Frankline Idubago’s Journey from Fear to Safety
Finding No Reason for Fear
By Frankline Idubago, Class 8, 2014
My name is Frankline Idubago. My parents broke up because of my father’s drunkenness and domestic violence. I am 15 years old and actually supposed to be in secondary school in Form 2 but I didn’t follow the grades properly since I kept dropping out of school due to a lack of school fees. I fell far behind and had to repeat grades. But thanks to Hamomi Children’s Centre who quickly put me on the right track and hence I sailed smoothly to grade 8. No absenteeism, disappointments or underperformance.
we looked just like them
The happiest day of my life was when mother announced that we were going to a new school where we would have breakfast and lunch. I thought that she was just pulling my leg, or was trying to make me interested in school again. I had been in school on and off for the most of a year so much so that I didn’t know anymore why teachers would bother to give me exams! I asked her rather skeptically if this time we would be able to stay for an entire term. She looked at me straight in the eyes without batting an eyelid and my heart missed a beat- oh no! Why had I dared to challenge mother?
We looked around apprehensively at the other kids and teachers expecting trouble at any moment, but to our amazement, no one did anything bad to us.
I hastily said, “I’m sorry mother, please forgive me.” But mother just stared at me for a long moment before saying, “It’s ok, Franco. You have got a school where you will study until Standard 8 without problems!” To cut a long story short, we came to Hamomi Children’s Centre in Kangemi maybe 2 kilometers away. That was in 2007. I joined grade 3 while Stanley joined grade 1.The teachers were very patient and didn’t worry about our poor performance at the start. We were like kids who’d never been to school. We looked around apprehensively at the other kids and teachers expecting trouble at any moment, but to our amazement, no one did anything bad to us. The children were friendly and let us play with them. They all smiled and talked to us like we were old time friends. No one was in school uniform. Most of them wore old slippers or dirty rugged sneakers. Only a few had real school bags with good note books or pens. We really fit well as we looked just like them.
Mother was waiting for us at six o’clock in the evening to hear what we had to say about our new school. The only negative thing we had to say was crowding on one desk. My brother said classrooms were worse than our house. At this mother was very much amused and burst out laughing. We also joined in heartily.
For a long time I had been jumpy and preferred not to keep the company of my parents unless I was 100% sure I had not made any false move.
Unknown to us, Mother was aware of our fear of adults. My brother and I were very careful on how we handled grownups. We thought that it was risky business doing something wrong, since it secured a hard beating, a lesson father had taught us years back. For a long time I had been jumpy and preferred not to keep the company of my parents unless I was 100% sure I had not made any false move. Mother has been forgiving all my mistakes and trying to make me laugh at my silliness instead of fear.
love! there was love for me!
At Hamomi there has been no reason for fear. We even chat and joke with our directors and teachers. There is so much freedom and fun that pupils are rarely absent from school unless they are sick or have a good reason. Everybody new learns responsibility from the old pupils in the school. The greatest moments of my life happened to me at Hamomi. One day we had several American Volunteers in our school on a few weeks visit. They taught us how to play the ultimate Frisbee. I found it hard to grasp the rules since I’m more used to football (Soccer).
In soccer we keep our hands off the ball so I found it hard passing the disk skillfully with my hands. Someone tripped letting it fall beside me. I picked it up and hurled it with all my might at the volunteer (Can’t remember her name).It smacked her flat on her face, to my horror. She screamed as she went down on her knees. The other Volunteers rushed to her to try and ease her pain. I think I must have turned red in my face just that it didn’t show through my tint.
It was such a warm firm assuring hug that the tears came into my eyes anyway, but this time not in fear, but of a feeling I can’t describe.
I wished the ground could open up and swallow me whole and alive to save me from the big trouble I was in. Everyone was concerned about the poor American girl I had just injured foolishly. I dropped my eyes to the ground and was almost crying when a big burly Volunteer turned in my direction and hugged me tightly. It was such a warm firm assuring hug that the tears came into my eyes anyway, but this time not in fear, but of a feeling I can’t describe.
Nobody knows it but the incident healed a big issue of fear, mistrust and fear of adults. I had met serious love and it made my heart glow with pride.
At last when the girl rose up she smiled at me and gave me a hug too. She wiped my tears and said, “It’s Ok, dear.” Dear? Me dear? A mixture of feelings went through me in quick succession leaving me confused. I wasn’t able to concentrate on the rest of the game. I kept staring at her and Big Boy thinking ‘Love’! There was love for me!’ Nobody knows it but the incident healed a big issue of fear, mistrust and fear of adults. I had met serious love and it made my heart glow with pride. Back home my brother spilled the beans. I had forgotten to instruct him not to breathe a word of my major goof during the day. I looked at mother’s face steeling myself for a severe scolding but instead a concerned look flashed into it and when her lips opened she merely gave me advice on caring for teammates in a game. It’s those words from mother that ring in my ears on the football pitch. “Take care of your teammates”. During Hamomi matches with other schools, it usually hurts me to see one of my own felled by opponents.
one of the sweetest moments in my life
My best moments in soccer are scoring goals. One day we had a match in Kawangware against a school called Elim House. They usually hire strong players to reinforce their weak team. Our number 7 Elvis Onyango, now in grade 7 made a good move dribbling past Elim House defenders. He noticed me on the wing and prepared to pass the ball to me. A big boy, (Twice Elvis’s size), knocked him down but luckily Elvis had seen it coming and hit the ball before he rolled in the dust.
I saw what happened to Elvis as I received the ball. It gave me a new purpose-Not to let Elvis down. I charged forward and shot the ball with all my might past the goalkeeper. It was a goal! I rushed to celebrate with Elvis; Mr Musumba our director went wild with celebration. Hamomi pupils came on the pitch to share the joy. But Mr. Musumba decided authoritatively it was the end of the game. We still had a lot of time to play and the score was 1-1.He said he wasn’t ready to risk his boys in a friendly match with people who broke rules. We were very proud of him. We carried him shoulder high and matched back to our school singing “Hamomi forever”. It’s one of the sweetest moments in my life. When I score a goal (which is not often). It gives me such a thrill.
The moment I face the goalkeeper with an opportunity to score, my heart starts beating like the high-pitched tom toms of the Bushmen of the Kalahari in South Africa.
The moment I face the goalkeeper with an opportunity to score, my heart starts beating like the high-pitched tom toms of the Bushmen of the Kalahari in South Africa. I run like in a dream and in a daze I shoot the ball. On another occasion I hit the ball too hard it went over the bar, over the wall of the pitch and into the neighbouring residential plot. We searched for the ball in vain, maybe someone hid it. It was one of the balls a volunteer who came with Susie Marks had bought for our team. We wore nice new jerseys bought for Hamomi team by Eric and Laurel, Volunteers from USA. My other moment in Hamomi that I want to talk about is my first day with a computer. It was in 2011 and I was in grade 5. It was Eric and Laurel, with two Laptops.
my dreams are vague
I don’t know what I really would like to become when I grow up. My dreams are vague. Maybe I will know after completing High School. I like machines a lot; maybe I should be a pilot. I also like the safari rally. The cars are driven very fast on rough country roads all over Kenya. Only tough drivers participate leave alone win. My favorite safari rally Champion is Ian Duncan. He is a Kenyan. He has participated for many years, since before I was born and won many times.
I believe men should be all about protecting women and children.
I believe men should be all about protecting women and children. It’s evil and disturbing for women and children to suffer at the hands of men. Such men don’t know why they were born, it’s utterly unacceptable .When I grow up I will strive to protect women and children. It’s a great responsibility.
It’s good for people to stay physically fit, At Hamomi Children’s Centre we frequently get volunteers who teach us (P.E), Physical Education. They know good exercise to relax the body or make it strong. I would like to be strong so I can play a game like rugby apart from football.
I feel I need to set the pace for him.
Lastly, I am in the same class with my brother because I stayed out of school for a long time which resulted in him catching up with me. I don’t feel bad about it though I feel I need to set the pace for him. Sometimes he does better than me in one subject. That is good for him. In my class we compete very hard. I am happy because Hamomi has met my education needs well. I don’t know anybody else who would have understood my family and helped me, I say, “Thank you very much, Hamomi!”