Ever pictured yourself living on the streets? For one LIlian Moraa that is her sad reality.
You see Moraa NEVER imagined she would be homeless but that is the blow life dealt her.
At only 18 she is a teenage mother who was rejected by everyone including her own mother.
Lilian lives on the streets of Nakuru together with her 13-month-old child.
Ideally, she should still be under the safe custody of her parents, but she is not. Instead, she is hustling to get some daily bread for herself and the baby.
For Lillian, life has given her a beating, she doesn’t care about the luxury of sleeping in a warm bed, or having a roof over her head. That may be too big a dream, in her present circumstances.
‘He took him into my brother’s guest room and killed him’ Man narrates how his stubborn sibling killed his brothers care taker (Audio)
A basic meal, some basic clothing is all that concerns her. She knows too well that even getting those is a daily struggle, and sometimes, even a decent meal is not an assurance. Once in a while, a Good Samaritan drops a toy for her child, and sometimes, she also gets some clothing.
The only home she knows, is a cold slab on the pedestrian fly over along the busy Nakuru – Nairobi highway that leads to Nakuru County Referral Hospital.
Sitting beside the busy Highway with her 13-month-old baby, Lillian narrates how she ended up being in the streets of Nakuru. She remembers the events that led to her being chased away from her home in Keumbu, Kisii County, soon after her parents found out that she was pregnant.
Lillian, who was then a standard 7 pupil, told KNA that she was rejected by her parents and relatives, all her friends did not want to be associated with her, while the person responsible for her situation also took off.
She says the man responsible was a Tanzanian national who was studying at a college in Kisii. She suspects that he went back to his home country.
As if she wasn’t facing enough challenges already, her mother and uncles tried talking her into aborting the baby and when she would have none of it, she ran away from home.
“It was too scary for me to imagine terminating the life of my unborn baby. I took refuge in the streets after my mother and uncles persistently demanded that I terminate the pregnancy,” she narrates.
Even after delivering a bouncing baby girl who she christened her Selina, Lillian’s uncles kicked her out from their home when she retraced her steps back to her roots of origin.
“I delivered without complications. I had the urge to reconnect with my parents and family but they still rejected me,” she says.
The first born in a family of six was treated like an outcast and denied basic amenities such as food, clothing and shelter.
Her situation was further aggravated by constant beatings and taunting from her uncles and when she could no longer bear it, she took her baby and left again, unsure of where she would lay her head and that of her baby.
Back on the streets, life is not a walk in the park, and it takes courage to survive. She has to contend with constant harassment from more mature street children, some who are misled by opportunists out to make quick bucks from their misery.
Lillian remembers one incident in which a fellow street girl engaged her in a vicious fight during which she lost two teeth. Her main interest was in getting hold of Moraa’s baby. She would later find out that the street girl had a deal with some suspected kidnappers who wanted to kidnap her baby.
She is wary of any strangers approaching her and says that she would defend her baby with her life if need be.
Lillian admits that it is extremely dangerous to live on the streets, and especially for young babies who are exposed to erratic weather patterns, exposure to hard drugs and criminals.
“Babies are exposed to the cold nights, rainy seasons and exposure to drug use which is a menace to their health. I wish we could bring them up in secure environments. If I could get a well-wisher to shelter me and my baby, and help me with capital to start a small business, life would be more manageable,” Lillian says.
She still keeps her hopes alive that one day, her life will take a turn for the better. She is hopeful that her daughter can lead a better life, and possibly make better choices in her life. Until that happens, all she can do is take a day at a time.
By Jane Ngugi/Collins Ogutu