Early this week, Kenya was hit by yet another tragedy after Al Shabaab carried out another round of shootings. 36 quarry workers were killed in Mandera on Tuesday, less than two weeks after a similar massacre in the same county. This incident is what eventually cost the job of Ole Lenku and Kimaiyo.
It later emerged that 18 of those killed were from Chaka, Nyeri.
Many were left wondering what was the motivation for a young village boy to leave their home for a county hundreds of miles away, to work in a quarry.
It turns out the pay was good…. very good.
As the story goes, it started with one Mr. Gitonga who returned from working in the faraway county in 2007, and immediately bought two small trucks. His success story spread and soon more and more people from his village moved to Mandera.
Apparently, a quarry in Mandera pays between Sh30 and Sh40 per foot of building stone, while the same goes for Sh8 back home. That’s 5 times more.
Speaking to the Standard, John Ngatia, a survivor of the unfortunate attack and a resident of Kiganjo in Nyeri, who was camping at a military installation in Mandera, said that on average you can make Sh20,000 a week.
It would take you about a month to make the same amount in Nyeri.
I must add that as much as some people hate Kikuyus, they’re just better at spotting opportunities and making the best of them. If tragedy had not struck, perhaps we would be talking of 18 millionaires in the next few years.