What you need to know:
- He was first moved to Nairobi Children’s home and later Thika Children Rescue Centre.
- At NYS, he got the national identification card, which registered his birth date as January 1, 1986.
They say a deep sense of belonging is a key driver for all beings and those who have it enjoy some degree of mental satisfaction.
This is not the case for Moses Muturi, 32, who was separated from his family at five in the early ‘90s in the most bizarre of circumstances.
An uncle sent him to a shop near their home to buy a cigarette, but ended up in a hospital with bruises for doing the opposite.
“Instead of cigarettes, I bought sweets and my uncle wasn’t amused. He beat me up. The beating attracted the attention of the public, who took me to hospital where I was admitted for about three days, while my uncle was arrested,” he recalls.
His mother visited him in hospital once, then vanished.
“I cannot even recall the conversation we had; I only remember holding a packet of milk. I think she left to avoid being accused of neglecting her child,” he offers.
Muturi believes the bill was cleared by well-wishers, who later moved him to the Nairobi Children’s home in Kabete.
He was later transferred to Thika Children Rescue Centre, from where he began school in 1996. He joined the National Youth Service (NYS), where he obtained a certificate in electrical installation.
Muturi's date of birth
At NYS, he got the national identification card, which registered his birth date as January 1, 1986.
“I am not sure if that’s the year I was born. I think they did an estimation of my age because I joined the centre at the age of five,” he says.
Muturi runs an electrical repairs shop in Makongeni, Thika, with a friend who gives him mentorship in the trade and also does installations.
He, however, has no peace as constant thoughts of who his parents and siblings are, and where they live, keep ringing at the back of his mind.
“I recall having parents and two siblings. We were living a modest life in a mud-walled house, but where are they?” he poses.
He has no recollection of where his family used to live as most of his childhood memories are of the time he spent at the Thika rescue centre.
“Even if it turns out that they are not alive, I’ll have at least known who they were. I’ve seen stories of people who have been reunited with their kin after going missing for decades; there’s hope,” he offers.
Hardworking and reliable
The Thika centre provides shelter to 71 children, a majority of whom are between four and five years.
“We have his file; he grew up here. He longs to find his kin and I pray that he does,” says Michael Mbogo, the manager.
The numbers keep fluctuating as some get reunited with their families.
“Linking a child of that age with his family is usually difficult, because they usually do not know the particulars of their parents or relatives. We always counsel the successful ones and their families,” says Mr Mbogo.
Mr Andrew Maina, the proprietor of Fourteen Falls Lodge in Thika, says he learnt of Muturi’s background one evening after completing some work at his establishment.
“He was about to go home when he casually mentioned how lucky people who have a place to call home are and that caught my attention and I enquired about his background,” says Mr Maina.
He describes Muturi as hardworking and reliable person.
“I find him special because he avails himself for work and honours his promises, these are traits that are hard to come by with a good number of today’s youth,” says Mr Maina.