“Hi Vick… Sasa?”
“Poa sana Cuz. What’s up?”
“I think I have something good for you.”
“Hehe. What makes you think it will be good for me?”
“Ï have a story for you. For your blog. I know you will like it. It’s about my life. I’m pretty sure it will touch people.”
Punching the air, “Of course I like it. It’s about time. Shall we meet up?”
“Yea sure, anytime you are available, let me know…”
Marygoretti Ndinda, born in one of the millions of families in Africa, in Kenya, somewhere in Ukambani. Almost insignificant. It stopped being insignificant the day she made sense out of her own life later in the years. She is the second born of six, after her elder sister. Her family did not have much to brag about. So the hustle was real for them.
Having being born and brought up in the village, all she knew was the village, until the village begun living in her as well. She is among those who went to school in their first few years without shoes. She got to learn to use a jembe probably faster than she did with a pen. But she managed. She loved school.
The Almighty was not let anywhere outside the picture. Shosh and babu, Mummy and daddy; were faithful Catholics. (Still are.) They grew up in the same pattern.
So her education taught her that she could be a professional in something in future. She was not certain though. Today a doctor, tomorrow a nurse and next week probably a patient. It’s called growing up. And her Christian faith convinced her that if she believes, then the Almighty can make it come to pass.
You know the theory that an urban life is highly likely to corrupt a child’s moral growth? Yes, the village did spare her from straying. But it did one major thing that caused her breaking point. Naive. She did not have a say on what to know or what not to know. She just didn’t know. The village life made her naive and timid. Sometimes her ‘yes’ was a yes and sometimes her ‘no’ was a slight yes. She knew that wolves were only in the wild, what she didn’t know was that wolves are also all over the streets or just next to her on the table. She would get to know that a good Samaritan, is just a story in the Bible.
“Was that also a form of ignorance?”
“No. No Vick. That was not ignorance.”
However, she knew she was principled and had her unbeatable values. They took her through and over the madness and sarcasm of the village. But were they strong enough for the city?
She shone like a star in her form four national examinations. Her folks begun seeing a spark of hope since their eldest daughter set the pace for the rest.
Ndinda begun working as an untrained teacher in the local primary school for almost two years. Shall I mention how much of a role model she was to the young girls?
Life was getting interesting for her especially when she got a calling letter to the university. Seeing herself joining campus was unbelievable. How eager was she to be the third degree holder amongst the girls born in the list of her numerous cousins in four years’ time. Like a soldier sent to foreign lands for battle, her folks released her to tie the loose ends in the city that would enable her join Maseno University. The biggest loose end was finances and HELB was the only way out of those shackles.
She had her sister to help her with the application for government funding in Nairobi; according to the initial plan. But things change you know? The latter was too busy and time was running out. Though she did not mention it, I later came to conclude that she has a rare but unique character. A trait that I believe was what saw her through the mess life threw her into. A trait that if a woman possesses, mjango you may pin her down but I bet you will not pin her down forever. Even your manhood cannot be enough finish her off. And what is that supposed to be? A strong will. Though they may be weak vessels, but a strong-willed heart plays the right cards for them.
So to say, a mjango used his manhood on her alright. Well, she did need help with the application for government funding. Her only option after her sister was a boy who was a good friend from way back in high school. She managed to get her funding for campus in the end and something else on top of that. That is after he went on top of her, taking advantage of her naivety. You know, ‘She is a village girl what does she know?’ kind of an attitude.
“I’m so sorry to hear that.” I said.
“Thanks but don’t be. On one side of the coin, it was my mistake. I should have seen that coming. I learnt that trust is the only currency that can beat the dollar.” Of all what she said, that was my favourite part. I felt like clapping but I spared my reputation that had found its place in the restaurant we were in. You can now make it your Whatsapp status or a caption on IG.
“Just to show you how naïve I was, I kinda allowed him to do it again.”
Three weeks later she misses her periods. That was when she realised that she was expectant.
“How was that moment for you?”
“I never shed a tear. I was shocked though. I never thought something like that would ever happen to me. All along I thought I was exceptional. But eventually, I was strong though I didn’t share with anyone about it.”
“What about the mjango, he deserved to know ama?”
“Yes he did. However, later on telling him about it proved useless.”
“Ï can guess why…”
‘’Yes it is obvious. He suggested that I should terminate the pregnancy. He even gave me cash to do that. Saying that I ought to choose between the pregnancy and the relationship.”
I raise my head in amazement. “And so I made my decision. To hell with the relationship that had caused me trouble already anyway. And off I went to school.”
“With the money with you?”
Neither her parents nor her siblings got to know about it until much later. She seemed to be quite secretive.
“I just didn’t want to burden my parents with the news. They were already taken up by my brother’s illness; that we both know didn’t end well.”
I bet by now it is obvious that her first year in campus was not going to be a walk in the park.
“Ndinda you couldn’t have managed on your own.”
“I tried to.” She giggles for a while. “I remember being at the taps near our hostel. I overheard some girls, fellow first years chatting. Three of them. They were talking about their classmate called Kate. She was pregnant. They were saying that they were no longer going to associate themselves with her. Well, probably because they thought they were holier than thou and Kate was going to corrupt them too.”
“Jeez, that’s so bad.”
“You can imagine. So being who I am, having accepted that I was also pregnant and I was ready to take on all the challenges that come with it, I found it nice to get a friend who had the same condition. Maybe we were going to walk each other through it.”
“Ä consolation kind of a thing?”
“Precisely. I did find her. But Kate was not close to being convinced to keep the pregnancy. She stuck to her decision that she would do away with it. For good. And she would have her life back. Her parents never knew about it. See what peer pressure does? I tried all I could but her ’friends’ kept on pushing things the other way.”
There was a sad moment of silence there. I did not know what to say.
After looking away for a while, “She succeeded.”
“Ouw! Did she?”
“Not entirely. She succeeded in kicking her own bucket. She went somewhere in Kisumu where she was cock sure that she’d have the procedure done. She came back saying that it was well. Only to hear later that Kate bled to death in her single room.”
Mjango you don’t expect me to have had words for that.
“That was the end of Kate. So soon. It made me assured that though I messed up, I had made the right decision to pick myself up and carry on with it. I felt so sorry for Kate though. I had to go to those three girls and nail it on their faces that they misled Kate to her own grave.”
“Did they even care?”
“They were too guilty to say a word.”
The first year girl was lucky to get a long holiday sometime before delivery. Her parents got to know about it when she was eight months pregnant. She went to her aunt’s in Siaya to stay there, far away from home. Call it double lucky. The government funding was disbursed to her account which she used to cater for delivery and probably bring up the new born. She became a mother to a little mjango she named Tumaini. A relevant name for what she had been through.
She confessed that she experienced dire consequences, some that she has never found a way to curb.
“Did the pregnancy cost you anything that was of value to you along the way?”
“My relationship with my dad. It has never been the same again. I was daddy’s girl you know.”
“Any stigma? Like Kate?”
“My relatives and friends reaction. I remember someone once told me that I was a disgrace. That went deep. It was short lived though it still give me the chills.”
It could not fail to have a brighter side.
“Bearing a child at quite a young age, what has it taught you?”
“Resilience, responsibility, hard work and to trust in God. It’s a good feeling.” She said that with a smile. One to spell out to the world that she is happy and does not give room for regrets. She is not looking back and I doubt she will in time to come. Her unbeatable will took her through. She graduated and is now working, just like she dreamed.
She has learnt to be independent. Ndinda intended that this should go to all the girls out there. Be touched by her story, enough to give you ‘tumaini’ too; to carry on even when they say you’ve messed up big time. Let nothing change who you are mjango.
“Wow Cuz. Ushuhuda nayo. Naeza fungua kanisa na hii ushuhuda yako. Hehe.”
Laughing, “Kwenda, ebu go and write my story.”
“I’m even late for a meeting elsewhere… It was an honour. Thank you. This is a jackpot for my writing spree.”
I stood up, “Wait before I go… What happened to that guy? Did he ever come back to claim his ‘property’?”
Giggling, “Well, not really. Though the last time we met, he was going to Uganda for I don’t know what school mission. They stopped over at Maseno for the night and called me.”
I sat again. Eagerly, “Then?”
“At that time I was still pregnant. He saw my belly and asked,
“Kumbe hujawai toa io kitu?”
“Apana. Si unaiona.”
He thought we would still make things up. But upon hearing that, he turned and left without adding a word.”
“Damn!! And you?”
“And me what? Si here I am, managing on my own…”
Know anyone who has a thrilling life story to share? Email at firstname.lastname@example.org for a feature.