Esther Macharia belongs to a new crop of youth who are daring, hardworking and ready to do any legitimate job as long as it puts food on the table. She works as a tout at Super Metro matatu Sacco, a job she took because she needed to pay her bills.
Here is her story as told by WoK.
Born and raised in Nakuru, she attended Free Hall Primary School and Flamingo High School. Getting through school was very challenging as sometimes her mother could not afford to pay her school fees. At times, she would stay home for up to a month.
After high school, she enrolled for a certificate course in Information Technology at Rift Valley Institute. Her desire to further her studies were deemed because of their financial situation.
Before becoming a tout, she worked at a law firm as a messenger and secretary. The law firm was mainly into real estate and land issues and her monthly salary was Ksh15,000.
The money was not enough and she was struggling to survive on her salary. She needed another way to make money.
At the age of 22, Esther had seen a woman tout in one of the buses. Inspired by her, she approached the woman and expressed interest in the profession. The woman guided her on what was required and how to apply.
As a woman in the male dominated industry, she has encountered a number of challenges. There are people who are dismissive of her job and others have have a vile attitude towards her. Some also think they can swindle her because she is a woman.
“Some may be intoxicated and do not want to pay their fares. They’d look at you and despise you for being a woman, but I have learnt to handle myself better. Some moody customers would like to spoil your day. They’d want to pick brawls or you know woo you rudely,” she said in a past interview.
The celebrated tout added that how you carry yourself in the business is very important. They have strict guidelines on how to handle customers which includes not being rude to them. One needs to have wisdom and know when to let go of issues.
Esther went on to advise the youths to take a risk and engage in whatever job, regardless of people’s perception. She said that while in high school, teachers used to advise boys to read so they don’t end up as touts.
However, she has realized that what matters is dedication, respect for others and pursuing legitimate employment.
Through the job, the 26-year-old is able to pay her bills and take care of her children. She encouraged those seeking jobs not to be picky as happiness starts within.