Single Mum Tales: Jobless in Nairobi

Our firm had announced that they would be restructuring, though I hadn’t given it much thought.

What you need to know:

  • A Certified Public Accountant, I had given my all to build my career.
  • I was lucky to land permanent employment, fresh from college.
  • We were then in our 20s and had so much to tick off our bucket list.

Natasha, a certified public accountant in her mid-30s, lost her job two years ago and is still struggling alone to raise her four-year-old son, Liam. Nothing, other than a few temporary contractual jobs, seems to be forthcoming, yet her current contract is expiring in two weeks.

I could feel the phone vibrating on my lap while still in my bag, although I could not answer it immediately, as I was  in the middle of a presentation. I could hardly wait for the speaker to get off the podium so I could take a bathroom break and see who was calling me. Curiosity got the better part of me. So I discreetly fumbled through my bag to take a sneak peek at my phone.

My heart nearly skipped a beat when I saw two missed calls from my nanny, Wilkister.   

The nanny watched over my four-year-old son, Liam. I always ensured she had airtime, which she would use to call me whenever a need arose. The phone vibrated once more and a text message popped up on the screen, “Mama Liam, gas imeisha.” I heaved a sigh of relief; at least Liam was okay. Gas could wait. Besides, I had advised Wilkister to warm food in the microwave in case the gas ever got finished in my absence. I'm not sure why she thought it was urgent to call me despite informing her that I was attending a presentation. These girls... Anyway, at least my baby was okay. 

Life was good then and I reminisced on all the times my five girlfriends and I had enjoyed all-girls trips.

Fond thoughts of Liam flooded in my mind and I was temporarily lost and barely heard the rest of the presentation. My mind wandered back, two years ago when I worked for Joe and Eric, one of the prestigious consulting auditing firms in town. A Certified Public Accountant, I had given my all to build my career. After graduating with Bachelor of Commerce, I decided to pursue accounting as a professional course and I was lucky to land permanent employment, fresh from college, in the same firm, after completing my internship.             

Life was good then and I reminisced on all the times my five girlfriends and I had enjoyed all-girls trips to various destinations like South Africa, Dubai and Israel to see the holy land. We were then in our 20s and had so much to tick off our bucket list. We had gone for zip lining, bungee jumping, hiking and had enjoyed hot air balloons a couple of times.

The retrenchment

Well, this was before the babies started coming. The girls were now in their mid-30s and were taking life a little slower. We now had to factor in our children and any trips or outings had to be child-friendly. The partners too had to be consulted in the instances where the girls decided to celebrate their birthdays out of town – alone.

One gloomy day, however, changed all this for me. Our firm had announced that they would be restructuring, though I hadn’t given it much thought. More so because I had been loyal and had worked for the organisation for eight years or maybe it was because I was too engrossed with my new client that I did not have time to focus my energy elsewhere. And anyway, hadn’t I just presented my five-year projection? It, therefore, came as a shocker when my name was among those the organisation sent home. 


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