Lessons Learnt from a Kenyan Shoe Shiner with a Masters Degree


She studied in Rome and has a Masters in Media studies, she’s worked for the Media Council in Kenya but now cleans shoes on the streets of Nairobi.

She was featured in a show and I thought I’d write what I learnt from her story. Did you learn anything? Please add your lessons as comments below. Here are mine:


1. Stay away from saturated professions

Some might decide to pick the easy courses in hopes of having an easy life, but using the road most travelled usually lands you in an overpopulated land.  In most of these professions, you need more than a degree to “make it”. The supply is waaaay higher than the demand therefore employees have the choice to be superficial on who they employ, they can pick silly ideas like your height, weight, skin colour, accent, age, facial structure e.t.c. On the other hand if you choose a profession that is on high demand, “beggars can’t be choosers”. If you’re the only doctor in a whole county, I doubt people will risk dying because they don’t find you cute…..get my drift.


2. Don’t use tourist visas to look for jobs abroad

Tourist by definition is someone visiting a place for a specific time, if the duration of your visit is unspecified, you aren’t a tourist, you’re an emigrant or as the Britons like to refer to themselves, expats. Get your paperwork in order before you you travel.


3. Research on our host country BEFORE relocating

If you want to move to a country, find out as much as you can BEFORE relocating. Surprises aren’t fun, especially the kind that have you changing your lives dramatically for non-existent “greener pastures”.


4. Don’t give up

You’re the only one who can change your living situation. You can sit and have a pity party or stand up and do something to change your life. Even when you’re unable to fly, keep moving by whatever means you can. You might have to crawl for a while but you’ll survive.


5. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

Have a plan B.


6. Home will always be home

Very few people would agree to go back home with their degrees and clean shoes, (and potentially get a job after being featured on national television) most would rather stay abroad illegally which in itself is a dead end.


7. Be quick on your feet

You might want life to give you lemons for your lemonade only for it to give you avocados, for you to have less stress, you’ll need to find something else you can make with avocados instead of complaining you didn’t get lemons. This lady couldn’t get a job in her studied profession, she decided to do something else.


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