MUM DID IT FOR ME: I would have been in jail, if not for her
I grew up in the ghetto, and it was hard. You don’t know the half of it. Life wasn’t easy trying to hustle while having to deal with all the negative things that go on in the ghetto, chief of all, is the insecurity.
It wasn’t uncommon to find people being mistaken for gangsters and I had to do my best not to be one of them. We never wanted to mess with the police. They didn’t care or even want to listen to your side of the story.
That was one of the reasons my mother insisted I should never associate with the troublemakers in the neighborhood. It was important to her that she knew she could count on her son to be the best he can be. I am not violent, or confrontational, but sometimes, things just happen.
In one particular incident, a group of troublemakers started a fight and sadly I was caught up in it. It was so intense that the police were involved. I didn’t have this piece of information though, for me, the fight had happened and ended like most ghetto fights do.
So I went on with my life as usual, not knowing that I was wanted by the police. You can imagine my confusion when my mom called me a few days later, hysterical and panicked. I had just taken a bath and was relaxing in my house. That’s when the call came.
“The police are looking for you, get out of your house and run away.”
Without hesitation, I grabbed what I could and ran out of my house. It had just dawned on me that this matter was probably a lot serious than I knew. I came all the way to town where I though they couldn’t find me.
I spent the whole day in town, without anything to do or anywhere to go. I could not go back yet, because it is possible that they could have been waiting.
ON THE RUN
As night drew close and with my options still bleak, my mother called to inform me that she had just sent me some money. I asked her what the money was for.
“Enda ushago, hawatukupata huko,” she said.
I immediately went to book a ticket to my home town. I trusted my mom’s decision; I knew she was protecting me. I didn’t know how long I was going to stay in the village or if I would ever return to the city.
So I stayed home and got really depressed when I got threats from the police saying they would turn on my mother if I didn’t turn myself in. Like everyone else, I didn’t want anything bad to happen to my mother, but I also couldn’t come back to the city. Even though I was in a dilemma, I just had to wait for my mom to give me the green light.
Several days later I was relieved when my mom called me to tell me that it was okay for me to return to Nairobi. When I came back, my mom didn’t complain, or even yell at me for getting into trouble.
Later on I learnt that my mom had gone to the police station to sort out the matter. She was defending me even though she didn’t know the actual story.
That she stood up for me was a surprise, but to stand her ground in the face of threats from the police is the greatest thing anyone has ever done for me. She wouldn’t let anyone mess with her son whether he was on the right or wrong. She only asked if I was okay, or if I got hurt during the fight.
Afterwards she gave me a long lecture on the lessons I should take from that incident. At least I know even when I make mistakes, my mom will be there for me, and I will always love her for that.
Caroline Kagose writes for Content Production Media, a Nairobi based media company that creates elegant content for print, online platforms, film and television.