I could not believe that 20 years had passed since I was a lanky lad in the throes of adulthood with no definite purpose in life. Back then I used to do all sorts of odd jobs to make ends meet, but when I joined the Kenya Defence Forces as a private officer my destiny changed.
At the moment we were on a UN peacekeeping mission in Somalia and were camped 100metres from the shores of the Indian ocean in Kismayu.
I was the Software Engineer in my platoon, and my role was to develop and test software and applications for army computers. I also researched, designed, implemented and managed software programs.
The tent I operated in had satellite radios, and computers servers that facilitated the connection between the barracks and our stations back in Kenya. We had spent six months in Somalia, and our main mission was to subdue the Al-shabaab militia and facilitate their defeat by providing fire support.
Inside the army tent, as the sentries on duty patrolled the borders of the barracks,
I opened my laptop and looked at the pictures of my wife and kids and pined for them. Before I left Kenya, I lived with my family in the barracks, and the last time I spoke with my wife we had discussed plans to build our own house.
We had planned to build a three-bedroom maisonette at an estimated cost of Ksh1.5 million, to be completed before I landed back in the country. The house plans were concrete, but the finances to facilitate the construction were not.
But I could not afford to delay my dreams.
I connected with my wife via video call, and when she received the call she smiled like a little girl. We spoke all at once and laughed at our eagerness to open our hearts unto each other.
"You go first," I offered with a smile.
"Hey Honey, how are you holding up?" She asked with a sympathetic tone which hurt my heart.
"I'm doing great, just missing you guys very much" I responded completely relaxed for the first time in weeks.
"We miss you too, when are you coming back home?"
"It depends on how events unfold here, but I can't wait to come and actualize our plans together"
"Of course dear, I've been thinking about the same"
"Tell me more about it" I nudged her to open up since I knew her suggestions always yielded positive results.
"I was thinking what if we opened a salary account and took a loan"
"Okay, but we have no property to offer as collateral"
"Don't worry about that, I found out about co-op bank which offers unsecured personal loans of up to Ksh4 million"Poster announcing Co-operative Bank loan facility.
The deal was good, but I was ever wary about bank loans.
"The loans only take 48 hours to process and have zero minimum operating charges, and with a maximum repayment of up to 96 months. Which means we will repay the loans after we have already settled in our dream house."
"That is good news, once I'm back we will work on it," I said, but she objected and said if she took the initiative and borrowed the loan instead we would make our dreams come true earlier.
She added that once she received the Co-op loan, She would oversee the construction to completion.
It was a brilliant idea, especially from an account executive who knew her way around numbers. Over the twenty years we have been together, she has been an important asset in my life, and she has proved it again.
We were blessed with three sons, with the youngest in Class 6, the eldest on campus, and the other in high school.
At the time of the video call, she was at home. She wore a silky gown that made her look like her youthful self.
We talked for over an hour, mostly about the kids, since I could not share with her about my job experiences. The conversation circled back to the house plans, and she shared her plans.
"Next week I will visit Co-op branches in town and sign up with my national ID, and the KRA, both original and apply for the loan"
"Are there any other requirements?"
"No, Just those two"
"That is easy and convenient banking," I said and she concurred.
I told her to greet the kids for me, and told her that her strength kept me going. I saw her wipe tears from her face that expressed both joy and sorrow. It stung me that she was crying.
Before I could bid her goodbye, the distress alarm went off, I snapped my laptop shut and reported to my post.
I was at peace that my wife and I had finalized our house plans, and with the help of Co-op personal loans, we would eventually actualize it.
And now as I look back on this journey, I'm grateful that I'm back home after serving my country.
I'm filled with love for my wife and appreciation for Co-op bank who have made it possible for my family to enjoy a decent home. You too can start the journey here!Co-operative Bank Building in NairobiKenyans.co.ke