My First Steps

By Ochieng’ Odhiambo

Have you ever found yourself dancing in the middle of a crowd, everyone turning to look at you as if you had gone mad? You then stop dancing and smile to them before taking a few steps away, feeling as if you had just quenched a thirst that was threatening to take you down. That is how some of us react when we are about to meet new people.

I sometimes enjoy having a poor memory, simply because it allows me to enjoy the good things over and over again. Every time I enter through the green, metallic gates, I usually have the feeling of that very first day. I feel the sound of my foot steps and the systematic questions that I had formulated for the very people I was going to meet.

To my disappointment, or pleasure, I never get to ask most of these questions. Not because I do not get the opportunity to ask them but simply because they lose their necessity. The moment I knock on the door, I get an unexpected warm welcome. I feel at home and even though the anxiety is still there, I feel a renewed confidence, as if I were already at home and I had not even met the host; it is as if I had just returned from a walk and no one even notices that I am a ‘stranger’. I don’t know. Maybe it is the Satima culture that I am yet to learn about.

How I got to know about this humble place is a story worth sharing. It came at the most unexpected of places: the Nairobi traffic. The vehicles were stuck bumper-to-bumper. I was bored to death, tired after the long involving law lessons of the day. All I needed was to get to Lower Kabete and have a nap. I could not sleep in the University bus since it is always pregnant with noise; noise that could easily turn deaf someone not accustomed to it: from stories of the English Premier League, UEFA Champions League, Africa Cup and Gor and AFC to the stories of La Tormenta, Hidden Passions, Marmari and the likes and, of course, the politics of the day.

I was lazily staring through the window of the bus, hoping for something good to come from this disaster, if anything good ever came from calamities. Wishes are horses but I fail to understand why beggars are not riding. Suddenly, I noticed an old acquaintance walking on the roadside. We started chatting, him on the roadside and me sitting inside the University bus. He later convinced me to give Satima a visit. I reluctantly accepted the invitation. That was it, although it took me long before making the visit. I had to think through some things. There was that fear that I may never fit in, a fear which is slowly fading away as I get to understand what takes place there.

It may be a coincidence, or it was just meant to be. I do not care. What is important is that I have got to give myself a chance to learn new things. I have to allow myself to get the best through Satima. I have to understand why I was brought here. It is not to all invites that I get to reply. This one I did and, surely, there must be a reason for that. As I try to figure out what the reason was, I invite you all to be ready to find out why some things happen to you and not to anyone else of the 40 million Kenyans.

Ochieng’ Odhiambo is a 1st year Bachelor of Law student at the University of Nairobi.

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