Ba - Bikozulu
5 months ago, 30 Jan 13:21
Kyle Mitch was born in the indecision of youth. The father – barely 30 years old – was still only grappling with the concept of his own responsibility let alone someone else’s. They – he and his girlfriend – weren’t even in a proper and defined relationship. They liked each other immensely, yes, but liking each other immensely has never been a recipe for parenthood. He lived in Kisumu and she in Nairobi. She didn’t tell him when she was pregnant because she wasn’t sure how he would react. Plus she didn’t want to make him feel like he had to step up now that he was locked into this thing. So she said boo, until she was seven months pregnant. Naturally, Steve Otieno wasn’t ready to be a father. He didn’t have a solid job worth speaking of – he was barely scratching the surface. And now a baby? They named him Kyle Mitch Otieno because, well, why name a child a simple name like Fred? What joy is there in giving a child a name you would give a pet? Kyle Mitch Otieno had a ring to it. Steve stepped up. He had to because the “the boy was gorgeous.” They moved in together in a scruffy part of Kisumu on his meagre and uncertain salary. It was a big three-bedroom house in the middle of shanty-land. “I was doing badly, ” he told me, “before that my son lived at his grandparents house for a bit and that was embarrassing for me, you know, for the mother of your child to live at her parents’.” He never told his mom about the the baby because he didn’t know how to bring home a woman they had never heard of, and a baby they didn’t know existed. So Kyle Mitch was born into secrecy too. Only John, Steve’s other elder brother, knew the situation from the beginning because he’s closest to Steve and he whispers everything in his ears. But you can’t hide a baby for long, not a bouncing one at least, so one day, Triza, the mother, did what Steve didn’t have the spine to do; she went to Steve’s mother’s house and introduced herself and his grandchild. Steve was away in Nairobi doing some consultancy for Film-Aid International as a program officer. That was in 2007. It was a relief for him. One morning his phone rang while he was attending a humanitarian training course at Silver Springs. It was his brother John. He ignored the call. John called again and again. After the third call, he stepped out of the meeting room and stood at a balcony. It was 10am. The scent of garden flowers hung in the air. “Of all my brothers, we have bond, John and I, we have this connection,” he said. I picked something up in John’s voice when he said, ‘We are here at the hospital here with Kyle and he’s not doing well. He’s sick. Madhe is here, ...
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