The Magic Number, Part 2


Where were we? 

Right. Dinner in Stellenbosch. And here is a big man sporting big guns with ropy veins curling around them and a smile as wide as a Smokie. And Beatrice, our protagonist, is feeding off the plate of his wide palms and breathing in his smile in long gulps. This man she describes as ‘a delicious man’ is on his knees, serving her and her mate with great gentility and intense eye contact, a gaze that perforates the heart’s armour.  She’s bashful and a tad giggly because she’s been praying for a man, nay, for babies but babies don’t come from ponds and there, in charming Stellenbosch, watching this astonishingly delicious man serve them on his knees, she begs an important question, “is this the man you sent, Lord? This gladiator with an Adam’s Apple the size of my fist?”

That’s where we left this tall tale last week. 

Are we together up to that point?

Sawa, let’s get into it then, Gang.


At some point I removed my shoes under the table because I was getting warm and fuzzy from the pinotage and from watching this man serve us on his knees. Of course he had big knees, a block of knees, and I wondered if his knees hurt from all that kneeling. If they did, he didn’t show it. There was a loud pop as he uncorked a second bottle of wine. We stayed there for hours, laughing and drinking until his shift ended, then we went out dancing until the foetal hours of the morning. He moved on the dance floor like a very flexible building. 

This was Thursday, November 6th. Five days later he came over to my girlfriend’s house after work. She lived in Stellenbosch on an Expat assignment. He stopped and removed his big shoes. They looked like identical boats moored by the door. [OK, I need to stop exaggerating this guy’s size. I promise that’s the last imagery] His feet were blistered from standing on his feet for 12 hours, waiting and walking. They looked awful. I sat on the floor and I washed his feet gently with warm water and soap. He was Shona. Shona men are received and served by their women on their knees. 

On Thursday, a day or two later, he came over after work and said, “would you please allow me to spend my life taking care of your life?” I said, “What?” He said, “I’d like to spend my life taking care of your life. I will give up South Africa and follow you anywhere.” I stammered, “Are you proposing?” He said, “Yes.” I said, “OK.” The following day we went to a small jewellery shop, right there in Stellenbosch, where we bought each other silver rings. We then wandered around holding hands. The air was thick with the smell of overripe grapes and wet flowers. 

We didn’t get intimate and not from his lack of trying. Of course he was keen but I held back his horses. I was doing this the right way. I had been celibate for close to two years by that time because I figured that perhaps having sex was delaying my answers from God. So I had decided to remain a proper church girl, no sex. At the airport he swallowed me in a hug. I stared out the window the whole flight home. The shape of the clouds reminded me of his face. A few weeks later, he flew up and paid my dowry. 

That evening, as we sat in my beautiful garden where I lived in Karen’s Miotoni Road, he told me, “look, I’m not going to wait for sex after some white wedding. I have paid the dowry. You are mine now.” Without waiting for my response he took me right there in our garden. He’s a proper Mandigo, a real solid Mandigo, as  African as African gets; 130 kilos, those big men who hold together a rugby scrum, a delicious man. He didn’t care who was watching. Men like him don’t care about neighbours. Mandingos don’t. They take what’s theirs. 

I read somewhere that if you want to conceive you raise your legs in the air during sex, so I raised them and he held them up and said, “don’t worry, you will conceive.” 

Seven days later we have our wedding at Windsor over the water. It was New Year’s day. Pond venue cost 50k. We had four whole roast goat, each goat 25k. Mukimo, roast potatoes, kachumbari. We had 50 people. Cake was 6K. My husband’s suit was 6K on sale somewhere in tao. I drove myself to the wedding with my best maid Makena Njuki. We had breakfast at Java junction -1K- then popped into Nakumatt for sijui lipstick. Wedding started at 4pm and ended at 7pm, short and sweet. Our honeymoon was in our house in Miotoni road, a wood cottage, movies, long walks and braai. 

I was quite happy, so in love. Remember this man was working as a waiter, but a real hard working spirit, a golfer, rugby player. Zimbabwe had knocked him to his knees so many times. He’d risen to manager, gone to start a business, but Zimbabwe threw it off, then went back to work as a waiter, starting from the ground up. I got his thinking. I got it. I got this never-say-die spirit. It didn’t matter to me that he earned nearly nothing and owned only one pair of shoes and had never been on a plane. It didn’t matter. 

After the wedding he gets on a plane and leaves for South Africa and before he touches down at OR Tambo I’m sick. I get really sick. Turns out I’m pregnant. I’m in and out of the hospital because my pregnancy is difficult as hell. In fact my life and my baby’s life are in danger. 

I was supposed to go and deliver in Australia because I had gotten residency but I was too sick and my husband was away and couldn’t come. I needed help so much. I would be in Nairobi hospital for four days and nobody could call me. It was a terrible time. But then my daughter came. I named her after a man I had sat next to on a plane four years earlier, he was Burundian and he told me the meaning of his name and I thought it was such a beautiful name so I wrote it down and I said when I get a child, boy or girl, I would call them. 

On our first anniversary I go to the airport to pick up my husband who is coming from SA and he doesn’t come off the plane. I panic, certain that something horrible happened to him. He just didn’t show up. And nothing was wrong. I leave the airport and go home and I’m feeling like shit, I’m scared. My mom tells me, “Oh, he’s fine wherever he is.” She’s so casual and confident and calm while I’m losing my shit. I’m so sure something bad has happened to him. Two weeks later he writes to me and tells me he had been kidnapped by nuns.  

The true story, though, was that he had been with his ex who he’d gotten pregnant with when I was maybe six months pregnant, and I didn’t know this at that time. Anyway, I read that nun message while at Artcaffe and I was done. But you know how men are, he comes back and he begs his way back into my life and I say, ‘sawa’ but I knew in my heart of hearts that the marriage was not going to go very far. First night he’s back, we had a long talk. Rather, I listened to his nun story and took a bathroom break. 

I’m in the bathroom and I’m asking myself questions. I’m asking myself, Beatrice, you are in your late 30s, do you have time to find another man, fall in love, be cheated on, fight about it all over again? I don’t have that time. This is the one I have and I’m married to him, and the marriage is over. Do you want another child? Yes. So I went and told him, ‘I want another baby.’ He looked up from his phone and said, Are you serious? I said yes. So we went straight to the bedroom and got my feet up in the air again. Then I was pregnant. A few days later he got a call from Zimbabwe that his second son had just been born. Just so you know, the man has 11 children now. Oh, and he’s ten years younger than me. Like I said, mandingo men. 

Anyway, my second daughter is born.

Listen, meanwhile I’m still at BAT and work is crazy. I’m working long hours and travelling out all the time. I had been promoted and was doing very well but my children were being raised by the nanny and the driver. The marriage wasn’t easy either, it had cracks. He was in a hard place, immigration wouldn’t issue him a dependent pass so he couldn’t work legally in Kenya. He couldn’t support his kids and women. It’s hard to be a mandingo man and be fended for by a woman. He took the frustrations out on me, he cheated on me, I stayed because- for better or worse, right? I wasn’t a saintly wife either. When he cheated and I chose to stay I became bitter and angry and mean. Angry with myself for staying. I became one vulnerable and vicious woman. To him. And I’m Sagittarius. He had it rough.

One time during a row he wanted to burn down the house. He refused for me to exit the house, locked the front door and pocketed the key. I casually walked upstairs, screaming on the inside. A panic button hang on the side of the bed, I strolled over and finyad it while looking him in the eye. He knew once I finyad that button that was it; it would be a cops story. They’d show up, maswali baadaye. They don’t call to ask if it was an accident blah blah, they show up. And they showed up, in minutes. They found him holding matches. He glared at me and went downstairs and calmly told the cops it was nothing, his wife was just overreacting to a small quarrel. I could hear the cops acquiescing- without speaking to me! I heard them say, ‘hizi ni bedroom matters za Karen.’ I headed out of the bedroom and begged the cops not to leave us behind with him, it was an out of body experience. 

Before we got married I told him that men in our family were Meru, not to be trifled with. And that my father was Ncuuri Ncheke and his late father was a MauMau General. All true. And thus, violence on their women was a suicide mission. I told him all these and changed the topic calmly. Oh, during the Braai the week before the wedding my brother handed him a beer and told him, as cool as a cucumber on a hot Meru night – ‘any man who marries my sisters is a brave man because they are very strong women. But should you ever feel you don’t want her anymore, for whatever reason, bring her back to us. Do not harm her. Just bring her back. We love her very much.’ I didn’t hear this conversation. Mandingo told me later. 

Thankfully, he was not a violent man, many things but not violent. I could never accuse him of that. 

I was an absent mom. I was always away and the nanny and the driver would take my children to clinics and school and soon I discovered that something was happening between my nanny and my husband and when she got a baby, the baby looked so much like my daughters I went and did a DNA test which came out negative but I didn’t believe those results. The DNA I believed was inside me, a woman’s DNA doesn’t lie. I ignored all this because what good would it do if I fired her? Nothing. She was holding it down at home for me when I was traversing the continent; DRC or Uganda, or I’m in Eritrea passing Yemen….Oh, Yemenis. I once connected through Yemen and they came into the plane with guns hanging from their hips and stood over me in first class where I was the only woman, the only person. They were suspicious of me because of course I’m black, female and not Muslim and travelling first class. I must have been a drug queenpin. They confiscated my passport. Was I going to deal with Yemenis with guns or a nanny who took very good care of my children in my prolonged absence but who was shagging my husband? I chose to deal with Yemenis and keep my kids happy and safe. If you want my husband you can have him, please. 

It was difficult, of course, and painful, because I loved him. I loved him through all that shit. I stayed with him because people had told me, you can’t keep a man, you can handle high-powered jobs but you can’t keep a man. I wanted to prove them wrong, I guess until I didn’t because I had life’s targets remember? I was focused and dedicated and I went hard at my dreams and this didn’t make me an easy boss to work for. I was no nonsense. If we were working, we were working, no excuses. I demanded over one hundred percent from you. People would tell me they used to stand outside my office and brace themselves before they came in. I was a slavedriver and that’s no good, in retrospect. Maybe there are other ways to do it. [Pause] I don’t know, I only know one way of going for what I want and that is consistently hard. 

I had a resignation letter at the bottom drawer. That I dare imagine that this good money is guaranteed and is forever or that I dare forget the plan is to be out of here at 40. My letter stayed in my bottom drawer unsigned, undated, and written. But then BAT started handing me promotions nini nini but I’m 39 and I have a year left to flee. I’d offered myself for redundancy so many times and they were so irritated with me, like what do you mean because they had been trying to offer me promotions. 

By December, my residency would expire if I didn’t go to Australia. My husband was behaving like a punk and my deadline – 40 – was a few months away. And I’m looking at those numbers and Nanyuki is calling me because I’m clear it has to be Nanyuki. I had been looking for land even when pregnant. When I couldn’t go because the pregnancy was too big I would send my dad, and his leg was not so good, to go look at land. He would call me and tell me, you can’t plant anything, it’s full of rocks, so I let go of the land. Later I’d be like, wait a minute, I don’t want to plant anything, that’s his thing, my thing is to build cottages and run them in my early retirement. I remember just before my daughter was born in 2010 I had bought windows and beautiful teak doors and mutharakwa and beautiful old heavy solid wood and grills in Spring Valley. I bought enough to build cottages but I didn’t have land so my brother had given me a ki mabati shack to keep them in his Karen shamba when I dropped them off in a big lorry. They were dusty and junky but solid material. Then I waited. 

Meanwhile, around that time I went back to Pastor Esther’s church, who when I was there beat her chest  and said, ‘I’ve been asking you people for the money to build this institution, this church, this space that is going to raise these daughters of ours and nobody is coming up with the money. But you people are not contributing to it so I’m going to build it myself.’ And I remembered the promise I had made for this church so I went to the bank and withdrew the money I had been saving for land for two years – all of it – and took it to church. I told my husband of this plan and he thought I was crazy but he knew when I decided on something it’s done. So I took all this money to this mabati church off Mbagathi Road, built on top of cemeteries and I gave it to Pastor Esther. My whole two-year savings for land. I told her, ‘I made my promise and here it is, build your church.’ I gave her because when I had nothing she’d pray for me and cry with me. She wasn’t shocked or surprised because she knew. She told me, ‘I knew you would come back.’ 

Then I found land in Nanyuki. Ha-ha. I went to see it with my husband. It was in an area I was longing for, and it was full of jacaranda trees. It was so big, more than the three acres I wanted. I’m talking 21 acres! The old man who owned it and some agents showed us around. I was the only woman. I remember I had Crocs on, the sun was low and hot and the air heavy with heat. Here was land I had dreamt of but I had no money in my account, having given everything to church. 

So we are walking in the shamba and the men are talking and ignoring me because I’m just a woman escorting him. They are only addressing my husband so I trail behind and I remove my Crocs and I step on the hot ground barefoot to listen to what this land is saying, what am I hearing and I turn and look directly at the mountain but I don’t see her because of cloud cover but I hear what it says, everything says it’s mine. You want to buy land? Listen to your feet. Your feet will tell you all the truths of the earth you ever need to know. The land was seven times bigger than what I wanted and I had no money. So I put on my Crocs and catch up with the  men and I tell the old man, I will take it and he asks, ‘OK, how many acres’ and I say, ‘everything’ and my husband’s head snaps to look at me like, what the…?

We drink tea with the mzee the next morning and we shake hands on the deal, no paperwork, just handshake and I tell him I will find his 10% deposit. I don’t know where and how because remember my money is all tied up in many pieces of land now. He says, sawa, and gives me a few weeks. Biko, many people came after that to offer this man money, more money, but he said no. He told them, I already shook hands with the Meru girl and unless she tells me she can’t pay, I will wait for her. And he waits as I try to sell off my many pieces of land. I fast for three days, I don’t drink water, I don’t taste food and I pray for buyers. Eventually an old man with an old coat with patches on his elbow driving an old rickety blue car shows up and he buys some pieces of land. 

At some point I take the redundancy in December, three weeks after my Australian permit expires. I miss my deadline of retiring at 40 by six months. With my redundancy money I buy more land. So in total I have 50 acres in Nanyuki. I have a deal to sell a small portion of it at 5 times what I paid for it. So my plan was working; to sell some and have enough to build my dream cottage and raise kids. The buyer – a Tswana – who is to buy some acres pulls out. And so for the next 18 months I have no money because all my redundancy money I used to buy land. I have to move out of my Karen house. Which is the irony of land. I had land everywhere, but I had no liquidity. 

My daughter gets admitted to the hospital, thankfully I had paid for top notch medical insurance. But when on discharge I go to pay for the NHIF it’s rejected because I hadn’t paid NHIF and so I can’t pay for the three nights NHIF. My platinum, Standard Chartered Card has 4,000 shillings in it but apparently the card holds back 1000 bob which means I couldn’t pay 3750 to discharge my daughter from the suite, top suite. I’m not liquid even though I have property all over. That’s the irony of land. I’m broke but wealthy. I move to a house I built in Matasia, put my kids in school for two terms without paying fees, I tell the head-teacher, I will pay, give me time, I’m good for it. 

I get a message on LinkedIn from a lady called Maria. She says, ‘We see you are on sabbatical but we have some roles at Safaricom, would you like something?’ I say yes, please because I need cash asap to take care of things urgently as I try to dispose of the lands I own and get liquid. Then the weirdest thing started happening, we started negotiating salary. They are offering less, I say that’s less, I’ve earned that sijui how many years. But you’re jobless, take this, she says. It was a lot of money. It was beyond my magic number. But here I was saying no. The role was big. I say, no. She says, then just go for the interview. Anyway, I go to Safaricom for the interview with a guy who is in the UK. It’s in the boardroom, an 18-seater and I’m the only one in there with this man on the screen. It’s a very hard interview. 

I remember doing the interview on my feet. I walked that boardroom and did the interview like my life depended on it. After the interview I get a call from the lady who I was negotiating the salary with and she says they are giving you a different role. It’s slightly bigger. Do you think you’re up for it? 

The role was Business Partner, one step from director. Like HR for the regional operations. That’s way up there, Biko, up there. And the salary has changed, it’s three times more than what she had offered after my interview. Of course I negotiated for more. Always negotiate for more if you think you deserve more  but you have to believe it, not here [touches head] but here, [touches heart]. I then met Bob Collymore and we hit it off. I talked to him about menstrual pads and periods and menstrual cups, because I was doing that because in my life, I must change women’s lives. I must raise my children well. 

I had already written my obituary when I had turned 40 not long ago and  there were things that were important to me; a deep spiritual relationship with God and service to others, to help. At 40 I decided on the 36-month rule, which I asked Bob when we first met: If you had 36 months to live would you continue living your life as you’re doing now? Would you still spend Christmas the same way? Would Thursday, tomorrow, next week, be the same? If you have more nos than yeses, your life needs to change and change significantly, and you don’t have much time to do it. And that is what I did. And I keep checking that obituary to see if I’m living by it.

I wasn’t at Safaricom for long. Bad corporate shit was happening and when they wanted to render people redundant and I whistle blew and they sent guys from the UK to investigate. The redundancy was stopped, but I had already blown the whistle and I was marked woman. I honestly was ready to leave but Bob begged me to stay and I stayed but things went haywire still because this is Bob and this is everybody else in between and things happened in this space. Weh! It got very nasty and finally I threw in the towel after two years, I think. The job was going to get bigger and better and juicier but I knew Safaricom was a bright shiny object that was distracting because I was heading to Nanyuki. Safaricom offered me a breather, space, and financial space. And it was fabulous. My boss let me just do my job. Oh Safaricom was the job you write for yourself and it was wonderful. And I met such amazing human beings there. But I quit and I went to Nanyuki.

I built a big beautiful country home facing Mt Kenya. I got my dogs, because I was going to have big dogs and gravel so that when you drive in, huge German shepherds chase your car on the gravel. I had bought Discovery Land Rovers because it was in my dream. Red ones with wood panelled upholstery. Then I started building the cabins. Years just went by, I built an electric fence around my shamba, started building my seven cottages and planted trees, making a home, no bank, just selling land here and there. My children of course were being home-schooled. And they grew up on that farm, connecting with it. My husband was no longer my husband, long severed but we still remain friends to date. 

Then everything went wrong again. 

First, the main house started sinking. Then the borehole collapsed. The cottages, they were built on stilts, they started rotting at the bottom because they hadn’t put a simple thing, a black paper around it. So the soil started chewing the posts. My God. Builders just would steal from me because I had never built before so I learned on the ground when I became my own contractor. So I lost quite a lot of money and time. 

And then I almost died, about three years ago, half way into the retirement plan, when I went to India for surgery, and fell. And it felt like a restart. Like an engine restart. But I was so far out. So much money down and nothing to show for it from an income perspective. And I just got tired of going up against all odds, just going because I said I’m going to do it so I’m going to do it. And because I do things that I say I’m going to do. I just got tired, Biko. 

I got really tired. 

And now, seven years in, I packed and moved back to this place, this small house with no furniture in Kerarapon and I’m renting. I have just my children and a cat and some land across. I’m not sure if I’ve given up on Nanyuki, or even if my children will go build it. I’ve come back to Nairobi to hide. Maybe put up a beautiful A frame on my Kerarapon property for myself, as a 50th gift. Not because it makes any financial sense at all to do it. It doesn’t. But for me. Just because it will make me happy. Maybe sell some of my land in Nanyuki and go around the world with my daughters. And make new dreams. 

I’ve been chasing dreams because I said I’m going to do them. I need to check if those are the things I still need to do and I need to give myself permission to walk away from some. I feel like a total failure. I know my daughters are watching me, and I feel like a failure to myself. Not even to them. To myself. And it’s really hard. So I’ve gotten this mabati house, with lots of trees, and my rent is 15,000 shillings a month, and we have nothing. And I’m going to Naivas to buy some mattresses and some food, and I will know. I don’t know when, but I will know. 



This is Beatrice’s current abode. When I visited her two weeks ago, they had just moved in that morning. In the corner of the empty living room stood a lone bookshelf full of books, a rickety two-seater reed sofa, a round bed in one bedroom and another bed in the other bedroom. There was a shower over the loo, but they had to bring their own shower-head and cables. A friend offered her a fridge, another, curtains. She had carried her posh red cast iron pots and beddings, but nothing else. The kitchen counter had the paraphernalia of a newly moved-into house. The smell of burnt meat drenched the house. I told Beatrice, ‘I think your meat is burning.’  

The house echoed with mystery, like a train about to embark into an unknown  journey in the night. Then there was the cat, a black cat called Sparkle that couldn’t bear to leave in Nanyuki. I had described cats in my previous article as ‘sinister’ and as looking like “planning a mutiny.” She told her mum to tell me she took great exception to my characterization of cats and that I had lost the friendship and trust of a wonderful [she repeated this thrice] human being. I hate to lose the friendship of a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful human being and because of that I would like to offer a public apology for my words that wounded her and Sparkle who I didn’t have the respect to mention by name but referred to derogatorily as a “black cat.’ I can’t imagine how I offended the individuality of Sparkle. I want to say here that I didn’t say I thought Sparkle was capable of great acts of espionage, I merely expressed my suspicion of cats in general which was my fault because all cats aren’t the same cats. I will strive to be a better human being. I’m sorry my words offended your feline heart. Please also pass my apology to Sparkle. I will strive to be a better human entrusted with his pen and no mean words shall blot my page again about cats or their cousins. Cat Lives Matter. 

Anyway, Beatrice is cooling her heels in their new mabati house. In the last few days we have spoken a lot about failure or what is perceived as failure. She swings from self-flagellation, despondency and great bravery and hope. Mostly, she feels the weight of this moment and it struck me how amazing we view ourselves vis-a-vis how others look at us. I told her I don’t see this moment as failure. That people like her don’t experience failure but small bumps in the road. That folk like her are blessed with the gift of rubber, to rise and fall and spring right back up. She’s the type that has no middle-ground, it’s all or it’s nothing. Big risks, big rewards and big crashes, but they get up and off they sore again and then they crash and sore. Over and over again. I told her the reason she is bearing all about the ugliness of this moment she is in is because she knows, subconsciously, that she has been here before and she possesses the muscle to wrestle out of it. 

A few nights ago I asked her how her dogs are doing back in Nanyuki. She said she didn’t didn’t know and then she broke down and wept. “That question has struck me so hard,” she wrote to me. “Especially Mufasa, the GreatDane/Rhodesian Ridgeback you met when you came. I feel like I have failed Mufasa, and my other dogs and I have truly packed up and walked away from a lifelong dream that was finally coming together. Feels like everything just crumpled on my feet. Failing at the top of the mountain is so traumatic.” she said that her daughter told her, ‘you haven’t failed, mum. Your dreams have lungs, they will breathe again.” 

The other day while sitting under her tree with the strange fruit she Whatsapped me and said she was thinking about a business idea; a Transitional Coach. Someone who works with people going through major transitions such as changing careers, starting a family, recovering from death or divorce or loss of business. It felt like a eureka moment. Of course she’d make an excellent Transitional Coach, because what has she not seen or done or lost or gained. How much lower has she gone and how much closer to the sun has she flown? Maybe that’s what’s brought her back to Nairobi, who knows, I said. Then she said, ‘I know. Do the ordinary, ask and expect God for your extraordinary.”

Maybe her first client is here reading this. Without her express permission [‘Oh, let me settle down first’] I will post her email and see what happens. Who knows? [email protected] 



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  1. Woaw! What a risk taker, such a backbone! I both admire and pity her.
    Not that I would be brave enough to follow my passions, will slave in this job as long it provides basic needs…. … my dreams remain just that, dreams. Wishing her all the best in her new ventures

  2. I am in awe of this woman. We all talk the big talk of living purposefully, joyfully, largely – and then go on to do conventional, average, ‘expected of us’ things. But here she is, plucking things from her imagination and making them happen. Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman. That’s her.

  3. Wow! What a story! Beatrice is doing life, unafraid! Falling and getting back up. No half-measures with her. I have no doubt she will get right back up! She sure is an inspiration!

  4. held back my breath all through the read. its for sure an impactful read.What has this beautiful Beatrice not seen, done, lost. Back and forth from the top of the mountain back to the foot all through…Sweet read!

  5. She’s definitely not a failure she’s like a cat with nine lives, she’s lived so many lives in one and she will rise again. Great story Biko. Very encouraging.

  6. A few days before her passing in a horrific terror attack in Kismayo, my good friend Hodan Naleyah had tweeted,
    “Someone once said, “Don’t be afraid to start over again. This time, you’re not starting from scratch, you’re starting from experience.”
    I have never forgotten these words.

    They are words apt for this post. Beatrice is absolutely not a failure. She has just taken a breather. She will come up for air and pivot and work from experience.
    I can’t wait to read the follow up success post because it is in its wings waiting to happen.

    1. I am sorry yoir friend transitioned so horrifcally.
      My Sister friend Rita K was also blown up by dispicable terrorists in Somali whilst leading a Un mission to establish camp.

      She was to Re-Wed her own husband the following week.
      Rita was glow in the dark beautful. Inside and Out.

      Her Bestfriend Mineh, my other Sister friend was a real friend. in life and in death.

      Keeping swinging in Heaven Rita.

      1. Look at you Kananu, here you are giving hope and strength to others. You are not down Kananu, You shall bounce back and rise again! Give time, time!

  7. Such an inspiration story, i soo much believe her dream will materialize sooner than letter. Am more touched by her trust in God

  8. This was a very inspirational one and I was really looking fiward to Part 2, a read that I desperately needed at this point in life. Thank you Biko, just know that with this story you have changed a life.

  9. Woah Beatrice. You’re speaking to me baby girl. And guess what, every little thing’s gonna be alright. If you take off your flip-flops and step out onto the grass outside your house, the earth will confirm what I’m saying. Be well. Stay well.

  10. amazing Biko. Whatever situation she is in, I think her life has been so profound. I’m truly inspired. And like a good story, I hope she bounces back again.

  11. What a roller coaster!!!
    However, she dreamed and made it quite close to her dreams.
    She will be one of a kind when it comes to transition coaching. Her life has transitioned quite a lot and she has risen so Beatrice will rise again.

  12. Mmh! What a story
    It’s actually inspiring and Beatrice, this is just but a break
    Life is like ocean currents. They rise and fall.
    You will definitely spring back . And I can relate with some of your experiences. I will reach out for coffee .

  13. what a strong woman!!!!! I wouldn’t call this failure, she’ll be back up! you wait! and yes, her daughter is so right ……her dreams have lungs, they’ll breathe again.

  14. I was waiting for the second part of this story to leave my full comment. Beatrice seems super brave to take the low lows with the high highs while sticking to her guns and her magic number. The two extremes are complimentary, but I think I like my life a little more “middle” than she does. More power to her, though! There’s possibly no better transitional coach out there.

  15. The kind of resilience exhibited in this essay is in another leve. There is something with human spirit that always doesn’t allow us to give up easily. I am seeing her rising from the ground dusting herself and picking again. Watch this space.

  16. This story is giving me mixed feelings; I mean if she didn’t want kids so bad would her life have taken a different route ? I hope she rises again

  17. I was waiting for this…Thank you, Biko..Sending my love to her and thanking her for her courage..Indeed ‘you haven’t failed, mum. Your dreams have lungs, they will breathe again.”Love from Turkana

  18. The breath in my lungs ahs been caught up and knocked off a few times, Beatrice will soar again!!!! I am sure of it!!!! It gets better from here!!!

  19. Oh myyy. Part 2 left a lump in my throat. Was gunning for the dreamy ending with the landlady seated on her patio, a BBQ on the grill, surrounded by her dogs and holding a glass of wine in her hands but…..we know she can still turn it round. Power to you superwoman ✊

    1. What an incredible read! Beatrice is such a superwoman and I truly hope things turn around and she bounces back. Of course she will, after all she had done the ordinary-God will do the extraordinary, WOW

  20. This lady is an inspiration.A go getter whose life despite its comical twists and turns, is a lesson to us all.We should not be afraid of chasing our dreams, whatever the cost.I wish her well as she navigates this rough patch.

  21. “Two weeks later he writes to me and tells me he had been kidnapped by nuns” I thought this was a joke . Kumbe siste alikuwa serious? Lakini ata nyinyi wanaume huwa mnatubeba aje??

    Anyways, I’m even more shooketh by the fact that she gave not one, but two years savings, to the church. Like???? Ma’am?? Eh. I love The Lord but eh..?! Kila kitu??

    1. Hawa mandingo mens wako na jokes sana.
      ,,, kidnapped by nuns. Nimecheka kweli kweli..
      Can’t blame him though, Jonah started the trend, when he got swallowed by a whale.

  22. When you hit rock bottom the only way is up. Like her daughter said those dreams have lungs and they’ll breathe again. Maybe this is God telling her to pause, reflect and re-examine. I believe she’ll come back better, stronger and wiser. All the best to her.

    1. Me too. While I admire her courage to start over and over again in life, I cant help but wonder why she keeps leaving things before they reach their peak. Granted, she will rise again, but it seems like she doesn’t know how to allow herself to be there, at the top. A bit of self sabotaging and maybe an adrenaline junkie. She seems like a really nice person with a superb work ethic, but honestly, therapy would help too. We all need help at some point.

      1. I think Jacob meant not stable as at now, the time of narration. you seem to imply she was unstable all her professional life, she was just a stickler. very hard on herself and her goals. you know those people who must achieve what they map out in their goal so that you are so hard on yourself. so she needs therapy to cope with where she is when she missed her goals and also to get to learn some flexibility. life is not a straight line. have learnt so much from Beatrice.

  23. Ooh dear Beatrice, you have many lives!
    I know you’ll stand tall again
    Thanks Biko for this, great life lessons.

  24. Biko!!!

    Yaani, this addiction is incurable!!! Piny Tek without your weekly dose!

    One word that came to mind after reading is QUINTESSENTIAL.

    Beatrice is a Quintessential Woman….. Google describes her perfectly…..

    “Who is The Quintessential Woman? She is today’s modern woman…smart, confident, and trendy. She knows who she is and what she wants out of life. She is driven, self-motivated and refined, but is beautifully imperfect. She seeks to enhance who she is and the life she has.”

    Beatrice ain’t a failure!!! She is living LIFE! Not many are blessed to do so. She is blessed and like a PHOENIX, she will rise again!



  25. She definitely is the opposite of a failure. The guts, the brains and the sheer will to get right back up! I wish I’d be in a position to poach her hata kama ni mwaka moja I can bet she’d be an asset to any organization. Right now, my offer would only be to house one or two of her dogs kabla she gets back on her feet (I have one dog but I think a second or third one would still be fine). Having grown up with pets myself, I can actually tell why she cried when you asked her how her dogs are doing back in Nanyuki.

    1. That would be amazing. This part of the dogs really disturbed me. I hope that in the end, the dogs will be fine

  26. Wow…such a rollercoaster.
    ‘she feels the weight of this moment and it struck me how amazing we view ourselves vis-a-vis how others look at us’

  27. It’s not the years lived, but the life in the years lived. The ability for you Beatrice to experience both ends and share with us is truly selfless and enlightening.

    I remember reading about the fall in an Indian Bathroom and the scars.

    Change is as good as rest. Recharge, refresh, and restore.

  28. This story has a lot of Bipolar disorder redflags. During Manic phases, individuals with bipolar disorder take tremendous risks and they can also be very persuasive. Dr. Frank Njenga told a story of a patient who convinced a bank to lend her KES.60 million to buy a nightclub. She got the money, but soon lost it buying drinks for her potential future club customers. She once drove to Nakuru at breakneck speed to pick some customers who were ‘drinking at the wrong bar’. The gross exaggerations, erratic story telling, possible delusions and depressive episode at the end point to an underlying mental health issue, but I could be wrong.

    1. Hahaha, It’s a good thing you are anonymous, that way nobody can bash you.
      Am from Nakuru, it’s sad I never met this woman to pick me up from the “wrong bar”. I need a drink.

    2. This is a story told in the heat of the moment when all the connecting dots lead to I am a failure in her head. So of course your wrong. Just because it’s not the conventional story your hoping to hear doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with her.

  29. I know Beatrice and have heard part of her lifestory. She’s invited me severally to visit in Nanyuki. Beatrice, your dreams have lungs. We shall breathe into them!


  30. I know of no greater purpose than to perish in attempting to achieve the impossible. Great dreamers often crash the hardest but also though they may fail they do so way beyond the cowardly may ever realize In success.

  31. This is yet another of Beatrice Imathiu’s compelling stories. This is a slight bump and like her daughter says; her dreams will breath again. Best wishes to you and the girls Beatrice

  32. you’ve have just given me the name that I was looking for. “transitional couch”. I may not have lost asuch as Beatrice, but am like a ‘rubber’.

    I know and I feel she’s like me and she’ll bounce back.

    God speed Beatrice.

  33. What a story, what a lady..She will surely be okay.How many chances can life throw at one single person?I want her kind of grace and resilience!

  34. weh! leaving life to the extremes. who am I to give advice to such a well travelled educated and 50 year girl a mother of two.
    let go of regrets let God mould you. you have your plans and dreams and God has his am adviced. salute to her. shukra Mr Biko

  35. Tackling life head-on! You’ve got this Beatrice…navigating the hills and valleys so much better than many of us….and still you will rise

  36. Amazing! This woman has wit! She is a go getter! She is a BIG risk taker! I kept waiting for her to go back to Australia but she chose Kenya! I love the fact that she is a great believer her Faith indeed has moved mountains in her life.
    I connect with her highs and lows although mine have not been extreme. The baby’s part I’m still living through. I see the power of prayer in her life! I say Pray Imathiu pray this one out too.

  37. I needed to read this today because I have been in a dark place recently and thinking of myself as a failure. I read this thinking to myself she is gutsy and what is they say about well behaved girls and history? Beatrice is inspiring, brave and if I don’t take anything else let me take the grit and guts.

  38. oh Bea! I e-met you through FB and I could tell you are one go-getter. First, this cottage is so quaint, surrounded by all the greenery….I would live here any time than in the dusty, concrete, ecoli-infested Nairobi estates and apartments. You will rise again, hang in there! This is just a wee break. You’ll be back bigger.

    I think the construction industry needs some serious regulations and an oversight body. The contractor ought to be liable for the home and cottages mess. Seriously, this is painful and a great setback. Many people have suffered at the hands of shoddy, unqualified building contractors.

  39. No doubt that she’ll rise again…just like rubber, she’ll bounce back…and this time, higher than before.
    As i read through, i wished, and still wish that i could be half the woman she is!!…Her life journey left me feeling like i have failed myself…, i will adopt her journey and experiences as my driving force for the next 6 years….my 36- months challenge starts niw.
    Thanks Biko for bringing this piece.

  40. This kept me engrossed and couldn’t wait for part 2. Thanks Biko and all the best to Beatrice, the great fighter!

  41. Not me crying about her daughter’s words of encouragement ‘you have not failed mum, your dreams have lungs they will breath again’ trust you me i have not cried

  42. What she did not tell you is that in the middle of that she put desks in local schools built a neighbor a house after it was raced down by fire , spoke to all of us like it mattered . She’s such a beautiful soul . Just as the sun rises up again and again giving hope and causing life to happen , hers is the story of the sun . She will rise again .

  43. Sometimes “God breaks your plans before your plans break you”. Once you know how to make money, it stays in your blood and no school can teach you. Feels like God is giving her another chance to re-evaluate life, slow down on life changing decisions before He gives her another successful opportunity. Best way to get back on your feet is to give others hope, it’s like gifting yourself a bigger gift. She can join Toastmasters international, network and speak about her experience, share her journey to local non profit organizations on life lessons and aspire for bigger stage/audiences. She can also write a book on “how to fail fast” or those lines. Bless her!

  44. She is indeed her father”s daughter,take home ;you can rise from anything despite what,give yourself permission to be happy and walk away from anything that says otherwise,know your worth and own it and the goal is to have financial muscle..ooh I love her and just like always she will rise like a phoenix from the ashes….

  45. I wouldn’t mind the spirit that lives in Beatrice! This now is what taking life by the horns means. Wueee! So unafraid.

  46. ‘you haven’t failed, mum. Your dreams have lungs, they will breathe again.” Yoh!! She is such a superwoman. She has literally experienced, seen, and felt it all. Like ‘you can bring up just about anything in a conversation, and she will comfortably say “been there, done that, next!!”

    We, women, can truly and surely do hard things.

    About men, especially mandingos, I have nothing to say. It is SAD!!

  47. I feel every word in my heart! i can relate. My dreams have lungs. They will breathe to life again. and when you start the coaching, reach out..i can volunteer for some sessions.

  48. I have read all her stories they always sound sureal. Her tenacity and resilience always makes her bounce back, I wish I had a third of it. She will definitely sour back.

  49. Beatrice has such a restless spirit…will she really have the patience to listen and understand peoples failures?….But she is definitely rising again, and higher

  50. WEUH!!!!! LOOOOOOONNNNGGGG SIGH. Kwanzia’s right. Your dreams have lungs. They’ll breath again.

    Also “I was doing this the right way. I had been celibate for close to two years by that time because I figured that perhaps having sex was delaying my answers from God. So I had decided to remain a proper church girl, no sex.”… All of us “church girls” script.

    1. It’s funny because am not like a church girl, but I believe that sex can actually delay your dreams and prayers. Very crazy.

      Then you get married to a man who shall be abducted by nuns one year into the wedding hehe

  51. Wow! what a life, ups and downs, extreme up and extreme down. She’s got quite a backbone. I admire her strength. And without depression. I pray that goes up again.

  52. Beautiful story read on a rainy night, for those that dare to dream a toast to you…
    May my mother’s name sake rise like the Eagle that she truly is.
    The one thing about this story that really annoys me is what love does to brilliant women, nway let me go back to my cocoon for now.

  53. Women like Beatrice just take breaks and re strategize, then get back up. She will rise again and we can’t wait for the story. We shall be here for it.

    Is it just me that had a Eureka moment when she said: You can’t keep a man, you can handle a high powered job but you just can’t keep him . Sad

    My priorities are all done for the year.

  54. Wueh! “What have you not gained, and what have you not lost;” i kinda related to this magic number.
    My motto in life is go big or go home. I tell muself this a lot whenever i am about to take a big scary risk.
    She will rise again! No doubt

  55. I think life has a Play, Fast forward, Rewind or Pause button. In Pause button some come out unscathed others never recover. Beatrice is an amazing woman and I thank God for her and Biko for writing her story on how humans can rise to become ANYTHING they aspire to be

  56. Wow!! Like Denzel Washington said, you fall secen times and get up eight times!! Her mission is not complete. I see a transitional coach rising up to greater heights. Thanks for the good read.

  57. This woman is actually living life. Life is about taking chances, failing or succeeding and not stopping. Letting courage and faith drive you instead of fear and comfort. Trust me this woman will die with no regrets. We have no control over what happens to us, but we can control how we respond to the setbacks.

  58. Hi Bea, sending you hugs….going through something similar or worse….but as it goes…nevertheless God! we shall rise again dada.
    sending you hugs

  59. This lady is the proverbial phoenix. I believe like it, she will rise from her ashes. God bless her and her daughters.

  60. Everyone is saying how she has courage, I believe she definitely does, but I cant ignore the series of bad decisions that led her here and how the ultimatum she put on herself was the root cause of her downfall.

    She sounds very erratic and I think she needs professional help with that.

  61. will stick around waiting to read on how she rose again….she is a go getter this one.All the best Beatrice.

  62. This story one of a kind. we sometimes got to go through rollercoaster stuff and learn different aspects of life,

  63. If the situation in your life is not changing, maybe God is using that situation to change you…let that sink.

  64. “You haven’t failed, mum. Your dreams have lungs, they will breathe again.” This statement by the daughter sums up this article.

  65. this is so heartwrenching and refreshing at the same time. I am mesmerised at how someone could through all this in one lifetime. I hope she gets one more opportunity to fly again.

  66. I’m not sure what we’re applauding here, by her own admission she’s a bad mother, a terrible boss, a bad wife, what is the victory here exactly?

  67. This woman is such steel to reckon with. So much energy. She lives beyond 24 hours a day. She will come back stronger and better

  68. This was a really good read. My friend just shared the link to your website, it’s my first time … and my ooh my am craving for more. I can relate to Beatrice’s story. I wish her all the best

  69. How about reaching out to the church she helped build to see if they can come through for her also?
    This story reconfirmed to me that planning for ‘early’ retirement as we view it nowadays is tricky just like in the parable in Luke 12. Let’s trust God’s plans for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11), not our own plans. Afterall He is the chief architect and engineer of our lives. Let us commit our ways to the Lord and our plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3, and 19:21).

  70. Dear Beatrice,
    Indeed,your dreams have lungs… dream again and you will rise again. You are a strong woman and you’ve been through ‘wesser’ … keep going,you shall rise again

  71. life’s uncertainties can really crumple us like a piece of paper . Regardless we’ve to rise up and dust ourselves up. The worse is giving up.