By Gabriel Dinda
I am writing this after visiting the Tom Mboya Mausoleum. During the visit, I got to learn of Mr. William X Scheinman, an American investor, and philanthropist who willed to be buried next to Tom Mboya upon his death. The family honored the wish and brought the body to be laid next to Mboya’s in Rusinga. I imagined how deep their friendship was and wondered whether the same can be for us.
During the Couple Book Launch of Verah Omwocha – Dinda’s Diary of the Miaha and my latest book, Questions of my Youth, something happened that greatly humbled me. When Verah stood to give her address, she asked Munira Hussein, Scholar Akinyi, Elizabeth Opiyo, Mical Imbukwa, and Elizabeth Opiyo to stand up. What was to follow was a brief moment of sincere appreciation to the ‘Girls’ - a group of friends comprising the above mentioned together with Ruth Okello, Lydia Matoke, Myra Ondiso, and Phanis Obwaya, who in her words, ‘welcomed her and offered a platform to speak about things we ordinarily don’t’. I am lucky that I know a little more about the ‘Girls’ group because I have been following their activities. One day, I mentioned to them that what they do is at the heart of Writers Guild Kenya. Briefly, their activities involve supporting each other on a personal level. They visit each other in homes, cook together, eat and share. Sometimes, such sessions go deep into the nights. The visits do not have themes but are characterized by openness; sharing stories that they have been afraid to share. Through this and by realizing that their stories and struggles are almost the same, they are on the first line of defense when one of them needs help. Other than this, they help each other be accountable in their goals and what they wish to do. They keep updating each other and generally check on each other’s wellbeing.
I am happy that the Board of Trustees has seen it wise to focus on such friendships for the next year. From the beginning, our strength has been a strong family bond. For the whole of 2019, we have been giving special attention to ‘Holding Hands’, informed by the need to grow together. In 2020, our theme will be ‘One Family, True Home’. This will give us a special chance to refocus on our family ties more. I, therefore, encourage you to consider any of the following (or any other than enhances the family spirit).
- Pray for your friends and members of our family (your friends at Writers Guild Kenya and beyond).
- Read more about how to be a true friend to someone and practice it. How about you start with the Book, ‘How to make friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie’? There are many articles on this and we will recommend some as time goes by.
- Open up more to your friends. Be deliberate and have few friends whom you can truly open up to. Develop it with time through openness and communication.
- Dedicate specific times in your schedule for your friends and family only. During such times, find ways to commune with your friends. If possible, do it individually.
- Learn to listen more. When with your friends, aim to actively listen to them more and empathize with them.
- When in distress, be with them (physically if possible) and then through any other way. Let financial assistance not be your priority but your presence.
- When your friends are celebrating something, be there physically and listen to their journey.
- When you visit your friends, please carry something with you, a gesture of your friendship. It doesn’t have to be expensive.
- Invite your friends to your home. Whether in a single room, bedsitter or any other house, you can invite your friends to visit you. Vera and I host our friends every month for a ‘Get together’. Where we come together, cook, share with each other, eat, pray and get to know each other more. It is greatly fulfilling. Please try it.
- Invite your parents to some of the activities by Writers Guild Kenya. We will have a specific section for parents during our All Writers Day (more details to be communicated soon).
- Watch movies, read books and do any other thing together with your friends and families.
- Every three months, Writers Guild Kenya will be organizing Twende Out .Take part in them with your whole family and friends.
- Take Part more in the Growth Families (formerly Growth Camps) which we would wish to focus more on in 2020.
- Invite your friends and families to events and activities that will grow them.
- Write good stories about the family and read inspiring stories about friendships.
- Do any other thing, that in your view will be in order to grow one family and a true home.
Thank you very much for Holding each other’s hands in 2019. Let’s now grow one family and a true home, together.