“My family thought I was an addict”

- Nelly Wandia, 33, procurement officer at a private company

Nelly’s survival tactics through a broke period of her life almost landed her in a rehab facility. “My family thought I was addicted to alcohol,” she recalls.

She was 22 years old and a fresh college graduate when she moved out of her parents’ house. This meant that she was determined to seem like she could take care of herself. She promised herself that she wasn’t going to put herself in a situation where she would need financial help from her parents or to move back home. Unfortunately for her, we can’t always control the things that happen to us.

“I was summarily dismissed from my first job in procurement at a small company. While looking for another job, I would work as a model at activations. I would get a gig maybe once a week. Cash was tight.” She did the only thing she knew to do – sold her electronics.

“My mother ran a shop where she bought and sold second hand electronics when we were growing up. I had seen how fast they move so it was an almost natural choice.”

It worked that first time. Problem is that it became addictive. Every time she got a little broke, she would sell her fridge or her sound system or her microwave. Her family noticed that one month her house would be furnished and the next it would be empty, so they staged an intervention.

“They thought I was struggling with an addiction. Now I try to hold onto my stuff and look for money otherwise when I am broke.”

 

 

“My borrowing nearly broke up my marriage”

- Rahab Makori, 28, small business owner

“Shylocks are both the best and the worst things that happened to me,” 28-year-old Rahab Makori says. It started with the mobile money lending apps. When she was broke, she would borrow Sh1,000 here and Sh1,000 there. It was all too easy and if she was late to pay, all she would get were texts with threats.

Then last year, she graduated to shylocks. Just like the apps, it was easy to borrow money and no one had to know. Things however escalated fast.

“I borrowed Sh10,000 from a shylock, tried paying it back in bits but within just a few months, they were demanding Sh55,000. Then auctioneers came to my house and attempted to carry furniture – which belongs to my husband, by the way. It ended up becoming a police case,” she says.

While borrowing from mobile money apps and the shylock did help at the time of need, the repercussions when she couldn’t pay the money back ended up exposing her.

“I should just have borrowed money from my family or a friend. Eventually, everyone found out and it wasn’t nice. My husband especially was shocked. He had no idea I’d borrowed the money. We almost broke up.”

“I have my meals at my friends’ houses”

- Mary Kimani, 26, job searching

When you’re going through a rough financial patch, 26-yeara-old Mary Kimani reckons that for the average person, food and rent are the biggest worries. She still lives in the hostel she lived in when she was in campus and her parents pay for it.

“They live on a farm in Naivasha. The agreement was that after graduation I would stay here and look for a job. They would pay the hostel money but I would look for small jobs and cater for the rest of my needs. They are still looking after my younger siblings back home so this is a reasonable agreement.”

She hasn’t landed the big job yet but she gets small jobs here and there to cover her food and clothing expenses. So what things has she done to get by when the small jobs were not forthcoming? “Go to friend’s houses at meal times,” she chuckles.

 

“I have my meals at my friends’ houses”

- Mary Kimani, 26, job searching

When you’re going through a rough financial patch, 26-yeara-old Mary Kimani reckons that for the average person, food and rent are the biggest worries. She still lives in the hostel she lived in when she was in campus and her parents pay for it.

“They live on a farm in Naivasha. The agreement was that after graduation I would stay here and look for a job. They would pay the hostel money but I would look for small jobs and cater for the rest of my needs. They are still looking after my younger siblings back home so this is a reasonable agreement.”

She hasn’t landed the big job yet but she gets small jobs here and there to cover her food and clothing expenses. So what things has she done to get by when the small jobs were not forthcoming? “Go to friend’s houses at meal times,” she chuckles.

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