|A fierce model wearing make-up|
Anyone who has gone through the arduous 8-4-4 Kenyan education system successfully/ or not, has had go for a student's attachment. If you were unlucky, you ended up in a work environment where you were surrounded by a couple of mean adults who treated you with contempt on the presumption that you were one of the young turks who thought they could use their university education to overhaul status quo. And others wondered why you had to painfully go through higher education while they only had to pay 'Nairobi Aviation' a heavy visit and they had a degree at hand ready to present it to a god father in a public office.
But if you were lucky, you were surrounded by people who cared that you achieve what everyone should achieve while on attachment- some hands on experience on the job.
I was unlucky!
In November 2014, i was one of the forty plus students who like a prophet waiting for instructions from God eagerly stood outside the School of Strategic and Development Studies in Maseno University as we received our letters and ten commandments of student attachment. Of course right now i cannot remember what we were told but i can fumble some take away points. The bottom line was- 'be involved in your workplace, learn as much as you can and obey your superiors.' I had heard tales of how people stroke luck in the employment world thanks to an attachment, so i was determined to give my best.
After a two-month long search, i landed an opportunity in the government of the county that does it's things with flair and was deployed in the Department of Labour and IT- my job description was as vague as the title of the department!
In a warm Sunday night in 2015, i sat in the living room with my father and hunched as he gave me instructions on- how to excel in any job environment? I should let you know that every time someone in our family is about to make a a step in life, small as it may be; they have to seat for a two hour minimum lecture given by dad. In January 2002 when my sister and i were being shipped to a boarding school we received one. In January 2006, at the onset of my Secondary education i received one. But perhaps the most memorable one was the one i received in September 2011, when beginning my undergraduate degree journey-Boys were mentioned, drugs were emphasized on and laziness was cursed.
The most common element in all the lectures being chunks of history. Every life lessons was pegged to a historic event: From the reasons why German soldiers failed in the Second World War, to the meticulous Entebbe raid by Israel Defense Forces (you can see where am going with this!) I have however grown to value these life lessons.
Armed with my lesson and an attitude i reported to the County offices. Upon arrival, with the fanciest accent i could pull, i inquired about the Human Resource office from the front desk. I was led to an office where there were two ladies and a young man. The man was glued to something interesting in his laptop because he didn't seem bothered by my presence. The ladies were laughing at the top of their voices and hi-fiving (they must have been talking about the worst dressed person in the office that day!)
These were going to be my colleagues for the next 3-4 months, i knew i was screwed! The terms of engagement were already spelt out for me- "follow the guidelines of all employees and do not expect us to pay you" One of the ladies who seemed like the boss repeated them any way and send the young man who clearly looked pissed off that he had been distracted from his binge to fetch the Labour and IT head of department.
A few minutes later another young man walked in with anxiety oozing from his face (may be he was told that his ex-girlfriend was in the HR office claiming that he had impregnated her!) Immediately he was told i would be on attachment in his department he sighed in relief and asked me to follow him so he could show me the office i would be working from.
The office had three desks, one was occupied by a lady who by the piercings on her face looked like she was a singer in a rock band. When she stood to shake my hand, she revealed her tight and short skirt and frighteningly high heeled shoes. (Dad had told me that i ought to dress decently, and what was in front of me that moment was his textbook definition of- indecent!) After working with her for a couple of days i learned her knowledge for IT was similar to her skirts, never mind the fact that she was second in command in the department's pecking order! The other desk was occupied by an old man who was dozing with his head swinging from side to side, he quickly jerked to attention on hearing our conversation. I would later learn of his IT-phobia (don't be so shocked! that office was for jacks of all trades', and he was handling accounts only) being a mother Theresa of sorts, i would become his go to IT person. The last desk was unoccupied and it would be my zone.
After working for a few days, i learned in dismay that either my job description was so vague or i didn't have one at all. Because i also became a jack of all trades. All my perceptions were gradually and crisply proved to be misconceptions, but i was prepared to make some lemonade.
Work environments can change a person, for better or worse!
I have always been a moderate person. In fact since i started growing my hair in 2007, i have never chemically straightened it, i have a total of four piercings (two on the left ear and the other two on the right one. I got the first pair when i was 18 and the other at 19) and for the longest time i never wore a string of make-up. The latter changed during my industrial attachment.
Let me tell you about it!
Even the pressure from fierce classmates wearing make-up in campus did not bulge me into using make-up in my first and second year in campus. By the way i should let you know my natural look did score me a boyfriend and a hot one for that matter. But little did i know that change imminently loomed in the time ahead.
In my work place i was surrounded by people of all kinds of demeanor and an inadvertent change begun to place. I begun to really admire the look on ladies who used make-up and at the end of my fourth week, i had already made up my mind that i would dive into the world of make-up.
On one Saturday, i put together some savings and off i went to town to pay one of the prolific make-up stalls a visit. As i sat in the vehicle my mind veered off to reveries of what i would look like with my make-up on! "Oh yeah! i would look like the fierce Tyra Banks", i thought.
The sun was darn hot in town and the streets were crowded but i was ready to go through whatever hell to make sure i went back home while buckled up in the make-up bandwagon. I went past the Meru bound matatus boarding point in Tea Room with my eyes set on a shop that was nearby. When one of the touts taunted me to board a matatu i jerked as if his request was mordacious, vigorously shook my head in an attempt to crisply communicate that i was not traveling and paced past him. When he grabbed my hand i should have pinched his nose and told him- "you should differentiate between a person hyped up to buy a good new look and one travelling to Meru" But we all know that those guys are not to be messed with, they have full potential of making your day a really bad one. So i politely requested him to release my hand (of course i didn't do that! I did what you normally do too!)
The shop i walked into was flocked by ladies some older than me and others younger. The crowd was a little consolation that i chose the right shop. Honestly nobody wants to buy anything in a deserted shop for obvious innate human reasons. There were fair skinned ladies with tonnes of make-up (given their line of work, i understood) behind the counters each attending to a client. Most of them seemed to get their make-up right except one who had either overdone or underdone it or the make had just refused her! Her eyebrows seemed like they were so angry and just wanted to run and attack her hairline, her eyes were just sad and looked like they were screaming "Haki yetu!" and the lips, they just suffocated under a thick layer of lipstick which had stained one of her tooth. This lady did not have any client, i prayed to God that she would not be the one to attend to me. It's true, God answers our prayers with a- no, yes or wait.
The answer to mine was no. So you will understand when i tell you that when she seemed to signal me to go to her, i felt a quick urge to run out of the shop (btw with the make-up on her face it was hard to interpret her facial expressions). When i hesitated she raised her hand to urge me on. I was in a quandary- how in world could a person who clearly did not get her make-up right help me shop for make-up? And as i strode towards her, i made another prayer "Jesus please don't allow her to make me look like her!"
"Nikusaitieche?" she asked
In that moment, i think i literally felt my legs pace towards the wide opened door- turns out it was all in my mind! I already had an attitude towards her, i didn't think she would serve me well. And here comes a lesson dear reader, when you want someone to help you don't undermine them! If you do they might punish you, and because you are an ass for despising them all the deities and the whole universe will help them serve their punishment.
After explaining what i needed she threw me some advice , and darn she was convincing. When i raised my doubts she explained that she had done the job for a long time and was a connoisseur of sorts in matching products with their designated skin types and colours. I paid for my goods, packed them in my bag and walked out.
As i walked out i had a nagging feeling that i had made a bad choice with my make-up and in trusting that lady and i could almost hear her intestines tremble at her loud laughter on the inside! I dismissed my instincts as mere paranoia and left for home ready to flaunt my new look at the office.
That Monday, i doned up purple peep toe wedges and a little black dress. My eyebrows were smoked with black eye shadow and my lips were purple. When i stepped out of the house i did not feel as confident as i wanted to, even my reflection spoke volumes but didn't speak of Tyra. I encouraged myself that the bad feeling was just cold feet on my first day with make-up on. On arrival to work i started to receive weird gazes. Even from the gatekeeper, who by the way always said hi to me, but that day he hesitated as if he did not quite recognize me in my new look. Now here is lesson number two, if something inside you tells you that your make-up is wrong, listen to it: even if the cost is getting to work late!
The reflection i saw in the washrooms at work was bad, i mean not even the recycled motivational speech that i had given myself earlier that morning could convince me otherwise. So there i was, with a face that looked like or worse than the one of the lady who sold me the make-up and i could not wash my face! I could see her laughing behind my reflection- "haha...you got what you deserved you clueless person!" I was scared to go to the washrooms that day, i didn't want to see me in the mirror looking like a scarecrow! That was definitely the hardest day throughout my three month attachment, but it marked the beginning of make-up in my life. I was off to a rocky start but am much wiser and aware when using make-up.
I have become so good that nowadays i go to bed with onion squeezing on my eyebrows, (i have my father's eyebrows, the kind that you have to beg for them to grow) the tears and discomfort that accompany this procedure is just a small price to pay for beauty! I just googled- how to increase the volume of my eyebrows? and followed the instructions! I have done this for a couple of weeks now and i think it's working. My sister thinks it's only in my head! i think she's just jealous. Honestly the onions better work coz am not ready to spend more money on the little guys!!
Soon i will share with you before and after photos, then you can tell me whether it's working.