When you step into her home you may assume she is doing so well for someone who is living in Kariobangi. Scovia Chabaya, a single mother of five has also faced her own fair share of challenges.
After she had her first two children, her husband then, who was an alcoholic, was taken to a rehabilitation centre by his parents, after which she lost communication with him. As a young mother, she automatically became the sole bread winner for her family. She had to brace herself and learn how to fend for her family because her children now looked up to her for all sorts of support and providence.
As fate would have it, she met her second husband later with whom she had three more boys. He too, turned out not to be as dependable as she may have hoped. Scovia learnt the hard way to not depend fully on anyone to feed and support her children. Vending diluted juice around Kariobangi market is what has been bringing her income lately.
Hustling can be very tricky for a nursing mother like Scovia. Sometimes when she needs to step out to fend for her family, she risks and leaves her toddler locked in the house all alone with the TV on.
“He usually cries when he gets bored but stops as soon as he notices there is no one to attend to him,” she explains.
On good days when she has some money, she pays her neighbour 50 shillings ($ 0.5) to babysit him. Selling juice around Kariobangi involves a lot of walking under the scorching sun. Carrying him around alongside her goods and exposing him to the harsh conditions is something she does not find necessary. Venturing into this juice-selling business in Kariobangi has not been a walk in the park for her either.
“Doing business in Kariobangi is not easy. At times you have no choice but to sell items on credit. Most of the customers who take goods or services on credit end up not paying. This can be very discouraging since it leaves you in debt.”
Nevertheless, Scovia is a wise mother who invests the little money she saves into buying durable household items. When you step into her home, you may easily confuse her for a rather stable resident of Kariobangi; despite the fact that she and her five kids live in a two-roomed house.
She chooses to look at the brighter side of life and be grateful for what she has and the blessings of her dear children. Whining and feeling sorry for herself she says, won’t put food on the table at the end of the day.
” I have five beautiful children who look up to me and expect me to provide come what may. I can’t afford to let them down. Sometimes it is a struggle to get by but at the end of the day as long we are alive and kicking, I’m contented. I have learnt to take a day at a time.”
With a lot of hard work and God’s grace, she has been able to provide for her family and pay school fees for her kids. Her firstborn, Derrick Obanda in class 8 and second born, Alexia Kagendo in class 3 are luckily being supported through school by her brother. Two of her kids; Merrick Madiba in Pre-primary 2 and Levy Sankara in Pre-primary 1 go to Hands of Love Educational Centre.