By DAVID ODONGO
Mama Kevevia has had six abortions in the last five years and has procured two abortions for her daughter, now aged 17. Mama Kevevia, who has a shop in the sprawling Mathare slums, sees nothing wrong with abortion.
Her only worry is about us using her real name and taking her photos. Once we promise to keep her information confidential, she talks freely.
“I don’t think I regret it. I already have four children. Three are teenagers. I don’t want any more children, we simply can’t afford it,” says Mama Kevevia.
She lives in a single-room on the ground floor of a five-storey building in Mathare North, Area Three. Half of the room is set aside for the shop, portioned with a papyrus reed mat. She stays with her husband, a driver, and four children on the other portion.
“Mzee alishasema hataki watoto wengine. Namimi sitaki kumkasirisha. Inabidi tuu nifanye hivyo (My husband said he doesn’t want any more children and I don’t want to annoy him by going against his wish),” she says.
Her daughter, who wasn’t present during the interview, dropped out of school in Form Two, and has been doing casual jobs.
“She helps me at the shop. I bought some kerosene that she retails outside the shop. But she can only do that in the evening. She spends the whole day with her friends and only comes back home in the evening.”
What would drive a woman to procure an abortion, not once, but six times and also twice for her daughter? And why can’t she use other methods of family planning to avoid getting pregnant in the first place?
“We have meagre resources,” she explains, “my husband’s job doesn’t pay much and if he found out that our firstborn was pregnant, he would throw her out. I am only praying that she gets a nice man who can marry her and take care of her. For me I can’t use those pills or injectables. I hear they are dangerous,” says Mama Kevevia.
She says she has always gone for abortions at a private clinic, a few metres from her shop.