BY Linah Musangi
17th, January, 2018: “If there was an alternative place to go, I would go running. I would not think of coming back. I have had it all.” Lamented Patrick Mathina.
This was really startling and I had to sit him down to find out what the matter was.
Mathina was born on October 1990 in a village called syomikuku, Kitui county. He is the first born in a family of seven children. Seven girls and one boy which is our Patrick. He went to a nearby school where he luckily completed his primary school despite the biting challenges. At the age of 14 years, he had already become the breadwinner.
The circumstances that forced him were, his father who was previously providing for his family was involved in a grisly road accident that left him crippled. Mathina had to put on his shoes to at least help his struggling mother.
He begun fetching water using a neighbours bicycle to supply to nearby hotels. At the end of the day, he had some coins to buy supper for the family. All this time, he hoped that one day he would wake up out of this nightmare, go back to school and live his dreams.
Hostile years passed on until one morning when a grey Mercedes Benz visited their compound. It was his uncle. Mr Muli who had just returned from states. He thought of visiting his younger brother. To his surprise, he found that things were far from being okay.
Patrick was taken back to school. Few years later, he had his Degree in computer science. This really excited him because at the back of his mind, he saw himself working at the big offices in Kenya.
Local jobs were available for him but he turned them down. “How can a graduate work in an mpesa shop? At least I have a class. I’m not a class eight drop out. I will wait for my career job”.
Patrick waited until he ran out of patience. He began looking for any job. If not for anything else, have something to put under the ribs. Life proved to be the opposite of what he thought. Any kibarua he was offered, he took it with open hands. Very ready to it.
Back at his home, his parents had already visited their ancestors. What was left was his younger siblings who were still depending on him.
Patrick indeed struggled to survive. From selling boiled eggs, hawking ice creams, roasting maize under the scorching sun, playing hide and seek with county assembly officials and sometimes they would find him off-guard and arrest him, he was forced to part with some cash to facilitate his release.
Life was no better. Nothing to smile about. He lived a life full of wishes, wished that the fee he wasted back at school he would have used it to do something else, like putting up a business. Hoped that he had a godfather to assist him in getting a job. Which is the Kenyan norm.
What pierced his heart more is that he grew up poverty being his second name, till then it was still bothering him. He kept blaming our country for all his misfortunes, because he was educated, yet no job. Worked very tough jobs, but the pay was so little. Everything is too expensive, from rent, food, clothes,transport. Sometimes food was just a luxury.
The term bright future no longer existed in his mind. “I wonder why I was not born in Uganda, Tanzania or any other country. Here, life is for the rich the poor have no place” I regret being a Kenyan.