My parents split and tore up my world ... still, I soldier on

No framework to determine value of non-monetary contribution towards acquisition of matrimonial property
Women’s contribution ‘not protected’ under matrimonial property law
Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • My mother and I had to move back to her rural home where we stayed for five years.
  • My grandmother made sure we had something to eat on days my mother’s hard work failed to pay.

When there are conflicts in families, children suffer the most. I was born in a family of five, and my parents, I imagine, planned for all of us to be successful when they were raising us. Over time, they separated. 

My mother and I had to move back to her rural home where we stayed for five years. In the village, I engaged in menial work to help mum get money for our upkeep.

My grandmother made sure we had something to eat on days my mother’s hard work failed to pay. My grandparents would tell us stories and jokes with the other village children. I learnt that “true love and happiness doesn't come from wealth but from what is in your heart”, just like my grandfather once told me when he was still alive.

Education in the village was a big challenge. Teachers taught in the local language, not Kiswahili or English, which were the two languages that my parents used to communicate with us because they are from different tribes.

I worked hard in school so as not to let my mother down. She was doing her best to take care of me. She would encourage me to continue working hard by awarding me whenever I would get good grades. In 2014, my parents were reunited.

They enrolled me in a private school where I am still at. I was supposed to join Class Four, but after being interviewed I did not get the grades required to join.

I was forced to repeat Class Two for the fourth time because I had repeated classes at the rural school due to my inability to speak the local language. In my new school, I worked hard and got good grades.

This year, I was anxiously waiting to sit my Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exams but Covid-19 interrupted this.

I am 17 years old now, and my age mates have completed high school but due to the conflicts my parents had, I’m just finishing primary school.

This is also a passionate appeal to parents. Please do not involve children in your issues, because it hurts us permanently.

Tonny Machiga* (not his real name), 17, schools in Nakuru County. Are you aged 10-20 and would like to be Nation’s young reporter? Email your 400-600-word article to diversity@ke.nationmedia.com