MY STORY: Dad’s love for alcohol caused painful rift in family
My father never really had the best relationship with his kids. He was an alcoholic who came home drunk most of the time and caused commotion. It was hard for us but we had to deal with it.
I remember one August, when I was 17 years-old; my mother went to run some errands and left me at home with my older brother. He was 19 at the time and was working on our neighbor’s farm, digging.
I had been instructed to prepare food for both my older brother and my father when they arrived home.
My father came home drunk and headed towards my brother when he saw him digging at the farm. He was ‘angry’ already and started yelling at my brother for no good reason.
My brother had to hold back his anger because it seemed he was fed up with hiss drunken antics. He ignored father and kept on working on the farm. My father continued shouting at my brother and that was when I looked out the window to see what was going on.
Our neighbor who was irritated by all the noise told my brother to go back home and come back another time. So my brother took his jembe and started walking towards the shed.
My father, seeing this as a sign of disrespect, followed him while still yelling at him. I could tell my brother was at his boiling point but restrained himself.
As my brother put down the jembe before entering the house, he didn’t notice how close my father was behind him. The jembe hit my father on the face and blood gushed from his nose to his mouth.
Father bled profusely and fell on the ground as my brother, not believing what had just happened, froze.
As he begun to run out to get help, my father made an attempt to grab his leg, but only ended up tripping him. My brother landed on my father’s leg, snapping it like a twig.
My brother was terrified since it had all been an accident but he knew people would not see it the same way. They would see it as an attack on my father for his drunken behavior.
He could have explained the cut as an accident, but a broken leg too in one day was too much.
In our community if you killed a member of your family you were banished. Even though my father was not dead, my brother fled.
I ran outside and found my father writhing in pain on the ground. I called for help immediately. My friend, two neighbors and I then took my father to the hospital where he spent almost three months before recovering fully.
My brother came back home after some time but he was tormented by this experience. My father never spoke to him after the incident. We even had a get-together to help them reconcile with each other but it didn’t work. They’ve never seen eye to eye since. M
y brother sees it as an accident, but my father still sees it as an intentional attack on him. I don’t think everything will ever be the same again.
Story as told to Caroline Kagose of Content Production Media, a Nairobi based Media Company that creates content for print, online platforms, film and television.