The tale of Samuel Mwawato, a former pilot turned garbage collector in the small town of Mtwapa, Kilifi, is a poignant narrative that speaks volumes about life’s unpredictable twists and turns.
Once soaring the skies as a pilot in the United States of America, Mwawato’s journey back to Kenya was far from what he had anticipated.
In 1990, Mwawato earned a scholarship to study in the US under the East Coast Methodist Church.
During his time abroad, he honed his skills, learning to fly various planes, and primarily engaged in recreational flying, assisting aviation students along the way.
His dream was to bring his acquired expertise back to Kenya, but fate had a different plan for him.
Upon his return in 2005, Mwawato faced the daunting task of converting his commercial license to be able to work in Kenya. However, financial constraints forced him to take a loan of Ksh500,000 to finance the course.
Despite his best efforts, he managed only 10 hours of daytime flying, falling significantly short of the required flying hours.
Life dealt him another blow when his American wife, with whom he had two children, and his Kenyan wife abandoned him, leaving him alone to face the challenges that life had thrown his way.
Despite these setbacks, Mwawato’s spirit remains unbroken, and his optimism shines through.
He found an unexpected calling in his community, working for the Responsible Citizen Initiative as a garbage collector.
This drastic shift from flying high in the skies to collecting refuse on the streets of Mtwapa was a humbling experience for Mwawato. Yet, in the face of adversity, he remains hopeful, believing that his circumstances will change for the better.