Mid last year, a couple of friends and I visited a certain resort in Nyeri County. It had been regularly featuring in the media, and those who had been there had given a glowing review, and so we decided to give it a try.
Since it wasn’t an overnight visit, we started the journey at 6.30am so that we could get sufficient time to enjoy the trip.
As we were boarding the van that would take us there, I noticed that one of my friends had carried a particularly heavy bag, while the rest of us carried the bare minimum: a jacket and a purse just enough to hold money and a cellphone.
“You must be planning to spend the night,” I joked.
It is only when we arrived at our destination that I realised my friend had carried a change of clothes – four changes mind you. After lunch, she changed into a swim suit and took a selfie by the poolside. The facility keeps horses and, after the poolside photo, she changed into clothes somewhat appropriate for horse riding and had one of us take a photo of her on one of the horses. She then changed into another outfit and took a photo lounging on a settee inside one of the cottages. Later, before we left, she took another photo capturing the signage on the entryway of the hotel.
I was highly amused, and so were the others. I am not a fan of taking photos, a fact that shows in our family photos since I am missing in most of them — I am usually the one taking them.
This friend loves taking photos though, as her Facebook page reveals, but I still did not understand why she felt the need to change clothes to take them. Too much trouble if you asked me.
“These are for my Facebook page,” she explained sheepishly when I asked, confessing that the four different photos would be posted on four different days, to represent the “four days” that she spent at the facility.
I could not help laughing out loud – how ingenious!
This friend loves travelling and, before this revelation, I would “like” her vacation photos, inwardly marvelling at how she could afford her regular week-long vacations in swanky locations around the country. Each time I visited her page, I made a mental note to ask her how she did it, as I was pretty sure that, like me, she wasn’t a millionaire.
Nowadays, when I comment on her photos, I write suggestive one-liners such as, “Your secret is safe with me …” or, “Four days! Wow!”
Thankfully, she’s a good sport, and will usually reply with something like, “Thank God my secret is safe with you.”
After that experience with my friend, nowadays, I look at those fabulous vacation photos my Facebook friends post on social media with a sceptical eye. If you are one of those people that tend to be bothered by the glamorous lives your friends seem to be living, thanks to their regular updates on social media, take heart. Chances are that your colleague alighted from a matatu headed to Kangemi, crossed the road and took a pouty selfie at Villa Rosa Kempinski, and labelled it “Brunch at the Kempinski” on her Facebook page.
That enlightening experience with my friend was such an eye-opener. In this era where many feel the need to live their lives on social media, recording every step they take, posting photos of what they had for breakfast, lunch and supper, and yes, those enviable vacation photos, it is easy to see yourself a failure and question where you went wrong. I mean, your peers seem to be doing so well, yet the only glamorous photos you have are those you took at the office party in December last year.
My advice? Don’t take the showy broadcasts on social media too seriously, chances are that they are not what they seem.
You talked a lot of sense in your Sunday article and what has happened to our children in Alliance High cannot be swept silently under the carpet. I hope the Cabinet Secretary for Education will deal with the matter once and for all in all our schools. I was in a national school and there was no bullying whatsoever thanks to a strict headmaster who used to announce during parade that everyone was expected to accord incoming Form Ones the due assistance one would accord a younger brother.
I had always thought that such primitive acts reported in recent days at Alliance and other high schools. I never did imagine that modern-day students could out-do the barbarism of centuries gone.
It saddens me to hear what is happening in our schools. And in many of our institutions, bullying is a game of handing over, doing to others what was done to you.
My niece, a Form One, narrated to me during her mid-term the harrowing and brutal bullying she and fellow Form One students received from the senior students. I have since informally talked to the teachers I know in the school but none appears to have a clue of what goes on at night. It was ironical that one even wondered how bullying could take place at Alliance.
[email protected]; Twitter: @cnjerius. The writer is the Daily Nation features editor