#22 Two Stories

Soon after I arrived in June I spoke to Peter Murigi, deputy principal, about interviewing several girls, using a video camera, in hopes we could find some material to add to our new website, when it gets launched sometime this fall.  Peter was enthusiastic and began to talk to girls whose stories he knows, to see who would be likely candidates.  We have done 5, I think, with great stories and OK camera work (mine).  But then he told me about 2 girls who would never want to be connected with their stories, because they are about abuse of the worst kind.  Even though they would not want to be videotaped, they wanted to share their stories with me, knowing my intention would be to share them with my readers.

I’ve thought a lot about it since I interviewed them and heard what they had to tell me.  Why would I publish such hard experiences?  It’s because I don’t know how to tell you in my own words what some of our girls have suffered.  These are just 2 stories, but Peter tells me there are many, which suggests that there are stories even he doesn’t know.  Yet the girls are in school, determined to make a good life for themselves, unbroken, working very hard.

Hearing these 2 girls, having their trust in telling me, has been most humbling to me.  These girls will ever remain special to me.  It makes me understand at an even deeper level how important SFG is.  Not all schools are as caring.  SFG was awarded the Most Child Friendly Award for a reason.  Both girls and ever so many others find more than just a school.  SFG has been a home and a refuge for them.

As I watched the forms 2, 3, & 4 today, having so much fun at games now that exams are over, I wondered how many of them are working off the energy of dealing with similar experiences.

These will not be easy to read.

#1

I was living with my sister from when I was 3 years old.  One day my sister lost her job, and her husband told her to go home to her family, up country, leaving me with her husband.  One day he came while I was sleeping, picked me up and raped me.  I didn’t want to scream.  Just hoped it would go away.  I told my mom but she wouldn’t believe it.  He came again, picked me and raped me again.  I told a neighbor that he bothered me at night.  The neighbor tried to talk to him, but he just denied it. When I told my sister he denied it to her too.

I just continued going to school, trying to forget what was happening at home, but I began to get sick in the morning.  A teacher noticed and asked me what was the matter. She took me for pregnancy test and it was positive.  I didn’t believe it would happen.  When I went back to school, I told the teacher what had happened.  After that we went to police, and he was arrested.

The teacher called my mother, but she just said, “It’s not a problem” and turned off her phone.  After that I slept at the teacher’s office, then went to safe house, where I stayed.  I wanted to abort the baby and was given medicine to abort, but my teacher talked me out of it.

I was taken care of in the safe house and had a baby girl.  After the birth I registered for KCPE, and did the exam.  I got 250 without knowing anything, because I had been out of school for so long.  One day a person came from Holland and offered to sponsor me in high school.  I still live at the Asante Children’s Home during school holidays.  My child is taken care of there while I’m in school.

At first it was very hard.  I wanted to adopt the baby out, but my aunt told me no, so I decided to keep her.  She is now 9 months old, but I don’t feel bonded with her.  None of my family has ever come since my baby was delivered—not my mother, my sister nor my aunt.  I have been abandoned by my family.  I’m just trying to get my education so I can be independent.

#2

I was born in family of 1 child, but now have a sister.  When I was 4 years old my parents went to live with my grand parents (paternal).  Then my father got a job and went to Mombasa.  Later my mom joined him and I was left to live with my grand parents.  Later my parents went to live in Nairobi.  My grandmother fired the house girl and then she began to mistreat me.  She gave me spoiled food and said bad things about me.  By this time my younger sister also lived there, but my grandmother preferred her.  The house boy said he wanted to help me and asked me to have sex with him.  I had to say OK, I had no support.

This went on for 2 years. Then my mom came for me to go live when them in Nairobi, but I didn’t tell my parents about the house boy.  When I was 12 we went to visit my grandparents.  The same man had raped a neighbor girl who was pregnant.  I felt bad and I told my mom.  I asked my mom to have me checked to see whether I had any disease, but she didn’t do it.

The man once wrote to my mom saying he wished my dad dead so he could take mom.

My father began to drink a lot and my grandparents accused my mom of bewitching him.  My parents had gone back to live with my grandparents and they took all of my mom’s stuff and threw her out of house so she had nothing.  Dad became addict and he chased my mom away.  I was left there alone with my small sister.  My grandmother sent me to a boarding school.  She began to abuse my sister and asked my mom to come for sister.  My aunt took my sister.

My dad has been hospitalized several times but continued to use drugs, but then he was rehabilitated and stayed clean for 2 months.  After that he began to drink again.  He accused my mom of being prostitute.  He wouldn’t let me live with mom for a time, but finally I was allowed to go with her.  Mom was good to me and to my sister.

When I was in class 7 my dad died.  I loved my dad, but I was so angry that he died, that he killed himself with his drinking.  In my culture the children belong to the father, so my grand parents have control over what happens to me.  After my father died they insisted that I go live with them and not to stay with my mother. My aunt pays school fees so has control over when I can go to mom or to my grand parents.

I have been very angry and hated parents, my grandparents, the man, my friends – everyone.  I started being naughty in school.  I was rude and behaved very badly.  The deputy called me in and said I was being a crook.  I felt very bad because I like the deputy a lot and I decided to change.  The deputy has given me strength to move on.  I’m trying to find myself and trying to get on.

When I go to my grandparents I do everything.  I cook, fetch fire wood and water, work in the shamba (garden) – everything they ask me to do, but my grandparents call the my aunt and accuse me of not helping and of being bad person.

(Margo writing)  This girl had asked to read what I wrote before I sent it.  We did that this afternoon and she made some minor changes—things I had misunderstood.  After she read it she asked to add something.  Below is what she wrote.

St. Francis has helped me a lot and I really wish that others may get the same kind of help. I don’t regret ever sharing this because at the end it will save many. [I wish]

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