I would like to celebrate my mother as one of the women who have carried Kenya through 50 years. I know it sounds cliché to nominate my mother but I honestly have never met a woman stronger than her.
My mother, Miriam Wangari, has probably been to hell and back but she has given us heaven throughout.
17 years ago when I was just 8 years old, my father passed away in an accident that left my mother devastated. I for one was too young to understand the implications of such a loss and neither did my two younger siblings aged 6 and 2 years.
My mother’s in-laws turned on her and accused her of bewitching their son who was doing very well. Next thing we knew, we were out in the streets; kicked out of our home with only the clothes on our back.
My mother was raised as a stepchild by a woman who did not want anything to do with them or us for that matter.
Without a job, my mother set up a grocery stall by the side of the road with a tiny shack behind it and that’s where we called home for the next 2 years. From there, we ate a proper meal, went to the nearest public school and mum made sure our well worn clothes were mended well. She did everything in her power to make sure that we were not ridiculed for our appearance by ensuring we were well groomed and fed.
With the saving she had collected, we moved into a one bedroom mabati house nearby. Atleast we did not have to worry about the rain and the cold.
In 5 years, she had expanded her business to a much bigger grocery that served the whole neighbourhood as well as included retail goods.
She made sure we never missed a day of school and even borrowed money to ensure that we did not lack the basic needs.
Somehow through the years, she has grown into a successful businesswoman and not once did she complain to us nor did she make us hate dad’s family.
She has brought us up to cherish dad’s memory and to forgive.
As we speak though, she is in the last stage of terminal breast cancer and could leave us anytime soon. She was diagnosed 14months ago and even the most aggressive of treatment has not helped. We have made peace with the fact that she could be leaving us but somehow I feel like this is a great way of honoring her. That her name be remembered when she is gone but her efforts will never be forgotten.
For that reason, I nominate my mother, Miriam Wangari, as one of the Kenyan women who have carried Kenya through 50 years.
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