I don’t know what you’re doing right now but I want you to head over to YouTube and watch Barack Obama’s old speeches.

It is what is playing in my headphones at the moment, as I write you this story. I am currently listening to his 2004 keynote speech in Boston, when he was first introduced to Americans as a potential presidential candidate.

The speech is 16 minutes long. 

You can tell that Obama by then hadn’t stepped into the White House, you can tell from his suit: it’s a frightening shade of black and a size too big, even the shoulder pads aren’t sitting where they should. He looks like the school captain of some prestigious national school: youthful, boyish, coyness swimming just beneath the surface of his demeanour.

He is inhabiting the look though, it is endearing.

On any other loose Tuesday afternoon, I would be listening to Amapiano or a deejay mix by Nigerian artists. Something upbeat and urban to kick the sleep out of my eyes. Something that would awaken the nostalgia of December, with its loosey-goosey days and road trips that never seem to have a destination, just a journey. As is life.

Instead I am listening to Barack Obama’s speeches, and guess what? They too are engaging me albeit in a difficult-to-comprehend alternative dimension. Different parts of my brain are being awakened – I can hear them stretch and yawn.

Best believe that this is not out of choice. I am listening to Obama’s speeches as part of my assignment – I have been instructed to watch them by my public speaking coach.

You read that right: I have a public speaking coach. (I also have a piano tutor, but more on that another day.) I am riding on that wave that comes with January, the one that has everyone wanting to tighten their cores, to spend less money in the bar and less time in front of the TV, to think up smarter ideas on how to get to the corner office, how to make more money.

Basically, to be a better version of themselves in this New Year.

I had my first public speaking class earlier this week; it is the first of ten. The class itself is a one-on-one class, it runs for an hour and a half, at most. From 8.30a.m. We meet in the outdoor sitting of a deserted diner that has lots of trees with soulful personalities, it feels like we are seated in the middle of the Arboretum.

My coach is a Toastmaster. Same as Barack Obama. She told me, ‘Once a Toastmaster, always a Toastmaster.’

She has been a Toastmaster for over 10 years, practicing and refining this craft of public speaking until she can coach others. I, too, will be a lifelong member of this international club. I, too, will coach others at some point down the line. I am not rooted to any chapter in Nairobi, at least not yet.

I am told that the public speaking community here in Nairobi is one I will be awfully proud to be associated with.

I know you are thinking, What does Bett need public speaking skills for? I need public speaking skills as much as you need to learn how to milk a camel. Or to dance bachata. Or to live in a North Pacific submarine for 100 days. Hell, to master the piano. We need to do these things because we want to get hangover from drinking off this beautiful life we have been created to wholly experience.

It is never a question of ‘why?’ dear reader, but a question of ‘why not?’ Do it because you can. Do it because it is within reach. Do it just because. (I already feel like I am making a speech, he-he. Complete with Obama’s accent and signature pauses. I am even gesturing with my fingers as I speak. Tonal variation, anybody?)


Away from the thirst to experience new things, I am also polishing up my personal brand. Image and all that jazz. I need to be able to stand in front of a crowd and make them buy whatever it is I am selling, even if it is only a dream only I can envision. I want to sell it as Obama did.

Listening to – and studying – Obama’s speeches on YouTube is assignment one. My other takeaway assignment is to write a speech to introduce myself. They call this speech The Icebreaker.

I had already introduced myself in class but it was a total snooze fest. I went something like, ‘Hey, my name is Bett. I am a writer and author. I am also a…’ Boring, that was a very boring way to introduce yourself. My coach said, ‘Tell us a story, Bett. Always tell a story.’

That was reassuring feedback because stories I can tell… on paper, though.

I am drafting a speech that I will present to my coach in my next class. I will practise it in front of the mirror – alone – whenever I have a moment. My coach also told me that I should also get into the habit of recording myself on video and into a voice recorder, then playing it back to hear my own voice, to watch myself for my blind spots. At some point I will also learn to time myself.

I have indicated in my speech where to pause, and for how long, where to chuckle, where to give the audience room to laugh at my jokes (if they will! Yikes).

I will practise the speech until I have mastered it by heart. I don’t want to be one of those speakers who go to the podium with sheets of paper or an iPad, sijui the notebook I am already guilty of crutching on. This is not a church sermon I am delivering.

I want to articulate myself from the heart, like Obama himself.

An edited version of this story first ran in the Saturday Nation, under my Culture column. It ran on January 22, 2022

Dial my heart
His name is Christopher

Comments (2)

  1. Judie Chirie

    Hi Bett, glad that you are back to writing regularly now! I missed you. I have binge read all of them and they are fresh as ever! Keep on!

    • Bett

      And it’s fantastic to see you in my neck of the woods, Judie! Kongoi ma ❤️

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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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