I will not lie or sugarcoat the fact that Kenya has taken from me as much as it has given me in equal measures. When I was little, I did not have a lot of things. We were not wealthy in any way. I hardly had a roof over my head, my clothes were tattered, and I could go to bed hungry for days on end without any hopes of getting something to eat. This was still the same country that I lived in carefree, dancing and playing in the rain with my fellow children, playing with a football made of paper and hear the beautiful melody of birds in the morning, a magical place where we could lie down on the grass and count the stars and wonder what else was up there.
I was young and naive then, but it did not bother me because I knew there was little I could do to change the cards dealt me. I will not lie and say that life was all roses and rainbows because it was not. I had a lot of unanswered questions in my young mind. I was conditioned by my mother to never concern myself with things I did not understand, and I quickly learned my place. In the back of my mind, I had so many unanswered questions. I had dreams of making it in life and escaping the miserable life I had, but how could I when the children I played with were being raped by their close relatives and yet this was ignored? How could I be okay when my fellow children dropped out of school to raise their younger siblings when they were still children themselves? How was I supposed to understand what kind of pain a child would be in for them to take their own life? Even the sun sets in paradise, right? The light in me slowly dimmed to the point of almost burning out. I was forced to be an adult before I knew it. I became the caregiver to my siblings because my parents did not care. I watched my siblings sleep on the streets and go hungry. I was very angry at the world, my parents, the system and I did not know what to do with all the rage and the hurt I felt.
I built up walls which were so high to protect myself, and these walls meant that no matter what happened to me, no matter how brutally my mother beat or punished me, she could never hurt me anymore than I already hurt. The irony was that no matter what I went through, I still could not stop helping whoever else was in need if I was in a position to do so. I looked at that as my redemption and embraced it. I also swore that nobody would ever hurt me again if I could help it. I was saved physically by my foster parents but despite all this, I could not sit still. I was given unconditional love and I was always suspicious because of this. My experiences had shown me it could end as fast as it started so I became a rebel in my own way. I was always waiting for the day where I would be asked to leave, but it never came. It took me a very long time to realize that I was not going anywhere and the love, care, protection, warm food in my belly, a roof over my head and the education given to me were a permanent thing.
I found solace, parental love and people that loved me unconditionally no matter what I did and, however bad I messed up, in a couple that weren’t even my race. I cried myself to sleep at night, not because I was sad but because I was relieved. Because I was not going to suffer any more in the hands of people who were supposed to protect and love me. It felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders, so I let it all out. Slowly, the light dimmed in me was ignited to a full blast. Slowly, my faith in humanity was restored. I realized that I was not broken.
In conclusion, everyone is still healing from things they do not or cannot talk about, so give every human the decency and dignity they deserve, no matter who they are, where they come from or their social standing.
Besides news from the PDAid Foundation, we also share stories that shed light on the current situation and circumstances in Kenya. These stories highlight some of the issues that the Kenyan youth are facing or have faced in the past. The stories are based on various news and articles, that we refer to in the text, and are compiled by PDAid Foundation’s project assistant (who was the first mentee of the PDAid Foundation) who have and is experiencing some of these issues first hand.