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BY Jaymo Wa Thika

An incident I bumped into sometimes back got me thinking about life and how each one of us reacts to life’s challenges.

Everyone is at one time or the other entangled in some kind of challenge, but how we react to it makes all the difference. Some will sink themselves into alcohol, others into some state of withdrawal, others will hide themselves in church, and others will shout out for help and so on and so forth.

How we react to a particular problem determines whether we get a solution to it or we compound it and worsen the situation.

Most people are living in depression or die out of it because of the negative decisions they made after plunging into certain challenges. For instance, if you lose your job and opt to drown yourself into alcohol or lock yourself inside the house and cry, you are simply courting depression or worse still a possibility of committing suicide as an escape route to your challenges.

Most men, unlike women, fall in this category as they suffer from that masculine pride not to show others that you have tripped. The other category that suffers most from similar denial syndrome is the working class, the middle class and the wealthy.

These groups of people are hardest hit when calamity strikes, as they fear the repercussions of their peers’ reactions when they learn of their loss. They dread the loss of status and what people will say about them and their crumbling ship.

They don’t want to move out of their big mansion into what they can afford. They still insist on driving even when they fuel their cars on borrowed money. They still want their children to continue schooling in a school they can barely raise the fees.

Eventually, these people end up so indebted and making so many enemies to a point that they can no longer walk to town in peace. At this point, some will seek solace in the bottle. Others will hide in church praying the whole day. Some will lock themselves in the house the whole day while some women will now fall for a “sponyoo” to help her service her bills.

This is the time when depression and suicidal thoughts start creeping in and if not arrested in time, the end is usually catastrophic.

One thing I admire with the low-income category of people is that they adapt to challenges very easily. They are never ashamed of their situation and will boldly seek external help without blinking an eye. They are never ashamed to tell you that they haven’t eaten for two days as long as opening up will offer some possible solutions, however temporary. They will live one day at a time, hoping that one day, God will open the window of His Glory.

This category of people will be happy to share “Githeri ya 20” and talk about it the following morning as they go out to seek for the next meal. They are rarely depressed or concerned what others will say about them. They just live their lives.

Another positive aspect about this lot is that they are very social and will pool together their meagre resources to come to the aid of one of their own who is in a particular challenge. Here, there is too much brotherhood, a true spirit of Ujamaa or what we call in Kenya Harambee.

This is the one thing that lacks in the middle and upper classes of people. They are so proud, egocentric and really don’t care about anyone else apart from themselves. Their friendship is limited to material wealth, people they can share with in entertainment, luxuries and in pride. Fake friendship to say the least.

That is why if any of them trips, it’s them and their God.

I believe all can learn something from the low-income class of people. These people at most exhibit the best of humanity when it comes to be there for each other. They are very good in adapting to change. They are very good at living their lives and not faking it to please their peers.


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