Nairobi Man Who Quit ABSA Bank Job to Hawk Pencils in the Streets Now Says He Makes Ksh 1500a Day

For the last twenty years, Edgar Otieno has been a fixture in Nairobi’s Central Business District (CBD), navigating the bustling streets with familiarity and purpose. Along Kenyatta Avenue, amidst the chaos of traffic jams, he can often be found offering pencils to drivers stuck in the gridlock.

This routine has become ingrained in Otieno’s life, a testament to his resilience and adaptability in the face of adversity. Despite starting his career with a degree in Social Work from the University of Eldoret and securing a position as a Sales Representative at Barclays Bank (now Absa Bank), Otieno found himself disillusioned with the meager earnings. In 2007, following the post-election violence, he made the decision to transition to street vending, selling pencils to make ends meet.

Despite the challenges inherent in street vending, Otieno maintains a sense of professionalism and dignity. He dresses impeccably, refusing to compromise on his appearance, often seen in neatly pressed suits complete with ties and polished shoes.

Otieno’s earnings from selling pencils, though modest, are essential for sustaining his family, with a daily minimum income of Ksh. 1500.

However, despite his unwavering determination, Otieno faces skepticism and misconceptions from some passersby. Unaccustomed to seeing a well-dressed vendor, rumors circulate about his background and intentions. Some speculate that he may have affiliations with the country’s intelligence services, such as the National Intelligence Service (NIS).

Otieno dismisses these rumors, emphasizing that they are unfounded. He points out that in 2022, he ran for a political position as an MCA in Busia County, a move incompatible with any ties to the intelligence services. Otieno remains undeterred by such misconceptions, focusing instead on his work and providing for his family.