What you need to know:
- I was only 12 when my mother died and my dad took up the role gracefully.
- He was a very strict disciplinarian who wanted us to attain the best levels of education.
- Although life was full of ups and downs, throughout my life, his teachings and sacrifice greatly shaped our identities.
- Follow #DadStoriesKE for more stories like these or visit this Father's Day 2018 link.
My late dad Ali Egesa Wasike was a one in a million kind of parent. After my mother passed away in 2003, my father did not remarry, despite being from the Luhya community which would highly recommend a man to remarry. But my dad chose us, his children.
I am the fifth child in a family of seven. My younger siblings and I were born when my father was in his old age. After mum died, dad took up the role of both mother and father.
I was only 12 when she died and being a girl approaching adolescence, I needed my mother most. But my dad took up the role gracefully.
Just before schools opened, dad would take us to the ‘Mama Watoto’ supermarket in Kakamega for shopping.
He bought me all a girl needs, including underwear. I schooled at Musoli Girls Primary School before joining Bunyore Girls High School where I sat for my KCSE exams in 2008.
Did I mention that this sweet old man was disabled? Well, despite this, he was the best dad I ever had.
In the aforementioned schools, he came to visit me so everyone knew me. His determination to make me happy, was the greatest joy I had as a child.
His presence on visiting day, even though he had a few things in a plastic bag, made my heart melt with joy. What more could I ask for?
He was a very strict disciplinarian who wanted us to attain the best levels of education. Thus we were not allowed to roam in the village.
When schools closed, the first thing he asked for when we got home was our report cards. I remember that even when I was the best or among the top in my primary school class, he would not praise me but would instead look at the lowest grade I had and give me a stern lecture that that subject was equally important.
Back at home, he was the master of the house. He assigned us the house chores and my culinary skills today are a result of all his lessons. As a retired typist of Sheria House, my dad woke up everyday at 7am to do his farming. He had a schedule and a budget, and was always very organised.
I remember one day coming back from school and getting a crowd at home, then learning that dad had been attacked the previous night. My heart skipped a beat, but thank God he lived on.
Although life was full of ups and downs, throughout my life, his teachings and sacrifice greatly shaped our identities.
During the long holidays while I was at the university, I looked forward to travelling several hours from Kenyatta University to happily reunite with him in the village.
When my father grew weak and financially exhausted, I stepped in with my university Helb loan to educate my two younger siblings and support him.
I valued my father and the value he placed on education; I gladly held the mantle.
As if it was just yesterday, I remember one time we had a lengthy discussion by the fireplace on how to attain higher levels of education, in August 2014 before he died.
If my dad was alive today, I know he would be happy about who we are.
Growing up motherless and facing hardships here and there taught me that when one works hard and believes in ones self, one can accomplish anything.
That humble beginning, my dreams and my father’s constant support kept me motivated and gave me the courage to apply for a scholarship in the US, which I attained.
This has been a gratifying experience for me in the view of how a father motivated us to work even harder.
If the dead really watch over the living, then dad please look up here; I will celebrate you forever. No one is able to give so much care and warmth as I got from my father, and I will cherish each moment we shared.
To crown it all, I will not forget, my paternal uncle Elijah Wasike, who chipped in to fix things for me and gave me a reason to face life. Happy Father’s Day to dad, uncle Wasike and my older brother Collins Wasike.
Follow #DadStoriesKE for more stories like these or visit this Father's Day 2018 link.
What would you like your dad to know this Father’s Day? Can you say it in 800 words? Email: [email protected]