I can’t calm down. I used 936 shillings at Tusks, paid using a thousand bob and guess what? New currency is in the pocket at last! Well, they are all coins but it is the new currency .You should have seen me matching down the Tuskys daima stairs smiling like a fool. My little shopping on the left hand and my soon to be account opening savings firmly on the right hand. I couldn’t have shook your hand if we met (salamu ni za mdomo kama umetembea). And while I know I have bills and debts to pay still, (new currency zii). This ones am saving.
I will save these coins and use them next year. This and every other new currency that lands in my not so soft hands will go towards helping Annette and her Inua Dada project.
“My team and I visit children homes, cook for the children there, wash for them, dance with them and listen to their stories” Annette tells me. “We also spend some times to share our stories with them.”
“Why do you do that?” I ask
“Because you realize the only difference between me, you and a street child or a child in a children’s home is the opportunity we have. We have had an opportunity that they don’t. So with my team, we try to share the little opportunity we have with such children.”
Annette narrates how they, like a certain Betty I know, mentor young mothers. She shares how some girls have been chased from their homes due to early pregnancy. She shares how some girls are living in the streets after they were sexually abused by their family members and kicked out of their homes. Annette tells of how teachers, lecturers and bosses are sleeping with young girls with the promise of better marks, a job or a salary increment.
“What can someone like me do to be part of your team?” I ask her with the tone of a caring man. The voice of a man ready to help (but not with my new currency of cause). I ask her with a smile knowing that like many other girls he streets, she too is a mother. And some day, she will be a mother of two, or three or four or God knows how many beautiful generations will sprout from her.
Have you not heard that a girl is like a tree? You plant one and soon the field is covered with beautiful shade. That a woman is like yeast. Just a little drop and the dove rises. She’s like a new currency. You get her, you keep her, or lose her to an investor.
“My team has a kitty where one deposits ten shillings every day.” Annette says looking at me. I look back at her. Silence sweeps by for a moment. I think about my new coins for a moment then I quickly blink. “Aha!” I say, signaling her to keep talking. “Every last Thursday of the third month, we visit children’s home and have a small family time with the kids there.”
“That’s interesting.” I say. “Why should someone who is not in your team contribute towards your project?” I ask.
“Because it is the right thing to do” Annette responds almost immediately.
Annette says that according to a research carried out by the Nation Media Group, Busia (her home town) tops the list of teenage pregnancy. Young girls are lured into sex by boda boda riders as a form of payment since they can’t afford transport or in exchange of sanitary towels. The most shocking is that their mums encourage them to do so in the name of “we also did it.”
There is this one lady whom we met at a girls rescue home in Ruai and she said that she had been raped by the step dad so when she tried to talk to her mum to tell her the story the mum didn’t believe her and when she found out she was expectant the mum threw her out of the house telling her to go find the man who had impregnated her! luckily the girl who was only 14 years was rescued by a well-wisher who listened to her story took her to the hospital for checkups. She then referred her to the rescue home. She even wanted to commit suicide but we thank God help came fast and right now both her and the baby have a home and she even got a chance to go back to school.
Annette shares a story of a 12 year old who was raped by a family friend and since the family friend was someone who was respected and loved by the family she couldn’t speak to anyone about it but after realizing she was expectant she had to run away because she knew when her family learnt of her situation they will force her to abort the child or disown her so she opted to run away. The director to the rescue home found her roaming along the streets. She listened to her story and took her in.
I did not trade in my new coins in the name of assistance Annette and her project. Not that I valued the new currency more than I did life, but I opted to save every new coin I get until the next children’s home outing. There, I will contribute every coin I have. Whether new or old currency. I will trade it in to help save a life.