It Takes Courage

When I think of courage what comes to my mind? I think it’s that spirit that overcomes you when you are at the edge of the cliff, and the only choices left are either to turn back to what was, or take a leap forward and hope that’ll you fly and not crash into nothingness. It’s that silent voice that tells you, “Yo! Even if you don’t have wings, when you leap forward, you will fly.” And courage is when you trust it and go ahead and do it anyway. Courage is not easy, it’s scary, it’s uncertain and it requires a lot of willpower. It’s a deliberate effort you make to face whatever comes your way with such bravery.

Courage, Stories of Courage

Photography by @ThaNabster

“Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Well, this past weekend, I had made a mental commitment to Njeri & Olang’ (Sitara and The Jelani Man respectively) that I will be there for their very first event dubbed ‘Stories of Courage’ and the many more that follow. They have grown to be my friends, mainly because they invited me to their house where they served me some good food and beverages over a chat, lots of laughter and photo’s. I kid, not on the house visit, just that it was not the main reason, but definitely a key to the foundation of a good friendship. I like the vibe they exhibit; the value they uphold; and the personalities they possess. They’re just legit peeps.

So when they shared the idea behind ‘Stories of Courage’, and how they want to showcase that courage comes to us in different ways for different people, it touched a spot in my heart. It’s these stories that give that give life more meaning, with people who have resisted the pressure to comply with the expectations others have for them and just pursue their passions their way – it takes courage. People who have been told they can’t achieve their dreams and aspirations, because of they lack something that’s required to get there, whether it’s their physical health, money, background, lack of opportunities; but they still go ahead, fight the odds and try it by putting everything in their might to make it happen, because they believe in themselves – it takes courage.

Stories of Courage, Jelani, Sitara

Well for this first event, they divided their ‘Stories of Courage’ into 3 categories and had three sets of people share their experience on how they took on courage. Because;

It was time to against the tide – #TeamElani (Maureen, Brian, Wambui) took on this one.

They shared with us their journey of becoming artists in Kenya. How they went through school and attained brilliant degrees in law and in architecture, but instead of getting stuck in the rat race doing something they didn’t enjoy, they put the papers aside, and chose the path of ministering to others through their music. They went through producers who after recording with them, flee with their work and they had to start over close to 3 times. And the drama they went through right before releasing their album in 2013. Also, how what they thought was going to be the biggest break for them (album launch) turned out to be a big nightmare of a debt they had never imagined. How they progressed from being paid KES 1,000 per gig and practicing in downtown Nairobi, to landing a big gig that paid them just enough to clear their debt – a breakthrough. It has been a journey of realizing their purpose in the industry, and they continue doing it relentlessly. As they say, “no one said it will be easy, even God never said we will not struggle, but he promised to be there.” It takes courage.

It was time to wait. Tabitha Taruru took on this one.

She shared with us her journey to parenthood, which had not been easy. From when she was declared barren while in college, to when she was dating her now husband and had to tell him about it. This revelation interestingly didn’t make him think any less of her and he didn’t see it as a hindrance to them being together since there was an option of adoption, but they still never lost hope. Over the years, they tried all the possibilities, through prayers (she says her mother scarred her knees while at it), tests, surgeries, and different doctors. They eventually had a breakthrough, with her first pregnancy being nothing short of her having the ‘faith as small as a muster-seed’. Even when the tests showed otherwise, she still believed that she was pregnant, she could feel it, and she was. She got another pregnancy, which present itself with as a blessing and a tragedy, but courage got her through it. And out of the blues, 16 years later, without any medical intervention, she got pregnant. And she knew for sure, that this was a way of God telling her, that eventually, he comes through. That sometimes you have to wait. It takes courage.

It was time to quit. Mugambi Nthiga took on this one.

He shared with us the his experience as a Kenyan in the Diaspora (USA), and how after his grad school, right when he was just about to get the best job ever in the advertising industry, recession happened, and it took him several steps back. He struggled getting his footing there, but since his visa had expired, and he didn’t want to look for trouble with the authorities, and so he decided to come back home. Which was still a struggle, because he needed to make some money to purchase his ticket (this bit he has to tell you himself). By the time he came back, his friends had moved on, gotten married, bought cars, houses, it was such a culture shock once again and of course a pressure point. When he got a job in the advertising industry, it was difficult to draw the line between his trade and craft, which was acting. And after some time, it took a toll on him (he was diagnosed with clinical depression) and he decided to put at an end to the cross road by choosing the acting path. He has had to deal with the uncertainties his profession comes with, the pressure from the parents, and friends, and people not understanding why he chose the path he did, because it has its hard days; days of no money, days of constant battle on whether you you’re doing the right thing or slow progress. But hey, they just won in the recently concluded Kalasha Awards under the ‘Best TV Drama’ category – Groove Theory, if that’s not anything to go by, I don’t know what is. If it wasn’t for persistent artists like him, our entertainment industry would be dull one. It takes courage.

Their stories were so real, so raw, I think that was the main agenda. A lot of balancing tears, if someone triggered you any further, you would just breakdown. Also the set up just made one feel like they’re your friends and you’re having a sitting room chat on all things life. There was a lot of food, color, and just the right atmosphere. It’s an event I would like to attend over and over again, not because they’re my friends (big factor) or they have such amazing giveaways (all the ladies got some lovely crocheted hair accessories from Crotchet Kenya) or that they had the best vendors display their products, but because I connected with it.

Today, you will be surprised by how many people put on a façade, but beneath they are troubled. And it’s okay. That’s how life is, it’s a journey, and it could be straight, bumpy, curvy or with potholes, just depends on where you are in it. It’s also okay to know that everyone is going through something. It might not seem as severe as yours, or yours might not seem as severe as theirs, but never underestimate anyone’s or yours for that matter.

We all have stories, different stories. We’ve displayed courage by either going against the tide, waiting, quitting, finding alternatives, starting over, continuing, not giving up and so many other ways. Courage is courage whether big or small. And the more we hear these stories, the more we get inspired to be confident in ourselves, our abilities, our achievements, our struggles, but mostly, listen to our hearts and pursue our aspirations passionately.

Have a Terrific Tuesday, and just go for it.

Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*