From when I was born up to when I joined Jitegemee, my life experience was very bad. Before I joined Jitegemee, I was in the streets just sniffing glue and also drinking alcohol. I could be arrested and taken to a police station at any time. There was no one who came to see me in the police station, so I sometimes stayed there for months.
When I was about seven years old, I went to the city of Nairobi. I used to take other people’s property and run away. One day luck was not on my side. I stole a woman’s bag but when I was running away, I was caught and beaten by a mob.
At nine or ten years old, I came to Machakos. I had nowhere to live. I had spoiled my respect with my friends, so I didn’t have friends. One day I met some children who talked about a program for street children. At first, I was afraid to go there, but then a man came to me when I was standing outside the supermarket. I was so afraid and I kept a distance from him but he told me that he was a teacher from the children’s program. I was happy because I had already heard of the place.
He told me there will always be githeri (corn and beans) and porridge and that there will no longer be child harassment. When I got to the place, I found children and one of the teachers. The teachers were so happy and were treating us like their own children. I was in this place for about one year and here my behavior really changed a lot and I became a responsible person.
After some months, we had a camping trip to Mombasa. Every one of us was happy about it. From Mombasa, my life changed so much from worse to good. My parents were happy about the change. Even in the village, I was again respected.
I am now fully at home. I cooperate with my parents and teachers and I think that’s why today I am like this. So thanks to all those who help Jitegemee and those who have that willing heart to support children. It is from that support that I have come all this way to this far.
Now, I am doing panel beating (auto body—learning to repair damaged vehicles). I am doing very well and I am expecting to start my own business after the learning process. I want also to teach other (street children) about my trade and my skills. Thanks.
By Mwania Musyoka