How hawking jewellery saved me from drug addiction

Patrick Kinuthia goes to work (PHOTO: KELVIN KAMAU)

He is a fashionista and fully understands his trade. The man from Rockline village in Kiambu town has been hawking jewellery for the past three years in various markets and residential areas in Kiambu County.

He is easy to spot from a distance because of his sense of style and love of the bling. People often question his lifestyle arguing that, he is too posh for a hawker.

His style of hawking is not kawaida. When The Nairobian caught up with him in the streets of Kiambu town, he was donning sunglasses and there was a vestige of class as he carried on with his daily routine.

His sense of style has earned him the nickname, Mr Bling Bling.

“Many people don’t know my story. They only see a spruced up guy hawking jewellery. After high school, I found myself idle, began hanging around idle youth and was hooked on drugs and alcohol. I would wake up at 6am to go to ‘mama pima’ to drink chang’aa. Meanwhile, I played my guitar in night clubs and would be rewarded with alcohol,” he said.

“I am a survivor of the deadly chang’aa that was laced with methanol and claimed many lives in Kiambu, leaving many more blind.

“My friends and my family did not want to see me because all I did was borrow their money to feed my addiction,” he said.

 The 33-year-old walks around with a white box and college bag for his jewellery.

On becoming a jewellery hawker, “The dream started in the rehab when I was trying to figure out what to do afterwards. I was in rehab for four months and I used to pray fervently to God asking him to give me something to do.

“Fearing that I would go back to drugs and alcohol, I asked for Sh1,600 from the church and a bishop called Absalam Ndungu was kind enough to lend me the money. My aunt gave me the idea and I used the money to start my jewellery business. Right now, I’m running a stable business with an operating capital of more than Sh50, 000,” he says, adding that, he looks the part because, “my clients are mostly women; my appearance and mannerisms must appeal yo them.”

Kinuthia says he purchases his goods from Nairobi City every two days. On rare ocassions, he has had to deal with hostility from people who cannot stomach his success.

“I frequent Eastleigh, Kamukunji and Dubai Street in the city centre where I buy my goods. Some clients can be abusive at times and even refuse to pay for the goods. This business is profitable; I’m happy I am doing something with my life and making myself a better person. My faith and trust in God helps me everyday,” he told The Nairobian.

The father-of-one starts his day at 6am. He makes about Sh30, 000 every month. A chain costs Sh250, watches are sold at Sh350 and earrings go for Sh150.