It Starts With A Broken Toaster

This all starts in late June 2020, you probably won’t remember what was happening in your life back then unless you look at a photo or something. 

We are at home, we have just hired our new Help and I am a few months away from birthing our son.

Our new help is from Busia, she’s the third help we’ve had in our house in just three weeks. I let our old help go because… well, because it was time for her to go. The two helps who have come in after aren’t the right fit for us, I asked them to leave before the ink on their contracts had even dried. 

Now here we are, at our wits end, trying yet another help.

My big sis offers to come over so we can light a candle and pray together. I don’t think invoking the heavens is necessary but she insists, ‘Let’s just try. You have nothing to lose, anyway.’

We don’t know it yet but this is the help who will grow with our newborn until he’s almost three. Maybe it was the candles, maybe it was chance.

Anyway, it’s late June 2020 and we have a new Help.

She’s from Busia. She’s tall and gentle, like a Nubian giraffe, she moves with grace and silent rhythm, as though in slow motion. She’s never in a hurry yet she’s never late. Time seems to warp itself around her. It’s mesmerising.

She’s also meticulous in demeanour and with her cooking and cleaning. 

She reminds me of a quote from the movie ‘John Wick’: How you do one thing is how you do everything.

“How you do one thing is how you do everything.”

No sooner has she unpacked her carry-on and settled into her room does she get down to cleaning. We wake up in the morning and she’s cleaned, sorted and organised that ugly cluttered corner in the laundry that everyone pretended not to see.

In the weeks after she does the same to the pantry, the cupboards, the cabinets. Then she cleans the walls, all the windows in the house, the ceiling. She removes the curtains and sheers and washes them as well, same goes for the covers on the chairs and cushions, the rugs.

We always hear the tap running as she collects water to clean… something. We buy more detergent, more bleach, more brushes to support her cleaning. 

It’s madness. 

If you visit us and you leave your shoes outside the door, she’ll clean them for you. 

When she’s finished cleaning the outside of things, she gets down to cleaning the inside of other things: the fridge, deep freezer, oven, toaster. Things go south when she cleans the toaster.

Ours is a silver Moulinex toaster with a vintage posture, it looks like it time-machined here from the 1950s.

No one can reach its insides to clean out the old bread crumbs but our Help tries anyway.

We wake up in the morning to a sparkling toaster no one can recognize as ours. Hell, even the toaster can’t recognize itself. It’s halfway into toasting our breakfast when it coughs and sputters like an old man taking his last breaths. It heaves one last time then goes silent.

GB takes it to a fundi in Buru who can fix anything that’s broken, even your heart.

The fundi takes one look at it and says in his Buru slang, ‘It’ll cost you about as much money to resurrect it as to buy a new one.’

We leave it with him and move on to toasting our bread on a pan, on the cooker, and this, my dear reader, is where it truly starts. 

Put a pin on this moment because this is where the story shifts. 

Bread toasted on a pan is so delicious, my goodness. It’s fluffy and browned to a controlled degree, and when it comes from piping hot from the pan and you lather on layers of Blueband… it elevates the experience to ethereal. 

I don’t mean to be dramatic but I imagine that this is how God Himself intended white bread to be consumed. 

GB and I stop eating boiled ngwacé for breakfast and feast on this white bread. 

When we’re not eating too many of our Help’s pan-toasted bread, we’re eating all the other delicious things she cooks for us. Everyone has a favourite day of the week because of her food – GB loves Thursdays for the chilli beef fry, Muna and Njeeh love Fridays for the chips and burgers, I love Wednesdays for the chapatis.

One of the reasons her chapos are so sweet and so soft is because she puts sugar in them and about 20 litres of cooking oil. They’re very unhealthy but very delicious.

And so sunrises come and go, the house is immaculate, the food is delicious, the children are thriving, pages peel off the calendar, the hands on the clock turn as the years segue into the next and the next.

What we don’t realise while we’re stuffing our faces with all this delicious food is that it’s gradually killing us. Especially me and GB. We’re both almost 40 and if we don’t stop eating long enough to ponder our choices, we’ll both be kicking down the door to lifestyle diseases.

The warning signs are already here. I regularly get excruciating headaches that cripple me – I can’t work, I can’t talk, I can’t do anything but lie comatose in a quiet dark room. Even Panadol doesn’t help. 

I always have to stick a finger down my throat before I lie down, to empty my stomach.

GB is struggling with his weight. One moment he was a lean, mean machine now he’s a bloated, ballooning bazenga.

It’s for this reason that for the next 30 days, GB and I are embarking on an eating-better challenge. 

I’m writing this after our meeting with our ‘eating consultant’ – he’s a South Sudanese who’s now a well-travelled global citizen, a spiritual and self-aware man who makes a waist bag seem so chic.

He too was teetering on the cusp of lifestyle diseases until he pulled himself out. Now he guides others back to safe ground with this wisdom.

Under his guidance, GB and I are cutting out all the delicious deadly food from our diet: wheat, red meat, vegetable oil, normal salt, sugar, margarine, processed food like sausages and burgers.

We’re replacing it with sorghum, millet, white meat, ghee, sea salt, honey, moringa and a host of other superfoods.

We shall do this for the next 30 days then we take stock.

My headaches should have gone, GB’s weight should be under control. 

We start our programme next Monday, Inshallah, after one last hurrah this weekend with our delicious deadly food. 

Put another pin here, dear reader, because this may be where the story shifts again.



An edited version of this story first ran in the Saturday Nation on May 27, 2023. It ran under my ‘Culture’ column.

Photo by Lidye on Unsplash

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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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