MUM DID IT FOR ME: She cushioned my entry to university
I am not one of those people who grew up here in Nairobi; we lived in what people would call ‘ocha’, the interior of Machakos. But we were among the privileged few who could afford water and power. To most people there, we were wealthy.
I finished my high school at Compuera Girls High School in 2012 and got a chance to join the University of Nairobi where I was to study Hospitality Management. It is a long way from home to college so it was agreed that I should rent an affordable apartment for the four years of my studies.
Everyone knows that life in Nairobi is neither cheap nor easy, and so was finding an apartment – neither cheap nor easy. Even as we went house-hunting with my dad, my mom didn’t have any idea of what we went through.
It was tiresome. We tried our best before we finally giving up. The ones we sought were either occupied or too expensive. Of course we were disappointed for not getting what we wanted. We had to go back to the drawing board and figure out something else.
Nothing seemed to be going according to plan. I was to report to school for orientation in just a few days’ time yet I had nowhere to stay during the said time. I didn’t know what else to do. My father had already given up. I couldn’t blame him though; he had already done his part by paying my school fees. What more could a girl ask for?
A few days later, one of my friends called me to tell me that she had found a place where we could put up. I immediately broke the good news to my dad. Finally a breakthrough, we had taken a step forward.
When the day finally came, my dad handed me Sh25,000, and said to me “Naomi, that should cover both rent and your shopping.”
Anybody living in Nairobi knows that the amount would have either covered the rent or the shopping, but not both. But I kept quiet and wondered how I was going to make this work.
Just as I was about to leave, my mum pulled me to the side and handed me an envelope. “That’s just something small I thought you would need,” she said.
When I opened the envelope I saw a huge sum of money, which upon counting amounted to Sh70,000. I tried to give it back to her because in the back of my mind I thought maybe she had saved up for something. “I know the Sh25,000 you were given wouldn’t be enough,” was all she said.
As I walked away appreciating what a huge sacrifice my mom had just made for me, in the back of my mind I thought even though we kept her in the dark, my mother always knew what was happening in her house.
Caroline Kagose writes for Content Production Media, a Nairobi based media company that creates elegant content for print, online platforms, film and television.