Sunday morning, 6:00 am. I’m awakened by the shrill sound of my phone alarm. I’m determined to get out of bed and attend church service but I feel too morbid and unable lift a finger. I snooze for another hour and finally manage to lazily yank my bedding away. As I sit on my bed, I stare at the paint chipped wall and hopelessness engulfs me. For the first time in my life, I feel like a caged bird. Life has thrown me curve balls in a manner I never anticipated. I feel like a hamster in a wheel . The more I try, the more I linger on the same spot. All around me, friends have made it big – holding enviable jobs, cruising around town in sleek rides and exuding flair and success. Meanwhile, I’m stuck with a nickel and dime salary, just enough to pay for basic necessities. Every day is an uphill battle to make ends meet. The nagging thought that we schooled together and graduated almost at the same time gives me a queasy feeling in the stomach. It perturbs me that life turned out this way. I’m angry at God for my current state of affairs and wonder why he let my hand go. Could things have turned out differently if I did this or that? What If I tried the other way? Would I be where I am? A myriad of questions run through my mind. Outside a heavy downpour pelts the earth, further diminishing my resolve to attend Church service. Flesh fails me and without much thought, I lay my head on my pillow and sleep my frustrations away.
When I was a boy, I envisioned that by now I would be a top notch manager in a blue chip company earning a cool six figure salary and exuding an air of importance. I saw myself residing in a leafy suburb, inhaling fresh air, sunbathing by the poolside in Oakley Shades with a glass of wine at hand, listening to the chirping of weaver birds every morning, taking my dog for a walk and enjoying the trappings of success. I had in mind owning 2 cars – A shiny sedan for getting by in town and an off-road juggernaut for traversing the unforgiving terrain when paying ma and pap a visit. My house would be an imposing 4 bedroom mansion, set in the middle of 2 acres of well-tended grounds. A curving driveway, framed by graceful fir trees, would lead from the gate to the front of the house. “My dear son, all you have to do is work hard and be number one in class”, mum would tell me. And work hard I did. I buried my nose in thick books from as early as I can recall. My performance was nothing short of excellent. I received accolades from teachers and friends alike. The picture perfect life was within my reach. I had it all figured out. My dreams were valid. When I cleared Campus, the cookie crumbled….
I think our education system is as ancient as the Colosseum at Rome. 8-4-4- System is as oppressive as our members of Parliament. You see, it puts a lot of uncalled for pressure & expectations in young minds. You are expected to learn a million subjects and be a master of all. Lecturers hoodwink you into believing that you are pursuing the most prestigious course under the sun knowing fully well that the odds of landing a job are akin to Kenya qualifying for World Cup. These grey-haired, pot-bellied men, dear reader, appear once or twice in a semester, give you a scanty course outline and unabashedly declare to have taught to the best of their ability. They then disappear into thin air leaving you at the mercy of your God. The library becomes your second abode. Stress mounts and you discover you barely have time for anything. Your social life is stifled and you stop living. Books become an eyesore. You look back at the early morning hours spent skimming through pages of notes from Monday to Monday and wish you slept as soundly as a one year old tot. You reminisce burning the midnight oil going through copies of mind numbing revision papers and wished you were tightly tucked in your bed snoring blissfully. You are reminded of the long and arduous lectures in the afternoons and wished you spent time catching up with your wild buddies busy plotting for the weekend escapades.
When you are finally done with Campus you discover that the picture perfect life you dreamed of is nothing but a bed of sharp thorns. Words cannot adequately describe the agony one goes when you are job hunting. You discover the hell hole you called Campus was actually paradise .Outside campus, pure hell-Well unless you own a gold mine in your backyard. No one seems bothered to respond to your countless job applications .You draft so many versions of your resume until you become an expert in CV writing. You approach as many people as possible but nobody wants a nag pestering them for a job. Some promise to ‘connect’ you. Empty promises. A couple of months pass by but nothing forthcoming. You go to church and seek divine intervention. You study God’s word fervently and evoke his mercies upon you. You fast religiously. A year goes by….. Nothing…You look like a pale shadow of yourself. Ladies avoid you like leprosy. Shoulders droop and your once bubbly face is full of dejection. In your backyard hordes of despondent youths in faded jeans & bloodshot eyes join the dungeon of unemployment. They spend time in jobless corner chewing khat like possessed goats with a bottle of soda at hand with a drilled hole at the top of cap. Others smoke like chimneys, lusting at women passing by, whistling and throwing in vulgarities with each passing lass. The routine is repeated on a daily basis as more graduates experience are relegated to the unemployment menace. One day you meet Jeff, that short, burly campus joker who never saw the door of a library and never saw the need to attend lectures. He looks sharp and immaculate. He tells you that He’s working for an NGO in town and your heart sinks. You bump into Stella, that mean-spirited carefree party animal who drank like a fish and attended all drinking parties. She’s hooting loudly, warning you to move your broke ass lest she runs you over. And you scuttle away in embarrassment. It all seems unfair .The world seems to conspire against you and for the first time you feel as if your parents deceived you. You get furious at them for raising your hopes too high. Heck, you are entitled to a good job ain’t you! Well, it seems not.
But the God of Isaac never slumbers. One day you land a job but pays peanuts. Well, at least you have your own ka bedsitter plus your freedom now that you are outside your parents’ nest. But deep down you know you are settling for less. You discover that your employer only pays you enough to keep coming back to him after every month. You want to quit but you can’t. Opportunities are hard to come by. You have thought of venturing into self-employment but the playing field a different ball game. You need capital and connections which seem very elusive. Life pins you down and gives you serious blows. Every cloud has a silver lining, you tell yourself. Maybe one day things will look up for you. Somehow you’ll make lemonade from the sacks of lemons that life has thrown your way. In the meantime, you suck up to your 8:00 to 5:00 pm deathly boring job. LIFE!