Janet vividly remembers that when she received her secondary school examinations results. Janet who had sat the exams at Misikhu Girls in Western had scored a C+, which according to her parents was a fail.
Her parents were convinced that for their daughter to have a good chance in life, she had to re-sit the exams and get a higher grade.
However, Janet stood her ground and refused to go back to high school.
After much deliberation about her performance, an aunt convinced her to pursue a degree in nursing, and she enrolled for the course at Baraton University of Eastern Africa. Inspite of the initial challenges of adapting, Janet excelled in her studies.
“Whenever I meet someone who didn’t perform so well in their examinations, I encourage them that that is not the end of their story,” says Janet.
After graduation, Janet did an internship at the Kenyatta Hospital for a year before joining Aga Khan University Hospital. It is while working at Aga Khan Hospital that she met an agent who was recruiting nurses to go to the United States. She grabbed the opportunity and raised Sh20,000 from her mother required for the application process.
As fate would have it, however, her travel plans were halted when she fell pregnant and got married in May 2003 at five months pregnant. This, however, did not deter her from chasing her dreams overseas.
Light at the end of the tunnel
One would imagine that a humble background, a not-so-stellar performance in highschool and raising a family would deter Janet’s academic ambition. On the contrary, these circumstances reinvigorated her pursuit of her lifelong dream.
Janet now boasts of a Master’s degree in Family Nursing from the University of California, Los Angles and a postgraduate studies in psychiatry and mental health from University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley, USA.
She was in Kenya recently to launch her book: American Success Pathways, How to Realise Your American Dreams and Desires at Nairobi’s Daystar University. Her objective is to help Kenyans find decent employment or education opportunities abroad, just as she did.
The paths of other Africans has not been as simple, and that is why she helps them explore different ways of unlocking opportunities abroad with different career backgrounds.
“Our youth, for instance, need to be familiar with the visa application process to secure entry to the United States. From my personal experience, most applicants flop during interviews at the US Embassy,” says Janet.
Another issue that Janet points out is that the Kenyan education is quite limiting for the young generation where those considered the crème de la crème are absorbed in the universities and the rest are branded as failures, unlike America where young people begin the process of self-actualisation very early on in life.
“Young Kenyans ask about scholarships, university admissions and community colleges. They know that even if they didn’t make it as per the Kenyan standards, there is another world that will accommodate them,” she says.
Additionally, Janet believes that she made the trip to Kenya at an opportune time to meet her thousands of social media followers to familiarise with their needs on a personal level. She applauds Facebook and other social media platforms that have given her a voice and an avenue to voice her experiences.
On a single day, Janet interacts with thousands of people majority being students from local universities and other institutions of higher learning who dream of pursing their career overseas.
“I have been doing this for the last three years. Initially, I use to respond to an about 50 people but the number increased to an average of 500 daily,” she says.