Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Seven Cures of a Lean Purse

Money is the medium by which earthly success is measured.

Money makes possible the enjoyment of the best the earth affords.

Money is plentiful for those who understand the simple laws which govern its acquisition.

Our continent's prosperity depends upon the personal financial prosperity of each of us as individuals.

This blog deals with the personal successes of each of us. Success means accomplishments as the result of our own efforts and abilities. Proper preparation is the key to our success. Our acts can be no wiser than our thoughts. Our thinking can be no wiser than our understanding.

The purpose of this blog is to offer those who are ambitious for financial success an insight which will aid them to acquire money, to keep money, and to make their surpluses earn more money.

Ahead of you stretches your future, like a road leading into the distance. Along that road are ambitions you wish to accomplish... desires you wish to gratify. To bring your ambitions and desires to fulfillment, you must be successful with money. Let the financial principles made clear here guide you away from the stringency of a lean purse to that fuller, happier life a full purse makes possible. Like the law of gravity, these laws of money are universal and unchanging. May they prove to be for you, as they have proven to so many others, a sure key to a fat purse, larger bank balances and gratifying financial progress.

For the artists, scientists, thinkers, musicians, sportsmen and working people of Africa:

It costs nothing to ask wise advice from a good friend, and I, Shiko, has always been that. Never mind though your purses be as empty as the falcon's nest of a year ago. Let that not detain you.
You are weary of being without gold in the midst of plenty. You wish to become people of means.

You do realize the reason why you have never found any measure of wealth: you never sought

You have labored patiently to carve the staunchest sculptures in Africa; to sing the sweetest melodies; to paint the most beautiful portraits. To that puepose was devoted your best endeavors. Therefore, at it you did succeed.

In those things toward which you exerted your best endeavors you succeeded. The Gods were content to let you continue thus. Now, at last, you see a light, bright like that from the rising sun. It bids you to learn more that you may prosper more. With a new understanding you shall find honorable ways to accomplish your desires.

Seven Cures of a Lean Purse

The First Cure: Start Your Purse To Fattening

My students, there are many trades and labors at which people may earn cash. Each of the ways of earning is a stream of income from which the worker diverts by her labors a portion to her own purse. Therefore into the purse of each of you flows a stream of cash large or small according to your ability.

If each of you desires to build yourself a fortune, it is wise to start by utilizing that source of wealth which you already have established.

Now I shall tell you the first remedy I learned to cure a lean purse: For every ten coins you place within your purse take out for use but nine. Your purse will start to fatten at once and its increasing weight will feel good in your hand and bring satisfaction to your soul.

Deride not what I say because of its simplicity. Truth is always simple. I told you I would tell how I built my fortune. This was my beginning. I, too, carried a lean purse and cursed it because there aws nothing to satisfy my desires. But when I began to take out from my purse but nine parts of ten I put in, it began to fatten. So will yours.

I will tell you a strange truth, the reason for which I don't know. When I ceased to pay out more than nine-tenths of my earnings, I managed to get along just as well. I was not shorter than before.

Also, before long, did coins come to me more easily than before. Surely it is a law of the Gods that unto her who keeps and spends not a certain part of all her earnings, shall cash come more easily. Likewise, her whose purse is empty does cash avoid.

What do you desire the most? Is it the gratification of your desires of each day, a jewel, a bit of finery, better clothes, more food; things quickly gone and forgotten? Or is it substantial belongings, gold, lands, herds, merchandise, income-bringing investments? The coins you take from your purse bring the first. The coins you live within it will bring the latter.

This, my students, was the first cure I did discover for my lean purse: For each ten coins I put in, to spend but nine.

The Second Cure: Control Your Expenditures

Some of you have asked me this: 'How can one keep one-tenth of all she earns in her purse when all the coins she earns are not enough for her necessary expenses?'

All of you carry lean purses, yet you do not all earn the same. Some earn much more than others. Some have much larger families to support. Yet all purses are equally lean. Now, I will tell you an unusual truth about all people. It is this: That what each of us calls our 'necessary expenses' will always grow to equal our incomes unless we protest to the contrary.

Confuse not the necessary expenses with your desires. Each of you, together with your good families, have more desires than your earnings can gratify. Therfore are your earnings spent to gratify these desires insofar as they will go. Still you retain many ungratified desires.

All people are burdened with more desires than they can possibly gratify. Because of my wealth do you think I may gratify every desire? It is a false idea. There are limits to my time. There are limits to my strength. There are limits to the distance I may travel. There are limits to what I may eat. There are limits to the zest with which I may enjoy.

I say to you that just as weeds grow in a field wherever the farmer leaves space for their roots, even so freely do desires grow in people wherever there is a possibility of their being gratified. Your desires are a multitude and those that you may gratify are but a few.

Study thoughtfully your accustomed habits of living. Herein may be most often found certain accepfed expenses that may wisely be reduced or eliminated. Let your motto be one hundred percent of appreciated value demanded for each coin spent.

Therefore, write down each thing for which you desire to spend. Select those that are necessary and others that are possible through the expenditure of nine-tenths of your income. Cross out the rest and consider them but a part of that great multitude of desires that must go unsatisfied and regret them not.

Budget then your necessary expenses. Touch not the one-tenth that is fattening your purse. Let this be your great desire that is being accomplished. Keep working with your budget, keep adjusting it to help you. Make it your first assistant in defending your fattening purse.

The purpose of a budget is to help your purse to fatten. It is to assist you to have your necessities, and as far as attainable, your other desires. It is to enable you to realize your most cherished desires by defending them from your casual wishes. Like a bright light in a dark cave, your budget shows up the leaks from your purse an enables you to stop them and control your expenditures for definite and gratifying purposes.

This, then, is the second cure for a lean purse: Budget your expenses that you may have coins to pay for your necessities, to pay for your enjoyments and to gratify your wothwhile desires without spending more than nine-tenths of your earnings.

The Third Cure: Make Your Cash Multiply

Behold your lean purse is fattening. You have disciplined yourself to live therein one-tenth of all you earn. You have controlled your expenditures to protect your growing treasure.

Next, we will consider means to put your treasure to labor and to increase. Cash in a purse is gratifying to own and satisfies a miserly soul but earns nothing. The cash we may retain from our earnings is but the start. The earnings it will make shall build our fortunes.

How, therefore, may we put our cash to work? My first investment was unfortunate, for I lost all. Its tale I will relate later. My first profitable investment was a loan I made to a lady named Njoki, a second-hand clothes dealer. Thrice each year did she buy large shipments of clothes and shoes brought from across the border to sell in her store. Lacking sufficient capital to pay the merchants, she would borrow from those who had extra cash. She was an honorable lady. Her borrowing she would repay, together with a liberal rental, as she sold her goods.

Each time I loaned to her I loaned back also the rental she had paid to me. Therefore not only did my capital increase, but its earnings likewise increased. Most gratifying was it to have these sums return to my purse.

I tell you, my friends, a person's wealth is not in the cash she carries in her purse; it is the income she builds, the golden stream that continually flows into her purse and keeps it always bulging. That is what you, each one of you desires; an income that continues to come whether you work or travel.

Great income I have acquired. So great that I'm called a very rich woman. My loans to Njoki were my first training in profitable investment. Gaining wisdom from this experience, I extended my loans and investments as my capital increased.

From a few sources at first, from many sources later, flowed into my purse a golden stream of wealth available for such wise uses as I should decide.

Behold, from my humble earnings I had begotten a hoard of golden slaves, each laboring and earning more gold. As they labored for me, so their children also labored and their children's children until great was the income from their combined efforts.

Money increases rapidly, when making reasonable earnings. This, then, is the third cure of a lean purse: to put each coin to laboring that it may reproduce its kind even as the flocks of the field and help bring to you income, a stream of wealth that shall flow constantly into your purse.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Five Laws of Wealth

On Saturday, 18 August, 2007, Shiko was at the Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi, to launch her African Investors Organisation, whose mission is to inspire, motivate and educate the African working-class youth to engage in sound, consistent and profitable financial investments geared towards the future economic prosperity of our beloved continent.

Addressing more than 700 participants, including college graduands and young professionals, Shiko unveiled her vision of 'a continent free from hunger, poverty, disease and illiteracy. A proud continent with highly skilled manpower and state-of-the-art infrastructure.' She called upon African leaders to demonstrate for economic matters the same or more intensity as we channel into religious, spiritual, ethnic, chauvinist and partisan interests, and 'a light shall surely begin to shine upon the future of our dark continent.'

Following are excerpts from her powerful speech, in which she outlined 'The Five Laws of Wealth':

'When people talk about the 'secret' of success, they have different ways of describing the same thing, just like everyone has their own definition of success. The Secret, in my experience, has a lot to do with passion for what you are doing. A deep love, almost obsession, for your work, your studies, your struggles and endeavors.

'Successful people have told me that they enjoy their work. Even when they are asleep, they dream about their work. In the bathroom, at the dinner table, as they drive, everywhere they go, anywhere they are, their minds are constantly engaged, like a chugging engine shuttling a locomotive to its destination, their minds never stop.

'It is possible for one to take upon the humblest of duties, and with passionate dedication, transfer it into a noble, respectable and rewarding profession or career. It is also true that money follows vision, and not the other way round. True visionaries are those whose dreams are beautiful, they believe in them, their hearts become a part of their work.

'If you want something really badly, then you will certainly find a way to achieve it. if you are obsessed with success, you will not see the obstacles in your way. I also believe that The Secret cannot be taught. It cannot be described, neither can it be eplained. The Secret has to be experienced. That is because passion is a state of the heart that can only be felt.

'There is no ideal profession. There is no 'best career'. Where your heart is, that is your gold mine. Where your passion is, you will never run out of fuel; there lies an endless fountain of ideas and energy to take you wherever you want to go.

'In the famous treatise, Desiderata, we are advised to love and enjoy our professions, they are the real possessions in the changing fortunes of time. If you are thinking of embarking on an etra-ordinary project, one which is uneplored, remember that climbing Mt.Everest, exploring the polar regions, space travel, all these have been accomplished by people who thought out of the box.

'If you keep on saying to yourself, 'People normally don't do that. People normally don't go there,' how on earth would you ever be able to discover new things? It is how much you believe in yourself that matters, not how much people seem to believe in you. My weaknesses are the uneplored terrain that I have to conquer. My weakest point is like the summit of Mt.Everest. Every day I make a step towards that summit. I am not afraid to face my weaknesses; their conquest is my greatest victory.

'Financial success is the result of deliberate actions, ambition, great desire, and a constant persistent effort to acquire knowledge and wisdom. One must have a clear vision of the steps to be taken, with full realization that wealth is not a child of good luck.'

Here are the Five Laws of Wealth, as expounded by The Richest Woman In Africa:

1. Money comes gladly and in increasing quantity to any person who will put by not less than one-tenth of her earnings to create an estate for her future and that of her family.

2. Money labors diligently and contentendly for the wise owner who finds for it profitable employment, multiplying even as the flocks of the field.

3. Money clings to the protection of the cautious owner who invests it under the advice of people wise in its handling.

4. Money slips away from the person who invests it in businesses or purposes with which she is not familiar with or which are not approved by those skilled in its keep.

5. Money flees the person who would force it into impossible earnings or who follows the alluring advice of tricksters and schemers or who trusts it to her own inexperience and romantic desires in investment.

'Wealth is reserved for those who know its laws and abide by them. It is not an inconsistency of fate that some people have much wealth and others have none. Wealth that comes quickly goes the same way.

'Wealth that stays to give enjoyment and satisfaction to its owner comes gradually, because it is a child born of knowledge and persistent purpose. To earn wealth is but a slight burden upon the thoughtful person. Bearing the burden consistently from year to year accomplishes the final purpose.

'Fanciful propositions that will thrill like adventure tales always come to the new owner of money. These appear to endow her treasure with magic powers that will enable it to make impossible earnings. Yet heed the wise people for surely they know the risks that lurk behind every plan to make great wealth suddenly.

'These are not secrets but truths which every person must first learn and then follow who wishes to step out of the multitude that, like wild dogs, must worry each day for food to eat. Our wise acts accompany us through life, to please us and help us. Just as surely, our unwise acts follow us to plague and torment us. Alas, they can't be forgotten. In the front rank of the torments that follow us are the memories of the things we should have done, of the opportunities which came to us and we took not.

'Rich are the treasures of Africa, so rich no one can count their value in shillings, francs or dollars. Each year they grow richer and more valuable. Like the treasures of every land, they are a reward, a rich reward awaiting those men and women of purpose who determine to secure their just share.

'In the strength of your own desires is a magic power. Guide this power with your knowledge of the Five Laws of Wealth and you shall indeed share in the treasures of Africa.'

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Meet Africa's Wealthiest Woman

The Richest Woman In Africa

In Nairobi’s posh Muthaiga suburbs, there lives a certain very rich woman named Shiko. Far and wide she is famed for her great wealth. Also is she famed for her liberality.
She is generous in her charities. She is generous with her family. She is liberal in her own expenses. But nevertheless each year her wealth increases more rapidly than she spends it.

And there are certain friends of younger days that have come to her saying “You, Shiko, are more fortunate than we. You have become the richest woman in all Nairobi while we struggle for existence. You can wear the finest garments and you can enjoy the rarest foods, while we must be content if we can clothe our families in raiment that is presentable and feed them as best as we can.”
“Yet, once we were equal. We studied under the same teacher. We played in the same games. An in neither the studies nor the games did you out shine us. And in the years since, you have not been a more honorable citizen than we.
“Nor have you worked harder or more faithfully, in so far as we judge. Why then should a fickle fate single you out to enjoy all the good things of life and ignore us who are equally deserving?”

And thereupon Shiko remonstrates with them, saying “If you have not acquired more than a bare existence in the years since we were girls, it is because you either have failed to learn the laws that govern the building of wealth, or else you do not observe them.
“'Fickle fate' is a vicious goddess who brings no good to anyone. On the contrary, she brings ruin to almost everyone upon whom she showers unearned gold, she makes wanton spenders, who soon dissipate all they receive and are left beset by overwhelming appetites and desires they have not ability to gratify. Yet others whom she favors become misers and hoard their wealth, fearing to spend what they have, knowing they do not posses the ability to replace it. They further are beset by fear of robbers and doom themselves to lives of emptiness and secret misery.
“Others there probably are, who can take unearned gold and add to it and continue to be happy and contented citizens. But so few are they, I know of them but by hearsay. Think you of the people who have inherited sudden wealth, and see if these things are not so.”

Her friends admit that of the people they know who had inherited wealth these words were true, and they beseech her to explain to them how she had become possessed of so much prosperity, so she explains.

“In my youth I looked about me and saw all the good things there were to bring happiness and contentment. And I realized that wealth increased the potency of all these.
“Wealth is a power. With wealth many things are possible.
“One may ornament and decorate the home with the richest furnishings.
“One may sail the distant sea.
“One may feast on the delicacies of far lands.
“One may buy the ornaments of the gold worker and the stone polisher.
“One may even build great and mighty churches.
“One may do all these things and many others for which there is delight for the senses and gratification for the soul.
“And when I realized all this, I decided to myself that i would claim my share of the good things of life. I would not be one of those who stand aside enviously watching others enjoy. I would not be content to clothe myself in the cheapest raiment that looked respectable. I would not be satisfied with the lot of a poor woman. On the contrary, I would make myself a guest at this banquet of good things.
"Being, as you know, the daughter of a humble merchant, one of a large family with no hope of an inheritance, and not being endowed, as you have frankly said, with superior powers or wisdom, I decided that if I was to achieve what I desired, time and study would be required.
“As for time, all people have it in abundance; each of you, have let slip by sufficient time to have made yourselves wealthy. Yet, you admit, you have nothing to show except for your good families, of which you can be justly proud.
“As for study, did not our wise teacher teach us that learning was of two kinds: the one kind being the things that we learnt and knew, and the other being the training that taught us how to find out what we did not know?
“Therefore did I decide to find out how one might accumulate wealth, and when I had found out, to make this my task and do it well. For, is it not wise that we should enjoy while we dwell in the brightness of the sunshine, for sorrows enough shall descend upon us when we depart for the darkness of the world of spirit?
“I found employment as a typist at Gill House and long hours each day I labored upon the type-writer. Week after week, and month after month, I labored, yet for my earnings I had nothing to show. Food and clothing and offerings to the church, and other things of which I could remember not what absorbed all my earnings. But my determination did not leave me.
“And one day Muthoni, a prominent business-woman, came to our office and asked me to type for her a proposal she was presenting to the bank, and she said to me, 'I must have this in two days, and if the task is done by that time, twenty shillings will I give to you.'
“So I labored hard, but the proposal was long, and when Muthoni returned the task was unfinished. She was angry, and had I been her servant, she would have scolded me. But knowing that our manager would not permit her to injure me, I was unafraid, so I said to her, 'Muthoni, you are a very rich woman. Tell me how I may also become rich, and all night I will type upon the proposal and when the sun rises it shall be complete.'
“She smiled at me and replied, 'You are shamelessly too ambitious for your age, but we shall call it a bargain.'
“All that night I typed, though my back pained and my fingers numbed, and the dim lighting made my head ache until my eyes could hardly see. But when she returned at sunup, the proposal was complete.
“'Now', I said, 'tell me what you promised.'
“'You have fulfilled you part of the bargain, my girl,' she said to me kindly, and I am ready to fulfill mine. I will tell you these things you wish to know because I am becoming an old woman, and an old tongue loves to wag. And when youth comes to age for advice she receives the wisdom of the years. But too often does youth think that age knows only the wisdom of days that are gone, and therefore profits not. But remember this, the sun that shines today is the sun that shone when your mother was born, and will still be shining when your last grandchild shall pass into the darkness.
“'The thoughts of youth,' she continued, 'are bright lights that shine forth like the meteors that often make brilliant the sky, but the wisdom of age is like the fixed stars that shine so unchanged that the sailor may depend upon them to steer his course.
“'Mark well my words, for if you do not you will fail to grasp the truth that I will tell you, and you will think that your night's work has been in vain.'
“Then she looked at me shrewdly from over her thick glasses and said in a low, forceful tone, 'I found the road to wealth when I decided that a part of all I earned was mine to keep. And so will you.'
“Then she continued to look at me with a glance that I could feel pierce me but said no more.
“'Is that all?' I asked.
"'That was sufficient to change the heart of a house girl to the heart of a business woman,' she replied.
“'But all I earn is mine to keep, is it not?' I demanded.
“'Far from it,' she replied. 'Do you not pay the garment maker? Do you not pay the hairdresser? Do you not pay for the things you eat? Can you live in Nairobi without spending? What have you to show for your earnings of the past month? What for the past year? Fool! You pay to everyone but yourself. Dullard, you labor for others. As well be a slave and work for what your master gives you to eat and wear. If you did keep for yourself one-tenth of all you earned, how much would you have in ten years?'
“My knowledge of the numbers did not forsake me, and I answered, 'as much as I earn in one year.'
“'You speak but half the truth,' she retorted. 'Every shilling you save is a slave to work for you. Every cent it earns is its child that also can earn for you. If you would become wealthy, then what you save must earn, and its children must earn, that all may help to give to you the abundance you crave.'
“'You think that I cheat you for your long night's work,' she continued, 'but I am paying you a thousand times over, if you have the intelligence to grasp the truth I offer you.
“'A part of all you earn is yours to keep. It should be not less that a tenth no matter how little you earn. It can be as much more as you can afford. Pay yourself first. Do not buy from the clothes-maker and the sandal-maker more than you can pay out of the rest and still have enough money for food and charity and offerings to the church.
“'Wealth, like a tree, grows from a tiny seed. The first shilling you save is the seed from which your tree of wealth shall grow. The sooner you plant that seed the sooner shall the tree grow. And the more faithfully you nourish and water that tree with consistent savings, the sooner may you bask in contentment beneath its shade.'
“So saying, she took her proposal and went away. I thought much about what she had said to me, and it seemed reasonable. So I decided that I would try it. Each time I was paid I took one from each ten shillings and hid it away. And strange as it may seem I was no shorter of funds than before. I noticed little difference as I managed to get along without it. I was tempted, as my hoard begun to grow, to spend it for some of the good things the merchants displayed, but I wisely refrained.
“A twelfth month after Muthoni had gone, she again returned and said to me, 'Girl, have you paid to yourself not less than one-tenth of all you have earned for the past year?'
“I answered proudly, 'Yes Madam, I have.'
“'That is good,' she answered, beaming upon me, 'And what have you done with it?'
“'I have given it to my friend Wairimu, the hairdresser, who told me that she was traveling to Zaire and in Kinshasa she would buy for me the rare jewels of the Congo. When she returns, we shall sell them at high prices, and divided the earnings.'
“'Every fool must learn,' she growled, 'But why trust the knowledge of a hair-dresser about jewels? Would you go to the bread-maker to inquire about the stars? No, by my tunic, you would go to the astrologer, if you had power to think. Your savings are gone, girl, you have jerked your wealth tree up by the roots. But plant another. Try again. And next time if you would have advice about jewels, go to the jewel merchants. If you would know the truth about sheep, go to the herdsman.
"'Advice is one thing that is freely given away, but watch that you take only what is worth having. He who takes advice about his savings from one who is inexperienced in such matters, shall pay with his savings for proving the falsity of their opinions.' Saying this, she went away.
“'And it was as she said, for the Zairean jewellers were scoundrels and sold to Wairimu worthless bits of glass that looked like gems. But as Muthoni had bid me, I again saved each tenth shilling, for now I had formed the habit and it was no longer difficult.
“Again, twelve months later, Muthoni came to our office and addressed me, 'What progress have you made since I last saw you?'
“'I have paid myself faithfully,' I replied, 'And my savings I have entrusted to Njoki, who has a second-hand clothes store, and each fourth month she does pay me the rental.'
“'That is good. And what do you do with the rental?'
“'I do have a great feast with honey and fine wine with spiced cake. Also I have bought myself a scarlet tunic. And some day I shall buy my little brother a bicycle upon which to ride.'
“To which Mumbi laughed, 'You do eat the children of your savings. Then how do you expect them to work for you? And how can they have children that will also work for you? First get yourself an army of golden slaves and then many a rich banquet may you enjoy without regret.' "So saying she again went away.
“Nor did I again see her for two years, and when she once more returned her face was full of deep lines and her eyes drooped, for she was becoming a very old woman. And she said to me, 'Shiko, have you yet achieved the wealth you dreamed of?'
“And I answered, 'Not yet all that I desire, but some I have and it earns more, and its earnings earn more.'
“'And do you still take the advice of hair dressers?'
"' About hairdressing, they give good advice,' I retorted.
“'Shiko,' she continued, 'You have learned your lessons well. You first learned to live upon less than you could earn. Next, you learned to seek advice from those who were competent enough through their own experiences to give it. And lastly, you have learned to make gold work for you.'
“'You have taught yourself hoew to acquire money, how to keep it and how to use it. Therefore, you are competent for a responsible position. I am becoming an old woman. My daughters think only of spending and give no thought to earning. My interests are great and I fear too much for me to look after. If you will go to Busia and look after my properties there, I shall make you my partner and you shall share in my estate.'
“So I went to Busia and took charge of her holdings, which were large, and because I was full of ambition and because I had mastered the three laws of successfully handling wealth, I was enabled to increase greatly the value of her properties. So I prospered much, and when the spirit of Muthoni departed for the sphere of darkness, I did share in her estate as she had arranged under the law.”

So spoke Shiko, and when she had finished her tale, one of her friends said, “You were indeed fortunate that Muthoni made of you an heir.”
“Fortunate only in that I had the desire to prosper before I first met her. For four years did I not prove my definiteness of purpose by keeping one-tenth of all I earned? Would you call a fisherman lucky who for years so studied the habits of the fish that with each changing wind he could cast his nets about them? Opportunity is a haughty goddess who wastes no time with those who are unprepared.”
“You had strong will power to keep on after you lost your first year’s savings. You are unusual in that way.” Spoke up another.
“Will power!," retorted Shiko, "What nonsense. Do you think will power gives a person the strength to lift a burden the camel cannot carry, or to draw a load the oxen cannot budge? Will- power is but the unflinching purpose to carry a task you set for yourself to fulfillment. If I set for myself a task, be it ever so trifling, I shall see it through. How else shall I have confidence in myself to do important things? Should I say to myself, for a hundred days as I walk across the bridge into the city, I will pick from the road a pebble and cast it not into the stream, I would do it. If on the seventh day I passed by without remembering, I would not say to myself, tomorrow I will cast two pebbles which will do as well. Instead, I would retrace my steps and cast the pebble. Nor on the twentieth day would I say to myself, Shiko, this is useless. What does it avail you to cast a pebble every day? Throw in a handful and be done with it. No, I would not say that nor do it. When I set a task for myself, I complete it. Therefore, I am careful not to start difficult and impractical tasks, because I love leisure.”

And then another friend spoke up and said, “If what you tell is true, and it does seem as you have said, reasonable, then being so simple, if all people did it, there would not be enough wealth to go around.”
“Wealth grows wherever people exert energy,” Shiko replied. "If a rich man builds himself a new palace, is the gold he pays out gone? No, the brick maker has part of it and the laborer has part of it, and the artist has part of it. And everyone who labors upon the house has part of it. Yet when the palace is completed, is it not worth all it cost? And is the ground upon which it stands not worth more because it is there? Wealth grows in magic ways. No man can prophesy the limit of it. Have not the Emirates built great cities in the desert with the wealth that comes from their international airlines?”

“What then do you advise us to do that we also may become rich?," asks still another of her friends. "The years have passed and we are no longer young women and we have nothing put by.”
“I advise that you take the wisdom of Muthoni and say to yourselves, a part of all I earn is mine to keep. Say it in the morning when you first arise. Say it at noon. Say it at night. Say it each hour of every day. Say it to yourself until the words stand out like letters of fire across the sky. Impress yourself with the idea. Fill yourself with the thought, and then take whatever portion seems wise. Let it be not less that one tenth and lay it by. Arrange your other expenditures to do this if necessary. But lay by that portion first. Soon you will realize what a rich feeling it is to own a treasure upon which you alone have claim. As it grows it will stimulate you. A new joy of life will thrill you. Greater efforts will come to you to earn more. For of your increased earnings, will not the same percentage be yours to keep?
“Then learn to make your treasure work for you. Make it your slave. Make its children and children’s children work for you. Insure an income for your future. Look at the aged and forget not that in the days to come you also will be numbered amongst them. Therefore invest your treasure with great caution that it be not lost. Usurious rates of return are deceitful sirens that sing but to lure the unwary upon the rocks of loss and remorse.
"Provide also that your family may not want should the God’s call you to their realms. For such protection it is always possible to make provision with small payments at regular intervals. Therefore the provident person delays not in expectation of a large sum becoming available for such a wise purpose.
“Counsel with wise people. Seek the advice of people whose daily work is handling money. Let them save you from such an error as I made in entrusting my money to the judgment of Wairimu, the hair dresser. A small return and a safe one is far more desirable than risk.
“Enjoy life while you are here. Do not over-strain or try to save too much. If one tenth of all you earn is as much as you can comfortably keep, be content to keep this portion. Live otherwise according to your income and let not yourself get niggardly and afraid to spend. Life is good and life is rich with things worthwhile to enjoy”
Her friends thanked her and went away. Some were silent because they had no imagination and could not understand. Some were sarcastic because they thought that one so rich should divide with old friends not so fortunate. But some had in their eyes a new light. They realized that Muthoni had come back each time to the Gill House office because she was watching a young lady work her way out of darkness into light. When that lady had found the light, a place awaited her. No one else could fill that place until she had for herself worked out her own understanding, until she was ready for opportunity.
These latter ones will in the following months frequently revisit Shiko, who will receive them gladly. She will counsel with them and give them freely of her wisdom as people of broad experience are always glad to do. She will assist them in so investing their savings that it would bring in a good interest with safety and would neither be lost nor entangled in investments that pay no dividends.
The turning point in these people’s lives will come that day when they realize the truth that had come from Muthoni to Shiko and from Shiko to them.


This adaptation by M.Kanegeni is courtesy of John Murphy,
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