Easy to understand “Story” WHY Diaspora Kenyans Work Double!
I will use pseudonyms on this one, because I don’t want any trouble. The issue of DiasporaKenyans working doubles and triples has been up in the air so many times my ears are ringing from the hullabaloo raised by the issue.
Pedestrian social analysts seem to worry that by working so hard and so many hours, Diaspora parents lose touch with their spouses and kids and end up not having a “life.” Far from it.
My friend, Mwalimu Makali, is a very hard working Physics teacher in Kia Njogu, Nyahururu. Over the years, he has acquired for himself a sizeable chunk of land where he is engaged in intensive horticultural farming. In his farm are all domesticable animals, which bring in a tidy sum by the end of the month from the sale of their different products.
Before getting into his Toyota Harrier to go to Maili Nne High School to feed his students the Archimedes Principle and whatever else they tech in high school Physics, he is up well before cock crow to make sure that his daily cows are milked, the milk sent over to the buying center, the pigs are fed, the chicken do not starve, the goats were not stolen the previous night, the cabbages are fine, the spinach are watered and the whole caboodle of farm work.
After he makes sure all is well in the busy farm, off he goes to his day job until 4pm. Those in the pedagogy business know how hard it is to achieve a mean grade of A- in Physics at KCSE, a feat that Mwalimu Makali is famous for in Nyandarua County. He is a member of Nuclear Matatu Sacco where his 3 Toyota vans bring in some extra income. He is forced at times to leave his workstation to follow up with the police when his drivers are arrested in the hustle and bustle that is the matatu industry.
Mwalimu Makali is another one; he does not allow an opportunity to pass by. A few years ago, he enrolled as a graduate student at Laikipia University where he earned a Masters Degree in Physics two years later. That investment did not go to waste. He doubles up as a lecturer at the Laikipia University, Nyahururu Campus, 3 evenings a week. Over December school vacation, you are most likely to find Mwalimu Makali busy as a senior Physics examiner with the Kenya National Examinations Council, KNEC.
“Man, I am so busy building the nation,” he told me when I tracked him down last summer.
“I am lucky my 3 children are in boarding school, otherwise seeing them daily is out of question.” He mused.
When I called my childhood friend, Dr. Kizito, a pediatrician at Nairobi hospital, his youngest daughter picked the phone.
“Daddy is not in for now, you can leave a message,” She informed me.
“When can I call again to get him?” I asked.
“Usijisumbue, he is never here,” the young girl said.
Eventually I caught up with the good doctor at Nairobi Club, by luck.
“Mundu wa Nyambura, life is so fast, but I run faster,” He told me when I inquired about his busy schedule. He informed me that besides working at Nairobi Hospital, he is also a professor of medicine at Agha Khan University and a consultant at Gertrude’s Children Hospital besides working with 3 public health NGOs in his County.
“By the end of the day, I don’t know who my employer is,” he said. “I have to shuffle between my various engagements daily, the toll on the body is too much.”
Besides my two friends, I know so many university lecturers who are primarily high school teachers, or who shuffle between campuses on a daily basis. I know a number of professionals in Nairobi who have farms in Timau, or operate hardware stores in Kitengela. Hustling between this job to the other one is the order of the day in today’s Kenya.
“Only a fool depends on one source of income,” Mwalimu Makali had earlier told me.
Back to Diaspora Kenyans. Would it not be in order for them to also work double shifts wherever they are? Why would it be frowned upon to have an overnight shift as a factory guard? Is it a crime to be a relief staff at a nursing home even as one works as a full time nurse?
“You know one may not operate a matatu in Raleigh, South Carolina,” My friend Andrew tells me. “But one can get serious side money by working as a part time delivery truck driver, or a cleaner at the local supermarket, pesa ni pesa my friend.”
With that, yours truly has nothing to add. As my learned friend, Mr. Omusu Esq., would say, res judicata, the issue has already been judged. Let the people work; the end justifies the means. I rest my case.
By Peter Gaitho | [email protected]