Bastard II

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Why do people look for their fathers? You grow up without one, you lead a normal enough life, get children of your own and yet you still feel the urge to look for a man you never knew. Possibly a dead man, in my case. He isn’t going to pick you up from school. He isn’t going to teach you how to drive. He isn’t going to give you advice before your wedding. So why look for the man? My pals would ask me over pints, ‘what are you missing, man?’ ‘What good will this bring to your life now, in your forties? Chasing after the memories of your [possibly] dead father?’ I don’t know, man. I’d mumble blowing froth from my beer. I don’t know why the hell I was excavating history. I don’t know why people look for their fathers. But maybe they are not even looking for their fathers; maybe they are looking for themselves! Yeah, maybe I was looking for myself.

So anyway, I rock up deep inside Ndhiwa, at a place called Kanyamwa. Also, I don’t speak a lick of Dholuo. I’m only armed with ‘koro, bwana,” “onge, bwana,” “nyako maber kabisa, bwana.” I don’t suppose I will be using the latter in Ndhiwa. I have a friend called Onyash who advised me that I wouldn’t have trouble in Ndhiwa at all because all Luos spoke English, even in the villages. I also don’t know the village where this man hailed from. I have no names, except my father’s two names. I held them in my hands like charms, the names of a possibly dead man because in my quick estimation my dad would be around 80 years old. But I wanted to see where he came from, where a part of me comes from. I wanted a glimpse into his lineage, which was my lineage. I had kids in the US and kids here, like I had mentioned earlier, children I had dragged into my complicated heritage, shrouded in lies and mystery. I was doing this partly for them.

The first person I asked about my father was the first person I ran into at a shopping center; a cocky boda-boda guy sporting a cap pulled low over his face, with “FBI” boldly written on it. He looked at me like you would a stool with one missing leg; with barely passing interest. It was sweltering. Some goats had gathered under the verandah of a shop nearby, chewing cud and rudely eavesdropping on our conversation. The guy had never heard of my father. He wouldn’t have; he looked 20. He offered to take me to a home belonging to an old man. At a fee. ‘He knows everyone here,” he said. I left the car I had borrowed from a friend in Kisumu and hopped on the boda and we maneuvered our way through dusty paths, often ducking the shrubs that scratched my arm. The boda guy was playing very loud Dholuo music. The man who ‘knew everyone’ was very old with a cataract in one eye and also half deaf. He also couldn’t speak English [Onyash had lied] or Kiswahili and just like that my boda guy got a job as a translator for the day.

We sat under a mango tree in the old man’s boma where I’d say, ‘my name is someone someone and my father’s name is Okello someone someone.”

The boda guy would turn to the old man and shout something in Dholuo about ten times: ” ero bwana gino bwana Okello someone someone, ginene onge blah blah blah.”

The old man would lean closer and ask, “eeh?” and the boda guy would shout louder, “ero bwana ero bwana gino matek Okello someone someone ginene onge blah blah blah.”

The old man would cringe, his face in deep thought, his forehead folding like blankets, and then while seeming to chew something, would ask, “ero bwana gino matek maber bwana mit Okello someone someone, maduong maduong?”

The boda guy would turn to me and ask, “do you know who the father of Okello someone someone was?”

Now, if I barely knew my father, surely I wouldn’t know who his father was. So I’d say, no and he’d turn to the old man and say, “matek onge bwana maduong!” and the old man would sigh and draw a shape on the floor with his stick and then say ‘eeh?’ It was frustrating, this back and forth and shouting and sometimes the old man tossing his head on the side and spitting. We ended up visiting a few villages and asking questions and coming up short. I left my phone numbers everywhere and promised that whoever got me my father’s village would get a” handsome reward.” Then I drove to Kisumu through the darkness of the night.

 

Six months passed.

 

Then a call came in from someone who said they knew who my father was. He sounded elderly and he spoke English slowly, deliberately, like he was a man who had been ailing for months and was trying to learn how to walk again. “You knew my father?” I asked, trying not to get excited. He said he knew him. He knew his village. He had known his father – my grandfather – who he had grown up with. He could take me to their village where some of my uncles still lived. I was excited. Finally. Maybe there would be an album to see, I thought on the flight to Kisumu. A face to put to a man who had died in the river, been hit by a car, fallen off a ferry and perhaps resurrected and gone to the US.

When I got there, this elderly gentleman took me to my father’s boma where two men awaited me. One looked like a drunkard. The other looked like a street preacher. My heart sunk. These were my uncles? They were both thin as rails. A very thin brown leather belt studiously snaked itself around the street preacher’s waif-like waist. He cast a despondent image even with the old Bible clutched in his bony hands. We prayed first. Ignoring my polite protest, tea was then served which the drunkard ignored. His tone was aggressive, as if he didn’t believe that I was one of them, an impostor. He treated me like I was there to rob them of my claim of my inheritance. They said my father had died and so before anything else, we had to go stand over his grave and pray. So we bowed our heads and stood over my father’s grave, which lay among other graves behind the house. He died in 2009.

Did they have photos? Of course they did. A child was sent inside the stone house to fetch the album which seemed to be older than me. It was falling apart like meat that had been boiled for too long. My heart started racing as the drunkard [he seemed to be the older of the two] thumped through the album with one gnarled thumb, looking for my father. Finally, he handed me an open page and glared at me as I looked at a picture of a man in a photo studio in Kisumu. He was young, and thin as good intentions in a brothel. I studied his face keenly. It didn’t look like mine. I flipped the page looking for more photos – there were not very many and the few I saw were grainy. I asked questions. Many. Turned out this man never went to a teacher’s college. And he never could have met my mother when she said they met. But then again my mother had proven to be a liar so…But of most importance, this man was illiterate,never having gone past class 4.

He wasn’t my father.

You want to know the truth but often you realise you don’t want the truth, you want the illusion of it, its shadow. The truth often might open a different Pandora’s box, revealing its bright harshness and hidden hurt. And so I was sort of relieved when the man turned out to be a dud. It made me wonder whether I really wanted to find my father.

I came back to Nairobi confused and emotionally worn out. That night, lying naked in bed next to the woman I was seeing then, she interrogated my motivation for finding this man. She was smarter than me, but she grew up in a well-adjusted family. Her father would call her “sweetheart” at 38, hug her and send her memes. So, as Bernie Mac would have told her, ‘you don’t understand!” Eddy, on the other hand, thought it was charming and “bewitching”, me ‘running across the country chasing the ghost of a man.” He also found it a bit amusing and he’d gently rib me over it.

Anyway. I sort of put a pin on it then went and got another baby. That’s baby number five, in case you are counting. A daughter, this time. I now had four sons and one daughter. Two boys in the US who I talked to and video-called as frequently as their mothers would allow me, one boy with the married woman who went back to her husband to make a happy home on her bed of deceit. That’s the son I don’t talk to or see. He’s growing up a secret. Maybe one day he will start looking for me too and the circle will go on and on through generations of men looking for their fathers. Then there was another boy I had after that short marriage stint that made me realise I was as good at marriage as I was at playing backgammon. And now I had a daughter with a lady I was seeing but not living with. Having a daughter changes you. It made me feel, I don’t know, accountable?

Time passed. I turned 44 then I turned 45.

One day I got a lead. Rather, an idea. It happened after I was driving home from the bar after two beers. It was 7pm and I remember thinking, wait, if they met at a teacher’s college his records must be there! So I went to the teacher’s college and of course the records of students who passed through there in the late 60s and early 70s were all gone. But there was this one lecturer who was still alive, I was told. I found him. In Shanzu. Goddamn Shanzu. Guys, just have a relationship with your children. Don’t let them go looking for you in places like Shanzu. It’s sorcery.

Anyway, I went down to Shanzu and met another very old man. He must have been 200 years old. I always say that the reason that man hadn’t died was because he was waiting for me to find my father through him. That was his life’s purpose. It’s inconceivable that he would even remember my father. The only reason he remembered him was because he still remembered my mother, because she had gotten pregnant and if you got pregnant before marriage in the 60s or 70s you might as well have been a leper. People would point at you and twist their noses judgementally because you dared to have sex before marriage. Oh the travesty. So in essence, puritanism helped me find my father because this old man remembered the distressed young lady who quit college after she couldn’t bear the lowkey taunting and rumours – something my mom never told me. [Of course she didn’t].

The old man, sympathising with her, briefly kept in touch with my mother after she took off. They exchanged a few letters before she stopped replying to him, but not after she told him that my father had tried to leave for America. Now I had three names for my father. I called someone from the government who called someone from the government’s deep machinery who got my father’s ID number and his ID led to his son [yup!] and this led me to a door in Langata one fine early Saturday morning.

When the door opened and a man stood there, a younger man than I am, I knew I had found my half brother, and by extension, found my father. We looked alike. We had the same facial structure, the same body density. We displaced air the same way. He was a big guy like I am, more muscular for sure. Like me, he stood with his back slightly hunched, like he had spent a great deal of time carrying gunias on his back. He was a hairy chap, as am I. I could see the hair peeking out from the top of his saggy old V-neck t-shirt, one that he probably slept in. And he instantly knew I was his relative the moment he saw me standing there.

I stepped over toys as I found a place to sit in his living room. It looked like a nursery. His house was chaotic because he had many children. I think it runs in our blood. I counted four children almost the same age sprawled on the carpet watching cartoons in their pyjamas. I heard another one  – a toddler – screech in the bedroom. Our curse seemed to be making children and not knowing when to stop. We sneezed around you and you got pregnant. We talked about our lives, through the family tree. It was complex. He was intrigued. He chuckled and shook his head. But he was intrigued. He kept saying, “shit!” and every time he said that one of his children turned around and asked, “stop saying the bad word.”

His wife came out in a deera to say hello. The poor woman looked like she hadn’t slept a wink; she was haggard and tired and sad. She seemed to stagger and sigh as she stepped over the scattered toys. That house was an obstacle course. I think her breast milk was leaking because her chest was wet.  She looked irritated, so we left and stood downstairs, leaning on a car that I hoped belonged to him. He said yes, my father was still alive. He hadn’t drowned in a river or got knocked over by a car or fallen off a ferry. I don’t know how I felt, knowing that I could see him the next day if I wanted to, the elusive phantom turned to flesh.

How is he? What kind of a man is he? Is he tall or big, I asked. He was old now, quite, and sickly, and he was living with his second wife in Kericho. [Yeah, he opened his chapter with a Kalenjin and he was closing it with one]. My half brother said he had four siblings and my father took off with wife number two with whom he had three kids. So I had eight brothers and sisters in total. I only had to add four more children of my own and I’d beat his record, I thought darkly.

Of course he gave me my father’s number. We promised to stay in touch. [And we have]. I kept my father’s number in my phone for months, often just looking at it, trying to breach the uncertainty of calling it. I would show it to my woman and she’d say, “just call it” as if it was as easy as calling a plumber. One day, after a few beers, I gathered the courage and called the number. It rang so many times until a woman picked it. I quickly hung up. I felt like a teenager.

When I called it the next time a man picked it up. Here is how that conversation went, my very first conversation with my father.

Hallo, it’s Boris. I said like an idiot, like he knew who Boris was.

Hello.

I’m your son. Boris.

Okay.

Uhm…my mother is Peris.

Oh, okay. How are you?

I’m fine.

That is good. He said.

I didn’t know what to say next. His nonchalance had thrown me off. I thought, shit perhaps this man had people calling him every other month saying they were his children and now he was done with that shit.

I asked him if I could go see him and he said, and I quote, “It’s fine. .our home is open to visitors” That has become a running joke in my home now. My woman likes to tell people, “our home is open to visitors” as she looks at me and we burst out laughing and people don’t get it. And they shouldn’t.

I drove to Kericho that weekend. I went with my woman. She insisted, in case it “goes so badly you are unable to drive back.” while driving down she kept looking at me and asking, ‘how are you feeling?” I was nervous as hell but I didn’t want her to interrogate me further so I’d tell her, ‘I’m dead inside.”

I left her at the Tea Hotel in Kericho with specific instructions, “drink as much tea as you can. On me.” My father lived in a massive house with a big green compound on a sloped hill. The view was so stunning, I stood there for half a minute and took it all in when I got out of the car. I had seen a curtain part in the living room as I parked and then there was a most pleasant lady coming to meet me at the car with the whitest teeth you ever saw. She was the opposite of my mother; short and plumb and happy. My mother is tall and skinny and grumpy. She said hello and led me to the house. Mzee is napping, she said. It was 11am.

We sat out in the verandah and had tea. When I told her who I was she seemed very surprised. Visibly surprised. “Oh, I’m sorry, who were you expecting?” I asked her, suddenly uncomfortable with the idea that I had intruded on her happy life here, an undesirable ghost from the past. She said “mzee” [she kept calling him that] had mentioned that it was someone from the teachers service commission. That man had done lost his damn mind. “I didn’t tell him I was from TSC,” I protested, suddenly feeling like I was the liar. She reached out and covered my left hand with hers and said with a reassuring smile, “don’t worry about it, mzee’s memory is not the best now.” She had heard of me, yes. Mzee had mentioned that he had had a child back when he was a very young man. She was interested to know about me, my family, what I did for a living. She kept replenishing my tea, trying to get me drunk. I loved her homeliness so I spilled my guts. I told her everything and she never once seemed to judge me. When I told her I had left my woman at the Tea Hotel she was very disappointed and mortified. Oh she was. She admonished me. How could I leave her guest in a hotel? How! I tried to say she was fine, I had told her to have as much tea as she could on me but she wouldn’t listen. She sent me off immediately to go fetch her. I’m sure if there was a cane near her she would have grabbed it and caned me.

I brought my woman back. She was bashful when she came out of the car but my step-mom held her close in a hug that I felt warm just from watching it. I was in love with this woman. My woman was served tea. She looked like she wanted to protest but I shot her a warning look of ‘if we are going to die from drinking tea today then we die today.’ At around 1pm my father woke up from his nap. He suddenly appeared in the verandah. He was very very old, walking with the help of those two ubiquitous walkers old people use to walk. He had a big sweater that covered his neck. He had white hair and a white scraggly beard. My woman would later describe him as sexy. “Now I see why he got many children.”

I stood up, we all did, as he ambled into the verandah not looking at us. My stepmom rearranged the pillow in his seat, covered him with a leso and served him tea, which I guess is a starter – and I would soon discover – dessert for Kalenjins. I studied my dad, this man who thought I was with the Teachers Service Commission. When I told him who I was, rather, when my stepmom told him, gently and patiently, he looked at me long and hard and said, “how is Peris” and I said Peris was fine. He mumbled something inaudible and my stepmom looked at us with a warm smile. Over the next two hours, before he turned in for his next nap, I asked him how he met my mom and if he went to the US (he did, for four years). He told me that he met my mom when he was ‘a young person with no sense” and never expounded on that. Forty-five years of my life was explained by that simple sentence. I took it as an apology. He wasn’t curious about me. That hurt me. That really hurt me. There were framed pictures of his three children in the house and one family, one of the other four who, I was told, often came to visit him. There was no picture of me. That hurt me too. He never asked what I did for a living. Never asked me about my kids. He never engaged my woman, she sat there like a court stenographer. That hurt me. The two women at the table saw me struggle with these feelings because they were more emotionally adept and they tried to make it light but I was feeling damaged inside, and bereft. I regretted coming. But I was glad I met my stepmother.

My relationship with my father hasn’t moved past greetings and small talk about his farm and his spoilt tractor or rain. I have found no great value in finding him but I’m still glad I did. I’m glad I searched for him. Because he died in June and was buried hurriedly in a cemented grave with a small clutch of people around that grave. In death, as in life, he remained a stranger to me. I found no great answers to who I was through him, but at the same time, looking for him and finding him has made it possible for me to trace my lineage to Ndhiwa, Kanyamwa, to people who have accepted me. “All you wanted was to belong,” that’s what my woman says. True. Because I have never belonged, or never felt like I belonged anywhere. Now I have an extended paternal family. I know their names. They know my name. I’m learning Dholuo, albeit in my forties. I know more than, “onge, bwana” and “nyako maber kabisa.” I know stuff like, “adwaro chiemo,” and what Biko has just taught me, “we chamo steak ka ondiek.” I want to learn Dholuo because I am Luo first, and then I’m Kalenjin. I knew it naturally, inherently, like I knew how to pee standing even when I used to visit my maternal shags at the edge of Chemosit river. My paternal genetic gong echoed loud within me. I belong to that soil, the land of my forefathers. It’s important to me that I belong there. Someone like Eddy, my half-bro, would not understand. He can be anything that his environment is but that’s not me.

Looking for my father opened my life to many relations, a whole bunch of half-brothers and sisters. They are great people; open-minded and willing to embrace me as much as adults can embrace another adult. A few have invited me to their homes for meals. I have kissed their children and washed my hands in their sinks. And broken bread with them. A few have introduced me as “my brother.” And that’s all good.

But the most beautiful thing that has come out of this was finding my stepmother. My stepmother is everything my mother isn’t. It’s a horrible thing to say, but it’s also a true thing to say. She has loved me, or made me feel loved in more ways than I have felt loved by my own mother. She sends me vegetables and beans and maize to Nairobi, puts them on a bus. She sends me mursik that nourishes me and my family. She has three kids of her own and two grandchildren yet she calls me every other day and asks how I’m doing. Mom never does that. Mom hates talking on the phone. Hates talking generally. She lives in a big house and whenever I go there, although we are always welcomed, the house always feels like a freezer. It’s very silence makes it cold. We hardly talk, we eat in silence. In contrast, whenever I drive down to see my step-mother she stands outside the steps to receive us, always wearing a big smile, always trying to drown us with tea. Her house, even in widowhood, is always full of people laughing because she’s always laughing and giving of herself to others. She loves unconditionally. And she keeps loving. I now have a mother I never had and I’m clinging onto her and wishing her a very long life.

 

***

 

Allow me to just say this, without leading a conversation here. I enjoyed hearing and writing this man’s story, mostly because I’m a father (of two, only) and I also have a father who half the time feels like a stranger to me. It’s an enduring lesson for me. Actually, all these stories I write are selfish acts because I want to intrude into them and fish life’s lessons from them.

Something struck me while I was writing this guy’s story and I stopped the sentence I was banging midway and called him on the telephone. I said, “You know what, Boris?” He said, “what?”  I told him that it just occurred to me that perhaps he wasn’t looking for his father all this time. He was looking for a mother. Fine, it took five women and a litter of children but this was always about finding a mother, never about finding his father. “You were deprived of that motherly love.” I said. “And you went looking for it under the innocent guise of looking for your father.”

He was silent for a while before saying. “Damn. You think?” I said, “I don’t know, man. I don’t know. But I know you should eat your steak with a fork and knife.”

 

 

                                                            ***

I will be away here for the next two Tuesdays. I’m off to a deeply wooded and silent place to do lots of uninterrupted writing. We will have two guest writers here until my return. Please be nice to them, serve them tea with cups for wageni. The ones in the upper left corner of the Wall Unit. Nya’Ugenya knows where the keys are hidden. Lastly, the creative writing masterclass for November is open. Register by sending an email of interest to [email protected]

 

Until then, sayonara, gang.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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581
190 Comments
  1. To make the first comment actually functional, and a request to Biko and those who design this site
    Could the like and comment section be at the end of the article instead of at the top?:-)it would be way more convenient to have those options once one is done reading, than having to scroll all the way up. Asante!
    (Yes I haven’t read yet hehe)

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  2. O ooh, am so happy for Boris. His stepmom has introduced him to love and compassion, I know for sure he will love his 5 children dearly.

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  3. Deep.
    Thanks.

    To all children who grew up fatherless take heart. To any parent that’s denying your child access to the other parent for whatever reason please reconsider.

    P.S. Our son was born while we weren’t married but he’s NOT a bastard.

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    1. Its funny how people raised by single moms spend so much time looking for their dads, nani anataka baba nimpee wangu? I should tell my story maybe…

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      1. Its funny, I also wonder. I feel like my father is also a stranger to me so I don’t get this whole buzz of dad searching! Its pointless.

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        1. being dismissive of another persons need will not take away the fact that it was their need. In my mother tongue we say only the person wearing the shoe can tell where the shoe presses…it can press by having a father or it can press by not having both valid reasons to each individual.

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  4. I am happy for Boris. The chase paid off.

    To imagine he stood at the grave of a stranger in Nyanza thinking it is his dad is just funny. His is a story of Hope, May your real mom find happiness too

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  5. Last week I identified more with Eddy about not going to look for my real father….Now am left with a mixed bag after reading this.

    But I have also come to a revelation form the last paragraph…..that maybe I didn’t ask questions about who my biological father is….because I have the most loving grandparents who filled that void. Grandpa, keep resting happily in eternal peace. I still remember your grip on my hand on my first day to nursery school, and feeling lost in a crowded noisy class after you left.

    Tears kwi kwi kwi

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    1. We are two worlds apart with a very similar story. I too identified more with Eddy but like you I was raised by the most loving grand parents, so the question of who my father was did not bother me.

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  6. This is profound..
    A dream of many answered in one very well written story.. Am glad you found your Father Borris.. In the Thick of it all you found more than your Father…

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  7. Biko, this article has opened and closed some wounds in me. Thank you.

    If someone has some loose time on their clock, I ask them to go ahead and read this article.

    #Newpost: Better deals

    “I am turning 23 today…”

    If an arrogant sixty year old reads this, he will be telling himself ‘Kid, I am thrice your age’, or something in him will be yelling ‘this is bullshit!’. But does it really have to go that way? Let’s dive in and see what this writing bears.

    Read more at: https://longinuswrites.wordpress.com/2020/10/13/better-deals/

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  8. All these stories connects with us in one way or another coz its what most of us are going through in life, great read.
    My question is, was the family he stood at a grave in Kanyamwa was in any way the real lineage of his father, or they just wanted tea as well?

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  9. 2020 is a wake-up call for many of us. This year, many people finally realized that they’re not living in a vacuum. And millions of people had to rethink the way they lived their lives until now. Over the past months, many people (myself included) realized that they’ve been wasting their lives for decades instead of making each day count. We realized that health matters and that it’s indeed possible to slow down, hustle less, and reconnect with our loved ones on a deeper level. We learned how beautiful an unexpected phone call instead of text messages can be and that the meaning of life might be more than working 40 hours per week inside a concrete cube to pay the bills. And while this year indeed taught us a lot, there’s still so much we don’t understand.

    It’s no coincidence that most people spend their lives full of regrets and only a few live life to the fullest. Those with regrets refuse to accept the truths of life and don’t want to confront challenges. As a result, they lack inspiration and the will to make a change. The truth is often painful. Yet, it’s necessary to embrace those facts to live a better, more meaningful, and empowered life.

    And to my Dad, whom I got to know and live with for 18 years; I still try to live by his mantra: ‘No One Will Ever Come to Save You.’ Most people waste their lives waiting for someone to make a change: the government, prince charming, their boss,… Yet, the harsh truth is that someone else can never satisfy you. And most people don’t even want to save you. Because most people don’t care about you. Sounds hard, I know, but it’s the truth. If you want to live a better life, you need to make a change. You need to be your own cheerleader and allow yourself to be bold and courageous to get what you want. We all want more, but only those who take responsibility have the chance to get more.

    Kudos to the gentleman for finding his “true mum”… From one guy who’s been raised by an amazing Step-mom to the other, some of them are truly Godsent.

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  10. Beautiful plot twist, I’m in love with the step mum too.
    The ability to birth a child does not imply the ability to mother one. Showing affection is as important as providing them with food and schooling. It completes them in a way nothing else can.

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  11. Whoa,.. What did I just read? This story encompasses almost everything and condenses and churns around all emotions one can think of. So happy for Boris, felt bad about the way it had to end with his dad. It is true sometimes we chase things and eventually go, ‘then what?’ That underwhelming feeling that sometimes comes after ‘success’.
    I am full, I don’t know which of the million life lessons to put down. Thank you Boris for sharing your story and all the best. and thanks Biko. Again thanks.

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  12. Ooh No, two consecutive Tuesdays! That’s a long time.

    Bastard has been an amazing story. I come here for life lessons, some that quite resembles my own. I learn, relearn and unlearn from them. Maybe one day, I’ll get to tell my own story to Biko.

    I’ve felt the emptiness Boris felt when he talked to his father and the response could lead to no more conversation. How his father never asked about his life and stuff. But he(Boris) is an old man.

    Also, the Luo that Biko has thrown inside, I can’t help

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  13. These words “our home is open to visitors” must have cut deep.
    We sneezed around you and you got pregnant. haahahhah!! really though?
    Nice read!!

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  14. This was such a complex story, but so well-narrated. Thanks Boris for sharing your story with us, and to Biko for telling it with good doses of humour that eased our tension. Life never turns out as we ‘planned’ but beauty can be found even in hardship. I feel warm in my heart, when I think of Boris’ step-mom. May God heal his mom and help her let go of her past hurts. It’s never too late to start afresh in life. God bless us all.

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  15. Beautiful just beautiful
    ” it just occurred to me that perhaps he wasn’t looking for his father all this time. He was looking for a mother. “

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  16. Such a beautiful story that made me reflect on my own relationship with my father. My blood father. Because that’s all he is. I have had other fathers. Fathers on account of marriage to my own mother’s sisters. Fathers who took on the responsibility and who have loved me and given me more in this life than I ever thought I would get. Fathers I am eternally grateful for because I am a brave, cheerful outspoken, well educated, open-minded and beautiful person because of them despite the circumstances that led me to them. Fathers that showed me how to forgive the man who murdered my mother and disowned me unnecessarily. Fathers who showed me how to let go and move on in peace. Fathers who made me believe that not all men wield death and destruction in their wake. Fathers who have shown me how to love and love unconditionally and who I also cling to and wish long life for. May we all be as lucky in life to find what we weren’t looking for but didn’t know we needed until it shows up with such intensity; in such searching that brings the most rewarding of elusive and unexpected blessings our way.

    48
  17. Am glad he found something at the end of it. I’d would have been disappointed to end up asking ‘why even start?

    As someone said. “you only need to find yourself, everything else can be googled☺.”

    18
  18. Just had to read Part 2 before commenting… It’s not rocket science, unprotected sex has consequences… I feel for Peris because of societal judgement… The shame she had to bear… Primarily, men (me included) need to think of the consequences of our “conquests”… This story is a good lesson of a never ending cycle of hurt, disappointment, etc… Not all of us are equally equipped emotionally… Let’s think of the children born out of choices we make before they come into this world… To the ladies who have and go through what Peris has been through, I pray and wish you strength, peace and joy… As for Boris, you have a good woman…

    26
  19. I have found no great value in finding him but I’m still glad I did. …the most beautiful thing that has come out of this was finding my stepmother. My stepmother is everything my mother isn’t. It’s a horrible thing to say, but it’s also a true thing to say. She has loved me, or made me feel loved in more ways than I have felt loved by my own mother.

    I’m so glad you found your family. We all need that kind of love and warmth in our lives.

    But don’t be too harsh on your mama. She built up a defense mechanism because of the judgemental society around her. I guess that’s why she came across as cold. This has truly helped me reevaluate how I relate with my children and spouse coz I can come off as cold sometimes.

    13
  20. I can relate with you………………..i don’t know my Papa and for the many years i lived i just gave up looking for the guy , i figured out the chap may not add much value to my life,Ive adjusted and also forgiven him.
    He probably was struggling for identity and got me when he was only 19!hat do you know at 19!

    1
  21. The fact that his stepmother is everything he lacked before made me tear up,happy tears,for him.God always has a way of coming through..

    5
  22. As I read this, am thinking of my son. A baby God blessed me with when I was 19yrs….young,naive and innocent. He has no relationship with his father neither does he know him. Will he go through all this? Am in a dillema. It will be well.

    14
    1. Mary, I know. Especially after reading this story you can only find yourself is such a dilemma. Please, don’t make him go excavating for his father later on in life.

      3
  23. Biko, it’s been 7 years of visible love. I’ve read you religiously. This bastard (Hehe) is a masterpiece buana. Thank you for the lessons… I’ll miss you for these two coming Tuesdays.

    5
  24. I was introduced to my older half brother, when I was full grown. He too came looking for his father. It was a surreal experience. He too found a mother , for the short while she live after and half sibling adults who accepted him. His father (and mine)… Not so much. I now understand him better. It does something to you, when you realise your father had a child he abandoned. It did to me anyway.

    4
  25. Gosh, this piece is hilarious. I’m like Eddy, found my own father but he is just like how my mum described him, a self-entitled a***h***.
    I have laughed, resonated and laughed some more. This is awesome

    4
  26. I have laughed with and at Boris………good laughter, i promise.
    I recently found out my dad died three years ago after a serious search like Boris’ and driving down to mweiga a couple of times and getting conned by PI’s.

    This is such a deep story very well told.
    This are changamoto’s of 40’s

    I want my children to talk about me like Boris’s step mom

    15
  27. I’m part of the selfish readers, I read every article fishing for life lessons. Where you get knocked by a big one (lesson) and sit back n never comment.
    Biko wewe ni Biko

    9
  28. So glad this story ends well. I am happy for Boris and his new found family.
    We will miss you Biko. Enjoy your time away as you recharge your batteries. See you soon…

    2
  29. Thanks Biko for a story well told, as always. Am curious to know how was Peris’s reaction to all this, did she finally own up. Or it was let the dead ones lie? Could form a part 3 of the story, probably.

    8
  30. ” I also have a father who half the time feels like a stranger to me. It’s an enduring lesson for me. ” Me too mahn!!! Me too….This was an amaziinnggggggg read !!!!

    1
  31. I am in tears, emotional roller coaster … I am sure that Boris is grateful that he found something even if it wasn’t exactly planned out.
    which is more painful to find out that he died way before or that he doesn’t really communicate?

    1
  32. I hope we heal from the relationships we never had with our fathers. We thank God for our Jovial mothers whose prayers sustained us through.
    I think there was too much loneliness in his mothers house that he had to go look for his fathers house to see if he would find love and the much needed spark among his extended kin.

    7
  33. Talk of string of relationships and it’s complexity!
    Anyway, Boris was unbowed in his lengthy chase for his father or is it a motherly step mother!

    2
  34. that was so refreshing!i already love mom number two but i feel like biological mom is not appreciated enough because she doesnt have a bubbly personality.though am sure she sacrificed enough to put him through school and everything!

    7
  35. When Covid-19 disrupted our lives earlier this year, everyone was sent HOME, where their FAMILY is.

    Some families are dysfunctional, others are peaceful, estranged, rich or poor.

    All in all, Family is the most important basic unit of any society. Unconditional love & support. We should treasure that jealously.
    Charity begins at HOME.

    Great article Biko

    3
  36. Yeah, he opened his chapter with a Kalenjin and he was closing it with one].
    My woman was served tea. She looked like she wanted to protest but I shot her a warning look of ‘if we are going to die from drinking tea today then we die today.’ haha!!
    Such a beautifully written story, I concur with Biko’s sentiments.

    4
  37. I loved reading both stories. This guy is hilarious, he “sounds” like you to some degree. We all need that kind of energizer-never-say-die kinda attitude in life. I love how he never gave up and it was all worthwhile. Next two Tuesdays – you know how kids behave when there are visitors? hahahaha I hope we keep our cool.

    4
  38. As a girl that never met my father, this story took me on a wild journey. In so many ways I could relate. Glad that Boris finally met his kinsmen and most especially the stepmom. I think Iam more of an Eddy, I am not willing to dig up that side of my life.

    A very good read.. thank you Biko.

    Oh Biko, we shall miss you and yes we will be very kind to the guest writers!

    6
  39. In a world full of evil step mothers, be Boris’s step mother.

    I’m so so glad he found love, not the kind he went out looking for, but it was exactly what he needed.

    IoN- Him referring to his girl as “My Woman” is mad sexy!! (God, when?)

    10
  40. You didn’t miss much Boris… We forty something year olds are walking around wounded. By our fathers. Even those of us who actually shared a roof with them. It is very rare (not impossible, but rare) to meet someone our age whose father connected with them emotionally. I get amazed when I occasionally meet someone whose father hugged them. They just didn’t have a clue. When I got a first class honors for my undergrad, I thought, mistakenly, that my dad would eventually hug me, well, or just put one hand on my shoulder for the photo… none of that happened. Be happy with your newfound mum and be a better man so that this streak is severed.

    20
  41. At this point; with the calibre and bare rawness of these stories, this blog has become more than just passive literary entertainment. These pieces are therapy. May the universe keep connecting you to people with such stories to tell. I believe I speak for many when I say I see myself in these stories and they help me unpack and examine; in a new and unbiased perspective, deep seated issues from a complicated past. They help me see that we’re not all that different as human beings. And whatever it is we’re going through, plenty more people have or are going through the same. Keep healing and entertaining the world with words Biko.

    19
  42. Thank you Biko for these real-life experiences. We live in a broken world inherited from Adam and Eve.
    I have always wondered how it is that all men want a son, But they find it so difficult to relate to them.
    I pray that Boris has a joyful life even as he tackles his reality. It’s so warm to read about his step mum. What does it cost, just a smile .

    4
  43. There’s no way you gonna meet a 200 year old informant in Shanzu then get hugs and emojis when you finally blow your old man’s cover… it gotta be ‘our house is open to visitors’ Oh Ngai!

    2
  44. The mother wound. I am glad his stepmom stepped in n modelled for him genuine feminine love. N i hope all mothers can do the same for their children with the father present or not.
    Good read as always. I had to break my vippassana fast for reading bcoz this i had tp read

  45. Note to future husband if you don’t refer to me as “your woman” I don’t want you…… I love they way he kept saying “my woman”…….did he say his home is always open to visitors? Cause I think we all should go for some tea…. Great read

    8
  46. This is a good read,one Michael Oquor led me here. I must I enjoyed this piece and I must add family is the best but not blood relations even step moms.

  47. You haven’t called us gang in ages! thank you. This story has made me so sad. As a single mother of two, I pray my child never has to run around the world looking for their dad. I’ll do what is right by them-introduce them to their father at the right time.

    6
  48. “my woman” I like the way Boris owns his lady. I didn’t see the twist coming at all. (Having had a great relationship with my dad I hope I won’t be looking for him in men wolololo)
    Biko. Come back with better editing as well. Tumekusamehe kwa mda sasa usituzoee with bad editing. People offered to help remember?

    2
  49. I kinda relate to this story; I met my father for the first time when I was around 26 years old. I was already working and independent.
    Growing up, I kept asking my mother about him as any curious child would and she always told me that ‘your father stays in Nanyuki and one day we will go visit him’ . That was enough to silence me for months if not years.
    Later on, while in upper primary school my mother had lots of trouble with school fees and I remember this one time she requested me to write a letter to my father asking for help with school fees. I did and of course he never responded. I later on bumped into summons my mother had written to him through the children’s department compelling him for child support but I guess they bore no fruit. So I wrote him off.
    So years later when I was done with college and working an opportunity came when my mother got into contact with him and even got his number which she gave him and I had an akward telephone conversation with him. A few months later we went to visit him and his mother (my grandmother) at his his home in Nanyuki and I got to see him for the first time. Honestly apart from the curiosity of finally seeing him I felt nothing since I had grown up without a father and was an adult. My grandfather had stepped into his shoes and filled the void.
    To date, I still have his number but have no urge to even call him and talk to him. He has a family with kids whom I have never met.

    8
  50. This has been one of the most moving story I have read here. Thanks Biko for your constant help. Take that vacay and bang another one and we will appreciate you by reading it.

    And thank you for helping a lost boy of 45 find his mother. Gang says adios……go now before we bash your forehead back to shape. Go….

    7
  51. A story of finding something you weren’t looking for. What’s it called again,Serendipity.
    I think his mum was a reserved person,she was probably heart broken and sad, still hurting and maybe even angry at the past and dealing with her own demons,and that’s okay. She was a tough one, but she loved him the way she knew how to love.
    I’m also glad he met his dad, even when they were strangers, he found love in his step mother, which is not quite the usual, most times step mothers turn out to be the opposite.

    5
  52. Aaaaaaaaw…. I love that he found a mother! God bless that woman. That part of how his dad never ask.. anything about him… And how it hurt. Really has touched me.I will miss you biko!

  53. No problem, you can come…we welcome visitors. Exactly how parents talk, short structured sentences devoid of feeling. Lol you are a prolific writer, man.

    2
  54. Loved this..but must confess it moved me to tears by the time I was through…for someone who doesn’t cry for ish like a good movie, a sad one, a break up…for someone who is a self-professed hardco, this is something. To cry after reading a post.
    I learnt that perhaps it is worthwhile if the heart doesn’t rest, but burns for that missing puzzle in one’s life; it is worthwhile seeking after that which will make the heart rest. He has been rewarded; another mum – one that has loved and embraced him, made him learn the warmth of a mother; he just arrived at the nick of time – meeting his dad before he transitioned to the next life. It is amazing that he has discovered more family, and is welcomed to their homes.
    2020 is quite a year! A year of unlearning and re-learning.

  55. It feels draining and I hope my son won’t one day run all over the world looking for a man who didn’t choose him……..Biko you will be missed

    1
  56. It’s a bang for the gang! So relatable, mine has been three decades of avoiding my dad while also unable to emotionally connect with my mum. Blessings to Boris’ second mum. I wish I had a step-mum like her.

    Enjoy your break Biko. Bwana

  57. Beautifully written, even when you have two parents, like I did, you seek to know yourself if say you have a diffcult parent. You seek most of all to love yourself unconditionally, and sometimes it takes a wonderful step mother to show love and grace… And the picture is fulfilled and satisfying.
    Thank you Boris.

  58. … I am still looking for a Harun Bosire who worked closely with the Ministry of Water in Kapenguria back in ’88. All my half sisters and Bro have three names (bearing their dad’s). I have two names and nothing much has been said about him by my mum. I would want to know his people..who he was.. I will keep searching…

    3
  59. … I am still looking for a Harun Bosire who worked closely with the Ministry of Water in Kapenguria back in ’88. All my half sisters and Bro have three names (bearing their dad’s). I have two names and nothing much has been said about him by my mum. In a past argument.. 9years ago, my younger half sister called me a bastard.. I have never forgotten that… I have always felt like am missing my ‘own family’. I would want to know my father’s people..who he was.. I will keep searching…

    4
  60. “We sneezed around you and you got pregnant.”
    This killed it.

    This story has in a way left me wondering whether it’s worth embarking on a search for my father. I haven’t had the courage to have that conversation with my mother. She has done everything for me and sometimes it feels like she would be offended if I ever brought up that conversation. And so for a long time, I was okay with the ignorance. But now having a son of my own has awakened the curiosity. But then I keep asking myself, then what? Will it be worth the pain?

    Good read as always.

    3
  61. When I got there, this elderly gentleman took me to my father’s boma where two men awaited me. One looked like a drunkard. The other looked like a street preacher.

    Of course, hustlers by definition.

    2
  62. Boriz was neither looking for his mother or father he had an emotional void of love and affection. Thanks heavens he found it in his step-mom and half-siblings……. Everyone deserves to feel loved and wanted

    2
  63. You know when you said upper left of the wall unit…I checked mine; and alas!!!!, it is the upper left…’kwani, its a rule of thumb?’

    2
  64. As you move through life, you will realize that you find love in the strangest of places. The people you least expected to warm up to you will open up their hearts to you in ways you never thought possible. They will go above and beyond for you because they care. God bless his step mother… That woman has a heart of gold. The people you feel have a duty of care towards you might be indifferent towards you. Or worse, remain strangers even though they raised you… but such is life.

    1
  65. Lovely story. Will be one of favourites for sure. “It was about looking for yourself more than it was about looking for your father” oh how I deeply understand this. I was more excited learning about my half siblings than I was about the father I never met.

  66. “Goddamn Shanzu. Guys, just have a relationship with your children. Don’t let them go looking for you in places like Shanzu. It’s sorcery.”

    1
  67. Nya’Ugenya knows where the keys are hidden

    I found the keys,did you give me permission to kill them with tea too?

    Boris chukua’ ngumi mbekse’,

    1
  68. I told him that it just occurred to me that perhaps he wasn’t looking for his father all this time. He was looking for a mother…

  69. There is something about a man who calls you my woman. Not this other caliber that points towards your direction with their month n calls u huyu

    2
  70. Great read. However, your mother is your mother. Don’t be so unfair to the mother who raised you single handedly; who has always been there for you. She may not have the warmest personality like your step mother but she loves you and you know it.

    1
  71. This was a heartwarming story. I loved it!
    Sayonara Biko, until then, this blog is open for visitors and we shall serve them tea with vikombe za wageni from the wall unit.

    1
  72. i feel the story is incomplete, we are waiting for BASTARD 3. lets us know about your step-mother…..do you see them meeting at some point or something, the outcome…

    it was a nice piece of article.

  73. First to comment on Friday… yaaay!!! Na Biko hayuko for two weeks, so no one will ask me a question. And who gets anyone drunk on tea? Aii, watu ya Kericho!!!

  74. i am so glad i read this story. it was so beautiful. i like the typical millennial have a sort of formal relationship with my dad and so does my husband with his dad i push him to be a better father to our kids because i can relate to that longing,
    well done Boris. glad you found your other mom.

    also i think you are wrong Biko. i dont think he was looking for a mother but like his woman said he was just looking to belong. have an extended family like most of us do and take for granted.

    1
  75. I cannot stop crying because my youngest son tried to call his father a few months ago and when he hang up he said to me “Mom that man did not sound excited talking to me” every time a child calls to connect with a parent there is an expectation because well that man/woman gave birth to them………is it even worth it for a child to want to find his/her parent better still are they even the people that they truly want to connect with or just the desire for lineage?

    1
  76. My father,when he lived,endeavoured to bring as many of his children as possible,home. It was confusing to us,at best,especially for me,being in boarding school. You’d come for the holiday only to br shipped to shags to meet one and for some bonding ceremony or something. Or be told one came visiting and she’s this or that. It was fun,I always wanted an older sister,and again it wasn’t,they were my siblings and yet they weren’t. I’ve met another years after his death,and welcomed them as my mum taught as to. ‘They are your blood,’ she said. And it’s true,each of ‘them’ resembles one of ‘us’. I hope I meet the rest of them one day,but that might be an overstretch because that man,I hear,had many kids. And we haven’t talked about the ones he might have gotten while in college in Meru.

  77. I imagine his step mom and I just smile.She changed “the world”…his world…with Kindness and Love.May we all learn from her.

    1
  78. Reading this story, I feel so blessed that I knew who my father was, May all those looking for their fathers find them or at least find answers.

  79. The story has lessons for everyone, for example every child raised by a single parent should know the truth about their father regardless of the father and mother relationship.

    To the deadbeat fathers your child will look for you and your relatives to the ends of the earth and when they find you, they may or may not be interested in you.

    The fathers too should get to know their children if not married to the mother’s child. A part that most dead beats fail to play.
    A good relationship should be fostered between two people who are not married to each other and have a child together so that the child can grow feeling that they have a mum and dad.
    His father’s other children somehow didn’t turn up well like the son living in langata..

    Most important was it worth it to look for the deadbeat father???

  80. ..man turned out to be a dud. It made me wonder whether I really wanted to find my dad… Nice one Biko. This one hit very close to home.

  81. Awesome piece!!
    Dear Mr. Man, i may not fully understand that search, what was for you. On the flip side, understand that why mum’s house feels cold is maybe because she has not healed, she has been in pain all through your childhood until now. Talk to her now that you are an adult and hear her out. She may not have handled it well but its what she thought was best at the time. It was how she chose to cope and we cannot fault her for that..
    Besides that, i am glad you made your peace with it all.

  82. And despite this, i still got tickled: “In Shanzu. Goddamn Shanzu. Guys, just have a relationship with your children. Don’t let them go looking for you in places like Shanzu. It’s sorcery”….Now i am curious about Shanzu.

    Great story.

    1
  83. “That’s the son I don’t talk to or see. He’s growing up a secret. Maybe one day he will start looking for me too and the circle will go on and on through generations of men looking for their fathers. ”

    That really hurt reading.

    Such an emotional read this was. God bless that step mom and heal his mom. She sounds wounded. I can’t even judge her.

  84. Wow!This has been an emotional read for me.
    We are all just looking for identity and a sense of belonging. I am happy that Boris found the love,belonging and compassion he always craved for in his stepmother. Great piece Biko!

  85. This story was just amazing, I was desperately waiting for the 2nd half and it didn’t disappoint. I truly believe that Boris was definitely looking for a mother’s love which is something special.

  86. “She kept replenishing my tea, just to get me drunk” I liked this part. This is exactly what our mothers do to visitors here in Kericho

  87. Am glad that Boris found something deeper….a love so pure.A mothers love would do any time.
    This is one piece that i couldn’t just stop reading…..and Boris,apart from adopting a knife and fork for your steak,could you please call her something nice…This “my woman ” sounds weird……

    Wish you all the love from your family that you have always craved.