Meet homeless office workers who call Nairobi streets home
3 months ago, 17 June 12:03
He once worked in the prestigious Office of the President during the Nyayo era. But today, the elderly man from Kericho County lives on Nairobi streets, his ‘home’ for more than a decade.
‘Jubilee’, as the tall, but now seemingly frail man is nicknamed, operates between Aga Khan Walk and Mama Ngina Street where he joins several open-air barazas where politics is discussed the whole day.
In the evening he troops to City Market, which is located near a 24-hour supermarket. He loves areas in the vicinity of round-the-clock supermarkets.
‘Jubilee’ has no home in Nairobi. We are here not talking about street boys (and not a few street men).
Undaunted, ‘Jubilee’ carries a toothbrush, toothpaste, shoe brush and polish in his pockets for daily grooming.
Multiple sources told The Nairobian that he avoided returning to his village in Kericho due to that small matter of being questioned about where he took all his money after working in the Office of the President.
But life was not always like this.
‘Jubilee’ married a woman from Central Kenya as his second wife. John Kibet who knows ‘Jubilee’ told The Nairobian that he “has never gone home for more than 10 years and that he somehow forgot his family upcountry.”
But ‘Jubilee’ was left between Kiambu and a hard place and the two parted ways unceremoniously in early 2000 after he was thrown out from the house he had allegedly built for the woman near her rural home.
‘Jubilee’ lost his job and “his attempt to follow up money and other properties he bought with the woman has left him totally frustrated. He reportedly attempted to approach the woman one time and she lifted her dress and told him to get the money from her genitalia,” said Kibet.
Another source told The Nairobian his second wife sold the house and left the country. The two had five grown-up children - two boys and three girls. They all live abroad”.
‘Jubilee’ is one of the many people who have no fixed abodes in Nairobi. To survive, he depends on the many friends and those he assisted to study abroad and who shore up his finances whenever they drop by.
Approached by The Nairobian, ‘Jubilee’ denied he’s needy. “I am not poor. We usually discuss politics in big hotels in this town, I even know some senior people in the government and media,” he said without shading much light on his life on the streets.
But Jubilee’s case is not an isolated one. Take Joseph Wafula, for instance. He is among the many men who sleep in line outside shops along the Ambassadeur bus stop in Nairobi. These men huddle together for warmth on the pavement.
Their shoes have seen better days, but they’re not dusty. So are their trousers. Come morning and they will up and bright and ready to report to work, clean, smart and punctual.
Wafula has been living on the streets for the past four months. He is a cleaner and messenger at a law firm along Loita Street. Wafula earns Sh5,800 a month. He ...
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