By Sarrah Murtaza
I come from a very humble background. There were times when our financial situation would go from bad to worse. It was at that tender age of eighteen where I knew the value of every shilling.
My friends talked of taking vacations, studying abroad etc after O levels . For me I knew I had to get a job as soon as possible. Little did I know how difficult it would be. Straight from school with no qualifications every where was a dead end. Computers were the hype then, the industries were getting revolutionized changing from manual to computerized.
Somehow with the help of a family friend I enrolled in a computer college and also managed to secure a a job in cyber Cafe where I worked seven days a week with two hours in between to attend college . Life was tough with a meager pay.
However, I managed to complete my course within a year.
Two years down the line I got an opportunity to work in a company in the accounts department, with the basic school knowledge I grabbed it with both hands.
Life was taking a turn for the better.. This was when I realized that I was like a sponge where the numbers were concerned. I absorbed everything I could learn. During those times I met my husband who had just finished his studies in Nairobi and was working as a freelancer in the technical field we fell in love and got married within a month after engagement (a story for another day). 😉
Fast forward to life when my baby was a year old, a tragedy struck. My mother in law was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to go for treatment. I quit my job to look after the baby and home.
Three years later I was blessed with another son. During those years I realized I wasn’t really cut as a home maker. It was getting into me. By the time my second born was two, I was on the verge of depression.
I recall that day which changed my life… It was a Wednesday afternoon. My sister in law, Munira called me from Australia. ”Sarrah go for ACCA, do something,” she said – A seed was planted.
At that point my Mil looked at me and told me go for it. Don’t worry about the children I’m there with you – A gift of promise was given.
I was scared after ten years of leaving school I was going back to college… It was just a different feeling.
However, fate had different plans.. My MIL’s health took a turn for the worse and she succumbed to cancer just nine days before my exams. Our family was shattered, shocked, and we were in a complete denial and disbelief.
At that point I wanted to quit but my husband and sister in laws wouldn’t hear of it.
Despite all odds I passed my two papers. – The first ladder of success climbed.
As I progressed with my papers and quit college and resorted to self studying. I bought all the studying materials, did research on the Internet. It was crazy.
My day started with sending the boys to school, rushing to the kitchen to prepare the meals… By ten In the morning I was done. I would then take my books and rush to our small electrical shop. I would work there as most of the time, husband would be out on field work. Every minute free I would resort to studying.
My immense support during those times were my parents, and my husband who stood by me. Who saw me go crazy and cry my eyes out. Many times I wanted to quit but he only encouraged me to continue with my studies.
I had zero social life. I quit on TV… And the most important thing I had to sacrifice was the time for my children. Till date my eldest son cringes at the sight of fat books and his dislike of numbers is intense. I lost on sleep, frustration was high.
The results were out, and I was ecstatic to know that I topped three papers as a self study student! I was on top of the world…
However, I failed in three papers and had to resit them.
The struggle was real… Life was like a see saw some highs some lows.
During that time the only thing that kept me going was family support from both sides, and the major sacrifices made by my parents, husband and my little munchkins.
Towards my final papers I secured a job in a shipping company where I grew as a professional. It took me four years to complete this journey. Fourteen papers later, I was finally there.
My motto which I lived by was, ”When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
Eight months after I finished my ACCA, an opportunity came knocking and today I am a proud owner of a restaurant in Mombasa.
Blessings come in all forms. I now have a two year old little one, who fills our lives with sheer bliss.
This journey helped me grow as a person from a shy introvert to a self confident woman. In between the studying, my passion for writing grew, I would write to vent up my frustrations, my poems revolved around hope, determination and goals. I would write stories in my diary. I think that’s the only thing which kept me from losing my sanity.
And huge credit goes to my sister, (Sakina’s Poetry Petals/Sakina S. Dosaaji) for believing in me. Her words of encouragement, motivated me, while my frustration led me to rant.
Also I would like to give huge credit to my sister in law, Munira, who supported me immensely during the whole journey. Without her support and encouragement, I won’t have reached where I am today.
I would like to share a few lines of encouragement for the other super women out there.
“Its a matter of ‘do’ or ‘die’
lets fuel the flame
lets set the mind
whisper a prayer
time to close the fist
narrow the eyes
vent out the burning lava
and let the iceberg melt
a raging fire ablaze
with a calm facade
a smile an inch away
a tear never so far”