To Bobby on Graduation

To Bobby on Graduation

Hello Bobby,
An unstoppable force, my Mother and your Grandmother asked me to write you a note on your graduation from High School. What can I say, I know my Mother and Father are unstoppable, when they put their mind to something, it is going to happen. They are good team, they worked together and will finish the game of life together, 50 plus years of being married.

I do not have the correct words, for some reason my mind keeps drifting back to yesterday here in Kericho, Kenya. I got off the bus, got a Hotel room, and then proceeded to convince Pamela the housekeeper to wash my clothes. She wanted 300 Shillings, I told her I would pay her 200, she took my clothes and went to hand wash them. I suspect an Africa person would pay 50-100 Shillings for this task, while I am paying 200.

About one hour later a knock came on my door,
“Who is it?”
No one answers.

One should not open ever door in life, on the other hand one should not be afraid to open a door. I screamed again, someone made a noise on the other side of the door. I got up and opened it. A young man I did not know was standing at the door and says,
“She needs money.”

He stumbles and mumbles around, and says something in broken English; his first language is some other language, maybe Swahili so I am not concerned. I am thinking to myself, however being patient,
“Spit it out.”

“She washed your clothes.”

I am thinking to myself, yes that is the idea, she washes the clothes, and in exchange I give her money. However, why are you here, why are you asking, and where are my clothes? You give me clean clothes, and I give you money.


My room happens to be close to roof, and I can see my clothes hanging on the line drying in the sun. I am happy, I know the job is sufficiently completed to accomplish my goal; I want clean clothes, dried and ready to wear in my room. I can accomplish this goal, when the clothes are dried I can collect them and bring them to my room, effectively accomplishing my goal.

I wanted clean clothes sitting in my room.

The man hold out his hand, he wants the money, I can see Pamela standing over to the side. I wave her over, I say thanks to her, and place 250 Shillings directly in her hand, not the boy. 50 more than agreed, I smile at her, dismiss the young man, and walk into my room thinking to myself.
“What is it with Africa, it is a chore to have my clothes washed, why do they want money and the job is not finished.”

The Guidebooks need a special section in each chapter, where to get you clothes washed with a hope of completion.

Funny, the lights just came back on, the room electricity stopped in the middle of the night. I woke up around 5:30 am, lit a candle, turned on the battery powered BlackBerry Storm and perused over my emails. My mother wrote, so I prioritized and read this first. It is reminding me to write a note for you. I stop reading, turn on my battery powered computer and think to myself,
“I am going to write this note, finish it, post it and send; I have two hours to finish the job before my battery dies.”

Ok, congratulations on graduating, I expected it to happen, I am proud of you, I am proud of every member of my family.

I have written the story of your life above, please take the time to read it a few times and ask yourself on this day of graduation,
“Who are you?”
“Who will you be?”

I would say the story is confusing, however like a parable in the Bible each person can read and find the story they wish to find.

What is the moral of this story?

I have confidence in you, I know you will understand the story, make me proud, and I hope you understand I am trying my best to be a good Uncle, I am doing my job.

I love you.
Uncle Andy Graham in Kericho, Kenya June 6, 2009

Please, I invite readers to comment, explain the story, each one of you has a different interpretation and explanation of why I wrote this story. Explain to my nephew Bobby, help me to be a good Uncle, I know the story never ends, that life goes on, with each comment there is another view of your life, past, now and in the future. My job is not to write so clearly you understand, my job is to make you think and feel.

To Bobby on Graduation

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