It is one thing to wake up and another to wake up with a purpose. But when your parents are a hindrance to your purpose, then why do you even wake up? Personally, I would wake up to slap each of them twice in the face; then sleep forever.
Betty is an acquaintance. She likes to tell people that she prays to god that I become her sister in another world. It is not a bad idea. However, I would rather have a nice, not-controlling dead dad than a ridiculously controlling one alive. But I won’t tell her that.
So, she gets a letter to Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology and good old daddy says yes as long as she stays with her cousin who stays near the university failure to which she registers to Nairobi aviation or that other ka college in Githurai (I think Githurai school of management or something) so she can be living at home. At this time and age, who the hell tells their child to not go to university because she is a girl and they go to Sabbath religiously and god does not want corrupt university girls in heaven? Betty’s father does. So, in another world, seeing that education and me are very good friends, I will not accept to be Betty’s sister. I will be my mother’s daughter; because I have a mother who fights for me even now that I am too old to be having parents stand up for my case.
The bottom line is, people who are closed in don’t learn to be innovative. They fear to go against the rules. They shy away from being their own persons in lieu of becoming what their parents want them to become. But what our parents want us to be is not necessarily what we should become. Take Betty for example, a nice girl just turned nineteen. I met her at a mutual friend’s party two months ago. She was quiet; very quiet for someone who was in a party. She kept looking at her watch and then at the host. Eventually, she gathered courage and came up to where I was.
I am that girl who carries a book to a party just in case I get bored or the party becomes too intense for my liking. So, curled in a sofa at the main room, away from the party at the garden, I was lost in a world only the author and I could understand…unless someone else was reading Candide by Voltaire at the time too. Classic literature is stimulating.
Anyway, she came and sat at my feet looking lost and unsure. I watched her count, recount and count her fingers again. Then she looked at me. Her eyes were fearful, almost sorrowful. She had this look of a person lost to her own self.  I knew she was in trouble. But people don’t go asking, “Hey? Are you in trouble miss?” This is not a movie and we certainly don’t live in America.
I watched her gather her courage, laboriously collect her words together. The silence in that room could be heard from miles away, yet fifty miters away from us was a party: as loud and obnoxious as Nairobi parties can get, with a DJ making the worst noise anyone can be forced to endure and drunk half naked women screaming too loudly with hoarse annoying voices.
Eventually she did. One word at a time, she told her story. Trying hard not to cry and failing miserably. I let her talk. I took notes. I watched her cry. I learnt that I am blessed to have a mother who would die for me. I am blessed to have cousins who will tease and make fun of me but who will come to my aid in a spit of a second when I raise the slightest sign of distress and laugh while at it. I learnt that I have a great family who will never make me cry willingly but who can be as mean as filthy brothel B****. Hers make her cry even when they are not within vicinity.
She had lied that she was coming to cook for a girl friend who was graduating. Had she said it was a party she was attending, she would not have left home. Parties are a devils harvesting ground. She had come wearing a very 1770’s looking dress, because being trendy is a sin. She is not allowed to have boyfriends because that will spoil her till she is unmarriageable etc. and I sat there thinking how unfortunate she is.
She is just nineteen. She is allowed to have fun, drink till she becomes a distillery, mingle and attend Masaku 7’s. She is allowed to attend any karaoke, mugithii, jam…and any other event she can get to: after all, when you are beautiful, you don’t need money to attend events. She is allowed to kiss any man and to buy condoms in wholesale if she so wishes. She can go to church every Saturday if she wants to and to school because she has to. She is allowed to make mistakes and with guidance, to learn to be responsible for their consequences. She is allowed to be happy without limitations or prohibitions. She needs a parent who will guide her lovingly, a parent capable of being a friend and a pillar for when she comes home with a broken heart and a damaged body. She needs a home she can be proud to go back to.
Only, Betty doesn’t have that home. She has being broken by the institution from whence she is supposed to find hope, trust and love. She lives each day because of friends, People who see the good in her and love her for it: strangers to whom she feels pulled to because she thinks that we can help her unshackle herself. She has lost her purpose and her dreams. She floats in life with this big chain that shackles her to misery. She is nursing ulcers at an age where life should be fun and games with very little to care about.
So, next time you think about a life without a purpose, and you don’t live in Mwihoko with overly religious and extremely suffocating parents, remember that you didn’t go to brilliance college in Githurai with a grade of A- because your parents said so and that you are not too closed in to go against the rules.


3 thoughts on “Life, Rules , Purpose and Betty.

  1. I know. Be grateful for the one you have and hug the people you love daily so they can know how privileged they are to have you.


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