I really don’t envy this Matiang’i generation, this poor generation doesn’t understand what it meant to wait 3 months for your results. Back in the day, we’d finish our exams in mid-November and wait until the end of February to get our results. The joy was not in the waiting but in the privilege, we enjoyed from our parents. We were able to manipulate them of so much in those three months in the name of exams and how stressful they were but like all good things, our joy was short-lived every time ‘our Magoha announced the results and that is when the rubber met the road.
As a young boy from Sugoi village, my parents were mere chicken farmers who had struggled to put me through school. This meant that after school I had no time to waste because I had to join the family bandwagon and fend for myself and my siblings.
By the time I had finished my exams, I had already applied for a job as a cashier at Uchumi supermarket in Eldoret and luckily, they hired me, and I started working in December of the same year.
Working in Uchumi was like a small heaven right here on earth, I was a respectable member of society and every time someone saw me carry that white and red branded paper bag, they always accorded me the respect of a village elder this was because Uchumi supermarket was famous around the country and at the time employed more youth than most companies in the country. It created a life for thousands of Kenyans, young and old alike suppliers and employees. It was truly a sight to behold and an institution we all reverently respected.
On Feb 28th, 2001 I reported to my work station just like any other day ready to serve my employer, however, would I have known that the events of this day would change my life, I would have worn my favorite uniform and combed my hair to look a little more attractive. At around noon, my favorite customer walks in.
Rachael was this beautiful light-skinned beauty who always insisted on queuing at my station regardless of all the empty stations in the supermarket. After diligently serving her and processing her purchase of one mandazi which she religiously bought every day, I put up the sign TILL CLOSED. I walked her out and went to the back of the supermarket where we stood for a few minutes every day to go and just discuss the weather as she meticulously drew the African map for me on the sandy floor. I had a plan; I was going to make my move and tell her how I felt about her. This was the day I was going to define the relationship.
‘’Rachael its been two months but you have constantly been on mind and you make me smile every time you walk past my station’’ that was going to be my pickup line to start us off on the conversation.
Unfortunately, before I could even start off, I had people calling for me in the store. I was not sure whether it was my boss who was calling for me or what was going on. My mind was racing as I prepared my apology speech for absconding my desk, I was ready to take up an extra shift to compensate and prove my loyalty and desire to keep working here. Before I could summarize the conclusion, I had cameras in my face with people asking how I did it and what the secret was, but I wasn’t sure what they were talking about. The only comfort I got from all the cameras and the questions was the face of my smiling boss. His simile gave me reassurance that I had not lost my job and that all was going to be well but above all the grip from Rachael’s hands kept me grounded.
It was my results; I had passed my exams my dreams were at that moment being validated and it was then that I learned that it is possible for a young man from Sugoi could make it to the top of Kenya. The crowd was growing by the minute and I could hear women ululating in the joy that their son had done them proud. I was the pride and joy of Sugoi. After all the song and dance, my boss told me that if I agreed to work there for three more months, Uchumi would sponsor my aviation fees as part of their scholarship program.
Three years later I am aboard Boeing 653 on my way from Amsterdam flying the beautiful Kenyan bird that was the Pride of Africa. During my time at Kenya Airways, it was Sugoi against the world and I was sure that nothing could stop me and my dreams. At KQ I rose the ranks and I was on my way to becoming a Captain. I grew in leaps and bounds and had started to build my Sugoi home so that the son of a chicken farmer could own and live in a house like that of the rich men in Nairobi.
Nobody can stop reggae, and no one could stop me! It was me against the world. This was my mantra until some corrupt individuals decided to enrich themselves through Kenya Airways until the airline could not afford to sustain us and it ended up retrenching us.
The retrenchment drove me into a two-year depression because I had multiple loans, a lifestyle I could not afford, a family and above all, status and a reputation to maintain. Looking back through the events of my life, I am disappointed at the rot corruption has caused. I am angered by what the country has become. As a country, we are extremely divided and corrupt individuals take advantage of this to enrich themselves and widen the divide between us. I cannot discuss this without tearing up as I recall my first employer Uchumi and how it impacted my life, it educated me and had employed thousands across the country. Imagining that it all crumbled down because of a few corrupt individuals.
Thinking about this makes me wonder what I can do to change this. As I thought through this, I came across the recommendations from the BBI that states that; a parastatal bill should be drafted to ensure alignment of activity to ensure the corruption loopholes are permanently sealed. I may not be pro-government, but based on my experience, I pledge my support to the BBI if not for anything else for the sake of the unity of the country so that we can push out all the corrupt leaders and bring back the Kenyan glory. If you have not directly been affected by the corruption at parastatals, you have indirectly been affected.
If you are lost at what parastatals are in question, some are Kenya Meat Commission, Uchumi, Kenya Re, Kenya Airways and this is just but a few of the ones that have suffered as a result of corruption. For the first time since independence, we have the BBI which aims to unite us and it’s a document by us and for us. Let’s unite for respect and change. Speaking of unity, let me head home to join Rachel for dinner. If you are asking, yes, it’s my Rachael from Sugoi, I kept my promise just like I will when I say that using the BBI I will unite for change and respect.