Mildred Kagai Autobiography
I was born in 1998 on 7th of July. My mother was only eighteen years old and out of school. She was not married. My grandmother named me after her mother, Kagai. My full name became Mildred Kagai. My grandmother received me happily as a gift from God. My mother’s problem posed some problems. The question was, who then was my dad?
My mother had earlier informed her boyfriend of her predicament, when she got pregnant. As you can guess his response was denial and escape! She was getting him in a very big problem. His exit left mum in a fix. However, my grandmother went ahead and accepted me. After a few days, my hair was shaved according to our traditions. A new born member to our tribe, hair must be shaved off, soon after birth by a paternal grandmother.
I was my grandmother’s first grandchild and so she had to celebrate my birth, even if I didn’t have a father to talk of. My mother was disappointed by being left by her love. When she got over it she didn’t want anything to do with my father who was in his early twenties age. She didn’t visit nor communicated with him or his parents. When his parents saw this, they started convincing her not to be angry but she very bitter. Nothing they could do to make her like them or their son again. They wanted her to get married to my father.
My grandmother tried to negotiate with them and with my mother but to no avail. She was asked to give out the child but she refused. When I was one year old she was able to leave me with my grandmother, to go and see her friends again. Her life had to go on. The way to go on was either to find a job or a good man, as she said. She tried to work for people in the village. She worked hard and tried to save some shillings. After a year or so of doing this, she met an old friend who had come from Kisumu city. Her friend took her to Kisumu to look for a job. She stayed with her friend for some time before getting a job. She later, got a job of selling sodas to shops and kiosks’ owners at wholesale price. This was a tough job at 20 years age.
I think it was while in Kisumu that she learnt a lot about life. She grew up as she told me she made many friends. I didn’t join school at the right age, because it was far away. My grandmother could not take me there, and come for me every day. That way it was too much work for her. The first time I joined school I was 7 years old and able to walk to school and back on my own. My mother visited us once a month. She seemed better and better every time she came. She bought for me books, pens, a bag and shoes. I was happy but I missed my parents. At first I thought my grandparents were my parents until my mother explained. Then I thought about my father. That was a forbidden topic.
My grandmother represented my parents in school meetings. My friends in school teased me and laughed at me because I did not have a father. The called me “mkosa baba” meaning fatherless. It hurt but eventually I got used to it. Actually I was not alone. I just don’t know why I had to be laughed at. There were orphans and children from broken homes.
One day, my mother left home for work in Kisumu only to disappear for a whole year. My grandmother asked several friends and was told she had suddenly left her job and followed a friend to Nairobi. We just waited for any news from her. Finally, she called my grandfather and said she would come to visit us. She said she was married. We all looked forward to seeing her. When she came, she looked happy and was well dressed. She took me to Nairobi and put me in a school. My step-dad was nice to me and did everything for me. Together they have got two daughters and a little boy. Twelve years, ten years, and two years respectively. Two years ago my mother decided to change my school to Hamomi children centre. My old school did not perform well.