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Story by Peter Aowa,
Yes! The journey I have gone through is terrific. As soon I was born, problems withered my family. My dad passed away when I was barely 5 months old.
“I doubted whether you could get to a year.” My mother’s words which she believed was as a result of the situation my family was left under. My father left nothing behind other than five children who were now fatherless. As a young boy, I felt no mess until my mother took us to our aunt’s place where we were to stay for years as we schooled. I was together with my immediate eldest brother Tony (who later passed away a street boy in 2013.)
Life tuned from school to brick making. Food was a rain drop in Kalahari desert. We would be barred from going to school with other children only to help in making bricks. This made us to look for other alternatives that could help us survive. We left home one morning, very early and made ways to Kisumu city, a distance of close to 60 km
We had footed the whole journey hungry and hopeless. What could I do? Seven months waking up early to go steal scrap metals was the norm before I survived death on a night I and my friends moved to the interior of Otonglo estate to illegally have the so called heavy metals. That was my last time seeing the four boys. Whether they were killed or survived is something that really I can’t tell. It’s after this escape that I realized I could make a good athlete (Something that later saw me ‘steal’ a number of marathon contests from county to provincial levels.)
This specific night I had called myself for a meeting, meditating for hours. Tears rolled down every time I made a flashback at my mum. I decided enough was enough and time to go home was the next day. I never prayed for I rarely did this.
I had come to know the street as somehow the safest place though uncomfortable. Sometimes I had to clear human waste deposited during the day before I took my rest. Hell it was when it rained.
The following day I woke up early as usual with the mindset of going back home. At around a half past 9, I went to the Lwan’gwni hotel where we frequently visited to look for either lunch or super. Both lunch and super depended on luck. If asking already eaten meal from the customers failed, we had to search through the dustbins to feed ourselves. This time I went not to ask for food or to have a search at the dustbin but with an intention of looking for a well wisher who would take me back home.
Nearing home, at a distance, I saw my mum who was nothing but extremely thin and old. I knew this was as a result of the pain she had gone for seven months without her two sons.The pain got to my systems immediately I set my eyes on her. She ran after me and pleaded with me to be calm.Coincidentally my brother was also around. We took fresh meals from the hotel for the first time courtesy of my mum before boarding a bus for home.
The next day we were admitted, my brother in class six and me in class four. Initially, we were known by our real names but this time our schoolmates washed away the names. We shared one name with my brother, “Chokora”(Streetboy) and I had to accept it. I was the odd pupil on a civilian t-shirt that went through the pajama short. It was beyond my size. I was dirty and sometimes I had to be a lone in the desk for nobody wanted to sit next to me. At some point I almost dropped out thanks to my class teacher, madam Ruth who motivated me every time. Her work never went in vein. I was always among the top pupils.
After my KCPE, in 2010 my uncle came to my rescue and sponsored me before things turned sour. I had to stay home for four months before enrolling for KCSE at a private school that accepted to register me. I had to cycle a distance of almost fifteen kilometres to and fro. Sometimes I woke up at 2:40 a m to prepare before commencing the journey at latest by 4:30 a.m. Things hardened during the rainy season. I had to carry my bike at some points. It took my uncle’s intervention to have me in boarding. He was financially recovering.
The school had a population of 60 students; four boys boarding and seven girls. No gateman, no bursar, no cook and on and off teachers perhaps due to little payment. I never felt it a setback. Here was yet another opportunity for me. I vowed never to make it fail.
Unfortunately I didn’t know what awaited me. Barely two months to KCSE, I developed a lot of complications. Later I was tested of epilepsy. Doctor’s guess was real. I was suffering epilepsy but was still at early stage according to the doctors. I was put under management, drugs didn’t work. The situation worsened day by day. It’s during such time that I lost my eldest sister.
Luckily, I managed to sit for all my papers without experiencing the problem which later worsened months to college. The situation however was restored months later.
Later I managed a chance at Rongo University for Diploma in Journalism and Information Technology effective January 2017. I only had three weeks to raise Ksh. 72,000 for the first year exclusive of accommodation.Despite reaching out to people, the only amount I raised was ksh.18000 which was far much from what I needed.
I travelled to Nairobi in 2017 after securing a chance at East African Institute of Certified Studies, ICS College for a Diploma in Journalism. I had not been in the city before. The only person I was sure would host me was my eldest sister who was residing in Kitengela, Kajiado county. I had to part with sh. 200 daily for commuting. This was much exorbitant. I decided to stay at Ngara Men’s hostel which was the only alternative in place.
After a term of knocking a number of doors for help, I had nothing for school fees and hostel. I managed to stay for another month before things became worse. No house, no food, no school fees, that was where I was. Luckily I managed to reach out to a friend with whom we were in the same school, we shared a single room. I commuted on foot from Kayole to Moi Avenue to plead with the college to bear the situation with me but all fell on a deaf ears. I had to shift from school to hustles. After tarmacking for two months every morning from Kayole to industrial area for any opportunity at any company Not enough, my friend who was hosting me had lost his position and we were three adults in one room jobless since he lived with his fiancee.
After trying ways I managed to contact another friend who hosted me for close to seven months during which I secured a job with a security company working as a guard at night and a teacher during the day.
The little I earned catered for my younger brother who was in form 2, paying rent and supporting my mum.
I’m hoping to join St. Paul’s University this month for a Diploma in Journalism.
If you have any story you wish to share, please don’t relent to reach out to me through the addreses; phone number is +254702075370, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
(NOTE:The writer reserves the authority to views expressed herein and thus, part of the works will be included in his upcoming book: The Life and Times we shared.)