Abok Isaac Kiche talks about his journey into writing and his upcoming book.
He works as a senior relationship officer at a bank but Abok Isaac Kiche has a side engagement that adds to his income.
Kiche is a motivational author and speaker.
He does not consider writing as a side hustle but since launching his first book on May 1, 2015, he has sold 2000 copies, making $6,000.
He is a frequent speaker in over 30 schools across the country where he charges between $50 and $100 for a two-hour session. Since he started in 2013, he has made about $5, 000 from motivational talks.
The book titled, ‘Climbing the Mountain of Success, retails at just $3. It was published by Benchmark Education Publishers in his third year of study at Maseno University.
“The mountain represents the challenges we face, climbing-are the steps we take to walk over these challenges, ” Kiche explains.
The book highlights hindrances to academic excellence. Using real-life examples interspersed with relevant quotes, he compellingly sets out valuable tips on how students can easily leap over hurdles in their academic journey.
At the bank, he majors in microfinance and individual loans. As part of the job, he guides groups and individuals looking for financial support to start businesses and those applying for loans to upgrade their businesses.
“This is part of the motivation process. I am passionate about transforming my society to become great by utilizing its full potential. I always encourage people to change their attitude and focus on the bigger picture,” says Kiche.
When he is not working, he visits schools and universities to market his work.
“There is a ready market for motivational books especially in secondary schools and universities. These are groups of people who are undergoing their academic stage which is characterized by ups and downs hence their spirits must be awakened. Many are sleeping giants who should be awakened and directed towards excellence,” says Kiche.
Back at Maseno University, Kiche was the Director of Academics in the Student Organization of Maseno University (SOMU).
Besides earning him fame and recognition, authoring the book gave him an edge in campus politics.
“We told freshmen that traditionally the Director for Academics had to be a writer. This was positive propaganda,” says Kiche.
It is rare for students taking science and mathematics related courses to embrace the literary world.
Kiche went against the grain. Despite taking Bachelor of Science in Applied Statistics-an arguably demanding course, he successfully penned the book.
As a young boy in grade eight obsessed with the Bible, the Yala primary school alumnus had no idea that he was developing his writing skills.
“I would read the book of Proverbs so many times and try to interpret it,” says Kiche.
He can now bask in this early taste of success, but his upward trajectory has not been smooth sailing. The book is reminiscent of his early life.
The last born in a family of 6, Kiche describes his background as average. His parents could raise school fees, but he would walk for three kilometers to school.
Since he was a chronic latecomer, his teachers would cane him every morning. Unlike some of his classmates, he did not drop out.
“Irrespective of the challenges we face, our focus and determination propel us to the top. The challenges I passed through while growing up were my key motivation (to write the book) plus my desire and passion to motivate my generation to focus on their greatness irrespective of the mountains (challenges) they face, ” says Kiche.
He went to Kabianga high school in Kericho County where he nurtured his oratory skills. The school exposed him to dozens of leadership forums. He would represent the school in public speaking competitions at the regional and national level.
He remembers rubbing shoulders with the then cabinet secretary for Education, the late Mutula Kilonzo who presented him with an award during the 2011 national public speaking competition. Kiche had come 5th in the competition where he had given a talk on ‘The Kenya We Want.’
The achievement would earn him a scholarship at Mind Grow Institute of Leadership in Nairobi. As soon as he finished high school, he enrolled at the institution where he acquired leadership and guidance and counseling skills.
In his gap year, he served as an untrained teacher at Yala high school. His interaction with students and the challenges he had experienced while schooling prompted him to put pen on paper.
“I got a better understanding of the psychology that drives a student, particularly at high school level. All that knowledge and experience inspired me to write the book,” says Kiche.
He began writing in September 2013 on joining Maseno as a freshman. However, when he told the dean of his school about it, he advised him to put his plans on hold as he needed to prioritize his studies.
“I saw that as a mountain!” Kiche quips.
His desire to write was unwavering, much to the disappointment of his girlfriend. Furious because he had devoted more of his time to writing than the relationship, she broke up with him.
One and a half years later, the dean would give a moving speech at the book’s launch and the estranged girlfriend would try making a comeback.
“She called me several times…” Kiche says wryly.
Kiche looks forward to serving in a political position. He has leaped into writing and he isn’t turning back. He is currently working on his second book, ‘ On the Road to Success.’
” I have completed five out of nine chapters to be launched by the end of this year (2019). The book focuses on what one needs to lay on their path to success,” says Kiche.
For now, he takes his dreams seriously as he gets most of his writing ideas in his sleep before keying them in his computer.
“Never give up-you have the ability, never give up-you have the potential, never give up,” Kiche says with finality, his voice laden with conviction.