Inspire with Waithira Kinyanjui: Questions of Life

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Mwaniki Nyaga
Member since June 8, 2016
  • 11 Posts
  • Age 23

We walk around every day, past hawkers selling their wares, newspaper vendors, taxi men, our neighbours and their houses. We observe these people around us, judge and make conclusions on face value.

I decided to take a walk around, visit an old lady nearby. I assumed, based on my face-value judgement, that I would find her asleep – enjoying her afternoon siesta.

I found her staring at a paperback: “The Shadow of Solomon” by Laurence Gardner.

She works at a tertiary college in Kenya as a housekeeper. She is also a member of the institution’s residential community. Based on her placing, she interacts with staff, administration and students as well and I think that is good exposure.

Why do you read books?

(gasp) I read books because…how can you not read books? I started reading a long time ago…I remember in primary school, among my classmates, I always led in the number of books read. I’ve always loved reading and I think reading is the thing that comes close to trying to make us understand what life is. I particularly like books on history and religion. All kinds of religion. I believe there’s information and knowledge to be found in everything. Even children’s books. As a young girl I read romance novels and fiction, but I stopped, long ago. I would love to read science but I don’t seem to understand.

What’s the last science related subject you came across?

I came across a program on television the other day. Very interesting. It had something to do with recent discoveries concerning (points above) this space above us. It was about dark matter, dark energy…black holes. It showed how they are formed, how they collapse into themselves. I thought that was very interesting. I couldn’t believe there are people who get up every day to look at God. I said to myself, that is a job I would love to do. It gets to a point it has no beginning or no end. What is that? And you get paid to study it?

What do you get paid to do?

To feed people. I’m a cateress. So in school I was taught how to cook, how to plan and set tables, make continental breakfasts, full Monty…all manner of things. I learnt a lot of theory on institutional management most of which, until now, I haven’t applied. I’m almost retiring and up to now, I cannot leisurely sustain eating a three course meal. In all honesty I feel cheated. I believe there would have been more important things I’d rather have been taught in school.

What are these important things?

What is this that makes a man who’s never stepped into school be able to stand and move a country forward? There’s so much to learn about the world that makes me see the education system as a suction of our time. It takes away our sense of wonder. It teaches us to place things on the table and study what it is that constitutes them. Things we see. We are maintaining schools but teaching our children nothing.

What I feel would be a better use of our time here on earth is learning about the self and things that happen to it. Like death. Growing old. Who put water on earth and why? How can we create water when our rivers dry up? We face problems without looking for solutions. We think the solution lies in the other person. It all goes back to what it is that we’re taking life to be. Do we know who we are?

So what is the greatest question you ask yourself?

It is said about man, that the most magnificent thing is that man is born as a child. Sees his grandfather die, watches his grandmother die, his father die, his mother die. He knows deep down that he too will die, someday. But he keeps it at the back of his mind, pushes it away. I ask myself why. Why do I have to die? What is this dying business? Who put it there and what is the purpose of it?

Are you happy?

I am not happy. I don’t think I know anybody who can say they actually are happy. There’s so much more that I want, but I don’t seem to know how to get it. What is this that is keeping us back? Happiness is the satisfaction that I am living the best life I can. There’s nothing more I can do to improve my life. I do not feel that. There’s no one out there to teach me who I am. I don’t know whether there’s anyone who’s reached there.

Is there a solution to all these?

We should spend time asking ourselves why. Why the lives we are living are not what successful lives are. That’s the way people will get on the path to fixing things which are more important than the ones which they are fixing.

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