My Journey! “Should I buy you airtime to make calls and chat your girlfriends, or should I save up for your school fees?” this was my dad’s feedback back in 2015 when I asked for cash to buy airtime. It ran deep into the edges of the ventricles, almost tearing them into tatters. It is hard to understand what we all go through. Life is always trying to toss us like a merry go round so hard that energy fails.
However, it matters with how one decides to rise and bring changes in their world. I was born slightly before the millennium kids; just two decades ago, and the journey was not all smooth. My dad has been the sole provider for years where he ventured in the Juakali industries—facing ruthless and rude employers who would rarely pay enough pennies to bring food on the table. As well, his salary was hardly enough to pay fees in the highly recognized schools.
My mom was a committed farmer whose morale got suppressed by the lousy produce caused by the severe cold conditions retarding crops in the Mount Kenya regions. Despite the challenges, they toiled hard to make ends meet.My late grandmother lived with us for many years. Unfortunately, she succumbed to stroke in 2018.
During her final years on earth, life was not easy for us. It meant sacrifice and hard work to our parents. Being a family of six, it was a real struggle. Making only 500 shillings a day, and at most 1000 would not still be enough for food, clothing, electricity bills and also hospital bills for granny.
Every time one asked her the number of prescribed drugs that she had been consuming, she would compare it to a whole packaged sack. Her comparison just describes the hospital bill levels incurred to cater for both stroke, her meals, and also unpredictable extreme hypertension.
I remember when in primary school, even before the headteacher announced the pupils with pending fee balances, I was already out. Sometimes I had to make promises on behalf of our parents about fee payment dates even if there was no hope of paying any sooner. Slightly expensive clothes were bought mostly during special events such as Christmas. During other months of the year, mitumba clothes (second-hand ones) would push us for quite a long time.
As a firstborn, I had to persevere when most favours were not granted to give a chance to the younger ones to enjoy some of the opportunities. Back in 2015, when in form three, life got robust when I asked for cash to buy airtime for calls, and dad’s feedback blew hard. Without further ado, I looked for manual jobs in a building and construction site, receiving 400 a day. Due to the cumbersome nature of tasks, I consumed a hundred bob for snacks and lunch during breaks.
Unfortunately, being a small boy, I was out of energy and I quit in less than a week. After high school, I joined a computer college where I trained on the computer packages. Due to commitment and hard work, I became a tutor and a cyber assistant receiving 200 shillings a day. I continued working until I joined the campus. University was the best place for everyone, but hell when broke. Everyone always yearned to live a good life, buy expensive clothes and shoes.
While joining campus, I used savings to buy a briefcase and clothes. The cash was not enough so some relatives offered some old clothes but at least in good shape to increase the substitutes. Throughout the first year, it was challenging since I had no source of income but depended solely on dad. I found it depressing for him to borrow money for college survival that I decided to research on various online ventures.
Unfortunately, most of them were not rewarding. I lost real money, trying to reach opportunities to gain good money. One of the days before leaving for the holidays, I visited an excellent writer whom I had learnt that she made reasonable cash. She was able to pay fees, bills, and also spared some for entertainment.
Being shy and naive, I was not confident to ask her more about the industry, but I was allowed to access her conversations with a client. Task after task, update after update, I felt so motivated and psyched up as if I was the one receiving the jobs. Other than the tasks given, MPESA, PayPal, and bank writing transactions described her royal living. I was able to take her contacts. Within the second semester, I made some savings to work on internet connections when I got home.
On the onsets of the long holidays, I got connected to other writers who promised to offer clients other than training. There came a question that ran in mind, “How would one give a person a car without skills to drive along?” Fortunately, dad is a very active Facebook user, so he got informed that there was a site called Luminous Writers Training Hub. The site aimed at building writing skills to fit the competitive market.
No sooner had I installed the wireless network with savings than dad borrowed some cash to pay for the training. He paid half for the first package containing academic and article writing. After the two weeks, I had completed the article writing course, but due to the Covid 19 epidemic, we vacated from the rentals to our ancestral land in the upcountry.
Two weeks later, I went back to the cyber, where I previously worked. I was allowed by the employer to work online as well as teach computer students to cater for internet expenses. Immediately after the training on article writing, I was connected to the first client. I was also given tips to get more clients and the ideal platform to source them.
During this time, I applied for more content writing jobs as I went to the second phase of the package. Academic research was quite challenging, not because of the lessons, but the multitasking was tiresome. I ensured that I perfected on both areas and completed the training at the end of March.
Applications had been accepted by the clients, and therefore, I waited for jobs to be posted. I ensured that all the lessons learned were put into practice. I read more books and articles that built my grammatical and literary skills. At home, I decided to use the hotspot option on the mobile phone, which I realized it worked out perfectly.
I continued to reach out to different clients, and within no time, many employers hit ‘Whatsapp’ inbox with tasks. For those employers who I was ready to work with, I pleaded with them to give less urgent tasks so that I would take time working on them. Sadly, in the internet world, there are always challenges where users lose to scammers. You must be very careful to verify the legitimacy of the clients before taking their jobs. At some point, I almost fell a prey of a conman.
Currently am working for a foreign employer who is paying very well. I also have several local employers who give me jobs from time to time depending on my availability.I always have three principles guiding my writing career, “never be afraid of losing; success pays tenfold, die trying and “deliver quality, not just quantity.”
I prefer working on a single task a day to submitting several that do not my client’s expectations. Indeed, the training built my confidence in writing as well as my communication skills. I am sure that school grades will also improve drastically due to consistency in writing course-related work. I cannot regret joining the industry since by the time school opens, I will have paid fees, bills and bought fancy clothes.
Furthermore, in the future, as an excellent Information Technology expert, I will host websites for customers and also do content writing for them. All in all, writing will never cease; forever, it will live from generation to generation.