From Teacher to Quarry Worker, One Man's Will to Win

  • Workers pictured at a quarry.
    Workers pictured at a quarry.
    File
  • Samuel Ng'ang'a, a Naivasha resident and the current Senior Chief of Karati Location has a story of triumph that reads more like fiction.

    Upon completing his college education, limited job opportunities saw him turn to touting on the Nairobi-Naivasha route to make ends meet.

    He knew that his qualifications should not have translated to a blue-collar job, however, to Ng'ang'a anything that helps him legally put food on the table and save something aside for the future is the only definition of a job that counts.

    It was during his days as a tout that he stumbled upon a passenger who was in awe of his command of the queen's language coupled with his calm and respectable demeanour.

    Matatus pictured at a terminus.
    Matatus pictured at a terminus.

    "People used to be amazed by the good command of English and Kiswahili because all my life, I preferred to speak the right language and not sheng like my peers,” he explained.

    The commuter asked Ng'ang'a for his contacts and promised to help him find a job.

    The diligent tout hang up his matatu uniform after a 3-year stint, as the passenger managed to land him an opportunity to work at North Karati Primary School.

    His role as an educator brought him joy beyond words as he took the role of shaping young minds as a privilege.

    A firm believer in the power of a good education, despite his personal journey, Ng'ang'a was always drilling his students on the importance of making the most out of their time in school.

    He warned them that failure to do so would lead them down the vicious cycle of menial jobs such as quarrying - unknown to him at the time, he would end up doing that very job.

    The school administration let him go just a 2 years into his tenure, opting to go for trained teachers as per the Ministry of Education's directives.

    It was at this point that Ng'ang'a ended up toiling away at a quarry, next to some of the students who paid no heed to his cautionary tale.

    “I had a young family to feed and after several missteps in my job hunting mission, I settled for what was available despite the obvious mockery from my pupils,” he recounted.

    He toiled away for his family and in 2004, a close friend who had started a taxi business in Naivasha town offered him a gig as a driver which he took up wholeheartedly.

    Notably, all his jobs had endeared him to a lot of the local residents as they all involved a lot of contact.

    This is what led him to vie for a councillor post in Malewa Ward during the 2007 general election. He narrowly lost out after garnering 1,900 votes.

    He went back to the taxi business but he was now convinced that his ideal job would have to involve public service.

    As fate would have it, the enthusiastic taxi driver applied for a job as an administrator and crushed all his competitors during the interview.

    Ng'ang'a worked his socks off and is currently serving as the Senior Chief.

    Some of his notable accomplishments include stemming rampant cattle raids, boosting the percentage of transition from primary to secondary school in the area and tackling the dangerous illicit brew vice in the area.

    He has also been earning his stripes on the job and is currently a fully trained international mediator.

    Next on his list? Becoming an Assistant County Commissioner, he says.

    Karati Location Chief Samuel Nga'ng'a in his office.
    Karati Location Chief Samuel Nga'ng'a in his office.
    Daily Nation