Kenyan James Ngigi’s story on January 22nd in the Marine Corps website of how he leaves Kenya to the unknown in pursuit of his dream of being a Marine and emerging the best among all the other Marines is one that inspires, that challenges and throws you off-balance. The story of a man born in the little known village of Kanyayo in Kikuyu, Kenya who goes on to join USA Marine Corps after being inspired by the DJ movies he watched at MADMAX video cinema in Kamangu sounds like a fairy tale. But his isn’t a fairy tale; no, it is so true. It is a story that catapults you out of your comfort zone. A story that pumps grit, will-power and the quest for greatness into your bloodstream. A story that tells you to lovingly embrace the challenges you go through in childhood since those very challenges could be the building blocks for your after-life. Ngigi’s story makes you feel alive! To sum it up in my favorite Kikuyu proverb, I would say: weru ukwenda mbia hiu, yahitia kamukwa, Ikaria nganangu, yahitia nganangu, Ikaria kiondo.(The thickets call for a versatile rat. When it lacks a rope, it eats the basket handles. When it lacks the basket handles, it eats the basket).
|Courtesy of The United States Marine Corps|
Having gone to nursery and primary schools with him, I know a little past about the son of Bob. A man who hardly stayed in both Mother’s Love Primary and Komothai Boys High school because of lack of school fees, Ngigi’s past is far from rosy. A man who we pulled a donkey cart together all the way from Kanyayo to Kamangu in search of water truly knows how badly trouble smells. A man who walked long distances back to school in an attempt to cut down the transport costs knows only too well that calamities never come singly. And that is why, when this son of Kanyayo went to the USA, he never settled for less. No, he fought his way into becoming what the USA Marine Corps describes as, (now, wait for this) ‘Company Ironman, the most physically fit Marine in his Company’. That now is a great son of Kanyayo, isn’t he? Ngigi, give yourself a pat on the back on my behalf. You are what I would describe as superbly mature. Thoroughly refined. Purely distilled. Unbowed. Indefatigable. Unmoved. You are a son of Kanyayo!
|Courtesy of The United States Marine Corps|
It is worth noting that James has always been praising God for his marvelous deeds all through his Facebook posts. The seed of salvation that was planted in him as he left Kenya has surely sprouted and bore good fruits. I still remember the number of ngatho ici ndacitumas that were sang prior to his leaving. Litanies and litanies of testimonies were shared and the farewell ceremony climaxed when a prayer was made to God to grant Ngigi a safe journey. Well, we the people of Kanyayo know only too well that God owns both the yam and the knife. Without praying to him, nobody will ever eat of that yam. Ngigi knows this and that is why he dedicated his life to Him. Now, he is like a kid who has washed his hands-- he is fit to dine with kings. Or better still, he is a man who has knelt before God, he qualifies to stand before any other man.
James Ngigi, as you graduate from the Marine Corps, our hearts, spirits and prayers are with you. We will not be able to make it to the USA but the truth is that we are really proud of you. You are a feather in our caps. You have shone a light into the dimly lit village of Kanyayo. Brother, your actions have not only pleased us but they have also inspired us. At the moment, I feel alive at being a Kanyayoan! You have redefined us. You have given a new meaning to abject poverty, life struggles and the challenges that we face daily. May God bless you. Again, this is not the end—it is just a milestone. We know that you are a real Bob and Bobs do not tire until they achieve what they want. You are a man packed with inimitable prowess, a man with infinite energy, a zealous and hardworking character. Go for it man!
PS: To Kamau Gaturu, Fidelis Gitau and Simon Munga. You guys need attend that graduation ceremony on our behalf (Ngigi, please invite them. If he doesn’t invite you, gate-crash. Come on, let us do things the Kanyayo way for once). Give that son of Bob a pat on the back because he deserves it. Fidelis, hug him on behalf of all the girls from our place. I know that the three of you are also great and you will also make us proud in your endeavors. We love you the diaspora team!
Kanyayo Facebook Representative.