When baby Blessing was born four years ago. I was there…
I was there to witness the struggle of a young girl who unexpectantly becomes a single mother. The ridicule, the mockery, the shaming by the society, the neglection…
I wasn’t sure whether to publish this story. I asked for permission days ago and she said I can. But it makes me very emotional. But I will try to write till the end.
Her mum, Irene, is my village mate. We went to the same primary school, and we were really close friends. At that time, Irene mum was well off. But fate had it’s destiny. And Irene and her siblings became orphans.
Irene went to the city to search for Jobs, she kept on telling me her aspirations, I wished Irene would stay with me. I persuaded Irene we stay and finish at least primary school. But Irene told me ‘I don’t have much resilience like you. Staying in this village is hard. Look your grandparents fight everyday. But you still wake up and go to school. My grandma drinks everyday. It kills me. I cannot stay here anymore. I have to go to Nairobi. I will look for a better job. Then I will come take you to go live with me.’
Irene and I were few years apart, but I felt she was my big sister. She would take care of me so well. She was kind. Always sharing her biscuits with me. We had both grown up with our grandparents. So when her mum died I didn’t tell her anything much. I had never been with my mum myself so I assumed it was normal. But I wish I would have told her something. Because right now I have seen close friends lose their loved one and parents, and I know it can be devastating. It must have been so painful for a young girl like her to lose her mum. Who was very close to her.
When Irene left I cried. I wanted us to perservere in the harsh conditions and struggle to achieve our dreams. Her to be a doctor and me to be a T.V Girl, Singer or human rights lawyer.( It’s amazing how I have always had options😂😂😂)
But Irene left. Life in the village was too harsh. And I don’t blame her. I would have given up myself weren’t it for my hand. I knew education was the only way out. For me to get a nanny. One day…
I remember the days that followed I was lonely. I waited for Irene. Irene never came. Years passed. I went to high school. I cleared high school…
The first time I saw Irene we cried together. She was pregnant. And she was looking for an abortion center. Where is the father. I asked? ‘ We met in the city. I don’t know. He said he was a student at Kenyatta University. In his final year. I felt lucky. Now that I am not educated myself. But when I got pregnant he told me I go home. And that he will look for me once he gets a job. We even went to his home place in near Kisumu. But when I called his number he was off. I couldn’t find him so I had no alternative but to come home.’
‘Life has been so good to you. You now look like a Mzungu.’ We laughed. A laughter full of emotions.
My heart went out to Irene. She was the still bubbly girl who had this shine in her eyes for a brighter future. The girl whose eyes spoke of undying hope for the future. She was a young girl who had gotten trapped in motherhood, but that wasn’t enough to deter her from dreaming. And being the best Friend I
had years ago.
I held her hand and told her ‘You are not going to abort this baby. Look at me, you know my story right? You are going to keep this baby. God will plan for her life just like He planned for me. ‘
Wherever I got those words I don’t know. Irene looked at me and she said ‘I had already made my mind, but if you want me to keep this baby I will. But unlike your mum, I will not leave when he/she is born. I don’t want my baby to fall and get injured like you did. I will protect her with what I have.’
I was so happy. I hugged Irene. I told Irene we were going to fight together. And she agreed. She went to live in Mwingi town. The next time she came visiting she was carrying a baby. I was sad I wasn’t there to see the baby being born. But I was happy to see her. I held the little angel. She was cute. And when I smiled at her she smiled back. I remember Irene words ‘That’s so unfair, she has smiled at you before she smiled at me. It’s just because you are brown and not dark like me’
‘It’s God’s connection.’ I laughed. I had this divine connection with that baby. I had this feeling that I was holding a future president. Or media personality.
We struggled with Irene. The little we could get we shared. And luckily, Irene gets contended very first. Whatever she gets, any little amount she is ever grateful.
She was the first person I dealt with Fresh from giving birth. She was in so much pain. ‘walinikata huku chini hata siwezi keti’ Oh my… My dear Irene…
The days that followed were hard for us. I was struggling financially, and she was hopeless so I had to save every coin I could get. We shared what we could. I told my grandma to be preserving food for two. She taught me the spirit of friendship. Of love. Of sticking together. We had to. We were in for a common course. We had to fight. For baby Blessing. For Irene… For me…
Fortune came knocking on my door. And I left Mwingi to Nairobi. That day we cried, the baby was still tiny, I didn’t have a phone I wish I did to have recorded the most teary goodbye. We hugged each other and promised it was going to be fine. That day I handed her all the savings I had. She told me to take it with me. I told her it was Okay. That someone else was paying for my transport.
In the vehicle that day I thought about Irene. It reminded me of the same day Irene left me with the promise of coming back. It reminded me of all the childhood memories we had . I did not know what the future held for me. Maybe I would come back pregnant too. Maybe University doors for me would remain a dream. An illusion. Maybe I would fall in love and it would never go well. Maybe I would get married and forget my small village and the dreams I once had…
But whatever Fate had in store for me I hoped my grandma would keep an eye for her like she had promised. I so much prayed that her and the baby would be fine. ‘God provides for His people’ The Bible had said. I knew God was going to provide for Irene and the baby. They were surely… His people.
Grandma told me severally that Irene was fine. I was far away. But I kept worrying for her. Until one day just before I got stable. Grandma told me Irene had left Mwingi to Nairobi. I was devastated. I felt like a failure. I had failed to provide for my childhood friend. And her baby. The baby I had fought for to live.
Years passed. I never had from Irene. How I wished she called. How I wish I had her number. I just wanted to know she was fine. And the baby too.
Until last year , december 28th on my birthday. Irene was there. I was so happy. The Baby had grown to be so beautiful. And instantly when she saw me she came running to me. It was like as if God was speaking to me. ‘look, the same connection you had with her ‘ The Baby was so beautiful. So cute. So adorable. She kept on referring to me as ‘Aunty Mzungu’ she could not speak kikamba, and the children were calling her a foreigner but immediately started embracing her seeing I was with her. I could not believe that she was the same tiny girl that I left Irene with many days ago.
My birthday had many children. I lost count at 70. But she took my attention.
I fed her. We held hands as we walked. I felt God has a way of connecting two people who are not what the society expects them to be. We were two girls. Born in the most unexpected circumstances. 15 years age difference. Yet it felt like our souls schronized. Like we were born for each other. Like we understood what it meant not to have a normal family set up but we were willing to fight.
And when I looked for Irene. I found her talking to mum. They talked for like an hour. And I knew her life would never be the same again. She would get inspired too.
And when I got in the vehicle baby cried.
It broke my heart. And I promised to come back. She said ‘I will come where you live’ I did not take her words seriously. I had to refrain my heart from crying out too. But I knew. I knew that day I left my heart with her in Mwingi.
And look here, the young girl found her way to where I live. The power of words. The Bible is very clear, Ask, and it shall be given.
She is asthmatic, and she needed special medical care. Irene brought her to Kenyatta Hospital, and when she was about to leave I remembered the young girl’s words. ‘I will come to where you live.’ Oh, I so much wanted to see her. And as a joke I asked mum’ Can they come over’ She said yes.
I was delighted. Irene came. She was exhausted. But baby Blessing on seeing me was all jumpy. We had memorable times. We went to another hospital. The doctor said she is not asthmatic that the Bronchitis will open as she grows up.
Baby blessing could not let go of me. I thought I attract kids, but I found Irene loves children as much as I do. So in the hospital she was helping random mothers carry their children, now that a Blessing didn’t want anything to do with her. ‘Would you run a children home if we were to start one’ I asked her. ‘Yes that’s my dream’She beamingly answered.
I turned to baby Blessing. As I held her and embraced her, she didn’t want me to go, she told me, ‘aunty I want to be just like you when I grow up. I want to wear clothes and shoes like yours and come live with you in your big room’.
It was such a magical moment. In her sparkling eyes I saw the next Brightstar in her eyes. I saw myself when I was four years in class one. I saw my smile. I had no hope. But in her eyes I saw hope for a bright future. For something so big yearning for love. I saw the next phenomenal woman in the world. I saw the best motivation for me to be great. I saw love. I saw the innocent look reminding me ‘Set the pace for me, I am watching’ And as I watched her sleep I knew that one day, when I am standing in a crowd addressing thousands,,I am gonna call baby Blessing to greet the masses, and in her smile, the world gonna see one of the greatest reasons I had to fight against all odds, tears and pain. The Blessing… The One of the greatest reasons I had to become great…