BERYL AMURUGAT FAVOUR is a student from Nairobi, Kenya. Her heartbreaking and at the same time uplifting story is an inspiration and testament to the power of kindness. This story won Beryl second prize for school students in the Heartfulness International Essay Competition 2021.
Looking down on a blank page is like staring at an empty plate after sleeping hungry for almost three days. I have always had an ambition of being a writer and sitting here right now gives me a feeling of a dream come true. But all of this would just be a dream if it was not for the kindness of one great woman who was brought to my life by my constant cries and prayers. When people hear of kindness, the first thing that comes to their mind is a life-changing experience. And I would not have believed all this if life had not shown me that the voice of an African child can be heard.
I was born in a village in the outskirts of Kenya near the great Lake Victoria. My mom was a housewife while my dad worked in a tobacco factory. He was a drunk and very abusive. My three siblings and I never experienced real happiness, and from day one I was always reminded that as a girl I had no chances of succeeding. I had an interest in writing from the age of ten but I had no hope of my dreams ever coming true.
My world finally crumbled when I was fifteen, a teenager who had just finished primary education. My siblings and I woke up to a broken family. My mom, tired of all the mistreatment, had killed our father. I don’t know why, but I remember not even crying. My mom was arrested. The law said it had everything under control, but what did they even mean by that? Where were they when my mom’s screams were being heard? Where were they when he kept on lashing her?
Seeing my mom going was the start of a life not explainable by words. My siblings and I were taken to different orphanages. I landed up in an orphanage known as the “Home of the Motherless.” It was owned by the government and was full to the brim. We shared everything, and we even lacked space to sleep. I was not able to see my siblings and no one told me about my mother. I spent days crying myself to sleep, and apparently that is the only way you can sleep on an empty stomach. Days turned to weeks and months, and I finally lost all hope of seeing my mother or siblings. Even the hope of finishing school and becoming a writer was lost.
One fateful day, a few people came to view the orphanage. They were donors who were sent by a group to help the children in the orphanage. There was one woman who told us here name, she looked kind, and I liked her from the word go. Looking into her eyes, I could see my restored happiness. She walked toward me and asked for my age and name. I politely answered her, she asked for my story, and I told her.
She was touched, and there and then she told me how I looked like her daughter who had passed away. She asked about school and my dreams, and I told her everything. She offered to help me, and since then I have never experienced lack. I have realized the true meaning of having a guardian angel. Thanks to her I am able to go to school and achieve my dreams. She helped me start afresh from a situation that most people are not able to recover from, domestic violence. I am able to visit my mom in jail, see my siblings, and even have the heart to forgive my father. I want to be able to help an African child one day and be a successful writer, and I believe with every kind heart comes a dream that can be fulfilled. Right there is the voice of an African child.
Beryl Amurugat Favour