Mark? No, Alpha! Well actually no, better Mark.
This could be the strange summary of Mark’s first years of life.
The kid that today we call Mark entered the project two years ago.
Our attention was brought to the case by the Likii chief together with other representatives of the area: a little child was living in extreme poverty with an elderly lady who was no relative to him and who could not take care of him.
“Ok, we could take care of him, bring the child here. What’s his name?”
“We don’t know”. Ok.
“How old is he?”
“We don’t know”. Fine.
The story of this child surely deserved all the attention we could give it.
We were brought the kid (still with no name) and we left with him. Even too easy.
We made him the usual interview, at least to understand from him if he knew or remembered something, because nobody could give us any information about him. He seemed to know he was called Mwangi, but nothing more, he didn’t know his other name, the Western one.
After several proposals, he chose to be called Mark. He liked it. It was 20th January 2016. Since then we started calling him Mark Mwangi. How old was he? He didn’t know of course. After thinking about it, we thought he could be 5 years old, and so we wrote. In hindsight it was obvious he could not be more than 3 years old. Our mistake. We bought everything he needed, took him to Hope and Homes and registered him at the kindergarden.
A very sudden and drastic change for that child. Nonetheless he kept smiling and didn’t seem to be worried about what was happening that day; he only seemed hungry. Two years have gone by, Mark has started his last year at the kindergarden, he is healthy and is a little tornado.
But on January 19th 2018, almost exactly 2 years after taking Mark on board with us, we were told that a lady showed up at Hope and Homes stating she is his grandmother. After some investigation Ireen, this is her name, found out from never disclosed sources that her grandchild was living in that children’s home. She aimed at taking Mark away that same day in that same moment. And she said that Mark’s real name is Alpha Mwangi Wanjiru. Luckily the school headmaster stood in the way explaining to her that the kid is entrusted to an organization and that what she was asking for is impossible. In any case she should go the the social assistant first. Therefore Ireen decided to leave and tried to meet us as soon as possible, not very happy that the social assistant was involved though – whom she had already avoided meeting. As a matter of fact Likii chief and his assistant, whom she had contacted when looking for Mark, had suggested she went to the social assistant. But when she found him, she chose to go directly to school and take the kid away.
During her first meeting with us, the lady explained that Mark’s mother, her daughter, had abandoned the baby. But she didn’t have any documents confirming her story and her relation to Mark. During our second meeting, the lady brought the document of the child birth notification, that was not the birth certificate yet. But that document did not have an identification number and in handwriting there was only the hospital’s name, a birth date and a name of the unborn baby partly different from the one that Ireen had told us before: Alpha Mururia. I believe that life may somehow distance you from your family, but that you cannot forget their name.
Apparently, Mark’s mother had abandoned her son at least twice: after the first time she had been arrested. They tried to entrust her with the kid but clearly that was not her destiny since she abandoned him again and fled to Uganda, where she should be currently living. For her part, his grandmother left the kid to an elderly lady in order to go to Nairobi with her husband, who was very sick. And she must have forgotten that she had a grandchild since the lady entrusted with the kid could not take care of him anymore and asked for help, without even knowing the child’s name.
Anyway it’s weird that nobody knows nothing about this kid in a Country where news spread with the wind. Not to talk about Likii!
In view of the facts the social assistant has decided that Mark will stay under his legal guardianship and entrusted to our organization. If the lady stating she’s his grandmother wants to, she’ll be able to go visit him at Hope and Homes, but the kid won’t be allowed to leave school with her. As for his mother, the social assistant is waiting for her to come back, but only to arrest her.
Mark doesn’t know anything about this all, and probably it’s better so.