When I think about it, my friends really shaped how my work and life experience has been so far. I am of the opinion that the company one keeps is not only a reflection of one’s true character, but also shapes the kind of person one turns out to be. In my opinion, all my friends are way smarter than I and this is definitely on purpose. Growing up, my father always said that when he was younger, a lot of his friends were quite a bit older than he was. He kept this company deliberately because he had a lot to learn from them, and they had a lot to offer. I realize that I really took after my father in this aspect, only that my close friends are my age mates. When my friends and I hangout and share the details of the experiences we have been through, each of us gets to learn a bit about the other while at the same time learning how best to handle similar situations.

Great friends will not just be around to have fun with. What is the whole point of spending money together if we cannot make money together, right? I celebrate my friends because they define friendship on another level. I started working at 17 years old and one of the earliest jobs I got was as a result of my best friend, Joseline. We had just completed high school and had nothing much to do, except maybe write journals (from my previous article) and hangout. Her mom suggested that we get something to do, thus she told her older sister that we could use some work to keep us busy. Her sister helped us get a job with Safaricom’s Sales and Marketing Department. Lol, we sold sim cards guys but might I add, that was one of the best experiences I had. Later on we attempted to make and sell juice and even form a company. We had dreams and ambitions guys. (I am laughing and a little teary as I write this)

This year, I got a job at the legal department for an online auctioneering company and my bosses are 21 and 22 year old students from universities in Kenya and boy was I shocked, well, not entirely. How I met one of my bosses was a little funny actually. Two years back I had ordered an item online and I had no idea that the guy who delivered it actually owned the business. I was indoors all day and had no plans of going anywhere; so as you can imagine, I was in sweatpants, a t-shirt, a pair of socks and flip flops (don’t forget my earphones, as usual) when I went out to retrieve my package. Talk of first impressions, am I right? I really liked Tony and we both kept contact. We became friends and our friendship gradually grew from the sweatpants moment to what it is today. A year later as we were talking, I sent him my résumé and requested him to send it to anyone who happened to be hiring. He thought my résumé was impressive and months later while we were out eating, he tells me of this really good business idea he has that has not been implemented in Kenya. As usual I jump into my lawyer-mode and tell him what to do and what not to, the legal framework and so forth. Months later he (the COO) offers me a job, working under his partner Leonard (the CEO) in Management; a job I really love and enjoy.

We reported to work (as interns) the other day and Shelmith mentioned that when she gets her next job, she hoped to make friends in her workplace so that her work experience wouldn’t be so bad. At the end of the day, as usual, we took a couple of selfies and it was only after I got home that I realized, while going through the photos, that my close friends are my workmates. Honestly speaking, I thought that it is the coolest thing. Not only do I get to do what I love most, I get to do so with people I appreciate and enjoy working with. Our work involves fighting and championing for human rights, specifically for women and girls pro bono (Latin; in full it is pro bono publico) which means for the public good. Before I got the job, I lived in this ‘bubble’ where I had no idea of the problems many people could actually go through. In some sort of way, this job opened me up emotionally and I was able form a connection with some of the clients who came to us for legal aid. As a result, I was able to understand their situation and offer legal services as best as I could. However, I became very emotional.

I watch a lot of exposés by KTN’s Timothy Otieno illustrating the challenges in the lives of average Kenyans from all walks of life, and it becomes hard for me to do so without actually tearing up. You see, we get to go to these places, mostly informal settlements, and see firsthand what we watch in the news. By saying this, I do not mean to vilify the people or where they live, I mean to create awareness as to what we fight for. Becoming emotional might be a downside, but learning how to control them while simultaneously offering quality legal advice is a skill I learnt as a result. When doctors conduct an unsuccessful surgery and the patient ends up dying, they undergo mandatory therapy sessions to gradually cope with the situation. This may be the reason why most soldiers end up having Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, maybe they have no one to talk to. I consider myself a very emotional human being, and while my experience working for the general public, especially those who cannot afford legal services, may not be considered that stressful; I do appreciate the fact that I have friends I can talk to when it becomes overwhelming.

My friends have played a really huge role in shaping the kind of person I am today, my choices in life and my professional life. I celebrate each and every one of them, whether they are here or not.


3 a.m. Thoughts


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