From fashion world to mission field
I was a woman, who a few months earlier had been at the top of her game. I had just left my high flying job at Deacons (K) where I was the franchising and buying manager.
Here I was in Pokot, seeing things I had only heard stories about. I watched the little girls get circumcised, listened to songs, dances and ululations from villagers in honour of these youngsters who had accomplished this ‘great and brave’ feat. This was in 2011.
What had led me to this juncture was the need to find my passion. I figured it was time to work out what my second act in life was to be, seeing I was about to turn 40.
In September 2010, a major restructuring was going on at Deacons (K) as it sought to list at the Nairobi Securities Exchange and needed to set itself up to accommodate the anticipated growth.
A new employee structure was created and unfortunately, I could not find a position where l thought l could operate optimally.
I tried to resolve the matter with my bosses but it did not work out. The position they wanted me to take up, l felt, would not offer me the opportunity for growth. l felt that I needed to follow my heart and be very honest with myself.
So I got out, spent the rest of 2010 on holiday. In 2011, I woke up one night in cold sweat and thought about my future.
One day as I was seated in church at Mamlaka Hill Chapel, a verse came to my mind. It was Mathew 6:27. “Who of you by worrying will add even a single day to his life?”
Pondering over the words, my fears subsided and I realised that what I really needed was time to think. Think over my life’s purpose. Discover my true passion.
In March, an opportunity came to go to Kamurio in East Pokot, a mission station run by the church. In a very small way it was my way of putting a promise that l would one day give back to society.
This was a whole new world and experience. That was how I found myself in Pokot on May 18.
The dusty terrains and the quiet of the village revived my spirit. Kamurio is such a tiny village. At first, I was scared of the villagers, but I got used to them.
After our mission, we returned to Nairobi but I couldn’t get my mind off the dusty little village. I wanted to go back. This time to stay for long.
My family was hesitant about the decision. My mum thought I was nuts, and dad didn’t say a word. Maybe, he was in shock. My sister who lives in Toronto sent me a plane ticket to go and visit her.
My sister Nelly who lives in Hong Kong was the only one who was supportive, even suggesting to come visit me while I was there. With the blessing of my church, we left with two senior pastors and their wives.
I was welcomed by Pastor David Kitur and his wife Martha, who have been missionaries in Pokot for over 22 years. A typical day in Pokot would see me fetching firewood, clean the house, wash dishes, sweep the compound and feed the chicken.
I also taught English and Kiswahili at Kamurio Primary School. It was a humbling experience as the pupils could not even write their exams.
Actually, the teachers sometimes would translate the exams into Pokot so that the students could answer them.
During the weekends, I would go with students on a walk in the hills, pray with them and listen to their dreams. I also joined in the dances and ceremonies as the villagers warmed up to me. My first invite was to a female circumcision ceremony. It was a traumatising experience.
When I turned 40, I marked my birthday with a huge cake that my church sent me. True to her promise, my sister Nelly visited with her two children.
After the mission, I left for the UK to sharpen my skills and learn from the fashion gurus.
Now l am pursuing a retailing degree at University of Surrey, Guildford UK. When I complete my studies, I would like to teach fashion retailing at a university in Africa.