Open letter to Kenyan unemployed youth

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What you need to know:

  • Recently, I received calls from old friends. Friends who are single, unemployed mothers. Friends whose hands now shake from too much liquor.


  • Friends who are homeless, who have simply refused to try anymore. That’s when I realised I am better.  


  • I also got calls from friends in big offices in big cities handling big projects for their bosses. Calls that, after my jealousy had subsided, gave me hope of a better tomorrow. 

Hi,

I know you have received such a truckload of advice since you graduated that you think you know what I am about to say. Probably, or not. Either way, give me a minute. 

It is not going to be okay. Not today. Not two weeks from now. Simply, not just yet. There is a chance that whatever struggles are pulling your weight under water are going to stick around for a while. Longer even – I don’t know.  What I know is that if you are here, reading this, you are better off than so many other youths. You got up today. You picked a phone or a newspaper and read the useful content on these pages. At least you are doing something.  

But of what importance is a life of disappointment, stagnation and unfulfilled expectations, you might think. I will tell you: Being alive. It is a gift we often take for granted. So many young people have been tempted to take their own lives. A couple of times, I’ve been in that category. I was sure I had hit the wall, but we are still here today. Me and you. We won the battle yesterday. We are pushing to cross the marked line today. We do not know about tomorrow, but for now, it counts that we are still going. I am not sure about you, but I really wanted to become a lawyer someday. Then I was called to Egerton University for a Bachelors in Science course and after I graduated, I simply wanted a job. Any job. But mostly, a job at UNEP. See, I can dream big.

Now, after half a decade of sending applications and editing my CV to add each new volunteering engagement, I still want any job. This time, that list includes cleaning houses, cooking, washing clothes, advertising...heck, I would volunteer to dance for these crooked politicians while on the campaign trail. Anything to afford a packet of sanitary towels for my dignity and a jar of vaseline for my esteem.

As is probably the case with you, I have become big on booze. And blunts. These things make my mind ‘relax,’ I tell myself. Any progress? Hmm. Recently, I received calls from old friends. Friends who are single, unemployed mothers. Friends whose hands now shake from too much liquor. Friends who are homeless, who have simply refused to try anymore. That’s when I realised I am better.  I also got calls from friends in big offices in big cities handling big projects for their bosses. Calls that, after my jealousy had subsided, gave me hope of a better tomorrow. 

This letter will probably not stop you from swallowing those pills. It will probably not stop you from drinking yourself to a blur this evening. It will most definitely not get you a job or the capital to start, at the very least, a smokies business. I only hope it will remind you that you are not alone.

Naburi 
 

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