Acts of the Lepers (Full Story)


Read Prologue Here:

Episode 1:

Episode II

Episode III:

Episode IV:

Episode V:

Episode VI:

Episode VII:

In their wake, the Syrians had left litters of food all over, with donkeys and horses tethered to tent pegs, as campfires kept burning still. I had only enjoyed the view from my window for months, but it looked much different riding through it now. As we rode farther towards Ginae, just before the Jordan, the route was strewn with clothing, and pieces of equipment reaching as far as Aenon.

Somehow, the Syrians have fled their camp for reasons we were yet to know. At Aenon, just when we turned to leave, Uriel sighted a figure limping away in the dark, some distance away. We pursued. In their haste, the Syrians had left one of their slingers behind and the stampede that resulted must have caused him several injuries. We bound him hand and foot, and rode back to the city.

Back in the city, the crowd grew out of control. Some already scaling the walls, only to be scared off by the towering depth below. They hoped the ‘rumours’ were true, we all did. From the gates, as soon as Uriel signaled ‘all-clear’, the ensueing stampede knocked off the giant bolts as wave after wave of people stormed out of the city gate with heavy shouts, trampling several guards in their wake.

They plundered each tent, making away with garments, tunics, volumes of food grain, and livestock. No doubt, the Syrians planned to stay for much longer. If they had,…

The scribes won’t miss this, tonight will go down into the chronicles as a night of deliverance. Reminds me of our forefathers’ exodus from Egypt. The plunder continued for days, even weeks. The city gates were never shut…the surviving elders sat once more, not to settle cases of lack, but fair distribution of abundance.

Amidst the partying and jubilation, only a few cared about the true story. In the days that followed, the Syrian prisoner began to narrate how, that night, they’d been drinking, partying and having rounds of wrestling when suddenly, they heard the clattering of chariots, loud gallops of numerous horses and sounds of troops approaching and how they all left their belongings and fled into the night, each man for himself.

It didn’t end there, Gehazi the leper and his three sons —who lived by the city gate— had crawled into the Syrian camp to at least surrender and find some food, but finding no one, they spread the news (after helping themselves of course). So, despite the shameful dismissal from his master’s service, Gehazi once more earned a reputation as the ‘salvagory leper’, who brought good news at a time we most needed it…and so goes the proverb; “good tidings can come from anyone, even lepers.” If they had delayed till morning, if they hadn’t ventured into the camp that night, more bodies would’ve been buried the next day.

After having my share of flour, wheat, barley, livestock, tent pegs and other valuables, I left Hanameel at the city gate and staggered indoors, peering through my window once more. For the first time in months, there were no campfires, no Syrian music, no fear of impending attack, and no worries over tomorrow’s meal, only a crowd of delighted people, trading their excess bounties.
Each time I thought of deliverance (for Israel), I always imagined a clash of shields and swords. Even though I didn’t quite fancy Jehoram’s decision, something told it was necessary. At least I know better. The prophecy was true, deliverance came, but who could’ve predicted how? No one saw the lepers as useful.

You see, it still amazes me how God deliberately chose the foolish things to confound the wise and used what we called ‘weak’ to shame the strong. I don’t know for how long, but the lessons are sure to stick.
I’ve missed my “business trips” so much. Hanameel and I will be at Tirzah in the next full moon.

The End

©2018, Steve


Excuses; what we lose.

James (full name withheld) lived in rural, war-torn Uganda. At 6, he lost his entire family to disease and was nurtured by his grandmother who could barely raise fees for his elementary school.

Fast-forward 5 years later, excellent grades secured him an admission (into secondary school), but the high fees would have to come from elsewhere. Grandma’s petty trading could only yield so much. Two options were left; drop out and work at the local plantation like the other kids, or gate-crash the President’s compound, 500km away.

Before sending him off (for the mission), grandma had sold one of her goats to get him shoes, new clothes and a ticket for the 8-hour bus ride to Kampala. “When you meet the President,” she said, “you can’t go looking like a bum from the street.” The 11 year old would have to sneak past several armed security guards and scale a barbed-wire fence, but once in, he’ll create a scene, attracting Pres. Museveni’s attention. Crazy idea! You would call it, but that move saved him a life of misery.

Now 35 years of age, James recalls the very moment he was led in to see ‘madam first lady’, who instantly took a liking to the young boy’s determination, courage & good-grades, and offered him support throughout his 6 years of highschool and beyond.

Today, James keeps working with foundations that support determined (Ugandan) children with no means for continued education. In his words, “I had every reason to fail. But something deep compelled me to take responsibility for the life I wanted.”

Yours may not be as extreme as James’, but how do you see obstacles? Do you still play the blame game? “It’s not my fault. There’s nothing I could’ve done about it”. Or do you take responsibility; “What can I do?” Or, “what could I have done differently?”

Similar to complaining, excuses are vents through which we externalize our failures, blaming it on anyone but ourselves. However, as studies and experience reveals, excuses limit your creative ability. It clogs up those (creative) neural pathways that would’ve conveyed solutions. Although it provides ‘temporal’ ease, it denies you lasting results. Consistent excuses kicks off a chain reaction that ultimately ensures and multiplies failure, consciously or not.

But frankly, excuses are so easy to come by and responsibility, hard to take. It boils down to your internal dialogue. What do you tell yourself more often? If you don’t like a course, do you blame the lecturer? or do yiu brace up to understand it? If you’re overweight, do you blame genetics? or do you imbibe dietary discipline and exercise? If you’re having a bad day, do you blame the weather? Or do you take discipline in your thoughts?

Yours may not be cut-throat measures like sneaking through the President’s fence. It may be jerking yourself out of the ‘perfect-time-syndrome’ and doing what’s necessary TODAY, whether the conditions seem right or not. Because you can either have results or excuses, never both.

Enjoy Your Week!

-Story, culled from ‘goats and soda’.

©2018, Steve

The 4-meter boat quietly floated off the shore on that cold morning of June 1965. Tinkerbelle would be the shortest boat to dare a 78-day (nonstop) trip across the Atlantic. Its sailor was a newspaper editor who felt he wanted more from life than spending 10+ years sitting behind a desk.

Afraid of people’s discouragement, Robert Manry kept his mission a secret, except to his wife and a few relatives. He would sail from Falmouth, Massachusetts, USA to Falmouth England. Through the torrential waters, of the vast ocean.

For weeks, he spent sleepless nights manoeuvring his way through shipping lanes, to avoid being runover by bigger vessels. His food supplies grew stale and tasteless, loneliness deteriorated into hallucinations, his rudder broke 3 times, heavy storms and towering waves flung him overboard several times. If he hadn’t fastened a rope to his waist, he never would have made it back to the boat each time he was tossed out.

After about 3 months of sailing, he could smell victory. He planned booking a normal hotel room, get some food, recover some sleep and the next morning, contact a local newspaper that might be interested in his story.

As he neared land, to his surprise, 300 vessels (with horns blasting and bands playing) were waiting to escort him into the seaport where over 47,000 people stood cheering him as he approached shore. Words about him had spread far and wide.

In earlier posts, I underscored the need for stepping out and embracing the unknown and keeping a clear picture (of our goal) in mind, as we grow towards achieving them.
Read here:

But like anything worthwhile, it’ll require more than boldness and clarity. Perseverance is key; it’s what keeps you going after motivation is long gone. It’s like running on fumes. Only a TRUE sense of purpose and a process-over-destination attitude will keep you going. Only then, sacrifice becomes bearable.

If you can’t sacrifice for what you want/need, what you want will become the sacrifice. As Henry Longfellow puts it, “…if you knock long enough and loud enough, you’re sure to wake up somebody”. Rivers wear-out the hardest rocks not by strength, but perseverance. The progression is so slow you can’t notice it, but it’s still happening. Believe it or not, there are more people waiting for your emergence than you can possibly imagine. Don’t deny them the thrill of your arrival. If not for yourself, do it for them. And before giving up on that goal, keep Simón Bolívar’s words in mind, “God grants victory to perseverance”.

Happy New Week!

©2018, Steve


I kept peering through the bus window, checking for any semblance of the building. I’d been invited for a meeting that evening and time wasn’t smiling on me. Asides the ‘virtue’ of arriving early, I’ve always cherished the idea of settling down and concluding a few pages before meetings commence.

I’d been there before; twice, but that wasn’t enough to make the whole picture stick. My previous visits had been at night. As the vehicle sped past my ‘search zone’, I quickly asked to alight. I crossed over and took a return cab…still peering through the window, but harder this time.

When I got to a popular landmark around the area, I dropped, scanning the perimeter on foot, as I finally spotted the hall in the distance, my pace doubled. 30 precious minutes had been burnt on needless search. But the lessons stuck. After studying the building one last time, guess what, I had it all wrong in my head.

All along, I’d presumed an ox-blood painting (as opposed to the actual white painting) on the exterior. What disparity? Two (2) trees stood by the building, as opposed to the four (4) I had in mind. There was a dwarf, wire-guaze fencing around the building, but I never factored it in. So it comes as no surprise that I blindly missed my destination. I was searching for a place I wouldn’t have recognized, save for the land mark.

You see, it remains a natural law;
If you cannot visualize it; you cannot describe it.
If you cannot describe it; you sure cannot identify it.
If you cannot identify it; you cannot locate it.
If you cannot locate it; you cannot achieve/experience it.

No doubt, you have lofty goals for this week/month/year, but how often do you picture yourself ‘becoming’ them? And by the way, the best goals are about BECOMING, not merely DOING. You plan to hit your first million? Have you pictured what it’s like? More options to chose from. The new challenges, new concerns, new involvements, new tastes and the like. How would you handle Parkinson’s rule? Hoe do you plan multiplying it?

Academic excellence is a noble goal, but do you see yourself at it’s center yet? Can you picture those high grades and simulate the feelings of triumph? Your goals are best achieved when the actual outcomes play out like Deja vu; you’ve lived in the reality long enough, it’s no longer new. If you can picture it correctly, you’ll recognize the opportunities when they come knocking. If you’ve never seen your goal accomplished in someone else, or in your mind, how would you recognize it when you reach a major milestone?

Remember; Visualize it, describe it, identify it, locate it, and achieve/experience it! That way, you won’t miss your destination.

Happy New Week!

The Black Door

Centuries ago, in the heat of what historians describe to be the most turbulent and goriest of the Desert Wars of the Middle East, a spy was captured and sentenced to death by a General of the Persian army. Spies were hardly given a second chance those days.

Though unpopular, General Ming had maintained a custom of permitting condemned criminals to make one of two choices; facing the (arrow) firing squad or passing through the BLACK DOOR.

As ‘execution day’ drew closer, General Ming summoned the spy for the customary hearing. “Which would you prefer,” he asked, “the firing squad or the BLACK DOOR?” The prisoner, amidst shivers, hesitated for a while, but on a second interrogation, he whispered the very words that would seal his fate, “the firing squad”. “I’d prefer the firing squad than face the unknown horrors of the mysterious BLACK DOOR”, he mumbled to himself.

Aim! Fire! He watched as an avalanche of pointy edged bars of wood rained down, relieving him of his roles as husband, spy and father of three. And then a pin-drop silence followed, as the undertakers loosened the body off the stake for burial.

“How come they always prefer such gruesome fate”, General Ming whispered to himself. Turning to his aide, he said, “Do you see how it is with men? They will always prefer the known to the unknown. It is characteristic of people to be afraid of the undefined.”

“What lies behind the BLACK DOOR,” asked the young aide. “Freedom,” replied the general, “The BLACK DOOR leads to no where but total freedom. And so far, I’ve seen only one man brave enough to pass through it. That was many years ago”

Centuries later, the message haven’t lost it’s relevance; “the fears you refuse to face would continue to limit you”. Centuries later, you and I still share the unwholesome inclination to choose security over adventure. We still fail to realize the conditional nature of the saying, “a bird in hand is worth two in the forest.” And we still misconstrue the sages advice to “look before you leap”. We now quote it to justify mediocrity and ‘overanalysis’

The problem isn’t with ‘looking’, it’s how long we spend looking. Everything known today was once an unknown. Sailors safely roam the waters today because, centuries ago, Ferdinand Magellan and his crew weren’t afraid of falling over the proverbial “edge of the earth. They spent 4 years exploring the unknown seas. Someone else would’ve done it.

That ‘your’ idea didn’t land on you only, several people have it too…if fear delays you, someone else will take the initiative. For Sure! That ‘Next week/month’ you’ve been talking about is already here…push it no further, step out of the boat and start taking those baby steps to your goals.

Start, however small. Make enquiries, find out the resources you’ll need, scribble down a budget, it doesn’t have to be spectacular yet, ignore those fears and walk through that BLACK DOOR!

Happy New Week!

©2018, Steve

My Last Days in office…

IMG-20170320-WA0020 If I were to choose, Mangu wouldn’t make it into my list of ‘first-100-choice- locations.’ The weather wasn’t user-friendly at all. Each bout of wind sent me into ‘shivery’ sessions, making my both jaws collide in spontaneous rhythm (the clearest signs of a cold-battered kid). ‘Everything’ was on the extreme, the torrential rains and heavy wind storms were scary enough to make it my last visit to this part of the world. I can’t really boast of knowing much about this place, but the first few days taught me a whole new side to adaptation and survival.   Continue reading My Last Days in office…