NAME ::: Peter Chege COUNTRY ::: Kenya
In very simple words, my name is Peter Chege. I’m here from a little village close to Nairobi. I’m married with two children. One is now living in the US with his family as well. My daughter just graduated from university in June this year and we are hoping that she will go on to pursue her masters next year. Currently I do tours and travel. I have a small company which organizes trips for visitors from different parts of the world. We also do airfare stuff for our clients. This is what I do for a living. I’m 56 years old now. Beside my job, I also keep to have animals at my small farm. That gives me a lot of pleasure. When I see the animals in the evening, that makes me happy. We have some cows, goats. The cows are also milked and we have around 100 liters in a day, what is good for the family as we also sell it. We deliver it to some hotels in the city around 40 kilometers away from where we live. So I basically go every day.
When I grew up, that was a big challenge for me. We were four brothers and I was the third born in the family and my parents were just farmers back then in my home village in the central province. In the time we were living a good distant from where we could fresh water. So we moved closer to the city, also that we children could get an education. As I was the third born in the family, I found myself being hassled by my bigger brothers. They pushed me to do all the work. Like big brothers do sometimes. It wasn’t easy for me, but I managed to get over it. My older brother then died in ’77 in a plane accident. He was working for the ministry of tourism and he had to go to fix a car and then the plane crashed. That was a very difficult situation for the family. But since then we have seen a lot of progress. Many people helped us. My brother started an orphanage and he took quite a lot on his shoulders, but he manages with the support from many people.
At a young age I went from class one to class seven and did my education there. After that I joined high school back in ’75. After that I did not proceed further to university as my parents were not able to pay for my school fees for the years in upper level and university. So I ended looking for a job. I did a bit of teaching for a period of two years and after that I got a job with British Airways in ’78, for whom I worked up to 2005. I got a retirement and used that to start my own business.
What is most important to you?
What is most important to me is god and my family. But I think it’s also the interaction with the people around me. That is really important to me. I mean, you can have money, but if you can not have a good relationship with the people around you, it means nothing. No matter if people around you are poor or rich, try to be kind to them. Those are the ones that will come and rescue you in times of need. There are times where you may not have an easy life, but if you have people around you, they will help you. When you have that you will always go very far. If you tend to disregard others and think that you are better than others, because you have money for instance, I’ve seen that those ones at the end don’t make that. So the day to day interaction are so important and living in harmony with the people around yourself is very important to me.
What has influenced you the most in your life?
When I was growing up, my uncle, who was a Christian, and another old priest from Italy were constantly telling us about love, loving our neighbors or loving the people around you. I believe the kind of respect I have for humanity was based on what my mum and they told us. My mum also told us a lot about togetherness and that we should not fight. She created some kind of phenomena in me to value and respect others. Through that I find that we need to have togetherness and love for each other. I think those values made me who I am.
What has been an important turning point in your life?
When my elder brother passed away, I knew that he had secured a job before and he was the one that helped the family a lot. So when he passed away this was a very difficult situation for the whole family. It made everything much more difficult. When I joined British Airways, they helped also my family. They put up a shelter for them. Before the place we had was grass and I felt that we should move on to the next level. And that is what I did with the help from my new job. For me that was a great achievement. We have tried to help our parents since then. I never turned back ever since. We don’t have so much land now, but today I feel blessed to have this land and my mum (my father passed away in 2006) has a place she can call home and what is better than what they had before. As a child I feel we have done our best to give them a better life and also move for ourselves to a more rewarding life.
What makes you happy?
When I see other people managing their own affairs. When I see that we don’t have people begging. If I manage to improve the life of the person next to me, who could be my neighbor or the person in the street. If I can have a small impact, that is something that makes me happy and gives me the motivation to move on with life. I think serving others is my greatest delight. My wife has always complained that I tend to forget the family as I tend to lean so much towards being nice to other people that I forget the family. But I believe that is part of my being. But my wife complains sometimes, but I try to explain her, that it is important and that those people around us are important for us.
What are you personally proud of?
My best or most important achievement that I’m proud of is having a family that believes in god and is god fearing. This makes me proud. I believe that when you believe in god all the other things will fall into place by itself. When someone does bad to you, you are able to forgive if you believe in god. God is in yourself and works wonders. I think that bringing up a family that believes and trusts in god is my biggest achievement.
What have been the biggest struggles in your life?
One of the big challenges in life has been my dad for a long period of time. I have realized sometimes that it is not easy to have someone in the house who is not able to take care of normal human needs, when you have to feed him. It was very difficult, even when we managed to nurse him for four years. But I never really felt it in the moment as it was my dad and he was such a big and important influence for me. He had problems with his legs and he started to sit in a wheelchair and as it went on he got problems with his asus and that gave hime a real hard time. He was also an old man and he had worked a lot. I wish he could live a bit longer as I’ve seen people getting over a hundred years. So I wish he could have that long life as well.
What would you change in your life, if you could change something?
There could be a couple of things I would change. I said at the beginning that love is a very strong tool. It overshadows everything. If you love me you never want me to go into problems. So if I’m able to change the minds of people in this country to have harmony and live together in peace. We have a lot in this country but there seem to be some people that seem not to care about other people. Who are selfish. We have a lot of land and if I could challenge the government They should buy this land and give it to the people. We have so many people that are poor and have no work. This leads to crime and violence. If we could help to change the lives of maybe one or two people, this would be a great achievement. For those who could do farming, there is a lot to do. Some of this people have been watering their plants with buckets and it’s quite impressive what they have been able to harvest. Just imagine what they could do with some help and support. The government has to move faster and wake up. Maybe it needs other partners from other parts of the world. Maybe we need other crops. Whatever can help to keep people from starving is good I suppose.
What do you wish for your own future?
Everyone wants to be above average. I would really want to aspire into a life that I can both feed my family and take care of my basic needs without a big struggle. If I have that I don’t need much more. I wouldn’t mind to move to other higher levels, but if it does not come it’s not a problem. The next level would mean for instance to be seen well in society, but I don’t need to push for that. Just having a good life would be good for me.