How to survive in Nairobi when you are jobless and broke

Nairobi is a city where if you have no relative or you’re jobless, death can easily snatch you from the rest; ‘it’s a hostile city when your pocket is empty.

Assuming that you have just arrived in Nairobi, within the first two weeks you realize that your pockets cannot sustain you anymore, hopes of securing a job are diminishing as stress becomes the order of the day.

I remember in 2008, I had just completed college. Fresh, free as a molecule and ready to wrestle life, I joined my uncle in Nairobi in order to familiarize myself with city life and perhaps find ways of getting my dream job. The first 2 weeks were exciting as I was using the little I had saved in school to board a matatu to town and walk aimlessly along the streets.

Two weeks later, I found myself broke, desperate and full of nothing to smile about. My uncle used to wake up as early as 4 am and rush to work, leaving me yawning and cursing the sky. The jobs he had promised me turned out to be a hoax. I could not go to town anymore because I was broke.Everytime I asked my uncle for some pocket money he told me to choose between food and money. I was operating between bed and sitting room. That’s where I learnt to survive in Nairobi without a job and money.

If you find yourself in this situation, this is what you are supposed to do.

1. Carry luggage in a matatu stage
If you are desperate, don’t choose work, after all you want money. Go to a nearby stage and carry luggage to whoever needs assistance for some cash. In a day, you won’t go hungry.

2. Join other Kenyans in construction sites
Even if you are graduate, when you are jobless in Nairobi and broke yet your stomach demands something you must do any job. Just visit any construction site and ask for a mjengo job. I know graduates are choosy, but for those who wish to learn one or two things, it’s wise to work in a mjengo than to demand money from relative every day.

3. Academic research writing
This is a common job among graduates who have not gotten a chance to work in any company. These jobs are everywhere and getting them is pretty easy. Identify one local company that offers the service and no one would deny a chance to showcase your skills and earn some penny.

4. Start washing clothes for estate residents
If you are a lady and you are desperate for a job,please don’t wait to die just because you cannot get a good job to do.Start your own company where you visit neigbours who have dirty clothes and offer to wash for them. Then look for those women who need the job and ask them to do the donkey work as you share the money. You can make a lot of money from this business because most women in Nairobi don’t wash their clothes; they either take them to the laundry or pay people to wash for them.

5. Start remedial teaching
There are so many parents in Nairobi who want their children to be taught during weekends. As a graduate, you can talk to those parents and ask them to send their kids to you for remedial teaching.






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