How my internship opportunity was disguised in obstacles

Written by Grace Ussenge, a Lapid Leader

It is Friday December 19th 2014 at around 3pm and I’m traversing the streets of Kisumu when I hear my phone ring and aha! It is ‘Esther Lapid’ as she appears in my contact list.  I obviously pick and she tells me something I have been waiting to hear for some time – she says there is an internship opportunity for an administrator at a real estate company in Loresho, Nairobi, that she thinks I should apply for and that they are interviewing in four days time, i.e. Tuesday December 23rd, 2014 therefore I should apply as soon as possible.

Of course I get all excited and begin making calls to my family telling them, “I just got myself a job!” I was so confident I was gonna get the job because remember it Esther, CEO of Lapid Leaders Africa (haha) who told me about it. My excitement continues for some time but ebbs away because remember it is December and am worried that I might get stuck in Nairobi because that’s when everyone is travelling upcountry but then I remember something about opportunity – that it does not knock; it presents itself when I break down the door! And so I decided I was not gonna let the fear of not being home for Christmas (hehehe) cause me to blow away this opportunity.


So very fast I dash home, prepare my CV and cover letter and send to the company offering the internship opportunity. The next day I receive a call from them telling me that I have been shortlisted for interview the following day.

Day of the interview

I am at the interviewing company at exactly 12:30pm, an hour earlier than my scheduled time, and I use that time well to familiarize myself with the office and do the usual “breath-ins and breath-outs” before interviews. At the back of my mind I knew I did not want to work at a real estate company because it is worlds apart with where my passion lies, but I was so convinced that there was someone in the panel that was to interview me, that God was going to lead to connect me with my passion. So I’ve travelled 165 miles from Kisumu to Nairobi and showed up at an interview for a job I’m not willing to take. (You don’t have to mention it – I know that’s crazy)


My time to be interviewed comes and I go in and sit before a panel of seven – I repeat, SEVEN interviewers! Man! I had my heart in my mouth! Anyway, so throughout the interview, I kept hoping I would be given an opportunity to (politely) turn down the offer and surely the opportunity came. I was asked, “Which company or organization have you ever wanted to work for?” I replied, “The United Nations. Not because of the money, but because it mostly works with groups am interested in serving” “Which groups?” One interviewer asked. “VULNERABLE groups” I replied, emphatically.

Then I continued, “I want to work with refugees, victims of war/ armed conflict, orphans, the needy, kids with special needs etc. I’m certain that I will get unmatched fulfillment from serving any of these groups”; and there was silence. So I break the silence by mentioning that I have worked with kids with special needs before and the experience was fulfilling.

The CEO for the company I am interviewing for then tells me that she is totally impressed with my heart to help people, that she has not had an interviewer touch her heart like I did but she feels if she gave me the job, she would be wasting me. I nod in agreement, smiling from ear to ear.

The interview is over and I quickly go to board a bus back to Kisumu. 30 minutes later, my phone rings and ‘Esther Lapid’ calls me again to tell me the CEO is totally impressed with me and would like to link me up with an organization, Kenya Community Centre for Learning, (KCCL henceforth) that would help me explore my passion, only that again, as an admin assistant and for 3 months only since it was an internship as well. I thank God that I don’t always have to be the one breaking down doors to grab opportunities, often, opportunities break down doors looking for me. That is FAVOR from GOD alone.

I have learned to give my best to every opportunity that is presented to me. Next week I will share how this internship opportunity has unfolded into many other opportunities. My internship journey began when I attended the Lapid Leaders Seminar. Sign up for the seminar and you never know, your story could follow.


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