Having seen how the demise of a parent/ breadwinner had devastated some families, I did something odd. I inked a letter to mum. “Mother, as you go to heaven please tell God not to make us suffer. Amen.” I did so knowing that life as I knew it was about to change dramatically.
After a few months, the ground begun to shift beneath us as it became apparent that we will need to forego certain life’s comforts. To a young family of six my dad’s salary wasn’t elastic enough to cater to all our needs. What was normal like education, entertainment, holidays... suddenly became luxury. Death is a coward! Everyone who has lost someone special knows this.
Weeks grew to months and months matured to years. Life became synonymous with struggle. A struggle to survive. Worry, uncertainty and fear lurked in the future that once provided hope. There was one key to a better life I thought; knowledge. I knew education is a potent instrument of social change and I should therefore pursue it like salvation. But there was a problem. I didn’t have funds to fuel my scholastic journey.
My dream of obtaining quality tertiary education appeared far-fetched, a pipe dream until I met Shayna Grimwood Abubakar, the founder of Eco Mama’s Global Community Gardens in 2009. What appeared like a casual encounter would morph into a strong bond of friendship. Before I met her, higher education was a mirage. But in a dramatic shift of events, Shayna agreed to mobilize funds towards my college tuition. I joined Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) in 2012 and graduated with a diploma in Mass Communications in 2014.
I chose journalism despite English not being my first language primarily because I love to write and express myself (and hated math). My favourite classes in high school were always English- related, and I’ve been a voracious reader ever since I learned how. I also did it because I wanted to learn the art of writing. Anyone can put words to paper, however, to create writing that is an art- writing that is inspirational, beautiful, moving- that is what I strive for. However, it wasn’t until late in my high school tenure that I admitted to myself that I actually enjoyed writing.
Additionally, I have always had an intense interest in everything and everyone around me. There’s something magical about witnessing something, documenting it and sharing it with the world. Plus, I wanted to get the correct information to people. I wanted people to be informed in an unbiased manner, so that they can form their own opinion. Whether I’m taking photos, videos, broadcasting or writing; I want to communicate.
After graduation, I was armed with a certificate that enabled me to get a job as an in-house corespondent with a local daily. Fast forward to 2016; I applied to pursue a B.A. in International Studies at the University of Nairobi and was due to start in January 2017. However, due to cash constraints, I considered giving up the opportunity in such a prestigious institution. But in the fall of 2016, I had met Brandi Friesen, one of the directors of Eco Mama’s Global and she agreed to sponsor my tuition. My life would not be the same if Shayna and Brandi hadn’t opened the door. With their support I’m rising above my hurdles like the proverbial phoenix.
Eco Mama’s Global is a fast growing non-profit organization with the interest of people at heart. I know this too well since I’m a recipient of their good work and have seen just how it’s transformed and continues to impact people’s lives positively; in Kenya and Uganda.
I’m a friend of the organization and handle part of their PR and communications.