It was on 30th March 2018. I was lying on my bed after a long day of hard work. Things were getting out of hand now. It was now four months since I moved out of an abusive marriage. It was a difficult decision to make, considering that I had three children with me to raise. I am a product of an abusive marriage, and I couldn’t wait to die prematurely as my mother did. My siblings and I went through hell in our upbringing, so, I couldn’t wait to see my lovely little ones being raised in such an environment. I had no other source of income except to be a mama fua.
Being a form four leaver, there were few opportunities for me to bring food to the table. I had three children with me: a 7-year-old, a 4-year-old, and a 1-year-old. These are my precious jewels, and I will never trade them for anything. Having been left with nothing to start my new life, I had rented a single room on the outskirts of the town. At least, the rent was affordable, and I could go back to shape with time.
Unfortunately, things were no better. I was the father and the mother of my children. All the bills were on me. I soaked my bedsheets with tears as I watched my three children around me. They firmly believed that I was their shield yet I was too feeble, life had turned out against us! My dream as a young woman was to bring up my children in a very happy family. Moving out of a marriage was not a choice but the only option.
Lying on my bed, I was very tired. I had successfully gotten a mama fua job in one of the neighboring flats. On this particular day, I had done laundry for three families. I was being paid Ksh. 500 by each family and that was very good cash for a day. At least, I was able to work thrice a week since there were several families that needed my services. With that, I had been able to meet the basic needs of my children for the last four months. The only major problem was the intensifying pain in my back. By now, things were getting out of hand. My back was breaking and also, and I had developed a chronic cold that had resisted all conventional medicines. The new life was now becoming a threat to my health.
At times, I would think of going back to my broken marriage; however, something strongly told me to burn that bridge. On this particular day, I resolved to quit this job. It was now a holiday and I had my children with me in my single room. It would have been difficult to carry the three with me to the job. I had to think of something else. This time, the job should accommodate my children. Being a sole breadwinner, I had learned the art of saving. Every 4500/- a week I would save 1500/-. The rest could solve all the other bills. Therefore, in a month, I could save Ksh.6000, a total of Ksh.24000 for the four months.
I had to think smart or end up using up my savings. My biggest challenge was that I had no additional skills besides a computer course that I had learned halfway after the completion of my high school level. This is the time I realized that hand-on skills are very crucial. If I had learned basic hairdressing, I could put up a small salon or become a mobile hairdresser and not mama fua. If I had done some tailoring, I could buy a sewing machine and start sewing clothes and with time, I would become a celebrated fashion designer and not mama fua.
What next? My little ones knew that their mom had everything they ever needed. I had to be a that strong woman for my children. I had to prove to the world that there was something good that can come out of me! What about the computer course that I had learned halfway? At least, I had learned the basics such as Ms. Word, Ms. PowerPoint, and Ms. Excel. Were there opportunities for me? I had heard of online jobs such as data entry, copywriting, and transcription. I had a few friends working online but the entire thing sounded mysterious. The most interesting part was the ghost-like client who would pay you for the completed tasks. I was not ready to risk my energies with investments that would only drain my energy.
As they say, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” I had given up on mama fua jobs. In one of the families I had offered mama fua services, they were working online. I would always find them on their laptops. They were very busy and always glued to their machines. They seemed to have a very nice lifestyle. They had their two children in very good schools and if the only source of income was through research writing, then, it earned them good cash.
I thought deeply about this. Unfortunately, I had a weak point since my level of education limited me. I am not a tech guru as well. However, I had to be smart for my children. I decided to take a week to research this.
…two weeks later…
Now, the two weeks were over. I had done enough research on all online jobs that work. Amongst all, I came to realize that online writing was the best considering that I needed a steady income with frequent high payouts. The question was…”How will I get into this industry? Who will guide me? I don’t have the skills, not to mention a computer and internet connection.” Luckily, I had a super strong driving force to cross every ocean for my precious three. I had to prove to them that mommy was very resourceful. I knew there must be a way out.
Time was running out! I was also spending my savings little by little. Remember, it was now December 2018. Remember, the holidays were on and I could hardly start something at that time. No one was available to help me. Nonetheless, I had decided on what to do. I would use cyber for online jobs. Also, I had decided on the company to guide me in the writing industry. I requested the cyber guy to allow me to use the cyber every day for a few hours for two months starting January at Ksh. 3,000. Also, my trainer had accepted to train me for about a month on online writing considering that my level of education was quite low. However, after listening to my story, she advised that I should take one course first so that I could start earning. Later, I could continue with the other course. To be safe, I paid for the training that December holiday and waited for the January intake.
The January intake is here; I am now short of resources since my two boys need some school fees. The rent was paid, and I had a little cash left to sustain us for the next few weeks only for food. I had to visit my son’s school to request them to bear with me till mid-February. They were generous enough to accept my plea. The ball was now on my side to give writing every form of commitment it deserved. I would visit the cyber from 1:00 PM to 4:30 PM. I would leave my daughter with my good neighbor for a few hours a day. I went through the mentorship program for the first week, and I was moving on very well. My trainer was very impressed. By the end of the second week, I was able to complete the first course. She immediately connected me to the first client.
I was to continue with the training for the second course later.I was glad to meet with a very understanding client. He was willing to work with me so long as I delivered quality work. He was very impressed by my first task, including timely delivery. He was willing to offer up to five orders a day, but I was only able to handle one per day due to my strained resources. I wished I could get a laptop just for a week and I could buy a desktop. For the first week, I received my first pay of Ksh. 3,000. I was so happy — just 3 hours a day for six days.
It was now mid-month, and I needed to save a lot to meet all upcoming bills. Now that my client was ready to offer me jobs for a long-term engagement, I had to think of a way to serve him best and complete more tasks a day. I had only one option. I had seen the cyber guy with an extra laptop. I had always thought of requesting him to lend me for some time but the fear of being so nagging filled me. I still felt I had to do it; I had to be positive and try everything that would work. I gave it a try. The laptop belongs to his friend, and he would pick it up any time he was in town. However, he requested his friend to allow me to use it for some time.
Now, cyber visits stopped. After all, I had a laptop to work with. I prayed every day that the owner would take more weeks before coming for it. I was now able to readjust my working schedule. I had to talk to my children to make them understand that I am working at night for their welfare. I was able to make Ksh. 12,000 for the second week. By the fourth week, I had mastered the art of writing. I was now able to make at least Ksh. 15,000 a week. The client had increased the payment per task. I managed now to buy a mini laptop, pay school fees and pay all other bills without straining.
I now decided to continue with the training of the other course as I worked. Now, I had mastered the art of writing, so I was able to complete the training within a week. I could now do more jobs since it was in the high season. She also taught me about cold pitching. As time flew by, I learned how to get clients on my own. By June, I had already hired several writers to work with me.
I am no longer in a single room, and my children are in very good schools. I have now ten writers for a long-term engagement. I am not only having local clients but several international clients who pay very well. I am so happy to have encountered this form of business.
My regards to Luminous Writers for holding my hand and mentoring me until I had the relevant skills for the writing industry. I am glad to acknowledge that writing is an excellent investment, so long as you have the right skills.