Storytime: Went I Lost My dad

I would like to grow old and see my grandchildren. I do not want to be a burden to my kids when am old. When am to depart from this world, I would like to know all my kids are comfortable and witness the result of my parenting.

Being an African kid born in the 90s our parents were not too social with us. I now understand that maybe their parents were not also close to them when they were young. Life of their parents was hard because back then we were still colonized. Their main priorities were to survive with their family. Basic things like food, clothing, and shelter were hard to come by. Most of our parents back then in the 50s were living in the villages. Nairobi back then belonged to the Maasai community but colonialists had already started to settle there. Life in the village for young boys was herding cattle and school. Getting a job if you had gone to school was easy back then. In the Luo community people were keen on their studies to date. 

Have heard many people say my father had always been big (chubby). All since I can remember seeing him, he was big. It was only once when he was slim but again his weight came back. He was taller, had weight, and was dark-skinned. He was bald head and always shaved his head clean, actually, I remember we shaved at the same barber. I and my bro used to get shaved there not knowing our dad was also using the same barber. When we found him there we were happy but since he looked hard we never talked. It was not that we were brought up fearing him, because he was one of the most talkative men I know. Have been told by my mum that my dad was called to join the Kenya Navy but his mum advised him not to. That might have gone good for us or we would have never even been here.

This is because there was a coup in Kenya and many Luo in the military disappeared and some had been arrested. Many parents advised their male sons to flee to Uganda after the co. Sometimes I feel he was fearless because on most of the streets, he went to see his cousin, and he was never mugged. This was because he looked like a cop. Then he wore mostly safari boots and big jackets. That is the wardrobe of most cops in plain clothes in Kenya who will shoot you very fast. So many youths try to avoid confrontation with such people. And this also almost got him shot. This is when he went to buy meds in a pharmacy and robbed the store while he was there. When they saw him they thought he was a cop, I don’t know how he talked himself out of that but he survived.

When I joined secondary school, he came to pick me up from school. Where I schooled in secondary there were a lot of robberies. I had witnessed many criminal actives next to our school including a criminal police car chase. It happened early in the morning while we were going to school. Along that road leading towards my school, there were two other schools. That means that the main road had many students walking in the morning hours. We heard the gunshots from a distance and suddenly a car just made a sharp corner and the other one behind it followed with guns drawn out of the window. We had to lay down fast before getting hit by a stray bullet. One of the staff in our school was also mugged and injured just outside the school, he died later. It was a day school when I joined the school and on the first day when I was leaving, I met him at the gate. He did not even say hi and started walking home. In the areas we passed with him, there were just boys chilling and watching us. The funny thing is on that route we had passed like twice we saw people getting mugged with the youth who used to hang out there. It got worse that it was even closed so we could not use it anymore. The strange thing is I was given bus fare to school and back and don’t know why he showed me the route back home. Most of my classmates came from the same area as me, we used to walk home together. I just used the fare to buy snacks and gadgets.

My dad loved me but he never told me that. Boys you are brought up to be tough and a weak son. I feel it is easier for fathers to show love to their daughters than their sons. My mum was telling us this story of how when my sisters were young. On the days my mum was not around and my dad was at home. He bought meat cooked for his daughters, made sure they ate everything and left the dishes for my mum. And also he did not want to see people holding his daughters. The amount of shopping they got when going to boarding secondary school was more than what my brother got.

My dad used to tell us many stories about things he had read and his life growing up. His dad died and their big brother became their father figure. He’s the one who took them to school so my dad had great respect for him. His big brother did not have to do that for it was not his responsibility but he made a sacrifice. And this made his big brother start a family later in life while my dad started first. My young brother is smart like my dad but I do not think knows that.

I sat for my KSCE in the year 2007 and in 2008 when I went to clear with the school. I was almost hit by a matatu on a road called Mutindwa. A matatu was overspeeding and we had not seen it coming because our view was blocked by a lorry we were behind. Just a step in front it would have been the end for us. I remember just saying “mama” and my heart was pounding very fast. 

In the year 2010 while I was in college in an area called Kasarani. I was taking a course for a Diploma in Information Technology at a school called RCMRD. On this particular day, we were having lunch at our favourite kiosk. Where I was sitting there was a television on top of my head. My friend who was sitting across from me was watching the television. He told me to come see if there had been an accident at Mutindwa today that had killed some people. When I stood I could watch the Tv that the news had already passed and the news anchor was reporting something else. I sat down and continued eating but the day felt lonely. It was just quiet and nothing that happening around me caught my attention. Walking home after alighting the car was still the same. When I entered the estate where we stayed I knew something was wrong. My heart turned heavy all of a sudden.

When I reached the door I saw many shoes at the door and immediately knew something bad happened. When I entered the house I saw my mum sitting down and being consoled. I moved to the kid’s room where I found my sister there. She was crying and this just made me tear up. Something bad had happened but I didn’t know to whom. She was not able to talk when I asked. Her best friend was there and I asked her and she told me. My dad was in that accident that was on Television. My big sister saw everything that happened. I know she must be traumatized, I know she was my dad’s favourite child. My dad wanted us to be keen on our studies like her. She is a good role model I do not know she knows that.

On the day of the accident, she was the one to board that matatu. But she saw my dad rushing and he was in a hurry and there was only one sit left. So she let him board and she boarded the next matatu that was just behind. The two cars were back to back and that’s how she got to see how the accident happened. She was the one who informed the mum about the incident.

Just like that, he was gone and he never saw us graduating, working, and never saw any of his grandchildren. I would have liked for him to get to know his grandkids. Tell them the stories he told us. Am trying to be a good father though it is not easy. There is no manual for this parenting thing. We are just growing up together and learning on the way. I have the wrongs that I want to correct and get to see my kids happy together. I want to do the things I desire like camp with my kids, go fishing with them, teach them how to swim, ride bikes, and be explorers like me. I want to be in their life until they become men and women and be parents. See my grandkids so I could tell me stories about our family tree line.

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