Seventeen-year-old Kamau Wanjeri is not your typical Form Two student.
While many of his peers are spending the April holiday playing video games, skateboarding or studying, Kamau has for the last two years been his family’s breadwinner.
When Kamau is not hawking toys on the streets of Nakuru town and supplying potatoes in several estates, he takes care of his diabetic mother.
And from the little scrapings, Kamau pays his school fees, buys food and pays rent for the house he shares with his sick mother.
“My brothers are married and they live with their families away from home. The small earnings they get from the odd jobs they do cannot cater for their needs and ours,” he says.
Even though life is tough for the young man, he counts himself lucky because he is the only one in the family to make it past primary school.
His mother fell ill after she was attacked and injured by a cow while working in a neighbour’s farm in Barnabas, Nakuru East.
Kamau says he joined Nairobi Road Secondary School in Nakuru in 2018 but he was two months late.
“I was late and the delay was due to lack of admission fees and also I did not have enough money to purchase a pair of school uniform,” says Kamau.
To get the admission fees, Kamau opted to farming collard greens (sukuma wiki) and African nightshade (manage) on their neighbour’s piece of land. From the little he earned from selling the vegetables, Kamau bought school uniform, books and by March he had joined Form One.
“I attend classes just like any other student but at the back of my mind I always know that I have a big task at home. My biggest worry being is sick mother,” he says.
Besides catering for the family’s needs, Kamau who calls himself the “hustler student” still spares time out his busy working schedule to study at the national library.
“I don’t mind skipping lunch and use Sh20 to study at the town library. I am a student and a hawker and all these things need to be balanced,” he says.
His principal says Kamau is hardworking, disciplined and a role model to some of his fellow students.
“The boy works hard both in school and at home,” said Mr Mwai, adding that at times he seems overwhelmed and stressed while at school.
Kamau’s dream is to become an agricultural extension officer but it seems to be slowly slipping away from his grasp and is appealing to well-wishers to help him out of his difficult situation.