You’re knocking on the gate and it is heavily raining when you want to get into your apartment block and who is the first person that you meet? It is a man wearing uniform from the boots to his cap and even holding onto a baton. He is the reason that your landlord charges you the extra coin at the end of the month so that he too can be paid!

In our contemporary Kenyan society some individuals albeit, not so polite refer to the people working in this profession as ‘ubwa kali’ which means a fierce dog. They are the men and women who risk their lives day in and day out to ensure you sleep with peace of mind not worrying whether your vehicle will be stolen or vandalized. Come and take a journey with me into the ordinary life of one of these fine men in the blue uniform as he narrates his life story and why he has undertaken to pursue this career path.

“My name is Kalonzo and I started my first job as a security personnel in 2012. I have five children and they live in the rural area with my lovely wife. This work is what feeds my children and takes them to school. My first born child is in class 3, the second in class 2, the third born is in nursery school and the rest are still very young. I report for duty every day at 6 p.m. and then leave in the morning at 6 a.m. I earn a very meager salary of  Sh7,500 per month but to be able to sustain a large family I work as a contractor during the day building houses. As a result of this I am able to earn an extra 500 shillings per day. When you do the calculations, at the end of the month I am able to take home over 25,000 shillings none taxed. Yes, you may laugh at what I do but it is honest work and money doesn’t not discriminate based on the type of work that you do!”

“I left my home in Kitui County and journeyed to Nairobi to look for money and to feed my family. All other things to me are trivial. My profession is flexible unlike other employment opportunities allowing me to creatively make an extra shilling. If you’re ever interested in applying for this profession, please make sure to get a police clearance known as a certificate of Good Conduct, a letter from your area chief, your high school or primary school certificates, two referees and a cover letter. I would be happy to guide you in this profession if you so wish.” The next time you want to insult your security guard, please afford him cordial respect because they are all striving to meet their obligations in a city away from home.