Former radio journalist takes role of guard to make ends meet

‘Patience is a conquering virtue’ wrote Geoffrey Chaucer, the Father of English Literature, arguably one the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages.

And for Boniface Munyao Mulilya, a security guard at of the County Information offices in Machakos town, his experience is a living proof of this.

Born in 1981 in Mukyamo village, Makueni County, the second born in a family of seven children, Munyao’ s thirst for education is astounding despite the crests and troughs he has been forced to go through.

Munyao started his early education at Engavu Primary school in 1986 where he eventually sat for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and passed well.

Unfortunately, his exemplary performance as he was to learn later was just the beginning of a long journey in a series of misfortunes that were to befall him.

Munyao’s father, who was a primary school teacher, initially requested him to join a village polytechnic due to the family’s financial constraints. However, his advice appeared to have fallen on deaf ears.

The son was determined to pursue his education career to the end the high odds notwithstanding. My aim was to go to a better school, Munyao tells KNA during an interview.

He eventually managed to join Mutitu Seventh Day Adventist School in 1995. That was two weeks into the second term after failing to report for the first term due to lack of school fees.

Three weeks later, Munyao was sent home due to lack of school fees and only managed to resume his studies towards the last week of the term. Nevertheless he still managed to emerge position three in his class, but that was as far as his studies for that year went.

In third term, he did not set foot in school since his father couldn’t raise the school fees. In February 1996, he was re-admitted to form two but his stay was short-lived and in March the same year dropped out again.

But the indefatigable Munyao, though beaten was not yet out and 1998 he went back to his former school with the hopes of joining form four as a candidate.

But the school could not agree to his wild request. Due to his long time out of class, he had missed much precious time and therefore no sensible institution could buy his request, however sincere it was.

His only option was to go back to form three and try his luck from there. His woes continued to dog him till he finally sat for his form four exams, an achievement he termed as a rare feat.

I was among those who had not paid for the exam therefore I was always on my way from school to home which was a ten hour drive. To address my predicament the school gave me a permit that allowed me to stay in school till I was done with my exam, he says.

It came to the deputy principal’s realisation that Munyao had a financial problem when it was too late and not much could be done since his exam was around the corner. Finally, the end of his five years in secondary school drew near so did problems get complicated.

Due to the numerous interruptions to his learning, Munyao only managed a D+ grade in his KCSE exams. This grade was a disappointment to his father and in a bid to keep hopes alive he decided to leave for Nairobi to look for greener pastures.

He did manage to secure some employment in the Industrial Area, but life was hard with a daily income of only shs.148. Six years later, he still had not furthered his studies, had no stable job and no family.

In 2007, Munyao who was 26 years by then decided to settle down against his father’s advice who had advised him to first get some formal training.

I met a friend in Nairobi who prevailed upon me on the importance of starting my own family. Even though this was against my father’s wishes, the challenges of life left me with no other option but to get a wife, he says.

But in a twist of luck, his father landed a job with the government and could now afford to take his son to college. In 2007, he left home with Sh 6,000 which was supposed to cater for his school fees, rent and upkeep.

He made arrangements with a family friend to offer him shelter but the man was kind enough to even feed him and give him transport. In return, Munyao was to do all the house chores.

It was while here that Munyao joined Theovision International College where he enrolled for a course in radio broadcasting. He attended class for only three months.

The upkeep money I had was soon over and mzee was not able to send more so I left Nairobi for Kilungu only to come back the following year. This was to enable me look for ways and means of getting money, he says.

In February 2007, he came back to Nairobi with Sh 11, 000 and was admitted at the Intraglobal Training Institute to pursue his journalism course.

With the help of his brother-in �law and his siblings, Munyao managed to finish his course after sitting for his ISM exam. He left Nairobi for Kitui where he had secured an internship at a Christian radio station,Wikwatyo FM.

Meanwhile, his wife and kids were in Nairobi, so he still had to provide for them.

Luckily he got a care taking job that paid him Sh 4,000. From Kitui, he went to another radio station for internship and on completion went back to the village.

Finding a job was not easy for me so I had to stay at home for quite some time. However, I seized every opportunity that came my way as far as my dream career was concerned, he says.

It was during this time that one of the radio stations he had worked as an intern offered him a job as they had laid off most of their employees.

He was supposed to work as a volunteer and with a monthly pay of the pay of Sh 5000.

There was a requirement for all employees to open a bank account, so I thought we were getting better money. But to my disappointment, I only found Sh 5,000 there, he says.

After eleven months, he felt he was being overworked and underpaid and quit his job. Munyao went back to Kilungu and started a small business which soon went under leaving him with no option but to resort to doing casual jobs in the village.

It was during this time that a family friend called him and offered him a job as a guard with a local security company in Machakos town. For Munyao, the pay was a handsome one compared to the peanuts he used to earn.

He happily took over the new offer a position he still holds up to date. So where does he see himself in five years down the line? As a man thinketh, so is he, is his ready reply.

His plans are to pursue a Diploma in Theological studies, which supplemented with his broadcasting skills, will hopefully secure him a job in one of the media houses.

Ambition is the path to success; persistence is the vehicle you arrive in, said the late William Eardley, a United States of America war veteran. For now Munyao remains optimistic and that one bright morning, lady luck will finally smile at him.

Source: Kenya News Agency