17-year-old Yusuf Yahya was one of Lifesong Kenya’s Restorative Justice Program in 2019. Before he got arrested, Yusuf used to sell roasted groundnuts along Mombasa Road. This is a series that follows his experiences as a first time juvenile offender and how Lifesong Kenya support exceptional young men like him.
Yusuf Yahya: Triple Threat Part 3
Yusuf left the phone repair shop feeling elated and excited about what life had in store for him. For the first time 8n his life, someone had seen and noticed him. Someone had said that he mattered and deserved much more.
What’s more, the fact that a man had done this was special. For the first time, someone was holding him accountable to expectations that were, in the long run, aimed at making him a better man and elevate his status in the community.
“The best part Yusuf,” the repair shop owner continued, “your investment won’t require a lot from you. Each phone that you bring will fetch you 5000 shillings and above.”
“You mean, I’ll be getting cash for each phone that I bring?” Yusuf asked.
“Yes, my friend,” the repair shop owner said, “you bring the phones and I give you cash. Leave the hard work of selling to me.”
Yusuf Yahya Reaches a Point of No Return
The first day, Yusuf found it very hard to grab phones from drivers whose car windows were slightly opened or the drivers who were talking on their phones while stalling in the Mombasa Road traffic jam.
That evening, Yusuf failed to come home with enough money to buy kerosene, unga and fried chicken gizzards. Luckily, his mom managed to earn enough from her washing jobs in the neighborhood.
But, this didn’t stop her from quarreling and picking on Yusuf. She called Yusuf names, saying how she reminded her of his unfaithful and irresponsible dad who had failed to take care of his family.
When Yusuf asked for a little respect from his mom, she demanded that if he was man enough he should pack up and leave.
“I knew you don’t have the guts to be man enough! Looking at the two of us, you would think I am the one who wears a pair of trousers here!
“Look at your sisters who are doing well in school and actually have a chance to make it in life,” she continued. “And what about you?
“You dropped out of school and can’t even write your own name. Even when you will be old enough to register for an ID card, you won’t be able to spell or read your own name!
Even though everything that his mom said was the bitter truth it didn’t hurt much the man his mom was dating hurt and cut deeply. He simply stared into the pile of fried chicken gizzards that his mom had piled up in his plate.
It hurt Yusuf that he didn’t say anything in his defence. That night, Yusuf went to bed with a conviction in his heart. Fron now on, there was no turning back.
End of Part 3.