Nairobi’s top achievers walk proudly with executive iPads and drive
state-of-the-art cars, yet their parents are among the poorest of the poor —
uncared for, ill, lonely and dying.
mothers can’t even afford cheap painkillers to soothe their backaches. Yet they
blow Sh10,000 worth of food and drinks on their friends and colleagues in one
worst offenders are people in employment, followed by successful businessmen
and businesswomen. Some frustrate their parents to the point of driving them to
suicide. And they feel nothing about it.
school principal, mistreated her mother so much that the entire community took
it upon itself to adopt her. Mary, a school principal, would not even get out
of her car to go into her mother’s house despite the fact that her mother had
sacrificed all she could, selling oranges and lemons to raise her school fees.
completing university and landing a lucrative job as a high school teacher at
one of the best paying private schools in Nairobi, Mary suddenly found her
mother and childhood home revolting.
Whenever she visited her mother upcountry, which wasn’t often, she would park
her car at the shopping centre and send a villager to call her mother.
mother, who was elderly and had knee problems, would struggle up the hill with
a neighbour’s help. Mary would talk to her mother through the car window and
give her some shopping before reversing and driving back to Nairobi.
was the neglect that the local church members started taking turns to support
her. When she died, mourners were surprised to learn that hers was a large
family of eight children who are all well to do. Mary’s husband, for instance,
is a medical doctor; her sister is a hospital matron while her brother is a
next-door neighbours, in a bid to shame her children, laid it bare.
forgiven her. I lent her money to buy fish but she has gone to heaven without
“I lent her Sh100.”
her sugar but I have forgiven her for going to be with Jesus before settling my
It was both cruel and sad.
hearted Mary stood before the mourners to give her farewell speech, tears
rolling from her eyes:
before getting to hospital because there was no means of transport, yet I have
two cars,” she wailed.
supervisor at the port of Mombasa is another. The man has such contempt for his
parents for being poor that whenever he travels home on his annual leave, he
cannot sleep in his poor parents’ home, choosing to sleep in an exclusive hotel
in town at Sh5,000 a night in Kisumu. He often refuses his mother’s food saying
it is unhygienic and might cause him cholera.
is nothing compared to Naftali‘s mother’s tribulations. When Naftali’s business
empire grew, his mother proposed that he marry a second wife to take care of
her, as she was alone and lonely at home.
Naftali forced his wife, Grace, a secretary, to abandon her job and relocate to
the village while he took the second wife with him to the city. Grace was so
incensed she swore to punish her mother-in-law for causing her grief by
inciting her husband to get a second wife.
When he sent her money to shop for his mother, she would instead cook nice
meals for herself and give her mother-in-law nothing. She would then sit
outside her house with a cup of tea and buttered bread as her mother-in-law
salivated from a distance.
hee!” she would laugh mockingly as she spread margarine on toast. “Let those
whose sons are in Nairobi with their beautiful, young wives come home and cook
for their mothers!” a bitter Grace would say, munching her toast with glee.
old woman sent word to her son in Nairobi that his first wife was mistreating
her, he ignored the emissaries. Naftali was too much in love with his new wife
tolerating this mistreatment for a long time, Naftali’s mother decided she
could not take it anymore. She travelled to her maternal home, took a rope from
the cattle shed and threatened to hang herself. Fortunately, she was counselled
and returned home.
have been identified as the worst offenders in the mistreatment of parents.
“They don’t want our sons to support us. They always tell them very nasty
things about us and stop them from coming home. They create lies about us so
that they can eat our sons’ money,” Marcela Obengi, 67, told Crazy Monday.
people were shocked after a senior banker’s father died and colleagues went for
his funeral only to find a leaking roof and an old and ugly looking mud hut.
His mother’s toes were full of jiggers and she walked around the homestead in a
faded and a patched-up green petticoat.
a newspaper gossip column recently, think nothing of buying their mistress a
mattress worth Sh150,000. Others fly girlfriends to Zanzibar for a weekend
where they blow Sh250,000 in two days. But they would never give their mother
when their neglected parents die, they rush their remains to expensive funeral
homes and store them for weeks in a cold freezer as they make frantic efforts
to build them ‘decent homes’ to evade scandal and embarrassment from peers.
also buy expensive coffins, suits and throw lavish funerals for parents who
walked barefoot in real life.
people are easy to identify, says Wandera Ojanji, 75, from Busia.
see them, these cursed lot of human beings, the people who abandon and mistreat
the very parents who gave birth to them and raised them. They have a lot of
money, but misery dwells in their homes.
drunkards who are always borrowing money from friends and sleeping in bars.
“Yes, they take their children to good schools but the children do not pass
exams. Do not look far for the cause. It is the spirit of a mistreated parent,
cursing them from deep down their graves. Luck will never smile upon them,”
whispers the sage.
One wishes they would listen to the words of benga musician Iddi Achieng’ when
she laments, “When you are eating good food, please remember your people at
home. Wherever you are, eating nyama choma and kachumbari, please remember your
lives in Nairobi, he has a house in Kilimani, drives a Benz while his wife
drives a Volvo. Everyone dreams of such success. But where is your pride when
your own parents walk barefoot and their roof leaks? What is your pride when
your parents suffer miserably at home, abandoned and neglected,” she croons.
A Nairobi Lawyer would have been spared loads of embarrassment if he had
listened to the musician’s words.
Journalists unexpectedly visited his home in his absence, they found his frail
mother practically starving. She begged then to buy her some milk before she
could talk to them, as she was feeling faint. Her house, meanwhile, was dirty
and full of chicken droppings that a female journalist looked for a broom and
began sweeping the floor with tears in her eyes.
you start casting stones, dear reader, when is the last time you walked into
your mother’s bedroom and checked the state of her bedding?