- In most slums, if you are impregnated by someone living there and he accepts responsibility, you two are required to start a life together.
- However, I wasn’t prepared for marriage let alone pregnancy.
- During that year, I had been crowned Miss Koch (Korogocho) and Miss DYMS (Dandora Youth Multipurpose Self-help group)which is a community based organisation that raises awareness on several issues including early pregnancies.
- I felt that I had failed the society and was no longer the girl to look up to.
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There are many dates stuck in Lucy Wanjiku Njenga’s mind and such a date is December 1, 2010 when she discovered that she was three months pregnant.
She was 19 and a fresh high school graduate. Her partner was a jobless 20-year-old.
“Growing up, we both wanted to join the convent. That desire was the foundation of our friendship but with time it progressed from platonic friendship to romance. Nobody knew about it, it was our little secret.”
Having been brought up in Dandora slums, she knew what her fate would be once her parents discovered of the pregnancy.
STARTED LIFE TOGETHER
“In most slums, if you are impregnated by someone living there and he accepts responsibility, you two are required to start a life together. However, I wasn’t prepared for marriage let alone pregnancy. During that year, I had been crowned Miss Koch (Korogocho) and Miss DYMS (Dandora Youth Multipurpose Self-help group)which is a community based organisation that raises awareness on several issues including early pregnancies. I felt that I had failed the society and was no longer the girl to look up to.”
But disappointing the society wasn’t nearly as big a burden as disappointing her parents.
“My parents were disappointed in me. My mother wondered why I had decided to kill my childhood dream of becoming a nun while my father felt that as the first born child, I was a disappointment to the family.”
She resigned herself to her new married life which, in retrospect, she admits was a mistake.
“In January 2011, I moved in with the guy and this was one of the many mistakes I would make along the way. Ours was a young love and living together meant being close to each other every day. However, the whole concept of marriage was new to us and we would constantly argue about trivial things. That wasn’t the biggest challenge. Lack of money was. We couldn’t raise rent and many were the days we didn’t have food in the house.”
WALKED HOME TO EAT
Dandora is constituted of many phases and a pregnant Lucy would walk all the way from Dandora Phase Four to their home in Phase One for a single meal. Her husband depended on menial jobs for survival. She couldn’t work herself because she had been diagnosed of Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG), a condition that would often leave her anaemic and dehydrated.
All she wanted was some pampering but the husband thought that she was pretending.
“HG in pregnancy is a condition that most people don’t know how to deal with, “she points out.
BUNDLE OF JOY
After their boy was born in June 29, 2011, she resolved to go back home against her dad’s will because her ex-husband couldn’t provide for both of them.
“Looking back, I think that he was quite lazy because he couldn’t go out of his way to find work. Unless he was called for a job, he would just stay in. But, what do you expect from a20-year old who had other aspirations than starting a family?”
After going back home, she got a job with a marketing company before enrolling for facilitation skills training with Hope Worldwide International and would occasionally be invited to mentor students in different schools on Sexual Reproductive Health.
This earned her some money and although not much, it was able to sustain them without any support from her ex-husband.