She is 21. Beautiful, intelligent, confident, charming and sweet. Her alluring face, skillfully and with time has learnt the ropes of concealing what she has gone through in life. A life summed by four words. Sadness, fear and denied freedom. From a distance, you may be forgiven to assume she’s one of those PYT(Pretty Young Things) from campus who oscillate around married men like they are possessed by an overwhelming evil spirit. She’s that lady who can make your tongue mumble and swallow words just from her sheer looks. She is one that exudes this image that slurs your pick up lines and leaves you at the mercy of her patience. Here’s her story;
To start with, I met her accidentally when I paid a courtesy call to a close friend. We had those shallow conversations of gathering stories here and there, flattering jokes and mild laughter. Before long, I was gone. It’s after then, that the said friend broke out her shell of a life, to me. Brenda* was born from a brewing love of two lover birds in an urban setting. She wouldn’t enjoy the privilege of having two parents for long. When she turned 3, her dear mum passed away after a short illness. That turned around her life, upside down.
Her dad has always been very industrious and an aggressive businessman but also very shrewd. He was and still depicts this no-nonsense demeanor to her family. She grew under this environment for 20 long, eventful years. Her dad would marry another woman, close to a year after Brenda’s mum passed on. Before long the foster mum was pregnant and 6 – 7 years down the line, she had 3 of her own kids. Brenda* was loathed by this mum for obvious reasons. She was not her biological kid.
She had to choose between a rock and a hard place. If it was not her foster mum hurling insults, it was her dad’s daily beatings. I’m made to understand Brenda* has been battered by her dad all her life. From the sheer rumours that she was seen with a boy in the hood or coming home late, that alone qualified for a thorough beating. Her neighbours were all familiar with her usual wails and pleads to her dad, to stop the beating. Her entire body is marked by scars from her dad’s infamous belt or nyahunyo(whip). (Which dad keeps a whip to beat her kids? Slap them or get a small cane if need be but not a whip, for heaven’s sake! That only shows how a miserable dad you are, especially when you purport to discipline selectively).
Over the years, her dad evolved to a total stranger. Daughters have needs and require attention and care than boys (no pun intended). The thing is, she pleaded with her father for money to buy sanitary pads, in vain. Her dad would silence her with the all familiar phrase; “I don’t have money”. Appreciate that the same dad sponsored her cousins to schools and gave money generously to dozens of her relatives who visited their home. Mind you also, Brenda’s* dad bought land at some point, constructed a nice house and even purchased a car. Her foster mum on the other hand was unapproachable, only using Brenda* to relieve accumulated stress from her husband.
When Brenda* was to join high school, her father made it clear that she would have to join a day school so that he would ‘monitor’ her. He was an overprotective dad, who expected her to be within a radius he could trace all her moves. With all the bad things happening to her, she developed a rebellious attitude in school. She didn’t like the school she was in, and while in Form 2, she led a strike that made her be terminated. Your guess is as good as mine, she was very happy to leave that school. Of course she had to pay the price of ‘a shaming’ her dad. That particular time, she was beaten every part of her body.
She was moved to another school and the beatings wouldn’t stop. Every time dad came home stressed, she would be in for the beating, for mistakes committed centuries ago. Her childhood and teenage life was robbed by her parents. Her foster mum made her do all the house chores and take care of her siblings. She had no time to bond with her friends if any. Their house environment was terrifying and this took a toll order on her esteem. Her siblings were not going through the same agony but devoted to be her friend.
After high school, she stayed home for a year or so and was later enrolled to a tourism college. Even at this point in life, she was not expected to be seen with a ‘boy’ anywhere near her vicinity. Otherwise this would qualify to a two day, non-stop beating. Sadly, her dad would not even buy her a phone. What for? He’d ask! Even getting money to go to the salon was still a problem. College life became very distressful for this pretty lady who had bared it all while so young.
Things would twist a bit; her mum came to like her two years ago. She became soft and a reliable friend. This cooled things a little bit. Meanwhile her dad was still the same! Hard, terrible and violent. Come January 2015, she said enough was enough. She gave up on this life and embarked on a journey to Nairobi, having fled home. She didn’t carry her clothes, because her neighbours would suspect and ring her dad. She had no money either, to survive in the city.
She’d live for a short while with a friend before moving on to another, before the first became curious to learn of her guarded story of life. She did this while looking for jobs here and there. Through her small savings and skipping lunch and sometimes sleeping hungry became routine. To calm her stress, she got hooked to smoking and imbibing hard liquor. Days moved to months until she met her (cousin who’s my friend). The friend shared this sad story and implored on me to help. We managed to get her a simple hustle that would pay her bills for the time being.
My point is; count your blessings and be very grateful to God for everything. Some wish to have, half the privileges you savor. Never take anything for granted and help wherever you can. Lastly, guys, promise to be profound daddies. One man, can change the world!
Brenda is not her real name neither is the pic used. This is a very true story.
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