Celebrating Strathmore Dads
Mark Barasa – Security Officer, Security & Safety Department
“Be a teacher, a mentor, and a role model to your children. As their father, don’t provoke them to anger rather bring them up in the discipline and instruction of God”. These were the last words from my father to us. His voice echoes so loud, I can hear him say them although it’s been decades since he passed on. He urged my siblings and I to always be open-minded and desire to acquire new knowledge.
The “Black Mamba”
Growing up, I remember my dad used to wake us up very early; being late for school was not an option. In the evening when he came, we sat under the tree by our house and he would ask how our day was. In between the “school issues” conversation he would share stories of his childhood. More so, the folk tales and songs. It was my dad who taught me how to ride a bike, the tall, thin-wheeled black mamba bicycle with a stiff black seat was supported by a very shiny chrome spring. Riding it was a treat and I would love for my son to experience that bicycle someday.
Yogurt, sausage, and “Mkate” are our kids’ favorite. Ivan’s is 9 years, Ivy is 7 years and Irene is 2 years. Every evening when I come home, Ivan runs to meet me as he asks to help with my luggage. “Kama hakuna, hmm!” he says and I know, if I have nothing “Iko shida”. Ivy is a bit reserved but she knows how to get my attention. For Irene, being in dad’s arms soothes her to sleep. On days when I am early, I like to take walks with them around our neighborhood while I listen to their stories.
To all fathers, fathers to be, widowers, single parents, and all parents I can only share the other words of my father by reminding us all to be humble, to respect others and above all to always live in harmony with others. And borrowing the words of my mother, parenting is a journey where you never stop driving, so be strong, enjoy the process and always love your family in word and deed. Be there for your children, she says so they can know their father.
Shayanne Njihia – International Studies, 3rd Year
If I could describe my father in a few words, I would say that he is patient, loving, very attentive and open minded. Despite the generational gap we have, he still tries to understand us and speak our language.
I believe we share the same thought process, and we look alike: I could easily say that I am my dad. We are both analytical, outspoken yet calm.
I love engaging in intellectual conversations with him. He’s available to talk about any topic, not just those related to academics. I could talk to him any day, every day for those are the best moments I have with him.
My father never forced me to do a course I did not want to. He gave me suggestions, despite giving suggestions on areas I could study. If you are not passionate about it, leave it” words from my father that I carry with me all the time. He taught me that passion comes before anything else and that you should abide by it. When you figure out your passion, everything else will flow in.
The one moment that has stuck with me was when I was doing financial engineering in my first year. I was intrigued by the Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs). We spoke about them and how we could help the process. A little while later, still intrigued by the SDGs, I decided to switch course to International Studies. His response took me by surprise, “As long as you are passionate about it, that’s fine.”
When I was really young, my nuclear and extended family lived together at my grandmother’s home. So, as you can tell, my cousins and I grew up with many mothers and fathers who would discipline us whenever we did something wrong. According to my cousins, my father was the strictest disciplinarian who was famous for pinching. Yet surprisingly, he never gave me such forms of punishment. But still, he left me with little room for mischief.
One of the most remarkable things my father does to this day is giving back to the community. Together with his siblings, he has built hospitals, churches and apartments with the aim of service to society. Hearing stories of the activities he has been part of, especially from people I do not know motivates me to touch people’s lives.
If I was facing my father right now, I would tell him thank you because he is a rare being. In the midst of everything, he has done a lot, from working hard, putting effort in every little thing to making us priority. Thank you for loving and caring for me and I wish you many more years of fatherhood; you are an inspiration to many.
As for all present dads out there, I would like you to know that you make a huge impact in everything that you do. You all make a difference; we see it and we appreciate you.
Samuel Mue – International Studies, 3rd Year
A father realizes that he is most a father and educator at the point when he becomes “useless”, when he sees that his child has become independent… As a result, my father always taught us to trust in God. For that I am grateful! As I reflect on fatherhood, I choose to use an evocative image of dad as a very persistent spirit; he will always fight for what he is passionate about. I vividly recall, in 2007, he vied for an MP’s seat, which, however, he lost. That never quenched his thirst to serve the community. He went to work for an NGO abroad where he did great things to transform societies. Despite all the good work, his heart still longed to serve the people of Kenya and more specifically, in Makueni County. Currently, that’s where he is, serving, and doing it with so much passion and love! It astonishes me how he easily adapts and transforms any place with his leadership skills and visionary ideas. His leadership skills – that’s one trait I believe I inherited from him. I also believe I have an outgoing personality all thanks to him. To all the fathers out there, be the best father that you can be!
Ted Iha – Communication, 3rd Year
Recently, I was walking around the compound with my father; we had a ‘man talk’ about different topics ranging from politics, finances… As we touched on relationships he nonchalantly said, “Son there’s never a rush with these things and there’s no formula but one thing that people don’t may not know is, finding someone to settle with early can help you plan your life and that way you start thinking further ahead rather than indulging in fleeting moments.” Assuming he wasn’t suggesting it was time to introduce my girlfriend (LOL), it felt liberating that he could navigate the world of courtship with me, skillfully illuminating the idea of love with freedom. As I continue to learn more on hard work, the value of family but most of all service to others as expressed by dad’s charitable heart, I’d tell all the fathers out there, teach your children how to chase money but also how to love, care, sacrifice and relate with others because at the end of the day you will leave this earth and all that will be left is the memories of you in your progeny. So how would you like to be remembered?
Gracia Cibalonza – International Studies, 3rd Year
Hardworking is the first word I would use to describe my father. He works every day without fail back at home in Congo. He is also the kind that does not suffer fools, so as you can tell, he is strict. He is very understanding; he takes time to listen to every detail in a situation before taking action or making a final decision.
One trait I’m certain I’ve inherited from him is being independent. I tend to shy away from asking for help from others and try my best to help myself; a propensity he has. I think this has also made me hardworking and have self-drive in everything that I do.
The best memory I have with him was when I was 15. We had an argument back at home and all of a sudden, I collapsed. I woke up the next day in a hospital, only to discover that I have a heart problem. I was still angry at him, but he comforted me and apologized. He also advised me to avoid stress and not let my problems take advantage of me.
When he dropped out of high school, he began to hustle to earn money for himself. Those times were tough for him; he did not begin with a very good job, but he worked hard and never gave up. I am proud to say that today, he is a very successful man. His story is one of the main reasons he emphasizes on the importance of education and hard work.
The most remarkable thing my father has done and still does today is pushing my siblings and I to give our best in everything that we do. He wants us to have a better life than the one he had, and I appreciate that.
My father always says, “Never give up, go for it!” a motto that I live by all the time. He has never failed to believe in me because he insists that I can do it. He taught me that I should place effort in all that I do, and I should do it with the aim of reaching the final goal. As a university student, he has never failed to advise me to prioritize my studies before anything else.
If I was with him right now, I would tell him that I love him and I pray that God may continue protecting him and making him the amazing dad that he is. In the near future, I hope to meet someone who is as charismatic and hardworking as my father. I also salute all fathers out there because they want nothing but the best for their children; they are a blessing to them. May God give you more life and make you better fathers with each passing day because you deserve so much and more.
This article was written by Annete Karanja, Cheryl Wambugu and Briege Mwangi.
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