CAROLINE MUTHONI NJUKI, 30, works for the Intergovernmental Authority on Development ( IGAD) as the project manager in charge of regional political integration and human security. She spoke to NJOKI CHEGE about her inspirational journey to where she is today
Ten minutes before an interview, most interviewees are understandably nervous, especially if it’s their first time. But not so for one Caroline Njuki, whom I find peacefully reading the recently released biography of Uganda’s First Lady — Janet Museveni.
“I admire this woman. I have worked closely with her and she is such a humble person. She could have chosen to sit pretty, but she decided to work with the people, something I admire her for,” says Carol.
But Carol’s story does not start here, for never in her wildest dreams (or that of her father), would she have imagined that one day, she would be what or where she is now.
Carol grew up in Kutus, a small non-descript village in Kirinyaga district, and is the first born among three girls. Her parents were peasant farmers who practised subsistence farming that produced only enough for them to live from hand to mouth.
Says Carol: “There and then, I realised that education was the only way out.”
Indeed, Carol topped her way through primary school, and eventually joined Ngirambu Girls Secondary School, but it was not as easy as she expected.
“I remember the first term school fees was Sh16,000. There was no way my parents would afford that kind of money, add to that my personal effects such as mattress, metal box and uniform. It was difficult for my parents,” she says.
But through their unflinching determination, her parents were eventually able to raise the money. Interestingly, her mother had already started saving some money since she was in class six, and had already bought several personal effects in preparation for her daughter’s entry to high school.
High school life was not exactly a high life for Carol, who dreaded opening, visiting and closing days.
“Because they reminded me of the reality of where I came from. Watching other students enjoy what my parents could not afford was not easy,” she notes.