The street kid's simple dream.
If I could only read....(part 1)
If I could only read...
That is the dream of Emmanuel or ‘Manu’ as his fellow roommates refer to him in this vibrant foster care. Emmanuel is just one of the lucky few street kids to have escaped death by a whisker. It was a chilly night, he recalls, when he and two of his friends embarked on a ‘dreamy ride’ to the city of lights. Well, they had planned enough before embarking on this journey that was bound to be filled with fun and frenzy. Early that morning on the 10th of October, Manu, just at 8 years then, youngest and shortest among his friends; Otieno and Billy, 10 and 12 years respectively, was upbeat. To him this journey was a chance for freedom, from the oppression of his stepmother who he came to view as the devil’s incarnate. He had lived under constant humiliation ever since his distant father decided to marry after the death of his maternal mother. Sadness and bitterness engulfs Manu’s face whenever he recalls the way his stepmother and stepsisters treated him, from being thrown out of the house late at night to the chilling cold, to being deprived of having all meals like his ‘new’ sisters. For him, it was hell on earth and any chance to run away would disentangle him from these chains of bondage. A pilot is all he ever dreamt of becoming, one that he shared with his father while still a toddler. At the time, his late loving mother would joyfully tell him, “You will become a great man one day”. His father, while still in his senses then, even bought him a toy plane which he holds and still treasures dearly to date. So you would understand that any ‘door’ to being free would be taken up quickly without any clarity as to how tomorrow will be.
Emmanuel, now 10 years old, slightly short as compared to his fellow kids, still holds onto his dream of being a pilot. To him, nothing is impossible and believes his shear will, will make his dream come true and he will finally make his late mother proud. Emmanuel represents many kids on the streets of almost every other town in our country, kids who have dreams, who unfavorable circumstances forced them into this ‘cold ‘streets which favor no man whether rich or poor. These streets have no room to spare for no living soul and every single day is a constant struggle to survive. Opportunities don’t come easy here, any chance is taken without any reasonable doubt, for in the streets there are no teachers, mentors or parents to take your hand and lead you along. Education is a dream to many here, even though generally literacy levels are on the rise among the country’s populace, unfortunately not the same representation for people like Manu.
End of part 1....
If I could only read.....(part 2)
Two years down the line, without his childhood friends, Manu recalls why they are no more. On that day of departure from the busy Kisumu city, Otieno spotted a fish truck and knew that was their ticket to paradise. The trucks usually ply the Kisumu – Nairobi highway, to supply the demand for fish to the Capital city and its environs. So, without a second call, Otieno made a dash for the truck, chasing after it before jumping onto the rear bumper then helped his fellow mates up onto the truck, shortly after they were out of the city beaming with bright smiles, knowing that things will never be the same again. If only he could play back the hands of time, Emmanuel could have stopped what was to happen hours after from taking place. He recalls with intricate detail, in the biting cold of the night along Molo road how everything happened in a nick of time, the truck came to a grinding halt hurling their tiny malnourished bodies onto the highway and oncoming traffic. Emmanuel was the only lucky kid to survive among his friends. He only remembers waking up in a hospital bed without his left arm at the busy Kenyatta hospital in Nairobi, then being discharged into the Mama Zuri Children Home in Kibera.
Two years down the line, his desire to know how to read and write just like that of many kids still rings in his mind like an alarm that won’t go off. Unfortunately, the accident not only took his left arm away but also left the right one badly disfigured including his head. However, all is not lost as he has slowly trained how to write a few numbers using his right arm, with the help of the volunteers at Mama Zuri Children home. Emmanuel represents many children out there, but his is a simple dream saying constantly that he’ll become a pilot but ‘if I could only read’.
© 2017 Wakhio Patrick