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 It was dreams of a better future that provided the comfort we needed to endure life of material emptiness at Tala Boys High School. Those dreams and the depth of poverty related miseries invaded my mind as I prepared to speak at my high school last month (25th of January 2011).

Dr. Kituku (center with bright tie) poses for a photo with
Tala Boys High School on the 25th Jan. 2011.

I had flown first class with my frequent flyer miles to Kenya from USA. I was driven from Nairobi to Tala in a large, comfortable SUV. I arrived at my former high school to stand on the grounds where we had bathed once a week and got by without the luxury of deodorant. The cost of a bucket of water was less than one U.S. penny. Using that money for a bath could mean going without cooking charcoal or an onion to improve the taste of maize mixed with beans—the main
meal of the day. Days after this visit I cried from the weight of realizing how blessed I have been since leaving this place and thankful for the life lasting lessons we learned.

Tala was a day school which meant that students who came from distant areas had to live in nearby apartments their parents had to rent for them. I shared a one room apartment with three or four other students. In this room we could fit only two small beds while leaving some room for a cooking area. Whatever we considered as personal belongings were tucked under the beds.

Nothing attacks and bites like blood-sucking bedbugs that had been denied a meal for awhile. Our safari beds, made of metal bars and wire, served as prime bedbug territory. Sometimes we began our school year with bedbug eradication activities in which we took the bed frames outside and lit a fire beneath them.

One advantage of living next to the school was the opportunity to study in our classrooms until 10:00 p.m. Father Hiran, our headmaster, knew that many students couldn’t afford the lamps and paraffin needed to study at night. Because Tala is dominated by clay soil which impairs drainage, the risk of stepping in large puddles of water as we walked back to our apartments in the dark was high. Going back and forth from school to the apartment during rainy season was a balancing act. Should you miss stepping on some randomly placed rocks that were scattered here and there, you would have wet, muddy feet and track it into the classroom or your apartment.

It was not unusual to run out of food, especially a few days before the school term ended. Creativity was essential. Some of us carried spoons in our pockets in anticipation of being invited to share whatever was available as we visited other apartments during dinnertime. We were aware that no apartment had extra spoons for unexpected guests. We also knew that we Africans are blessed with the desire of sharing whatever we have, even if what we have is nothing - we share that nothing.

That is where our dreams of owning cars started - looking to a future without wet, muddy feet—A time when we could take a bath anytime and with no need to carry a spoon in one’s pocket. Our expectations were nursed by pride, determination, self awareness and a caring spirit. We called our school Ukambani University (Ukambani is the location for the Akamba people of Kenya). We were determined to beat other schools in academics and extracurricular activities knowing that hard work always outperform under-utilized talents. It never occurred to us that we were victims of circumstances. After all, being in Tala Boys High School was a steppingstone to a better future. We were not victims, but rather victors.

At Tala, we learned to care about others. As a student, I devoted my time and energy to serving the needy. I taught adult literacy classes. I travelled and collected funds to help poor students, a background that would later be extended when I founded Caring Hearts and Hands of Hope, Inc. (CHHH), a non-profit organization that helps provide tuition and fees to Kenyan orphans, children of widows and those from destitute families.

As I spoke at my former high school, in the audience, was one of the students sponsored. I realized Tala High did not only prepare us to pass Mathematics and English but also prepared us to live a life of fulfillment.

It pays to have something to live up to even when prevailing circumstances are overwhelming.

Most of us don’t recognize opportunity
until we see it working for a competitor.

Louis Hacker

February 24th - 5:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. (Thursday)
February 25th - 5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. (Friday)
February 26th - 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. (Saturday)
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If I went back to college again, I’d concentrate on two areas: learning to write and to speak before an audience. Nothing in life is more important than the ability to communicate effectively.

- Gerald R. Ford. U.S. President.
  1. YES NO
    Are your speeches and presentations clear and concise?

  2. YES NO
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  3. YES NO
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  4. YES NO
    Can you think and speak on your feet?

  5. YES NO
    Can you inspire and captivate any audience?

  6. YES NO
    Do you know your signature story and how to tell it to
    influence people?

  7. YES NO
    Do your presentations have energy and impact to make
    them memorable?

  8. YES NO
    Are you able to influence people and negotiate/persuade effectively?

  9. YES NO
    Are you effective in one-on-one communication situations?

  10. YES NO
     Do you know how to declare your presence to any audience?

  11. YES NO
    Are you aware of proven strategies to market your products/services?

  12. YES NO
     Can you use PowerPoint without boring your audiences?

  13. YES NO
     Have you thought of writing a book that you know is needed?

  14. YES NO
    Do you know how to get millions of people to use your products/services?

  15. YES NO
     Do you want to have fun speaking on what matters to you
    and get paid for it?

If your answer to questions 3, 13, and 15 is YES,
this seminar is for you.

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Value-adding body language, gestures, voice, movement and facial expressions

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Advantage comes not from the spectacular or the technical. Advantage comes from the persistent seeking of the mundane edge.
Passion for Excellence
One of my favorite metaphors is about the legendary coach, Vince Lombardi of the Green Bay Packers. His team had lost a game the previous day and they were at their first meeting to review what went wrong and prepare for the next opponents. Vince stood in front of the room and informed the team that they didn’t protect the ball, catch it or block. Then he said, "We need to go back to basics." At that point, he lifted a ball and said, "Team, this is a football."

To move forward in life, you have to look back and take an inventory of what you think, feel or know didn’t work. Then get back to the basics that can move you, from the situation you must leave, to your desired future.

My work with thousands of people in businesses (public and private), football teams, homes and churches has led me to know 5 attributes of life that make people move forward any time of the year.
  1. People who find fulfillment in life are those who know their purpose--why God put them where they are. The goals they set are aligned with the big picture of the life they envision. Their efforts are focused on what matters the most. They devote resources and energy in simplifying their lives.

  2. Leaving past hurts, anger, and the motive for revenge is a consciously developed characteristic of people who have a purpose to live for. They know that regardless of how their past has been, their future is still stainless. They resolve to use the past as a stepping-stone not a stumbling block. They refuse to let the past hold them captive or rather they are determined not to let their past be an obstacle between them and their future.

  3. Purpose-focused people are the chief executive officers of their own lives—not their parents, teachers, bosses or peers. They dance to their own drumbeat of life. They don’t blame anyone else for their situation. They are in-charge of their faith, health, relationships, financial independence, professional and personal development.

  4. Relationships are the pipes that breathe new life into a person with a purpose. A personal relationship with his/her Creator is an experience words can’t describe. An experience church or religion can only help grow but can’t give. That relationship with God is the basis of their relationships at home and in the community. They know their relationship with God will affect their relationship with other people and vise versa.

  5. Failure, broken dreams or relationships and other adversities make purpose-focused people stronger. It’s devastating to lose a loved one. It hurts to be rejected. Being considered a failure is a disappointment many can live with. Yet purpose-focused people have learned to cry, accept their vulnerability and to not make things they cannot control personal. After reflecting on their circumstances, they find comfort and courage from relying on their God and taking action instead of languishing in self-pity.

Remember the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson:
Every industrious man, in every lawful calling, is a useful man. And one principal reason why men are so often useless is that they neglect their own profession or calling, and divide and shift their attention among a multiplicity of objects and pursuits.



Native of Kenya, Africa, and resident of Idaho since 1992, Vincent has been a featured speaker and trainer at numerous Real Estate conferences and training programs. An award winning speaker and writer, he is one of the less than 7% of all professional speakers to earn a CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), the highest award for professional speakers. Dr. Kituku has worked with championship sports teams and trained leaders on how to inspire productivity all the time. What sets Vincent apart is his ability to weave life experiences in Africa with corporate America and culture in providing solutions for personal and professional growth.

Dr. Vincent Muli Wa Kituku is known as a research-based motivational speaker. He presents motivational keynotes and training programs on leadership, employee motivation, overcoming buffaloes at work (change), customer service and living and working with cultural differences. Vincent is the founder and president of Kituku & Associates, LLC, a business that is dedicated to developing leaders and employees in business and in life.

What has set Dr. Kituku apart is the ability to use his experience in research to evaluate/assess client needs and then tailor his keynotes/training presentation to meet their objectives. Harold G. Delamarter, President/CEO, Prestige Care Inc. said, "Before the Retreat, Dr. Kituku gained as much information as possible about our company and the industry we are involved in. He made telephone calls to management team members to tailor his seminar very closely to the needs of our employees and the circumstances they face each day in the present economy. Dr. Kituku was so widely received in July, the decision was made to ask him to return to again present to our company in October."

Vincent's clients list includes Cisco Systems, Micron, Hewlett Packard, Genworth Financial, US Fish and Wildlife, US Air Force, Women Council of Realtors and National Association of Mental Health. He has been the motivational speaker for the successful Boise State Football Team since 1998. Dr. Kituku works have been featured by numerous publications including the Presentations Magazine, SkyWest Magazine, National Speakers Association Magazine and many newspapers which publish his weekly columns. Vincent holds the Certified Speaking Professional designation that is earned by fewer than 7% of all speakers worldwide.


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