We Were Born for Greater Things

James Ouma
Posted February 17, 2016 from Kenya

My wife accuses me of over-using a certain word that I am going to use right now. First, I hope she won’t be reading this. Secondly, knowing that we were born for greater things feels awesome. Thirdly, awesome is the word that I am guilty of over-using!

I am listening to Bob Marley’s 'Wake Up and Live' from the Survival album. I used to listen to Bob Marley and Jamaican reggae music a lot when I was growing up. People were dying right, left and centre, every day. Most of them were young men who left vulnerable widows and orphans who needed the guidance, protection and provision from father-figures. I wasn’t an exception. I was almost despairing when I discovered – you guessed right – Bob Marley!

Born for greater things

My widowed mother made a decision that changed the course of my life. The man I had briefly known and referred to as dad had just been buried. All of us gathered inside our mud-walled and grass-thatched hut where, speaker after speaker, urged my mother to get inherited as our Luo traditions and customs demand of a widow.

"In that case, consider you and your children as outcasts in our family," one of our aunts declared.

I know what it meant for Jesus to be anyone’s husband. I also didn't how my mother's decision not to get inherited was going to affect us, both positively and negatively. All I know is that it is the best thing that happened to our family. The village pronounced that our family was an outcast as a result of my mother not following our traditions. The roof of our hut leaked when it rained while the walls caved in from lack of repair since my mother wasn't allowed to repair our hut while no man was allowed to do so by our traditions.

When it rained at night, my mother would wake my three siblings and I to help trap the rain water that seeped through the roof in basins, buckets and jugs while our youngest sister slept in the arms of one of our siblings; oblivious to what was happening around her. Food was another thing. The only place we heard about balanced diet was during Home Science class lessons. Otherwise, we ate boiled cassavas and washed it down with cassava porridge.

Even didn’t though we went through a lot as a family, it freed us from being shackled by limitations that are man-made. Being isolated from my age mates led me to music, reading and writing. This was soon going to be a huge blessing that I will in my next blog post.

A preview of what to expect in my next posts

  • how I found myself after reading Ben Carson's Think Big
  • how I got a job as a TV producer with no training
  • how I lost my job as a TV producer
  • how I am using my experience growing up to change the world
  • how to answer the call to greatness
  • what you need to do greater things
  • a call to action

Comments 2

Log in or register to post comments
Sally maforchi Mboumien
Feb 19, 2016
Feb 19, 2016

Hello Great truths about widow inheritance since women are properties. This is a common practice in most communities but the fact that your mother out of nothing fought for herself and her children gladdens my heart. Many women in my community are a double victim to such things. They are inherited after their husband dies without their children. In the new marriage they make another set of children. This is usually problematic because the children grow in factions while the woman ends up being the responsibility of nobody. How I wish women could overcome their fears like your mother and reject this dehumanizing practice

James Ouma
Feb 19, 2016
Feb 19, 2016


Thanks for your comments. It is a tough choice that takes courage and sacrifice. The good thing is that it pays off in the long run