NAME ::: Kenneth Koker COUNTRY ::: Sierra Leone
I’m Kenneth Koker. I’m living in Waterloo, close to Freetown. I’m doing IT at YDC. I’m during the week here in Freetown at YDC and only go home during the weekends to see my family. I was living with my parents when I was small. We had a civil war at that time where we lived. That was the reason why my parents moved to Freetown during that time. I came here with my mother while my father was working still in the village. We came to Freetown and I started living with my family here. Things got really easy when we came here. In the village life was very hard, especially in the rainy season. Our home was not build for that. We had water everywhere. My mother sold onions to sustain us. Now my whole family is living in Waterloo and the situation is very different now. My father is working for UNDP and my mum also has a small business. We live in our own house. It’s very nice now.
What is most important to you?
The most important thing in my life is to become a successful man. I’m doing IT now and I want when I finish to find a good job. I hope that will bring my life further. So the most important thing now is first to finish my IT classes and after that I hope to find a job and find a beautiful girl to start a family with. So those things are most important to me right now.
What has influenced you the most in your life?
Someone that had a big influence on me, that is hard to say. I think right now the people here who teach me, have huge influence on me. When they teach me, they want me to become better and maybe even step into their footsteps. My teacher that was teaching me networking, the way he explained it, had a big impact. I think my teachers, yes, they have a huge influence on my life.
What has been an important turning point in your life?
The most important turning point in my life was when I was growing up. I was a weak boy, not very clear and I had no direction in life. So I did a lot of bad things, like stealing money from my mum or other people. Now with the opportunity of having an education I have a direction and I know what I want. But maybe it was also just a matter of growing up. I’m 23 years old now and I know much more what I want. I think because of that I don’t do those things anymore. And I think I also started feeling ashamed at some point doing it as I realized how wrong it was. My mum also got so angry with me that she hit me with a belt a couple of times.
What makes you happy?
What makes me happy is easy. When I do things that I like and enjoy, that makes me happy. For instance now, I do IT and when I play with my computer I’m very happy. But also, when I’m close to my girlfriend. I love chatting with her and spending time with her. But she is living far away, what makes it difficult sometimes.
What are you personally proud of?
I’m proud of being educated, to have basic education. I went to primary school and also to secondary school. So I have all the certificates. And soon I will also have the IT certificate. I’m now a volunteer at YDC and I’m helping people here. It’s important to me as YDC gives a lot of opportunities and when I teach and the beneficiaries ask me questions I also learn from them. All of the things I have been taught I now also teach to other people. That makes me proud.
What have been the biggest struggles in your life?
The problems I have in my life, well, when I was going to school, I was behaving very bad. One day a friend of mine and I went to a place to smoke. At that time somebody gave us Toppop (a drug) and one of my friends put it into what we were smoking. And when I was smoking it I completely was out of my mind. I robbed someone while I was on drugs and then my friends got catcher by the police, but I could escape. I ran back home, but they came to our home and took me to the police station. When I got there they locked me up. I was in there for some time and really was in trouble. I completely panicked. At the end I was just locked for a day, but it was enough, I can tell you! When my mum picked me up I was so happy. I was 18 years old back then.
What would you change in your life, if you could change something?
If I could change something in my life, I would change some things about myself, like my education for instance. Now I seek for exams and I would like to have them already passed and know all those things I would like to learn.
What do you wish for your own future?
I would love to become an IT specialist at some point and have a good job with that. In my private life I’m hoping that with my education also my private life will change to the better. With earning money my life will change. I can buy what I need and provide for my family. I think that is what I wish for my future. But also I would love to make music for people. I love that. I’m best with IT, but I love music. So I hope when I can work with IT I will also have the chance to do music. But in general, I love creating, no matter if it’s music, video or other things.