I am a brother, I am a son and a friend to many and I am proud to be whom I am. It has taken me courage to come out of the closet about my sexuality but shocking enough it has made me go through the worst that life can offer but I have survived thanks to Nyarwek Network because they came to my rescue when no one else did. When my step mother came to know about my sexuality, she grew cold and kept me under house arrest from 2nd of May till 5th of June. During this time, I lost hope and was depressed because I felt as if no one loved me. I felt as if I needed peoples’ approval to be me. I will not lie I was so angry towards myself, the world and everyone else and to some point I even thought maybe death would not be a such bad thing. This is whom I am why can’t I be just accepted?
During the house arrest I was denied breakfast and lunch and the only meal that I got was dinner and somehow, I think it is because my prayers were being answered. Every evening I would receive a beating and this would leave my whole body aching. This affected me psychologically and made me wonder why all these things were happening to me. My health deteriorated very fast but no one seemed to care. I was denied medical attention. Sometimes I would manage to steal my mother’s phone and make a call for help but no one came to my rescue. Day in day out I hoped that someone somewhere would come to help. It was not until I remembered Nyarwek Network and looked for their number from one of my note books and when I got the opportunity I called and Nyarwek security personnel (Mr. Maureen Ochieng and Mr. Collins) came in to investigate. They found my health was terrible and we arranged to sneak out to a safe house for security purposes as relocation was being arranged.
I stayed at the safe house from 8th of June till 14th of the same month. For the first time in a long time I felt loved wanted and safe, finally I belonged. I was so excited when I was moved to the new location.
Later on, 15th of June my mother came to the safe house with claims that I was staying there with Maureen and she was accompanied by three police men. I called Nyarwek and KASH security response team. The police had already begun the house search by the time KASH team was arriving but were forced to stop when Nyarwek security officer arrived. She pointed out to the police that they had no search warrant hence it was illegal. The policemen, in fear, asked us to move to Kondele police post as they thought the lady from Nyarwek was police officer of a higher rank.
The case was dismissed at the police post since I had committed no crime. The officer in charge explained to mother that being an LGBTI is not a reason for an arrest. Despite this, she promised to seek revenge claiming that she lost the case because the response team came from donor funded organization, I later was informed that the police officers at the station were sensitized/trained on human rights by Nyarwek Network and how to handle LGBT issues.
On my way back to the safe house my mother gave me a call to apologize. I believe in forgiveness and I thought finally she wanted to reconcile with me. I was willing to put all that she had done behind me. I decided to go back home and no sooner had I reached the house than she locked me up again. I was not able to go to my planned destination. I felt betrayed by the world and I remember asking myself over and over again whether there was still any hope left for me.
That same night, at around 8 pm, some goons arrived at my home and attacked me. I assumed mother had sent them to teach me a lesson. I remember that night as if it was yesterday. I remember opening the door only to be met by a slap so hard that my face became numb. I remember feeling as though I had gone deaf on one side. I was kicked and pushed from the back and fell at the door. I remember debating on whether I should fight back or I should take flight. It was raining outside and I told myself its either now or never. I got up and I ran so fast without looking back. I went so fast am sure those who saw me thought a lion was hunting me down for dinner.
I got refuge in an old woman’s house where I asked her to assist me with her phone and called Nyarwek Network Executive Director Daniel Peter. When the phone was received I was out of breath, sacred and the rain was so heavy that the one on the receiving end could not hear me well so he asked to send a text message. Within a short period, I got a call from Maureen Ochieng, a security personnel in Nyarwek Network, asking to come for me and I agreed. After waiting for a while we heard a knock on the door, she had sent four men to come pick me up on her behalf. I was hesitant because at this point I had issues trusting people and when the old woman noticed this she refused and said I shall not leave until Maureen comes for me. We patiently waited for Maureen to come and when she did I left with them.
Once again, I felt safe, loved and I belong. Wait I actually knew that I belong and I was proud to be whom I am. Forever I am and will always be thankful to ED Daniel of Nyarwek for his kindness, Maureen Ochieng from Security Nyarwek and Mr. Collins who is also from Nyarwek.
Nyarwek Network ensured I got two months house rent and deposit, upkeep and relocation fee. I now love my new home, I am now a happy and free soul and I know I belong.