Happy Easter To My Mother Alice Ogalo Adongo. Always.

7 mins read

A lovely happy mother’s day.

To my mom I say, the country is fine and we are going to fix it. Don’t worry.

I never had any doubt about that since I was 19 years old and joined the University of Nairobi from a peasant mother who was also a teacher for toddlers in school and she just made so much cake for them.

When I wanted to eat the cake she refused and told me I have to go to the kids school where she works to be able to eat the cakes.

Then I go there and I ask my mom to give me the cake. Then she rudely says I have to first learn how to read and write then the cakes will come.

I was really mad with her but I followed the rules and got a lot of cake. Now on the other side is my father. An intellectual in his own rights, a tailor who left Bondo at the age 18 and became a first class tailor in Thika. Nobody up to now knows how he even got there. The place is 500 miles from his home and this guy was penniless.

He was at Maseno and did very good but could not pay to go to college. Then he decided to become himself.

He comes back home after years in Thika and buys a plot in Wang’arot Market where he builds his tailoring shop and it was thriving. I see pictures of the place when I was a baby and my dad was so kind to me that he got me into a lot of trouble later on.

You want to know the trouble. Me and my son we go home and my sisters give him all photos of my dad and me when I was young like him. In one it was me and the old guy but my son saw that I was wearing good shoes in the picture.

The boy said ” Dad you have been lying to me all this time”

I asked him why.

He says I told him I did not have shoes until I was a teenager because my family could not afford it. He told me he can see I was wearing good shoes in the pictures with my father when I was a kid.

Now here is the problem. Me and the boy when he was young, I tell him, he doesn’t need expensive Nike and Adidas Shoes. I told him me, I didn’t even have any shoes when I was that young.

He believed me until he went home to meet his grandmother and my sisters with all those pictures. So I told him okay we solve this problem and I am not going to lie about my family anymore and he already had the shoes he wanted anyway thanks to his mother. So there was no problem.

That is not the only problem I had with my father. When I was going to jail as a 22 year old student at the University of Nairobi, he came to see me once and he couldn’t see me.

Then when at Kamiti Prison my mother would come there all the time and tell me not to be scared because other students were there with me. It was really nice because at the place at Kamiti your parent is out of a wire mess they are shouting to talk to you through wire mess and you do the same.

When I get out of jail my father tells me he would never visit me in jail until he knew what I was there for. He told me he was not going to come and cry for me like my mother did at Kamiti Medium Prison. I told him it is okay. He asked me if I believed in what we were fighting for or if I was just following people. I told him I believed in my shit and we wanted a free Kenya.

Then he said fine. He told me if they can put you in jail or even kill you it is fine as long as you know what you are doing. The old guy told me what do you expect when you are trying to overthrow the government. They are going to try to kill you. He told me that is up to me. I thought this guy is crazy.

Now here is my mother and me fighting and she was like you do what I tell you to do. And you come back home after school. And then you have food and show me what you are doing in school. I was like oh my God this woman is bad news. She was my mother. With her, it was like “behave yourself or else”. We loved her so much and that will never end.

Adongo Ogony is a Human Rights Activist and a Writer who lives in Toronto, Canada

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