The new addition to my nightstand is a hardback. It’s called The Greatest Generation, by Tom Brokaw. It’s a collection of stories about the American men and women who fought in the war that brought down Hitler. I swear I can hear the American national anthem in every page.

It’s a tribute to the people who came of age during the Great Depression. This was the generation that answered the call to help save the world from fascist maniacs. They quit school and they left their ordinary jobs and got directly into uniform. You might have seen the results in Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan.

“At a time in their lives when their days and nights should have been filled with innocent adventure, love, and the lessons of the workaday world, they were fighting, often hand to hand, in the most primitive conditions possible, across the bloodied landscape of France, Belgium, Italy, and Austria. They were in the air every day, in skies filled with terror, and they went to sea on hostile waters far removed from the shores of their homeland.”

You can totally hear the anthem, right?

I was particularly drawn to the story of a young soldier called James Dowling. He got drafted into the military at 19, and he promised Dorothy – his hometown sweetheart – that they’d get married when he came back.

But during the war his squadron came under attack by the Germans and James was taken as prisoner.

Shortly before Christmas the prisoners were allowed to send holiday greetings over the radio. It was the first message from James since his capture:

“Dearest Dorothy, I am all right, sweetheart. I didn’t get a scratch or anything. Please tell Mom and Dad. Don’t worry about me. We’ll get married as soon as I get home again. I love you and miss you terribly, sweetheart, and I wish I could be with you soon. I have lots to tell you when I get back.”

He’s now 75 year old, a grandfather, and a vintage car enthusiast.

Anyway, when I read some these stories I can’t help but think back to high school. It was the only time I was ever away from home, and sometimes it felt like I was also in the military.

We’d only get about five hours sleep. The alarm bell was a rain-coated watchman who knocked two metal bars against one another. Your bald head would absorb the morning cold. You’d check in for morning prep while the stars were still bright in the sky.

You weren’t allowed to take a nap, otherwise that would earn you a few strokes of the cane. Don’t be caught reading a novel under your desk, either, because it would be taken away. Newspapers? Ha, don’t be silly. KCSE is around the corner.

And you better not be seen talking to your desk mate during prep, else the teacher on duty will strike you with his cane, even though you were really doing group work. It felt like the school was being run by the Stasi.

It seemed you were always running towards something. You were required to run to class, or to the dining hall, or to virtually anywhere else. Why would you walk? Don’t you have midterm exams tomorrow? Walking is a waste of time.

Sometimes you were just rushing to finish your lunch, because the Math teacher wanted to squeeze the last ten minutes of lunch break with a pop quiz. And then after that you have Swa and then double Chem.

Those were some perilous times, and I missed home terribly.

I’d often dream about the warmth of my own room. I missed mom’s cooking, and I missed having hair on my head. I missed waking up to daylight. I missed hot showers. I missed my own music playlist, and not that drab they used to play in the entertainment hall. I missed walking. And above all, I missed Facebook Girl.

Number 1 was our mutual pet name, not to imply that there were number 2’s, though. Not on my end at least.

Every morning as I hurried out of bed I would think of her, peacefully asleep a million leagues away. She’d keep me going at a time when life was one huge timetable punctuated by bells. I’d remember the promises we made to each other, that when I’d finally finish school we would settle down. She was going to teach me how to swim, too. And I did pushups every day so I could get into shape.

Towards the start of KCSE a classmate sneaked in a cell phone. It was a tool for exam cheating, really, but I didn’t give a damn about the exam. I was only interested in talking to Facebook Girl. So when I got hold of the phone I sent her a text. I had her number off the top of my bald head.

I wrote: Number 1?

She replied: Michael?

It’s me, Number 1. I miss you.

Hehe, I was the most romantic boy who ever walked in shoe leather. We didn’t chat for long, though. A cell phone was hot goods. The owner had to put it away quickly before a teacher saw it.

The next time I heard from Facebook Girl was through a big ass success card. It came with a letter, addressed to Number 1. I read that letter every day before I went to bed, and on Saturday afternoons, when everyone else was in the entertainment hall.


“Can I ask you a question?”

He lifts his face but doesn’t look at me, almost like he doesn’t want to engage. Almost like he’s thinking, Christ! What the fuck does he want?

He’s just from a lengthy phone call, which he rung off by saying, “No, they should just pay you.” During that conversation I had already decided I liked his black leather jacket. He was tall, and he had a shiny black beard. I decided I wanted his beard too.

He’s having a meat pie and Afia Juice. Apple flavored. And I decide it would be unwise to ask for a piece of his meat pie. I’ve just polished off a packet of Skittles when he sits down. I didn’t know his name was Leonard until the last minute, when he jumped into an SUV and drive off.

It’s a warm Wednesday morning at Bonjour. My class has bounced. I have nothing else to do, and I don’t want to go home this early in the day. Far better, I reckoned to sit outside the convenience store and watch the traffic on Valley Road, and to be a nuisance to unsuspecting strangers in leather jackets.

He turns to me and nods.

“What job allows you to sit here at 10a.m?”

He allows himself a brief chuckle. He places his elbows on the table. The bagged meat pie is minus one bite and it sits quietly atop the table. The juice remains uncapped. His gaze has nothing of shiftiness in it, and he strikes me as a friendly guy. “I’m a contractor.”

“Like, roads?”

“No, Real Estate.”

He answers like he still hasn’t made up his mind whether to trust me or not. I’m wondering whether to leave him be, to let him enjoy his meat pie in peace.

“Do you like your job?”

He thinks for a moment then says, “Yeah, it’s okay.”

He looks to be in his early 30s. He’s composed. He speaks with a manly softness and the old untidy gestures of youth have left him.


“Not officially,” he says. “It’s too hectic.”

We laugh.

He says, “My job demands lots of travel. Like now I’m waiting for someone. I’m on my way to Naivasha.”

“That part is fun at least, right? The travelling?”

He exhales. “It gets exhausting. Every month I have to go down to Mombasa. I travel maybe three or four times a week, so I never really have the time to have fun.”

I nod my head. “Where’d you go to school? Campus, that is, where?

“A Uni in Namibia. Did a business course then worked as an intern at a bank in my second year. You know Namibia has a small population. It’s like, two million people. So there’s no competition.”

I’m giving him all my attention now. He’s really getting into it. “It was hard getting a job when I came back to Kenya. The competition was much steeper. Nairobi moved too quickly. As an intern in Namibia I’d get a salary of up to 80k. The same work as a fully fledged employee in Kenya would fetch a measly 30k.

“My academic papers weren’t getting me ahead. So I joined hands with my pal – the one meant to pick me up – and we started a company.”

I forget to ask the name of the company. But from where I sit Leonard looks like a made man. He looks like the proverbial goals. And he looks so damn sexy with that beard.

I ask, “How would you define success?”

“Success is…” he trails off as he strokes his beard, “success is peaceful nights. It’s having time on your hands, to be with your family. People think success is about the money. But it’s not. Look at Trump. He has all the money in the world but the whole world hates him.”

Then Leonard points behind me, to a cream colored SUV that has driven into the station.

“That’s me,” he says.

As he pulls himself out of the bench, I ask, “I’m Mike, by the way. What’s your name?”

“Leonard.” He gives me a firm handshake and starts to walk away.

“Have a nice trip, Leonard!”


I watch as he gets into that SUV. And I wonder whether he had had a girl waiting for him while he was Namibia. I forgot to ask. I wish I did, though.

And instead of saying, “Have a nice trip,” I should have said what I really wanted to say: “Will you finish that meat pie?”
Mike blogs at www.mikemuthaka.com


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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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