In September last year, Miriam Wanjiru Muigai travelled to her home in Mbuyu Village, near Nyahururu Town, to seek forgiveness from her father. She had composed a song known as “Aciari Ndekerai” meaning ‘My Parents, Forgive Me’, which she tearfully sang to her father.
Besides forgiveness, Miriam was also seeking acceptance and love from her father. At this point, you may presume that Ciru wa Digital – as Miriam is popularly known – had been an unruly daughter. On the contrary, it is her father who, since her childhood, implemented grievous acts of aggression against her. So unloved by her father has Ciru felt, that at some point, she sat her mother down and asked to known if her dad was her biological father.
In 1993, when Ciru was a toddler, her older sister dropped out of school in Form Two after getting pregnant. This angered her dad so intensely that he swore to never invest in any of his daughters. This anger quickly turned into hatred, and worse, it was all laid on Ciru.
“It was not too serious at first, perhaps because I was too young. But as I grew, I realised that he was very aggressive towards me. I began to feel that he actually hated me,” she says. Throughout her primary education, she missed multiple classes and was transferred to eight different schools. Getting clothes, fatherly approval and school utilities was a major problem, even though her father was financially stable. “He was a police officer and had never struggled,” she says.
Ciru sat for her KCPE at Mbuyu Primary School in 2007 together with one of her siblings. Her sister managed a score of 140 points out of the possible 500 while Ciru scooped 340 points. All the secondary school admission letters that were delivered to their home were in her favour, thanks to her good academic performance. This, though, did not sit well with her father. While her sister proceeded to secondary school, Ciru stayed at home. “He said that I would not proceed to secondary school. Instead, I would stay at home and help with household chores,” she says. “I felt as though he had wished for my failure. It hurt deeply,” she says.
Her mother had a different view. “She kept on prodding my father to take me to school. They began to have arguments over it, and I still remember that at some point, my dad beat her,” she says. Her sister also refused to proceed to high school, saying that she did not deserve it as much as Ciru did. Neither could this convince her father to change his mind.
In the end, her mother enrolled her at Kagondo Secondary School in 2008. “She didn’t have a job or earnings that could sustain me, and I dropped out towards the end of that year.” Over the next five years, Ciru was juggled between her father and her elder siblings who resided in Naivasha. Her siblings would travel with her to Naivasha where they would enrol her in school. A few months later, her father would come for her hammer and tongs and take her back to graze in the village. “At some point, he began to say that I needed to get a job, start earning and repay him all the money he had used to raise me,” she says.
This cycle went on until early 2012. At that time Ciru was in Form Four when her dad pulled her out of school and ordered her to return home. “I was living with my sister in Naivasha, where her husband had been paying for my fees,” she says. But Ciru had reached the end of her tether. She vowed not to return home and began weighing what she could do to hurt him as well.
“I first thought of committing suicide and leave him feeling eternally guilt for my death. But I decided against it because I feared that my death would not hurt him. In any case, he would be glad that I had been put down,” she says. Then she recalled that the cause of her father’s anger was her sister’s pregnancy. She decided to get pregnant too. “Before the end of that year, I conceived,” she says.
Contrary to her expectations, the pregnancy did not anger her father. “He said his fears had been vindicated. Then in a shocking move, he paid for my KCSE exam registration fees,” she says. Ciru went back to school and started preparing for her exams. Her pregnancy, though, became problematic and after six months, she underwent an emergency CS. “I delivered a baby boy. He was very small. He was put in an incubator for three months and placed under my mother’s care,” says Ciru. Once she recovered, Ciru returned to school and left her son at the hospital. In November that year, she sat for her KCSE.
After completing her secondary school, her father summoned told her to look for a job and repay him the money he’d used on her. He put the total sum at Sh50,000. But she told him no. “I told him I would go to college and pursue a technical course instead,” she says. Against her father’s order, Ciru held a small fundraiser and raised Sh20,000, which she used to enrol for an IT course at the NIBS Technical College in 2013 and graduated with a diploma in journalism and mass communication in 2015. “I then got a job as a digital editor at MediaMax,” she says.
Since then Ciru has made numerous efforts to gain her father’s love. “At first, I wanted to repay the Sh50,000 and get over with it, but I backed off and decided to go after his love,” she says. She built him a new house, offered numerous financial gifts and goods but all seemed in vain. “We would get along for a while, and then he’d make a snide remark towards me.”
Eventually, she decided to face him head on. “I travelled home in the company of my siblings and friends to get his forgiveness. I pleaded for his forgiveness, and asked him to tell me what I’d ever done wrong so that I could say sorry. He broke down in tears, we embraced and forgave each other,” says Ciru.
Two months have since passed; Ciru says that she will never tire of reaching out to him. “I named my son after him, and will always be there for him whenever he needs me. I pray that he may always find the heart to forgive me, and love me and my son back,” she says.