It was her sixth time in rehab. All the previous sessions had ended with her rebounding. But her family remained dogged in finding a solution. U-turn for Christ in Kisii, was the last port of call. If it didn’t work, maybe then rehab wasn’t for her, maybe a lifetime of drugs was the fate she was condemned to.

She didn’t want to come to Kisii. The name made her stomach recoil in distaste. But her parents would not have any of it. They dragged her into the car, her screaming and making noises and drove her to Kisii, Kenyenya. A place so forgotten, so distant, the first of men might have walked there.

Her journey with drugs begins with experimenting. Cigarettes were the first to clog her virgin lungs.  She was around seventeen at the time. Spurred by reggae music and iconoclasm, she tried weed. Marijuana grabbed her by the waist and cast a bewitching spell. She would be addicted to weed for the longest time. Even after she’d cast aside all the drugs, weed remained behind. A little echo from days gone. Asking her to turn back for more, and more and more.

After her twentieth birthday, she left for the states. Alcohol had found home in her. A small problem. In the states, you have to be twenty-one and above to buy alcohol. She did not have a year to wait. Her insides were yearning for booze, a sucking thirst which couldn’t be filled with anything. In the US you can’t bribe your way to booze, if you’re underage, you’re on. It’s not like in Kenyan night clubs which specify that you have to be over twenty-one, but should you tap the bouncer with two hundred bob, he will gladly let you in. Tapping your shoulders and calling you, “boss.”

To solve this little alcohol problem, she would buy over the counter prescriptions with over 80% alcohol content in them. A few of those pills washed down with water and she would be on another planet. Away from humanity. Distant from all the noise. Just her, drifting like a phantom.

The father to her kid introduced her to heroin. He was a neighbour at home, ran into him on her evening walks. They became friends. One time there’s a conflict between their families. I can’t imagine what they could have been fighting about. Two families’ in an upmarket neighbourhood going at each other. This made them closer though, (our heroine and her heroine smoking baby daddy.) Saw what I did?

As it goes, one thing led to another and bup! They were parents. I like how folks use that saying. It’s escapism at it’s best. It’s made to appear like nobody is in control of anything. Stuff just spirals out of control like a sinking ship. Come on folks, stuff just doesn’t happen, you make it happen.

Anyway, there she was, twenty-one, a drug addict, a single mother. Talk of life giving you lemons but making lemonade is practically impossible. Motherhood breathing down her neck, she plunged into mogoka and cigarettes.

“It’s been up and down.” She says, a weak sigh escaping from her darkened lips. If you’re keen, you can see the alcohol that had been there. The mogoka, the cigarettes, the heroine and many more.

How much does your child mean to you?

“Oh my God, he’s everything. I love him so much. I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life, just being a mum to him. I’ve wasted so much of that during my addiction and I feel so sad about it. I took it in vain, having him. Drugs can really mess you up. Now that I am away from him, I feel the separation. You never know what you got till it’s gone.”

I thought of giving him up for adoption at one point. But my parents were strongly against it. They adopted me and my twin sister by the way. They run orphanages. They found it to be absurd. Giving up their grandson yet they’re taking in kids every day.”

She has no idea what happened to her own biological parents. The mum died while they were toddlers. No idea about her father. Adopted while they were 18 months old. Originally, she’s from Kiambu. And that’s all she knows about her past, the rest is all fog. A dark blanket which won’t go away. In rehab, she’s been thinking of her past, her heritage, her parents. She wishes to follow up on them when she leaves.

On her arms are scars. She’s tried suicide before, death ignored her. She dreads the day her son might ask about the marks. But she treasures them as a testament to the life she’s been through. A reminder of the dark winters and to serve as a lesson to any who contemplates going down such a road.

Three months remain on her programme. She will be out by Christmas. This fills her with gladness. There’s no plan of what happens when she gets out. She wants to be involved in God’s work. She wants to get married at some point. She wants to be a good mother to her son. She also hopes to go back to campus, a place where she spent two weeks before drugs grabbed her by the neck and pulled her away.

She’s an accident of dreams and a troubled life. A young girl who’s seen too much. I left as evening approached. She was feeling her hands for blisters.

P.s. A small announcement, I won’t be posting here as much. I have been experimenting on other writing projects and they’re swallowing a lot of my time. Plus, I am campus folk, I need to take care of that GPA. If anything comes up, I’ll let you know. Salute.


  1. This is a wonderful piece. It has both the dark and the beautiful lighted of the days in this young woman's life. Life has ups and down but there is always a silver lining to it. Thank you and continue to write.

  2. Insightful.Drug abuse wastes a lot of young people's lives.

    1. Certainly man... Drug abuse is a path to ruin.


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