This is a true story. Names and places have been altered to protect the identity of the narrator. More than once she paused and almost broke down while narrating the story. I tip my hat to her for powering through and sharing it with us. I hope it serves as a teacher and a mirror to the readers here.
I was fourteen when I first shared a bed with a man and it was not by choice. My mom was going to Nairobi and I took her to Narok town to board a matatu. After she left, I felt my pockets and realized I had lost my fare back to the village along with my cousin’s phone. I went to the boda guys and begged them to take me home, where my dad would pay them, but they all refused. I stood there, out of my wits, until a Good Samaritan volunteered to help. He looked early twenties and too put together to be a boda guy. He paid my fare and gave me five hundred bob, then wrote his number on a piece of paper and asked me to call him.
When I got home I told my cousin, Yvonne,
that I had lost my fare and her phone but had met a kind soul called Kenneth
who helped me and gave me his number. She looked at me with excited eyes and
insisted that we call him. This was the first of many steps she took to try to
We called Kenneth and he arranged a date.
I was scared stiff because it was my first date. Yvonne, being the gift that
kept on giving, volunteered to take me to the date for emotional support.
Kenneth turned out to be alright. Yvonne
had been restless about losing her phone—less than a week later, Kenneth replaced
it. This fanned the flames she had for Kenneth even more and she insisted on
tagging along for a second date, for emotional support.
This time round, Kenneth came with a
friend whom he introduced as his work colleague. It was an attempt to match him
with Yvonne so she could give us some space. When we got back home, Yvonne told
me not to talk to Kenneth anymore claiming he was a player. He would call
asking for me and she would not tell me.
After some time, Yvonne asked me to take
her to Narok town. When we got there, we met Kenneth’s colleague. It was around
4:00 pm and they decided to go to a nearby pub. I used to have a curfew of 6:00
pm so I protested the whole time, telling them that my dad would punish me if I
went home late. They insisted that the only way they would take me home was if
I drank two bottles of Smirnoff. I resisted for a bit then took up the
challenge. I had never taken alcohol before then and there I was, downing two
275ml bottles of vodka.
After that, my joints felt like liquid. I
couldn’t stand. I forgot myself and I couldn’t even remember when we left the
club but the sun had long gone down. I zoned in and out of consciousness. One
moment we were in the colleague’s car and the next, Yvonne was telling me that we
had arrived home but she needed to check if my dad was holding a cane.
My dad was very strict then. I was
opening school the next day so I knew his fury was burning hot. Yvonne said that
if he had a cane, I would go with the colleague, sleep in town and she would
bring my shopping the next morning and I would head to school. She got out of
the car and a few minutes later, she came back, hysterical. “Your dad has ten
canes. You can’t go to the house.”
I did not debate with her. I was still
going in and out of consciousness. I went with the colleague. One moment we
were on the road; the next, he was carrying me up some stairs. And then we were
in bed and he was forcing himself on me. I remember telling him I was in pain.
I remember telling him to stop. But he told me I was just uncultured and naïve
and that it couldn’t be painful. This went on throughout the night.
Before the sun came up, he left and told
me he was going to his wife.
That morning, I felt filthy. I got up,
looked for a phone and called Yvonne. She brought my shopping and uniform and I
went to school without telling her what had happened. In school, I was restless.
Was the colleague sick and was I
pregnant? The worst of it was that I couldn’t even go to the school
dispensary because of the stigma. Our teachers used to come to class and ask,
”How many of you are virgins?” and I would be among the students with their
hands raised high but inside I was breaking.
I coped by putting all my energy into my studies.
I was in the top ten across the streams, with exceptional grades in math and the
sciences. Kenneth was still pursuing me. He had come by our village and I had
given him my sister’s number. He called my sister. He wanted to be visiting me
in school. He wanted to take care of me and to marry me after I finished form
The moment he told my sister he wanted to
come for my visiting day, Yvonne wanted to come too. My sister told me that when
Kenneth came, Yvonne was all over him to the point where he gave my sister some
money to give to me and just left.
After that, I decided to keep off men.
Kenneth would call my sister and I wouldn’t respond. He would come to the
village to look for me and I would hide. We would sometimes bump into each
other when I was with my mom and I would behave as though I did not know him.
He stopped coming around and reaching out
to me altogether. Ten years later, I told him what his colleague did to me. The
first thing he asked was, “Was Yvonne your cousin?” I said yes. “She didn’t
behave like your cousin. She told me that you cheated on me with my work
colleague to try to get me to lose interest in you and focus on her.”
I finished high school with an A (minus)
to my name and enrolled at Egerton University for a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering.
At this time I was talking to a guy called Andrew on Facebook who happened to
go to the same campus I went to. He helped me through orientation and we often
hung out together, so we became close friends. He wanted to be my boyfriend but
at the time I was seeing this other guy called Joseph from Daystar University.
Joseph was a year older than me and he
seemed genuinely concerned about me. He asked me how I lost my virginity. I
didn’t want to talk about it because it usually made me cry, but like anything
you don’t want to talk about in a relationship, it took center stage and refused
to go away, so I told him. He sighed and told me that I was raped. This whole
time I had been blaming myself because I got drunk. Subconsciously, I also blamed
my cousin, Yvonne, because after the incident, I never spoke to her again.
Joseph had his quirks but we made it
work. He had my Facebook password. Sometimes I would come from class and find that
we had been talking. He would send me a message: “Hi babe.”
Then log in with my account and reply to
himself: “Hey baby.”
Besides that, he was good to me up until
he got an internship at a media company and the relationship became one-sided.
I was trying more than he was. He would tell me how girls at his work place
wore heels and how big their breasts were and I would feel inadequate and
overcompensate for it by doing more than I should have.
He dumped me on the eve of Valentine’s
Day. We had planned to meet in Nairobi for Valentine’s. We had been planning
for it since January. He was not good with saving so we had decided that he
would be sending the Valentine’s money and I would be saving it. He would send
me anything from two hundred to five hundred bob every now and then until I had
ten thousand bob in my M-Shwari.
Around the 12th of February, I
told my dad I had a conference in Nairobi that I needed to attend. He gave me
fare and pocket money and I headed to Nairobi. I stayed at my sister’s place
and went to see Joseph on the 13th. He told me to send him the money
I had been saving for Valentines and I did. We went to a random pub and out of
nowhere he became moody.
“Since I’m treating you tomorrow, you
treat me today,” he demanded.
I bought him a mzinga with the pocket money my dad had given me. We were seated
next to each other and he texted me: “Let me take you to the stage.”
By the time I was getting home, I had
been dumped. He did it through a Facebook status.
At this time I thought of dating Andrew
but he started dating my friend to make me jealous. This one time he came to my
room and asked me to take him somewhere. We found his four friends seated with
my friend and he scooped her up into the air and they started giggling. Later,
he asked if I felt jealous. I didn’t find fault with him dating my friend but
all the romantic feelings I had for him fizzled and I saw him only as a friend
from that moment onwards.
We still partied together and shared
jokes and laughter. There was a time when I went to school and I didn’t have a
hostel; Andrew hosted me in the house he had rented outside the school and
nothing happened. In my second year, I lost interest in partying and drifted
away from his group of friends but we still remained good friends. We would
talk whenever we bumped into each other. Six years down the road, he would take
advantage of this friendship and scar me for life.
In my second year I started seeing this
IT student called Henry from the University of Nairobi. I had gone to see a
friend there and we bumped into each other. He started chasing me and texting
me all the time and I decided to give him a chance. He was a handsome, light
skinned boy. When he came to visit me in Nakuru, everybody in school told me he
resembled Konshens, the singer.
“Wah, Brenda.” The guys gaped.
“Heh, Brenda. Anakaa tu player,” the
He looked too good to be true but what
impressed me about him was how well he knew me. For the first time in my life,
someone knew me inside and out. What I did, what I liked, he would even tell me
my next step before I made it.
He was very smart. He could sit with you
for five minutes, read what you were thinking and predict what your next move
would be. We would be seated in a restaurant and he would tell me what the
people behind us were talking about or what they had talked about. Every time
we met a friend or a relative he would mirror them, so everyone liked him.
As is expected of campus students, he was
usually broke. There was a time he came to Nakuru and said he wanted to go and
watch the game. He was new to the town and four boys brought him back at 1:00 am,
drunk as a sponge. After that, he made a few of them his spies and he would
often come back to my hostel happy and say, “I’m glad you don’t cheat on me.”
I started doing things for him that I
didn’t want to do though at the time I thought I was doing them for us. I would
get my HELB and give the whole amount to him. We would spend it on partying and
the rest on his school fees. Anytime I went to his place I would buy everything
thinking we were doing things as a couple.
I didn’t realize that he was manipulating
me until I stumbled on this show on the Discovery Channel about this guy who
was controlling his girlfriend to a point where he was abusing her and
threatening to kill her. I watched it and felt as if I was looking in the
mirror. I started researching on psychopath tendencies and Henry had all the
traits that were listed.
In third year, I came to Nairobi for my
internship. We would sit down for a date and he would start breaking down how I
used my phone. “You use 60% of your time on your phone to play games, 10% on
text messaging and 24% on social media.” And I would look at him with a mix of
awe and confusion.
This one time, one of my friends joined
us. I started introducing them because they had never met. “Henry, meet Sarah.”
And then he said, “Sara Ongosi?”
“How did you know her second name?” I
“Ah, never mind,” he said, nonchalant.
Sarah raised an eyebrow, probably wondering if all we did was talk about her.
Things snowballed from there. I would be
in town and he would appear out of nowhere. “Baby, I want to take you for
lunch, let’s go.” And I would stand there, wondering how he found me.
I would be waiting for him in town,
calling him but getting no answer, and I would stand there, frustrated, only to
turn and find him right behind me. “Always be aware of your surroundings,” he
would say. “I have been here for ten minutes.”
I would go shopping at Toi Market and he
would appear out of nowhere. “Oh, what a coincidence. I’m looking for something
around here too.”
I felt as if I was going mad.
I texted my friend. “Sarah, I think Henry
is a psycho and he is stalking me.”
I stopped picking his calls but he kept
calling. I was interning in Westlands at the time. I would walk to CBD to avoid
traffic and take a matatu from town. This one day I was dressed in a maroon
dress, walking towards the stage. He kept calling. When he realized I wasn’t
going to pick, he texted.
“You look so good in maroon.”
I decided to meet him because it was
becoming futile to run away from someone who knew where I was at all times.
When I met him, he told me the truth.
“Brenda, so Sarah ndio umeamua kuambia
kila kitu, eh?” He paused. “You remember that day we met her and I said her
“How do you think I knew her name?
Because I hacked your phone and I have been reading your texts from 2012. So
just know that I know everything about you.” He said it as if it was a threat.
I looked at him with large eyes but he
“So you’re saying I’m a psychopath, eh? I
never knew I was but I looked it up and I actually am, so be careful.”
From that moment on, I feared for my
do you dump a psychopath?’
I punched into Google search.
or be very boring when you’re with him,’ the results came back.
I switched from my smartphone to a Kabambe. I used it for three months.
After that, he started following me to work. This one time I was at work,
serving clients. I finished with one and said, “Next.” Then another. The third
time I said, “Next,” there he was, his Konshens-looking face staring right into
mine. I wanted to scream. I was just an intern on the sixth floor in a tiny
room and he found me.
I asked to see his phone. He gave it to
me and I went to his browser. His latest Google search was, ‘Lethal injections’. He had taught me how to be emotionless. This
whole time I was scrolling through the disturbing things on his phone and
looking at him while smiling.
I was planning to get out of Nairobi to
visit my friend who was doing her internship in Nakuru and to release some of
the pressure I was feeling. She was my best friend, my roommate in campus. She
was also friends with Henry. I told her to cut all communication with him
because he was a psychopath and I was running away from him. My whole life had
become scary. I had become paranoid. I would be walking on the road and start
running for no reason.
“I have blocked and deleted him
everywhere. Come to Nakuru for a break so that you can at least breath,” she
texted, only for me to scroll through Henry’s text messages and find that she
had told him that I was going to visit her in Nakuru.
I decided not to go to Nakuru. I was mad
at her for a time. “I wish she had just listened to me,” I kept muttering under
my breath but in hindsight, Henry was the type of guy who could charm you into
telling him everything. I was a victim of his charm too; every time I tried to
dump him, he would break my defenses and I would end up forgiving him and
trying to make us work.
The building I worked in had different
gates so every time I clocked out I used a different gate. After a while, I
bumped into him again. “Baby, I missed you so much,” he said, with his hands
stretched out for a hug as if I had not been silent on him this whole time. I
ended up playing along, acting excited and giving him a hug.
My internship eventually ended and I went
back to Nakuru. I moved from my hostel and rented a house outside the school. I
was paranoid for about four months. I would either stay at home or in class. I
would take matatus far from the stage and use vichochoro to get to class or to my rented house. Without a way for
Henry to contact me, the relationship fizzled and the flame died.
I graduated from campus with first class
honors in civil engineering and set my sights on the city under the sun. I
called my sisters and asked if they could host me. We are five girls in our
family and though all my sisters were in Nairobi, none wanted to host me. The
only person who agreed was my cousin who was Yvonne’s brother. Until then I had
not forgiven her but I found solace in knowing that she was not around. She had
gone to Qatar for work.
Her brother was about three years older
than me. He was studying but he was also a hustler. He could put food on the
table and make rent for his bedsitter. When I got there, he had another male
cousin in the house. We were so cramped in that small space but I took it in
stride. It was all temporary until I got a job, which I thought would be soon.
His other cousin did not like me. He had
completed campus a year before me and he was always on the couch playing PlayStation
or watching movies. I was hustling for a job and I would wake up every morning
to go to town and send CVs. I would do promotions during the weekend and use
the money I got to send even more CVs. The cousin did not like this and he
would make cutting remarks every chance he got.
“Oh, watu wengine wanadhani kuenda town
ndio kupata job.”
Anytime I talked to him he would talk
back rudely. While he was mean to me, the breadwinner of the house was trying
to fuck me. He would find me seated on the couch and touch me suggestively. I
would be asleep in bed and find his hands deep in my panties.
It got worse. Yvonne came back from Qatar
to stay with us in the bedsitter and I could not take it anymore. After all
those years, I was still very bitter. I got stressed to the point where I
called my psychopath ex-boyfriend, Henry. This was the first time I was contacting
him in a year. I hesitated at first but I decided I needed the break. I needed
to feel good again.
I went to see him the following day. I
stayed in his bedsitter in Juja for three days. He was still charming. While I
was there, he asked me to attend a birthday party with him. He got drunk and
started saying that I was his wife. I realized I couldn’t stay with him after
everything I had done to stay away from him. The following morning, I woke up
and told him I wanted to go. He grabbed my arm and his fingers dug into my
“You can’t run away from me again, Brenda,”
“Yes, I can,” I said, scared stiff. I
yanked myself from his grasp, my flight instinct overwhelming his strength, and
I started running. I got into a matatu and after some time, alighted and took
another matatu so that he would not be able to follow me. After that, I never
saw him again.
I went to the village and stayed there
for about two months. When I came back to Nairobi, I decided that I was not
going back to my cousin’s. Henry’s place was out of the question. I went to my
sister’s house and asked her if I could stay for a few days because there was a
conference I was preparing to give a talk. It was a big conference—the
International Conference on Civil and Architectural Engineering. It brings together
people from all over the world, including employers in the sector, so I knew I
had a good chance of landing a job. I had gotten the opportunity because when I
was in campus I had participated in a competition for civil engineering
students and gotten first place. My sister agreed.
When she left for work, I went to my
cousin’s and sneaked my things to her house. Within a week, I had moved in
without her knowledge and I thought, Let her chase me away if she wants to
but I am not going to deal with Yvonne nor my psycho ex.
I gave the talk and that was how I met my
employer. I moved from my sister’s house soon after because living there had
gotten tough. She had a narcissistic husband who did not want me there. They
had issues in their marriage and he attributed some of those issues to me being
in his house. I had not been confirmed and my internship paid me ten thousand
bob, but things got so rough that I moved out with the little money I was
earning and rented a bedsitter in Kahawa.
After I moved from my sister’s house, I
started seeing Paul. He was in his early thirties. When I started working, he
was a client. I was at the front office and we would talk. I gave him my number
and that’s how we began dating. He would take me to Java for dinner every
evening and after that he would give me four thousand bob for Uber.
We would spend Monday to Friday evenings
at Java from 6:00 pm till late. I would go to his workplace on Saturdays and on
Sundays we would go to an Airbnb or my place. The only place where I didn’t go
was his house. He told me he was staying with his brother because he didn’t see
the point of renting a whole other house for himself when his brother was an MP
with a big house.
He started telling me to move in with him
and have his child. He talked about trips to Dubai and buying me a car. For
someone who had just moved out on an internship income of ten thousand bob, that
was music to my ears. But I decided the relationship was too young for me to
make such big choices. Besides, I did not like the idea of a man providing for
my every need so I bided my time.
I used to pray and ask God to tell me if
he was the one. This one morning I prayed then got to work and logged onto
Facebook, and there was his face in my friend’s suggestions. I raised an
eyebrow because he had told me he was not on social media. I clicked on his
profile page and there was an entire family that resembled him to a T. Two kids
and a wife.
I wondered how he was married with kids
when we spent everyday together.
I told him I knew the truth and he
distanced himself and I did the same. My policy was always that I couldn’t date
a married man, so I let go of that relationship and focused on my job. I was
confirmed the next month and my pay was increased. I moved out of my Kahawa
bedsitter to a better house and I forgot about Paul.
I still talked to Andrew every so often.
He would comment on my photos on Facebook and I would comment on his. He had
moved to Nairobi and he had maintained his group of friends—three
other guys whom I also knew.
I used to chat with them and we even went
to a burial of a friend’s dad together. Two months after the burial, Andrew
asked me if I wanted to meet. They were having an evening house party in Athi
River and he asked me if I could go. I was planning to meet my sister who lived
around there. I told him I couldn’t go that night but I would pass by.
I went to my sister’s and woke up the
next day, which was a Sunday. I was supposed to pass by Andrew’s then leave for
my place because I was going to work the following morning. I left my sister’s
place at around 3:00 pm.
Andrews’s house was big. It had its own
compound. It had an upstairs. It was maybe a five or six bedroom house. When I walked
through the door, I found Andrew and two mutual friends drinking and having
fun. There was also a girl lying on the couch. She was awake but she was not
talking. I said hi to her but she seemed moody so I left her alone thinking she
had an attitude.
One of the guys got up and served me soda,
which was strange because in all the time I had known these guys, they had
never given me any special treatment, not once.
After some time, the girl said she wanted
to leave. I thought she was a friend or a girlfriend to one of them but they
were all debating about who would take her to the stage.
“Oh, you take her.”
“No, you take her.”
Until they all agreed to take her. When
they came back, one of the guys started touching me suggestively. It took me
aback because my culture with these guys had always been to joke and laugh. I thought
it was a joke but then the second one started touching me too and Andrew soon
joined. By this time, the soda I had been given had made me nauseated but I still
knew what was happening around me. I got up and ran outside to the back of the
house, wondering why they had been all over me, wondering why I felt like my
life was in danger—something I had never felt before in
They started looking for me and I could
hear voices calling my name. “Brenda! Brenda! Brenda!” My sister had given me
coffee bags to sell for her and I had left them in the house. I decided to go
and pick the coffee bags and then leave. It was a decision that would haunt me
for the rest of my life. If only I had
not gone back. If only.
When I got to the house, I found them at
the door. The moment I appeared, they grabbed me. “Leave me alone. I need to
go.” I fought in vain. They held me on my back on the cold tiles. One guy held
my hands and the other my legs. I was in a free, flowing dress. The one holding
my legs pulled them up and yanked off my panties. I could hear them talking.
wewe enda kwanza.”
Like I was a game for their amusement.
Andrew was the first one to go.
ni wewe next.”
The two went once. Andrew went twice.
After they were done, they left me on the
cold tiles and went back to playing their video games. I was on the floor for a
while. They say you shouldn’t wash yourself after rape but I felt filthy. Like
I had fallen into the deepest bowels of a pit latrine. I thought of calling my
sister. I wondered how this would shift the dynamics of our friendship with
Andrew. I thought of reporting him but he was well off and in this country,
things always tip in favor of the rich and powerful, and here I was, just a
girl alone in the world.
While I was deep in thought, one of the
guys came and told me to go and wash myself. I got up and went to the bathroom,
my tears mixing with the water from the shower. The guy came back.
“Unalia nini, Brenda?”
“Why did you guys do this to me?”
“Usijali, si ati tutakuview different. Wewe
bado ni friend yetu.”
One of my girlfriends was his best
“Would you have done that to Abby?” I
“No, no, no. I wouldn’t do that to her.”
“Why did you do it to me then?”
“Wewe usijali,” he said and left.
After the shower, I dressed and they
followed me to the stage. It was around 10:00 pm. I got to my house and Andrew
called. I told him I was thinking of reporting them and that I needed to go to
the hospital to get checked.
“Usiende. Don’t make this a big deal,” he
“I feel filthy. I feel like trash. Why
did you do this to me?”
“I’m sorry, si ati nakudharau sasa. You
are still my friend. Usifanye kitu stupid, I can take you to hospital.”
I hung up thinking, You can’t take me to hospital for a mess you caused. I will go alone.
The next day I went to work and I couldn’t do my job, I left and went to
Kenyatta National Hospital. I tested for HIV first even though the results are
only conclusive after three months. My results were negative and I was directed
to the AIDS center. I met two counselors and I told them my story. They asked
if I wanted to take a legal step. I shook my head. I felt it would hurt more if
I went to court and Andrew defeated me.
After that, they directed me to the PEP
(Post Exposure Prophylaxis) queue. The line was long and winding. It resembled
something out of a voting center. I got a two-week dosage. The side effects from
the drugs were very strong. I felt dizzy, weak and I lost my appetite. It was
as if I became sick. They are the strongest drugs I have taken to date. I used
to take them at night so by morning the side effects would have somewhat ebbed
and I would be able to go to work.
You’re supposed to take the drugs for
thirty days so I went back for another dosage of two weeks. I remember bumping
into one of my friends who worked at KEMRI near the AIDS center gate. I
remember saying hello and going in the opposite direction and only coming back
after she had left.
The queue was long. I arrived at 8am and
left at noon. Most of the people there were positive. Very beautiful women and
handsome men whom you wouldn’t suspect were sick were in that queue.
There were kids too, and a pastor who was
telling people not to lose hope. But the more he preached, the more I lost hope.
I felt horrible. I wasn’t even sure the drugs would work, even though there is
a 95% chance they will work if you take them within 72hours. At the same time,
the guy who was giving me the drugs was trying to chat me up. And I wondered
what was wrong with men in this world. I’m
here queuing for HIV drugs and you’re winking at me and inviting me to your bed.
Are you sane?
After I finished the drugs, I waited
thirty days and then went back to get checked with my heart in my throat. The
results were negative. I breathed a sigh of relief.
I got depressed. I did the same thing I had
done in high school: I silenced everything and became a workaholic. I would
work till late in the night. I would make chapatis and cook beef stew on
weekends and then go to my job in the evening and work overnight. My colleagues
started to get worried.
“Brenda, you will be forty and working.”
“Brenda, you need to go on dates.”
All the while, I would see women in
relationships and feel bad for them. “Oh, girl, you don’t know what that man
will do to you.”
The pressure grew. My dad started asking
when I would give him a grandchild. My sisters tried setting me up with dates.
At work, one of my bosses bought me roses on Valentine’s. As I was carrying the
roses home, my sister called and requested me to buy some crayons for her
daughter. I was looking for a bookshop and some guy volunteered to show me one,
and that’s how I met Frank, my baby daddy.
He asked me out on a date and I thought, Fine,
everybody is asking me to date so let me try this one. Frank was in his
late twenties. He looked like a young Idris Elba. Tall, dark and handsome. His
muscles were sculpted as if he lived in the gym and it happened that he was a
One date led to another. He was taking
things at lightning speed and he was not the kind of man that could be denied.
Besides, it was not every day that I had Idris Elba in my arms. We had sex
after the third date. We went to the movies then back to my place and I think
that was the time I got pregnant.
He told me he never took alcohol. We
would go out and he would take soda. He was always smelling of smoke. There was
something off about him that I couldn’t put my finger on. I would ask what he
was smoking and he would say that he was not smoking, he was just around people
who smoked and the smell rubbed off on him.
Around this time I also realized there
was another girl and that they had been dating for two years. The girl called
me crying, “Leave Frank alone. He’s mine.” She was crying and following him to
his workplace. This whole time he was telling her to move on because he had
done the same.
There was a time I called the girl to my
house to make her feel better. She was a young girl in her fourth year in
campus. She could have easily been me and after the things I had gone through
with men, the last thing I wanted was to be mean to women. I remember giving
her tissue to wipe her tears and comforting her with hugs. “Don’t worry, men do
these things to us,” I told her.
She begged me to leave Frank because she
was so in love with him and I told her that I would leave him but I was not
feeling like myself and I had a feeling I was pregnant with his child. She told
me to get tested and that if I was pregnant, she would leave him for me. I went
and got tested and my fears were confirmed. I was pregnant with Frank’s child.
When I got the results, I called him and
told him to come to my place because we needed to talk. When he came, I showed
him the test kit. He looked at me for a while and he started smiling.
He impregnated me knowingly. From the
time we met he would make comments like:
“Si one day you will carry my baby?”
“Si one day you will be pregnant for me?”
“Not now,” I would tell him.
“One day, one day you will. I think I
have met the girl that I want to be my baby’s mother.”
He started supporting me and bringing me
fruits and yogurt. Five weeks later, we went for my first checkup. He took me to
the hospital and paid the consultation fee. He left but told me to tell him
what the doctor would say. The doctor recommended a scan for four thousand bob.
I paid. The doctor recommended another test and I paid another four thousand
After that, I had to go to the clinic
every month. From the tests the doctors had done, they realized that there
might be complications and that they might have to terminate the pregnancy.
This whole time I did not want to be pregnant. But again, I did not believe in
abortions so my hands were tied. I did not trust this guy but then again he was
trying to show support so I thought we could try and make it work.
I had another appointment and I needed
six thousand bob. My salary was not that good yet. I called Frank and told him
I needed help. He said that he would not give me the full amount; that we would
be splitting the bill down in the middle from then on. I was livid. I had paid
more for the previous checkup without asking him to split things down the
middle. After one or two bills, he told me that women in the village gave birth
all the time without the hospitals, and his financial support faded altogether.
When I was four months pregnant my dad
and mom came to Nairobi to see us and they requested to see him. My dad had
been diagnosed with cancer and it was slowly consuming him. He wanted to see my
baby’s father before his time came and it seemed sooner with every sunrise.
The day Frank was to meet my parents, he
disappeared. I called him and he did not pick. I wanted to cancel. I didn’t
want him to meet my parents anymore but my sisters insisted.
“No, dad and mom have travelled for this.
Just let them meet him.”
Around midnight, he called and told me he
regretted leaving his ex for me and that I was not good enough for him. I cried
so much that night. In the morning he called to apologize and told me it was
“So you drink?” I asked.
“No, just this one time because I was
tense about meeting your parents.”
The weekend after that he blacked out.
Then the next one and the next one after that.
This whole time he was not supporting me.
I would tell him we needed to buy baby clothes and he would tell me that we couldn’t
plan for someone who was not yet here. I realized that I was in this alone and
I started putting money aside for the child. He would come every other day to
my house and find that I had bought things for the baby. I did not want to
initiate a break up. I was stressed and depressed. I would take leave from work
just to sleep and cry.
When I was just about to deliver, Frank
didn’t go to work for almost a week and he lost his job at the gym where he
worked. I went to visit him in his Umoja bedsitter and found him looking filthy
and doing drugs. This was a guy who had told me that he did not even drink, and
now here he was, doing hard drugs.
He started hallucinating. He would come
to my house and find that I had drilled a nail on the wall and he would ask, “Who
drilled that nail?”
“I did it.” I would say, unbelieving.
“How can you drill a nail when you’re
pregnant? No, there was a man here. Drill it again so I see it for myself.”
And I would do it.
He started saying that there were guys following him and that they wanted to kill him. It was case after case and it drained my energy. I used to talk to his relatives on his phone. I called his sister the day I was going to be admitted. “Your brother is hallucinating and I don’t know the cause. I don’t know if he is mentally disturbed, I don’t know what is going on, you guys need to come for him.”
I was admitted at Nairobi Women’s Hospital.
He came. He looked horrible. He had not bathed. He was not sleeping. He looked
like something the cat dragged in. The only solace was that my parents finally
got to meet him like they had wanted.
The day after I gave birth, he was in my
ward giving the nurses a hard time.
“Please forgive him, he is sick,” I
pleaded with the nurses on his behalf.
He refused to leave the ward and became a
“Hauna maziwa, leta huyo mtoto. Pea huyu
mama akona maziwa… Oh nataka kuruka chini.” The ward was on the third floor.
“Nikitaka kufika pale chini haraka, heri niruke tu,” he continued.
I texted his mom and told her to send
someone to take him away.
There was no one else in the ward. Only
my sisters were coming and going. I got up and told the nurse to chase him away
but not to tell him that it was me because the last thing I wanted was a
tantrum from him in my honor. They got rid of him but he came early the
following day. By then, his mom had sent his uncle who took him back to the
village in Voi.
When he got there, he acted fine. Four
days later, he came back to my place. The baby was three days old.
He acted fine but I felt so much
resentment towards him. He’s an SDA and the next day was a Saturday. He woke up
and said he was going to church. After, he called me and told me to call him an
Uber from the church to my place because he did not have money. I called him
the Uber. When he got to the house, he was carrying mwarubaini leaves.
He found my sister washing dishes in the
kitchen. He went and took the salt dish and started pouring salt on the floor.
“Frank, what’s up with you?” my sister
asked, frightened. He continued pouring the salt on the floor.
“Brenda, kuja uone Frank anafanya nini!” my
I entered the kitchen and asked him why
he was doing this and all he did was look at me with gaping eyes. I sensed
trouble and told my sister to take my baby outside.
After he was done pouring the salt, he
started scattering the leaves in the living room. “Frank, what are you doing?”
I kept asking. He pushed me out of the house, locked himself in and started
He locked himself in the house at 1:00 pm.
“Frank, open the door for me,” I begged. An hour lapsed. 2:00 pm. Another one.
3:00 pm. Another. 4:00 pm. My sister left. I went and came back with the
police. They knocked. He didn’t open. At 5:00 pm, my other sister who lives
around Ngong Road came. My ATM card was in the house, along with my money and
my baby’s clothes. The only thing I had was my phone. I called. He did not
“Just give me a diaper so that I can change
the baby,” I pleaded. “Just give me my ATM card so that I can get some money
I could see him through the window,
walking around with my wallet and pouring its contents on the floor, all the
while making funny faces and dancing.
I went with my sister to eat and then came
“Frank, open the door for me.”
It was now 9:00 pm. He still did not
We decided to go and sleep at my sister’s.
His mom sent me five hundred bob and I bought diapers and wipes. I found that the
baby had pooped so much that the poop had reached the neck. I cleaned off the
poop, changed the diaper and wrapped the baby in a blanket. Then I washed the
clothes and put them out to dry. We were sleeping at around 3:00 am.
The next day, Frank texted me,
“Umenitoroka.” As if he had done nothing to trigger it. His sister came with a
cousin and we went to get him. He opened the door and they took him for lunch.
He acted okay the whole time so they brought him back to my place.
“You’re not leaving me with this guy. Please
take him back,” I told them.
They insisted he was okay and I told them
that I was going to leave because there was no way I was going to share a roof
with someone who could harm me and the baby. I packed the baby’s belongings and
a few of my clothes and went to stay with my sister.
Frank did not even spend a night at my
house. He went crazy again. The watchman told me that he was jumping around the
house and then left carrying a black suitcase—my campus suitcase which was full of my
I had mixed emotions. As much as he was
annoying me, I still wanted him to be around as my baby’s father. I started
calling him but he was not picking. Then he picked and I heard what sounded
like the police.
“Kijana kuja hapa.”
I called his sister and we kept calling
until an officer picked up the phone. Frank was at the Department of Defense
(DOD) in Hurlingham. “Kama mnataka kijana wenyu akiwa hai, kujeni mumuchukue,” the
I begged my sister to drive us there and
she agreed. When we got there, I asked Frank what he was doing at the Department
of Defense and he said he was there to report me. That I was among the people
who were disturbing the peace in Kenya. With
my suitcase full of books and all? I wondered. He then started jumping
around, singing, as the officers recorded him and laughed.
After we picked him, I asked his sister
not to leave us because I still needed to nurse the baby. I pleaded with her to
stay with us until her parents, who were travelling that night, got to Nairobi
and picked him, but she just left me with him.
When we got to the house, my sister went
to bed and I was there alone with him. I was trying to placate him. Trying as
much as possible not to get on his wrong side. I served him food. He ate a bit
and then kicked the plate to the corner of the room. I cleaned up silently.
He started saying that he wanted to hold
the baby. He picked the baby up and started jumping around the house. My heart
was in my throat the whole time and I followed him around with my arms wide
open just in case he dropped my child.
He eventually put the baby down and
started breaking the glasses in the cabinet. He spoilt the TV aerial then went
to the bedroom and chased my sister out of her own house.
“I only want to be here with Brenda and
my baby,” he boomed.
He then took the baby again. He would
deny me the baby and only give the baby back when the baby cried violently.
“Shika, umnyonyeshe,” he would command, then
put his leg across mine so that I wouldn’t run.
At this time I was texting his mom,
“Where are you? Please come quickly; things have gotten out of hand.” I was
trying to hide the phone so that he would not see it. At some point, he saw the
phone and left the house running. And I just sat there, stunned.
His parents got to Nairobi at around 6:00
am and started looking for him. They finally found him at 1:00 am in Central Police
He was sedated and admitted into a mental
hospital at the coast. That’s when I found out that he had been doing drugs all
along. I also found out that he did not graduate campus because he did not
complete some units because of his addiction. They were all very hard truths to
He told me he was hallucinating because
he was trying to stop doing the drugs in an effort to be a responsible dad but
the withdrawal symptoms were too much for him. I believed him and forgave him. He
will recover from withdrawal symptoms, I thought. And I made another
decision to support him until he got back on his feet.
He stayed in the hospital for three weeks
and then he was discharged. The drugs were pumped out of his system and he was
given medicine to help with the recovery process. The whole treatment cost the
family around 150,000 bob.
By this time, he had lost his bedsitter
in Umoja. He begged to stay with me and I allowed him to move in. I told him I
would support him on the condition that he completed his units, graduated and got
a job. He agreed. He acted okay for about two months and then he started being
odd again. He would sleep up to 3:00 pm. Wake up. Eat. Go to town. And then
come back and immediately start brushing his teeth.
“Mbona hautafuti job?” I would ask him. I
was paying for everything in the house, including the nanny, and it was
“I’m not a morning person. I’m a night
person. Usiniharakishe,” he would say in such a defensive tone that it would
“If you can’t get a job, what if you do
business?” I started floating the idea and he warmed up to it. He wanted to
start his own fitness center. He told me that he already had the clients; all
he needed was the equipment. I floated the idea of lending him money and he was
I went and took a loan for him to the
tune of 100,000 bob.
“Ah, I will even pay you this money in a
month,” he said, life bubbling in his voice.
The moment I gave him the money, it started raining drugs in his life. He would try to hide it but it would leak like water through a broken sink. I would call the nanny to keep tabs on him and she would tell me he was still asleep. He would then wake up at the usual 3:00 pm. Eat. Go to town and come back at 10:00 pm smelling like a laboratory. To make things worse, three weeks after I gave him the money, my dad’s illness got the better of him and he finally lost the battle to cancer.
When I lost my dad, I didn’t feel Frank’s
support at all. There was a time when I was in town looking for the clothes my
baby would wear for the funeral and I asked him if we could go home together so
he could keep me company because I was feeling very low. He told me there was
somewhere he needed to be.
The day before the burial, his parents
said they wouldn’t be able to make it to Narok but they would come the day
before to pass their condolences. Frank was supposed to come for the burial,
stay overnight and go back to Nairobi the next morning. When he came, I
realized he was acting odd. His mom told me to beg him not to stay because they
didn’t think he was okay. So I begged him not to come with us and instead go
with his parents.
He did not go with his parents; he went
straight to my place. The day after the burial, he called me in Narok and told
me he was dying. I sent some people from church. He had broken everything in
the house and he was trying to jump from the balcony. His parents sent the
uncle to get him and he was taken to Mathari Mental Hospital. He stayed there
for a week.
When I came back, I was still trying to cope
with the loss of my dad and I was angry at Frank for going against his word and
overdosing on drugs to the point of losing his head. That was my turning point
and that’s when I decided to end everything. He left my house to go live with his
sister, who later told me that he had gotten worse.
A week later, I moved to a house that he has never known till today. We talk but it’s strictly about the baby. A year ago, he wanted to see the baby and I told him we could only meet in town. We met. He still looked like something the cat dragged in.
I’m not at a critical point mentally. I have those moments when I get low about the things that have happened to me but most are the moments when I pick myself up and continue living. I would love to meet someone who will be my partner and a father to my baby but there are so many red flags with so many men and the last thing I want is to put up with the consequences that I have faced.
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