By Gloria Mwaniga
I get it, really. The whole unemployment and underemployment thing going on in the world at large and Kenya in particular.
And yeah, every other business leader saying that the creatives are taking over the world. That risk taking is the new key to making it and dropping out of Harvard or whatever Ivy League University to start up your own venture could land you in the Forbes list of the richest men in the world, trust them!
But wait a minute, you, just like Jesus, find yourself born to not-so-rich earthly parents.
If this happens in some first or second world country, then you might be lucky enough to get some food stumps and even an allowance from the government, plus you could get yourself into a shelter for the homeless.
But if you land in the deep green jungle from whence simba of Lion King originated, then you will find out that Hakuna matata (matara) is but just a phrase and that everyday, kuna matata.
Your parents (bless them) will probably work their heads off at some low paying government jobs or biashara to pay your way into a relatively expensive nursery and primary school. Amidst the bowlfuls of uji and missing teeth, you will learn that
mikono yangu midogo we, haiwezi kufanya kazi,
lakini kipenzi mama we, nitakuwa mkubwa, nitakusaidia we na wewe utapumzika (my little hands cannot work now, but dear mummy, I wil grow big, I will help you as you rest ).
And so, like every sane Kenyan, a hope will start budding in your heart. You will start looking at the future as being bright and you will read all the Malkiat Sign and Top Flyer Text books you can find. Your school motto will probably reinforce the futuristic hope by reading something like….’aim high now, for a future foundation’ or
‘ the roots of hardwork are bitter but the fruits are sweet.’
If you are a serious student, then You will get saved around about the time you sit your KCPE when some random preacher comes to your school for a challenge weekend and promises favour on all God’s children. After the exams, you will spend the next few miserable months waiting for the minister of Education to announce the results.
Your parents, will probably be huddled together with you on there sofa, watching the news bylines and hoping that your ka-name or your ka-schools’ name will pop up.
High school will come, like an untimely frost in mid-summer (Shakespeare) and you will spend another four years of your life in an institution of academic excellence. Running so as to save academic time and eating home-made foods at the academic square during visiting.
This, you will do whilst waiting for letters from the boys you met at an outing and frequently visiting the staffroom to be ‘mentored’ by the new hot TP(teacher on practice) from KU (woe unto you if its mwalimu Andrew.)
By this time, it will have gotten clearer. The fact that you really are ‘weak’ in physics and math and hence, form three is welcome as you will drop all those boring subjects and pick histo CRE and Bio. Your engineering dreams are promptly discarded as you make up your mind to become an actress like Rita Dominic and Ramsey Noah (thanks to the Naija movies on TV 😉 or a Musician like P-Square (si they are famous mpaka they have sang with Rick Ross ) or our very own Camp Mulla_ #BET.
And so when you get the success cards from your rela’s telling you to succeed successfully and to pass with flying colors, all you which for is that KCSE you will manage a B steady of 65 marks so that you can become a Reg because your parents cannot afford to pay Para.
And therefore, when a letter from HELB comes, and you have been called to study BA Anthropology or Education, you march off to the institution of higher learning with two agendas;
To have a degree and to have some fun because finally, there is freedom from the parents.
In your naïve demeanor, you do not know that in most Kenyan Campuses, fun is congruent to lots of money, and sex and bottles of tusker and nightclubs. Before you know it, you are queen of the night, and having more sex than you would care to admit (sometimes you wonder what happened to you staying celibate till you say I do ). Then you meet all this graduates who were in your ‘campo” a couple of years back and yet they are still tarmacking with their degrees.
Or who are stuck in boring and very low paying jobs like sales and marketing or customer service in banks; as they await their lucky break.
So you conclude that only a fool doesn’t learn from the experience of others. And you begin to panga (plan) your future right away, however you can. Even if it means pausing naked on face book for a bunch of old men who do not even know how to log on to face book and who look up the word twitter in the oxford dictionary and find…chirping of birds.