VOF WEEK 2: (Fatherless but not Powerless)
We hoped fervently that he would be back. Had we known the events that would follow, maybe we would have hoped even more fervently if possible? He never returned, my father died in an accident and the next time I saw him was at his lying in state, where I wondered why they had stuffed his nose and ear with cotton wool. His burial was something of an anti climax, an event that I would wish to go back to many years later to find closure. We had been searching for him for over a week, totally unaware that he was already lying dead in a morgue. That was the beginning of my journey.
I watched as my mother had to shave her hair and wear black. Then we had to leave our house, my mother, myself and my sister. We had to move to a different part of the town as his relatives sold off our cars, chairs, rugs air conditioners, household appliances and shared his clothes amongst themselves. Years later, emissaries still came around to ask my mother if she knew where his land documents were kept. The experience was like being stripped naked. He was here one minute and then he was all gone. Even the things that we could have held on to fondly to remember him were snatched away from us cruelly. We had not just been stripped naked; we had been left in the rain.
We suffered for a while, my sister was just a few months old and I was only five. As I grew up I realized that if we hadn’t both been girls, nobody would have disinherited us like that. We got out of it, thanks to my mother who worked so hard. As I have grown up in this culture, I have realized that in more ways than one, the scale is tipped against me, just because I am female. I have made up my mind to tip it in my favour, through my writing and other means. This drive coupled with the awareness that many people are watching my family, wondering what will become of this widow and her girls has helped me to excel in so many ways. I have been able to channel the pain of rejection from the extended family into living above their negatives expectations for us. Writing helps me to heal, to create alternatives and reconstruct memories of a past that was snatched away. This is how I found world pulse, through KWANI a Kenyan magazine that I subscribe to its newsletter. I leapt at the opportunity to connect with other women, to learn how I can help prevent this situation from repeating itself. Death is painful enough without the added burden of widowhood rites and disinheritance. Like my Mother does currently, I want to be able to speak and ACT to stop this double trauma being inflicted on many women and their children in my country.