“I was admitted in campus without a laptop which I had to work for it during my long holiday in 2015. I got a kibarua at a cousin’s restaurant as a waiter and sometimes assisting at the counter. Believe me, I worked from 6am- 9pm tirelessly to have the machine for my Mathematics and Computer Science classes.”
You cannot know of someone’s story unless you walk a mile in their shoes, Mungai Peter born in a family of 7 being the only son and second born is that one story. Life in Njoro, Nakuru County was not always rosy for Mungai the protector of his four sisters, as his parents worked hard and tirelessly to provide for the family. “The journey hasn’t been easy being raised by business parents who solely depended on their businesses, which were unpredictable,” Peter explained. It’s only the wise who can understand and fight the challenges they are faced with. Peter had to put on his boxing gloves and enter the boxing ring. “I was sent home a number of times for fees but my parents would still ensure I went back to school. Due to the nature of things at home, I would put more efforts so that I could go to a boarding school since at home I would solely focus on helping my parents in the farm and getting feeds for the livestock. My sisters were no exception. We all hated doing this but we had to do them anyway since it was the only way our parents would provide for us. With this state, all I needed is good grades to get me to boarding school and campus and sure I saw both come to pass,” he continued to share.
His dream came to reality through the answered prayer. The joy of joining campus was soon dropped by an all-new culture shock. “Being in campus was amazing but not so much when you are studying Computer Science without a laptop. It was unfortunate for me as this looked like a luxury to my parents not forgetting I had to insist on the importance of a smartphone before it would be bought. Studying for my programming classes was really difficult, I had to rely on my friends who had laptops or use the campus computer lab. I worked from 6am- 9pm tirelessly as a waiter in my cousin’s restaurant to have the machine for my Mathematics and Computer Science classes. You now can tell how I had struggled in my first year especially during programming classes. I was able to raise 30k within the period and my dad and granny came through and I got myself a good laptop.”
The values instilled in child can only be witnessed when they came to their own. Peter was the pride of his family, hard work was not a hustle to him, and the outcome of his sweat is what mattered the most. “Now that I had a laptop, I could do quite much. I was able to complete my study assignments in time, get into graphics design training and catch up with programming. Vee Graphics, as we popularly called her came through for me. She introduced me to fundamentals of graphics design, how to organize my workspace, what size, typography or colour scheme to use and how to use Photoshop tools. Yes, I started with Photoshop. Trust me my designs were pathetic. Comparing my work with hers, yet she was a year behind me, was a mixture of keep going or let my guard down. By the time I got to my third year, I had a way of making few pennies from my friends not only through student’s laptop troubleshooting and maintenance but also from designing posters, fliers, photo and document editing. I would charge as low as 100 shillings since I didn’t know how to price which would feel exhausting.”
Social pressure lives in the hearts of most universities, one can never miss one form or another of this element from movies or TV shows showcasing the lives of students. “Yes, social pressure was all over. I could not afford the fancy clothing, going to parties or home over weekends as my friends would do. Nevertheless, I was contented and this was not really a bother to me.” Mungai remained grounded on the principles instilled by his parents and also his faith in Christ. As fate would have it, Mungai found himself in leadership and through leadership he acquired a new name, ‘Pillar’. He bore the fruits of his labour as he harvested good grades, “I have learnt much on hard work from my parents who wanted the best amidst all this challenges. I could see it right on their face during my graduation thanksgiving ceremony, their son had made it out of campus. This was something that challenged their friends who came together and sent me to Kabarak University for my masters where I am specializing on IT Security and Audit.”
The dream of securing a job immediately after campus is not always a reality for most youths. “I was looking forward to an IT entry job position until I got my first job opportunity at Clinton’s Health Initiative (CHAI) as an IT Support early March, 2020. I did report to my new job until everything came crumbling down due to COVID-19 pandemic. ‘Go home, we will call you when the pandemic is contained’, the last I recall of that job. A lot of my friends lost their jobs and things didn’t work out. Neither for me until I had to pick up my side hustle in designing!”
All of us at some point in life, get into a hole of no hope. “Time cracks darkness. This statement has carried me through. No matter how much you have around you, the self-belief you have is all that matters as some things will work and others won’t. Nature is like a mirror; it reflects back who you believe you are with time. It’s easier said than done but trusting in God overrules all”, Mungai reflects.
Peter is open for new ventures and he is well qualified to deliver. He offers ICT support and management, information systems security analysis, digital marketing and graphics design. There is always rainbow after the storm passes. (firstname.lastname@example.org)