Good job (whatever the heck that means), a car, a ka-shamba in shags, a storied retirement house in that ka-shamba, a good spouse and, a side-hustle to bring in petty cash every now and then.
And that ladies and gentlemen are the two sentences that best sum up the very coveted Kenyan lifestyle every one of us is brought up to make happen.
So what does it take to realize this dream?
Having lost chunks of land to the colonizers, a couple residing in Murang’a are smart enough to learn that the only way to fight the wazungu’s is to get their children an education that’s as good as theirs. They toil in wazungu farms like slaves; day and night, weekday and weekend, dawn to dusk, so that their twelve children can one day make it as teachers and nurses, and make enough money to buy their land back. Back then, all you needed was a Class 7 certification to get a white collar job.
The successful teacher from Murang’a is highly famed. Marries another teacher and together they make nine babies. Each gets a good education, some to Class 7 others to Form 2. Long before they have cleared school, the teachers have set aside enough cash to buy 10 acres of land (not as much as what was stolen from their parents but still, good enough). They build the first ever brick bungalow in the district! LIFE IS GOOD. And with the wazungu’s and wahindi’s rapid exodus to the West and far East, there are even more job opportunities for them in the government and in other major towns and city!
There’s BIG money in the government. Within one year of employment, the new kids have bought big cars and houses in the city. Who would have thought that a village kid originally from Murang’a would fit in in the big city? To fit in more, they take their kids to private schools. So damn expensive, but they can afford it! Now, neither Form 2 nor Form 4 graduates get good enough jobs, just okay ones. They have to go all the way to Form 6! Also, college education only gets you a nursing, secretarial, bank teller or flight attendant’s job. But they want more for their highly sophisticated 6 kid nuclear family. The smarter ones get admission to Nairobi and Kenyatta Universities. Others have to be sent to Makerere - quite costly!
That don’t matter much - they are the first bachelor graduates in the family! Bank managers, journalists, high school and college tutors and hospital administrators.
At retirement, the parents sell off their home in the city, erect a bungalow on the two acres left for them by their parents in Murang'a and buy four more acres to practice 'retirement' farming.
Buying a house in the city is no longer an option; it’s better to rent out an apartment and save to build our own - later.
Primary and secondary school teachers as well as nurses are constantly on strike; so it's best that your 4 kids go to private schools and hospitals.
C+s no longer get admission to university and well, university education is no longer free.
Those few acres left for you by mom and dad, and grandma, can go to better use. (Who uses them anyway? It's time to make cash out of them)
One kid’s degree turns out to be useless. A loan is taken to cater for his master's abroad (graduates from abroad always get work, no matter how primitive their degrees are).
Out of the blues, the government announces retirement age will be 60, not 55.
At 62, you are still waiting for your pension to come through, so you can buy at least one acre of land in Murang’a and build you and your partner a decent retirement home.
Careers have to be started late.
Moving out of ma’s and pa’s home has to be pushed till you're 26.
Life has to be started in a bedsitter, and now, the best you and your partner can afford is a 2 bedroom house in Nairobi suburbs, despite having two kids (a boy and a girl), and a nanny.
Public schools suck, and private ones are more than expensive. To compromise, they go private till Class 3 (what matters is their foundation, you make yourself believe)
Even with a masters degree, you have to work long hours (early mornings and late evenings), plus weekends, yet, your hard-work and wages don’t correlate - but what's there to be done by this well educated law abiding Kenyan citizen?
At this point, you can clearly see the future - a future so bright that you’ll one day own that 1/8 or 1/4 plot yet; so dim that your kids will probably never move from home, find jobs or make you a grandparent.
If you haven’t had a light bulb moment yet, it’s time, time you realized that there’s no good that comes out of adopting the highly coveted Kenyan Lifestyle.
The cost of living will always be on the rise, Government jobs don't give you any security and, One's level of education doesn't determine their level of success.
But, if you make a dream for yourself, dress it up with some good education, and, eat, sweat and breathe that dream, you'll be a very HAPPY & SUCCESSFUL individual.