In his own words Jerome gives an account of his internship experience at the foundation as part of his give back initiative.
My name is Jerome Njihia, a former beneficiary of the Family Group Foundation Scholarship Programme and a 2017-2018 Gap year intern. After studying for four years at Alliance High School without any stress of paying school fees, (at the expense of the Foundation), I felt the strong urge to give back in some way as a way of showing gratitude for the help it gave me at a time when I was financially unable to cater for educational needs. After approaching (Sheila) out of my own volition, she told me about the internship that they had at the Foundation headquarters and that they would be glad to have me intern with them.
This was exciting for me, to be honest, having just cleared from high school and then getting to work in an office! Sure, I have worked in an office before, but not for as long as I heard the internship would last, which was great news to me. At first I wasn’t sure exactly what I was supposed to be doing, but I was comfortable with doing pretty much anything as opposed to just sitting down at home recycling movies I had been watching ever since we got a DVD player. However, you could hear my audible sigh of relief when I realized that the work was primarily, well, clerical. Just as I hoped…
On my first day, I got into my big boy pants, braved the chilly 6.00am cold and travelled all the way from home to Ngong road trying to make it to work within the 30 minute window I had, between 8.00 and 8.30, you know, for good first impression purposes, which I did. I met with the rest of the interns who, to my surprise, were not high school leavers like myself but rather fourth-year university students. However, I received a warm welcome from my soon-to-be good friend Davis who, although was jolly while receiving me, gave me the notion that the job I had signed up for was not going to be easy and that I would have to work fast to get in sync with the others.
I met Paul, a rather absent-minded fellow but one with a tough exterior and some inside jokes that were of course funny to those who understood them (Davis). I also had the privilege of meeting Eva, (full name Everlyne) who was quiet most of the time except for when she would occasionally laugh at Davie’s and my cheesy jokes, you know, for moral support… Otherwise, we established a good working environment in no time, and we went about the business of entering data with no fuss. Davie later on showed me where he got his chips for lunch from and it was at that moment that I knew my induction was complete…
One fine day, as Sheila casually passed by to say hello, she happened to pardon us from the data entry work and shifted us to filing. Filing. The gruesome one. I once had gone to Family Bank HQ in Nairobi to look for some community work over the school holiday and innocently asked whether I could do some bit of filing for them. You can imagine the expression on my face when I saw a team of three men hauling in a huge carton full of 2 years’ worth of bank documents for me to file in specificity by the day! So, pardon me if I stared blankly into her face like I was falling through an inter-dimensional vortex as she said the word ‘filing’. Much to my relief, the documents were already in files and all we had to do was rearrange them in a particular order in alternative files. Sure, sounds easy when put like that but it was really not. But a job’s a job. Always will be.
Lastly, one of my personal favorite to be honest, was the day we had a pictorial session on the roof top of the seven story Daykio Plaza. We let loose and had fun as Sheila took as many photos of us as would bullets come out of an assault rifles. Generally, my experience as an intern thus far has been great, with the best thing about the job being the general casualness and serenity present, greatly alleviating the otherwise almost unbearable office tension. I look forward to getting experience on how to relate with coworkers and also, of course, to familiarize myself with the typical “day at the office” scenario early enough. Many thanks to the Foundation for the chance.