My misery with the ministry of education started sometimes back in the month of March when I saw this seductive poster going viral on Facebook communicating to us that the ministry of education was in need of innumerable data entry clerks. Word has it that a number of youths were highly beguiled by this poster that contained Matiang’i’s glistening face on it. I don’t know their stories but here is mine.
On 24th April 2017, I submitted a sweet cover letter decorated with my strengths and achievements to spice up my intentions of really wanting to work with the ministry of education. This cover letter was escorted by a well-structured 7-paged curriculum vitae that oozed of professionalism and evenhandedness.
It was not until 26th of the following month that I received an email of reciprocation requiring me to download, fill, scan and send a form sent to me through that email. Looking at the email, later on, not only did it lack professionalism but also formality. But at that time, my mind was focused on getting my hands on the job that I did not invest time to notice the errors contained therein.
On a Sunday of 28th April, I duly sent the filled scan of the form to firstname.lastname@example.org and expectantly waited for the reply, which would come on 29th May of 2017. This reply, for a straight-thinking member of the society, sounded like a national anthem that shared an emblem of employment opportunities that do not disappoint. Through the email, Perminus Wainaina from the ICT Department doubtlessly informed me that my request had been duly approved.
Reading the prelude of that email brought ripples of joy into my heart as it bespoke of pleasant news. As the email read, I was to earn 300 bob per hour and that I would get paid on a weekly basis. Given my situation at that time, my hopes soared to the skies because I imagined myself working five hours a day and making a cool 1500 bob per day. Few people of my age in this Kenya earn that kind of money at this era. Meaning, I could make my rent in a week, and still remain with some money to take me throughout the month comfortably. I was jolly.
However, things would change later in the last sections of the email that required me to procure a uniform for this kind of job. Perminus, referred me to stitch Experts, who then, would make a uniform for me. After acquiring one, which was to happen in three days, I was to write back to Wainaina so that he can schedule a training for the same.
The evening of the same day, 29th May, I wrote a brief email to request more information on how I could successfully acquire a uniform within three working days. In that email, I expressed the urgency with which I needed the uniform, citing that I had been referred to him by Peminus Wainaina from the Ministry of Education.
At around noon the following day, which was 30th May, I received an email from stitch experts, specifically signed by one Felix Adala who had a heavy hand. This email was full of details, informing me that they were situated along Mombasa Road at Tuskys HQ near Cabanas on 4th floor. Through the email, he gave me two alternatives- to visit them to take measurements, or take the measurements myself and email them to him. The measurements were for the height, chest, waist, arm length and inseam. He even attached a diagram guide for the same.
On reading the email further, the uniform consisted of a shirt, a tie and a trouser, costing a cool 2000 bob. Adala pointed out that the uniform would be ready in two days, after paying a deposit of 1000 bob. He further indicated that the balance would be paid on delivery, a thought well put that I got more enticed. The method of payment included depositing the money in their Eco bank account, Account Number 011273664383. Alternatively, one could Mpesa the money to Adala through +254703563829.
Since we had a tape measure lying unproductively by the house like a very pregnant woman, I asked my cousin to take me the measurements. Okay, she never did because she is the type that needs so much beseeching and multiple reminders to get things done in your favour. Standing before a mirror, using the previous experience accrued, I took the measurements accurately and sent them on the 2nd of June having sent the deposit of 1000 bob. In my email, I pasted the reference number showing that I had sent the money and that I was intolerably waiting for the uniform, indicating that he should buzz me once it is done.
At 19:39 that evening, Adala wrote an email confirming with me that he’ll get back to me the following day after the uniform is ready for collection. Here is another inconsistency. In the first email, he had told me that it would be delivered, and in another, he told me I would collect it. But either way, I was happy that there was progress. Little did I know that the progress was about minting my money, which by the way had come straight from my folk’s pocket.
Before that, I had got in touch with Perminus Wainaina through email on 31st May at 9:36am to inform him that the uniform was underway. If you remember well, he had given me a deadline of three days to get to him if I still wanted to grab the opportunity. Having finished school and hustling hard to get engaged and get off the sofa, I didn’t want to lose the opportunity. It is what led me to the email, which till now has never been replied.
According to his promise, Adala from the Stitch Experts emailed me to inform me that the uniform was ready. Deeper in the thighs of the brief email read, “…kindly provide your exact location and number for sending purposes. You’re also requested to clear the remaining balance of Kshs. 1000 before we package it for dispatch.” If you were with me from the start, then you should see here is another red flag. During our first interaction, he had strongly said that the balance would be paid on delivery. Going by the above quote, the agreement seemed to have changed without my consent.
Well, on 4th June at around 18:24 pm, I emailed back reminding him of the terms of agreement which he had made during his first email. Going further, I informed him that the terms should remain as they were because that was the foundation of our business transaction.
My mind at this point had come to a harsh reality that my ass had been busted. I had enriched some fakeass dude (s) by Kshs. 1000 in a pyramid scheme disguised as The Ministry of Education.
There was no response to my email. On June 7th, I wrote another email to the son of a bitch Adala. I quote, “Hello Adala. I have the balance for the uniform. When and where can I pick it? Looking forward to a timely feedback. Thank you.” As you can guess, the email went unanswered till today.
Days later, I was sharing the story with a close peep when he divulged to me that my case was even better. His bloke had been wringed off 3000 bob to a similar scheme. According to him, a company advertised supermarket attendant jobs and asked all interested parties to show up at their offices. Being badly in need of a vocation to emancipate himself from the chains of usoto, he showed up at their offices for an interview which of course he turned out to be successful among other several candidates who had come to dish out the opportunity. The interaction, however, ended up with a story that they needed a uniform for the job. Their measurements were taken immediately and asked to convey a whopping 5000 bob for the uniform. Wanting not to lose the window, he paid a down payment of 3000 bob for the uniform and promised to clear the rest later. Him plus several others submitted the cash and promised to pay the balance later. As promised, upon acquiring the uniform, they were to start the job immediately. It is not until they visited the office next time that they met a shock of their lives. The office was long closed and there were no signs of any activity around it. In fact, it looked like it has never been used before.
Every day you meet someone in this town you’ll hear of someone getting robbed nicely. The rate at which these schemes are operating is worrying. And as long as we’re desperate for more money and better jobs, we’re going to fall for more traps.
How these guys managed to steal from unsuspecting individuals dying to get quick money and easy jobs still remains a mystery to me. How they could use email addresses resembling those of the ministry of education or other big companies still baffles me.
But in a country swallowed in corruption, where things go wrong and people celebrate, the affinity for doing wrong things to steal from other Kenyans is stronger than working hard to earn money using the prudent channels.
In a country where money is more important than character, anything is possible because we can go that extra mile to earn money from other people’s sweat.
In a country where rich people are extolled regardless of where or what methods they used to acquire the money, stealing is heroic because being rich means becoming a role model.
In a country where thieves and corrupt individuals are loved and preferred to than integral people, taking a U-turn towards vices is easy than struggling to be clean.
Even distressing is the frustration emanating from the humongous unemployment rate sinking our country. With these towering numbers, the temptation to find a shortcut to an overnight success is more ardent than patiently working towards a better future.
In a country where thieves are more recognized than achievers, thieving becoming a prestigious career is easier than Public Relations not being referred to spin doctor. With every youth dreaming of becoming Bill Gates of Kenya without investing years of work to make a name for themselves, any window of opportunity that can get them there will be warmly embraced.
The issue of morality and wisdom that should guide an individual during decision making process might have become as elusive as the unga. This leaves us sailing in the waters of our lives using sails of deception and disguise because we no longer cherish what is right. To this generation, there is no wrong, everything is right. So long as it leads us to where our egocentric spirits wants us to land, we’re cool with it.
Remember, anybody can fall for a trap. It doesn’t matter how smart you’re. We’re all vulnerable to the same laws of deception. As we say in my mother tongue, bong’ainu mbori monene (Deception does not recognize age).
We shall keep singing. But then, is there hope for us?