The JourneyEVEN IN THE DARKNESS, FIND YOURSELF

April 18, 201756

(LONG POST ALERT)

There was simply no explanation as to why the lady at the South Africa High Commission in Nairobi seemed to take pride in hindering the progress of processing my work permit. “Look, the company needs to tell us why they’re hiring outside of South Africa”, she said curtly, for the umpteenth time, when I’d asked what the hold up was and why I was still in Kenya two months after being headhunted to be a News Anchor in Johannesburg. “They’re specifically looking for Foreign Correspondents”, I said equally curtly. I’d run out of courtesy and patience. As far as people knew, I’d begun my new life in South Africa in June of 2009. This was August and I was waiting out the process at my parents home in Mombasa. I’d resigned from KTN, I had said my goodbyes but…here I was! So I’d occasionally take a trip to Nairobi to push, but was always met with rudeness or nonchalance.

Some insight into how the process of acquiring my work permit was supposed to go: The company that was hiring me in South Africa, eNews Africa under eTV, was to send me an offer letter to sign. They did. It’s the document before the contract, which I could only be given once I had the work permit in my hand. The company was also supposed to send the High Commission a letter of motivation to ascertain that they indeed wanted to hire me. They did. The High Commission officials in Nairobi were then supposed to process my papers, send them to Home Affairs in Johannesburg and I was meant to receive my permit shortly after. Two weeks tops, I was told. Easy enough, yes? Er, no. eTV tried everything, they couldn’t understand why nothing was moving and they needed me on that end asap! I was beginning to think I wouldn’t see an end in sight to this issue

She said, "Don't blind me, I need to find my way!"
She said, “Don’t blind me, I need to find my way!”

By September, I’d run out of patience. Whereas the High Commissioner usually steers clear of Home Affairs issues, because I’d visited him on occasion during my work at KTN, and he’d even invited me for a courtesy call when he heard I’d be moving to SA, I walked into the building, looked for him and explained what was going on. He was dumbfounded to learn that I was still haggling for my permit because he thought I’d already left Nairobi! You want to know what the funny part is? I got my permit two days after that. Yup! He made a call and realized there was an unnecessary hold up with my documents. Someone was stalling the process! By the time I got my permit, packed, and landed in Johannesburg on the 9th of September, I was jaded, tired and already over it! The bureaucracy had drained me.

So began a series of dark moments when my permit issues would persist, even when I was already in SA. The initial permit is usually valid for one year, after which it’s meant to be renewed so that the company can give a longer contract. Again, should have been easy enough! Instead, right after I was privileged enough to cover the World Cup in 2010, my permit woes had me lining up weeks later outside the Home Affairs building in Johannesburg at 5 am, in 10 degree weather. For days on end and for no apparent reason. I triple-checked my documents, everything was in order, but there was always someone out of the office or this, that and the other and I’d have to go back to my place and wake up a few days later to start the whole process again to a point where my permit expired and I had to head home for a few weeks while I applied for a temporary one.

It was during those dark moments that I began to second guess my decision to move countries. The job was great though; I got on really well with my bosses and colleagues, plus I’d found a haven in my one bedroom apartment which was in a great neighborhood not too far from work. Everything else was great except the status of my permit. I would withdraw from people and couldn’t do much because if I attempted to make any banking transactions or anything that required my passport, the system would pick that there was a discrepancy with my permit. I wallowed, I was upset, I was homesick.

Sometimes, I think, you need to fight persevere the dark to appreciate the lesson #JanetsThoughts
Sometimes, I think, you need to persevere, even through the darkness; that way you appreciate the lessons #JanetsThoughts

I took to reading and writing to clear my thoughts and fight my insecurities. But I struggled with accepting my situation. I had to believe that my being in limbo was happening for a reason but I struggled with that too. I told myself that out of the darkness would come light, that this would be a lesson of sorts someday.

By beginning of 2011, having become a pro at securing temporary permits, I felt like I was ready for change again. Incidentally, after running into the same Commissioner who helped me in Kenya and had since moved back to SA, I was introduced to and met with the Head of Permits himself, at his offices in Pretoria. A pleasant man who had just been appointed. He shook his head and said, “Can you believe I have to approve thousands of permits? The former Head of Permits was just sitting on them. Like he didn’t want all of you here! I’m very sorry,” he finished, and I just stood there in shock. According to him, there was no reason that me and thousands of other people were not being granted work permits. He went on to confirm that a lot of us waiting on our permits were legit, which made the situation all the more ridiculous! It was as preposterous as it was offensive. But this man, and I wish I could remember his name, was kind and concerned. He stamped a 5 year work permit in my passport…yes, FIVE YEARS! I took the permit to work and was given a 5 year contract. After all the hustling, I’d hit a home run! But then…I was done.

Something inside me had shifted; I was tired, disappointed, embarrassed, frustrated…I was jaded. It all just seemed too little too late. Shortly after, I handed in my resignation. I was longing to return home, where I would never need to chase permits. Where I would belong and build myself. My bosses were understanding about it all.
While I knew I would miss some of the amazing people I’d met while at work in SA, I needed to do this for me. The 2013 Kenya elections were on my mind and I figured it was best to make a move early, and it was a smart move because shortly after returning home in July of 2011, I would seek out Farida again and ask to join Royal Media Services. In hindsight, I had learned myself more, become a more resilient individual and made a mark as the first Kenyan Anchor on e News Africa. I was beginning to appreciate the dark moments, albeit over time.

In November that year, I debuted on the Citizen Live at 9 alongside Hussein Mohammed, and there began another chapter in my life…

In time, darkness makes way for light...

In time, darkness makes way for light..

Photography: Lyra Aoko
www.lyraokomedia.com
(Instagram: @lyraoko)

Body Art: Lindsay Dawn Adhiambo
lindsaydawnful.tumblr.com
(Instagram: ah_this)

 

56 comments

  • Philomena

    April 19, 2017 at 8:24 am

    ‘Even in darkness find you.’ there isn’t a better way to say it

    Reply

  • Mercy ceciliaz

    April 19, 2017 at 9:15 am

    Truly, in Everyone’s success there is an humble beginning, always an inspiration Janet you indeed a gogetter, i have learnt a lot 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

    Reply

  • Mirigo

    April 19, 2017 at 9:35 am

    Absolutely love reading your blogs, Janet! So relatable and authentic…Everything makes sense in retrospect doesnt it? Look at you now..Keep doing you..inspiring so many of us! Plus those portraits are fierce! Bless

    Reply

  • Doris

    April 19, 2017 at 10:31 am

    omg! off many excellent pieces you have penned , this got me so hooked and in the moment . I cannot wait for the next piece.

    Reply

  • Lydia Mole

    April 19, 2017 at 10:54 am

    Been following your blog..Am new in the world of professionalism,still figuring out my stands in this career world..this is a really good piece too me..from how you started to where you are now. It gives me the drive to do the same to my career side of life too.Thanks Janet!!

    Reply

  • Wambui Wagathu

    April 19, 2017 at 11:24 am

    So beautifully written Janet. Always an inspiration.

    Reply

  • Chelsea

    April 19, 2017 at 11:31 am

    The resilience

    Reply

  • Nzilani Janet

    April 19, 2017 at 11:42 am

    wow, just wow. you’ve fought hard for it. Inspiring indeed.

    Reply

  • gloria mbula

    April 19, 2017 at 11:50 am

    Thank you Janet for this… Been going through a moment of darkness myself, jobless, frustrated by my family and really put down by them and made to feel like a nobody and it’s really weighing me down.. I hope to see the light at the end of the tunnel like you did

    Reply

  • Selina

    April 19, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Awesome

    Reply

  • Hope M

    April 19, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Wow that was quite the journey to Citizen. It’s very inspiring how hardworking you have been.

    Reply

  • Elizabeth

    April 19, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    Wow! Such an inspiring story. Am inlove with your milestones!

    Reply

  • Lopo

    April 19, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    Waar… Janet, and to think how during that time when you moved back to Kenya how there were so many stories surrounding the move and people saying all sorts of things. To see how you pushed through amidst all the challenges and difficulties I am glad to see how you have stayed on course and following your heart’s desires through God’s grace. All the best!

    Reply

  • mum Ethan

    April 19, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    Inspiring you did soo much at an age we all thought we were discovering ourself….looking back i realise i had the potential to do more….its never too late i believe.

    Reply

  • kate

    April 19, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    so inspiring.

    Reply

  • Purity Waswa

    April 19, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    Wow this is so inspiring… To be able to push through tough times and obstacles.. You are truly an inspiration. Godspeed in your endeavors. Am a huge fan.

    Reply

  • Wakamau

    April 19, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    Waoh am soo inspired. It’s never too late..

    Reply

  • Purity Oronyi

    April 19, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    So inspiring Janet.

    Reply

  • Missy

    April 19, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    The organization that I worked with back in 2014 suddenly closed down just 4 months into a new 5 year *funding/operating cycle…you know just I was settling in. With a brand new baby (yes I said that, okay 9 months old), I was devastated! Little did I know that it was the best thing that could have happened to me! Thanks for sharing your story Janet!

    Reply

  • Gillian Simatwo

    April 19, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    You are an inspiration. Thank you and God bless

    Reply

  • Dorah

    April 19, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    Wooow! That’s an incredible story .Awesome

    Reply

  • Hihu hannah

    April 19, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    Am embracing my darkness more positively thanks for sharing

    Reply

  • Anekea Issah Mohammed

    April 19, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    Nice piece of literature and a good inspiration to the young Turks.

    Reply

  • Karen Wambugu

    April 19, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    This is quite something.You are simply amazing Janet.

    Reply

  • mary

    April 19, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    Janet,,,you are really an inspiration to many of us,,,,I really love u,,,,God bless u more n more

    Reply

  • Marrie

    April 19, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    You gal! You should have been a writter in another world maybe..love and light

    Reply

  • Tabitha

    April 19, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    Inspired

    Reply

  • Gaelle

    April 19, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    “Something in me had shifted,was embarrased,disappointed…frustrated…” I totally relate with your words Janet.My work experience in Tanzania left me tired and complately frustrated. I just packed and left for home. Now am ready to work again. Working in foreign countries aint a walk in the patk.

    Reply

  • Damiana Mutuku

    April 19, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    Wonderful piece there Janet ,kip on insuring us,the lord is taking u far

    Reply

  • Kui Mwangi

    April 19, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    👌🏼👌🏼👌🏼

    Reply

  • Kate kamotho

    April 19, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    So inspiring Janet

    Reply

  • Jacinta

    April 19, 2017 at 9:06 pm

    You are such an inspiration to many..keep on keeping on gal.

    Reply

  • Jacinta

    April 19, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    You are such an inspiration to many..keep on keeping on gal

    Reply

  • Flavia

    April 19, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    Wow an inspiring story to me. Had lost hope securing a job but now I believe more than ever its time to persevere and push.

    Reply

  • Jenn

    April 19, 2017 at 9:38 pm

    Awesome Janet writing. Following on your milestones.

    Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Reply

  • Evarita

    April 19, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    Thank you for this. Going through a frustrating and exhausting day… I was feeling daunted and bowed. At the end of my rope. Thank you for the reminder that in time darkness makes way for light. Blessings

    Reply

  • Alex Mayore

    April 20, 2017 at 12:41 am

    Indeed nothing comes easy. patience and strength defines a woman. janet look at yourself you impact and touch so many lives/ imua dada campaign and foundation is worth remembering forever

    Reply

  • Alex Mayore

    April 20, 2017 at 12:42 am

    super woman . God bless you

    Reply

  • liz

    April 20, 2017 at 1:14 am

    so much like it..before reading this was thinking of how my dark moments throughout my childhood have become a lesson and disciplined me..thereby have firm principles..this piece is a driving force

    Reply

  • Sylvia Amachulang

    April 20, 2017 at 10:49 am

    You have opened my eyes Janet. U inspire me so much. Wish could meet you one on one.

    Reply

  • Ida Wambui

    April 20, 2017 at 11:54 am

    I wish you knew how touching and inspiring your posts are Janet.

    Reply

  • Maureen

    April 20, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    This post couldn’t have come at a better time. I am currently in a season of limbo. I feel jaded, tired & drained. I loved every word of the post. Thank you

    Reply

  • lucy wanja

    April 20, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    Waiting…..waiting for the next piece

    Reply

  • lucy wanja

    April 20, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    Inspiring…. Wait for the next piece

    Reply

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  • Muyu

    April 20, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    Sigh this post. I should write about my administration process in France. Well written. Waiting for the next post 🙂

    Reply

  • Faith nyabuto

    April 21, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    Amazing piece ,personally am going through a super rough time and thanks to My career identity and your article I look forward into facing what tomorrow holds for me

    Reply

  • Sally

    April 21, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    Even in the darkness, find yourself! How true that statement is. I started a new position in a brand new place a month after I buried my dad and boy was it the darkest time in my life with all the transition combined with grief. A year and a half later, I can say that I have found myself and dangerously at that. Darkness will do that to you,if you don’t stay there. When you rise, nothing seems impossible! I seem to have this new found sense of self, ironically, I can now see myself as my dad who was my biggest cheerleader, saw me. I feel unstoppable! Thanks for taking us along on your journey.

    Reply

  • Keya peris

    April 21, 2017 at 9:24 pm

    So inspiring jano…following from egypt

    Reply

  • Jane karongo

    April 22, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    Wow
    U have moved sth in me

    Reply

  • Kanini Janet

    April 22, 2017 at 9:01 pm

    woow this is incredibly awesome I can’t wait for the next part… where there is darkness some great light is always waiting for you.. if you persevere
    Good job

    Reply

  • GRACE WANJIKU

    April 23, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    I believe God has a reason for everything that happens in our lives.in our darkest and weakest moments he finds us and gives us the strength and courage to go on. I hope you read my story, I cleared high school in 2013, started CPA in 2014 and in 2015 the person supporting me stopped, since then I’ve been struggling between working and seeing myself through night school.you are a very strong and influential woman who’s helped alot of young women’s stories to be heard.I was to continue with my studies but its getting harder n harder to pay my school fees with the small salary I get.please share my story and hope someone can be able and willing to help me.thank you

    Reply

  • Florence

    April 26, 2017 at 11:04 pm

    What an amazing piece Janet! You just don’t know how huge your journey stories inspire us! May God continue giving you the strength and persistence in this journey.

    Reply

  • Winnie

    April 28, 2017 at 9:53 am

    very inspiring, just what i needed.

    Reply

  • Winnie

    April 28, 2017 at 9:54 am

    Very Inspiring, all i needed!

    Reply

  • Minnie

    May 8, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    Great Piece Janet.You are my role model.I admire your courage.You are a beautiful en got Brains.Keep going gal….

    Reply

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