Stella Wanja is a typist at University of Nairobi’s Hyslop building where students and faculty use the various document processing services including photocopying, typesetting and documents binding. Stella is probably one of the most knowledgeable people at UoN due to her interaction with various academic works in the course of her work. Her ability to absorb information is higher than normal, as Anthony Kuria found out.
Stella is neither a student or lecturer, but she can take on a whole class with her wide knowledge of commerce, law, literature, economics, political science, geo-physics and other courses taken at UoN’s Main Campus. Her knowledge of the subjects has come as a result of her work as a typist on the ground floor of Hyslop building.
Nestled comfortably behind the radiant monitor she types away like her life depends on it, well, literally it does. She knows every second counts because she has deadlines to beat. Stella’s concentration in spite of the humming machines, murmurs and shouts from clients and her colleagues is impressive.
“When I type term-papers, assignments or research-papers for students, I somehow retain most of the information. I have learned quite a lot but it has been by chance,” admits Stella.
Stella says her favorite field is literature. She has gone to the extent of buying various works of literature by local and international writers. Her thirst for knowledge is evident as she says she is planning to enroll for a degree course at UoN, but she is spoilt for choice as she claims she is comfortable with many courses.
A string of unfortunate events earlier in her life cut short her dream of continuing her education to university level. Lack of finances forced Stella to look for odd jobs to fend for her siblings.
“After several jobs, a good friend introduced me to computers and I quickly learned the basics. Later, I rented space here (Hyslop) to start a type-setting business,” says Stella.
“I struggled for a while before I found my footing and since I don’t want my siblings to go down the same path, I usually work extra hard to provide both mental and material support”.
With the savings she has made, Stella is ready to continue with her education, though she confesses it may take more than her brief interaction with academic papers to see her through University.
“I haven’t yet decided what to study because through typing for a number of years, I have become exposed to so much information, but through wide consultation and advice from both peers and students I am thinking of studying for a degree in literature”.