Four Mothers

Jane’s mother – Mary Nyambura


Mary Nyambura (Jane’s mother)
Born 1986 in Kiambu –  31 years old
3 children – Jane is 13 years

Mary is iving alone with her children. Her husband left in 2013 due to religious issues.
He got into devil worshiping and he threw out the family from their home. Now he has no contact with the children.
At least Mary Feels safe since she shifted to where she is living now even though the house is leaking and there are no beds or madresses.
For income Mary does some washing of people’s clothes and has some skill in hairdressing too.
But the income is not enough.
Mary is never happy because there is so much to worry about.
Sometimes she feels like giving up but has to stay strong because of the children.
The biggest problem is getting work and income for rent and food.
Also paying the school registration fees for all the other children is tough.
As Mary is still quite young and attractive I could not avoid asking her:
What about meeting a new man?
Mary laughed loud: Meeting a new man is in the hands of God and getting a good man is not easy.

Grace’s mother – Hannah Wambui


Hannah Wambui (Grace’s mother)
45 years old –  4 children
Jackob Kuria 23, Eunice Nyambura 19, Naomi Wanjiru 15, Grace Wacuka 11.
Hannah was born in Murang’a and moved to Dandora in 1995 after studies.
She left to Nairobi looking for a job when she was 24 years old.
Now she is living with a husband who is not drinking. They met in Nairobi.
Hannah sells vegetables at a small kiosk (green grocery) and her husband was a carpenter but as he got heavy astma, he could not get any more work.
Hannah: ”Life is hard since now I am the only to support the family, see the kids are in school.
Getting profit by work is also hard. I am happy when I can give the children what they need.
But economy keeps me worried. Where we live is not safe since there are crazy things that happen and sometimes I am scared”.
I asked her about moving upcountry.
Hannah: ”Earning money for the children’s school fees would be very hard”.

Daniel’s mother – Hellen Wanjiku


Hellen Wanjiku (Daniels mother)
41 years old  – 3 children
Daniel 12, Virginia Withera 16, Elizabeth Njeri 3.
Hellen was born in Mathare and moved to Dandora in 2002.
She moved because her house got burnt down 2 times due to electricty problems and she lost all her property.
At that time she had no husband but a boy friend.
Today the hard part is getting a job, so Hellen keeps borrowing money to keep surviving which she has to pay back with interest. The borrowed money is used to buy clothes for selling.
Hellen used to be a hairdresser but due to an accident she has periods where she can not work due to back pain so the income went low. Hellen went to the hospital but getting the money was a problem and due to stress she started drinking but after having her last child (Elizabeth) she quit drinking.
At that time Hellen’s husband was stressful coming home drunk and beating her up so Hellen had to shift from where she was to her mothers place (Daniels grandmother).
But since Hellen’s mother is old she can not  support Hellen very much.
And that is the only constant extra support Hellen can get although some relatives can give a little support when the kids go to seek help from them. Also sometimes Hellen sends the kids to their father for some support.
Now Hellen washes clothes but has to sit down and cannot work for long periods because of her back and the pain killers do not help much.
Last year Hellen’s father passed away
Hellen: ”Life got so hard to the point where I wanted to take my life but when I think of my children I get strong”.

Gidraff’s grandmother – Bilha Wamwitha


Bilha Wamwitha (Gidraffs grandmother)
47 years old  – 3 grandchildren and 2 sons – so 5 are in the house
Bilha was born in Njeri and when she got married she moved with her husband to Huruma in Nairobi.
Her husband was drinking but not beating her and he did bring income to the family.
Then he died in 2006 and since then Bilha is the only one having income.
Bilha income is from selling steelwool but its tough since the money she earns is so little that it cannot sustain the family and the bills.
At the moment the income from the steelwool is not good so supporting the family is not easy.
They are all living in one house and they do not have any beds. The kids have to sleep on the chairs.
Bilha: ”If I can get a bed, that would be good. Also getting the rent is a big problem. I feel sad  but I have to be strong. When the income is good I get happy since the kids will have something to eat. I have no sisters or brothers in Dandora so I feel lonely most of the time as I have no one to rely on”.

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