It’s a Thursday evening, you are heading back to Nairobi with your main chick after spending two nights in Nakuru. She is unusually quiet. You ask what’s wrong. Nothing, she says yet you can see hot fumes billowing from her nose as she scrolls through her Instagram.
Growing up I was taught education is key to a bright future. However, for as long as I remember, I was always among the bottom five in class. The only thing I was good at is English because of my love for novels I presume.
My poor performance wasn’t due to lack of hard work. I would study till late in the night, take remedial classes and wake up early but still, my results never changed. Teachers openly criticized my performance in front of the whole class just for a good laugh and that really got to me. The worst part is it got into my head and made me believe I was indeed stupid.
I am the first born in a family of six. I scored a C plain in my KCSE back in 2010. I moved in with a rich relative who promised to get me a job. Since their house help ran away, they asked me to step into her shoes as they sort out it out.
These relatives were very wealthy but constantly quarreling. They would go out most nights leaving me all alone to take care of twins who were only a few months old, a four-year-old and six-years-old kid. They would come back home in the morning drunk and stinking. They would spend the entire day sleeping and puking all over.
It breaks my heart every time I look at the smiles on the faces of family, friends, and students who score straight A’s. I wish they could fast-forward their lives so they can see the realities ahead of them. I grew up in a remote village, managed to score a straight A and top my district becoming the first person in my family to go to the university.
One of your readers asked why there aren’t any success stories with regards to university education. Well, here is mine. I will be turning 26 this year and I am a single mother to a lovely baby boy. I met his father back in campus and got pregnant with him. I had to defer my studies in third year, first semester. When I resumed my studies 6 months later it was hell. Seeking help from my final year project lecturer was like trying to get blood from a house fly.
This is where my story begins. I got my pupillage in a law firm in Nairobi CBD. My salary was five thousand per month for six months. 5,000 bob to cater for transport and food. The only support I got from my parents was my rent being paid. To say that it was hard would be an understatement. I went into depression. Trying to ask my friends for help was not a choice, they were going through the same thing. We would joke that the guy selling us mutura was making more than us.
Yesterday, I met two old friends. One is a lawyer and the other an engineer. We all graduated the same year. Luckily, they were immediately hired by reputable companies based in Nairobi. They wore fancy suits, had expensive phones and from Facebook images, they seemed to be doing very well. Naturally, I assumed they were swimming in money.
Growing up, you heard so much about this magical city characterized by beautiful streets, tall buildings, and bright lights. A place whose paths were so dangerous that someone could steal money stashed in your socks without taking off your shoes. You were a child growing up in a small town where everyone knew everyone. Nairobi was this hub so far away. Anyone who went to there would return with lots of gifts and amazing tales. Apart from wanting to become a pilot when you grew up, your wildest dream was visiting Nairobi.
A few months ago, I met a top & highly-experienced African media personality I used to look up to. He said to me.
“Mark, your writing is pathetic, unprofessional & pedestrian.”
He went ahead to rubbish my art & poke holes into everything around the blog. Being the kind of person who puts all his heart into everything he does, I was discouraged and terribly hurt.
Whenever you log on Facebook you see lots of inspirational posts. Self-proclaimed millionaires who post endless selfies dining at fancy restaurants or flying first class and a supposedly motivational quote. Religious fellas who post about every new shiny gadget they acquire plus a scripture claiming to be giving testimony about the goodness of their lord. And altruistic people who genuinely want to uplift and empower lives.