I do not consider myself a special person – rather an ordinary mid-class person, born from a poor family, and brought up in a slum. This slum happen to be the third largest slum in the world today- Kibera slum.
In my childhood days, I was an above-average student in primary school. In the school I did not have many friends, thus I was lucky not to get bad influence from bad students.
Just before I was ready to move to secondary school, my parents separated (divorced) and I had to be moved to live with my grand parents (paternal).
This was the beginning of experiencing a harsh life, because of missing my parent’s love and that the environment and the living style had changed completely. My grand parents did not go to school and were obviously completely illiterate – although of course they understood what school is.
However, I had to struggle with my secondary education for five years until I completed.
When I talk about harsh time during my school time, one has to understand a bit of history of the less developed countries of Africa, one has to know what slums are and how people live there – life which is in-imaginable to people from developed countries. ( look out for my next blog on slum dwellers ).
As I said above, the hardship is not imaginable. For example I had to walk approximately 10 kilometers to school and back home every day, going without lunch most of the time.
However I took my studies with the seriousness it deserved, reading at night using kerosene lamp. This way I was able to pass my secondary examination and obtain a grade which allowed me to continue with my studies at university level.
But alas! would that be possible? No, my poor father would not afford to pay for my university education with a salary equivalent to $ 7 per month. I was obviously upset and bitter, but that was the reality.
However, being determined as I was to have good education, I did not lose hope, with a bit of struggle I was able to enroll myself in a Polytechnic run with assistance from the British and German governments. My joining the Polytechnic was made possible by sponsorship from an international cement factory in Mombasa.
In my 5 years of study at the Polytechnic I was able to obtain a Mechanical Engineering certificate to the level of Ordinary Diploma in Engineering.
By this time my father was very old and retired from work – no pension.
At this stage, although I was eligible to join a university, I was not able to do so because of lack of money and no one to sponsor me.
What else could I do except hunting for a job and earn salary and be able to care for my aged parents. This turned out to be a bit easy since I had an Engineering qualification. In those days there were v ery few people with engineering qualifications in this country.
I was employed by an International Petroleum Oil Company.
The country where I was born, and where I got employed is Kenya, in East Africa. And the company which employed me was The East African Oil Refinery. The Refinery was then being run and managed by Shell International Petroleum company whose headquarters was in the Netherlands.
I was employed as a junior Mechanical Engineering Inspector in a specialized section of Inspection. Due to the special nature of of work in this section, I had to be sent overseas for training. My first overseas assignment was in England at Shell Stanlow Petroleum Refinery, for a period of 3 years. And my second working assignment was in Australia, at Shell Clyde Refinery, for a period of 2 years. I then returned to Mombasa Refinery and was elevated to the post of Senior Mechanical Inspector. I have now retired from work.
I learn t about computers in Australia, and developed love for computers since then. After my retirement I sent some of my money to buy 4 computers for use in a Cyber Cafe which I owned. This idea did not work well and I abandoned it after about 18 months.
I then decided to venture in blogging which I am now doing all the time. With friends all around me, I am sure of getting all the help I need.
I wrote this blog as a short history of my life, which, I hope defines who I am.
Writing this article was never about making money. However, the small donation I plead for is for helping me cover blogging expenses in the long journey I intend to make advocating for reforms of the marginalized minority, and also engaging in other community matters.
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