A Twitter user by the name Muhammad Onyango was promised a job at Kenya Power & Lighting Company by his uncle.
He travelled all the way from Busia to Nairobi only for his uncle to switch off his phone. He became stranded but worked against all odds to make it in the city.
He shared his story on Twitter
They say experience is not what happens to man but what man does to what happens to him. So what exactly did Muhammad Onyango do when his uncle who promised him a job at Kenya Power refused to pick his calls & switched off his phone after he arrived in the city ? Here is my Story
Let me start by saying that i am the first born in a family of 5 children and the only son, so the expectations that my parents had on me was above the roof. I had to set standards at an early age in all spheres of life. It was a humble upbringing with us living in a single room.
I managed a C+ in my KCSE (A- Eng, B+ History) and didn’t get the cut-off points to join a public university, however Kabarak University (School of Law) and PCEA University called me but there was no money so i had to find other things to do. I became untrained teacher in Busia.
I was teaching English, Science and Mathematics at Satellite Academy in Busia town ( hapo weigh-bridge ) earning a meager Kshs 3,500 per month. My rent was 500 bob and life wasn’t that bad considering i had other side hustles. Tea and lunch was from school and supper at home.
For those who don’t know. Satellite Academy was the first private school to be established in Busia town followed by Star of the Boarder, then Ebenezer Academy. Their performance in KCPE in successive years used to be impressive. But 7 months after i joined something sad happened
The school had two Directors & the main shareholder withdrew his shares leaving the management of the once elite school in shambles. Salaries were being delayed, teachers were poached by neighboring schools and parents removed their children from the school. The situation was bad
My salary was delayed by 3 months, i had rent arrears of Kshs 1,500 and life started being unbearable in Busia. Even my side hustles had now been grounded to a halt. I was really broke. It was my mother and few friends like
jonte johns who used to help me sort out things in Busia
Then one day my mother called and told me some really good news. I was to go to Nairobi and start working with Kenya Power. My uncle (distant relative) had personally promised to give me a job and make my life better. I sold my few items and boarded Nyar Ugenya Bus at night.
Before leaving Busia i had called my long time friend Edwin Mbanda and informed him that i was traveling. I also told him that incase shit happens he should be kind enough to host me as i navigate the streets of Nairobi which he replied in the affirmative.
I arrived in Country Bus to a cold & chilly Nairobi. I was armed with 3 Gorogoros of omena and another 2 Gorogoro of maize meal to bless my host. Edwin was already there waiting for me. We took Forward Sacco and went to Kayole where he stayed. I was to meet my uncle the next day.
In Kayole, Edwin was leaving in a tiny single room on the ground floor and the room was separated by what Luos call “Pasia” (curtain). He had a wife and a 3 year old boy. The room had no window and it used to be so dark that the bulb used to be on even during the day hehehe.
The next day, Edwin woke me up so early. He used to sell mitumba clothes and that means going to Gikomba market at 4pm. So we took some black tea and mandazi then left the house. I had slept on a 3-seater butterfly sofa and my back was paining because i was tall couldn’t fit well
From Gikomba we left for Upperhill where i was to meet my uncle and get a job at KPLC. Edwin left me outside NHIF building and went back to Kayole. I was to call him when i was done to come pick me. This was around 8am in the morning.
I waited for my uncle for 5 good hours outside NHIF building. I called severally, texted and even called my mum to let him know i was waiting for him. He didn’t respond. Then when i tried the last time he had switched off his phone. It then dawned on me that i had been played.
Watu utoka mbali – Umoja News admin
When i called Edwin and narrated to him what had happened, he laughed and told me “Karibu Nairobi”. Fast forward because Edwin couldn’t leave me at home with his young wife, i had to help him sell clothes in Buruburu phase 5 (extension). We were selling nice ladies clothes.
After a month living with my good friend Edwin, the wife started getting uncomfortable with my presence in her house. They used to quarrel a lot and sometimes at night while we were sleeping she could ask her husband “Shemeji anarudi Busia lini? Hii nyumba ni ndogo sana kwetu ”.
Edwin being a gentleman went out of his way and talked to some brothers in Donholm Estate to host me and hold my hand. This was a large team of 4 Luhya brothers living together and selling clothes along Savannah road next to Epren Academy. This was our humble abode.
Life in Donholm was so hard. We used to eat one meal a day after selling. We had no bathroom or toilet in the compound as the mabati was a temporary structure. The mabati house was divided into 2. The first room was for keeping clothes and the second one was our bedroom.
I have acute sinusitis and when it gets so cold, my nose blocks and i get a difficulty in breathing. Donholm is very cold at night and i really used to suffer a lot. We had no bed or mattress, we used to arrange old clothes on the floor and sleep like soldiers.
Eating depended on sales. When the sales were good, we would buy one kilogram of meat & enjoy with big ugali but when sales were bad we just slept hungry & hoped for better things the next day. I really hated Nairobi. I had become so thin and weighed 60kgs because of poor feeding
My Luhya friends were worried about my health. I was coughing so much and my trouser would fall sometimes when i coughed. Other people thought i had Tuberculosis. They pulled together and gave me 2000 shillings to go back to the village in Siaya Kababa but i had not given up yet.
It was at this moment that i called my aunt who lived in Kasarani Mwiki. I told her to host me for a few months because going to the village wasn’t a solution. I told her that i had a feeling that Nairobi was going to be great & i would make it by God’s Will. She agreed to help
I left Donholm for Mwiki. The husband to my aunt ( Let me call him Uncle) was a well known mechanic in Roysambu, just behind Shell Petrol Station. His name is Omondi. He took me as an apprentice. For the next 2 years i lived with Uncle Omondi doing mechanics and cushion making.
Uncle Omondi had no son to inherit his empire and thought i was the right heir for his business. He taught me how to make cushions for motorcycles & matatus, basic mechanics & a bit of carpentry. But i didn’t love mechanics and dropped out on the way. Omondi was furious with me.
Uncle Omondi told me to my face that since my balls had become so big to carry in my own hands i should leave his house and look for work to do. It was at this point that i joined a Sales and Marketing company based in Riverside Drive to keep myself busy. It was an advert on DN.
At Riverside Drive i met Mr. William Wekesa, a thorough salesman who taught me how to sell anything under the sun. Within a year, i was one of the best salesmen in Nairobi doing a consistent target of 200K a week though the commission was very little.
QUESTION: How did you secure a place at AL Yusra? Are you still there?
While jobless & living in Runda Estate just after the President had partially opened up the country, i noticed that Al-Yusra pages had been dormant for 5 months. They didn’t have a Social Media Manager. I called the Boss and was given the job on merit. I am the Head of Marketing.
There is a day i was pitching at Mamlaka Road next to Serena Hotel and bumped into Frank, an old primary school friend who immediately took me to his unit manager at CFC Life House (Liberty Assurance Company). The next day i had left sales and marketing & was selling insurance.
CFC Life took me to Kenya College of Insurance for my Certificate of Proficiency in Insurance (COP) but Insurance world was the hardest thing i had ever seen. I stayed there for 9 months without selling any policy. It was terrible. I decided to go back to hawking
I went back to insurance this time working with ICEA LION, Karen Park Office. Here i was selling insurance policies like groundnuts. I was making good money and the future looked bright. I went for a Diploma. Then i got poached by Saham Assurance to be a Unit Manager in Kisumu.
Kisumu was unfamiliar territory for me. The market was so small and insurance penetration was below 1%. The agents i recruited fled within 2 weeks of joining the company. I was frustrated and resigned. I came back to start my Sales and Marketing company in Nairobi in 2016.
When i opened my sales & marketing company is when i realized being a good salesman is different from being a good manager. It collapsed after a year and joined some Arab friends and Egyptians in Trade Fairs and Exhibitions. Here i toured Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.
Life was good here and i was living in Diani until COVID-19 broke out and rendered me jobless. For 8 good months i was in the village struggling and praying things to be better. Today i am here to assure you that things will be better. Life is a journey and nothing is permanent.
Covering news about Eastlands especially Umoja, Kayole and Buruburu estates