Walk With Me

I’m tired of school. I’m tired of sitting in class. The chairs hurt my back and I can never pay much attention to the lecturer. My mind wanders and my attitude towards the curriculum is rotten; the content is largely uninteresting and I’m tired of it all. The girls are pretty, sure, but I’m also tired of seeing the same faces every week. And by and by, I’m made aware of my small number of friends.

Maybe I didn’t get the memo. Everyone else seems to exist in some kind of clique. They move in numbers. If you sit anywhere closer than a kilometer you’ll hear stories of how they partied together. They’re loud. They always find something to laugh about. They make fun of everyone else and they listen to ruckus they call Trap music. The boys come to school in customized engines and drive out with a girl riding shotgun at the end of the day. The girls wear colorful head-wraps and say things like, “October is such a vibe.”

It didn’t really hit me how tired I was until last week Wednesday. I was seated at the cafeteria at noon, inwardly calculating how much a plate of rice would dent my pocket. A group of girls were at the next table and I was facing a glass partitioning. I was soon joined by a chap I had talked to a few times before. I couldn’t even remember his name, and in the throes of small talk he revealed he didn’t have class that day. That he was just hanging around. I completely failed to understand his reasoning.

Later, after the small talk had fizzled out, the chap took out his phone and that became my cue to leave. But not before I saw my reflection in the glass partition. It was a faceless image. I could only see the spikes of my hair. The girls at the next table were only silhouettes.

That’s when it dawned on me: I was tired of the whole place.

As I was walking out of the school’s gate I saw a girl in a purple beret. She was seated alone along the perimeter wall and the beret was cocked to the side. She was biting at a samosa shrouded inside a serviette. Her small lips slowly rolled as she chewed and bits of minced meat fell on her lap. She had her earphones plugged in and her face was somber as hell. She seemed to me like a kindred spirit. And tired, too. I wanted to give her a hug.

I was headed to the stage so I could take a mat to town then another one home. Then my phone buzzed alive with a text message. It was from my Ol’Man: Demos in town, he said, avoid the CBD.

I live in Kitengela. If I was going to get home without using the CBD, I would have to take Mbagathi Way and onto Mombasa Road. It would have involved a bit of walking, which I wasn’t in the mood to do. Besides, who wouldn’t want to see the demos first hand? It would be the highlight of my week, certainly, and maybe I’d even get my first whiff of teargas. I wanted to get lost in the dingy maze of cemented alleyways. I wanted me some adventure.

When I alighted at GPO the street was eerily quiet, even though people moved along the pavements like any other day. Most shops were open and it looked business as usual, really. I put on my earphones and started walking across town, taking in the sun-soaked city and feeling the economic hum from under my feet. All along I hoped a teargas canister would be lobbed from somewhere in the sky.

I was getting to Kimathi Street when my music stopped, interrupted by my ringtone. A pal knew I would be in town and wanted to warn me beforehand. Msee uko town? he said. Naskia Moi Avenue ni kubaya.

I got all shocked and said, Walai?

Meanwhile, I was practically rushing to get to Moi Avenue. It’s not like I wasn’t going to use that route anyway.

But I hadn’t smelt any danger up until I noticed many people moving in the opposite direction; I was walking against the current. The faces I met were calm, though, and as far as I could tell no one was carrying a placard or a stone. No one had a runny nose. No one looked panicked.

Then I came by some discarded twigs and that’s when I heard the sound of growing chants.

No reforms, no elections! No reforms, no elections!

A sudden stillness came over the street, it was like everyone else was holding their breath. A shiver shimmied up my spine. I could feel my legs tense up, ready to bolt at the slightest bit of anything louder than a pin drop. A bunch of street workers had stepped out their buildings to see what’s what and many others were frantically closing shop. Bystanders were huddled together under streetlamps and the air was fat with tension.

Straight ahead, in the distance, I saw a Kenyan flag floating from somewhere in the mass of demonstrators that was now heading in my direction. Across the road a man was running towards the disturbance with a camera slung around his neck. I really hoped he’d get a good shot after all that running.

There was no sign of teargas but I still didn’t want to get caught in the melee. I took another route so I could go around the procession instead. I ended up on an almost deserted backstreet, then I waited.

The walls reverberated with echoing footsteps through the cluster of buildings. Parked cars had lined the pavements and I couldn’t take my eyes off a black Subaru that had the biggest spoiler I’d ever seen. It looked demonic, really, and I wanted to go over and touch it. But then some meters away, I saw a conspicuous shoe shine stand.

The shiner sat on a low stool. His shoe brushes were laid next to him, spread on a yellow mat and bundled together with opened cans of shoe shine. He had an oversized shirt and dark sunglasses and his right wrist was heavily bandaged. I wondered if it hurt as he went about his job.

He was brushing the underside of his customer’s pants, sweeping away the dusty stains. The client – a chap in a tailored suit – propped himself up on a long stool with a red cushion. The shiner didn’t turn his head much, he was blind.

I waited and watched. After the chap in the suit had stepped off the stool and gone away, the shiner turned his head to me and I could have sworn he was seeing right into me.

Looking into his dark glasses, I thought about the unending darkness that consumed his life. What was it like to be in his shoes? Was he born without his eyesight, or when did it happen? How did he got home every day, does he get someone to walk him? Does he have friends who stop by his stand so they can dissect the political situation over a few laughs?

He had no way of knowing that there was a menacing Subaru spoiler close to him. He would also remain unaware of the spike-haired boy staring at him. He couldn’t know that, in that moment, the boy felt unworthy of his own eyesight. The boy felt terrible that he had grown tired of seeing. And of his life. That he’d have given out his eyes if he could.

The streets became quiet after what felt like an eternity. As I headed out, I imagined what the shiner would do if he could suddenly be able to see again: He would probably get up from his stool, stretch out his tired limbs and let out a big yawn. Then he’d look to his side and say, Boy, what an ugly spoiler.


Black Microphone
Her Majesty

Comments (2)

  1. A.J.O OKOYO

    Looks like you are wired to be the best at description. I am wondering whether to pledge my loyalty to reading your pieces (And nobody else’s). Also, I have to mention; it was a good read. Looking forward to more of this.

    • Mike

      Thanks, A.J.
      Stay tuned😊

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Florence Bett-Kinyatti


Columnist Saturday Nation Writer Craft It Author of best-selling ‘SHOULD I?’ and ‘HOW MUCH?’ ~ Guiding word: Overdrive Subscribe to our Newsletter👇🏾 eepurl.com/igmN8P
  • Dear God, 
It’s me again.

I don’t pray as often as I need to, You know that. I don’t kneel by my bed in child-like humility, as Muna does. I don’t whisper a prayer in the morning. Or at noon. Perhaps just in the evening. 

This going-to-church habit is a constant false start. So is reading the Word. 

I’m often guilty but I also know: You and I have a language only we can understand. 

I speak to You through this gift You bestowed upon my Kale shoulders, this gift to write in colour. It’s a gift that sometimes feels like a curse, a burden I have no choice but to pursue. 

Yet other times – most times, actually – it’s the very breath of my essence. Everyday I sit to write, when the words flow from my head and heart through my fingers to the page, I feel You next to me. 

You are here, Lord. Hovering. Lingering. Swooshing about in Your regal robes, like a character from Bridgerton.

Sometimes You get so close I can feel You breathing on my neck and I’m like, ‘Err, God, do You mind, personal space?’

And You chuckle uncomfortably. ‘He-he, of course. Of course.’

I’m here to tell You, Thanks!

I hosted my first in-person event last March, Lord, thank You to all the lovely ladies who granted me their time and full attention. 

I’ve carried them in my heart since and every day, my prayer is that You bring them closer to the life of abundance they each seek. To their own version of wealth. 

I always call them by their name: Becky. Purity. Lindsay. Wangui. Naomi. Shiqow. Mercy. Liz. Winnie. Polly. Nduta. Lynet. 

And Mike. 

Dear Lord, I’m prepping for my next in-person event in June, Inshallah. 

Walk with me as I get there. 

Love always,

  • Highlights from our first-ever in person event hosted by Craft It and @financialfitbit 
Thanks to all the lovely ladies — and gent, hehe — who honoured us with the privilege of their time and attention. And colourful energy. It’s been weeks since and it’s only now that I’m coming down from the high. 

Thank YOU!

🎥 @mikemuthaka 

#craftit #author #MakeYourMoneyMatter #personalfinance #money
  • I am a woman.

I’m strong. I’m brilliant. I’m like a comet shooting across the sky, I’m so bright you have to put on shades to see me.

I’m almost 40, I’m almost fully realising myself as a woman and the power of womanhood I possess.

I’m so powerful that if KPLC connected me to the national grid, I’d power up this country and we’d never have another blackout.

Ho! Ho! Ho!


To recognize and celebrate International Women’s Day today, I’d like to recognize and celebrate eight women.

I have eight things to give away to each of these women:
a) Two tickets to my upcoming event on March 18 with @financialfitbit Theme is ‘Make your money matter’
b) Three autographed copies of my book ‘Should I?’
c) Three autographed copies of my other book ‘How Much?’

To participate:
1. Like this post
2. Tag women who deserve a win of either event ticket or book (tag as many women as you like)
3. Tell us what you’d like her to win and why she deserves the win
4. Make sure your tagged women follow @_craftit and @financialfitbit 

Here are the rules for the giveaway:
— One woman, one win
— Winners will be contacted via DM
— Giveaway closes at the end of this week, Inshallah, on Sunday 12 March
— Only open to people living in Kenya

All the best!

(Swipe right to see the women I’m celebrating.)

#craftit #internationalwomensday
  • My 2022 word of the year was Wholesome. 

Wholesome meant engaging in moderation and in pursuits that didn’t leave me feeling yucky.

An example: there’re weekend nights I’d go out then have too much to drink. On the drive home, I’d tell GB to stop the car every half mile so I could throw up on the side of the road. Then I’d take three working days recovering. 


No more of that nonsense.

Now I have only two doubles of Singleton whiskey and chase it with water. I eat less food and I eat better. I take my supplements. I treat myself to an early bedtime and arise with my body clock, no alarm.

I spend a lot more time hanging with my kids, Muna and Njeeh. 

I buy fewer things. 

I play the piano. 

I created a disciplined routine for my work and take Thursdays off. 

You catch my drift…

Wholesome has become my lifestyle. 

(By the way, I was asked, ‘Where does this word-of-the-year come from, Bett?’ I don’t know about other people but for me, the words present themselves when I’m journaling. My spirit tells me what it needs; I must be still enough to listen and brave enough to obey.)

My word for 2023 is Overdrive.

My two books have unlocked new opportunities for me as a writer and creative. As an urban brand. I’d honestly not foreseen them. 

I know that if I adjust my sails to where the wind is blowing, these opportunities will translate to wealth.

Last Friday, I listed all the work I’m already doing and all the new opportunities – potential and realised – knocking at my door.

I asked myself, ‘What am I taking up here and what am I dropping?’

The response, ‘None – we go into overdrive and smartly pursue them all.’

#craftit #urbanguide
  • Years ago, my best friend said to me, ‘Bett, we’re almost 40 – forget makeup, let’s take care of our skin instead.’

I had to laugh because this was coming from Terry. Terry my Kisii pal, this fine gyal with skin the colour of honey, the only practising SDA in my circle. 

Terry had spent her 20s and early 30s sleek with Arimis. That’s right, the milking jelly with a lactating cow on its logo. 

Arimis addressed all her skin pickles back then. It was her problem fixer. Her Olivia Pope. It’s the one thing that always said, It’s handled.

Now here she was preaching to us about a consistent skincare regimen in the AM and PM.


It wasn’t until Terry shared her selfies on our girls WhatsApp group that I stopped laughing. It wasn’t until we stood next her – and took these selfies – that I reeally stopped laughing: Terry’s skin was youthful and toned, plump. Hydrated. Moistured but not shiny. 

It looked like it had been kissed by the Greek goddess of radiance. 

So we gathered around her feet and said, ‘Forgive us, master. We are ready now. Teach us everything you know.’

She did. 

Terry and I now spend plenty of time before work and before bed squeezing out little portions of expensive skincare products from expensive tubes, we layer them on our face in a calculated measure.

This serum here is for the circles under my eyes and the fine lines around my mouth.

Turns out I’ve been giving away too much of my face: I’ve been looking too hard, laughing too easily.

I’ll have to spend the next year into my 40s with my eyes half shut and laughing little. I'll have a resting bitch face.

Don’t blame me, blame the retinol.

And age.

#craftit #urbanguide #urbangirl
  • I’m Bett. I’m the author of your favourite books about money. I’m hosting an in-person event in March, Inshallah: This is my personal invite to you.

#craftit #moneymaker #moneyinkenya
  • I am hosting my first money event this March, Inhsallah. It’s the first of quarterly events I have planned for the year. 

(Give me a moment here so I pull myself together long enough to write this. I’m smiling very hard right now, ha-ha, I look like a donkey.)


The event will be in-person. On a Saturday morning, a loose three hours which, I am certain, you’d have burned on some other pursuit you couldn’t account for later. (I’d probably be oiling the hinges of a squeaky door or decluttering my sock drawer.)

My guest host for this edition is Lynet Kyalo. 

Lynet is a personal finance coach under her brand @financialfitbit She also hosts @getyourbagrightpodcast 

Buy your tickets from our Market.

Early bird tickets are discounted until the end of this month.

Limited slots available. 

#craftit #millenialmoney #moneyevent #moneymaker
  • Sometimes I sit down and read my own book. 

Odd, huh?

Reading my own stories is like an out-of-body experience. Or getting introduced to myself again. An outward journey inward.

It’s fascinating.

I also read because I need to improve my writing for my next project.

We call them the Elements of Craft: things like sentence structure and punctuation, word placement, story length etc, they all inform your reading experience.

This is what makes the book easy to read, and has you turning the pages.

Cop your autographed copy and #betteryourmoney 

#craftit #howmuch #millenialmoney #moneymaker

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