CITY GIRL: Akothee, top teacher show us the true Kenyan spirit
Today I choose to celebrate two Kenyans who have made us proud. These two seemingly normal Kenyans have proven, for the umpteenth time, that you do not need to be powerful to make a difference.
They have put the needs of others before theirs and selflessly devoted themselves towards the service of others. They are not politicians or corporate czars, yet, they have exhibited remarkable leadership qualities. They are leaders without titles.
The first person I would like to celebrate today is, Esther Akoth, or, Akothee. Akothee, for all her drama and stunts on stage has proven that she is more than a stage entertainer, but also a leader in her own right.
Akothee, through her influence, singlehandly raised more than Sh3 million towards Kenyans facing drought.
For a woman who has received massive opprobrium and vituperation for minor things like her dressing and her dancing style, Akothee rose above the drama and taught us a lesson about caring for the less fortunate in the society.
You would expect the “Christians” who were criticizing her would gather to raise money to help the poor, but none of them rose to the occasion except for a “sinner” and a “poor role model” like Akothee.
If the Bible’s “Parable of the Good Samaritan” were to be re-written today, Akothee would easily be the Good Samaritan as the Ezekiel Mutuas and other Bible thumping hypocrites would be the priest and the Levite, respectively, who walked by as the poor man lay half dead by the roadside.
Akothee not only teaches us a lesson about feeding the hungry and catering to the poor, she also teaches us that people are not what they seem to be, and we must not be so quick to judge others based on their actions.
Akothee, when she lay on the stage with her legs akimbo in a series of seductive dance moves, may have looked like the least likely candidate for a role model for our young people and children.
However, in the recent turn of events, I am tempted to think that perhaps we read Akothee wrong; that deep down, beneath those stage antics and all that drama, is a woman with a golden heart, one who genuinely cares for others and is also a true leader.
I wonder where the Christians were, last weekend, as Madam Boss braved the sweltering Turkana heat to feed the poor.
Akothee, we love you and we celebrate you. May your pockets never run dry, nor your children beg for food.
The other shujaa I would like to celebrate this day is Mr Peter Mokaya Tabichi, the selfless teacher who won the 2019 Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize.
The 36-year-old mathematics and physics teacher at Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School in Nakuru won the US$1 million prize for his noble efforts to go over and beyond what is expected of a teacher.
Besides giving 80 per cent of his salary to help needy students in his school, the Franciscan brother is also a community star, using his time to steer community farming projects and a “Peace Club” at his school.
Now, Mr Tabichi’s story is not about the Sh100 million prize, neither is it about the recognition for his efforts. He teaches us about purpose. About impact.
It is easy for a teacher who has been posted to a school where majority of the students are poor and living within a community riddled with drug abuse and teen pregnancies to whine, complain, give up or seek a transfer.
Yet, Mr Tabichi stayed. He chose to rise above the circumstances and make a difference, even when it was easier to opt out.
He reminds me of the numerous sacrifices our teachers make, most of which go unnoticed. In a country where teachers are overworked and underpaid, Mr Tabichi’s story challenges us to do more with less.
I have a hunch that Mr Tabichi did not do this for the recognition, that even if he would never have won the prize, the good brother would have trudged on with the journey, with the hope of the ultimate reward from God.
And that, my fellow Kenyans, is the true Kenyan spirit. The spirit of resilience and endurance, even in the face of criticism in the case of Akothee or difficulties in the case of Teacher Tabichi.
These two Kenyans have challenged us, in the words of JF Kennedy, to “ask not what the country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country”.