WHEN I WAS A CHILD….
There is something behind and beyond what you are seeing. How long it will take you to see it depends on how soon you are willing to concede grounds to those who have been here longer than you.
Doctors Were Enemies
Me and injections were and still are not bedfellows. It amazes me that some people can choose to inject themselves everyday. I am thinking here about the drug addicts who routinely pierce their body with a needle in order to introduce a drug into their system.
Before my family broke apart, that is, when we were still in Macalder, whenever my mother wanted me to behave she would threaten me that if I continued misbehaving she would call a doctor and have me injected. She had learnt that I was scared of injections and this kind of threat was sure to get me under control.
This made me have a wrong attitude about doctors. To me they were sadists who used to make life nightmare for children by their needles. Because of this, I associated being sick with misbehaviour punishable by a doctor’s injection. For me therefore, being injected was like being punished for having been sick. If it was not so bad, I would be sick and try to hide it. If my parents happened to know that I was sick, I would tell them that it is not so bad just that I may not be “punished”.
It took me time to learn that doctors don’t just inject people for punitive purposes. Correct attitude towards doctors didn’t however take away the dread of injection.
My foster mother, Mama Nora, was another one. Even though she was rarely sick herself, she was an ardent believer that those who fell sick should get injected. It was a general belief where I grew up that when one was injected, that was when he was “properly treated”. But Mama Nora took it a level higher. Whenever I was leaving for a dispensary, she would even instruct me to ask the doctor to inject me and not just prescribe tablets. But how on earth can I ask a doctor to inject me? Unless it was a death case, asking to be injected was a joke.
Whenever I went to hospital, (this still happens today) I wouldn’t look at the piece of paper where the doctor prescribed the treatment, lest I see “cc”. The scribblings of the doctors were always illegible for me except “cc”. Whenever I saw the cc, the temptation to escape untreated was always overwhelming.
Even though I would try my best to play escapism, at one point or the other I would know that I was destined for injection. One of my strategies to evade being overwhelmed was to avoid looking at the direction where they were preparing the injection, lest I see the needle itself. The sight of the pointed thing would intimidate me more than reading the cc on the paper.
Couldn’t Tell the Difference Between Right and Left Shoes
It was a puzzle how the adults could tell right shoes from the left one. For me, the shoes were the same in every aspect. At times I thought the adults were just making fun; that there was actually no difference.
Think of how obvious and easy some things are to you. These things may not be as obvious to other people. This, however, doesn’t mean that they are abased. It is just that they haven’t “grown” in that aspect. These growths are not just physical. They can be spiritual as they are social; technological as they are mental, etc.
When I was learning how to drive, there were so many things to coordinate that I wondered how people who know how to drive would do them effortlessly and simultaneously. At one time, the pedals just got “mixed up”—I couldn’t tell which was which and I didn’t have the whole day. The vehicle was moving and I had to do whatever I was supposed to do real first. In fact I needed to break and I couldn’t tell which pedal was the break. I had to bend my head in order to check them out. It was dangerous that I got my sight off the road as I struggled to look under and see the pedals.
My instructor was not amused. He in fact told me that I was stupid. When I asked him when he started driving, he told me that he was pretty young. This man was over sixty and had been driving most part of his life. He couldn’t imagine that driving could be such a challenge for learners that things were not as obvious as he thought they were.
The scribblings of the doctors were always illegible except “cc”. Whenever I saw the cc, the temptation to escape untreated was always overwhelming.
At the initial stages of driving lessons, I used to have problems with him, especially when he insisted that I shift the gear at a time when for me it was not realistic. How could he expect me to shift the gear when I was at the same time negotiating a corner? I would say in my heart: “I am one person, how can he expect me to do so many things at ago?” At one time, I had to tell him not to put pressure on me; that I would shift the gear after being through with negotiating the bend. This experience has taught me to be tolerant and patient if I happen to help someone who might not see or handle things the way I see or handle them.
Wondered Why Adults Buried Groundnuts
I loved groundnuts when I was young. I still do but not as much as then. At 46 I am also still young, but not as then. I mentioned above that I was born in a mining town. There were no agricultural activities in our neighbourhood. This means that I first saw the crops and farming when we left Macalder for our ancestral rural home in Mbita.
I never understood the connection between what was sown and what would be harvested some months later. To me, when I saw people sow groundnuts, I thought they were “burying” them.
I never understood the adults! If they were not ingenious—like telling the difference between left and right shoes—they would be weird—like burying groundnuts. How could they bury something as tasty as groundnuts? For me, because they were wasting the groundnuts by burying them, I used to sneak behind them, dig out the groundnuts and eat them.
Driver Getting Paid For Driving?
You can’t believe how old I was when I finally but reluctantly acknowledged that it was alright for a driver to get paid for driving. For me, driving was one of the most exciting things a person could ever do.
I knew that it cost fortune to buy a vehicle. And this was why not so many people had cars. If someone could spend lots of money to buy one and then “allow” another person to drive it, how could the latter expect to be paid again? My understanding was that since driving was extremely enjoyable, there was no justification for a driver to expect to be paid even after having tremendously enjoyed himself. To me the vehicle’s owner allowing someone to drive his vehicle was more than enough payment. In fact, I thought that it would have been fair for the driver to pay the owner of the vehicle and not the other way round.
Recently, I was taking a course in a very active and interactive class. Once in a while the discussion would digress into social and spiritual matters. The class comprised Christians, Muslims and atheists (so-called).
A question arose: Does one need to be a Christian to do good? (1) As we discussed, it emerged that the teacher’s understanding was that Christians do good works in order to earn eternal life in heaven. He commented that this was a selfish basis for doing good works. He further implied that without the promise of reward (heaven), Christians may not do the good works they do. This was a wrong perception. I had just to take the chance in order to put things into perspective.
To begin with, ironically, I agree that doing good works basically because one anticipates a reward is a “selfish” undertaking. All the same, the teacher’s perspective was based on a presumptuous generalisation. It is not debatable that there are may people doing good things for wrong motives. But we may not generalise this for everyone ending up ridiculing the foundation itself.
The teacher had initially told us that he loved his job; that since he started teaching about 20 years ago, he had been absent from job only once when he was sick and was operated on. So I drew his attention to his love of work, then I asked him:
“Did you say that you enjoy your work?” He answered affirmatively.
I followed it up by asking him a rhetoric question, but which he had to answer in the circumstances:
“Do you get paid for doing a work you so enjoy?” Again, he answered affirmatively.
The interrogation continued. I asked him: “If you were not going to be paid for teaching, would you still teach?” He realised that he was being cornered. He pensively reflected before answering. He was a very nice person and open-minded too. He answered that both were not mutually exclusive, that is, both could go together—the only critical issue is healthy balance. He needed money to survive but at the same time, the need for money shouldn’t be the only fundamental reason for working. I agreed.
I never understood the adults! If they were not ingenious—like telling the difference between left and right shoes—they would be weird—like burying groundnuts.
I made an observation and put it to him: “Despite you enjoying your work, you still work for a salary! How would it sound if I accuse you of being selfish because you expect to be rewarded at the end of the month for a good job you have done in the past one month?”
Really! Let’s think about it: Why should reward of eternal life be selfishly-motivated while working for a salary is not?
But even if somebody doesn’t enjoy doing a certain type of work, there are some works that have to be done because they are important. Again there are some works that people do and the payment they get out of it is not commensurate to the work done. We cannot conclude that people who are doing such jobs are motivated by salary.
Just like there are people who have wrong attitude to work, where for example, the ONLY reason for them to work is to earn money, so are there some Christians who may over-focus on the reward of eternal life more than they see the need to do good works just for the reason that it is necessary and natural. The right attitude to doing good works for a Christian should be informed by the following basic reasons:
• It is necessary: Whether we are going to be rewarded or not, there are some benevolent things that we’ll just have to do. If someone is thirsty and I have water, I will give the water not for reward. If I am rewarded for this, it will come as a surprise. See how the “sheep” were surprised when they were being rewarded for the good things they did in Matthew 25:31-40.
• It is natural: The Bible says in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (NIV, italics my emphasis). Doing good works is a way of identifying with the purpose for which we were created. This means that any time we do good works, we don’t consciously tie it to an expectation of reward but because it is natural.
• It is an expression of our love to God and people: We do good works because we are prompted and compelled not by God’s reward but by His love (2 Cor. 5:14, 1 Thes. 1:3). If we love God, we’ll love people because God Himself loves them.
If one claims to be a Christian and doesn’t have the above three as the basis for doing good works, then he is wrong footedly treading and his works will not pass the test (1 Cor. 3:12-15). The idea here is that we will be rewarded for the good works we did if we didn’t do them for a reward. This is why for me, Matthew 6:33 should not be taken face-valued, instead it must be put into perspective. Yes, it is true that the Bible says that we should seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then the other things shall be added unto us. But wait! There are people who have misplaced this scripture. We have to seek the heart of Christ in order to make this scripture picture selflessness. We are not seeking God’s kingdom and His righteousness first because we want the other things to be added to us. In other words, the other things we want must not be more important to us than the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Even if we seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness and these other things don’t seem to be added to us, we may not count ourselves to have lost in any way.
The reasons for looking forward to going to heaven are the same reasons we look forward to earning a salary after doing a job we enjoy doing—a job that we would still see the sense of doing even if there was no salary attached to it.
We need money to acquire the physical requirements of life; we need to go to heaven in order to be sustained in the realm of spiritual life. Without physical needs met, we die; without spiritual needs met we die—the ultimate death. So when we anticipate going to heaven, it is not a luxury, it is a requirement just as a salary is a requirement for sustenance. If this is selfishness, then it is a good selfishness.
To me doing the right thing gives me fulfilment. The pursuit of my heart is that I may be focussed on doing what is right even if I am not going to be rewarded for it. For example, something tickles in me and I feel good when I help put a smile on someone’s face. When I get rewarded for doing the right thing, it is to me like the picture of my childhood driver getting paid for driving.
You will only be rewarded for the good works you did if you didn’t do them for a reward.
To me, God is the Employer who, after giving me His car to enjoy driving, decides also to pay me for driving it. I am that child who would enjoy driving so much so that even if I don’t get paid for it, I wouldn’t complain.
So much for digressing, however, the point I wanted to make is that God is an employer who employs you to drive His car and pays you for it. But that means you have to get yourself to love driving God’s car; God gives you a wife, when you love her—the Bible says that by loving her you love yourself—God then rewards you for loving yourself. I would still love my wife without deriving motivation from the prospects of God rewarding me for it.
When we do good works, we are just being natural. We were made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26). When we do good works, we are reflecting that image. We have already noted above that we were made to do good works (Eph. 2:10). This is why good works per se don’t take anyone to heaven. We need the Saviour to take us to heaven, not good works.
Christ Himself talked about a man—the Good Samaritan—who did a good work without equally guaranteeing or implying that, based on his good works, he secured himself a place in heaven (Lk. 10:25-37). Christ did not imply that the Good Samaritan expected any reward in order to do what he did, neither did He suggest that he (the Good Samaritan) was motivated by religion.
My Pockets Bulged with Papers
When I was a young boy especially before I started reading and understanding English, I used to pick and preserve printed papers—in my pockets. Because there were always more papers than I could find place for, my pockets were always bulging with them. My affinity to papers was borne out of the curiosity to know what someone was saying in the papers. I always felt: “If only I could read and understand, I would have known what somebody was talking about in these papers”. So, when I kept the papers in my pocket, I was keeping them there so that when I finally got to know how to read and understand, I would then know the content of those papers.
How long I kept these papers before they disappeared, I don’t know. I just realised that at one point, I didn’t have the papers in my pockets.
I still have paper problem. This time round, not for reading but for writing. My shirt pocket is always full of papers. The idea is that whenever a thought comes to me when I am not in front of a computer, I would scribble the idea on a piece of paper and stash into my pocket, waiting to transfer whatever the idea into a file in the computer. Most of the times, it takes time before I transfer them. This means that more ideas would be coming hence more papers accumulating in my pocket. When it becomes impossible to have them in the pocket I put them on the tables; bookshelves, etc.
Today, in my house, one thing that has made life difficult for my wife is papers. There are papers everywhere in our house. I have strictly warned my wife not throw any paper away. The reason is that I am always afraid she might throw away an important idea. This has frustrated her efforts to keep the house organised. I guess this is a weakness she would have to live by. I can’t just get rid of papers and I can’t just allow anyone to interfere with my papers.
A Pregnant Woman Couldn’t Be Hungry
For me, a pregnant woman saying she is hungry was one of the most incredible paradoxes. My perception of hunger was associated with a collapsed stomach. Maybe this was because in our culture, as children, any time we ate and announced that we were satisfied, the adults would ask to see our stomach. The idea was that our stomach had to protrude as a sign that we were satisfied. And, indeed, we used to eat until our stomachs would bulge.
As if it was not enough of an enigma to claim that they were hungry when the stomach was already bulging, it was even more confounding watching a pregnant woman swallow food, one lump after the other. I used to wonder where the food was disappearing to when the stomach was already occupied.
In our culture again, people with big tummies were associated with doing well. If you directly translate the expression we used in my mother tongue to describe someone with a big tummy, it would be something like this: He is a satisfied man. As long as the tummy was protruding, like the big tummied people, I considered pregnant ladies satisfied round the clock. When such people talk about being hungry, I took it to mean that they just wanted to eat for the taste of food but not because they were hungry. But was the liking of food so forceful that they could choose to subject their already overstretched tummies to even more agony of having to stretch further in order to accommodate food? Wasn’t it extremely uncomfortable?
Today, as an adult, I understand many things but I still have other paradoxes. Being an adult only widens the scope of our understanding but doesn’t eliminate the mysteries of life. It looks like God meant us to always have something to confound our understanding—whether we are children or adults.
The idea was that our stomach had to protrude as a sign that we were satisfied. And, indeed, we used to eat until our stomachs would bulge.
As you can see from the stories about “when I was young”, I was desperately wrong on many issues while naïve on others. Nevertheless, these were cases where being wrong or naïve didn’t constitute perversion. It is natural in the life of a child to have inclinations that logically fits into his undeveloped framework of perception.
One important thing we need to remember as we relate with God to help us understand our relationship with Him and our environment is that before Him we will always be “children”. Look at it this way: If your parents are still alive, however old you are, they will always refer to you as a “child”. The fact that they were here before us always give them an edge in terms of experience.
If we accept this, that is, that before God we will always remain children, it will help us “relax” our inclinations to what makes sense to us. We will also be flexible to the fact that in our social environment, we may sometimes perceive things or people in ways that are superficially and circumstantially “sensible” but which may represent a completely different thing. Though we may grow to know better than our parents, there is no need to emphasise that we cannot grow to know better than God.
A Disciplinarian of Goats
In the countryside, grazing the animals after school was a routine activity. In this line, I used to graze goats and cows. We believed that the animals could hear when you shout at them—especially when they were making an attempt to stray into a farm. Goats were however stubborn. When they bolted to get into a farm, they would most certainly eat some crops before one could reach them to drive them out. No amount of shouting at a distance would stop them.
Most of the farms were not fenced off. We needed to be extra vigilant to keep the goats from straying into the farms. Extra vigilance was not possible round the clock, nevertheless. The open countryside offered so many playing opportunities. As children, there was no way we could resist getting engrossed in playing enough to take our attention from the animals. If we were not swimming in the lake, we would be playing ananga (a form of football made from tattered clothes bound by strings into a ball); if we were not playing football, we would be wrestling; if we were not wrestling we would be racing our toy boats at the lake, etc.
Because we used to get absorbed playing thereby allowing goats (and sometimes cows) to destroy crops, if it weren’t for the punishments, we would have been more careless. There would be meagre to harvest at the end of the crop season.
In our society when I was growing up, it was a common practice for any adult to punish any child. And the punishment, as I had already mentioned, was almost exclusively corporal. Goats destroying somebody’s crops meant that the person whose crops were destroyed would have to cane the unfortunate young boy or girl who was tending the “errant” goats.
I never seemed to have “problems” with those who meted punishment against me for “allowing” goats to destroy their crops. Any time I allowed the goats to eat someone’s crops, I knew that I deserved the caning. This, nevertheless, doesn’t mean that I didn’t loathe being punished.
I tried my best to be keen to restrain goats from destroying crops but once in a while regardless of how keen I was, I would still find myself in trouble. It was the same for everyone.
Though I didn’t have problems with those who caned me for allowing goats to destroy their crops, I did have problems with the goats that landed me into trouble. Any time I got punished because of an errant goat, I would chase it around whipping it with sticks and pelting it with stones. The intention was to avenge the trouble it put me through and, of course, giving vent to anger. Since the goats were too fast for me, most of the times I wasn’t successful in “disciplining” them in the field. This would make me even more upset. I would then wait until evening when I had driven them into their pen. I would then get a good stick and set upon the goat that landed me into trouble. As I hit it ruthlessly, I would be talking to it:
“I have always told you goats not to get into farms and eat crops. And you goat ignored this. When I tried shouting at you to stop, you cared less to listen! And when I tried punishing you, you outran me! Where will you run to now? You thought I wouldn’t get you—goat? I am disciplining you so that next time you will remember that eating crops is strictly forbidden.”
I would beat the goat until it bleats in pain. You may call this animal cruelty, but that was not how I understood it then. I was sincerely administering discipline.
It is painful now to remember that the poor goats didn’t even know why they were being beaten.
Many people stubbornly ignore the warnings God gives them. It is a dangerous thing to be careless with and ignorant about the things of God. Like the goats I used to beat, one wouldn’t even know that some of the “beatings” one receives in life may be results of disobedience and wrong choices—hence, self-invited. Thank God we are not goats. Human beings should know that repercussions are sure to come, seeds sown will sooner or later be “fruits” due for harvest (Gal. 6:7). But are we that wise?
This may be my human picture but doesn’t the Bible itself imply (Matt. 25:31-33) that a time is surely coming when Christ will drive people into a “pen”—nowhere to run to—and ask the “errant people” questions akin to what I used to ask the errant goats:
Aren’t you the one I used to warn not to get into “farms” but wouldn’t listen? Did you think that I wouldn’t catch up with you? Aren’t you the one who landed Me into trouble? I was whipped (caned) and even crucified because of you! You never thought it wise to make it up with Me when we were at the field! When “I chased” you to “sort it out with you”, you were “faster” in getting away. You behaved as if you didn’t know that it was just a question of time before I catch up with you’.
Unlike me where chasing the goats to sort it out with them meant punishing them, Christ “chasing” mankind to sort it out with them isn’t to punish but to forgive them (Jhn. 3:16-18)—what a grace! Running away from Christ is running away from forgiveness. The farther we run from Him, the “closer” we get to punishment while the closer we run towards Him even after having sinned, the farther we get away from punishment. If we want to escape punishment—the ultimate punishment—we must run to God instead of running away from Him. I have told this same story in the “Lessons from the Road”—apology to people who have already read it there.
MY FIRST VISION—OR WAS IT A DREAM?
I kept on dreaming for without dreaming how would I have talked of my dreams coming to pass?
Things Going for Me
Despite the frequent hostilities at the hands of one of my cousin’s, I had many things going for me. I was a darling boy for many in the village. I wouldn’t evaluate myself but I was generally well-behaved and I respected the adults. This must be the reason Okoth Kodhogo, one of the adult neighbours, nicknamed me, “Owino japolo, Owino n’gama owar” (Owino the heavenly boy; Owino the saved one). I thank him for having “prophesied” and professed salvation upon me.
Salvation, knowing Christ and receiving His offer of forgiveness, being reconciled to God, and living under the lordship of Jesus Christ, is the best thing that will even happen to me, and anybody else for that matter, on this side of life.
Even among my peers, I never intentionally offended anybody. Nevertheless, I never liked people who consciously offended others. If one was offended and was not strong enough to fight for himself or herself, I would most likely fight for the weaker and offended party—yes, physical confrontation.
In school, I was doing well. I had a great love for school. Looking around me, I realised that there was little chance for me to go beyond CPE (Certificate of Primary Education). That was the national examination that used to be taken at the end of primary 7 (the old system before 8-4-4 education system was introduced in Kenya).
I really wanted to go beyond CPE. Through my father before he died and my adopting mother, I had learnt that there is God and that I could always talk to Him and ask Him for what I wanted. I made good use of this.
So, one day, overwhelmed by the bottlenecks around my dreams of getting somewhere with schooling, I asked God to help me and that I wanted to go beyond primary. At this early age, going beyond secondary school was an unrealistic dream. But if it could happen, that would be too good to have the nerve to ask for anything more. But as it turned out, God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Eph. 3:20).
Asking God to let me go beyond primary school became my chorus prayer—that is, any time I opened my mouth to pray I would always remember to remind God about my schooling.
At this point, I never had any tangible reason to hold that prayer works but I somehow strongly believed that God was listening to me. Just the feeling that God, the Creator, had listened to me and that He knew about my case gave me some good feeling. My heart would pound with satisfaction after having talked to God about my needs.
If there was someone who never had a chance of going beyond primary school, it was me.
One of the things I remember very clearly about my father was that he was very religious. Long before we left Macalder, I remember that he used to pray, thanking God for water before he could drink. He would never drink or eat without thanking God. If he was not saved by the book, I would blame it on lack of exposure to an appropriate Gospel. When we came to Mbita, our ancestral home, I found out also that my foster mother, Mama Nora, was someone who was also keen on her relationship with God. Again if she was not saved according to the book, it would be because of lack of exposure to the right exposition of God’s Word.
From these two sources, I became very aware of God’s existence. At my uncle’s home, Mama Nora used to gather us just before we go to sleep and offer prayers. For me, this was not “enough”. After coiling myself in my improvised blanket—the sack—I used to also say my “supplementary prayers”. This was very personal and “selfish”. In my personal prayers, I would dwell on my needs and plead with God to grant my wishes.
Later on when I was in boarding secondary school, I remember how one time, as I was praying under my blanket in the dormitory, I told God that He needed to answer me because I was the only boy in the whole dormitory who was praying at that particular time. If you ask me how I knew that nobody else was also praying, I would say that I was naïvely self-preoccupied—I have no reason to hold that I was the only boy who would pray before sleeping.
Asked God to Help Me Find My Lost Pen
Not endowed by any means—by the way, I used to buy my own pens—losing a pen was such a big deal. If you went to class without a pen, the teachers would not only cane you but also send you out of class. Being sent out of class was another big deal.
So, one day when I lost my pen (my adored Youth 208), it was a time to desperately call upon God. When I went to sleep that night, I prayed and asked God to help me get back my pen. There was no chance at all getting money to buy a new pen in readiness for classes the following morning. That night, I had a dream. In the dream, someone pointed at a boy whom I recognised as Ogony and said, “He has your pen”. Was it just a dream? I somehow knew that there was more to this dream than being just another dream.
When I went to school the following morning, I went straight to Ogony. I didn’t tell him I dreamt that he had my pen. I just went to him and demanded: “Ogony, let me have a look at the pen you have in your bag!” First, he was kind of shocked. He was extremely reluctant to show it. He resisted but I insisted. It was degenerating into a quarrel. He was explaining how the pen was his. I told him that I didn’t say it wasn’t his to begin with; I only wanted to have a look at it. When I realised the way he was jittery and defensive, I gained confidence. I got the conviction that there must be something about the pen that made him not want to show it.
As things were heating up, a teacher happened to be passing by. He realised that we were heatedly arguing and at the verge of a fight—fighting was forbidden though. As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t use to aggress anyone, but I was not the type to let anyone take advantage of me—I was the fighting type. A pen was so precious enough to make a non-aggressive boy start a fight.
The teacher interrupted and asked what the problem was. I explained to him that Ogony had a pen that I thought was mine. The teacher asked Ogony to surrender the pen to him. He couldn’t resist the teacher. He reluctantly surrendered the pen. After taking the pen, the teacher asked me, “What makes you think that the pen is yours?”
I had made a unique mark on the pen, hidden in a place that one may not readily notice. Even Ogony himself had not realised that there was a mark somewhere on the pen. I boldly described the mark and told the teacher where to look for it on the pen. He checked and sure enough, there it was! The teacher asked Ogony if I had seen the pen prior to him handing it over to him (the teacher). When Ogony admitted that he hadn’t allowed me to see the pen, the teacher concluded, “Then the pen is Owino’s!” With that he handed over the pen to me. It was truly mine. When the teacher asked him where he got the pen, Ogony fumbled for answers. When he realised that he was not getting anywhere, he just kept quite.
A Snake in the House
From very early age, I realised that there was something special about the dreams that I used to have—not all dreams of course, but I somehow knew whenever I had a significant dream. I have learnt to “trust” some of these dreams.
I remember one time I had a dream that there was a snake in the house, I woke up, lighted a lamp and sure enough, a snake was crawling towards the mat where I was sleeping. I had no bed and that snake was going to mess me up. I killed the snake and went back to sleep but sleep refused to come.
After a while, the sixth sense told me that there was something wrong. I became nervous. I lighted the lamp one more time. When I looked at the door, there was another snake. I killed it and thought that it was the last snake for the night. I was wrong, just before I put off the lamp, I spotted another snake. After killing the third snake, I put off the light and went back to sleep. I slept off immediately. I was a teenager and had a cottage of my own. These were poisonous snakes and I was alone in the house. Think of what could have happened if I didn’t wake up! Of course God could have stopped the snakes from getting into the house but this time, He chose to wake me up so that I could deal with them. This is why I believe that my life is secure in God. I would only die when God permits it. I have had so many narrow escapes that I cannot even recount all of them in this book. In some of the cases, it was like I was few seconds away from death yet I am still here foe the glory of God.
Another snake story: One day I dreamt that a snake had entered my uncle’s house. When I told Mama Nora about the dream and where I saw the snake in my dream, she told me that indeed a snake entered the house the previous night and they located it exactly where I told her I saw the snake in the dream.
At one time I was praying under my blanket in the dormitory. I told God that He needed to answer me because I was the only boy in the whole dormitory who was praying.
Before going abroad I was staying with a nephew—a young girl. One day she lied to me that she was going to visit her grandmother. At night when I was sleeping I had a dream and was shown clearly in the dream that she was with a boy. I knew that I could count on the dream but I decided to close any gap of doubt. After work, I cycled to her grandmother’s place which happened to be within a cycling distance. I inquired there in an indirect way. They confirmed without knowing what I was trying to find out. The girl hadn’t been there for the past one month. When I confronted her, and challenged her to deny that she spent at a boy’s place, she couldn’t deny. She didn't even have an alibi.
Once in a while I also have an active sixth sense. Sometimes I would be in a place or seeing something for the first time, yet things would appear so familiar that I can, with exactitude, tell what is going to happen next. Again once in a while, I can discern when someone is doing or saying things that are not from the heart.
God has shown me so many things through dreams. That is why I don’t take them for granted. I know when a dream is just another dream, and I know when God is speaking to me through them. I may share more of them where they belong as I continue telling my story.
Light Through the Roof
I have indicated above that I asked God to help me go beyond primary school. My prayer was answered and confirmation passed to me through a vision.
One night, I had just gone to lie down for the night. Very conscious about my surrounding, I can’t say I had fallen asleep. I was lying on my back when I realised that I could see through the roof. For the reader’s information, this was not a glass roof. It was, instead, grass-thatched. A star looking like the illustration of the star that signalled the birth of Christ appeared in the sky. The rays came straight through the roof and shown over me. I heard a voice speaking to me saying, Your prayer has been received and answered. You will receive what you asked for. There was no doubt in my mind what prayer I made and what it meant that I would get what I asked for. I would go to school—beyond primary.
If there was someone who never had a chance of going beyond primary school, it was me. I had seen so many, some of whom were very bright, drop out of school after the end of primary. Ironically, their parents were relatively able to educate them.
In the next few chapters, I will talk about how a long meandering journey it was for me as far as my education was concerned. Meanwhile, it is important to note here that my ardent prayer asking God to help me in schooling started when I was in upper primary, somewhere after class 4.
Proceed to Chapters 9-10