In a world where higher education often promises a brighter future, Kelvin Makachia Osore’s journey serves as a stark reminder that life doesn’t always follow the expected script.
This 25-year-old graduate of Kenyatta University, who earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics in 2018, has faced the grim reality of unemployment.
Despite his academic accomplishments, he’s resorted to unconventional means to sustain himself.
Kelvin’s story is emblematic of the countless graduates grappling with the harsh employment landscape. He diligently sent out applications to over 200 companies, met with unresponsive silence, and visited numerous businesses in Nairobi’s Industrial Area, all in vain.
“The many months I have ‘tarmacked’ and struggled have been utterly disappointing to my family and me, especially my mother, who is regretting why she took a loan to educate me at the university,” Kelvin laments.
Hailing from a family of five siblings, raised by a single mother who worked as a vegetable vendor and even took out loans to fund Kelvin’s education, the stakes were high. However, as the job hunt proved increasingly futile, Kelvin decided to leverage his resilience.
Putting aside his degree certificate, Kelvin embarked on water vending and transporting goods for clients in the bustling Soweto area of Nairobi.
“Since I knew somebody who could lend me a cart, I decided that I would start vending water and transporting luggage for clients such as market stall owners in Soweto area,” he explained.
Kelvin’s day begins at 4 am, as he collects water from school boreholes and sells it to residents for a modest fee of Sh20 per jerrican, which he purchases for Sh5.
On better days, he manages to secure a profit of up to Sh900. Nevertheless, his responsibilities extend beyond self-sustenance.
As the eldest sibling with three sisters and two brothers, Kelvin shoulders the weight of providing for his family. This entails paying rent, ensuring there’s food on the table, and supporting his siblings’ education.
One major challenge he faces is the periodic distribution of free water to Soweto and Kayole by Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi’s Sonko Rescue Team, which affects his water vending business. “When this water arrives, we are unable to sell,” he remarks, underscoring the unpredictability of his livelihood.