African Daycare

I stepped out of the gate to find my four year old neighbor almost finishing the dry bread he was chewing..
Hi, Trevor! Where’s mama? I asked.
Still chewing, he shrugged..
Silent for a few minutes, with his mouth full he answered,
“I don’t know”
I held the hand without bread and walked with him to the shops.
“Why do people take trouble to leave Kenya, go around the world, reading books, googling, consulting friends and praying to get a beautiful name like Trevor…
Only not to be around to call it out often?
Why not a simple name like Sospeter?”
I thought.
We reached the shop, I bought milk and three medium sized cakes.
I added two lollipops..
One for Trevor and another for my 5 year old son.
Trevor offered to help me carry two cakes.
I prepared breakfast with Trevor watching me, while my four lazy children slept.
That was Friday..
A few minutes to one o’clock, when our lunch was almost ready,
abracadabra!
Trevor’s mama appeared at the door..
Trying to balance on her heels. She was drunk.
“Here comes trouble in a Lorry.” I thought.
“Is Trevor here?” I got up to get him, “No no no no, don’t,” she said as she handed over a packet of chips and chicken to me, “this is for Trevor’s lunch,” and this is for supper,” I took the neatly packed pizza.
“I am off to sleep.” she left.
I took the two delicacies and placed them on the kitchen counter as I said a little prayer.
“Do not lead me into temptation Lord”
To help me not take a bite of Trevor’s food.
“Deliver me from evil,”
That my children will never hate me for not buying things like these for them.
I called my children and gave each of them a plate of fried bananas and beef stew.
I stayed in the kitchen with Trevor.
“Mama is here?” he asked, excited.
“Yes she is”, I answered, “she is asleep.”
Trevor continued to eat. He knew Mama was never to be disturbed.
“What is better?” I thought,
A parent who is always there for her child, earns money honestly, which is never enough,
hardly buys the children good clothes, or pizza from Galito’s [sp] or chips and chicken from Steers.
Or
A parent who neglects her children, to go look for money in ways that are not acceptable and comes back home with nice, mouth luring food, and nice clothes for the children?
“Good Lord” I sighed.

When evening came, I knew mama Trevor was sober, but would not dare get Trevor.
The night before, I had asked her,
“Mama Trevor, if you cannot find a good job, why don’t you and Trevor go home to your mother?”
“I can’t” she said, “There is a lot of work in house and shamba, and look at this hands,” she showed me her neatly manicured hands, “Can these hands work in the kitchen and shamba?”
“You can take Trevor to your mother, then.”
I advised.
“No” she appeared protective, “People will think I am irresponsible.”
I could not hold my laughter. I laughed so loud, I laughed again, held my chest, bent over and continued laughing to tears.
“This woman does not think beyond her nose.” I thought.
“They are finished talking, they have said everything that can be said” I informed her.
She clicked her tongue, stormed into the house, got her Trevor and left.
That is why Trevor was standing on the road very early in the morning eating dry bread.
Mama Trevor had nowhere to leave him.
Trevor had his pizza for supper, I gave him a cup of cocoa and took him to bed.
Mama did not come for Trevor on Friday night, she went missing on Saturday, day and night as usual.
I tried not to worry much when Sunday passed.
I was woken up rudely by a phone call.
“Hallo!” It was mama Trevor’s voice on the other side.
I did not answer.
I could hear her sipping a drink.
“Please, please, please, I beg you, Trevor’s uniform is not clean, can I borrow your son’s?”
I placed my head on the bed and looked at the phone for about a minute.
Then placed it on my ear.
“What are you drinking mama Trevor? I asked.
“Nothing,” she answered.
“Then why can’t you remember that my son’s shirt is not the same color as your son’s?”
“Sorry, sorry,” she spoke softly.
“Please ask Mama Henry for me, if we could borrow hers”
“You and who?” I shouted into the phone.
My husband Sospeter opened one eye and looked at me.
“I told you, did I not. The moment you allowed her to leave that boy here, there would be trouble.”
I also closed one eye, looked at him and said,
“Yes, that was after she stopped bringing you roast meat”
“Take your big mouth to the living room.” he said
The second eye was now open, “and let me sleep.”
He turned to face the wall and continued snoring.
I got out of bed and went to Mama Henry’s house. I borrowed a very understanding Mama Henry, the whole set of school uniform, got shoes from Trevor’s home, dressed him up, gave him porridge and eggs. Packed some biscuits in a plastic container and milk in a bottle.
The school bus came, I kissed him on the forehead, helped him get into the bus and off he went.
My second daughter and second son, stepped out of the house, hugged me, and walked to school.
I was happy.

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