On Tuesday this week, a friend sent me a text message, asking me to take a look at something she had sent me on WhatsApp.
I was in the middle of something, so I made a mental note to take a look later. After about five minutes, she called to ask whether I had seen the photos she had sent me. When I told her I was yet to check, she told me to do it immediately, since it was urgent.
The photos were of a young boy, a five-year-old to be specific. They were photos of his bare back, littered with very painful-looking infected wounds, which were oozing blood.
This friend had been unwell, and had gone to Nairobi Women’s Hospital to get treatment. In the waiting room, she spotted a young boy with a swollen and bruised face, in the company of a young man.
Concerned, she asked the young man what had happened to the child.
After some hesitation, he told her that he had been beaten up by his father and stepmother, something that had been going on for some time, by the look of the wounds, which did not seem to have been inflicted recently.
The young man also suspected that one of his arms was broken, since the small boy was unable to stretch it, and it was painful and swollen
The young man was a brother to the boy’s father, and had visited the family that day, only to find him alone in the house lying on a mat. Apparently, the beatings had been going on for some time. Without the consent of his parents, this young man had
brought his nephew to hospital.
“Can we get this story in the media?” my friend wanted to know.
I have to tell you that those photos affected me so much, tears pooled in my eyes – and no, you don’t have to be a parent to be affected by what I saw in those pictures. That a parent can inflict that kind of damage on their child and not even bother to take
him to hospital was confounding.
My friend would later tell me that the father of the child called the young man several times, to demand that he return the child home, that he was his, so he could do whatever he wanted with him. It was heartbreaking.
Anyway, I walked to my colleague Stella Cherono’s desk, showed her the photos and repeated the story. Stella is one of our crime reporters, so I figured she would know how we could help that boy, because he really did need help. When she saw the
photos, her hand involuntarily went to her open mouth, her eyes widening with shock.
“Some people don’t deserve children!” she exclaimed.
To cut a long story short, she called a couple of contacts in the police, and within a few minutes, reached the Starehe OCPD Alice Kimeli, who assured her they would take up the case. Meanwhile, the boy was admitted to hospital. It turned out the injuries
were serious, and that his arm was broken.
The boy is still admitted to hospital as I write this, and I am told that the police are following up on the case. I really hope that those who inflicted his injuries pay for the crime — not only that, but that he will find a new home, where he will not have to live
in fear. Is someone in the department of children’s services listening?
Unfortunately, this boy’s story is one of many that we keep reading and hearing about in the media. If you remember, just this week, a man slashed his six-year-old son to death after having an argument with his wife, while another seriously wounded his son
for failing to do his homework. Bear in mind that these are only the cases we get to hear about, many, many more go unreported.
There is something wrong with a society that turns on its children; children that we should be protecting. That it is these children’s parents themselves who unleash such cruelty is frightening. If a child is not safe with his parent, what hope does he have of
surviving in this big, bad world?
It is true, some people don’t deserve children.
Your article about people who ask annoying questions reminds me of a cologne I used to have some time back. I had this pestering lady friend who to this day still asks me whether I have got one for her. This is after I refused to reveal how much it cost me.
I even referred her to the seller but she cannot go and buy it herself.
Those who ask annoying questions should stop and lead their own lives. Onyino
I am an ardent reader of your column. I loved last week’s article on those annoying questions. I completely agree that it’s nobody’s business how much I spend on my hair, pay my house girl and everything else. I too am guilty of the said crime, but I will definitely try and check myself more. Belinda
Your article was quite true. I wish everyone read it. Michael
I really enjoy reading your articles, last Sunday’s was on point. I can relate; there are those friends you give a lift in your car and they start asking how much you bought the car, what’s the consumption like? Oh please! Sue
Some people are particularly gifted in asking prying questions. Some ask “where do you stay?” I like this one because my answer is normally “Othaya Road” and then watch them lost as to where that is. I know they were expecting something like Umoja,
Buru Buru or Rongai. Others are: Where do your children go to school? What’s the school fees? What does your wife do? Do you live in your own house? All these questions are not genuine and are just meant to place you (your class) in life.