A boy called Mike

I used to mentor a young man called Mike. Michael Njuguna Muthaka. Aka Mike.

Mike was 21 when I met him in 2016 at our creative writing masterclass with Bikozulu. He was fresh-faced with the cheeks of a goldfish, cheeks you wanted to pinch. He had a mop of healthy hair that wildly grew untamed, he still does.

Mike was a sophomore at a private university then studying communications. 

He was on a break and was contemplating whether school was a worthwhile pursuit. Whether a degree certificate would be the compass that would point him to his true north. Whether writing was indeed his true north and was blessed to have discovered this truth in his salad days.

I took him under my wing after the masterclass. Mike had a hunger to write but didn’t have anywhere ‘professional’ to write. I had just set up a blog called Craft It with the intention of making some extra money off my writing. (Spoiler alert: I didn’t make any money and I never will. I have since accepted that this blog is a hobby to make me happy, not a side-hustle to make me money.)

I WhatsApped Mike and told him, ‘I have a new blog that could do with the voice and perspective of a young millennial man. Why don’t you write for me?’ He was thrilled. I gave him a column that he aptly titled Dusty Rugs. 

(The name was inspired by the dusty rug in his bedroom in Kitengela, where he liked to sit and write. Mike painted such a romantic picture of Kitengela and Namanga Road that I was a little surprised and disappointed when I visited the damn town. It is not a town where you can hold hands with a girl and take leisurely stroll with. Mike, why did you lead us on?)

I paid him a small salary but to Mike, the fact that he was getting paid to write is what Eliud Kipchoge must feel to get paid to run. The thought of, ‘Do these people know that I could do this for free?!’

Mike showed up to that column. Like, he gave it his all and showed up. He filed copy every Friday, as we had agreed to in our gentleman’s agreement. If life got in the way of that deadline he would send the copy Sunday night but either way, he filed it. Even when he had nothing to say he still had something to write. Even when you were not commenting he would still show up.

I would sometimes be lazy to write my stories but when I remembered that Mike was writing his Dusty Rugs copy for that week, I would get my lazy ass off the ground and hit the page.

I was feeding off Mike’s energy and he didn’t even know it.

Dusty Rugs used to run on Mondays. It ran for about three years.

It was through reading Mike’s stories on Dusty Rugs that I began to understand the urban millennial. 

Their deep desire for purpose and fulfillment in the lives they choose, the work they do. The impermanence of their jobs and hopping about employers. Why they never stayed at one job long enough to have a desk with their name on it. 

I understood the fluidity of their sexuality. Their loose experimental relationship with stimulants. Their modern malady that is social media.

I also peeked into the seesaw of mental health, their constant struggle for stability when depression and thoughts of suicide throw you off-kilter. Mike himself was worried that he would befall the same fate that creatives like him do when they are 27. I told him, ‘Mike, my boy, you are on your own life path. You walk in your own destiny. Our fates are not predestined by someone else’s fate.’

Then there is the naivety to fully realise themselves in their 20s. Mike loved girls, I don’t know if the girls he loved loved him back, he-he, but that love translated in the way he wrote about them on Dusty Rugs or spoke about them when he’d had a few drinks and smokes. He was a hopeless romantic, an idiot high on hormones, a Ted Mosby in his own annoying way. 

Mike was desperate to settle down with a girl who would be his soul mate. I rolled my eyes at this. ‘Mike, don’t get married before you’re 30. You don’t know who you are yet.’

I also understood their work ethic. A millennial like Mike thrives under the structure of a job with deadlines and bosses supervising your workflow. He has, like us all, a love-hate relationship with his job and threatens to quit when the going gets tough. He never does because he is not a quitter.

I had to end our blog engagement at some point because I could not afford to keep him on my payroll. Mike was gutted. He was willing to keep writing for no pay but I told him that his words were worth more than he realised.

Sunrises came, seasons passed. Mike grew restless. He dabbled with school, picked up some destructive habits, got his heart broken. I met him for a drink once and he shared some of what he had been up to since Dusty Rugs. I remember swallowing so hard and so slowly, I bet you could hear my epiglottis from all the way in Kitengela. 

Then through the network of the masterclass where he and I met, Mike got a copywriting job with a multinational advertising agency in Westlands. He gets paid to write adverts and make noise online about brands.

That was in February 2019. 

I can tell that Mike is doing well for himself because he has gotten rid of that black leather jacket he always wore. Thank heavens. I hated that jacket as much as I hated his loafers. He is still wearing baggy jeans but this is something to be talked about later. I have accepted that Mike is a Kikuyu man, after all. There is a Njuguna in him who will never wrap his head around skinny or distressed jeans.


Mike is growing in the ad agency. Not just growing fat around the waist and arms, but also growing as a person and career man. I am proud of him. I am proud that he grabbed the ball and took the bold chance to run with it. 

Last January he told me he was interviewing a junior writer for his team, I thought to myself, ‘Atta boy!’

Mike didn’t get around to graduating university. Why would he, anyway, when he has money in his pocket and a career with horizons of potential? I told him he must graduate. He must. Not because of the papers – or his parents and little sister, Christine – but because he should not start on a path where he abandons pursuits he lacks the foresight for. ‘You finish what you start, Mike.’

This week, Mike has been in Naivasha with the WRC Safari Rally. In the last few months he has been flying across the country with the Safaricom Golf Tour. I don’t know where he will be next week.

Where will you be next week, Mike?

Chew over this quote from Mary Olive, the late American poet. I found it sitting idly on Instagram and adopted it for this story. The quote says: ‘The most regretful people on Earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.’

An edited version of this story first ran in the Saturday Nation on June 25, 2022. It ran under my ‘Culture’ column

Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash

Njeeh is born
The Last Dance

Comments (3)

  1. Tuape

    Cheers, Mike. Keep your head up and keep going.

  2. Amos Too

    Used to follow that blog back in the day before you went silent. Good for him though

  3. TIDE

    Bumped innhere from the comment section of Biko’s blog. This is food for my soul.

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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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