A week ago, as my friend Gladys (yes that one, she’s still in the news) hustled to get her son to school in France – apparently you can’t be sent on compulsory leave from motherhood no matter how dramatic life maybe - she told me, please talk about the tough times as well when you celebrate motherhood. She feels I spend too much time talking about the sheer joy of raising Nduku and I don’t give enough space to the nerve-wrecking episodes. But then again I’m the person who loves the chaos, noise and sheer fatigue when my daughter has play date and the house has three to four screaming children.
My girlfriend Charity says I positively glow…then she ads nkt. Here’s the thing though, Tiger Mums rule and when their cubs roar, the sheer affirmation and validation that she did well is unmistakable. I know there are many Mothers sending their cubs out into the world in the coming weeks and even as their hearts are breaking, they know their cubs must go forth and hunt for themselves. For each and everyone of you, allow me to celebrate a Tiger Mum ( Lydia Kaindi) and her cub this morning by sharing with you an extract from a speech the cub (Trevor Mwendwa) gave at his leaving party.
“My name is Trevor.
And I take great pride in this name for two reasons – how it was acquired and its greater meaning. As a single parent, my mother has always been everything to me. She did not have much to her name when she was expecting me and had even been encouraged to end my life before it began, thus she did not even know where to begin looking for a name when I was born. She walked into a bookstoreand spotted a book on baby names. She could not afford it, but was permitted to peruse through it. She found the name “Trevor” which 19 years ago, was defined as ‘the source of a great river’ in that book. Satisfied, she left.
By this logic, my mother could not have dealt me a better card. Last year, I found out that my name also had a meaning that was more updated. “Trefer” Irish for: A large settlement. A dwelling place. I have a soft heart. And this may not have been an issue if I did not allow asmany people to ‘dwell’ in it as they do. Many are the times when I am disappointed or hurt by people because they do not reciprocate the love or compassion I show them. Many are the times when I feel used. Picture my heart as an actual ‘settlement’ of people. The two biggest tenants are integrity and passion. I have never found it within myself to take what is not mine.
Many leaders today lack the ability to remain 100% accountable to all their actions especially when it comes to finance. I strongly believe that this is one of the things that holds my country back from being the best it can be. When I come back home, in whatever capacity, I will show what it means to have integrity. For too long, we have lost faith in the leaders in my country but it is no use complaining without making an attempt to fix it ourselves.
Passion is the largest tenant in the settlement that is my heart. Because whatever I believe in strongly, I succeed in. Passion for arts over sciences saw me fight my mother in order to do what I loved at the time, art, instead of geography – however useless I was at it. Passion for HIV+ children in need of a decent education is driving me to source and collect resources that I can use to put up a school in Nyamasaria, Kenya. Passion for doing what’s right will forever see me persevere until what has to be done is done, as long as I have faith in it and believe in myself.
It is my vision to see decency restored in humanity. In my country, this will require establishing long-term solutions to problems the poor face (at this point feel free to send this to Senator Mbuvi – even a 19year old gets it), reforming our government's character and redefining its diplomatic relationships to discourage neo-Marxist dependency. Rousseau's pro-sovereignty argument is adapted in Kenya as a democracy. However, this is not effectively executed as a result of lack of accountability, corruption, and unfit governance.
The subsequent state of low living standards and hopelessness of our citizens has conjured in me a passion to transform our government's deportment both locally and internationally.
Current affairs magazines such as Time, New African and The Economist keepme planted in the present, but I keenly investigate ideals posed by renowned novelists and poets such as Paulo Coelho and Denise Duhamel for the future.
Their works have helped shape my world view and presented ideals that I believe are essential for people in positions of leadership such as proficiency,integrity and passion.
As far back as primary school, leadership has been nurtured in me as headboy, student government member, head of house, scout leader, tennis captain and prefect in my fifth and sixth form. However, I will not lay any claim to being a naturally outstanding academic, though I strive to be. What I can lay claim to, though, is having a thorough dedication to extracting and exploiting all the benefits that education has to offer me, even if I did not write my finals brilliantly.
By studying Development Studies, International Relations and Chinese at university, I hope to gain the firm foundation I need to make positive and effective changes to my country through diplomacy. The time has come when talk has turned into non-action and that in turn has become the dilapidation of society in numerous aspects. It sometimes seems like we are waiting for a source of inspiration, a driving force, a source of life.
I believe I am destined for greatness.The world has tried to inhibit this in so many ways, but I believe in my God and myself because of all of you before me this evening. For around a fifth of a century, I have lived among you, and during all that time I have received nothing but unfathomable amounts of kindness, patience and love.
My name is Trevor. And I am ready to be that source. I am ready to lead by example. This is my humble request for a place to study at Westminster to achieve my goals.
When he was done with the letter, he then made us cry by saying:
My Lord and my God, as I fight back emotions at this moment, I want to ask of You little, but thank you for everything. Thank you for the mother I have been blessed with and through whom You bless me.
Thank you for keeping her solid in her faith, resilient in her businessand moral in her conduct. Thank You for her beautiful soul that guides, advices, provides and tenaciously loves.
I thank You for my other mothers in this room. Those who have rocked me to sleep when asthma tried to keep me awake. Those who have walked and prayed with me in foreign lands and here at home in pursuit of my future.
Those who have supplied me with immense motivation even when I least deserve it. Those who tirelessly pray for me and with me, because they believe in me. Those who have wholly embraced me and made me feel like I belong to their families as their child, inadequacies and all.
Those who have taught me faith and have taught me how to draw close to You. Bless them all. I thank You for the earthly fathers you have placed in my life as well.
The ones who battled through my stubbornness and fed me physically, emotionally and spiritually and mentored me through different stages of my life, the ones who have provided me with opportunities I would never have been able to imagine possible, the ones whom I have given no reason to deserve kindness but from whom kindness flows vastly and those through whom your words of wisdom are whispered to me constantly as they prepare me for the world. Bless them all.
And now Lord, though distance is about to come between those before me and myself, I ask that you keep them well and keep them close to You. Make your face shine upon them and clothe them in Your favour. Bless them, protect them, and love them. I know You will never let me go. Amen
Godspeed Trevor. Hurry back – you and I have a lot of work to do and Kenya needs you. To all the Tiger Mums who wonder are fretting and wondering if your children will be fine – if you cub is anything like Trevor – they’ll be better than fine.