My name is Kariuki and I feel privileged to share my story of how I managed to succeed in life despite scoring an E in KCSE.
I schooled in one of the village schools in Muranga after I scored 123/700 marks in KCPE.What I knew after my primary education was that I could not make it in life since the community only celebrated those who passed exams.Immediatley I showed my father my transcript, he told me, “you better be a mechanic”, but my mother quickly intervened and allowed me to join a walking-distance day school.
Four years after attending my classes and sitting for more than 50 internal exams, I sat for KCSE..and scored an E.More shocking was that the highest grade was a D- and it was CRE-I think God sympathized with me.
Immediately the result were out, everyone in the village wanted to know what I had scored. I was the centre of attraction because my father was a chief.The whole village ululated and burst in laughter,some even told me to my face,”you are a goat”. But despite the ambush, I knew God had bigger plans for me.
The first week after the dust had settled, my father told me to either join a polytechnic to pursue plumping or remain at home and wash cars for my “successful“ brothers.I told him since my IQ has reached a dead end,I better was cars for my brothers. He laughed sarcastically and told me, “okay then”. He went his way.
One month later, I found myself in Nairobi, thanks to my friend who came to visit us in the village. But on reaching the city, I realized life was not as easy as I expected;I came face to face with the reality of living in slums, eating a single meal a day and using flying toilet-Kibera was my home for 5 years.
To cut the story short. I started working for a construction company based in Kibera where I was earning Ksh 200 per day but with time the money improved to in excess of Ksh 500 per day. From my savings, I managed to start a grocery, which consumed a capital of Ksh10, 000.
At first I used to operate a grocery from 5 pm till 10 pm but after I started making Ksh 1,000 a day, I decided to quit my work at a construction company to concentrate on my grocery.
Since I knew I wanted to prove a point, I worked hard, really hard while my brothers were in university. But miracles happened…two years later, I was living in Langata and my brother was looking for a job. Since he had no place to live in Nairobi, he came to my house. During his short stay in my house,he helped me operate the grocery as I took charge of my small restaurant.Later,he got a job at KCB bank as a cashier.
The following year, another brother lost his job at Sameer Group and came to live with me.He also had time to work with me before he got a job at Toyota Kenya, but his job didn’t last-he was fired because of stealing money..he was an accountant. He begged to live in my house as he fixed things.
In 2013,it happened that my businesses were doing well while my brothers were struggling, one was earning Ksh25,000 and my eldest brother was earning Ksh18,000 but my business was booming. I requested my elder brother to join me, and he accepted. Today we work as a team but he is a graduate and I am a form four leaver. He takes my instructions.
What I am surprised is how I managed to grow to become one of the most successful businessmen in Langata.I own a shop, grocery, hotel and two MPESA shops,but creating this empire has taken me more than 10 years.
What makes me more excited is that out here, regardless of what you scored in KCSE, you can set your own standards and succeed where professors and degree holders have failed. I would like to go to my village to remind my father that I am not who he expected me to be…God has uplifted me.