I met him for the first time during my third year in college. Karatina University is such a small community, but even then it might take ages to know someone unless they’re conspicuous or hold a certain position. It meant you had to be either of the two things- influential due to your position, be it a leader, class rep or club founder or chair; or simply popular for the right or wrong reasons- it could be your exceptional beauty or height, ability to drink and come to class inebriated, dating the most powerful person in the school or simply a Casanova. I was one of these.
Meeting James Githeki was during the political season of 2015 on campus, days right after my return from a year-long deferment. While I ran for the vice president post, he went for the finance seat. No one had told me that the Finance director wielded so much power even more than the vice president. Him (never saw a female in the post), and the president controlled much of the students’ council in terms of finances. While he busied himself with the budget and monies for various activities in and without the school, the president assented before any financial requests could be forwarded to the school’s finance department to release the cash.
It was this platform that made us meet. Before, I had seen him but never interacted as he was not in my line of operation. He never appeared in the clubs I was a member of or participated in our activities. Not until he clinched the finance docket, to everyone’s surprise, that he got into everyone’s lips. Being a blogger, much about him landed at my desk.
I saw him often on the field because he could play for his class. He undertook a degree in Human Resource in which he was a class rep as well. Now he was serving several roles- finance director, class rep, a crucial ingredient in the HR class team that participated in the Riverbank League and at times refereeing games.
For a man of his status, he was bound to become a star in his future life. There was much that he looked forward to, now that the windows of success had started gliding open for him. But just like many, there is a story to everyone, some dark, some very tear seducing.
The man recalls growing up in Nyandarua. Challenges were the main course meal of his day to day menu. As you could imagine, life in the village was rough, in a region where rains wash the land from January to January. With such environment, life posed many challenges. No one likes admitting that they grew up in poor families where their peasant farmers could hardly afford to buy shoes for their kids, Githeki’s folks also could only afford a simple pair of uniform. At least he had one, beaten up or not.
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But trekking through the Aberdares Forest to and fro school still remains fresh in his memory. Many don’t understand what this means to a child because a forest has all kinds of perils that would make one’s life a hell in just a second. It is a success story because despite all that he made it, a sign that he would be a victor someday, right?
In this Kenya where going to university is like walking into a market for many, there are still those whose ultimate dreams are to end up in campus because they can only see this as a life and death issue. Such people do not take education for granted and usually work hard not because they want to excel in their education but because they know with the education their dreams of becoming successful people will close in. And Githeki overcoming all the odds only to join university was a humongous stride that he doesn’t take lightly. There was much effort, strain and potency injected to induce such applausive outcome.
Githekihad many things, apart from being the HR class rep and finance director. He participated in founding KarUSBA and ENACTUS clubs in the school where he was also a full-time member. While at it, he also emerged as the best student in piloting teaching pedagogy.
He then would settle down in the fourth year to concentrate on his studies because fourth year is always a demanding year. Deep inside, the spirit within still kicked.He’d begun a journey and nothing could stop him from having bigger ambitions- nothing was impossible.
School was over after one year. The fourth year on campus always ended fast before you could contemplate on what you’d settle for once you’re through with college. This aspect always troubled many finalists because many had married the system which, to a greater extent, drilled them for the employment market rather than training them about innovation and job creation.
So while many were solving this puzzle, he’d already made his mind to run for an MCA seat in his locality. It takes balls to plunge into politics like that, but does it kill if you tried? What would be the worse? After all, he’d conquered many opponents to win the finance docket in school. Later, he stepped down for the incumbent. Not many men would do the same, but when one feels it is the wise thing to do in order to prepare themselves for something greater, why not go for it?
But his avid spirit for leadership acted as a passport for him to be a member of the Nyandarua County Youth Senate. It is often said that opportunity favours the bold, and here it was favouring him because he had the temerity to champion for things and trying to get a share.
He has since then become the HR of Leyworld Company limited, in-charge of recruitment and staffing. To add on that, he is the admin of Shenzhen Right Net Co. Limited as well as Health Consultant QuanjianInternational and a sales executive for Amanbo.com Kenya. This might sound too much but for a man who is focused, it is a way of keeping him on tabs.
He admits that he multi-tasks to avoid idleness, which if you observe well, is wasting many of our youths. For a man who wakes up every day to work his ass off, you can imagine that his lifestyle must be upgrading by day, including his wealth of experience which will serve as a basis for bigger opportunities in the future.
Do any of these achievements ring a bell? To me they do because how else do you learn if you can’t learn from success stories?
Where shall we go, we who wander in this wasteland in search of better selves?