When I lost my dad, people said I wouldn’t amount to anything. Something that I’ve had to struggle with for a long time, in-fact pretty much my whole life. The funny thing is that all these began at the graveside.
I was too young to understand all the happenings, but it then came to make sense later on as I grew. My dad’s time was up, that was that and we could do nothing about it. He had done his fair share of raising me up and most of all left me a loving mother.
Situations made me understand that life had its bitter part, but that didn’t stop me from believing that it was indeed possible to grow out of it and establish a better life that will, in turn, be appreciated later on in the years to come. Yes, I was born in the world of plenty, but raised in the world of all opposites.
I thank God He didn’t let that have too much of an effect on my life to break me, but rather allowed me to experience enough pain to make me humane.
The slums of Mathare was into different sections, and in these areas were different groups of young boys and girls. Belonging to one of these groups could either make you become safe or exposed you to the world of issues. There was no room for betrayal. You could be safe in the sense that when you are in you would enjoy all the benefits of being a member; like playing ball, the girls company and many more, and exposed to the world of issues in the sense that once identified as a member of a given group you could not find your way into a different area, occupied by a different group even when sent by parents.
Our parents weren’t aware of what used to happen at ground level. We were the ones who felt the heat. When bruised during a fight we would find a way of hiding the truth from them. We could say, we got hurt playing ball or just come up with something depending on the type of hurt. Every season and situation had its own excuse and we knew how to structure our words to fit into an excuse for the kind of hurt experienced.
It all Started like this; characters being natured and this would lead to a greater form of diversification in the conflict groups. I remember at some point I had issues with some of my group members. All I remember about all this is how the world became such a small place. Trust me, there’s nothing I could have done without anyone following or bugging me. They were all over. We used to live in a three-storey building and it had one gate, which was the entry and exit point. I couldn’t use it otherwise I faced the risk of being caught and facing a group beating. A onetime thorough beating never meant It all ended there. Nope, every time they’d get to me they would do the “good” work, for this reason, I had to find my own way of getting in and out of the building unnoticed, yet that was a place I was to call home.
My mom used to get back from work, she was always tired and so it was my responsibility to run some of her evening errands, so electric poles and balcony rails served as my gate. I knew that was against the regulations and if the security guard would get to me, or any other adult for that matter, I would have a serious beating. By then, my thoughts were, “I would rather go for this kind of beating as compared to the gang’s beating.”
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