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“If you believe you can, you probably can. If you believe you won’t, you most assuredly won’t. Belief is the ignition switch that gets you off the launching pad.” –Denis Waitley

I got deeper into the towering woods and closer to the river. Chania river flows from the Aberdare ranges in west central Kenya. Just a few metres away, Chania river meets Thika river, the confluence of which yields the cascading Chania and Thika falls. I sat on the riverbank, gazing fixedly at the lazy, constant flow of water. I wondered why my life must freeze at the experiences of yesteryear, when it had capacity to flow to distant future. I wondered why my childhood dreams must ebb away, when I could power them to surge forward.

As I sat there in deep contemplation, I recalled my first visit to this river. I was an A-level student at a school not too far from Thika town. After a successful Christian Union weekend challenge, we had come here for baptism. Nostalgic memories of the moment I was thrust into the fast flowing water flashed through my mind. I had felt like I’d drown in the bitingly cold water, only to emerge forcefully to the cheers and chants from my fellow students.

I returned to this spot a few years later, as a college student, but on a different kind of a mission. This time, I had taken the girl I adored out on a picnic. The indigenous trees that make up a small forest along River Chania attract a wide variety of birds. We watched them and listened to the noisy birdie songs as we enjoyed the wondrous beauty of nature, and each other’s company. My heart had thundered in the chest as I gazed deeply into her beautiful wide, round eyes. What would her response to my proposal be? Unbeknown to us, word about our date had leaked among our circle of friends in college. On subsequent weeks, we were faced with rumor, innuendo, intimations and suppositions.

On this third visit however, I had come to deal with something quite different. My life was at a crossroads. My world seemed to fall apart. I was overwhelmed, and in denial. The voices of self-doubt were getting louder. I felt a somewhat special connection to this place as I had experienced at least two turning points before; at this river, at these waterfalls. Would I get the answers and the direction I so desperately needed? I was a man on a mission to rescue someone who was drifting. Nay, falling off the precipice – myself.

Did I get any answers to my struggles? Perhaps not. I however walked away with greater clarity, and a stronger resolve to face my giants and fight my battles. I pulled my notebook out and scribbled some bold commitments. I’d heave my burdens, take my eyes off the intimidating obstacles, and move on. I’d put my life back into play.

I stirred up as the sun, in it’s pale tint of orange, started to disappear in the horizon. I cast a final glance at the unperturbed river, as if to say a silent ‘so long.’ I turned and tramped back to the road. My mood had changed. Hope had been renewed. Belief restored. I was going to overcome.

Henry Thoreau’s words ring so true; “things do not change, we change.”

Copyright ©2014 David Waweru. Adapted from Champion, published by WordAlive Publishers

Photo credit: Buaya Sangkut via photopin (license)

David Waweru

Author David Waweru

Writer, entrepreneur, trainer and consultant. Founder of Booktalk Africa and Will to Win Global. Member of the UNESCO Expert Facility on the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. Director at the Sports, Arts and Culture Sector Board, Kenya Private Sector Alliance.

More posts by David Waweru

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