Clementine Mwenesi Autobiography
My name is Clementine Mwenesi. I was born on 10th October as the second born child. My elder sister was three years old. Ten years later my parents divorced and my mother went her way. By this time we were three children. My father became a single parent and tried to look after his children. We missed our mother and often visited her parents. I wished I could live with her at her parents. I wished I could live with her but I was not allowed. In our tribe, children belong to their father.
Sometimes I hid from school and ran all the way for 5 km, to visit my mother. Another day I pretended to go to school but diverted my way secretly, and went to my grandparents home where my mother lived. This made my father furious as he had to come after me. Finally, I got used to life without my mum. It took me one year and severe punishments of different types.
What really helped me to stop visiting my mother, however, was the fact that she went away to the city of Nairobi to look for a job. I couldn’t visit her if she was not near.
I often cried because I missed my mother. Sometimes I refused to eat and refused to talk to anybody. My sadness affected my studies very much. People thought I was a stupid pupil because I was not the last born. My father became very firm with me and made me to understand that I had to go on. He was relieved that with my mother far away he took his mind off from her to concentrate on his children.
Eventually we were old enough to survive without our parents. We also could eat more. Three children and an adult is not so cheap. We needed clothes, food, school fees, books, pens etc. my dad had started life without worrying about such things. He explained his problem to his parents. They suggested to him to go and look for a job. They agreed to look after us if he could find a small job. My father was received and very happy. His cousin came home on leave and promised to help him get to Nairobi.
After father left for Nairobi life changed a lot. Grandmother could not care for us like our father did. We weren’t so clean and grandmother’s food was cooked traditionally. We had freedom to visit friends and go and watch soccer in the village. Father had been a problem to that. Our friends also spent time with us in our grandparents home. But without father and mother I become worse academically. Nobody seemed to care about my school. Both my grandparents were illiterate.
Father spent one year away before he came back. Suddenly, he said he got a job and a place to live. He was disappointed with my results. I was doing nothing good for myself in school. Discussions were held about me at length. Finally my father had to go back to work. He said he would find a solution to my problem. He promised to be back soon. Not much later my aunt came to visit my grandmother. She heard about my problems in school. She took me to Nairobi with her. She put me in a school near her place.
Early last year in January my father came to my aunt’s house and said that he had met some friends who could help him with his daughter i.e me. My aunt came with him to see Mr. Raphael and Mr. Musumba. They interviewed me for grade seven and said I was average and their teachers could help me. Am now in Hamomi. It’s a hard working school. I have many friends in the school. Everyone helps me to study. I met white people from America. They gave us many presents and promised to help us through secondary school if we pass our final exams. I’m determined to pass it this year.