KAJIADO COUNTY- Off to a first world country, and nature throws a curve ball. It appeared promising until he set foot. Then he had a brush with reality, the sad reality that university graduates can actually work as cleaners. With no canopy, to Shield him from the brassy situation, George Mathenge, present day principal of Brookhurst International School settled for the little or worst yet, that came his way.
He was overly excited since all looked promising- he knew his life was headed for the better times.
After all he had read about how lives of those who flew to developed nations made fortune. He foresaw the Prestige. But no one had prepared him for the tough life that awaited him.
He longed to pursue a masters degree, just not in Kenya so he chose to explore academics and life at large, abroad, the urge that informed his decision to travel to the United Kingdom. With him was Ksh 60,000 only, as his security, and a bachelor’s degree in Education - science - from Kenyatta University. He had no alternative but to roll up his sleeves for the dirty work that was going to save him from lack. Undeterred he gave it his one hundred the effort that paid off.
The menial jobs ordinarily meant for the uneducated or less fortunate are the hope of a Kenyan abroad. He later managed to pay his fee for a Master of Science in Bio-medical Science. The milestone that presented a beam of hope. Having had taught during his undergraduate years, he had gained vast experience in the field. That way he secured a job as a teacher upon accomplishing his Msc. A white color job, eventually.
Mr Mathenge's experience is over the top and he attributes this to the degree of exposure he gained in the UK. He got to learn how to relate well with students. To date, students find him approachable. He also adopted favourable conditions that enhance proper learning is schools such as reaching out to each student individually, upholding dignity and making them feel respected.
"If you have taught in London, then you can teach anywhere in the world, " he indicated.
He also recalls how wild students were and how tasking it was to tame them. The experience in teaching saw him secure the position of a principal in a renowned international school.
Culture shock too was evident. The culture was not appealing to him, consequently he would not have started a family, at least not in an environment he could not have raised children in. He prefers African culture to European which he deems to be rather 'artificial' due to their closed off nature.
"You know here in Africa we are social, tukikutana kwa mat tunabonga.. (when we meet in a bus we can strike a conversation..)" he said, appreciating how open and social Kenyans come across, compared to the closed off people he had had to put up with.
Five years later the 36 year old would sit down with himself and agree that his heart was home, not in the foreign land.
"I would like to provide an international curriculum with Kenyan discipline. I don't want to teach the culture, " Mathenge intimated.
He therefore resolved to return home to settle then start life. It took him a year to get himself a job at his current place of work, Brookhurst International School as a principal.
"If you have started a good life, my friend, just continue. If you have an opportunity to go there and improve yourself, do it, just know it is not easy," Mathenge reiterated.
Feature written by Ronah Saada