My name is polly kanana , from karama where I lived with my mother by the name faith kaari Jacob. My dad abandoned us when I was less than a month old, according to how my mother used to tell me. My mother had rented a mud house which you could see everything inside form outside since some area mud had fallen off and no one had time to repair. We had very little items in our house just utensils cloths mattress and one blanket. At age of 2 years my mother got another baby boy and these made her more frustrated and fully addicted to alcohol. By age of three year my mother could not be able to provide for us. Surprisingly she could some time not be able to recognize us when she was totally drunk and that meant that we had to sleep empty stomach that night. As time went on my mother could abandon us for a whole night whenever she got money. She used to spend most of her money with men in bar drinking. When the money was over she would get a manual job and command me to accompany her to take care of the baby while she doing the work, in case the baby fall asleep, I would join her in doing the job. After she got paid we would proceed home and she would lock us in the house and go for drinking spree. Eating and drinking was just by luck, by the time I was five years old. I would leave my brother in the house get outside the house via a hole. I would proceed to street since our house was situated in juxtapose to a market and beg for money or food . The money I got I would buy abread that we would share and remove any trace that would betray my doings. I had dug the hole that went through inside the out to outside. To avoid my escape route being noticed I used to cover it with a sack.
At a certain point when I was in the street, something come up in my mind and thought maybe she was not my biological mother. These made me feel more safe, secure and happy begging than being locked in the house empty stomach. But whenever i remembered my poor brother and the kind of suffering he would go through in my absence, I would always change my mind and get back home. By the time I was six years , I was supposed to be in class one, buy by then I could not even read or write any alphabet letter or numeric number. I had no shoe only one dress and no inner wear. I had resumed full responsibilities of a mother by then. I attended all house chores, the most tasking was fetching water which I would walk almost 2 kilometers to fetch water. From there I would go to fetch firewood, this was not only challenging but hard. Firewood was not something easy to come by. In most cases, I had to climb tree to harvest dry wood. I would fall down sometimes, but would take courage and make a second trial. My age mate scorned me due to kind of odd jobs I was doing, I had jigger, torn cloth, dirty and no shoes. I appreciate Miriam for these far I have gone.
By then my mother had realized I could take care of ourselves and therefore, she withdrew all her support and we were left feed ourselves . She would come home late very drunk and demand for food. In case there was no food she would hung me from the roof and beat me for almost an hour . She attempted several time to burn me with hot water but I always managed to escape. These beating become my motivation to make sure there is food for her even if it would mean stealing. Her negligence made her even forgot to pay house rent for several months which led us to be chased away by the landlord.
When we were thrown out of the house, looked for another house to settle, which I guess was cheaper than the one we were because , the house didn’t have door and windows, it was like semi-finished house. The new house gave me some freedom, I did not focus of any dangers of not having door and window, since I would get out at my own will even if it was to pray with my brother. One day I left as usual to borrow food from our new neighbor for me and my brother, by the time I come back I was surprised that the house was empty only my dress was left hanging on the cloth line inside the house. Little did I knew that my mother have left with my brother never to see them again.