“My name is David Thuo Wainaina, and I left form four in 2011. My journey started right before I did my KCSE, I read a book called The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale.
By the time I was finishing form four, I was already thinking that there’s more to life than what I see, I already wanted to be extra ordinary, create change and inspire others with what I would set out to do. So after form four, fortunately, I had a friend from high school with whose family I came to be close. So I got into this network Marketing company that had just been introduced to Kenya called Organo Gold. I was going for all their trainings and they used to have very motivating talks as a part of the training; and I had just completed form four. And right about the same time, people started asking, “What are you waiting for? You should be doing a short course or something.” So I decided that, “Fine, I’ll do what everyone else is doing.” So I went for a computer course. I did the computer course, and then I was done. While I was doing the computer course, I was still doing business – selling shoes – and so the time came when I was being pressured and told that I should go to campus. So I went to K.U. and looked at all the courses. I narrowed down to Economics and Finance. But when I went to class, and from what I read on the brochure, it actually hit me that this wasn’t what I was looking for.
I was also doing some few businesses in school. I used to get shoes from Kamukunji and take them there. I wasn’t the one selling them; I used to give my friends and then pay them on commission as I did other things. Actually, you could not trace it back to me that I was the one selling the shoes. While still in campus – I was in Main Campus – my friend and I got an idea about energy efficiency, helping people to save on power. We began acting on that idea, and I had to move from Main Campus to City Campus because the offices were in town; we were using my friend’s offices. So we partnered with them, registered the company very fast and started doing presentations. We realized that we were so good at it that within the first month of opening business, we made sh. 200,000 through the pitching, because it was a concept. We used to go to companies, explain what energy efficiency is and all that. Out of our theory, we would do an audit for them; count everything that was using electricity and then come down and let them know: how much they were using, what our proposed solution was, and how much they would save if they applied the solution.
At that time, I was racing between going to class, going for the presentations, running back to class; and I used to miss a lot in class. During my third year, second semester, I failed five exams. I only passed one. When we re-opened, I was told that I had to repeat the semester. So I went back home and realized that I couldn’t tell anybody this, so I hid the information. I asked for school fees for the next semester but I didn’t go to school. I registered for music production because I’ve always had a passion for music. So after music production was over, I was thinking, “Music production is over, it’s another semester, they want to see the transcripts, and I’ve not been going to school.” One day, I think my uncle sensed that I hadn’t been going to school. They went and checked and found that I hadn’t been going to school. So they called and asked me about it, they said that they had checked, and found that I hadn’t gone to school for the past two semesters. I told them that i’d been doing music production, but I didn’t have the courage to say that I didn’t want to go on with school, and that it wasn’t giving me what I thought it would.
So they pressured me again and I went back for registration. But on the day of registration, I was seated somewhere going through my phone, and I saw something written by Steve Jobs. He wrote it on his death-bed and it says that, “If you were told that you’d die in three months, would you continue doing what you’re doing?” And I thought, “This is it! This is the sign!” I stood and left the place, and i didn’t talk to anyone about school.
So, last month, I was called by my guardian, my uncle. He called me and asked, “What do you want to do with your life?” I told him that I didn’t want to go to school, and then I told him the different things that I’d been doing. I’ve been involved in a lot of things including photography, music production and all that, and I’ve now narrowed it down to what I’m doing right now. Right now we’re two founders, and our company features hotels and restaurants. We do videos and all, with the aim to connect people to these places. So I showed them and said, “This is what I’m doing, and this is what I want to focus on.” They asked about school and I said that there’s one particular program that I wanted to join in order to boost and grow what I’m doing.
By that time, I had heard about the Centonomy Entrepreneur Program, and I told them that I wanted to sign up. Fortunately, my uncle was okay with it, but I was still getting pressure from people to go back to school.
I have a passion of talking to people. People come up to me and ask me, “I’m going to campus, what course should I take?” And I tell them that I can’t advise them on the specific course to take because it’s a very personal decision. I tell them not to choose a course out of the pressure that they’re getting from people, because they might end up wasting their time. I am very passionate about motivating people, especially young people and letting them know that only they have the capacity to understand their dreams and vision. It’s very individual and personal, and you have to be very deliberate about bringing your dreams and vision to pass.”
Waceke Nduati-Omanga runs programs on Personal Finance Management and Entrepreneurship.