After the about 1 and a half hour talk on “Landscape Architecture” by our resident speaker Sylvia Mutua and guest Hosea Omole, an elated Michael Waiyaki Ng’ang’a stood up to inform the members, guests and other rotaractors present that the year had finally come to an end! Many must have been caught offguard but this was the last meeting for the Rotary year 2010/2011. Though not the official handover ceremony (this will be done at the club’s installation ceremony at the coast on 9th July 2011), Michael gave his vote of thanks and as usual, a few words of wisdom to the incoming board under the presidency of Huma Kaoga Kaseu.
Well, I think I do not want to speak for Michael so I will ask him to write his parting shot as president himself and share with all of us. I can only speak of Michael and the year that has been, under his very able leadership.
Yesterday, when Michael came in and when he stood up to say his final words to his club members, one could see the joy that was illuminated by his smile. It came from within. I don’t think he was happy because he had finished his term as president. I don’t think he was happy because he will no longer be writing reports, running around, going for meetings and attending to club matters. In fact, if his new position is anything to go by, he will be writing more reports, attending more meetings and running around more as the 24th Rotaract District Conference and Club Assembly Committee chair. I think and somewhat believe his joy was that of finishing a year of leadership and service and finishing it well.
For a position that requires 100% dedication and commitment, yet no remuneration accrues from it, 100% volunteer-ship, we must congratulate Michael for staying on and never for a single day turning his back on us despite the challenges that came along. His dedication and enthusiasm with which he served us is in deed admirable and exemplary. It has been a great journey and when I look back, I must say, we have learnt and grown and Michael has been instrumental in that he provided the leadership and set the platform on which we were all given the opportunity to grow and be better leaders as well as individuals.
For me, working with Michael I must say, was a great privilege. It is easy to work with Michael. He is not rude or arrogant and he gave each of his directors an opportunity to exploit their leadership potential and be the best they could be. He remained ever humble and accessible. So instead of spending so much time trying to cope with Michael as it would have been had he been impossible to work with, one spends time learning from him. Just like president Kibaki, Michael is a hands-off guy but he does his checks and balances. The directors were given a chance to run their committees their own way and I believe that is what Rotaract is all about – Leadership Development – what the president provided was guidance but the directors were to run their own shows. Make their plans and execute them in the best way possible. I believe those who took the challenge have grown enormously in terms of leadership development.
At one point, Michael was under enormous pressure and it seemed like things were not going right at all in the club and even though we were having great speakers and carrying out many community service projects, Michael was not settled at all. For any great achiever, he would have been content with having a great report to write about on retirement but this was not it for him. Michael wanted to leave behind a club that had a strong membership, where there were great friendships and fellowship. He wanted people to be together and there to be a continuity after his term was over. He foresaw a gap if we did not work on our relationships as individuals and as a club. So for the better part of the second half of the year, emphasis was put on getting people together and we can now report that Michael will not leave a gap as he retires. We have formed great friendships, some will last a lifetime (hopefully all) and we are proud to be RCNC members. We are even prouder to belong to the larger Rotaract family of Nairobi, Kenya, D9200 and Rotary/Rotaract world over. Further to that Michael together with other presidents from the rotaract clubs in Nairobi have really worked hard in fostering a united Rotaract clubs front and now more than ever, many of us can attest to the fact that they have made more friends within the Rotaract family and we are getting to a moment in time when it is going to be impossible to tell apart who is in which Rotaract Club. The challenge now is to the incoming presidents to maintain that unity. Yesterday’s meeting saw some 10 rotaract clubs represented. I personally now feel at home at any Rotaract Club and I know if I miss my meetings there are 25 others I can possibly attend within Kenya! The dream that we all dream of – of a united Kenya – is now being lived in Rotaract, let us continue to set the pace that our outgoing presidents set for us. Many thanks to Michael, Anne (Rotaract Club of Milimani), Eric Manon (Rotaract Club of Westlands), David Biama (Rotaract Club of Muthaiga), Calvin Jodisi (Rotaract Club of Kenya Polytechnic University College), Steve Odwesso (Rotaract Club of Nairobi East), Ishmael Bett (Rotaract Club of UoN) and ADRR Faith Kinuthia (Rotaract Club of Westlands) who tirelessly worked hard to foster the good relations we now have.
For those of us who are keen observers and listeners, you may have noticed that at every meeting and even TGIS (Thank God Its Saturday) functions, Michael is never lacking in wisdom. He has always had one or two words of wise counsel that have been of great help to some of us. Lessons well taken Michael! And whenever I had a committee issue that needed consultation, I knew Michael would be the best person to advice and that he did and he continues to be a great mentor. I have no doubt many other club members and directors have benefitted from his wise counsel.
There are many things I can say about Michael. I cannot write it all on paper. For the lessons learnt, we must not let them go to waste. We must keep them in mind, we must keep the wise counsel in our hearts and we must live and in deed show that we have learnt and we have grown and Michael was part of it. I can say a vessel that God used to teach those of us who were privileged to work with him a lesson or two. If I was once wise, I can now say am twice wiser; if I was once strong, I can now say I am twice stronger; if I was once a great leader, I can now say I am twice a greater leader; and if I was once good, I can now say I am thrice better. All these after the one year Michael has been of service as the President of the Rotaract Club of Nairobi Central. And as friend since I joined Rotaract, he has been a great friend too. So for his friendship and exemplary leadership, I believe I speak for many when I say, Ahsante Michael Waiyaki Ng’ang’a. You have done well!
As he takes up his new position as the 24th Rotaract District Conference and Assembly Chairmanship, we wish him every success and we must work together with him to make this conference a great success and yet another platform to foster unity not only for the Kenyan Rotaract Clubs but for the District 9200 countries of Ethiopia, Eritrea, Tanzania and Uganda.
Ahsante Sana Michael Waiyaki Ng’ang’a. You have done well! God Bless!