Ian Alulu’s story is one of resilience yet with hope and a true definition that all is possible in the spectrum of life. You will be wrong to judge him by his past rather than the future he anticipates.
Born a firstborn in a family of seven, he felt obligated to help his family. He felt that he was a burden to his parents and saving them the extra plate of food would go handy and a long way for the siblings. It’s a societal problem that many firstborns in African family setting face. They get accustomed to the reality of life that they are supposed to be responsible for their siblings and in most cases at their expense.
At form one at barely 16 years of age, he was ready to do that. Trade his precious dreams for the future comfort of his siblings or even ensure that there was more food for his siblings or afford a meal a day without bothering his parents who already had the burden of taking care of the other siblings.
Armored with nothing but hope and optimism, he hitched a plan to go to the capital city – a city under the sun where all people are given opportunities, and everyone seems to do better for themselves. I’m sure if not certain that’s the narrative that is sold upcountry that there is there are opportunities and ready money. Well, it’s true Nairobi is inhibited by two classes of people; those with the means and those who think they have. Ian dreamt of falling into the haves someday, maybe not soon but he hoped. Ian was sold hope that there was ready manna in form of a farmhand job that awaited him at the other end, all he needed to do was just to bring himself Nairobi and the rest would fall into place. “I was told that there was a farmhand job (shamba boy), and a man would pick me up in Nairobi,” recalls Ian.
The only means that he would have chosen to use and comfortably afford to get to Nairobi; would have been walking but, walking for over 300km and the urgency of the employment walking ruled out of the picture. He however needed to be in Nairobi come rain or high waters. On the escape day, he prepared to go to school as usual. Unknown to the parents this would be the last day they would see him in the few following months. They would be months of agony but then, they had other kids to take care of and all they could do, was to hope that he would land well and hope that someday he will go back home and maybe carry goodies with him. The plan was in place. “I walked to school that day but immediately went home, got a change of clothes, and changed at our neighbor’s compound,” he reminisced.
He hacked a lift on long-distance lorries and that’s how he landed in Nairobi. He would later be met with the horrible yet harsh reality that his job had been given to someone as he had arrived late in Nairobi. What would he have you expect from a lorry? As the reality set in, he realized that he had to survive. He needed basic living needs food, shelter, and clothing. But then again how do you survive in a capitalistic country without a job? A city where your neighbor will cook, and you will see them eating without bluffing on your sight? He was not accustomed to this in the village, but again life is a teacher, and this had become his reality. He learned that Nairobi is a city where everyone exists for themselves. That’s the reality that faced him! He ended up in the streets. That’s the only affordable place he would get but even with that, he needed to eat and cloth. Necessity invented a solution. He started working as a menial worker, carrying luggage for passengers at bus stops and when business would be down or when luck allowed, he would look for scrap metals and sell them at KSH 30 a kilogram, or roughly $0.30. in a city with over one thousand street people doing the same in a city with no steel manufacturing factories, he was bound to fail. “it’s difficult to get a kilo of scrap metals as many of us are looking for the same, that’s why we end up in carrying luggage to compensate on that.” He spoke.
He lived in perpetual fear as there was constant friction from the county officers. He lived on a thread for he did not know the hour or the day the county enforcement officers would descend on them. They would chase them from the streets all the time. He particularly remembers a fateful incident, “they once chased us at night and it was raining, I had to salvage my beddings and run. They ended up being soaked in rainwater, it was my worst night,” he narrated, “I thought I would contract cold-related diseases and die, I was afraid,” he remembered.
He had a strong or you would call it nostalgia for home but again he had left without a goodbye. He was afraid that his parents would not take him back. Crime Si Poa through its street kids’ program under community engagement, managed to get to know him, by then he had adopted David as his street name. Life had served him the reality and when he heard and learned of the program through social welfare carried out by Crime Si Poa, he was more than happy to engage when he was asked whether he would want to go home back to his parents though hesitantly he agreed.
CSP with the help of a chief in Kakamega ensured a seamless reception at home by tracing his home and talking to his parents and community. He got reintegrated into his family. His parents could not hide their joy may be due to the return of their lost son.
Today Ian is in the process of getting back to school, this time he is resolved more than ever that he wants to go back to school. His and many others are stories that inspire CSP to keep changing the world through little efforts, brick by brick to ensure a society that is changed and just to all. Ian needs school fees; he needs a small stipend for his personal needs. We can’t do this alone. Kindly partner with us and help him and many others to have a dignified life and change the story one story at a time.