbers on the blackboard. Heck, I once had a nightmare that my math teacher had come to kill me. Now, that could be related to the fact that he looked scary and seemed to find pleasure in caning those of us who got zeros in math exams, but it could also be figurative; you never know. And so I grew up hating math and anything math-related. I would look at my brother in awe when he received those cups, plates and trays for being best in math (lol, those days were awesome yaani, when primary schools would prepare you for a life out there by giving you such meaningful gifts.) What do schools give these days as rewards? Phones? Tablets? Where did we go wrong?

source: pixabay.com
Well, my math grades (all grades generally) would take the steepest descent method each and every time we did exams. So much that my mum had my hair shaved (I had really long hair) and threatened to move me to some local school we would make fun of. Then I got transferred to a better school. How I passed that interview, God knows. And so, my life changing moment came one day as we were handing in some math problems while in class eight. I remember it so vividly you would think it’s like one of those days that Veon talks about here. I had sketched this pie chart and some calculations below it so neatly that when the teacher saw it, he showed it to the class and praised it. He shook my hand and told me. “You are a bright girl Njeri, and keep doing this, and God will bless your brain”. I remember muttering “Amen, I will” under my breath. I grabbed that. installed it in my head and I have never looked back since then. And funny enough, once the math started getting in, all other subjects started making sense. 

See, the words of Mr. Murungaru (that is his name), may have been inaudible to the rest of the class but they were spoken to me. When he commended me on my great work; I felt like nothing could stop me. And that is the amazing thing about teachers and parents. Their words influence our lives in such a great way. Most of the time we take it for granted that someone taught us how to write, how to read, how to speak good English, swahili or whatever language you are good at. We forget that it took patience, skill and someone believing in you to see you acquire and grow in whatever skill or talent you have. IT, science, fashion, embroidery, pottery, farming, business, singing, acting, playing that instrument; name it. Teachers are the least appreciated people around and that needs to change.

For them to think less of themselves that much that they want to see you prosper and see you spread your proverbial wings and fly, they need more appreciation. So take the time from now on and make it a habit to appreciate that teacher, mentor, parent or friend who taught you something that changed your life. Say #Asante (thank you) and share your story. For me, I appreciate all my math and statistics teachers/lecturers who taught me to look at the world through the eyes of math.

#AsanteMwalimu (Thank you teacher)

Facebook:  Njeri Kareithi
Twitter: @deekareithi

15 January 2016


The news of passing on of a friend or family is something that no one ever wants to hear or even imagine being told. And yet, it is the most heart breaking news one can ever hear. Forget being rejected or dumped by someone you loved (or thought you loved), forget breaking your hand, finger, toe, nail….heck, none of this types of pains can be compared to the pain of losing a loved one. When it keeps hitting you that you shall never see them again, that you will never get to laugh with them, to hold them, to touch them, to play games with them. You go through countless messages and images that you shared with them. You replay the voice messages and video notes. (By the way; those who say sijui we should not take photos of each and everything we do and of everywhere we go; well, I wrote that mantra you live by on a paper, shoved it in a jar, sealed it and put it in NASA’s LunarProspector, and in case you have not checked; it is not coming down any time soon. Not in the near centuries.) Some of these things are the one and at times only way that we hold pieces of those who left us.
“Just as no human being has control over the wind to restrain it, so also no human being has control over the day of his death. Just as no one is discharged during war, so wickedness will not release those who practice it.” Ecclesiastes 8:8 (ISV)

source: www.pixabay.com
And so you walk through places you once trod; you outline the traces of your palms that once held those hands. And each time you feel like they are still there, with no distance between the palms. You look around you and nothing seems to make sense anymore. Nothing makes you want to live; but you do. You wake up every damn morning and say “I will do this. If not for me, for them”. And when it gets to you in that washroom, that office space, that bus seat, that train seat, as you walk through a path, as you sit alone in that hall, as you sleep under that bridge; with countless people walking right past you and no one seems to feel your pain or even see it. When you feel those tears well up in your eyes and say “oh boy, here comes the water falls”. When you feel that stinging pain as your heart breaks one more time, and it feels like someone is trying to stab your heart, leaving you there to bleed, pain oozing out in form of a lacrimal fluid composed of water, mucin, lipids, lysozyme, lactoferrin, lipocalin, lacritin, immunoglobulins,  glucose, urea, sodium, and potassium (commonly known as tears). And you look up to the skies, you feel like cursing God for taking them away and causing this pain that is has become a shawl that you dress in daily, hugging it in a bid to get answers to the many questions you have. Amid sobs and whimpers you utter words that you have wanted to utter all this time. You wish for a session with the grim reaper just to ask them “what exactly is your problem?” 

“But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, "DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory."O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?" 1 Corinthians 15: 54-55(ISV)

So you go to an open field, at the top of your lungs you ask “DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?” And them, just then, you ask God to take the pain away, to make it stop hurting. And you rise, you dust yourself and take a walk outside and say to yourself; “I will not let this stop me. I will make them proud. I will live”
For you know too well what Isaiah 57:1-2 (NIV) says:

The Blessed Death of the Righteous
 The righteous man perishes, and no man takes it to heart; And devout men are taken away, while no one understands. For the righteous man is taken away from evil, He enters into peace; They rest in their beds, Each one who walked in his upright way.

And then you know that it is well. It may take long to get to that point, it might take ages, maybe years; but you do get there. For they are forever in your heart. 

source: www.pixabay.com

'To live in the hearts of others is never to die. ' - Thomas Campbell

This post is in memory of all the friends and family we have lost over the year (this year starting on a very sad note of losing several friends). This is to them that left before us. Fare thee well. Fare thee well. Till we meet again. May their souls rest in eternal peace. Amen

Facebook:  Njeri Kareithi

Twitter: @deekareithi