Ghetto Stories
A past photo of COTA staff (with a yellow turban)  distributing food to an elderly family affected by covid19 in Dandora.

By Jobiese Richard, CPA

Anyone born and bred in the informal settlements either in the urban slums or rural areas and has survived with less than a dollar a day passionately dreams of the day when they will bid poverty goodbye!

There is no passion in living a life lower than you deserve, there is no honour in want!

Imagine of a family of six, two adults and four children living in a small house measuring nine feet by nine feet. The house arranged such that the bedroom is on one side, the sitting room also used as the dining area arranged in the middle of the house, while the children bedroom are used at night where the table and seats in the middle of the house have either to be put outside the house or on top of each other to create space for the mattress or clothes to be put down for the kids to lay on, things becomes worse when either of the children urinates at night! Not to mention that the wash rooms are used at a cost of Ksh. 10 per bath/short/long call! Hence utilization of flying toilets!

Everyone’s prayer is to have better life!

Thanks to education which has played a major role in creating a level ground for all.

There are those lucky to go through it work very hard, the tops in sub county’s join scholarships programs like wings to fly scholarships program then later get absorbed in different branches of Equity Bank, we thank Dr. Mwangi, and hope that one day He will be absorbing at least top ten in every sub county!

Then there is the larger majority who do short cuts to make it in life; some join armed gangs, while others practice sex for money/food/sanitary towels, being used to traffic illegal drugs, among other social vices in the hope of making it and living the best of life, what a mirage!

My attention is drawn to parents who spent all their youthful years giving birth, lazing around with the hope that their children will be immortal retirement plans!

Some of these parents/guardians start at an earlier age where they condone prostitution by asking their female children, young as nine years why they have come late in the house without Maize flour or bread!

While others will not even ask where their boys get money to buy bread and expensive jewellery!

The situation becomes pathetic with the breed of children, who get admitted to pursue degrees or diplomas by Joint Admission Board (JAB), where these students have to do odd and noble jobs in order to pay for hostel, tuition, print notes among other incidental expenses associated with education. Back home the parents are in a frenzy mode shouting how their kids are in the university.

Immediately they graduate and start tarmacking. The Creditors (HELB) start knocking on their doors threatening to blacklist them for default!

Worse still, your parents/ guardians/ grandparents/ uncles/ aunties/ aunties of your distant cousins/ uncles that you met once in a funeral/grand children of siblings to your grandparents start calling you anytime they need to weed their one eighth acre maize plantation or when their goat falls sick or when they need to go pay tribute to a friend or when they go to bed hungry!

There are times when they will demand you stay with their lazy relatives who were raised without morals. We planned for all our kids. What makes you think that you will start distributing your children around for others to care of them?

The young man who now has a small family wonders whether to raise their small families or start raising their extended ‘families’

I would like to encourage all parents to get involved in doing something constructive; sell wood/eggs/water/etc, form groups and register then apply for women Enterprise Funds (WEF) which the government is giving groups with 70% women among other available loan packages.

It dis hearts and frustrates to wake up in the morning only to get 20 missed calls from your grandmother, because she wants money to go and attend the funeral of the village elder’s son in law!

Or still from your parents because they went to bed hungry, yet they are surrounded by more adult siblings lazing around busy smoking weed/cigarettes and drinking illicit brew while competing with other male villagers on who can impregnate most women in the vicinity!

There are so many divorce cases because spouses can not understand why the extended family must come first, while some suffer with depression because they cannot say NO!

Things are hard, making us wonder if money grows in trees, why don’t they pluck it from their side!

For poverty to end in the slums; gift/grants/free money must stop being dished left right and centre in the name of ‘you are our son/daughter’

I have nothing personal, just as they say ‘my dress my choice likewise, my decision my choice’.

A wise man leaves inheritance for his children!

Donate to our Covid19 Fund: https://www.cotakenya.org/donate

22 Jan, 2019

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