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GRATITUDE: IN THE SIMPLE AND GRANDIOSE

Living in Nairobi is what I call a life school. It’s one you are enrolled in without your consent and it is one you never graduate from. Here, you meet all sorts of people who have a lot to “offer”. By this I mean you will come across people who will school you through cons or amplified concern and sometimes the in-between of these extremes have a lesson or two to teach as well. 

I have lived in Nairobi for a couple of years now; more than 10 actually and unfortunately, I have had to learn a few things the hard way(story for another day). But for some reason, I still call Nairobi home. I have learned to appreciate the endless possibilities that being in a city can offer; the restaurants, the access to specific stores, not forgetting that most of the people I have come to adore live in this city. So you can very well say, Me I love Nairobi. See what I did there?


I always think of “conductors” (touts) in two extremes. You either come across those who are rude, aggressive, and even disrespectful or those who are kind, helpful and I might go as far as say gentlemanly. Last week, as I made my way to town, I came across the latter. I had just exited our main gate and was about to cross the road so I could board a matatu (I live in an apartment along the highway) and when the bus driver saw me, he signaled to ask if I wanted to board and when I nodded, he parked.

It is a busy road and it would’ve taken me a while to cross since cars were speeding but the conductor – let’s call him Mike- decided to attempt to cross and he stopped vehicles from one side, stood in front, and beckoned me to cross. I know it sounds dramatic and too good to be true and yet that’s what happened. Even my description- which is captured in two lines – belittles the magnitude of the moment. I felt so special even though I knew I was adding coins to their pocket which is why he must’ve been so devoted to helping me cross. Pardon my over-expressive description about an act that seems so minute but I have had one bus stop only to speed off seconds later just because I couldn’t get to the other side fast enough and hey if you haven’t met me you should know that to me, everything is a miracle.

At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” 

Albert Schweitzer

As I got onto the bus, I couldn’t find an empty seat, and Mike’s fellow tout, who I must say was the complete opposite of him, was quick to rudely say “There’s someone alighting at the next stop. Just stand right there”. I will admit I felt angry but this isn’t new. Here comes Nairobi with its subtle lessons: I was being taught anger management and God was quick to remind me to guard my joy by calling me to stand by my confession which I live by that says:  I am difficult to offend.  

I tried to get comfortable, barely holding onto the rails (because .. you know, Covid) yet wishing I had gloves. I was ready to drown my hands in my sanitizer the moment I sat down which I hoped would be soon.

To my surprise, a man, who appeared slightly younger than my dad stood and asked me to sit. I assumed he was alighting on the next stage so not needing to be asked twice, I sat as I whispered a quick thank you. But when passengers from the nearby stop alighted, he came back to his seat -since I had moved to one seater near the window- and my heart was filled with an appreciation for his gesture.

You can say God was up to something that day. If I needed a reminder that God minds my business and my feet (I hate standing), the message was loud and clear. If I needed to see the world was full of gentlemen, I certainly did. There is goodness all around us, we just don’t linger enough to see it and savor the moment.


As I sat, fare paid, hands sanitized, now staring at the busy Nairobi hustles at the side of the road, my mind drifted to touts once again and I was appreciative of their occupation and some of the ways they bless us (passengers). For instance when we are visiting a place for the first time (which I was going to do later that day) and we can’t help but glance outside checking for possible landmarks that will confirm our arrival at our destination. Sometimes, being too shy to ask – in fear of other passengers especially for places that seem “obvious” – I have employed the use of google maps which we can all agree, fails more times than we care to admit. 

The comfort which arises when a tout takes upon himself the responsibility of calling out stops is unmatched. I always seem to gain confidence the moment he calls out and the only thing I am left to do is to be alert when he calls out.

Sorry for leading you on with this tout talk but in case you were curious where it is heading, I should tell you I haven’t the slightest clue myself….yet just thinking about that leaves me astounded at how we quickly pass off gentle moments like these that remind us of our humanity: of the reality that there is some good in the world.

Gratitude doesn’t have to be confined to trophy-worthy moments. 

Opportunities for gratitude are packaged in that stranger’s smile when he or she lets you walk in first. Or when a vendor apologizes to you on behalf of a clown who scared you and asks if you’re okay (happened to me on this same day). Or when a cashier at the supermarket pays you a compliment as you check out. Or when a hotelier keeps checking on you as you dine to make sure you are okay. I am constantly learning that just because people are assigned the responsibility doesn’t mean they have a gun held to their heads to do their tasks. If anything, people can leave the job done at the bare minimum so if we come across people who pass the lines of “just okay” to “doing more”, we should be grateful. 


The Holy Spirit Himself opens our eyes and our hearts to be able to see God in the little things, that would have otherwise been regarded as minute. He works with you and in you to open you up to a life of daily thanksgiving if you let Him.


As you go through the day, I hope that you will allow the Holy Spirit to open your eyes and cause you to take up a posture of thankfulness in all that you see and experience. Leave some experiences you have had in the comments so I can share in your gratitude as well. Yes? Thank you 🙂

You are light and you are so loved. Stay Anchored and Keep His Light Shining through.

5 thoughts on “GRATITUDE: IN THE SIMPLE AND GRANDIOSE

  1. Beautiful!! I didn’t want to stop reading this was enjoying every bit.

    Thanks for this beautiful reminder to have a posture of gratitude. Gratitude is in every junction of our lives we just need to embrace giving them a thorough stare then when we reach our destination we will be more thankful that we made that journey.

    There is goodness all around us, we just don’t linger enough to see it and savor the moment. This did it for me?♥️♥️

    Thanks for allowing God to use you and for sharing it more practically, such sticks with us.♥️♥️♥️

  2. Wow! What an experience. Such a captivating story right here. I also recently visited a new place, and even though I too have the fear of asking the tout to alert me when we get there, that’s the only option I had and I did it.

    Fingers crossed that he won’t forget to let me know. My heart was just pounding. But I thank God because he alerted me when I got there. Weeh! I was truly grateful to him, for being kind. It’s not everyday you get to meet kind tout. Especially from the route I use everyday.

    Thank you for today’s topic. Learning to focus on the good and not the bad.

  3. Sometimes ten years will go by before we notice the good blessings the Most High had in store for us, but it’s all well worth the wait just the same, Shalom!

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