This is a guest blog by my friend Peter Gitonga. Peter is a Kenyan teacher who is currently studying at the University of Nairobi to get a degree in commerce.
NOW I KNOW WHO MY MOTHER IS
by Peter Gitonga
I have been around for quite some time now, and I have not gone without knowing the love of a parent, a mother to be specific, to her children. The sacrifices are countless, and the tears and prayers beyond comprehension. The drought in our country has drilled this lesson into my head that a mother really loves to the point of denying self, and worse of all to the point of death. This was the lesson I learned, perhaps with a drop of tears, realising that two children were suckling their deceased mother in the drought-stricken northern part of my country Kenya. It reminds me of another scenario in our neighboring South Sudan, a vulture eagerly waited for an abandoned starving and dying child to die so it could have its midday meal. When a mother loves, she loves for better and for worse. (I do not dispute that there are some women who are capable of abandoning their children even at infant age to go seeking merry in life.)
The pictures and the people may seem too far simply because I watched them on TV, and it may make me feel guilty for being at a place where I watch people making merry every evening, with every favorable thing that life can bring along in their life. I don’t want you to feel the same, perhaps for having lots to celebrate in life, but it must be time all of us who read this felt how direly this world needs us.
Before I wobble and fall out of topic, I must say that the picture leaves several questions in mind, like what options did the mother have? How much less painful were these other options? Was the lesson being learned by whoever it was intended for? I will not ask the question here where the father was, because it will raise many others.
I try to think of how this mother could not watch her children die, and shove them off her run-down breasts if she had that energy left anyway. All the same I think of her letting them suckle her to death. At this point I sit and tearfully think of my mother and of how many times I have been an inconvenience to her, right from way before labor. I learn that there is nothing I can do to repay her enough but love, appreciate, support and thank her in thought, in words and in deeds, when I have plenty and when I have none. What about you?