My grandmother is the real deal. She still prays before every meal and prays before going to sleep. She still sings whenever there is a congregation of more than three people and despite having experienced the world for over a decade, a few memories of her youthful self are still fresh in her.
She tells us many great and funny stories. Stories of her time. Beautiful stories. Stories of how she was married off while still a teenager because the cows (dowry) needed to be used to educate her brothers. She tells us how after birth, she was left outside the house alone for one hour to symbolically thank the gods for the gift of a new baby. She tells us how she became so committed to Church that elders would from time to time call her to pray, even at traditional ceremonies. She tells many stories of love and joy. Stories of identity such as why we young people need to have an identity. She tells us many stories about food and herbal medicine but none of her stories is more interesting than that of the number plate.
“Jina yako ndio gari yako. Itaftie number plate!” She keeps saying.
She tells us that like every car has a number plate, we also have one.
“Kila mtu ako na number plate!”
“Shosh sisi tunafanyia nini number plate na sisi sio gari?”
“Mtu akikuangalia anaona mwili. Akikaa na wewe ama akiongea na wewe number plate yako inajitokeza.” We smile whenever she says this.
Then I will go to my room and stare at a mirror for a while. At times, I wonder which model I would have been if I were a car. But whether big or small, my grandmother says the number plate I display is what defines who I am.
I know what you are thinking. How does or how should a person’s number plate look like? Is it a KAA or a KAB? Is it the more recent KCQ or KCR? Is your number plate the traditional three letter KAP 604 or today’s four digit KCR 272J?
I have been thinking about my number plate in detail until I recently realized that our number plate as human beings actually does form our identity. Unlike the three or four digit number plate in a vehicle which carries a combination of alphabets and numerals, our number plate as human beings is simply made up of alphabets. And yes! It’s easy to find yours. Try this out”
What tribe do you identify yourself to?
Kenyan makes more sense right? Does it make you smile without knowing why you are smiling? Does it make you feel you belong? If your answer is yes, that’s so because it makes you focus on your true number plate.
We must at all times strive to focus on our number plates, not behavior. If you establish the right number plate, the right behavior will follow. When you give yourself a number plate, you’ll start seeing your worth, and with time, you’ll find it harder to stay around people who don’t have a defined number plate.
The trick to finding your number plate is simple. Take the first letter of your first name and create an adjective that best describes who you are. For instance, my first name is Alfred. I am adorable or appealing or appreciative or approachable. What’s yours?
At times your number plate can be negative. For instance, you may discover you like to cry when someone angers you. Let that water go. You were drowning. It’s time crystal formed your number plate.
The noblest art is that of selling yourself out to others in a manner that they will love. Learn to introduce yourself with your number plate. It not only tells people your identity but also draws them to your side.
My name is Alfred Mbai. I am approachable. Who did you say you are?