MY JOURNEY IN WRITING
Our inspiration this week is Teacher Elizabeth Mboya who teaches at Mwiki Primary School, Nairobi.
Besides teaching, she is an accomplished author. Her journey in writing started in Homa Bay county where she grew up, listening to her grandmother’s stories.
She developed a passion for the written word quite early and this fire is still burning in her.
When she graduated as a teacher, Elizabeth started writing children’s books which include lower primary readers and an English course book.
We applaud Elizabeth and encourage her to follow her passion and give us more books as she visualizes them.
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Elizabeth now tells her story….I grew up in Kanyikela village, Ndhiwa Sub-county in Homa Bay County.
My love for the spoken word began when I was a small child.
I grew up with my parents and grandparents. As is the custom in rural areas, the evening life revolved around the fire place listening to grandmother’s songs and stories.
I remember a particularly fascinating story of a bird and her nestlings. In this story, mother bird used to sing to her chicks a melodious song for them to open the door when she came back with food.
One day the hawk deceived the nestlings by singing the same song in a terrible voice and greedily gobbled them all except one.
In another story, a greedy dog managed to feed in five different homes without getting noticed.
I have featured most my grandmother’s stories and songs in my books, “The Meat Eating Sheep and Other Stories” and “The Lost Hat.”
Teacher Agnes, who taught me from standard one to three, also contributed a lot in nurturing my love of stories.
She used to read storybooks and narrate stories about animals to us. I would listen keenly and develop great interest in her renditions.
Occasionally, teacher Agnes would ask me to read some stories aloud in front of the class.
As I progressed through standard 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8, I became so good in English compositions that my essays would be read loudly to the other pupils in class by my various teachers.
The classes would always applaud me for my great imagination and I would feel very proud. At the age of 13, my father passed on.
But even at the height of sorrow, I wrote his eulogy which was read at his funeral.
After primary school, I joined St. Charles Lwanga Ichuni Girls’ Secondary School from 1986 to 1989.
In high school, I developed a great love for Literature and Fasihi. In fact, English and Kiswahili were my best subjects. In form two, I began writing short stories and poems which I would recite to the class and congregations during important school functions such as prize giving.
After high school, I joined Mosoriot Teachers Training College in 1991. While in college I was involved in both drama and music clubs.
After graduation, I was posted to NguNyumu Primary School in Nairobi county.
Here, I engaged my pupils in both debate and spelling bee competitions to improve their command of English. I have also taught at Wangu, Thika Road and Racecourse primary schools.
I am currently at Mwiki Primary School. At some point, I decided to further my education and enrolled for a Bachelor of Education and soon after a Master’s in Education at the University of Nairobi.
While pursuing these degrees, I majored in English and Literature. My passion for these subjects led me to write both in English and Kiswahili.
With the knowledge of the finer skills in writing and an immense memory of my grandmother’s tales, I could now write in my free time.
I set out to write my first book Joy’s Best Friend in 2004. The other books followed, Meet My Family (2004), The Lost Hat (2005), The Meat Eating Sheep (2006), Kondoo Mla Nyama (2017) and the English teaching course book Primary English Grammar – Understanding Parts of speech (2013) which I co-authored with other teachers.
I am grateful that some of my colleagues and friends have been inspired by my publications and have started writing.
I am humbled to mentor them in the art of writing.
Like me, their writing has helped them to build up their careers as all round teachers.