For a while now I have had to struggle with the feeling of sharing my story. It’s a story that I wouldn’t feel proud to share with anyone but I am doing it anyway. The consequences that will become of sharing this story, I don’t know. I have lived with my wife Mary for the last eight years and we have been blessed to have two children, a girl and boy. She has stayed with me through thick and thin, at times foregoing meals for up to three days. I value her because of her fighting spirit and the depth of her heart. She is from the Eastern part of the country, Makueni to be specific.
Our breakthrough came late last year, that changed our lives. I won thirty six million Kenya shillings from a betting platform. Unfortunately, that is when our tribulations as a young family, especially when my mother in law heard about our fortune, began. The initial plan was to get a piece of land and build on it a better house for my family, after which we would invest the money in a worthwhile business and of course the education of our children.
One month after winning the jackpot courtesy of the betting platform, Sportpesa, I started having nightmares of my mother in law strangling me. My wife would wake up and get surprised at what was happening that made me scream at the top of my voice almost every night. Three months later, the experience was still the same. It got to a point where I would stay in the sitting room watching television programs and movies to avoid the nightmares. My wife even suggested that I take the money I had won back to the betting company because she had suspected it was the source of my woes.
Though I suspected that somebody was doing this to me, I wasn’t just sure who the person was. Where I come from, such occurrences are rare and so when something of that kind happens, a lot of suspicion is put on enemies of the family. Our visits to our local pastors and international pastors were in vain. We took a step of faith and travelled to Mecca for special prayers but nothing changed. The situation even worsened. The frequency of my nightmares even increased. My children were the most affected as we travelled a lot looking for the solution to what I was going through.
When she could bare the situation no more, my wife travelled to her home back at their village in Kamba land to share what we had been going through with her mother, my mother in law. The interesting bit is that, my mother in law was aware of what I was going through and instead of my wife doing the narrations, it’s her who was did it. Actually, she was doing it so well with illustrations, you would wonder who my wife was, Mary or her mother? That evening, Mary being so curious, called me over the phone and told me how her mother had shocked her by doing the narration of the terrible ordeal that I was experiencing as if she had been staying with us at our house. For the safety of our kids, I had asked my wife to go with them to her home land because I was not in the capacity to take good care of them.
I was equally shocked by the whole story but did not suspect anything fishy, having trusted my in laws. Of course they had trusted me with their daughter. Mary explained to her mother what we had planned with the money I had won. One thing was clear, that my mother in law wasn’t happy about our plans. She suggested that we build a mansion for her and another mansion for her husband. Efforts by my wife to question her didn’t bear fruits. Time came for my wife to leave and after the long stay, some sepo was worthwhile. This involved being given some foodstuff to carry home and take to her family, at least to show she had gone home and had been well received. The morning of her departure, my mother in law went to the market very early and bought groceries among them tomatoes. When she got home she packed the groceries into Mary’s luggage but called her to give instructions on the tomatoes. What was so different in those tomatoes, I have never known until now.
“My daughter, these three tomatoes, use them to prepare food for your husband only. Don’t use them on your own food nor even your children’s food. Don’t, and get my words.”
“But mum, why? Are these tomatoes not like the ones I buy at the market?”
“My daughter, listen to me. I am your mother.”
“Mother, no, give me a reason.”
“I have told you, so, choose to go against my words and the world will teach you a lesson.”
How could a mother talk to her daughter like this? What had become of her? Was there a motive behind her instructions? Nevertheless, my wife took the grocery and travelled home. On getting home, I was happy to see my children and my wife, though her body was drained because of the torture of what I was going through. Life had lost meaning to her but she still had a reason to hang on. Even when the future was oblique she still had faith and trust that some day I would get well and get back to live the life like was the case before. All our plans with regard to the jackpot money I had won came to a halt, my current situation becoming the major focus. For three weeks she cooked for me without using the tomatoes she was asked to cook my food with, reasons best known to her. In a way, she felt there was something wrong with those particular tomatoes, through, then, she didn’t tell me about the tomatoes.
My health deteriorated so fast that my wife had to close down her small informal shop, kibanda, to take care of me and give me more attention. Life was becoming so tough for my family coupled with the children who really needed parental attention. It looked like there were three children in the house. Mary didn’t give up on me. Even when she had to use adult pampers on me and clean my waste, both solid and liquid, at no point did she show signs of walking away from our marriage. On our wedding day she had promised to stay with me in sickness and in health, for rich and for poor. Memories about this sweet lady who I had fallen in love with ten years ago makes me shed tears. The sacrifice is too much. As I write this, I hope she doesn’t get to read it. It will break her heart more and make her get depressed. Please don’t share with her the content of this piece.
One Saturday morning as we were preparing to leave for church, I had a knock on the door. My cousin who had been around to help in house chores rushed and opened the door. To my shock, my mother in law was at the door. What had she come for? Funnily, she hadn’t told us about her coming. Visits by in-laws were very rare and if there were, it took months to plan for their coming. How was I going to handle this case? At the same time, I wasn’t in good health. I pretended that everything was okay. She briefly talked to Mary and asked her If she had used the tomatoes she had been given to prepare for me food with. At this point, my wife suspected that there was some malicious play involving the tomatoes. My in-law had not even settled when she asked about the tomatoes. She had not even asked how were doing.
“My daughter, that was the antidote for what your husband was suffering from.”
“You should have told me.” My wife felt haunted that she had the medicine to my problem and hadn’t done anything about it. Together, they rushed to the kitchen and prepared a meal for me with the tomatoes that was claimed to be my ‘medicine. ‘ When the food was ready, it was served. Eager to get healed, I took a lifetime pinch of the ugali with the kales, and put in my mouth. Immediately I swallowed the food, my stomach began swelling.
It added a problem on top of another one. Right now, I am in my house not able to walk, not talking as well, courtesy of my mother in law. I will never forgive her for this. Tears!!!! She wanted to get rid of me through charms and strangling me in nightmares to take my jackpot money but I haven’t gone yet… Whether I will ever talk or ever walk again, I don’t know but finally the truth is out. When you hear I am dead anytime, know that that was the reason. I am going soon but I ask Mary to take care of our children and help her take care of them whenever you people can. Tears.!!!!!!