Before you get to swing in that armchair, have an office of your own, drive an Audi, live in Kileleshwa, dress in designer suits, rub shoulders with the rich, eat in high-end restaurants, have a fat salary, you must have really worked hard. The struggle is so real and very relatable especially when you are young, ambitious, determined but unfortunately, you hail from a financially challenged background.
Life in Nairobi is not easy when you don’t know anyone and bad luck is your best friend. We all know the rules, it’s a wild world, full of so much darkness before the end of the tunnel, only the strongest survivors make it to the end, alive happy and wealthy. Hustling knows no age, gender, academic background, medical condition. It only identifies with the strong-willed. Here are some of the to Kenyan hustlers totally relate to.
1. When you drop your CV in all the banks and companies you know in town, and get zero response or even a job interview from any of them. Yet you have spent your hard earned money on printing your academic certificated, transport to and fro, and without forgetting walking up and about the hot sun
2. When you are so broke, that you swallow your ego that you have a degree from the university and go looking for Kazi ya mjengo, or house help work so you can have some money to keep you going for a couple of weeks before end month.
3. When you can’t even afford to buy classy mitumba officials from Gikosh cause you are penniless. You resort to wash and wear your two pairs of official outfits, so you don’t go stinking sweat and slums at work. You do so until they fade, all your care is getting to work dressed up, fashion unaachia Beyonce
4. When the rains find you in town and you had fixed fare. You can’t go borrowing or pleading with a matatu conductor to understand your situation. That is the time you thank God for your legs and you pray hard that they carry you far enough so that if a matatu picks you there, that coin in your pocket will be enough.
5. You live somewhere in Githurai where houses go for as cheap as 800, but your hustles have not been worthwhile. Your landlady has been trying to understand that you are working hard but she can’t take it anymore. When you get back to your crib, a big new padlock greets you. Your nothings have been thrown outside, and you have nowhere to go. You sleep in the cold or one of the good neighbors lets you in.
6. You and your boys don’t want to go home but want try your luck in the city under the sun looking for jobs day and night. You rent a small house somewhere and all your a million and one friends come crushing in for a night that turns out to be a month plus. You are all squeezed sharing everything like brothers and you end up being the one sleeping at the feet of others, next to the door, as the cold wind finds its way into your lungs.
7. There is nothing like pizza, kebab or sijui five-course meal. For God knows how many years, you be sipping strong tea or uji for breakfast, eating githeri and avocado for lunch, and doing ugali sukuma for supper hadi tumbo inazoea. There is nothing like enjoying the food, it’s all about getting full and not going to hustle on an empty stomach.
8. You cannot escape from being emaciated, and bony. You are barely eating well let alone have enough stress. You are ever worried about tomorrow. From time to time, you fall very sick because of cold, poor sanitation, but you make it through anyway. Aluta Continua.
9. Those muggers will always be on the lookout for you. When you have rightfully earned your salary and you decide to use some weird shortcuts, they corner you. They rip you off everything, including the new shoes you just bought a few minutes ago. Even that mulika mwizi you picked in a matatu they take it away and leave you with nothing.
10. The next day you get late for work, try to explain your situation to the boss but he won’t have any of that. He is like “is off broke ass.” You get fired with immediate effect. At this point, you wish, you could have just gone home and helped your mum with farm work and start a small business back home.