When John Waweru decided to grow his fingernails, he was rebuked and called all sorts of names including a devil worshipper.
But today he is envied both by friend and foe.
Mr Waweru told the Nation.co.ke that after completing his high school education securing a job was hard.
The 33 year old man decided to grow his talons. However his parents were against this terming it satanic.
“You know the stories people tell about Mombasa and ghosts? My parents thought I had joined a cult.
After high school I got a job but my nails which were growing fast were a hindrance to my work. I decided to stay at home and let them grow without interference,” said Mr Waweru.
But three years later, his resilience and perseverance paid off when he started showcasing them at the Agricultural Society of Kenya (ASK) shows, coastal beaches, schools and estates at a reasonable fee.
The fingernails painted in dazzling colours of the Kenyan flag are a symbol of Kenya’s 50 years of independence, he said.
Mr Waweru aspires to appear in the Guinness World Records as he says he is the first Kenyan and perhaps first African with the longest nails so far, at 1 foot and 2 inches long.
“I stopped clipping my nails 11 years ago after they became a hindrance to my work” said the jovial man.
The Guinness Book of World Records has no record of an African with such long nails.
Chris Walton a Las Vegas resident has nails nearly 20 feet long. The 47 year old woman holds the Guinness World Records female title for the longest fingernails.
Waweru has paid a heavy price due to his occupation since he has to follow a strict diet which must include milk for calcium besides drinking a lot of water.
“My nails have changed me. I am peaceful man, I do not drink alcohol because I might forget and break them accidentally. I never fight, I bath using one hand, and I take one hour to dress up,” he said.
When asked how he performs his duties, Waweru said his right hand does the entire trick insisting he chose to grow the nails on his left hand because it is inactive.
Mr Waweru said his parents who were sceptical and against his decision to stay at home and grow his fingernails changed their mind immediately he started earning good money from it.
“I have built a four roomed Swahili house, I have a nail salon for manicure and pedicure,” he revealed.
He is however still disappointed with some people who still think that he is devil worshipper.
He however faces a few challenges.
I eat but I cannot cook or wash my own clothes. Sleeping is also a problem as I cannot cover myself using a bed sheet at night because I might get hurt or break my nails. I am very cautious,” he says.
Waweru advises the youth not to despair even if they do not get formal employment.
“As a youth, take a good look at yourself and you will find that there are things you have in your body that you can make a living from,” he advises.
He claims he is the first African with the longest and strongest nails and that, hopeful, he will one day break the world record.