Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko’s heart has been touched and moved by the story of one woman, Hellen Nasieki.
Ms Nasieki has seen it all in the streets of Nairobi – she lives in abject poverty, but is determined to see her children feed every day.
She only owns a wheelbarrow which she uses to hawk sweet potatoes, at least to raise daily house fee and put a meal on the table.
Below is her full story shared on Senator Sonko’s Facebook timeline on Sunday (November 8).
“My name is Hellen Nasieki from Kakamega. My family is from deep Busia in Uganda.
The baby I’m carrying will be turning 2 years in January. The other two children are 10 and 4 years but are in the village with my mum. They are in school. Whatever I get we share with mum for their upkeep.
This baby is big but I have to carry her since there’s nowhere she can sleep. I got used to having her on my back almost entire day. But when awake she walks around and I get relief.
I am a single parent. My husband died when she (the little girl) was young. He was involved in a road accident.
I have been in Nairobi for about 3 years now. My first job was to hawk clothes I had bought at Gikomba.
I did it for a while before I was accosted by city council askaris one day and they took away my clothes plus the day’s earnings. I was back to zero. I worked as a housemaid for two months and quit after saving some little cash for my next venture.
I walked to Kariobangi in a shop and bought biro pens at wholesale price. I would hawk them inside buses and matatus. It was not looking bad. Around that time, my husband died. I lost my mind. The world collapsed on me.
I joined SDA Church and they were very helpful to me. I visited Githurai SDA but more often Muthurwa SDA. They would give me food, clothes and lots of helpful advice. I started coming back to my senses.
One day I bought oranges for Ksh 50. Within no time, I had cleared my stock at Ksh 100. I went back for more and by the close of the day, I had made Ksh 200.
With the valuable advice of the church members, I kept going for more. I saved enough to buy this wheelbarrow. I got it at Ksh 2,500. With my new acquisition, I started moving round town with my baby on the back. I’d sell either oranges or bananas.
But the challenge of selling fruits is that they go bad quickly. And that’s how I shifted to sweet potatoes.
I have had several encounters with street boys who took away my daily earnings as well as city council askaris who help themselves with my stock. I moved here, pleaded with my friends for space because it’s safer.
You’re asking where I stay? There are rooms near Muthurwa where you pay Ksh 30 a night and you get a space to lay your tired body. We’re like a school but that’s better than in the street because my baby is in a warmer place. This wheelbarrow contains the only thing I own.
Where I used to stay, my room was locked for not being able to pay rent. And that’s how I moved to this Muthurwa option.
I live a day at a time but my kids must feed.”
In his quest to help Nasieki, Senator Sonko wrote: “I feel I need to do something for her, a little support to make life bearable. Perhaps getting an accommodation (fully paid rent for a period of time)? Perhaps getting her a more equipped business?
Perhaps getting clothes for her kids? Perhaps paying school fees for her kids? I really don’t know what, but I must do something for my new friend.”
To help Ms Nasieki, the following fund kitties have been established: Safaricom: Paybill 891300 A/C No 5286, Airtel Money: Business name 891300, M-CHANGA Reference 5286, Equitel: Business Number 891300, Account 5286.