I had been worried that I would not get fees to go to university even though I had qualified. My qualification was a miracle in itself. Nobody had qualified to go to university from my school in about a decade. I did not expect to. I knew I would get decent enough grades to qualify me to attend a diploma college, but I knew my parents would not afford the fees for that either.
But in a shocking turn of events, I got a B+ and stormed into university, creating a record at the school that is yet to be broken. I need not have worried about thefees. Being the first in my village to go to university in a long time, a harambee was quickly put together, and I was dispatched to the University with enough school fees for the whole four years. That was of course because as a JAB student my fee was minimal. My father took me to the University of Nairobi Kikuyu Campus and paid the entire amount to the university account at Barclays Bank. We were guided by an uncle who knows the city well. I was set for my training as a teacher.
That is where I met him. He was called Danny because his name was Duncan. He was huge and loud. He was in fourth year. I naturally stayed clear of him because he was a drunkard. And I was a CU girl. CU girls do not fraternize with boys who hit the bottle. We only mingle with choir boys who are going to heaven perpendicularly and who avoid sin by turning at an angle theta. But his friend started dating my roommate and he would sometimes accompany him to our room. That is, those days when the friend was not coming alone with the aim of exiling me from my room.
I fought with my roommate over this. I did not like the fact that she was bringing sin to my abode. Our relationship became hostile. She often asked me how I could be a Christian and harbor so much hate, and I usually reminded her that I did not hate her; it is the sin in her that I hated.
Ironically, it was Danny who won me over. One evening he and his friend came to our room. I stubbornly refused to leave, because I knew if I left the room Danny would also leave and my roommate and her boyfriend would exile me for the rest of the night. So I stayed put.
Danny started asking me questions about the Bible. We talked a lot and he was showing so much sincerity that I was convinced that he was a heartbeat away from reconciling with Christ. He had been born again as a child and teen, but the freedom of the University had carried him away.
The next day I reported to the prayer group that the Lord had led me to a soul that I needed to rescue. When I mentioned the name, the room fell silent. The fourth years told me to be careful because Danny was a smooth operator. But I convinced them that I had prayed and was feeling a strong conviction from the Lord that Danny needed me to lead him back to Him.
Danny became my project. Every evening he would come to my room and we would talk scripture as we ate the food I cooked. My roommate and her boyfriend moved their carnality to his room. The Lord had heard me. Danny did not argue with my conclusions, and I would pray just before he left. Sometimes he would come drunk but he would still listen carefully, even though he would sometimes interrupt me by singing loudly. But he always sang worship songs when drunk so I did not take offence.
In fact, I was beginning to like his loud self. His booming voice, his wit, and his charm. Oh, his charm. Every now and then he came with roses and chocolates for the preacher. He always said things that left me dying with laughter. Or blushing deeply over some compliment he gave me. Some CU members started whispering behind my back but who would challenge the mission of the Lord?
I am not sure how it happened, but when it did, I instantly knew that the glory would leave Israel. He was semi-drunk and singing some Ben Githae song when he bent over and kissed me on the lips. My body jolted into sensations I had never experienced before. That night he slept on my bed.
I did not attend the morning prayer meeting the following morning. Or the next. I slowly faded out of the CU as my relationship with Danny gathered momentum. It was a storm. Passionate and carefree. I looked forward to a lifetime with Danny.
His drinking no longer bothered me. He would take me out once in a while and we would eat chicken at Nairobi restaurants. He showed me around the city until I became familiar with it. We held hands in the streets. We became the face of love at Kikuyu campus. He even stopped hanging out with his friends as we became inseparable.
He was a tornado that took me to the deep sea at full speed. My radar was lost. My compass fell in the sea. All that mattered was the thrill of the ride. This was all very new to me, but I loved every inch of it. Here is why.
Growing up, I was but a small sailboat. Tiny and inconsequential. A young girl from the hinterland that is Mbeere. I was timid and very naive. I had never been anywhere past Kawanjara. I was a naive girl from a poor family and an inconsequential clan in the often forgotten tribe of Mbeere. No, we are not Aembu. We are not Ameru. And we are certainly not Agikuyu. We are Ambeere.
Mother said I had been to Embu town as a baby, but I have no recollection of that. All I remember is that we once took my brother to Kawanjara where a bus was taking him to Provincial Music Festivals in Kitui. No, my brother Njiru cannot sing. He just rode on a choral verse that his school won by a fluke during the district festivals in Embu town. The prospect of meeting girls appealed to him more than the choral verse.
All I wanted was to finish form 4 and move on with my life. I would get a C+. That I was sure. I was working really hard. I had topped my class from form two. Once, many years ago, a boy from our school managed a B-. He was still a legend. But his legend had been somewhat dimmed by the fact that he did not get fees to go to college, so he used to sell miraa at Ishiara. Still does, I think. Those days a B- could not get you a slot in the University. You needed a B for that.
Sometimes I dreamt about getting a B. The year before, girls were going to university with B-. Maybe I would become a secondary school teacher. But I did not like dwelling on a fantasy like that for too long. For three years in a row, before I sat my exams, the top student of our school had C plain. But I felt I was better and that is why I was confident that I would get a C+. I really wanted to be a primary school teacher, but I knew my parents could not afford college fees.
So all I wanted was to finish school and study tailoring and dressmaking. I would be a dressmaker in Ishiara. Then I would get married. I would be married by a calm, strong man. Since I was a small sailing boat, he would be a gentle, stable wind.
He would hoist my sail and lead me gently across the sea. We would of course never go too far from the shore, because my wind would be a reasonable wind and would do nothing that would jeopardize the security of its boat.
Sometimes the sea would become rough, but my gentle wind would lead me by the sail to the safety of the shore. He would be a carpenter. I think carpenters are more skilled than masons and plumbers. And more responsible than truck drivers. And less domineering than teachers. Driving a nail into wood, making joints and applying varnish require some level of flair that masons do not have. Besides, what beats preparing boiled arrowroots for a man smelling raw wood and sawdust? He would tell me how he nearly drove a nail into his finger and I would be very amazed because that very day I would have nearly stitched my hand with my sewing machine.
Okay, maybe carpenters are not better than everyone else. I just knew one carpenter that I liked. His name was Mbogo. He was the leader of our youth group. I liked his devotion to God. Plus, he was hard working. I think he liked me too because he always asked me to take minutes during our youth group meetings. And to prepare snacks during youth retreats. He said I would be the youth secretary when I finished school because the then secretary was not serious about God.
The only thing I was worried about in relation to marriage was the process of getting babies. I wanted to ask my mother about it but I did not want to discuss bad manners with her. I was the Christian Union chairlady, even though our school was a day school. And some discussions were simply out of question for a leader of my spiritual stature. How could I even be thinking about it?
My mother was the treasurer of the women’s group at our local church, so she would have been shocked if I had asked anything of that nature. My father was a church elder and they were proud of my devotion to the church. If I asked my mother about making babies she would think I was backsliding and would give me a lecture on focusing my thoughts on school and Jesus. I would be humiliated. So that idea died there.
I knew girls in my school who were doing it. Some even dropped out of school because they were pregnant. But I could not ask them about it because I was their spiritual adviser. Discussing bad manners with them would be scandalous.
Eventually, I asked my grandmother. She laughed and said I should not worry about it. That I would probably be asleep as it happened.
“Babies are made by men,” she said. “Your job is to carry them in your womb,”
She had sighed dramatically then added:
“Those thoughts are disturbing you because you are not a proper woman. I can help you become a woman,”
I had been horrified. I knew she was talking about getting the cut, yet our Pastor had said it was a sin. I should not have asked a heathen for advice. When my grandmother saw my horror, she laughed so hard that she nearly choked on the tobacco she was sniffing and chewing.
I completed my studies a long time ago. I am now a TSC teacher in Matuu. I have a six-year-old son. Yes, he is Danny’s son. I got pregnant when I was still on campus. My relationship with Danny cooled down somewhat after I became pregnant. Then he completed his studies and left campus and the relationship cooled even further.
We have been dating on and off. Okay, we have never broken up, but it is difficult to say that our relationship has been continuous. There is something amiss, but I cannot point a finger at it. Danny was never one to teach so he found a job as a Relationship Manager in a small microfinance institution in Mombasa.
Sometimes he visits me in Matuu. He usually comes and we stay as husband and wife for a weekend, then he disappears for a month. I still love him dearly. He has been promising to pay my dowry and conduct a white wedding thereafter.
But now I know he will not. Because as we speak I am lying on my bed, staring at his photos on Facebook. Today he paid dowry for another girl and she has splashed photos on Facebook and tagged him. I have spent hours studying this girl. What does she have that I lack? She is plump, just like me. She is dark, just like me. She has dreadlocks, but who said I cannot rear dreadlocks?
I have stalked that girl for hours. I cannot see any reason why he left me for her. And anyway, if he wanted to leave, why didn’t he treat me with dignity by telling me it was over? I have cried until I can cry no more. Now I am just feeling empty. I am not sure what the emptiness I am feeling represents. Anger? Frustration? Anxiety? I honestly don’t know.
I shouldn’t have stopped going to church on account of Danny. And maybe I should have married Mbogo. But he started suffering from low self-esteem when I joined University. Okay, maybe I did not treat him too kindly when I was madly in love with Danny. But still…
Anyway, he is happily married to a local hairdresser in Ishiara, and they have three children already. I hear she is pregnant again. At least I have my son. And my boy is charming! So charming that I fear for the girls he will encounter in the future. Because he is just like the father…a torpedo that is gathering momentum as it grows.
In case you are a stranger in Jerusalem, I released a new novella on Tuesday (See excerpt in the last post). The price is still one hundred shillings only-my cup of coffee. You can grab your copy of Redemption by using the same steps we used last month:
- Follow the link below
- Log in using the email and password you created last month. If you are new, there is a register button at the top.
- Add the book to cart by clicking the cart symbol BELOW the cover. Then click the green cart above the books when it shows number one inside.
- Check out, then pay by entering your phone number and clicking ‘confirm’. Your phone will prompt you to finish the payment.
- You can now download the book from our portal. The system has also sent a copy to your email. (In case you do not see the email, check your spam folder.
- Link: https://www.maroncha.com/book-store
In case you have any challenges purchasing the book, do not hesitate to email me at email@example.com or to inbox Sanctuaryside on Facebook. I will sort you out.
Our next series starts next Friday. See you all then!