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Penning my Story 1: Chin Up

Hello loves,

(Warning: This is a wordy post- but totally worth it!)

I have decided to do things differently every new month. I’ve Started a new segment ‘Penning my story’ where I get to share my career and life journey as a seafarer and also empower women to continue achieving their best regardless of their gender barriers)

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For those who are not aware, I am a navigating officer with a Second officer Rank on board merchant navy ships and a marine pilot at the Kenya Ports Authority. Now before I say much, here is a brief insight on this career so that you may comprehend the story that follows.

  1. To rise to your next rank you need to work onboard foreign going vessels for a period of not less than 18months and some class work.

 

  1. Kenya doesn’t own merchant navy ships so one needs to be contracted from foreign companies

 

  1. This is done through crewing agencies and no; we have no crewing agency in Kenya.

 

  1. Finally it is a male dominated career. If im not wrong we make up 2% the maritime task force (click here)

 

Now that you have a rough idea let me tell you my story.

It’s been a rough couple of months trying to get attached on board foreign going ships. It has been accompanied by sending a number emails to various crewing agencies and shipping companies but all in vain. Thus I decided to embark on a new journey, doing my MBA course (that’s a story for another day). Unfortunately every now and then I would send emails they would come back with responses such as, ‘sorry we are not hiring at the moment.’

It never quite bothered me because I was self occupied with my course until the past few couple of weeks. Being on my second last MBA semester, I knew it was time I got back into intensely searching for attachment as an officer on board foreign going vessels. Luckily a friend (also a Kenyan officer) in Malaysia who once saw me maneuvering the tug boats during my first pilotage training phase sent me an email congratulating me for breaking the odds and becoming the first female marine pilot in the country. During an intense conversation of trying to explain my challenges as a female in the maritime career, it struck me, why not ask him for help, after all Malaysia and Singapore are companies that not only have large shipping lines but also quite a number of crewing agencies. I would have sworn he was heaven sent, he immediately scheduled to meet me, whereby I gave him copies of my certificates and licenses and he promised to do his best once he gets back.

Now fast forward to a few days ago where I forwarded some of my male colleagues documents too and asked him to drop those in the various crewing agencies and he did not object as a matter of fact he told me he will get back to me on Saturday with the result which he is positive will be good.

How excited was I on Saturday evening? Ready to receive the good news! That was when the bombshell was dropped, what he said in a nutshell was, ‘Now I understand why you said it is hard being a woman in this career, Liz I tried so hard but they were initially willing to give you a job until they saw you were a female and they would come up with all sorts of excuses. On the other hand they are more than willing to accept your male colleagues.’ My heart just broke and tears just welled up my eyes. For a minute I wanted to ask God why me? If I’m not wrong I think for a split second I may have convinced my self to quit the whole damn thing. I think he noticed I had taken some time to respond to his text, so he sent this: ‘Don’t worry I’m still hopeful and I will keep on searching and I replied: ‘I’m not worried one bit I know it will pan out okay.’

After sending that text, I wondered why did I lie to this young man? I’m literally finishing a box of tissues with tears of despair. Then amidst angry sniffles it hit me; perhaps it was not a lie. Perhaps it was the truth. That one fine day things will actually fall in place. I wiped my tears and realized that I’m penning my own story, and it won’t be beautiful if sticks and stones were not thrown my way, if I didn’t stumble and fall once in a while, if I didn’t face all these challenges. It’s by overcoming these great challenges that a better me is molded. Therefore I’ve decided, bring it on! Turn me down i send two more emails two different companies. Reject me for being a female, I empower more women to join the field, question if I can keep up with the tight work schedule I dare you to give me a chance where I will work my tail off!

Loves, if you are sitting there feeling discouraged or less worthy because someone or something stalled your progress, it’s time to keep that head up high and fight that challenge head on. Eyes on the prize ladies, Eyes on the prize!! You are writing your story so make it as beautiful as it could possible be by tackling those challenges fearlessly. You are phenomenal, and God’s purpose for you is greater than you can imagine Let no one write your story but yourself.

P.S if you own a ship and stumble upon this post you best hire me I won’t disappoint 😉

 

see you next new month loves…penning my story 2

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38 Comments

  • Reply WANJIRU June 10, 2015 at 7:38 am

    This inspiring, when your goals and dreams are huge, it is bound to happen, right? Thank you for this beautiful, inspiring story 🙂
    God Bless you

    http://www.wanjiruwangethe.me.ke

    • Amor
      Reply Amor June 10, 2015 at 8:37 am

      oh yes dear 🙂 remember eyes on the prize! stay blessed

  • Reply Nzambi Mulatya June 10, 2015 at 7:54 am

    Beautiful piece, totally inspiring.

    • Amor
      Reply Amor June 10, 2015 at 8:36 am

      Thank you..Bless your soul

  • Reply Judy kimani June 10, 2015 at 8:30 am

    Inspirational! All the best Elizabeth.
    You’re such a phenomenal woman.

    • Amor
      Reply Amor June 10, 2015 at 8:36 am

      thank you dear….God bless you

  • Reply Osoro Claire June 10, 2015 at 8:49 am

    You are an icon Lizzie, thanks for being an inspiration… I love being associated with empowered women.. Congrats

  • Reply Wacera mwangi June 10, 2015 at 8:49 am

    This is sooo inspiring liz. Never give up. Am penning my own story too…kudos for the motivation..

  • Reply Irene June 10, 2015 at 9:15 am

    This is beautiful…Go girl,”Eyes on the price” Am 100%sure something great will come along because of this post. Wishing you God’s favour in your endevours. keep on keeping on

  • Reply susan kalinda June 10, 2015 at 10:03 am

    please dont give up !this is inspiring ,being a woman in senior management i know you will make it .just keep on pushing on and trust me it will happen.xxx

  • Reply Laura Lime June 10, 2015 at 10:05 am

    Beautiful Marami, thanks for the inspiration. God will open a way for you, it’s just a matter of time 🙂

  • Reply Zahra Mbote June 10, 2015 at 10:25 am

    A very uplifting story….. Keep penning gal. You are headed places dissapointments not withstanding!

  • Reply Rosemary June 10, 2015 at 10:34 am

    Liz, you will go places…..amazing story….never give up.

  • Reply OJ June 10, 2015 at 10:44 am

    You’re truly amazing!
    I’ve no words to express my disbelief as to how society is still behaving towards women in the 21st century!
    All I can say is that don’t ever be a ‘quitter’ – you can only be a true inspiration to us all (women and men) if you fight till the end. Success or failure, one is mostly judged by his/her attitude towards challenges in life.
    You’ll get what you want but you must want it badly.
    So show us the way and we’ll follow, Officer.
    ***

  • Reply Brenda Wairimu June 10, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    Nothing but love my girl. Nothing but love.

    • Amor
      Reply Amor June 11, 2015 at 12:17 pm

      thank you for the love! my support system!! 🙂

  • Reply Lina Sonia June 10, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    I don’t own a ship sadly..would have hired you in a heartbeat….i live in Nigeria lakini mkenya kama wewe dadangu…you have a gift with words and a spirit of resilience…God will reward you ..keep your head up hun..mazuri yaja

  • Reply Lus June 10, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    I love your story luv, im inspired and I’ll keep my eye on the prize! gal I wish I owned a ship cz ud hv bn my captain

  • Reply Grace kireti June 10, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    nobody told u it would be easy n uv made it dr, marami don’t give up now coz I don’t believe God has brought u this far to leave u!
    mob love mwamzedu

  • Reply Mysty June 10, 2015 at 11:23 pm

    This is soo encouraging. .your one smart lady and your efforts will surely be rewarded and fruitful. ..
    May God keep blessing you..

  • Reply Hellen June 11, 2015 at 4:27 am

    Awww.. So inspiring Liz.. You are an inspiration to all women.. I’m joining you and not coz I think that’s what I want buy it’s coz I wanna challenge the men..You inspired me from the day I saw you on #strengthofawoman then I got the chance to meet you and you inspired me even more.. Now with the story you’ve made me shed some tears.. Don’t give up hun.. There’s always going to be a mountain and you’ll always wanna make it move.. The battle won’t be easy but you’ll make it… Keep faith.. Keep moving… It’s all about you and what you want… You’ll make it someday and prove all of them wrong #my_mentor.. Love you

  • Reply haiqa mary June 11, 2015 at 11:59 am

    Mch RESPECT girl. Thats the spirit neva give in.

  • Reply FAITH WAFULA June 11, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    Very inspiring…keep focussed,so soon they will come begging for your services.

  • Reply purity June 12, 2015 at 11:25 am

    Amazing post!!!!!! Lovely blog .Am already hooked.

    Girl Power!!

  • Reply San_Marie June 12, 2015 at 11:19 pm

    Welldone for coming this far! I believe the right offer will come your way in no time. Did you ever find out what excuses the agencies were giving, it would be interesting to know and perhaps use them to enquire further(indirectly educating them). It’s ‘s human nature to have preconceptions about certain things, but from my experience I think until one is challenged about certain preconceived believes that’s when they stop and give it a second thought…you never know.

  • Reply Omoth June 13, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    In sharing your story I am learning that “sharing” alone is a success, penning this piece was a result of failing to secure the agency chance, so it happened that you find time to inspire “me” God bless

  • Reply Paschal Nzuma June 14, 2015 at 6:38 am

    This is so inspirational, ,,kudos!

  • Reply Joseph Mwema June 15, 2015 at 9:20 am

    Go for it Liz. You already demonstrated with your persistence that you can have what you want. I am happy for you.

  • Reply AyoDeji Adefila June 15, 2015 at 11:18 am

    WOW! Congratulations. This is huge. First female marine pilot. Couldn’t help but open the link. I feel great joy when I see and hear about women doing things society says they can’t. I pray you will get that Job soon.

  • Reply Jhozie June 17, 2015 at 11:57 am

    You are amazing soul! I am happy for you and excited that a young beautiful articulate woman like you is ‘running the world.’ I am sending you all the positive energy and goodwill. xox!

  • Reply Steelo June 23, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    Captain… still has a nice ring to it until then will it be Admiral or H.Master

  • Reply Monday Makdwallo June 24, 2015 at 10:03 am

    My mum always talked about you and how proud she was of what you’re doing! Keep your head up baby girl. One day they will chase after you and you can laugh in their face ✊

  • Reply sheila kiki August 7, 2015 at 6:23 am

    Thanks for the encouraging piece..truly inspirational..
    I totally relate to your situation..it’s such a challenge being young female and brainy..you have to prove yourself everyday..
    word of encouragement:God’s grace is sufficient \Godspeed..I wish you all the best in your endeavours 🙂

  • Reply Martha September 18, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    Aluta continua….abit late to the party but catching up 😘inspiring!!

  • Reply brenda October 19, 2015 at 4:18 am

    wow ..i came across your blog and its just what i needed esp at this tym where i got all ma certificates n cant get a job coz i am 20 n female.thanks liz n continue with the good work .ur God sent

  • Reply Karimi Kathare December 4, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    Oh, and if possible, whenever you’re able,could you get in touch? I have a few questions perhaps you could help with …? I’d be really grateful.

  • Reply Penning my story 3: Marriage Vs Career (My 2cents) – Amor January 28, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    […] to these pressures. I found myself less focused on my dream of wanting to go back to sea (penning my story 1) and trying to compromise on how it may not be that important for me to scale those heights if I […]

  • Reply Juliet Wangui Wamugi December 10, 2016 at 11:51 pm

    A very powerful article. I’m a marine engineering student and I’m currently applying for seatime attachments and I can attest that it is very difficult especially for a female to get such an opportunity but reading this piece gave me hope and a new sense of confidence. I look forward to more articles and you can contact me at wanguiwamugi@gmail.com . I’ll appreciate your effort in helping me secure a seatime attachment . Let’s empower women in the maritime industry.

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