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.
I have lost count of the times I have tapped the steering wheel. My phone buzzes. For a second I weigh whether to pick it or not. What the heck, I can’t think straight when it comes to her.
“Kevin, where are you? I really need to get out of here,” goes Adele’s frail voice.
“I’ll be there in a few. Just hold on.”
“Okay. Hurry up.”
The words Ali Pita was here may not be visible. However, they are engraved on your body from your toe to brim. They do not know that I was the first fella to do a practicum here or that my stay was prolonged. Would you tell them? Would you tell them that they will never hit the bottom reed like I did?
Your new home smells of opulence miles away. I can feel rich man’s affluence flow deep in my blood as the guard opens the massive gate.
The sound of waves breaking on the beach, the rustling of palm leaves and crickets merge harmoniously into some sort of wild symphony. She is standing next to you, leaning on the wooden balcony railing. A light on the neighbor’s porch gives the complete contour of her body in silhouette.
The bedside clock reads 12:23 AM. You are at her place. Stark naked. Allowing the salty sea breeze to cool off your body after a steamy session.