“Over my dead body!” I exclaimed when my host informed me that my best path to a hustle-free life in these United States would be to study nursing.
That was six years ago. In my former life in Jamhuri, I was a successful banker. Cranking numbers and balancing things at my local branch was all I lived for. I loved my job. It offered some comforts and numerous lazy and fun weekends in Naivasha, Lake Elementaita, Nakuru, Malindi, and Mombasa, to name but a few places I frequented kuvinjari. All the nice places that a middle class Kenyan would afford, I enjoyed. Thanks to my six-figure salary and other perks my job offered.
My significant other did her thing teaching at an International School in my town. She also earned a good amount. Our two kids had the best we could afford. Life was good!
But one thing lead to another. I was laid off from my corner office. The banking industry was facing a crunch from all the pyramid schemes and low credit intake by Kenyans. I was given my handsome severance pay one cold July morning.
One thing I learnt when working at the bank was that not all of us have a knack for enterprise. I knew I was not made for business. So I tried my hand in buying chunks of land, subdividing it into small plots and selling it at a good profit.
I did that for two years. But land business in Kenya is like playing the Russian roulette! You can’t be certain of anything. One of my dealings did put me out of business after I got conned and bought land from very reputable lawyers but ended up being land sold to multiple buyers at the same time. Wolves started barking outside my door. The case is still dragging its feet in Nairobi courts.
In the midst of the confusion, the mother of my children got to win the Lottery Visa for the family. I was hesitant to relocate Stateside. But when I imagined my children getting an American education, I did not need any other conviction.
Relocating as a family from Jamhuri to the States is one hell of a roller-coaster. I wouldn’t wish the experience to my worst enemy. Living the known to the unknown is horrific! Period!
To cut the long story short, if you do not have a reliable host in the USA, don’t assume all will be well. Don’t get me wrong; many people are willing to help. But hosting a family of four in a two bed-roomed apartment is not a cup of tea.
Remember the children’s rhyme, mgeni siku ya kwanza? It happens in real time when even your blood brother hosts you. One month, second month, and conflicts are bound to build up. The woman of the house would be like, “these your relas are spending too much time in the toilet.” Or “Your cousin has the appetite of a pig!” Ama, “Tell your cousin never to touch my hair brush!” You get under each other’s nails.
Since your Kenyan education and work experience might not count for much, get ready to work at gas stations, supermarkets, factories, group homes, restaurants. Any job! If not, rudi nyumbani kaka.
So that is when my host mentioned in one of our discussions that I should try my hands in nursing. You should have seen my shock when he mentioned it. It did not matter how much I would be making as a nurse. It did not matter how many nurses I encountered and the stories they regaled about their properties back home. I simply wasn’t buying it.
Nursing was never for me. The sight of blood and wounds give me jitters. When our kids would develop a cold, were it not for their mother, I would take off to the nearest hill and cry wolf. I must admit that I am a repulsed with the thought of working in a hospital. Eight hours, five days working with sick people. Some of whom may actually die. Me? Hell No! Nindarega!
But my significant other took it by her stride. She registered at the local community college and got herself a Certificate in Licensed Practicing Nurse, LPN in a few eight months. When she started making almost double of what my delivery job was paying, my own children started egging me to style up.
But I was determined to prove them wrong. Not all the 350 million Americans can be nurses. I stuck to my guns. I bought me the first truck, then the second one. Now I have a fleet of four semi-trailers. I am an employer in the USA. I have my own schedule. I make a decent living. And I am not a nurse.
Not all of us can be nurses.
By Mzee Moja | firstname.lastname@example.org