Chak Achaka: Just Begin My Son

By: Dr Okinyi Nyawade

Just after I received my fee structure from Moi University for my PhD totalling 850,000 in 2012 I met my dad, Charles at cooperative bank in Homa Bay. I explained to him that I had the admission letter and he smiled. I told him however, “Baba there is a problem, they need 850,000.” He held my hands then slowly but reassuringly said, “nyathina chak achaka “(just begin my son)

To ensure his point went home he got into his account and gave me 14000 in an account that had 20,000. I was touched. I added 16000. I paid 30,000 to the account and my journey to PhD began.

Today having reached the dream I remembered the words of my father. In everything you do always remember chak achaka (just begin). Just begin no matter how difficult it seems to be. It appeared to be difficult but as time lapsed I realised dad was right. At some point after my defence I gave up. I still had a solid 300,000 to pay, they won’t give me chance for final defence. Then came a very unlikely help. I had supported a gentleman to undertake a project evaluation two times in the year. I received his call cautiously asking me to meet him. He was carrying a brown envelop in his hand. He began:

“Benson you will forgive me if you find my action inappropriate. For two consecutive times you have given me a job without asking a cent. This is very unusual with many people. I did not know how to approach you but am deep with gratitude. Please accept my small gift.”

I quickly peered into the envelope and saw they were two bundles likely in hundreds. He confirmed that it was 200,000. I told him, “I have helped so many people, many known to me, some were my school mates who never returned a cent. God bless you. Please don’t give it to me. Pay it straight to the university account.”

I couldn’t believe it. The words of my father Nyathina chak achaka (my son just begin) rung on my head with familiarity. Don’t worry how it will end, chak achaka (just begin). If you are building a house, chak achaka (just begin). If you are planning to buy land, chak achaka (just begin). If you want continue your education, chak achaka (just begin). If you want pay dowry, chak achaka (just begin). Nothing is powerful as this word my people. We just need to begin.

I have revised this philosophy. Whenever someone is doing something I always encourage them, tem atema (just try). When things get thick I always say, wuoth awuotha (keep walking). When things are intimidating, cha achaya (ignore). Let’s keep trying family. Don’t give up in life just because it looks insurmountable. Do not be defeated before you begin. Whatever looks like a mountain soon becomes an anthill only if you begin.

Not long ago someone asked me, “Bennie to koro dorm midwaro ni wager Mbita ni wabonyale? Are we going to manage to build the dorm we want in Mbita?” My answer, “wachak achaka (let’s just begin).” I believe in the power of starting. No one loses a race until they respond to the start gun and begin. The secret lies in beginning. Overtime God has seen me through a number of projects because of this philosophy. I have land parcels that I acquired by simply paying 5,000. Overtime these have become thousands. Many a time I can’t even tell how I managed the big sum that is their value.

I persuade you this day never to allow yourself to be threatened by the size of your problems. Begin in a small way doing something about it. If it is lack of money do a small thing to get something for yourself. If it is marital issues look for a small way to solve it. In whatever you face, chak achaka (just begin). Even those with big debts can do something about it, chak achaka (just begin) and it will shrink each day.

I am not a millionaire but one time I wanted to have a feeling of being one. I drew a plan of how to hold a million in my account at least for few days. After few months of chako (beginning) I discovered it was possible. A year and half later of savings I got my first ever million. Even though I scattered it later into investment and expenses, it felt so good. Wachakuru achaka (Let’s all begin) family. Let’s ignore naysayers and doom predictors that believe we can’t do it “LET’S JUST BEGIN”

So let’s all “CHAK ACHAKA”


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