I vividly recall how in the early 2000’s after being given the power to read and do all that appertains to that paper, I stepped out of the Academic world and into the job hunting hemisphere. This was like a slap on your face only instead of a hand you were slapped with a bucket of ice cold water. Cell phones were very rare those days the most common ones being the Nokia 3310, the Motorola, The Siemens and the Alcatel. Being phoneless and Jobless meant that networking was off the hook, unless you counted a chance rendezvous with a former coursemate at Uhuru Park gardens while feasting on airburgers. E mails were accessed in the cyber café as you updated your CV or haf to send your resume and this was charged at 1/= p/m. That means that you had to keep looking at the timer to know if the few coins you had saved for the affair had expired. Just imagine if it came to, ‘chonga viazi, if you don’t pay that bill. What viazi would you peel in a cyber cafe? Unless of course if the proprietor was from Kinangop or Warubaga. And talking of potatoes, is KFC still importing them from the land of the Pharaohs?
Armed with all these limitations and a stubborn heart (I’m a Taurus by the way) I’d step out of Waithaka and look for a van heading to town; no.2 and no. 102 vans plied the Kikuyu route via Dagoretti (the great corner.) Since fare was not readily available, neither had the art of sending fare been invented, I’d look for ways to wisely allocate the few coins to my name. Thank God for the little economics I did in my undergraduate course. I’d alight out of the van at Kawangware (Kwa Ngware) and head towards the other side where route 46 vehicles plied then board a KBS Mūthubarī or Citi Hoppa which would take me to town through the posh areas of Lavington and Hurlingham. While enroute I’d admire the affluence and think to myself,’this is a ze life.’
The traffic jam as we approached the green city in the sun would get me out of my stupor and remind me of why I’d woken up early. Alighting at GPO I’d, ‘start a hard works day,’ moving from building to building and from lift to lift dropping my applications. They used to say that an application had to be in ones own handwriting and most probably I’d spent the better part of the previous night drafting so many. Also using the route I’d used would mean an extra 20/= to either visit the cyber for a few online applications or take a bite.
I’d march through the entire city like a legion until I got to Ronald Ngala where I’d board a ‘nguruwe’ those Ford vans that plied the Lungalunga route via Jogoo road and it’d be a repeat of the same process once I alighted at BAT. At the end of the day my feet would be burning sore. I’d head back to Waithaka using the same route but this time I’d walk from Kawangware to Waithaka.
My pick up from this is that when you finally land that job don’t take it for granted. One of my bosses used to ask us, ‘do you think tarmacking is any easier than you left it?’ It may be easier in terms of communication and networking, but landing that job is way harder now than then.
P.S I know the word asphalt sounds like, ‘Asporo mūtī igūrū.’