We see them very early in the morning in groups heading to their various construction sites with their tools ready to start their hustle like every other Kenyan. We call them wasee wa Mjei or Mjengo (Construction workers).
Construction or Mjengo jobs in Kenya are classified into two categories: there are those senior jobs that require skills and those ones that require school dropouts and people without skills. These jobs are common in towns like Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, Eldoret and Kisumu and are not usually advertised.
In most scenarios, if you want to get a mjengo job you have to visit construction site and talk to ‘wakubwa’. They will offer you a job if there is any. You have to know at least someone who works there to introduce you to the one hiring.
With the growing rate of development, everyday there is a construction site which temporarily employs many workers both men and women. With the hard work in this, and dirt that is associated with the construction, a construction worker pockets KSh.500 to KSh.1200 depending on the contractor.
Having a Sunday off, the mjengo guy will work for 29 to 30 days if there is no holiday in between, meaning at the end of the month he or she will earn KSh. 14,500 to KSh. 34,800 which is more than what some white collar jobs pay. Yes there are risks to the job but like any other job, risks are involved too but at the end of the day it’s that extra shilling that counts.
Kazi ni kazi! Na kazi ya mjengo ni kazi. Don’t just sit and wait for that white collar job to come your way. Do what you are able to do now!
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