The Untold


I didn’t bother much with local news last year.

The whole thing was driving me into a slippery slid of depression and let’s be clear; I don’t like depression. I like being happy. I like things that make me happy too. Things like Arsenal being on the lower half of the EPL table and losing to smaller teams. There’s a weird satisfaction in seeing Arsenal lose, I don’t even know why. I wonder whether God might consider using this against me on judgment day.

But Kenyan news had become something else. It had become scripted to siphon the tiniest specks of hope off you.

They’d start with a body count of the people who had contracted COVID-19. Then they would paint a graphic picture of the people who had lost their lives to the pandemic. They would then slowly but painfully narrate, in detail, how ruthless tenderpreneurs were busy making millions from funds meant to manage the pandemic. Lastly, they would follow that with other Kenyan ‘money heist’ exposés unfolding in the country.

Then there was business news. They’d tell you how bad the economy was doing, how companies were cutting jobs and how the shilling was on a free fall. Even sports news would be depressing; Harambee Stars had forgotten the meaning of winning. They were losing everything even their confidence. When did they last win a match by the way? Must have been when Reinhard Fabisch’s was the coach.

So I said I wouldn’t bother with the news because hii maisha haitaki makasiriko and news was bringing me makasiriko; makasiriko that I could honestly do without. I did well, very well. I stuck to my EPL until Manchester United started playing hogwash in the name of football. I got so livid that I stopped paying for DSTV.

I hadn’t watched news for close to a year and I didn’t even miss it.

But someday, last week, I decided to finally tune in. I don’t know why I expected to find stories of hope and good tidings on prime time but a boy is allowed to dream, right? I should have known better. Instead of the good vibe I had hoped to find, I was greeted by utter lunacy. I turned on my telly to find our politicians busy trading punches on national television! The horror, shock and utter disbelief! So I sneered from Machakos to Lagos, clicked like a disgruntled Nigerian woman on Afrosinema and changed the channel.

Then it hit me! Ladies and gentlemen, we have too much going on in this country.

We have so much going and it is very easy for us to focus on the bad. Granted, there’s a lot that’s going wrong in our country, a lot! And if you concentrated on these things, chances are that you’d get depressed. But there’s also a lot of good stuff happening all around us. We can’t see it though because the focus is on the bad.

So when I asked you to tell me what you wanted to read, Nemo Kimiri, one of my readers, said she wanted “invisible people stories.” Nemo said that she wanted stories like those of Mama Mboga. Stories of your usual people like the security guard from Western Kenya. So I thought to myself and said, wait a minute, there’s plenty of good happening around us only that it is ‘invisible’.

I remembered the story of the hummingbird.

If you haven’t heard of it, I’ll share a bit of it from my recollection. So, the forest is on fire. The animals feel hopeless as the flames devour it. They stand and do nothing as it burns. All of them expect the hummingbird. The tiniest bird in the world decides to do something about it. She makes frantic trips to the stream, fetching water using her tiny beak and tries to put the fire out. The bigger, much stronger and capable animals laugh at her and ask her what good her meager efforts will do. She tells them, without wasting too much time that she is doing the best she can and continues with her efforts to subdue the flames.

That’s how I came up with the new blog segment, the hummingbirds. I figured that there are so many Kenyans doing their best.

It could be Mama Mboga who has sold greens all her life to ensure that her children can access formal education. It could be that guy wa mjengo who labors hard from dawn to dusk just to put food on the table. Or even your local tailor. The one who tells you that your dress will be ready tomorrow when he means one month later. Maybe it is your Mutura guy or the guy who sells boiled eggs and smokies hapo stage. By the way, isn’t their kachumbari to die for? They are all just doing their best to put out some kind of fire.

It could be the young entrepreneur who runs a small business or the teacher who’s been teaching in your local primary school for 25 years. Maybe even that young person who’s a gifted painter, artist or street one-man guitar singer. It could be your local priest, pastor or imam.

It could be your boda boda guy who’ll pick you up at any hour and location. Maybe it is your errand guy; the one who makes sure that your deliveries are done on time without fail. Ama it is your Uber guy who never lets you down. It could be that teller in Equity bank who serves you with a smile even though she’s been smiling from 8.00 a.m. or the waiter in your favorite Java spot who never gets an order wrong.

It could be you.

Anyone of us who’s doing their best to keep themselves and this country afloat is a hummingbird and I want to write their story. Do you know anyone that fits that description? Let’s do this, for the next couple of weeks, let’s make a bit of noise about people who are doing amazing things in this country. Let’s talk about the good, the lovely, the refreshing, and the creative. For far too long, we’ve talked about what doesn’t work can we talk about the little that’s working? Can we talk about the hummingbirds in our nation?

If you know anyone who fits this description, send me an email on or and let’s write that story. There’s a lot of good to be told in this country, can we focus on that for a bit?

  1. I haven’t read the humming bird story, but now I’m enlightened. And yes, there are lots of uplifting stories out here, full of human sweat!

  2. Hahaha Arsenal, I sneered from Machakos to Lagos uuuuuwi!!! Yes there is a lot of good around us. Thank you for the light in the darkness… I will stay tuned.

  3. Their kachumbari is to die for, I don’t know what secret ingredient they add to it .It really is the little things that make a difference.

  4. Pay Dstv man, Manchester we back, then there is this guy Emile Smith Rowe and like the hummingbird is trying to save Arsenal😁 single handedly, enough about football. The positive stories honestly couldn’t have come at a better time. We wait.

  5. sisi wana Arsenali ndiyo wenyewe 💪….yes there is lot of good things happening out there. Can’t wait to read!

  6. He hee…. playing hogwash in the name of football, hujatuambia poa. I feel like am that hummingbird, rise early every morning and retire to bed late trying to get something on the table.

  7. He hee…. manchester playing hogwash in the name of football, hujatuambia poa. I strongly feel I have been acting like the hummingbird, waking early i

  8. Yay! My idea made it. Question: If I inspire someone to post something on social media, does that make me a social media influencer-influencer?

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