When was the last time you stuck your legs in a bucket of ice cold water? You may have done so, but did you do it to concentrate? In order to not fall asleep? I guess not, but that is the case with Daniel Kimani, one of the founders of KEEF (Kenyan Entrepreneurship Empowerment Foundation). I’ll write about KEEF at a later stage. This short blog post is about the man who stuck his feet in ice cold water.
Daniel Kimani is out of a family of nine, they were dirt poor. When Daniel was nine his father died, but Daniel was old enough to realize that the family was in deep trouble and what that meant to his mother and siblings. And he made a pledge: He would change that, he would some day see his mother in a decent house, not the wooden shed they were living in.
-I wanted to pull my mother out of trouble, and I knew that the way out was education, so I studied hard in school, and I continued to high school. This is where the bucket of cold water comes in. With only the light from some kerosene soaked cloth stuck in a can and with my legs in the cold water I studied at night. The water was necessary to stay awake and not be tempted by the warmth of the bed, Daniel says.
He made his way through university. But on graduation day he was in the town of Eldoret, far away from the university.
– My mother asked me: I have 4000 Shillings, should we spend them on a trip to your graduation? The answer was easy, of course we shouldn’t. So I did not attend my own graduation. And soon after, my mother asked me to leave and make it for myself. So I walked away from my mother with two blankets, one pair of pants, one shirt and 2000 Shillings.
His mother is still alive, 80 years old. And please take a look at the photo. The house is there, it stands as a very concrete monument over Daniels’ determination to change things. And there’s also a shed. Not just any shed but the very one in which Daniel grew up.
Daniel Kimani has not only changed his own and his mothers’ lives. He has changed the lives of many through his work with KEEF.
– If I can help a little Daniel somewhere then my day is made, he says.