Godfrey Gudah Autobiography
I was born in Kibera, possibly the largest slum in the world. My elder brother was 2 years old. My father worked in the forest as a forest gardener. Time went by and we suddenly migrated to Kakamega county. There my brother and I went to a nursery school. Later when I was 3 years old I joined class one. My brother would come home with a lot of sugarcane stems. He would even get his bag and books in the sugarcane factories. Kakamega county is a sugar belt of Kenya.
My mother fried mandazi for sale and sold some soap, matches and other small items to our neighbours. One day she cooked mandazi and left us to sell. We sold a few and went to play. When she came she found that we were not there and the mandazi were missing. We had gone to play in the sugarcane plantation. She found us and called us from a distance. After reaching home she searched for a cane and we were beaten.
Another day we went to play on a tall building whose construction was not complete. We played hide and seek on the open second floor. We ran wildly, upstairs and downstairs without caring much. Suddenly I stumbled over a loose block and tumbled down from first floor to the ground. I lay down overwhelmed by shock and pain. My mother heard my cry and came running.
I ended up with my left arm in a plaster. I was fractured. It was a very painful experience. I had to carry my plaster to school, to church, except to play which was not allowed to do. But for how long? I wished to play with my brother and my friends again. The plaster was too heavy for me to run well. The doctor said I needed to stay with the plaster for around six weeks. One day my friends went swimming in a river that was 1 km away. I could not be left behind. My mother was not at home.
Actually, my brother ran and tried to run from me but I knew where they were going. I ran with my heavy plaster all the way to the river. I found them having a lot of fun in the dirty, muddy river. It was not a big river and it was shallow. The laughter of the boys could be heard from far. My heart started beating wildly with excitement. I wished I could join in the fun. They dipped, dived, floated and fought in the water.
Finally, I had had enough and I decided to hell with my plaster. I carried my left arm in the plaster up and jumped into the river with my full clothes! Of course I got wet but I loved it. It was good. My brother was shocked but he couldn’t stop playing to talk to me. My plaster absorbed muddy water! My father passed that way on his way home from work. You should have seen his face when he recognized the little boys in the water. When he came nearer, he almost fainted when he saw me. I thought that our punishment was going to be great. But it did not happen. My friends vanished in seconds before I knew it. My father took hold of me as I trembled and carried me on his shoulders. My mother opened her mouth to scream at me but my father’s smiling face stopped her. He had news. A friend had called him in Nairobi for a job.
The problem was my wet plaster. We went to the doctor and he removed it. After that we left for Nairobi. My arm healed well. I ended up in Hamomi as my father’s job turned out to be inadequate. He can’t pull his weight. I have got in to other practical jokes but that’s a story for another day.