“Ukiona vyaelea ujue vimeundwa”
The year was 2006 and I had been admitted to join Nyeri high school but my mum had no money for my school fees and form 1 needs. My mother, bless her heart, saw it fit to sell the only piece of land she owned and I was on my way to one of the top schools in the country.
All seemed to be going well until one sunny morning when auctioneers ambushed our home in Thindigua, Kiambu. They ransacked our house and carried everything. The only thing that was left behind were our clothes, the beds, and family photos. No TV, no gas cylinder, no cooker, no fridge, no wall unit, no wardrobe, no furniture…nothing. Just an empty hollow space. We were left staring at empty walls while standing on a cold red floor.
It was painful to witness and the public humiliation shattered my self-esteem. When the auctioneers left, I jumped on a pile of clothes on the floor and cried. I remember using a hand mirror to see if my eyes were visibly red but my mum reassured me saying “Reuben, it shall be well. God will see us through, He has never forsaken us.” I’m not sure I got it then but today it is crystal clear.
Would we ever bounce back as a family was a question I kept asking myself?
A few years later, I got a chance to join Strathmore – one of the best universities – on a partial scholarship. I remember some of my mum’s friends reprimanding her for taking her son to a school she couldn’t afford. Our faith as a family suffered mockery but one thing is for sure. God remains God and a year later, I got a full scholarship. At the end of my four years, I graduated top of my Financial Economics class and was voted one of the “Most Outstanding Student.” I also had the opportunity to travel internationally while in university.
The tide has turned over the years and what was once shame has turned to grace. I am currently working at McKinsey, a global management firm and will be proceeding to Switzerland to study my Masters. My mother on the other hand owns her own home, is involved in large-scale chicken farming and does pastoral work for her community. As a family, we have had an opportunity to “pass it forward,” and are currently educating needy high school, college students and relatives. We are giving back to the society and it is indeed a great feeling.
God has remained gracious to us and despite all the odds, His love and grace remains sufficient. Over the years, I have learnt to put all my trust in God for He has and remains El-Shaddai – all sufficient. What had been robbed from me 10 years ago has now been restored. Shame and low self-esteem has turned to a victorious new me.
Ukiona vyaelea jua vimeundwa. I have nothing to boast of my own doing. But I find joy in that now I am a steward of God’s blessing to many people. This is just a tip of the iceberg of my story but you know what: behind every face, there is a story. What’s your @strathu story?
This article is part of a series on #studentlife@strathu. If you would like to share your story, kindly email us at: communications @strathmore.edu