By Lisa Osiako
The proverbial phrase, “When life gives you lemons make lemonade,” has never sounded better than in Mwangi’s case. When his parents could not afford to pay for his university fees, he decided to try out something else, just to see his dreams come alive.
This is his story…
“We need more workers and you are saying there are no jobs,” reads one of his tweets, as he sits on his mkokoteni, perhaps waiting for the next work project or simply taking a rest.
Mwangi Njambuya is not your average mkokoteni transporter. As he moves his mkokoteni in the hot Nairobi weather, he sparks both hope and controversy around the lack of jobs among the youth.
He is pursuing his Bachelor of Laws degree from Mount Kenya University – Parklands Campus.
Not many pay much attention to the transporter who scored a B- in his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examinations in 2014. As his family was unable to raise fees for a parallel program, he decided to look for a job that would cater to his needs and enable him to ultimately pursue his dream of attaining higher education.
Njambuya refers to himself as the only mkokoteni transporter on Twitter. He has not lost hope for a brighter future even as he ekes out a living from what is not his dream career.
“This is my chance. This is where I earn my daily bread and even get extra coins to put into my school fees,” he says.
Every morning, Njambuya starts by hiring a cart at sh100 and pays at the end of the day. In the evening, he freshens up and heads to school for the evening classes. On a good day, he makes Sh500.
Working as a mkokoteni transporter in the morning and attending evening classes has not been easy for him. He, however, is not quitting and vows to soldier on, to attain his degree.
To succeed in the business, Njambuya has to work extra hard, putting aside his thoughts about his job, to ensure he can pay fees for his degree.
Although he can meet some of his needs and even make some savings, it is not a walk in the park.
One thing he holds on to is that this is not going to be his life forever.