It was so unfortunate that my day ended on a bad note. As I recall my journey to Vihiga County was so interesting, having been my first time being there. On that morning seated in a matatu heading to reunite two children with their families. Thoughts ran through my head and my heart started beating very loud that my next neighbor seated near me could hear.
” And if these children don’t know their homes, or we don’t get their homes at all, and worst scenario they escape since I was seated in front with the driver” I thought to myself
I took a deep breath, and decided to relax and hope for the best. As I approached the first destination, a place known as ‘Shemahoho’ I felt relieved since I arrived early at 10:00am. My plan was to finish quickly so that I would return back to Eldoret before the heavy rains and also beat the curfew.
At the first house we were welcomed by the uncle who was old enough to be called grandfather, indeed life is full of wonders. I introduced myself, where I work, and my reason for being there. The uncle explained to me how he was related to John, and the reasons behind him escaping. At that moment I got confused as the two stories, from both the uncle and John, were different versions. Either way I had to listen and assess the whole story. The room was filled with silence and every one was in deep thoughts, suddenly the lady of the house entered and greeted us. Without wasting time, I introduced myself and the two boys I was with.
The aunt had already made up her mind even before I had finished giving my story about the boy. She was not going to accept the boy back to her house! I became restless not knowing what to do. To break the silence which by now had become predominant in the room, the aunt told me I can take the boy to the first uncle of the family, that is, the brother to his biological father. She went ahead to say it wasn’t that far from her house and the boy could take me.
We stood up and thanked the uncle and the aunt for giving us an opportunity to express ourselves. Within my heart I felt disappointed and frustrated having been my first experience in such a case. From there, we boarded a motorbike heading to the area they had directed us. Reaching there, we found the house locked and only a small boy playing outside alone. John knew the boy and asked him where his parents were. The boy replied that they had gone to work. What! Have you ever had a moment where you wished that the ground would open up and swallow you alive? That’s how I felt at that moment, feeling also weak and confused.
From nowhere, a boy appeared and offered to help. I nearly gave him a hug out of excitement. He knew John. I asked him his name and how he knew John. He was the neighbor and to my surprise they were related, they shared the surname ‘Keya’. At that point I felt like he was an angel sent to enlighten me on the information about John. At the drop of a hat, we got into what had brought us.
Samuel the neighbor told us that John had a home before that his father had left him but it was demolished by the uncle to clear the way for cultivation. For a moment my eyes were teary, due to the story, and seeing John as a young boy being left without a house to call home. I requested for the uncle’s number after hearing the story that he was the decision maker if John was to stay.
I gathered the strength to talk to the uncle who sounded so harsh after picking my call. These were his exact words
” Ask the boy who his father is, and take him to him, don’t leave him there!”
Perfect! Just what I needed! A mixture of frustrations, anger and anxiety was all I was feeling. As we stood not knowing the next step to take, Samuel asked me if he could give me the number of the village elder so that I can get some help. I agreed and called. The phone was picked, and a lady asked me how she may be of help to me. What a relief! From morning, those were the most soothing words to both my ears and heart. I consoled myself that there was always a bright light at the end of the tunnel. I told her my story and when she wanted to respond her phone went off.
‘What did I do to deserve this?’ I began to question myself.
Looking back at that moment, I can openly admit that there was a time when I shed a few tears of despair. However, the fight goes on. The boy further gave ideas on who to go to. He opted to go to the sub-chief, I bid him bye and appreciated a lot for his help. We boarded onto the motorbike that I came with and off we headed to the sub-chief’s office – he wasn’t in office! The last option was to go to the children department, and that was my last destination where I got to talk to the person in charge of those cases. He gave me the way forward on how to handle that case with great relief! I left his office and headed to the bus station to return to Eldoret with John.