• Eric did pretty well in school and was accepted to one of the most prestigious universities in the country.
• He says he was brought up in an environment where he didn't lack anything.
I had all the things a youngin could ask for... From video games to the latest gadgets. I had them all. But that was not bound to last.
These are the words of Eric 33*, who was raised in a well-off family but things just went south very quick.
Eric is an electrical engineer working for one of Nairobi's most valued companies. He did pretty well in school and was accepted to one of the most prestigious universities in the country.
He performed well and garnered a degree in Electrical Engineering. His parents always had this notion that for you to make it in this world of sin, you had to up your game when in comes to grades, just like most parents, especially African parents.
"I remember when I was in primary school, that's all my parents would tell me. ...Eric, you are smart and we want to see good results in as far as your grades are concerned."
I had to work extra hard to make my parents happy.
"They really worked hard to provide us with right about everything we wanted. We were so lucky to even have video games while growing up, something that most kids could only see in movies. We had a lifestyle that was luxurious, but things changed so drastically and till date, I can't really explain how things just went south very fast," Eric explained himself.
Eric says he was brought up in an environment where he didn't lack anything.
"I used to wear the latest brands and my friends would think I was so dope. Some would even purchase second hand clothes just to be on the same level as me, but I felt like I was way above them. This was because of how I was raised; with the finer things in life.
My father's job was a well paying job and that's why we could afford the lifestyle we had. My mother was equally earning a pretty good amount and being the first born, my parents would tell me almost everything, helping me grow up into a responsible man, just in case something would happen to them. And I grew up understanding that I had a responsibility to be the bigger brother to my two siblings," he said.
Everything was going great in their family until after his father lost his job.
"I remember that day like it's yesterday. My father came home way earlier than his usual time. He looked rather troubled so I opted to ask him if everything was okay. Later that night, he called into their bedroom and my mother was seated on her favourite chair in their bedroom. I could tell that something was wrong.
My father cleared his throat and said, "Son, I'm sorry for what I'm about to tell you but I have to tell you. I have lost my job."
The minute I had him utter those words, I felt weak because I knew that our lives were bound to change drastically.
He went on and told that the company he was working for has stopped its operation in the country and they were moving back to their country so everyone was laid off.
This really hit hard because my father was one of the big fish in that company. He explained to me that our lives were about to change because adjustment had to be done. All this time while he was explaining this to me, my mother was sobbing but softly, trying to hide her emotions from me, but she forgot she raised me better than to hide emotions.
My father went on and said that things were about to be tough, but in my head I thought that maybe things would work out, he would get another job and we wouldn't have to change our lifestyle. That was far from the true.
After three months, my father started selling things in the house like the DVD, electronic kettle, blender and toaster. Things that he thought we could live without just so that he could get some cash to support us.
One thing my parents did that didn't sit well with me is telling me that they had taken a loan to buy the house we were living in. Since my father had lost his job, my mother had to chip in to pay the loan. Her salary and savings were literally drained as she tried to support my father with bills.
Here's the thing. My father was a spender and when it came to saving, he didn't take it seriously, so our mother was the manager of the house, managing the finances but she always had a fight with my dad when it came to how he spent his money.
I digress. So my parents tried as hard as they could to continue giving us a comfortable lifestyle but they couldn't do it anymore.
Our video games were sold and I had to understand why they took that step. I talked to my siblings and explained to them why our lifestyle has changed. My sister took it positively but my younger brother was still sceptical about the whole change.
With the whole lifestyle change, my parents had to move us to a smaller house so as to save money.
It was a big blow and change for us but I had to be there for my siblings and my parents.
It was so hard to adjust to the new lifestyle, but that was not even a bad experience until our father fell ill and all hell broke loose. That was the beginning of a nightmare...
To be continued on Tuesday....