Brenda Kemei's mother taught her to always hold on to hope and never give up on anything. She narrates her story to Maggie Njuki.
“I was born in Freetown Estate, Nakuru County, 28 years ago and life has been nothing but liberating thanks to my mother.
I am the second born in a family of five – three boys, two girls. The first born girl among the three. I have been to more than 10 institutions from nursery school to university. In our family, once you were in Standard Four, you had to go to boarding school. Even as I moved from one school to another, my only regret is that I was not close enough to my mother and as a result, I became reserved.
I was also very shy as a teenager and would cry easily when anyone raised their voice at me.
My mother is a trained nurse. When it was time to have ‘the talk’ it was very technical and uncomfortable. Even when I had to tell her my menses had begun, it was a very hurried conversation.
NEVER GIVE UP
Nevertheless, my mother has remained the backbone in the family. In many instances, when my dad struggled with our school fees, my mum didn’t hesitate to take a bank loan.
I remember when I had completed my secondary school education and there was no money to take me to campus, my dad suggested that I proceed to Uganda for my A levels. My mum was against the idea. Instead, she registered my name with the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
I got admission at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) for a diploma in mass communication. Having not travelled to Nairobi before, my mum, with a 13kg gas cylinder on her back, brought me to the city and ensured that I had settled in.
She taught me to never give up on anything, not even my dreams or career. Even when things looked bleak and I didn’t think I would proceed with my education, my mum made it happen.
I am a mother now and I respect her more. I look back at the sacrifices my mum has made for us and I wonder if I can be half as good to my son as she was to us.
Despite not seeing her as often as I’d like, we talk often on the phone. She wants to know all of my son’s milestones.”
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