Schooling abroad comes with challenging moments for foreign students and such are forced to look for low paying part-time jobs to sustain their life.
Such was the life Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of the founding President, went through in the United States though his was not that difficult compared to the average student.
Uhuru schooled at Amherst College in Massachusetts, US, and during his time there, he had a side hustle to keep his not so bad lifestyle going on.
After he completed his high school education at St Mary’s School, a Catholic institution in Nairobi, Uhuru worked briefly as a teller at the Kenya Commercial Bank.
He then proceeded to Amherst, a private liberal college, where he pursued a degree in Political Science and Economics. Amherst college has produced notable personalities including a number of members of the US House of Representatives, two former Prime Ministers of Greece and Albert II, Prince of Monaco among others.
During the holidays, at his apartment outside the school, Uhuru hosted students from around the country who he entertained with alcohol and food at a fee.
The students he targeted were those Americans who had nowhere to go during school breaks. He shared the apartment with three other Kenyan students.
He sold alcohol to students who, according to those who schooled with Uhuru, enjoyed camping in that house, drinking and smoking.
Each student paid $20 (slightly over Ksh2, 200 in current exchange rate) for the booze and food which was certainly some good money.
It was a well-paying side hustle that Uhuru managed to buy himself a Toyota Saloon Car at $2, 000 US (about Ksh220, 000) which he used to ride around US streets with his friends.
The car was, however, not a match to what he drove while at St Mary’s school. When he was in high school he rode a pricey Mercedes Benz which he drove around his fiancé and later wife Margaret Gakuo.
Back in the US, he also hosted his younger brother Muhoho Kenyatta who schooled at Williams College, still in Massachusetts.
Former Bahari MP and ex-Kenya Broadcasting Corporation Managing Director Joe Khamisi says Uhuru did not struggle much abroad and apparently, the alcohol side hustle was just to maintain company to his merrymakings.
His mother Mama Ngina paid him frequent visits and would stay for a month at a local hotel in the US, says Khamisi.
It is also said he worked briefly at a fast-food joint there where he was paid a minimum wage.
It is claimed he enjoyed the bottle and smoked while in the US a trend he has not dropped. He has been spotted in the public having one for the road.
The ardent rugby player had a fantastic life at St Mary’s school aka Saints where he met Maina Gakuo, son of late Dr Njuguna Gakuo, the first African Director of Kenya Railways.
Maina is the elder brother of Margaret, the current first lady. It is through Maina that Uhuru met Margaret and according to his childhood friends, it was love at first sight.
While Uhuru was at Saints, Margaret was at St Andrews School in Molo, Rift Valley.
Charles Ouko, one of Uhuru’s classmates says when the son of Jomo joined high school, he was given a car to drive as was the case for many students there.
Uhuru owned a cream Mercedes Benz 190E, registration KWT 185. It is this car he used to visit Margaret at their home in Karen and other times take her out in it.
While he was at lower class with his younger siblings; Muhoho and Nyokabi, they were driven to school in a Mercedes Benz 280 SE model (KPS 810) by a General Service Unit officer identified as Mugo Karuga, now retired.
He graduated from Amherst in 1985 and returned to Kenya where with his relatives, established an export company; Wilham Kenya Limited for trading in agricultural produce.
He wedded Margaret in 1989 at Holy Family Basilica in Nairobi then led a quiet life until 1997 when he vied the Gatundu South parliamentary seat but lost.
He was, however, nominated into Parliament in 2001 by then President Daniel arap Moi, rose to a Cabinet Minister, opposition leader, Deputy Prime Minister and President in 2013.
And did you know how he ended up with the name Uhuru? The President was born on October 26, 1961. Kibaki who later became his godfather and third President suggested to Kenyatta and Ngina that their child be named Uhuru (meaning independence).