First time ever

Image Source; Driftwood Malindi

Do you remember the time you did something for the very first time? First date. First salary. First car! First house. First drink! First time kiss. I remember vividly the first time I hiked Mt. Kenya and how I fell totally head-over-heels in love with the place. It was icy cold even though streaks of sweat dripped all over my body because the uphill climb is no joke. It was like being in another very good but different world yet with the same people, foods and cultures you love. To date, I can still feel all the good vibes the mountain gave me. It’s no wonder I say YES to many many things whenever I go back there. That Mt. Kenya is a real charmer. I wake up to a sight of it’s peak everyday (thanks to life in Nanyuki) and it kind of serves as my vision board of how I’d love to live my life. Bright. Shining and Sharp!

Exactly what I think the YALI selection panel saw in me to honor me with their training. Let me tell you about the first time I applied for this training. It was in 2017 and the truth is, I couldn’t finish the application process either because I was lacking content and leadership experience or the questions were maybe too hard for me back then and those who know me know that I chase perfection a little too much when it comes to tests and exams! Always after the A grade. So that became a temporarily closed door. In 2018, I applied again, and this time I even persuaded my husband to apply too. Results came, and guess who had not been selected? Me! My husband got accepted the very first time he applied! and I was super proud of him. It was a case of God’s timing because at that very same period, I was about 4 months heavy with child and had already been accepted into the Ms President Reality TV show. I let YALI go peacefully and I skipped the consequent maybe 3 or 4 applications until recently when Ms Rona, as y’all love to call her, came knocking. Guess what else came knocking? an open application window for YALI’s Online Cohorts. That, even before applying, was something I was down for. Studying from home? Working from home? That’s the vibe I live for. Do everything from home! So I applied. I gave that application my all; full attention, re-reading responses and revising, just to make sure it was the most honest and the very best I could possibly give. I chose the public management track.

Sure enough, I got accepted into the YALI regional leadership East Africa training center’s cohort 40. Just to make a quick comparison, if I had completed and hopefully gotten selected the first time I had applied (2017) I would have joined maybe Cohort 17 or 18. But I guess, 40 was my lucky number. So here I am, a proud Cohort 40 YALI alumna. More of what we got trained on is on my Instagram highlights under YALI C40 tab, and trust me, it is life changing. Doing this training from home was super-intense. The classes were demanding of attention and maximum self-discipline was required ;- for a straight 4 weeks period. I set up a workplace, sorted internet and all gadgets I’d be needing to make it work. Tools like a lavaliere microphone, a laptop/phone to stream live classes, notebooks and pens, timer (sometimes on the self-paced learning you can just go on and on and end up loosing track of time), a tripod stand and a water bottle for hydration.

This program was to run from the August 25th to October 1st 2020 and in between there was September 2nd, our anniversary. A day that came by and passed and we were both just like, ‘oh btw, its our anniversary today’ and that was it. It wasn’t until a few days later that my husband came home, with his usual big smiles, asking me to close my eyes, me refusing and asking him what the matter was, him insisting that I close my eyes, me reluctantly agreeing to close my eyes and then in a minute or so, asked me to open them. So I did, and surprise, surprise! In his hand he was holding two dazzling hot pink flight tickets!!!! To where? To Malindi! It was the most beautiful thing and to imagine it would be the very first time for us to visit the coast, and my first time on a plane! It was the perfect case of two birds with one stone. We thoroughly enjoyed our trip, our son was the most excited if you ask me, though he slept through both flights; he was still young to book his own seat so I held him.

……and that right there, is the story of how I got to visit the coast in Malindi Kenya, on a plane, for the first time.