Samuel Mwawato: From Pilot In The USA To Garbage Collector In Kenya

The story of Samuel Mwawato, a former pilot who transformed into a garbage collector in the small town of Mtwapa, Kilifi, is a deeply moving tale that underscores the unpredictability of life’s journey.

Once a soaring figure in the skies as a pilot in the United States of America, Mwawato’s return to Kenya brought about a completely unexpected path.

In 1990, Mwawato was granted a scholarship to study in the US through the East Coast Methodist Church. During his time overseas, he honed his piloting skills, becoming proficient in flying a variety of aircraft and often taking part in recreational flying, even assisting aviation students along the way.

His aspiration was to bring his newfound expertise back to Kenya, but fate had a different agenda for him.

Upon his return in 2005, Mwawato was confronted with the daunting task of converting his commercial pilot’s license to be able to work in Kenya. Unfortunately, financial limitations compelled him to take a loan of Ksh500,000 to finance the necessary course. Despite his determined efforts, he was only able to accumulate a mere 10 hours of daytime flying, falling considerably short of the required flight hours.

Life delivered another harsh blow when both his American wife, with whom he had two children, and his Kenyan wife deserted him, leaving him to confront the challenges life had thrust upon him all by himself.

Despite these profound setbacks, Mwawato’s resilience and unwavering optimism shine through. He discovered an unexpected calling within his community, taking on the role of a garbage collector for the Responsible Citizen Initiative.

The transition from navigating the boundless skies to collecting refuse on the streets of Mtwapa was a profoundly humbling experience for Mwawato. Yet, even in the face of adversity, he remains hopeful, firmly believing that his circumstances will ultimately take a turn for the better.