Struggling? Keep going, don’t stop!
Life doesn’t have to give you a perfect set of ingredients to make a good meal out of. What matters at the end of it all is the will and drive to make the meal you desire. That’s what will get you into making that meal. Not the ingredients! Ingredients with no drive equal a poorly made meal or no meal at all. While a drive with no ingredients, will give you the desire and urge to get the ingredients and give you the morale and strength to make the meal.
My spark into the world of computing was triggered when I was young. Having friends and family who had things I didn’t have and seeing them have great fun with them where else I wasn’t allowed to touch any of that. I missed plenty of fun. “Someday I will have that”, I always thought. My mum had tried her best to provide me with the necessary and ensured I didn’t always feel like I lacked something. She tried her very best to provide the best of what we could afford and always ensured I looked my very best.
The motivational trigger was further fanned by my cousin at the age of 15 when he tried to show me how to do cartoon characters on his computer. At least at that point, I was lucky enough to spend the most time with a computer than I had ever had before. The only time that it would be on shut down and he wasn’t using it, was for two reasons only; One, when there was no power and two, when the family members complained it was too hot in the house and it had to be on “shut down” because of its heat contribution; It was an old model and the house was already jammed by our family population.
In high school, I had a friend Paul who had a brother Don, who was a graduate student of computer science. My friend often talked of the cool stuff that his brother often did on his computer and that got me deeply interested into the world of computing. Until before my career interest got twisted, I had always wanted to be an architect.
Years went by and I had to say goodbye to high school. I was out into the world not sure of which college I would be called into or which course for that matter. It didn’t matter to me, I still wanted to do computing regardless of the outcome of the college called or my final year exam grades. But I remember filling out computing in all the course blanks for all the university campuses on the university application forms given to us by the school.
I finally got admitted into computer technology at the Technical University of Kenya (former Kenya Polytechnic University College). I was more than happy. That was just more than enough for me to get me started in my computing career journey. Every person I met from my class had great dreams. Some wanted to be the next Bill Gates, others the next Mark Zuckerberg, others the next Steve Jobs. I honestly didn’t know who I wanted to become like, there were too many of the people I looked up to. All I knew was that I wanted to contribute to building digital solutions.
Before then, I had a fundraiser to get me started with finances to get me into college. Being raised by a single mum, who didn’t have much especially in terms of finances and struggling of health. It was time to ease her burden on this. So, I set to take responsibility for my school journey thereon. On the fundraiser, I didn’t hit the target, but I got enough to get me past the first phase. But still, it wasn’t enough to get me the tools I needed; a laptop. The promises of aid to get one got broken. With hours, which turned to days, that escalated to months then later years of unpicked calls. Am glad though, that it happened as it did.
The first year went by. A whole year of studying with no equipment to practice what I had studied. I’d walk into class like my daddy was president, not presenting my folly to any person. But deep within I cried. What if my dad was still alive. What would life really be like? I always thought. Haunted by the fact that I had none to turn to or talk to about all of what was going on within me. Dying in silence. Only pen and paper became my closest friends.
During the end of the first year in college. My cousin Bobby got me some internship opportunity at his friend’s company. I got the chance of handling the company’s social media and that served as a springboard to all that I wanted to become. I also got a steep end to keep me going, but, I couldn’t save much since I had to help mum in sorting our bills.
I later had to say goodbye to the opportunity despite the offers of employment. School days were back. Once again, I was back to class, this time with a clear idea of all I wanted to become. I didn’t still have a machine to work with at that particular time. So here I am, just 20 years of age. No solid stream of income. Under a partial government scholarship that would barely cater for everything that I needed to pull through school and in a career that needs equipment to practice that I also couldn’t afford.
In the course of this period. A friend of mine “Sly” who happened to be in the same class with me. Bought a new machine because he accidentally spilled a drink on his old laptop and for that reason sold it to me at a throwaway price. It was extremely low, but I still struggled to pay for it. It took longer than usual, I at one point seemed like a really bad guy because of the delay. But with all honesty, I didn’t have the money. Not any sign of income or activity…just faith that it will all work out of which it did.
The machine was in my possession all the while. The main next challenge was getting it to work. Despite it being on break down and not functional at all, just a charging signal when you plugged it in to charge, I was crazy happy about it. It was broken yes, but nothing could take my joy away. It was the first equipment I ever owned. I struggled to pay for it and struggled to get it to work. Yes, it did work…it didn’t take long, just a few weeks and I was proud to carry it wherever despite it being old school. It didn’t matter to me, what counted was what I could do with it.
Things got worse thereafter. My mum took seriously ill. She couldn’t work anymore. I almost quit school to go find a job in order to help out. I talked to my cousin Bobby about it. I look at life today, and I feel grateful. I’m glad I didn’t quit school. It was during that time that we were homeless, it was at the same time I had the most unpicked calls, my mum’s hospitalized of which she stayed away for almost two years. I was just alone in a big town. With no consistent place, I could call home or even a person I could wholly rely on. Everyone had their own issues and I didn’t want to be a burden to any person, so I kept my own as well.
I took life as it was. Prayed for grace and strength to face whichever would come my way. went to stay with my cousin, of which I got back to being homeless because of a lady, that I devoted my life and heart to. But all that worked out for the better I still and will always say.
I got back to staying on my own. Started life with a mat on a floor in a room that wasn’t that properly ventilated. When the lights went out, you would think it’s in the middle of the night because no light could find its way into the house. One had to light the candles and use them. It got even crazy when I couldn’t charge my laptop, because the lights on the entire floor would go out, at a dare of a “laptop charger being plugged in”. I couldn’t bring most of my friends to visit. I tried to keep that low profile as much as possible.
All that while. All I had was one client, who I handled social media for. Atian interiors (check them out here). I got a monthly steep end from them and a further boost from other, gracefully given activities which kept me afloat. I was still in school then. Balancing both class and work. School needed me full time, but on the other end, the bills and expenses had no brakes. They kept coming and none of them wanting to leave.
During the same time, I got offered another chance with an NGO (WOFAK) as an IT assistant with a better steep end than the initial. But they wanted me full time. I had to make a choice. I had gotten this far, and there was no way I was dropping out of school because of cash, I only had less than one year to go. The thought of my good friend Jeff came in, then I came with a counterproposal… “you can have the two of us. Working part-time each. But we’ll ensure the day is fully covered and at no particular point, the IT department will be unattended to. Then split the pay between the two of us” which was considered and accepted. Now we had a place we could get practical experience, a source of food (they had good meals I must admit. I hardly cooked at home) and partial income. The basics of what I needed then were pretty much catered for.
We held the chance until we completed the classes and awaited to graduate. But before we did, another opportunity came around which led to another that turned into a multimillion project. Subscribe to stay in loop.
This is an overview of the book young and free by Patrick Steven Maunda (me)
Being good at something will cost you other things.
someone with an agenda is going to change the world than someone with a bag of skills