28 March 2016


Know about this popular and famous phrase, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”? Forget how people contort it to say “beauty is in the eye of the beer/bae holder” (though I find the latter quite amusing).

A few days ago, a friend and I were discussing on the topic of pain. Funny, right…how people can sit and hold a discussion on pain. Well, other than the joy and laughter shared, love for food and statistics (read math), these are the perks of having knowledgeable friends. You should have at least one or two of these; by the way…they make life interesting. So we were discussing (as is typical of statisticians/scientists) the pros and cons of pain. You know, the way dudes would sit down and discuss the pros and cons of a certain lady/car or how ladies discuss the pros and cons of a certain outfit/guy/program/hairstyle/weave/shoe *see what I did there?* or how a group of friends discuss about scripture and religious philosophies…well, that kind of discussion. We came to an interesting conclusion; the beauty of pain is in the eye of the pain-bearer.

See, most of us have been through pain of some sort. Some of us have gone through so much pain that we have morphed to this weird thing that is immune to pain. Some of us have gone through so much pain that we could easily live with pain in the same house like we have been married for the past decade. We are familiar with pain; we know pain like the proverbial back of our hands. Some of us went rouge after an episode of pain and became wrecks. The loss of a loved one, the death of a family member, losing a job or a contract, a heart break, getting news of terminal illness, a dead career or passion, rejection, depression, someone telling you “you are good for nothing”, that “we need to talk” or “I think we should take time off”, divorce, separation…name it. Well, some of us went through a certain episode of pain that made us suicidal and those serial killers we hear about. Others became serial killers of dreams, relationships, hopes, and basically everything they come across.

But then there is this other side of pain, the one that somehow morphs you into something stronger…something, something so rock-solid that whatever is thrown at you…you just smile and say “I’ve been through hell and came out stronger” or “ah, that? I’ve seen worse”. The kind that makes you think about the truism that if it doesn’t break you down, it makes you stronger. I have seen, kind-of admired and envied these kind of people. See, this pain can make one take the energy from the sting and ache and turn it to fuel. V-power to their sheer determination and endurance. Pieces are written, books are completed, paintings are finished, codes are written and perfected, and manuscripts are written and completed. Albums and records are written and recorded, exams are aced, an instrument is learnt, a farm gets all tilled. They become unstoppable. People would have a better chance of knocking a hurtling oil tanker off its path by sticking their leg out than break their spirit. All because they choose to take up that throbbing ache, that head-ache-causing and appetite-losing anguish and embrace a side of it that most people CHOOSE not to. 

Source: pixabay.com

So, this is to pain. To the beauty of pain that is in the eye of the pain-bearer. To  painorphosis, the kind of morphing that makes you Olivia-pope-dance to Josh Groban’s “Below the line” when it plays on your home theatre at full volume. Holding a glass of milk; at 2 am.

Facebook:  Njeri Kareithi 
Twitter: @deekareithi 

1 March 2016


Well, this post was to go up a few days ago, before the alleged month of love ended but meh! Life happened but here we are :-). Now, the month of February had a lot of stuff going on, from friends getting married, people declaring undying (oh the irony) love for each other on the 14th, people hosting and attending singles events, people getting engaged, people passing on; all on the same day/weekend. It makes you wonder, all these things that happen in this feared and dreaded day, what do people do the other day of the month? A friend told me that she asked her boyfriend not to give her anything…well, I don’t know how that would go with most readers, but I guess guys would really love that. In the same month, we (I) saw the birth of two young establishments and the slow death of another. We also saw some lions escape a national park in Kenya, and the jokes and memes all over were just hilarious. What caught my attention though, is this review by this website that I had never come across (shekirout!).

Copyright: me

Now, in the same month, I happened to visit Hell’s gate National Park Kenya and hike Mt. Longonot. Well, it was not my first time to hike the said mountain, I had been there severally. The mountain holds a special place as it also hold very special memories for me. This time though, this time was different. It felt different. Not because I was there with a different group (a group of young scientists, by the way. you see, scientists also know how to have fun, forget what CBS portrays with Sheldon et al). A group of us had a mission. We wanted to go round the rim and reach the highest peak. And so with great determination and sheer excitement, about 20 of us started the journey to the summit. Armed with water and other sugary stuff to keep our energy levels up, we started the great hike. A few minutes in, some of us started getting tired and taking breaks. If you have been there, you know there only two resting places; at the middle and at the top. On our way up, several of us were stopping to take photos and selfies, unaware of the daunting task ahead. At-least all of us made it to the halfway point. Some were left there as they felt they could not go on, while some felt so energetic they were running up, literally. I was left with the last group, not that I could not hurry up, but because I wanted to make sure that at-least those who started the journey made it to the top, regardless of the pace. And so four of us started the journey at a snail’s pace, picking up a few other hikers along the way. 

Copyright: me
As if things could not get worse for those already tired, heavy rain started falling. Heavy rain.  So, you are in the middle of a hike, with bushes all around. Heavy rain is falling. There is only one way up. The half way resting place is too far to go back. So what do you do? You keep going and pray that you will not get a cold. Keeping your eyes on the hut at the top, you strive forward. Half an hour later, you finally make it up with the last bunch of hikers in your group. Rain is still falling. Someone makes a joke about us hiking in swimming costumes next time. We all laugh. We rest a bit and then the group breaks into two. Some of us want to reach to the highest peak (which will take us approximately 2more hours), while the others want to return. Long story short, only 9 of us made it round the rim, with several episodes of rain and sunshine. 

When we got down to join the other team for lunch, I couldn’t help but think about how different paces (yes, paces not a typo) in life are. Here we were, a group of young scientists. We had one thing (two…three…okay several things in common). We were scientists, human, but we also had a goal of scaling this mountain. However, some of us were faster, some of us more determined, some of us more ambitious, some of us more experienced in hiking; and all these determined our paces. Some of us were hiking slowly, some slow. Some of us got discouraged by the rain, some of us enjoyed the rain (I mean, when was the last time you got drenched by rain?). Some of us made it to the peak, some did not. Some of us made it to the summit, others got tired half way. I could not help but think life outside. There are these personal goals that we set and there are those goals society expects us to attain. Like getting married, having a family, getting established, (for those of us in science) papers to publish, finish school and the likes. Spiritually, we have the same personal and societal goals. We desire growth, we desire to do things that we read about people do and we want to do them. See all these things are doable and attainable, but guess what; we all have different paces!

At times we get discouraged or want to do things in a hurry because so and so has done it and succeeded. This is especially for our young generation. We want to compare ourselves with our friends and peers. But you know what; we cannot all be the same. We move at different paces. We have different experiences, different resources. We might have the same goals, but getting there will be at different paces. So the next time you feel like so and so has done so much in life and you have not done a lot, the next time you think of getting married because your friends are getting married, you want to move to a posh estate because your friends are doing so, or want to start a business because your friends are doing so, you want to accumulate quick wealth because people are doing so; remember this. We move at different paces. And life is not a race. So long as you are moving, snail speed or otherwise, so long as there is progress, we will all get there. Scale that mountain, at your own pace! (and if you get company or someone who is encouraging you and challenging you to keep on, the better :-))

The Champs. 6 countries represented, One goal, One victory.
Copyright: me

Happy New month from Njeri Kareithi’s Desk
Facebook:  Njeri Kareithi

Twitter: @deekareithi