The final year in university is usually an interesting one. Good thing or bad thing is – it only come once. It is the year when it dawns to most comrades that they seriously need to make a life for themselves – a great job, good money and less hustle. But in a country where unemployment is at forty percent, it is imminent that some comrades end up hustling for quite some time before God visits them.
Truth is even before graduation some comrades might have already secured themselves a source of income. They are normally the envy of others who are still stuck in the hell of sending application letters. Then there are others do not have any job but have some god father somewhere in a government office paving a way for them.
and the rest have themselves and belief that they would get jobs – without positive prospects or a godfather, but not without slaying a giant or two.
This piece is dedicated to all the ex-comrades who have turned hustlers. Those that the world of employment has beaten them senseless. Yes!
As I write this piece Walker a good friend of mine is a few months shy of his first anniversary as a graduate. Even before Walker graduated, some daddy’s friend had told daddy to bring his son’s certificate so he could get him a job; so father and son rest assured and waited for godfather to come through.
Things went South and all the strings daddy dear was pulling snapped. Every hope has been a dead end. To be precise: Five regret letters, one failed interview and a very screwed aptitude test down the line; Walker is still a statistic in the forty percent unemployed young Kenyans.
And his life has become a quandary of sorts.
See, lately ‘weird’ stuff have been happening; like being scheduled to partake in the house chores- a clear indication his family might be losing patience of his situation. Some family members have advanced to giving him looks that blatantly ask- ‘what are you contributing to in this house?’ Just the other day he heard his small sister sneer from the kitchen, “watu wengine ni kukula tu, hakuna kitu wanafanya.” (All you do is just eating without making any contribution). Words is the easiest weapon to destroy a man with, Walker has come to understand.
Walker does not have a hot hand for Sport Pesa bets. And Njoki Chege’s recent rant over sport betting fanatics has left him more devastated than healed. That lady is just a dedicated sadist, he believes.
She is a problem, but the least one. His priority right now is to restore his ‘dignity’. Income or no income, he has to. Even if that means creating an illusion.
Walker is not the only person who ‘life out here’ has screwed. There is Tee, also my good friend. Tee has always gone for the big things in life. You know when we were oriented as freshmen in campus, the vice chancellor described us as the – crème de la crème of the society. Tee did not get the memo that, that was just a speech. And speeches are meant to have sweet lies.
He let the crème de la crème ideology get into his head. That’s why he rented a house in Donholm and invited a friend with whom they would share the rental and upkeep costs. Each would give 5,000 shillings monthly to cater for the rent. From his school of thought this was easier than ABC…
That time of the month when the landlord pry’s around knocking on the doors of tenants’ who have not paid up the rent came. They ran out of lies and it all became clear: That accruing enough money from hustle, to find enough for sustenance was a lot harder than he had anticipated. Njoro their landlord had already threatened to lock down the house and bring in the local administration to deal with them.
So on one fateful night faced with the stark reality of being humiliated, they decided to disappear from the house. Yes! Disappear. When everyone was sound asleep each packed their few important belongings and ran as fast and far as from Donholm as they could. I mean what do you expect from a man who was best friends with some local police officers and the chief? That was a dangerous man to have for a landlord to a rent defaulter.
And that is how my friend Tee, started a new life in Mombasa.
And then there is me. Me- Elizabeth.
Of the three of us I was the most disillusioned.
I believed I was special, shock on me! Everyone out here is special- everybody believes they have something extraordinary to bring on the world table.
So being an adult in my father’s house I have had to re-arrange my priorities. Apart from growing myself as a writer I have to seriously up my game in preparing ugali. (Yes you heard me right!). I have seen the way people in the house including my parents savour my ugali – distracting them from the fact that I don’t contribute to the family’s upkeep. You think am being paranoid? Look…!
The other day I was in my bedroom as usual, busy typing my stories from my laptop. Then my dad came by and stood at the door and in a voice that reeked of suspicion he asked, “What are these things you do on your laptop?” I almost went defensive,
“Oh no! Am not addicted to pornography”
then I realized it would not add me any points. So I began to explain…
“You remember I told you am a creative writer, well I blog”
The expression on his face had only one question – “How does it make you money?”
I did not wait for the question, so I went ahead to give an answer.
I licked my lips, scratched my head then began to explain,
“there is this thing called traffic…so corporates'…”
Yes you guessed right! He did not stay for the whole explanation, he instead left me choosing words carefully to sound economically correct and proceeded to do more valuable things like having his four o’clock porridge.
I think he wants me to write a blog post and finish my explanation! (hahaha – this should stay between you and me.)
Men! Out here is really cold. It is really hard to find that person who will believe in your skill set and give you an opportunity to make them money and get yourself a living. But there are other people, who seem hell-bent to make a hard journey even harder.
The ex-comrades who already have jobs.
These guys cannot stop posting photos of themselves at work and captioning them with hashtags – “Work hard play harder”, “#born to win” “#work tings” (BTW why can’t you just write ‘things’? what does plucking the ‘h’ do for your status?). Thanx to their decisions I have inadvertently become a serial Facebook liar.
When these jobo comrades spot you in town, with a hanging face from a failed interview or carrying a load of envelopes with job application letters, they insist to say hi. Even though they can clearly see you are dodging them (for obvious reasons), they make sure to corner you, you exchange uncomfortable grins as they super annoyingly scan you head to toe; hastily trying to gauge how good you are doing.
And as if that is not torture enough, they deliver the infamous question
“Unawork wapi siku hizi?”
Then you are forced to either be courageous enough to say you are still job hunting or lie to dress your joblessness with witty words like am ‘self-employed and things are just picking up’. Given the incessant need of human beings to uphold their ego, you choose the latter. The devil bursts out in laughter while the jobo comrade walks away feeling accomplished.
But not to worry ex-comrade you and I are ‘#team ngori’ (sheng for bad-ass team), ‘God’s got us, and we gonn’ be alright!
Now if you don’t mind excuse me, because I need to google – how to perfect, perfect ugali?