What were your impressions of a visit to Qatar
"Qatar is Hell"
Hi Kenny, please introduce yourself briefly. Where and under what circumstances did you grow up?
There is a lot from my childhood that I only know from my mother's stories. In the end, however, I spent most of my childhood far away from my family. My mother grew up in very poor living conditions herself. Her mother died when she was very young and her father married another woman. She treated my mother so badly that at some point she decided to run away from home. She stayed with a more affluent family near Nairobi, where she worked as a housemaid. In return, she was given food and drink and a place to sleep. However, due to homesickness, she decided to go back to her father in her home village after a year or two. At the time she was maybe nine or ten years old. When she arrived at home, her father was not there. Her stepmother opened the door and made it clear to her that this house was no longer her home and that she should go back to where she came from. My mother stayed with other families in the village for a while until she decided to go back to Nairobi so as not to be a burden to anyone. Since she had no money, she had to walk the arduous route. One night she was sleeping under a banana tree and was woken up by a man who would later be my fucking father. When she was first born, she was probably only between 13 and 15 years old. I think that because of her young age and the fact that she herself grew up without a mother, she was completely overwhelmed with the role of mother and wife. After the fourth birth, the bastard decided to kick his kids and wife out and leave them to their own devices.
That means you never really got to know your father? How did your life go on from then on?
I have never had contact with him since then, he made the decision to leave us and we were on our own without his help - without money and without a roof over our heads. Maybe you can imagine how difficult it was for us to get something to eat.
This feeling of constant hunger makes you sick. You suffer from insomnia due to malnutrition and the situation just got worse. My little sister died because my mother was no longer able to breastfeed her. Your body just didn't have the energy to do it.
Since we didn't know anyone in the village where we lived for a while, no one was willing to help us. To save our family, my older brother and I would sneak from house to house at night to collect all the other families' edible remains. At some point we both decided to go to the next bigger city where there was a shopping center. There, too, we rummaged through the rubbish to find leftovers. We returned to our family every evening, but over time we made our way to Ruiru City. From then on we lost contact with our mother. Our situation changed as a result. We no longer lived in a village, but in a big city. At that time Ruiru had around 100,000 inhabitants, now there are around 400,000. The street children there grew up differently than we did and learned early on that you have to fight to survive there. The older ones harassed and beat us. I can't tell you how old I was at that point, I don't know what year I was born, let alone what month. All I can do is show roughly how tall I was - so I'd guess I was no more than four years old at that point. The hardest part was finding a safe place to sleep in the big city. We spent a few months or years in this city. You lose track of time on the street. The only times you know there are Sundays. There are simply fewer people on the streets. And you notice December too. By and large, we were treated better there and there was not such a high incidence of police violence. Presumably because of Christmas. After spending a long time in Ruiru, more and more mutilated street children came to us. A few tribes in Africa believe in rituals involving mutilation and cannibalism of children.
Fearing that we would also become victims of such rituals, my brother and I fled to Nairobi. Here we had to start all over again. It was even more difficult to find something to eat there. If you are new to a city, it will take some getting used to the circumstances there. You do not know where to sleep or where it is dangerous to sleep and you do not know where the garbage cans are where there is something to eat. There was a plague of cockroaches in Nairobi at the time. As a result, the restaurants tried everything they could to control the insects. They exuded a large amount of poison. The logical consequence was that the food from the waste was also contaminated by the poison. Of course, it was precisely these garbage cans that Nairobi's street children fed on. Although we ate part of the poison and ignorantly, we survived. But not everyone on site was as lucky as my brother and me. Many children died during this time. Because Nairobi is a lot bigger than Ruiru, the drug market is bigger too. Almost all street children sniff at glue or car gas. The drugs and high made it easier to deal with the stress that was keeping you awake.
One day a pastor named Lucy came to us with her husband and gave us something to eat. Above all, skepticism and fear drove us at this time and after many years and experiences on the street it was difficult to accept help from outside. We remembered the boy in Ruiru who no longer had a tongue, testicles or penis. I think Lucy noticed then how scared we were and tried to gain our trust from day one. She came more and more often and prayed to God together with us and brought food with her. After a while we were invited to her home by her.
To ensure the continued existence of our family - we did not know if my mother and our other siblings had survived - my brother and I decided that only one of us could go. My big brother stayed behind, but the risk I took at the time was worth it. For the first time ever, I had a regular life.
How was it for you to grow up cautiously in a real family from that point on and did the family give you the opportunity to go to school?
Lucy had biological children our age who were a great help in the early days because they gave me mental support. Lucy told me and the other children who came with her that she was planning to open an orphanage. So we were one of the first generations who grew up in their orphanage and lived there.
Because we used drugs almost every day in Nairobi, we all had severe withdrawal symptoms. Before we were ready to go to school, we had to be cared for for over two years. But even after these two years it didn't get any easier, because as a street kid you have a reputation for being a criminal in Africa and probably all over the world. The other schoolchildren, their parents, and the whole community in general hated us and didn't want anything to do with us.
But we really wanted to lead a normal life with the possibility of going to school. So getting back on the streets wasn't an option for us. Most of us did very well in school, and over time the other children's attitudes toward us changed. I was able to prove myself through good athletic performance and at some point became one of them.
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