At 29, Annette is already a widow. When we met her, she lived in a rented house now near a shopping centre along the main road in Vihiga. Her in-laws were never very fond of her, and after her husband’s death they chased her off the land where the two were living.
Duncan was born in the rural community in Vihiga where he still lives today. His father died when he was six years old. His mother struggled to take care of her children alone. Because of that financial pressure, Duncan did not go to high school and instead began working from a young age.
Matthew has been a hustler for as long as he can remember. He did well in primary school and wanted to go on to a good secondary school. But, his mother at home was paralyzed and couldn’t work. His father, he says, “Is just a farmer, you know. He doesn’t take this issue of school seriously.”
Janet and Joseph have been together for 50 years. Janet had been in school up to class seven, when she dropped out, pregnant with their first child. She was eighteen years old. They stayed together at Joseph’s rural home for a few years until he decided to move to Kericho and look for work.
Ernest grew up in a rural area in Kenya’s Central region and help from family enabled him to move to Nairobi for accounting studies in 1998 after finishing high school. He completed Certified Public Accounting training up to section four, but found it hard to get a job. In 2003, he found himself desperate.