Fatherhood in college not for faint hearted
Omar Khalif, 25 a University of Nairobi undergraduate student has embraced fatherhood, but has a rider- it is not for the faint hearted.
The father of a five-month-old girl has had to drastically change his life to suit his new role.
Gone is the carefree youth who used to attend every party in town. In his fourth year of study, he is now a man with two more lives to take care of.
His pregnancy with a third-year student was unplanned.
“When she told me, I realised that my life had changed. It was time to leave the parties and recklessness and be a man,” said Mr Khalif.
His family and friends were however not as welcoming to the latest development in his life.
“I always wanted to have a family after achieving my goals…maybe at 40. Fortunately, it came earlier and it was difficult especially after my mother decided she would only talk to me after graduating,” Mr Khalif said.
For him, abortion was not an option and so he decided to soldier on the new path. He said he had to learn fast how to cut his coat according to his size.
“Before, I could only spent on myself. Now, it’s my baby, my girlfriend and I. I have to work twice as hard to meet their needs,” he said.
He relies on temporary contracts to foot their bills that run up to Sh50,000 per month.
Balancing between school work and family duties, he said, was a challenge.
“My girlfriend had to call off her semester and is currently taking care of our daughter on her own. Both of us have no jobs and rely on my wages…if I get a contract, well and good. If I don’t, I ask for assistance which is not always forthcoming,” said Mr Khalif.
Sammy Abuga, a student in Kenyatta University had a better experience because of family support.
“My girlfriend comes from a background where she is seen as the role model for many girls. Being pregnant before completing her studies was regarded as failure and it broke her father’s heart. But to our surprise, they (family) were ready to help and have been guiding us through out the way,” said Mr Abuga.
He was lucky to secure a job in Uganda. His only challenge was facing the reality that he would be away from his nine-month-old daughter for a long period.
“I was heartbroken to leave my girlfriend and baby behind, but I had to make money.
When you have someone looking up to you, their comfort comes first,” he said.
Mr Abuga and Mr Khalif advised other students to avoid being careless if they were not ready to handle the added responsibilities.