Esther Mukiri Gitiri (View on Instagram) had first told me of it, I had shrugged considered it inapt until pressing concerns took me there as paparazzi. I wanted to know what happened there, the kind of people found there and the way these people dressed up. I was even curious of what they ate and if they really are like other students. So I made with plans to attend their meeting, it is customarily on Tuesdays 5 pm to 6 pm, not ten minutes past six or two minutes past six, No! Six is exactly six with these people, are they Africans? Don’t they know about the ‘African Timer’ shenanigan?
The first mistake I had done was arrive seven minutes past five and the Sergeant at Arms (SAA) had glared at me and said that I was to receive pardon because I was a first timer. And I had felt like I was back in high school at the principal’s office. Back then this one time in high school a guy had got to our cubicle and stolen our stuff and we had been confounded and appointed Willy as our private investigator to find the hooligan who had constantly bestowed us with cruelty. Turns out Willy was good, too good, and he had found out our friend Vinnie from the next cubicle had been our culprit and in anger we had confronted him and threatened to beat him like never before – with metal pieces. We were later to be reported to the principal and when it was my turn, I had stood there in his office like I did on Tuesday 5:07 pm, feeling like some ego had been grabbed away from me. Seven minutes from hell!
Most writers love talking. In fact when I am not typing or writing using a pen, I am talking. I can talk about anything and make up stories about everything. I once used a pen and paper to seduce a lady by painting her face using words but that is a story for another day which might also not be true. All I need is an audience. Silence bothers me, my brain translates it as a deficiency for my stories so I begin talking. On Tuesday the room had loomed with utter silence and I had felt uncomfortable, I had nudged Esther using my elbows and started on another story. Silence was calling, it would have been rude not to answer. I cannot remember what the story was about. It was interesting, I think it was about Darius Mindu, the club’s president, he is a funny guy so I had made up a humorous story about him. I did not even see the SAA squint his eyes at me and write my name down.
Parliament has always startled me in terms of protocols and conventions. Everything has a way of getting done. You address the speaker of the national assembly like a tiny god, you stop talking when he has heard enough, he can choose to listen or not to listen to you blubber and most importantly in that room when you talk everybody stops texting their girlfriends and side chicks or picking calls from their bosses and wives, their job is to listen. Rotaract Club is not so different from this. Darius has his board organised in departments, each with a head. All members identify themselves in these departments and it is like a leafy fruity apple tree where the stem needs the leaves as much as they all need the roots. Baffling!
I wonder if paparazzi ever go somewhere to peep and play nosy – that’s what they do, right? And then in their search for stories to report to their bosses back at the press offices meet with an experience that sweeps them off their feet. Like a girl, beautiful with a chocolate-brown complexion. A phenomenal lady with captivating features that makes your soul dance with the angels, down to earth and charming yet forbidden by the mere fact that you cannot seduce your subject. It is illegal. Therapists and paparazzi alike cannot sleep with their clients. But you have to because such an experience comes only once in a lifetime. That had been me on an assignment from BAKE-DeKUT to paparazzi on Rotaract club. I had later returned and said I needed more time to get a detailed story but I knew there and then I was there to stay.
Rotaract Club was started to engage students in the activities of Rotary Club which is basically a club for very rich and prominent people coming together to engage on community service and help out where the community suffers an inadequacy. Rotaract is just the student version of Rotary. I question the intelligence of the person who came up with the word Rotaract from Rotary though, what was he thinking? Did he go through 8-4-4 school system like us? Are the two names related in any way? A cow has a cab now Rotary has Rotaract? I just do not fathom this logic.
An example of Rotaract’s functions was an art exhibition last weekend at Hotel White Rhino organised by Rotary club where by, the event saw to it that artists displayed their art for sale and money was raised to support the artists and also fund some of the functions of the club. The Rotaractors went round and round learning from the artist and performing duties such as writing receipts from sales made. Esther Mukiri captured some of this lovely art ware behind a lens and will have them published on her photography blog soon.
And I met Mathew (Osketch) Owino. (Mathew Owino Okech – Facebook) Omera!!!
Owino is an artist. And just like God was precise and perfect in making women so is he with his art. He is a real maven. He will translate any poem into a painting and the vice-versa. He will tell Esther to sit on a stool holding her camera and make a live sketch of her that looks unerringly like her. I will be astounded and ask him how he does this and he will smile and say he loves what he does. He is good at it. In fact he is too good at it. To him words do not tell the whole story but paintings do. He will write a poem and feel that it did not reach the edges of his artistic soul therefore he will use coloured pencils and paint to push his point home. He is good like that. His handwriting is like Bradley Hand ITC in Microsoft Windows. My handwriting looks a hen walked all over my book compared to his but mine is still better compared to Willy, the investigator back in high school. Owino has a touch on his art as the heavens have on his talent. He is smart dines with the gods when it comes to art.
Rotaract trains future leaders and great people who will take care of the society in future. A new member registers with five hundred shillings and is required to have a business card and at least one suit to attend the meetings. The suit however is not mandatory but how do you go to address a president and a parliament in casual jeans and a T-shirt written ‘My Money Grows Like Grass’. So get a suit, at least one or two, or text me I know a guy who knows a guy. Actually I do not, I just had to use that line. But seriously, get a suit and come to The Dome on Tuesday, any Tuesday or every Tuesday at 5 PM. Do not be late and do not speak during the meeting unless your wallet is thick and is begging for an offload in form of fines. If you want to speak to everyone, buy airtime and if you are happy with the meeting get your wallet and pay a happy dollar. It is all about community service and having fun.
We will also be at Dedan Kimathi University on 14th August at the graduation square for bonfire. Along the month we also charter the club in a glamorous night event, date and venue to be confirmed. It is a club of Rotaractors!