HOME IS A CASTLE OF STORIES

ADDICTED



Fady Dady took his first sip of alcohol in class six. He doesn’t remember the taste left behind, but that was the offset of a conflicted life. Then he was in his ancestral home, the place he’d been born. A fading village deep in West Pokot. An outpost cut off from the rest off the world.

A neighbour used to brew traditional liquor. On one occasion, the neighbour’s son invited him along to a nearby river where subterranean tanks were kept. They were just to add sugar and be on their way, but curiosity won. They wanted to know what was this? Which made grown men sing in the evening when returning home. Beaming with anxiety only familiar to an eleven-year-old, they scooped from the tanks. They returned the next day and scooped again.

“One time I guess we drunk too much. We blacked out at around 10 a.m. in the morning.”

They slept by the river banks, under flimsy shades of thorny thickets. The Pokot sun shone angrily on them for the whole day but they did not budge. In the evening they were discovered by a herder on his way back who took them home.

Then he joined form one. Homeboy graduated to big the ‘big leagues’ of alcohol. He started downing Beer and Whiskey, he met kids from rich families in high school. Money wasn’t a problem, all he had to do for a drink was to follow them around. Laugh at their bullshit jokes and his next drink would be secure.

He was moved to another school in form two. All along he topped in his class. Thus, his parents never suspected that anything was amiss. They were happy with him, he was the first-born son and on the right track.

“I couldn’t attend a high school function while sober. Be it a contest, a CU meet up or drama festivals, I had to drink. I felt invisible whenever a little tipsy. I could talk to any girl out there. And if I had no money to buy, I would manhandle form ones for a few shillings.”

He attended music festivals in Kitale school and got the first taste of the twilight world. Girls were all over, dancing, twerking and gyrating. Pervasion had hit new heights. Students were going into dark corners or behind buses and they would emerge minutes later looking flushed. They would adjust their trousers and skirts and be on their way.

This was the place he was undone. His virginity snatched by an older chick.

“I was a bit naïve then. I had talked to a few girls. But things had never escalated to steamy levels. But at that festival, I couldn’t hold back bwana Osoch. People were banging the brains out of each other all around. My mjulubeng had found the true north pole. Girls wanted kupigwa kuni. And if I returned to school without screwing a girl, I would be the laughing stock. Singekubali!”

So, when he saw her walking towards him, he knew this was it. She was bigger, had massive knockers buried and her shirt, the size of hills. Her skirt was pulled up, exposing long, brown, thighs. On her arms was a small package.

No words were said, they hugged and started kissing.

“Come on man, you can’t be serious?” I asked him. “You can’t just meet a chick and you’re making out before you even know her name.”

“I did, well, blame the raging hormones.”

They made out on the back seat of Fady’s school bus. Which I find to be awkward. I think of the people who’ve ridden on that school bus. Yaani, they seat where a person lost his virginity. In any case, people have lost their virginities in much worse places. In bushes, some while standing in some dark alley, others on the stairs of some nightclub.

The chick who took his innocence, also introduced him to weed. Ain’t that double trouble? He took his first puff on that back seat, wasted, after fumbling through his first experience of the feminine.Music festivals concluded. Fady and his gang were invited to a girl’s school for a ‘sleepover.’ 

“They gave us uniforms and told us to “pass by” for more action. Sisi ni akina nani tukatae?”

Little did he know that the school was a maze of CCTV cameras. They were busted right at the peak of the act.

On the disciplinary hearing, his mom stole the show.

You’re just like your father. All you do is drink and fuck. You’re not coming to my house I swear. Go find a place to do all this nonsense. I have had enough! I am not going to deal with two sex addicts. I am do not ran some damned rehab in that house.”

“A cloud of silence draped the Principal’s office. I did not talk. My father was staring at the ceiling, the principle was trying to calm my mother down to no avail. I requested to get my bag, we go home and solve this with my parents. There was no need to involve the principal in our affairs.”

He never returned to that smouldering office. With only 350 shillings, he ghosted from school. He was scared shitless, did not have any idea how to face his parents. It had come down to confusion and angst for a future which seemed bleak. He boarded a matatu to Kitale town, maybe it was the lighthouse from all the madness.

“I had no idea what I would do when arrived in Kitale. It was just before dark, people were heading home after a day in the never-ending rat race. I did not know anyone, not a distant relation. I felt lost, confused and afraid. I needed to relax. With the last of my coins, I bought a drink.”

In the drunken haze, walking around Kitale town, he ran into his childhood crush, Halima. She was a hot chick. The way he describes her to me. She must have been created early in the morning. When the sun was rising and the mist was its great escape. The way he talks of her, God must have been in a good mood when he said let there be Halima! And there was a girl, impossibly gorgeous.  She had also been suspended from school.

“Halima saved me that day. I was going to sleep on the streets. But she asked her friends to house me. Her besties were four girls who lived together but I did not mind. I just wanted a place to put my head and get some food. Those chicks took care of me. They also had run away from home. They were selling their bodies at night. Or how can I put it? Girls, who leave skimpily dressed at 9 p.m. and return the next day? Obviously, they were not superheroines who guarded the world against aliens.”

He stayed with the night nurses for three weeks. All this time he never slept with any of them. Ahaa! I know of randy guys who will struggle to wrap their heads around this. But our hero swears that he did not. As the days flew by, he realised that he wasn’t going to spend all his life being fed by sluts. One morning he borrowed 20k from them and set off for Uganda. He would buy weed in Uganda and come sell it in Kenya. He established a base of operations near his home town but never for once did he go home. He gave up on school and decided to grow his talents in the dark world.

“I sold weed and other drugs for around a year. I had my own bedsitter where I cooled off. Weed paid my rent, clothed me and gave me a life. I did not have many friends but at least I could afford food. That was all that mattered. In December 2015, I finally decided to visit home. After a long hiatus, the prodigal son was retracing his footsteps.”

“All this time you had been away, your parents did not even try to look for you?”

“My parents had given up on me. And they did not care that much. When I got home, there was no sign I had been missed. Nobody asked where I was or what I had been doing. My father just smiled and said ‘I see you’re around.’ My mum just stared at me as if I was a Martian.

It had been a long time coming. And even though the weed business was booming, deep down I wanted to go home. I wanted to see my family again, I wanted to go back to school and be with my friends. Selling weed I had no friends, just customers who only saw me as a peddler. I wanted to belong, I wanted to be loved.”

January 2016, he went back to high school again. On the reporting day, he sneaked out to go drink. He skipped off to Uganda with his friends where they would buy booze, drink it in a deserted field and head back to school in a good mood.
One time he’s busted for carrying cigarettes to the church service.

“Fady Dady, what do you have in your pockets.?”
“It is a handkerchief teacher.”
“Can I check?”
“That would be very uncouth.”
“Fady Dady, are you trying to be disrespectful.”

“She was a lady, man. And you know how women can be.”

 I nodded and acted like understand how women can be, but I don’t, nobody can.

“I removed the three packets of cigarettes in my pockets and dumped them in her arms. She did not speak for a moment.”

“Hii yote unapeleka wapi?”
“Mwalimu tafadhali wachana na mimi.”

He did his KCSE while commuting from a place he rented. He had been suspended from school after the administration discovered he was selling drugs to other students. In spite of all this, Fady Dady was index one and managed to get a B+ overall. Much to the surprise of everyone. Nobody expected it, not him, not his parents. But he says that he read a lot when high.

“Even after I got the B+ I wasn’t big on education. I had no plans to attend campus. All I wanted was to smoke weed, sell weed and drink alcohol. I wanted to grow in the drug business, be like a Pablo Escobar of our time. My elder sister bought a Motorcycle for me. In her head, it would keep me busy and make some money. I carried passengers but the main job was transporting weed. Weed business doesn’t fetch lots of money but I managed to pay for my own house and lead a fairly good life according to standards of West Pokot. All this time my parents were fighting me to attend campus but I did not give two shits about education. All I wanted was weed money. Make it and blow it all.”

It was a cybercafé attendant who selected Fady’s university choices.
“It was a chick I was hitting on man.” He says in between laughs.
“She did not expect it. A daughter of the soil was shocked, ‘nilidhani wee ni mtu wa boda boda tu.’

Learning that he had been selected to join campus in Nairobi, this was a perfect cover story to disappear from home. An opportunity to swim with the sharks of the capital. On August 2018, he packed a small bag and left for Nairobi.

“My first day on campus, I felt like I did not belong. People seemed so different and distant. Guys were having casual conversations in English, a language I find alien. Bwana English is only used in the classroom. But here I was meeting people who speak in English while having lunch. I found it confusing and scary. I was afraid of people, I hated people. One weekend I went to Juja and bought a bag of weed. This was to start a new business and also for my leisure. I smoked that shit for days until my neck hurt. It even messed up my voice box. People would ask my name and in return, they would be met by a distant whisper. A voice of vacancy. Lips parting but no words walking out.
Shit had hit the fan. I thought I was going to die.”

That weekend he found a way to church. As simple as that. There was no dream or prophecy. He just woke up on a Sunday morning and decided to have a chat with God. He sat with a choir leader and confessed his drug problem. People in the church were welcoming and even one member who was a counsellor offered to work with him. Help him find a way back.

“I owe my life to that lady. She saw in me what nobody had ever done. She believed in me when I did not even trust myself. Gradually, I started to stop using weed and drinking. The withdrawal symptoms were severe and there were times I felt like going back. My skin began peeling off and I thought that might be that was the end of me. Luckily, I healed. Drinking lots of water, exercising and eating lots of fruits. Slowly I was discovering myself in ways I had never thought of before. I was going to church a lot more. I discarded my cache of weed and other drugs.”

At the moment, Fady Dady is in his second semester. His old life seems to be light years away. Even himself can’t believe that he long quit drugs. It’s been 3 months. We talk about life after quitting. 

“I have lost all my friends. The ones I used to smoke and drink with. They say that I am a traitor. Actually, I ran into a guy I used to sell weed to and he even did not say hi. He walked away in haste as if I posed a threat to his life.”

Last Christmas he opened a help centre at his home church. Collecting street boys and housing them and trying to reconnect with their families. This project he sees it as his way of giving back to society. Because for once he has been there and he knows what its like to fight on your own. He knows the smell of fear. He can paint fear with his own blood. Later in life, he plans to build a church and be a pastor. He runs the support centre with the peanuts he gets from HELB and well-wishers. It’s nothing big he says, but with time he hopes to grow it into a nationwide affair.

We talk about campus relationships and how he’s navigating through.
“At the moment I am at crossroads, to be honest. The society expects so much from me. I need to lead as an example. But there is also the urge to have a good time, pleasures of the flesh. And one thing I have learned is that true life in religion doesn’t gel with earthly pleasures. For me, there is no way I’ll be preaching the Gospel on Sunday but on Saturday I am in a night club getting wasted.”

 Don’t girls check him out for a good time?

“It has happened a lot. Even the frequency increased after I was saved. You find a chick texting me. ‘Manze Fady kuja tupike tukule supper.’ I always ignore such because I think she can enjoy her supper on her own. I mean do I have to be there?”

We talk about drug abuse among young people. And the constant darkness many young people are milling in.

“For some, they want to belong. Some start as a joke and in between addiction kicks in. I was lucky to get a nice counsellor to work with me. Not many are willing to help drug abusers to reform. Many a time you will be dumped into rehab and they expect you to come out clean. But rehab is more of a prison than it is a help centre. People have turned it into a money minting business.”

What has God done in your life that you’re most grateful for?

“Quitting drugs. And giving me hope to forge forward. I think out here what guys lack is hope. But I believe that if you pray steadfastly and ask God for anything, then he will certainly give it to you. In church, all I asked for was to stop drugs and sexual immorality. I quit drugs, I am still battling with immorality but I hope to get there with time.”

I will confess this dear Gang. Talking with Fady did not change me. I would be lying if I say it did. But certainly, it struck a chord in me, challenged me in the pursuit of other ventures. Does it challenge you?? That maybe with the right mindset, you can achieve anything there is to achieve out there. From a flailing drug abuser to a flourishing computer science student?

*Names have been changed.

 Photo credits [Alex Henry]




3 comments:

  1. Are you having a problem commenting

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  2. Some people have lived life as a rehearsal and are now trying the real thing, while others are just, sorry to say, living

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