“When tomorrow comes, we’ll worry about it.” mother always said.
She was a gypsy. A carefree woman, but mama bear had lots of love for her little cub. I never knew who my pops was either way. All I knew was mama. She ensured I never slept hungry most of the times, went to school, and tried to give me a normal childhood like other children around.
We lived in Majengo slums in Thika. It’s no nice place to raise a child by yourself. Mother would at times hawk her body whenever she’d hit rock bottom so that she could get some money for food and other necessities. I saw men of all sizes coming into our house. At times she would introduce them to me while drunk and told me to call them uncle. She never used to drink before. Since she met Cîku, everything turned for the worse. Drink everyday she would. Little by little it began, but gradually it became habitual.
She wasn’t the same mama bear I used to know. I would get walloped for whatever small mistake I’d do. Well mother had all manner of reasons to whoop my sorry ass.
“I should not hear any sort of sob or cry”, she would say.
Our relationship became a love/hate type of relationship. I feared her. Alot. She protected me alot. From the men who used to eye me whenever they came to have a romp with her.
One day I came home and found a car outside our house. I was from school. I wondered who it might belong to. I thought it was one of the many random men. Mama looked beautiful that day. She wasn’t drunk. That was a plus for her. The man was well groomed. He had short hair which was well trimmed. He smelled nice. I bet it was one of those expensive colognes I only saw in television adverts. A suit he was dressed in. No ordinary man he was. He had nice manners. Not like the ones I was used to.
I stood there and looked at him sheepishly. I smiled and said Hi. Stretched my little hand to him. He didn’t mind that I was abit dirty and muddy. A deep husky voice, nice set of teeth and his language was well polished. He was definitely not from around our area. Everything about him looked rich, from his huge watch, to his spectacles.
“Hidaya, meet your father”, mother said.
Father? I thought in my little mind. What does a father look like? Where had he been all this time? Leaving mama to undergo the hell of being shagged by foul smelling men? Why come now after all this years? What next? Is he coming to take us to his place? Many questions ran through my mind. Why now?
I ran to my room and bolted the door. I couldn’t make sense of what they were talking about. I saw mama sad that day. A type of sadness that made her soul die that day. She later explained that Papa had come with court orders showing that he had won the ongoing custody battle(that I had no idea of) and I was therefore supposed to go and live with him. I never imagined life without mother. Damn. It was going to be tough.
“Mama please dont leave me”, I yelled.
“Don’t let me go!” Mamaaaaaaaa.
She timidly waved bye, as we sped off from the vicinity. I howled, threw things at him as he drove. He remained calm and composed. He said he was trying to give me a better life. A life far more beautiful than of the pathetic slums I was used to.
Everytime I remember father’s house. It was more of a house other than a home. Alot of atrocities had been done in that house. The walls were so cold, they heard my cries every night whenever father would tiptoe to my room and defile me night after night. I couldn’t walk properly.
While in school I could notice other kids being afraid of sitting next to me. They said I smelled. Father had infected me with a venereal disease. I couldn’t tell anyone what happened.
One day I got tired of the abuse and decided to confide in my step-mother, she beat me so bad that I was admitted in hospital for a month. After being discharged I learnt that mother had passed away. She was found dead after five days. Her decomposing body is what alerted the neighbours. I never attended her burial.
I ran away from home after I discovered I was pregnant. I was only thirteen years old back then. Several times I tried to end my life. At one point I even stepped in the middle of Thika superhighway just to have myself run over by a car. Nothing happened. Only mother’s love could help me. In the cold streets of Nairobi town I slept.
One chilly morning as I sat at the pavements along Moi avenue street I saw a young well dressed lady. She was in her late twenties I think. My belly had began growing big. I approached her and touched the hem of her dress and she turned around.
“Excuse me maaam, I was wondering if you could help me find a monastery”. I said.
“Well, this is a rather weird way to approach a stranger in need of help”, she said.
“I thought you wanted food or some few coins”, she continued.
“I’m Tasha, what’s your name little birdy? You seem you need a cup of coffee.”
“I’m Tamara Hidaya, I’m thirteen”.
Tasha breathed a new lease of life into me that day. An angel sent from the skies above. The cloudy grey chilly morning was replaced by sunshine. Rays of sunshine shone through the clouds. Tasha was the C.E.O of Tangaza foundations. A foundation that took care of widows and underaged girls who run away from home for various reasons. Early marriages, forced prostitution, abusive parents, homeless children.
A ray of hope beamed within me that day when she took me to the orphanage. She taught me how to forgive and forget. She showed me new love, taught me about God. I delivered a healthy baby girl and named her Tasha Hadassah.
Years have passed, I’m in college now. I’m aspiring to be a pilot. I’m 19 years currently. I’m radiating the sunlight to those little girls out there who’ve had their ways lost and are in the dark. Those who need hope and redemption.
Thank you Tasha. The day I saw the light. You gave me warmth, joy and showed me that the world is beautiful. Positivity shines around all through.
“Come, Hadassah”. Time to go to school. Daylight is here.