Dear Mom, Dad, Wanjiru and Mbugua,
Hello. It’s your daughter and sister Wambui. It is exceedingly hard to write this letter to you guys but it is necessary.
I am very sad about a situation you may not be aware of.
The thing is, I have come to regret the day I flew out of Kenya to seek greener pastures abroad. I know I shouldn’t complain and was probably lucky, but I do not feel lucky anymore.
I remember the days of old with nostalgia. When you guys would visit me in high school and bring me chapos to share with my friends. Chapos it had taken Mom a whole day to prepare. I felt lucky, loved and special especially when my other friends, whose parents skipped a visiting day, would eat my chapos.
I remember being bullied by this girl in my class and you Wanjiru coming to threaten her, standing tall in front of her desk and addressing her in front of everyone in class, “Do not mess with my kid sis or you’ll have me to deal with.”
I remember being expelled in high school and instead of making me feel worse about the whole embarrassing ordeal, you got me accepted in a better school, Dad.
I remember Mbugua getting me a kitten even though he hated cats and thought they were evil, but knew I loved them.
I remember getting pregnant at 16 and being dumped by the father of the baby. I felt so alone and wanted the world to cave in on me. Yet Mom and Dad assured me they would take care of that child like it was theirs, bought so many baby clothes and grieved when I lost the baby after a few months because they were so excited to become grandparents. They did not care that I had made them the laughing stock of Nyeri.
I could go on forever; those memories mean even more to me now. To be loved unconditionally.
Things have changed however.
Maybe life got in the way and we became busy but I would like things to go back to how they used to be. I would like us to return to our original love.
You see things started to change for me and many of my friends, the day we flew out of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
As I said, I do not think you deliberately go out of your way to hurt me. But I think you need to hear me out.
I do not feel unconditionally loved anymore.
I feel like your love is determined by many new factors.
The amount of money I send you via Western Union.
What I buy you (land, a car or something like that) so you can boast to your friends (it’s as if you are competing to see whose son or daughter buys something bigger)
If I stay with my abusive mzungu who I do not love so he can give you a big bride price and you can be the talk of town. (My daughter married a mzungu)
If I “vumilia maisha ya majuu” even though I am suffering because I’m still able to fund your chicken projects, Mum.
If I continue paying school fees for your children, Wanjiru.
If I buy you Iphones.
I am so conflicted. I am so confused. I’ve talked to a couple of my friends here and it seems we are going through the same thing.
Imagine my friend in the UK was sending money to her mother to build her an apartment all the while the mother was using the money for something else. Upon visiting Kenya, she did not find the apartment. They had not even begun building it. It was on a piece of land she had travelled home to purchase.
Her own mother. Is this where we are headed?
How can my own family lie to me, and treat me like I’m a ‘Sonko’ they need to fleece? Do you know what I go through here? How can leaving the country translate to me becoming someone eligible to being conned? By family??????
The worst thing happened to my friend who went to Saudi. Do you know her family decided she should go work for those brutal people and she was flown back in a coffin? She was buried a few months ago and has been forgotten.
Have you read Martha Nyaguthii Maina’s story?
Then the worst thing I’ve heard is that if anything happens abroad and you go back home; coz u finished your studies or you were deported coz you are addicted to drugs and alcohol, you become an embarrassment to your family and cease to have any value to anyone.
I regret the day I left home. It changed our family dynamics. I feel so used and alone. I can only rely on God now.
Anyway, I am writing to say we need to talk because it is about time I started taking care of me.
My friend says that her family told her God would withhold His blessings upon her life if she does continue being a breadwinner.
But I know God is a just God, He sees what is going on and knows who is in the wrong. Additionally, all his blessings in the Bible do not have a “if I buy you an Iphone 6, then He will bless me” condition.”
I hope you will approach this letter with an open mind.