Soda And Chips


“No,” her aunt told her emphatically after finishing reading the letter, “I’m not taking in your sister. Or any of you.” Then she lit a cigarette and looked away. This was the 1980s in Karatina when women didn’t smoke. In fact the first woman she ever saw smoking in her life was her aunt. She smoked openly, in defiance of patriarchy. You could say she didn’t give a fag. She also drank local brew with men. She was a bad-ass before badassery had an ass. The kind that rolled her own cigarettes on her bare thighs. She remembers her as very tall and very willowy and she always went about in long old dresses that made her look like she was constantly floating. 

She – merely 12 years old – had gone to see her aunt with a letter that her mom had given her a few days ago. Her mom had suddenly left them; five children and her husband, their father. But before taking off she had told her [we shall call her Rose] that she was in charge of the family now. She had handed her the said letter to deliver to her aunt in a distant village, a letter which, being a curious girl, she had read. The letter urged her aunt to take in and care for her baby sister who was only two and a half years old. She said she had tried the marriage but it wasn’t working and that she was leaving to go find a different life elsewhere, that the other children would be fine except the youngest. 

Her aunt handed her back the letter and stood there, sucking on her cigarette. “Go back home,” she eventually said, “I can’t take your little sister. I have enough on my plate.”

So she went back home with her small sister. They lived in village squalour; a two-roomed shack in a small boma. One bed which she shared with four of her other siblings. A river – River Ragati- flowed at the very bottom of their boma, right outside the gate. When it rained the river swelled and rose too close; a brown churning froth running past poverty. Her father was a peasant. They had close to nothing. Their clothes hang on them like scarecrows. A meal day was the norm. “With my mom gone I had to become the mother to my siblings since I was the first born. My dad was hardly ever there.” She says. She’d walk to school and sleep half the time because the previous night she was taking care of her youngest sister who was a sickly child. 

“My parents argued and fought a lot before my mom left. They often fought physically and because we lived in a small house, it felt like the world was just crashing around me. It was very frightening. I was a very smart and confident girl. I was the kind of student who was called to sing for visitors in school. But the situation at home started affecting my confidence. I couldn’t concentrate in class, always napping because, I was up at night taking care of my small sister who had stomach issues. Teachers would scold me cruelly when they found me napping and I started keeping to myself.”

There was hardly ever anything to eat; a meal a day if they were lucky. Her dad was constantly gone, coming early in the morning to drop off beans or unga or vegetables and taking off. “We were mostly alone. Just me and my younger siblings.” This went on for a few months until one day when they came back from church to find her mom sitting in their room. She had brought chips and a soda. They were excited to see her but she picked up her remaining clothes and left. “Rather, she sneaked out through a small back gate and disappeared in a coffee farm.” It was all very confusing for her, of course. Why didn’t she want to stay like other mothers? Was it her fault? A couple of months later a woman showed up and said, I’m your mom’s friend, come with me, I know where she is. I will take you to her.” 

She was desperate to see her mom, so she followed the woman. They boarded a matatu to Karatina town. Her mom was working in a small restaurant tucked between a hardware store and a supermarket. She sat down at a table and her mom came and sat next to her. She looked tired and distracted. She told her, “I now work here,” her apron was dirty, “do you want a soda and chips?” Of course she wanted a soda and chips. Her mom briefly watched her eat with her head resting on her hand and then suddenly stood up and went about her business. She ate slowly and followed her mom with her eyes whenever she went about the room, serving, wiping. She had questions for her but she didn’t know how or if she should voice them. She wanted to know why she had abandoned them. If she would ever come back to them. She wanted to tell her that she was struggling in school. That her youngest sibling was constantly unwell and she didn’t know what to do. That her father was never at home. That he had started drinking heavily since she left. That they never had much to eat and the younger ones were always hungry. “But I didn’t, I didn’t have the nerve to ask her,” she says, “I ate my chips and drunk my soda and I left. Every Sunday I’d walk to go see her. I’d carry something back for my siblings. It went on for a long time. It felt normal; her living away, my dad working in a shop as a tailor and living in a single room behind the shops and me taking care of the household that they had both abandoned. It felt normal.” 

In the village they became pariahs. The ones from a broken family. The children that were abandoned by their parents. Stigma stalked them. “I started withdrawing. I was embarrassed of my broken family. I lost all my self-esteem. I was nothing. We were nothing. Our drama was well known because my dad would still follow my mom to the hotel and they’d have massive fights. He was now drinking heavily, for someone who never touched alcohol. And smoking. My life had become very chaotic.” The next time she went to the hotel she was told her mom no longer worked there. She had lost her job. She found where she was staying, in a single room amongst a line of single rooms hastily built at the edge of town. 

One time she went to visit her mom for a night and found a man inside her house. He had a big Adams Apple that moved up and down his throat whenever he spoke. He asked her with deadpan disinterest, like you’d inquire about lost luggage, “Is this your little girl?” Her mom nodded meekly. Her mother seemed small next to him like a misplaced comma. The man leaned on the wall with his wide back and smoked, half his legs dangling from the edge of the bed. He occasionally tapped the ashes in a matchbox and drank something clear from a water glass. His Adam’s Apple moved and made a noise when he swallowed. At night — when the lights were off and she lay curled on a thin mattress on the floor — she heard him groan like a wounded animal. The bed moved vigorously and her mother made whimpering sounds. When she woke up in the morning the man had gone. Each weekend she would find a different man in her mom’s house. Sometimes she’d wait outside the door as they finished their business. Other times she’d have to endure the sounds they made in bed. She didn’t know what commercial sex was then, she would only learn much later that her mom had become a prostitute. 

“At 13 years and living in the village your whole life, you don’t know that someone can sell their body for sex.” She says. 

I took her for fish at Big Fish on Church Road. It’s always a very tricky affair having fish with someone, anyone, from the mountains. The mountains here being anyone who hails from anywhere past Uthiru. And Kabete. It’s a very dicey — and often — soul-weary affair. First, because of the questions they might ask. Questions like if it  ‘has bones.’ Sigh. This is not a pawpaw. It’s fish. Of course, it has bones. And no, the eyes can’t see you even though they seem open. The fish is dead, which means the eyes are dead. And yes, we eat the eyes. What does it taste like? It tastes like eyes. The fear of being pricked by the said bones always seems to be bigger for them than the fear of hunger. Wiser men, wahenga, had put in place measures to mitigate that eventually. The general rule of thumb when a fish bone gets stuck in your throat is to roll a large lump of ugali and swallow it whole. Not a pellet, a lump.  It will scrape the pesky bone in. And anyway, a fishbone never killed anyone, it’s in the handbook of our culture. However, it’s always fascinating to see how they pick through the fish carefully, delicately, as if the fish is still alive and they might wake it from a nap. Rose wasn’t an exception. But she had carried such a heavy weight of melancholy to the table that I didn’t have the heart to chastise or mock her for eating her fish with such disrespect. It pained me, nonetheless. 

She sat for her KCPE and passed. Unbeknownst to her, her mom and father had decided to split the children. Those named after his mom would remain with him and those named after her mom would be shopped off to her mom. “So my sister and I went to live with my grandmother. We left our siblings behind. I only knew of this arrangement when I went back home and my dad was so mad she dragged us back to my mom and told her, we had a deal, they can’t stay with me, I don’t want them. Take them and take them back to your mother.” 

She didn’t have enough money to get into high school even though she passed well — 536/700. She had been invited to join Bishop Gatimu Ngandu Girls High School but of course nobody would pay for her. “I considered going to a cathedral school in Meru that offered scholarships but that year they had raised their intakes to 550. Her mom didn’t seem very invested in her going to school, she sent her back to her grandmother’s. “After staying at home doing nothing, I told my grandmother that I would repeat KCPE and see if I could score the 550 to qualify for the scholarship.” Going back meant paying for registration, some small school fees and a uniform. She re-joined class eight using home clothes until her mom sent the uniform over much later. 

She scored 598 that year and was in the scholarship program. “High school was horrible! I had no self-esteem at this point. I was scared to express myself or even be next to people. I was scared of the girls from Nairobi who spoke well and had better clothes. I couldn’t raise my hand in class because of my accent; my ‘r’s and ‘l’s, were a mess. Other students would laugh at how I spoke so I only spoke when I had to. I felt like nothing.”

“By this time my mom had started living with this one man I never liked. I realised that she never told him she had other kids. She had made him believe that  my other siblings were her sister’s kids.” She says. “When I was in Form three my mom got pregnant and gave birth to a baby boy who immediately started getting sick. She stayed in the hospital for a long time. During holidays I would stay with the baby in one wing of the hospital ward while she was in the other wing. Then the baby died. I remember going to visit her and her asking me, ‘Now that you are here, who have you left the baby with?’ I couldn’t tell her that her baby had died.” 

When she was in Form Four, an uncle of hers showed up in school. The uncle told her that they had to go back home immediately. “I just knew it.” She says. “I just knew it.” When she got home she learnt that her mother had died. She, like her baby brother, had died of AIDS. “ I didn’t cry for her. I never shed one tear for my mother.” She says. “In fact only recently I ran into a strange photo of me laughing at the funeral. Her dad never attended the funeral, neither did her siblings. I was just very indifferent to her death.” After the burial she went back home and sat for her KCSE. “By this time round, my grandmother was tired of me and my sister staying with her. So she threw us out. I had to go back to my dad and plead with him to take us in. He agreed reluctantly and finally we were back to our old home, reunited with my other siblings.” 

A letter to join Moi University came by post. With no prospect of raising any monies needed she decided to work as a househelp to a fairly well-to-do family in Nyeri. Her wage was 1,300 bob, “I saved a chunk of it. The rest I’d sent to my siblings and some to my grandmother.” She applied and got HELB when she joined university. “That HELB money helped me educate all my siblings throughout my four years in university.” 

Then she started catching a break. After university, she sent an application letter by post [ as was common then]  to a big corporation and she was surprised when they replied months later with an invite for an interview. She wore her best clothes; a long chaste skirt, a white blouse, and her old shoes. Her hair smelled of woodsmoke. She came to Nairobi for the first time for the interview. It was overwhelming, all the city stimulus. It felt so loud and so shiny and everything seemed to move all around her at a fast speed. In the lifts of the building, she didn’t dare press the button to the floor she was going to so she just stood there and hoped someone would get off on the same floor. She was interviewed in a boardroom that was cold even though there were no open windows. She held her hand under the table and prayed they wouldn’t smell the village poverty on her. 

Two months later she got a letter; she had gotten the job. Off to Nairobi she came, moved in with a friend from university who lived in Ngara as she saved up to move out three months later and then brought in her siblings to live with her.

She now had a great job at this company that everybody wanted and still want to work for. She started building herself, running away from her past, her childhood, covering it with things, trappings of affluence. She was rising up the social ladder. She pushed the person she was at the very back; the child of a mother and a father who abandoned her, a grandmother who didn’t want her, a child of poverty.  “My father died in 2011, of alcohol poisoning. I wasn’t sad when I learnt he had died. It felt like a load off my shoulders.” 

But then you can’t really run away from who you are. It all surfaces. “I realised that even though I’m very competent at what I do, I suffer from great insecurities.” She says. “My self-esteem is still at the very bottom. I have constantly felt like a fraud. I have a good job but I feel like I’m not good at the job, that I don’t deserve it. I suffer from self-doubt and imposter syndrome. I don’t have the guts to go for other jobs because I’m afraid the people I work with will discover that I’m no good. I have turned down leadership roles because of my self-doubt. What if I can’t make it, I ask myself. Who would agree to be led by someone like me? I have constantly battled with this feeling. I hide who I was and where I’m from. Nobody knows where I come from because I’m embarrassed of my past. I find that I can never fight for myself. When someone hurts me, I step away. I make excuses for them. I don’t know how to be angry, to scold anyone. I cry a lot. I’m a ball of emotions. I always think I’m on the wrong, that nothing good happens to me, that I don’t deserve anything good. Even a relationship.” 

Everytime she meets someone new it doesn’t go very far. “I’m needy and clingy because I’m always afraid that people will always leave me. Maybe I cling to these people because I’m looking for a father who didn’t leave. But they always leave. ”

She has carried the stigma of rejection all her life. “I don’t understand the reason why everyone rejects me, from my parents, relatives and now prospective partners.” Her voice breaks. “And the pattern is always similar despite these being totally different people who have no affiliation.” She has never been in anything she can call a relationship. She met and had a child with someone who was a mere friend. That someone also left.  She called it a ‘curse” in her emails to me; this phenomenal where people leave her. Where nobody stays. This streak of bad luck or rejection. 

There is a way to turn over your fish once you are done with one side. I get frustrated when people break the “spine” of their fish. You are supposed to turn it gently so that it doesn’t crumble. When Rose turned hers — and I can’t blame her — it looked like someone had sat on it. She picked on this side and finally gave up on it. One last thing; the head is the final pleasure. There is a unique part on either side of the head that has a strand of flesh. That flesh cures insomnia. [OK, I’m lying, but I suspect it cures something, otherwise why did God put it there?]. I normally gorge the eyes and eat them. My favorite part of the fish is the gills. Crunchy and crispy. Squeeze lemon on it and eat it. You haven’t finished eating fish until you have eaten the gills. Rose left the whole head. Untouched. 

Anyway, she started seeing a therapist. When she met me they had gone through ten sessions and she had cried a river, unearthing the pain and hurt from childhood. The therapist made me write letters to her dead parents. She sent me the letters. They are terrible letters that offer a glimpse into her childhood. They are unforgiving in nature. They are angry. “But writing them has helped me.” She said. “I’m now looking for that girl I was before 12, before my mom left and my dad left and everybody left. I’m looking for peace with my past. I also have a son who I’m giving everything I didn’t get. I’m being a mother I didn’t have.”


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    1. Another sad reminder that we’re all different. In different ways. Biko, where are the trophies for such? Gloria, err, Gloriah, have you seen them?

  1. Hugs to you dear. I’m rooting for you. You are a warrior and a conqueror. You have come from far. I believe in you and know that you will eventually rise above your insecurities. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

  2. A good one Biko. I see a fighter in Rose. I believe that as she faces and confronts her past trauma’s with the help of therapy, she will discover herself too.

  3. This is deep, I have felt like her some time, this imposter syndrome light and sunshine to you Rose it shall surely be well.
    I am being the mother I didn’t have that caught me

  4. To Rose and so many other Roses and Johns that are going through this, may peace locate you. I pray that therapy works and you are able to soar and conquer every dream that you have always had.

  5. I’m glad that she’s seeking help and is committed to healing. Random thought….Is it possible to have a sequel on how she’s doing say after a year?

  6. may God be with you Rose, may you be the girl you were before your mum and Dad left but with the wisdom of the years. You are right where you are meant to be.

  7. ‘And anyway, a fishbone never killed anyone, it’s in the handbook of our culture.’
    Margaret Ogolla and Owang’ Sino just rolled over in their graves.

  8. Sad indeed, praying that she rebuilds her life
    away from her wounded past. My favourite part of the fish is the brain and the eyes, and where the eggs are stored..he he .nothing beats that

  9. I totally understand her, deeply so…the feeling that you are not enough, that rejection feeling, like you have nothing to offer in life, but the fact that you pulled through and are telling this story means that you are on the road to recovery and that you will bring up the strongest son in the world….there’s is hope for all of us who lacked love in our childhood.

  10. I see resilience in Rose. All she needs is therapy and self-belief and she will conquer the world.
    I pray she gets someone who understands her.

  11. May be judged for this but I’ve never learnt to eat the head or tail of the fish. They’ve always been people to eat these parts when I do not, so not wasting. Love the flesh, and can separate the flesh from the bone in my mouth and spit out the bone, so have never swallowed a fishbone by mistake..ha!

    To need not go through life with the trauma of your childhood weighing you down. Nobody chooses their birth place or birth parents, nor do they choose the circumstances they find themselves in as a child, so understand that it is no fault of your own.
    The spirit of rejection is a terrible insidious lying spirit which wants to dispossess you of good things and then turns around to plant thoughts into your head that it is your fault. Don’t believe its’ lies, that hold it has and the accompanying thoughts can be broken.

    Happily there is a way out. To win this battle requires a renewing of the mind. Recognize that Christ came to give you life and life in abundance. Recognize just by faith, you’re adopted into the family of God, as a son/daughter of God, and you have every right to advance your career and occupy positions you wish to occupy.
    Block out the voice of the enemy and negative thoughts, and daily tune in to the voice of God and positive thoughts/affirmations.

  12. There is always a way to turn over your fish once you are done with one side. Be kind to those who don’t turn it like you do. May Rose find closure and healing on this her journey to liberation.
    Thanks Biko for sharing.

  13. A note “Rose”
    May you heal to a point of making peace with your past by accepting that the past can’t be made any better. Work on your healing, trauma can be passed down a generation so is healing. Heal for you and for your generations to come. Your story is inspiring despite the experience. Please own it because it doesn’t define you. Your story is an asset exhibiting leadership skills, determination, and hard work. Stand against the sun today, look at its rays and shout out loud, ‘ I made it.’ ‘I deserve love.’ ‘I deserve leadership positions.’ ‘I am worthy and deserving of everything good.’ Write such positive affirmations in your diary and read them out loud every day. It’s just a matter of time, you will be far from where you are today; Emotionally, spiritually, and socially. Your self-esteem will be restored and everything else you lost. Read Finding me by Viola Davis and listen to Oprah and viola’s stories on youtube. Their childhood poverty was beyond poverty. Nevertheless, they rose above all those adversaries. You can never run away from your shadow.

    1. So true. Finding me by Viola will blow her mind because of the similarities of coming from abject poverty, and a dysfunctional family and yet rising from this situations to achieving their wildest dreams. You are worthy, you are loved, and you can heal.
      Finding love prior to healing is a task because somehow when you come from a dysfunctional home you will always attract dysfunction. You will choose the same same people who will leave unconsciously because the unconscious isn’t concscious. You don’t even know that it’s a pattern until you know. You deserve all the good things that life has to offer. I am rooting for you. Also read Adults of Emotionally Immature Parents,it will help in your healing.

      Louis, good stuff. I’ll be looking out for your comments.

      1. I have wasted all morning trying to find a pdf version of Finding Me. (Biko wouldn’t approve, but the book costs 3500)

        Am watching Viola acting as Prof. Annalie Keating in ‘How to get away with murder’ and is only epic that I get love to read her book next.

        Anyone with PDF version?

        1. Hey Rose, if you are reading this….

          1) This book :What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Book by Bruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey” will shed some light on a lot of things trauma and how to overcome
          2) This lady “” talks a lot about childhood trauma, (having gone through it herself) she is quite a ray of light and maybe you could learn something from her
          3) You are enough, you were BORN enough, nothing you say or do will ever add or subtract from who you are and i.e enough..
          God bless you, your child and your siblings. May the universe be kind to you

  14. More people would benefit from therapy. Imagine what more this resilient, brilliant girl would become if she worked through those feelings of insecurity??? If you can afford it, go to therapy.

  15. Which is that organization that everyone wants to work for.
    Anyways may she find peace, enough to keep her boat afloat. May she find healing.

  16. Oof!! This was heavy.
    I hate that so much of how you end up being, as a person, is dependent on sooooo much shit you can’t control.

    I’m really glad she’s getting help.
    I hope she gets to reveal her true, unapologetic self, and as youngings say, I hope she gets to live her best life!

  17. Sometimes you find stories of people whose life experiences are a true reflection of yours. At some point we go through a rough tunnel with pitch darkness, it seems there will never be light at the end of it. But by the grace of God we come through though very beaten, tired and bearing burdens like zero self-esteem, self-doubt and imposter syndrome. Life doesn’t feel normal, you see other people and feel judged already. Running away from one’s past is not easy, actually one never does.
    I wish we are all humane enough to understand one another and lend a hand where we can.
    Be kind to one another.

  18. The fact that she managed to pass exams, secure herself a good job despite her circumstances is winning! Rose not many people manage to dig themselves out of the crappy lie you had. you are not an imposter but a winner. it will take you time to believe this but i would never have been able to do what you have done! keep fighting and keep winning!

  19. The part where she feels like a fraud, an imposter; that part sounds familiar. It is a feeling I get almost daily. When someone compliments me, I always feel like they are actually mocking me. Like I am not good enough to warrant such words of praise and admiration. On those rare occasions when I genuinely believe the compliments, I shed a tear or two. I don’t know why, but I cry (privately).

    See, Rose (not your real name), take it one day at a time. Don’t deflect the emotions when they knock. Take them in and reflect. Sip them like wine, champagne or whisky. Gracefully. Not like local brew, grudgingly. I know, it is easier said than done. Well, I have done the easy part. Over to you ‘Rose’.

  20. Hello ‘Rose’. I truly think you are blessed with something not many have. You are blessed with a fighter’s spirit. I hope you find the peace that you dearly deserve. Thankyou for sharing your story.

  21. Hugs. You shall overcome!
    You sound beautiful! And you are smart! How come they haven’t fired you Hadi saa hii? And they even want you to lead?! You deserve good things!

  22. She is the epitome of struggle and success. Our past always act as a haunting silhouette but that doesn’t stop us from shaping our lives. Happy ending Biko.

  23. I cannot even begin to imagine the weight she carries on a daily basis all stemming from a shitty childhood.You know parents really need to evaluate and re-evaluate their everyday choices and decisions.Everything you do as a parent has a direct impact on your kid even though you may not see it,so whenever you can,be a good parent,not perfect,just good.

  24. Hugs Dear
    May God shower His love on you and your environment to the point where you can’t even dare doubt that you are of value and highly loved

  25. We are here on earth because we belong here and we deserve to be here. I hope she realizes that she has every right to every good thing she desires and she should not feel like she doesn’t belong.

  26. What a story Biko, of adversity, triumph and the ever present self doubt. Rose is a true star. Sometimes we who had a more comfortable and stable childhood forget how lucky we have been. We complain regularly and fail to thank God for his providence and grace.

    Rose was a child like we all were and she did nothing to deserve this adversity, just as we also did nothing to get the better life we had – it is all God’s Grace. This is really a point for deep reflection and then decisions to make choices about what kind of adults we shall be. Generous? Kind? Loving? Passionate? or Selfish, ungrateful and unkind brats?

    It is all up to us and may we strive to be always better than those who went before us. Praying for Rose to heal and blossom to become the truly wonderful and passionate person that she truly is.

  27. I just want to hug her and tell her she is loved. That she did not deserve it. It wasn’t her fault and eventually, she will have people in her life who will not leave.

  28. Sorry ma’am for what you have gone through. Your story reminded me of the first paragraph in Scott Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby where he writes: “In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, he told me, just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”

    I hope we learn not to criticise, chuckle, or admonish a person for the way they speak, love, or dress because not everyone has had the same advantages.

    I also think that our ma’am here suffers from ‘survivor’s guilt’ coupled with the ‘impostor syndrome’ which make her doubt her ability to lead and love. I hope she heals and breaks the cycle. And may she find love and acceptance because as it’s said in the Desiderata, “Be not cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.”

    The greatest commandment is love. It is all that counts, and if you concentrate on loving others, you will find your own life filled with love in return.

  29. If rising like a Phoenix was defined, it would be called Rose.

    Rise Mama. Rise.

    Your narration has helped Illuminate dark crevices from our pasts too, and understand them.

    Scoring 598/700 under the circumstances is genius. Only those who sat for exams out of 700 can understand this.

    We applause you and urge you to unleash your full potential after facing the ghosts from the past.

  30. I was holding my breath all the while as i read to the end, i dont know why i was just being Paranoid thinking that this would end in tears but am glad that things are looking up for Rose… May the heavens just light up her paths.

  31. Dear Rose,

    You made it. You came this far, and trust me not many would have. Well done mama, against the odds, you made it. You’re what super heroes are made of…i am proud of you.
    There is true inner healing found in Jesus. See while i know you would want to ask why God let you go through all that…all i see is that he kept you. In the madness, the rejection he kept you. Now allow him to undo what was very unfairly done to you, then you will experience true love. A love sooo precious, a healing soo deep, A God who is a father, so kind and loving. In due time, if you allow him, he will show you, just how he carried you.
    This is the reason why Christ died. Allow him in.

  32. 598/700! Wow! You gave it your all and it paid off faithfully. You sound brilliant. may you be healed of your childhood wounds early enough to rise to your rightful throne. All the best.

  33. Is it possible to share the contact of the therapist? I know someone struggling with almost similar issues

  34. I wanted to say Owang’ Sino (The River and the Source) choked on a fishbone and died but ‘Rose’ going for therapy and seeking healing is importanter. I’m glad she’s seeking help.

  35. This is deep…really deep.
    Am glad she is getting help…
    Children suffer alot because of parent’s bad choices.How i wish parents knew!!!
    May she get healing and be a good parent.

  36. So much pain and suffering. Why would 2 people choose to bring 5 souls into the world if they are unable to do look after them?! This one we cannot blame the colonialists for.

  37. Rose paid school fees for all her siblings using her HELB allowance! That is sooo remarkable! Most of us had only clothes to show for it! Then she got a job and took in all her siblings!! What a big person. If for nothing else, she deserves everything coming to her! Glad she is getting therapy. I have joked before that I am afraid that if I go for therapy, they may take me into admission – this joke sounds cruel considering Rose’s story.

  38. I came across a quote the other day. ” We are not all in the same boat. We are all in the same storm. Some have yachts, some canoes and some are drowning. Just be kind and help whomever you can.”

    I felt that.

    We are all battling one storm or the other, we are all equipped differently to go through that storm. Best thing we can do is be kind, be gracious. Give a helping hand without losing yourself in that other person’s storm.
    Rose, it is well. You are well on your way to finding your best version and healing that hurt little girl. Heal the child, heal the adult. Love and light to you on your journey of healing.

  39. This story has moved me. You never know the burdens people are carrying.

    Rose, keep your head up gal & adjust your sail coz the tide changed a long time ago. For the better. You are on the rise!

    Just look at your success rate in beating the odds, rising against the tide & kicking ass in the face of adversity! You are a a true definition of a bad ass!

    #no one can keep such a girl down!

    Keep rocking

    BTW 598? R u kidding me? What kind of insane score is that? Genius!

  40. Rose, the fact that you have come this far and are still moving means only one thing: resilience. Rooting for you. I am awed by your sheer grit. I pray you find peace and comfort, and that the world opens its arms towards you in embrace.

  41. How does one recover from child trauma? The ball of emotions and being clingy fearing rejection, I can totally relate. Godspeed to all going through this and that from childhood

  42. May she find healing.
    Rejection is one of the toughest things to deal with.
    The feeling that no one wants you, you are not good enough for anyone. Crumbles the little self esteem we got and in the end we find ourselves all alone because it’s hard to accept that someone actually sees good in you.
    I can partly related to what she has gone through.
    Hugs Rose!
    It shall be well.

  43. Sad.
    I can partly relate to what she has gone through.
    Rejection is one of the toughest things to deal with.
    It kills our self esteem..
    Human behaviour is social and everything we do is for others and rarely for ourselves!
    It shall be well Rose

  44. I went to the same school with her. Kindly connect us. She needs hugs, gugs hugs. I will not leave…

  45. It’s amazing how God aligns things for people like Rose. She has risen against all odds to what she’s today but never forgot her siblings. Continue soaring!
    I’m also glad Biko recognizes greatness,Big fish.
    Teach us people of the mountain how to eat fish

  46. I experienced childhood trauma and I can relate with everything you’re trying to narrate. I lost my parents at a young age. The journey has been tough. But God has been faithful. Everything she told you is real… I can relate.

  47. Kudos Rose. Self awareness is critical… The journey you are on will lead you to a beautiful destination…there will be tears of healing…moments of broken-ness and many highs of small victories. You are enroute to a better season. Kudos on being a limping mother. We thank you.

    Forgiveness! oh forgiving those who rejected us. Its very hard…but its the most liberating action i ever did. Forgiving a mother who rejected me…and to come to peace with it.

    When i understood that others see me through a combination of their past conditioning, the experiences and their current emotional state…without realizing it, they will see themselves first and through that lens.., they also get an unclear picture of you.

    Therapy… Heavy door to open but worthwhile..

    Current state of affairs; lots of broken family units, rejected or abused children raised by broken parents.

    Take time to heal…hurting people hurt others. Broken people break and hurt others…they have many rough edges…


  48. God’s Mercy, saw her through, by God’s Mercy and grace she has come this far,
    God carried her though.

    I pray she realises how much God loves her and walk in Confidence, knowing she is a child of God more than a child of any woman or man.

    God is a our Ultinate Father , as our Creator and the giver of life that we have.

  49. It’s now 4:00 o’clock, I was up at 2, for a minute I thought I’d finally found the cure for insomnia.
    Rose’s story and others like her are the reason why campus girls and wababaz of today shall not see heaven. I mean what’s your excuse? Rose had 1001 and of those.

  50. One Man Owang sino in Margaret Ogolas book THE RIVER AND THE SOURCE was killed by a fish bone,so the fears are well founded.

  51. The therapist made me write letters to her dead parents. She sent me the letters. They are terrible letters that offer a glimpse into her childhood. They are unforgiving in nature. They are angry. “But writing them has helped me.” She said. “I’m now looking for that girl I was before 12

    its sad but she will overcome it

  52. We don’t choose who raises us. Our experiences, however bad they are, give us the don’ts. We already know what not to expose our kids to. We get the long end of the stick when it comes to knowing exactly what we want of our kids. Trouble is, unchecked trauma can be passed on to the kids unknowingly. I for one find water masses traumatic but that’s a story for another day. My kids will make amazing swimmers, though.
    Make a conscious decision to let it go, get closure. Then settle in and love life, love yourself more.

  53. I pray she gets full healing …..Some stories like this one, opens up some wounds I thought were healed…..

  54. Rose, I hope you find the closure you so much desire and deserve.. It will be the longest walk to freedom, but it will eventually pay off.

    Most importantly, I hope you get over the self-doubt and take on those leadership positions..

    It’s an undeniable dark past that doesn’t deserve to be tattooed on your future.

  55. It’s interesting that the thing that makes her the real deal causes her to doubt herself. She aced kcpe, aced kcse, took herself to university all while educating her siblings, got a great job and is raising a son all by her self. If you ask me is the definition of badass!!! Most people would have given up, sort marriage in the village and repeated the cycle of poverty. But not her. God, please open her eyes to see!

  56. I can relate. It’s like reading about myself. I’m yet to start therapy, but I plan to prioritize it this year.

  57. It’s crazy how we can have different backgrounds, different upbringings. And still go through the same issues.

    When you heal your past, you create a new future

  58. This is sad.

    It’s traumatizing when people keep on leaving, I can only imagine.

    Love and hope to you Rose.

  59. No, you don’t each fish gills unless you cleaned them yourself. My aunt used to say that fish eyes make one clever so I ate chunks of them and scored As in Mathematics. Kuna ka ukweli hapo.

  60. Hello Rose
    In a way your childhood resembles mine..being tossed around relatives
    Thanks for surviving through it all
    May you find love and heal your inner child
    Am proud of you

  61. I am not broken
    I have cracks and scars
    I have hurts and regrets
    I have falls and crevices
    They make me who I am.
    I am not broken.

  62. I felt for Rose.what about the other siblings? What is it with okuyus with their stupid naming system that ostracises children? Who asks where to be named?I hope this system will die a slow and painful death.I hate it I have hated it yet am one of them.I hope Rose will rise up from all she has been thru.inshallah.

  63. Carrying the stigma of rejection with your shoulders can be a costly affair. You have made me sob like a child. Biko, in heaven we shall rest well. I suppose.

  64. Yaaani, some bits and pieces of this story feel like you were narrating my childhood, all in all, healing comes from the Lord. That has been my experience. Let the spirit of God flood your heart with peace. God’s plan for your life has been amazing. You are a high achiever. See yourself as such. Hugs.