What you need to know:
- When she got pregnant at only 20, Merab Awuor Oduor, 29, thought that her life was over
- She however managed to make a detour from depression, and make her mark both as a radio presenter and a netball player
"When I got pregnant at 20 I was in shock since I had only had sex only once.
I was so worried about what my mother would say. She was raising the three of us singlehandedly and was working very hard as a businesswoman to keep us in school after my father died in 2005. That was back in 2012 and I was in my final year studying mass media and communication at the Aviation College in Nairobi.
I was in denial. I didn't believe I was pregnant. I convinced myself I wasn't. I was so deep into the rebuttal that when I went back home to Siaya for the holidays, and my mother asked if I was expectant, I denied it.
My elder sister, on the other hand, was on my case. She was certain I was pregnant and didn't want my mother to let me go back to school, at least until after I had given birth. However, I talked my way out of the situation and went back to college.
The tricky part was that I skipped classes and spent all my time at the hostel. I was in denial and depressed and I only attended one prenatal clinic, a month to the due date. This was after a friend got worried about my health and forced me to go to the clinic.
It was during this time that my mother found out for the first time that I was indeed pregnant. At first, she couldn't believe the news. She wondered how her daughter got into the family way despite her being a very strict parent.
With time the reality sank in but the questions never stopped. She kept asking questions like "how did you become pregnant and you didn't have any boyfriend even after high school? Who is the father? Have you informed him about the pregnancy?" I kept mum.
Time passed fast, and on July 14, 2012, my son was born. Then, I was supposed to sit for my exams three weeks later, so I left my infant child with my mother, and went back to Nairobi to do my exams.
I passed and in December 2013 I graduated with my diploma. After that, I worked as an intern in various radio stations, before landing my first job as a radio presenter and news anchor at Pacho FM in Siaya. That was in 2015.
A few months into my job, our radio station was shut down and I had to work as a waitress-come-cashier in a certain club in Nairobi, before going back five months later when the station reopened.
Currently, I am working at Kababa FM a Dholuo radio based in Siaya town, as a radio presenter. My program focuses on issues affecting the community. I also do sports and news.
On the other hand, my love for netball began back in primary school. But it was until high school that I started taking sports seriously. Then, I was an athlete where I participated in the 100 and 200 meters race.
My passion for netball was so strong that I was included in the school team. My love for the game extended even after high school but almost ended suddenly after failing to get a club to play for.
I remember talking to some renowned journalist to link me up with a team but all he wanted was to date me, which I was not ready for. I then figured out how I can help myself and others who are in love with netball.
I talked to a few friends from high school and they were ready to join the team. That is how The Star Shooters netball team was formed.
Along the way, I thought to myself, 'how can I use this platform to benefit others?' What came first to my mind was helping young mothers in Kibra, since I had grown up in the slums and had gone through the experience of being a young mother with no job.
Through this team that mainly consists of young single mothers, we can change the lives of many. Through the sport, we meet and play together and discuss issues that would benefit us like how to improve our lives. Also, the sport helps us avoid depression, especially considering the kind of hardships young mothers face—raising children with little or no income.
We have also been able to avoid many vices like drugs and prostitution, mostly common in low-income areas.
Lately, we changed the name Star Shooters to Dinkas, after seeing another team with the same name on Facebook. And with the name change, even greater things have come our way. In the last couple of years, we have won several trophies and so far, five members of our team, myself included, have joined the national netball team.
Also in December 2019, I got an invite to join the Frome netball team in the UK, but due to the pandemic, I couldn't travel. The pandemic was a disaster to many of us because we couldn't train or even travel for matches.
I became demoralised and took a break from the sports and I haven't done any serious training for a year. But I still participate in netball in other ways. For instance, I run the netball Sacco Africa page on Facebook, where we discuss all issues to do with netball in Africa."
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