Dear Dad,

I am writing you this letter because I want to free myself of the fear of talking about you, talking to you. Thought that you should also know that I am no longer afraid of the huge mad cow with untrimmed horns that would start to chase after kids for no apparent reason, Dad that was around 16 years ago! Glad to report that I have now grown up and thus less afraid of cows, I however still have fears that are not necessarily bigger or lesser since you left. Every day I wonder how my life would have been with you around, it’s been a collective struggle without you but mum and I have been very close. She would have used your support, more importantly your shoulder to lean on but I have to say congrats for having chosen her as your wife. She is by far the strongest woman who ever walked this earth. She hasn’t changed much apart from the part where she recently turned 60. She is still a hot chic, still dresses well. She still got that sparkle in her eye when she smiles, still as hardworking, retired but still farming, she still got that sexy phone voice, ok Dad will do you another blog post on mum vibes.

On the flipside, a lot has changed since you left, gosh where do I start? I grew up so fast, everyone did. Bonn stayed in India for a very long time, after his graduation he came back to Kenya. Between us, I think he can speak fluent Hindu but he never wants to for some strange reason. He got married, he recently got blessed with an adorable daughter called Cate. Pollyne is still as tough as she used to be when you left, it’s really helped her in this tough world, I look up to her. She has a lovely daughter named after you, Francy, who is now 11. Guess what? She took after your light skin 🙂 Emma ended up studying hotel management, she is still a neat freak, oh she also moved to Miami where she manages a hotel resort (You must be a proud Dad huh?) She got married to a good white man, they have two lovely daughters, Laika Rose and Zuri. Jackie is still a-ka softie, remember Freddy? Your good friend Obiero’s son? He (Freddy) used to be in the same primary school with Jackie, well they ended up together. They now have a cute litu son holistically named after you, Francis Owoko Ong’etch. He is soooo cute and worships Ben 10 (a new toon that has taken the kid world by storm) Well, I still don’t have a baby seeing everyone in the family went the recreational way 🙂 but Dad I have a degree in Journalism! I graduated from University last December, man I know you would have been proud of me, mum was sooooo happy! P.s thanks for the shares you hoarded years back to help clear my school fees, they really came handy at the very end. And I looked so cool in my  graduation gown, I made sure I asked mum not to bring those things for the xmas tree, she is cool people so she didn’t 🙂

I was only 8 or so when you left so I don’t remember much of our relationship but it’s funny how livid  I remember your hilarious pranks, it’s no wonder that to date I love playing pranks, just like you. I remember that you had wired our bedrooms with speakers connected to the microphone in your bedroom. You would then come home late from your escapades and start to sing to us from your room, Dad that was annoying! But I miss it, I miss you 😦 Remember when cousins would visit, early morning you would wake up everyone around the house via your proverbial radio then call Alicia and I to join you and mum in bed? You would then order the big girls Sharon and Jackie (who were only like 13 years or so) to bring us milk in bed? Alicia and I still remember the royal treatment, we talk about it to this day, at that time we felt like we were princesses and we deserved such kind of treatment. Its 20 years later but not too late to say that we appreciate! I remember how I was always strategically sitting next to the house  phone, like a lioness eyeing its prey. I was waiting for it to ring so I could answer the calls. It was very appraising if not gratifying to say “Hello” into an actual phone that wasn’t a call booth then.  I remember you always pinching me asking, “Who told you that this is your phone?” Dad, what you didn’t realize then was that I was just a curious girl who happened to also be chatter box, I was eager to get a chance just to chat, well I am still that same girl kabisa! As a matter of fact, I am now a TV host/ reporter/radio reporter/ writer/ In summary, if I am not chatting and writing am trying to communicate constructively 🙂  Mum is glad, I hope I make you proud.

I however still want to know so much about you, like how you met my mother. Well, she already gave her story, it sounded like a fairytale how a lot of things were against you guys, like responsibilities bestowed upon you as you were the first born of the soccer team, the distance and need for you to impress her bourgeoisie parents, am glad that in the end you left a legacy that says that you were a good man. It was so bonnie & Clyde how mum kicked some rich politicians niece’s ass and got in trouble with the law but you stood right by her till thanks to Jomo Kenyatta’s sudden death the case got withdrawn. Tough Love! I saw pictures of your Volkswagen and motorbike, you was really cool people! Mum now drives a pickup Peugeot 504, it helps a lot with the farm work. P.s it’s the first automobile I ever drove 🙂 Remember Mwaura, the mechanic? Well, he still fixes mum’s pickup, he’s the one who taught me how to drive that valuable junk that I suspect is older than I am while mum was away in Nigeria, that was about 5 years ago.

I love colour as much as the life you guys gave me so I strive to colour my life. Mum says you really loved to unwind while listening to music, same here! I love varied genres, from Dobet Gnahore, Laura Izibor to Franco (Heard you loved him!) I love dogs, I heard you did too! A year after you left, I had a cat that I adored, I accidentally left it at granny’s (Your ma) while visiting, about a year later heard it fell in a pit latrine, still heartbroken. I also love to read books, I found your library, have read quite a number from your collection. I really enjoyed reading the Trial of Jomo Kenyata. I am now reading Facing Mount Kenya and a new release that I recently got, The Politics of Betrayal. It’s a 2011 publication, sort of a sequel to all the previous political books, you would enjoy its style that’s constantly quoting from the earlier political publications like Not yet Uhuru et al.. while at the same time trying to compare and contrast the current socio-economic situation to the previous year’s scenario.

Nway, one day while coming from work, I met uncle Owino right outside the Norfolk hotel. So we went inside and ended up having a hearty chat about you over a cup of coffee and several bitings. Oh FYI he is now the deputy police spokesperson in the country, yup you would be very proud of him. He told me a lot about you, like how you coerced him into getting into the police force against his will. How you schooled him and took him in after his parents passed on, that was so kind of you. Sometimes I meet kids in such circumstances and wanna help, at least I now know where I get it from. Uncle Owino was tearing while talking about you, he says that if it wasn’t for you he wouldn’t have been where he is today, Dad= WIN! He told me how you and mum were the first to introduce him to beer after he completed form 6, surely Dad! He told me how much you loved mum and that you would always do just about anything for her, how sweet! He said a lot of things about you, that you loved to have a good laugh with friends, trips and visiting different places, adventure and to help people where you could. Guess what? That’s a photocopy of my life!

“In all the years I have lived, I have never met a man of your Dad’s caliber or charisma, you sure did miss to meet a great man”, said Uncle Owino with a distant gaze as if he was trying to re-live the moments he shared with you! That broke my heart but wait, I met you already!  I now figure that I shouldn’t be afraid of talking about you, to you and even writing to you. I share not only a birthday with you but a lot more Dad, I now  realize that you vicariously live in me. I am writing you a letter but in the reality  of a shrinks’ head, in pursuit of emancipation, I just wrote myself a letter.

I might be all grown up now but am still your litu girl, still trying to impress you, still fussing for your attention, still hoping to make you proud, still keen on your blessings, still in consideration of your preferences before making decisions, still dependent on you Dad. Rest in peace.

Love,  Anyiko.

(p.s started using the name you gave me, my friends love it, thanks 🙂