(written 7/16/11)

I was born on 5th day of March 1980. I grew up in my poor grand parent’s home in a small village called Hamisi in the western part of Kenya; over 800 miles from Nairobi.  I am the first born in a family of 6 children; 4 girls and 2 boys.  I am a step child in the family. The rest of the 5 children are my half siblings.

I lived with my grandparents: Edah Vihenda and Samson Ayuya (whose names I have acquired) from my childhood till my teenage hood. Throughout my life I knew they were ‘parents’ for they never revealed to me that they were not my parents. They always told me that I was their last-born child that is, the 15th child. It may look funny but I understand my mother left me when I was less than a month under my ‘parents’ care and got married to my current step father after lots of disappointments from my biological father.

Anyway, still to date no one tells me the truth about my biological father whether he died or still lives. Well, my maternal great grandmother almost told me but unfortunately she passed on before telling me.

All in all, I knew about my mother when I was 18 years old. All along, she was my ‘elder sister’. My half siblings knew me as their ‘aunty’. It has been difficult for us to bond with especially our second, third and fourth born. I understand them very well since, for example my sister always knew she is the first born then suddenly she is  to be the second born.

I was ill treated by siblings often. This then made mum realize that she needed to tell them that I was part of the family. By then my follower was 16, then her follower 15 and my brother 13. Bonding with these has been the hardest task even to date.

The revelation by mother that I was her daughter came with conditions; I should never tell it to visitors. In case anyone asked me who my mother was, then I should tell the person that she was my ‘sister’. I have struggled with this. Yet for all those years my mother was mother inwardly but verbally to anyone else, she was my, sister. I must confess that I found it difficult to call her mother.  June 20, 2009 the day I graduated from Daystar University will never get over my mind. For once in my life, this was the only day I had my mother say with ease that I was her daughter!

Life with my family was never easy, infact I preferred life with my grandparents. Many mistreatments from my own family, my step extended family and life of lying to everyone that my mother my was ‘sister’ made it even worse. I don’t blame her for this. I later realized she did all this to safeguard her marriage and me because her in laws were just evil.

Life with Jesus while in high school:

I got saved in 1995 while in high school; St. Mary’s Girls’. I was in the 9th grade by then. I will never forget this year. I had passed very well in my primary school in 1994 and therefore called in a good boarding high school. I was so excited that I was going to be in a boarding school. My joy did not last long. Joining a boarding high school meant knew shoes, books, school uniform and so fourth. I was tiny, 14 years then. Why I can never forget this year is the experience I had. On the first day of reporting at school, everyone was smart! You would easily recognize the new comers. However for my case, I was different: oversize old uniform, old shoes, old bed sheets, old mattress, old bag and everything including books were old!  The difference between me and older students was that I was tiny, that’s all. My mother had borrowed all these from a former student from the same school who had just completed high school the previous year.

This often gave me a low mood, low self esteem especially when I would meet teachers and friends and sarcastically made jokes over my oversize old skirt and blouse and oversize big shoes. I began hating school. However, I would never forget someone who changed my life and made me walk with my head tall; Jesus!  My school was strictly catholic. Within the week, we would go for chapels. However on Sunday we would be allowed to attend the Christian Union.

In June a preacher was invited to speak to us on one of the Sundays. Yes he spoke to me. I believed the message was mine. He talked of the love that is great; Jesus’ love. It did not matter the struggles I went through, His love was the best. He reminded us that God had great plans for us- Jeremiah 29: 11. One thing that he reminded us was that it was a matter of time. We had to be patient but keeping on praying and believing. After a lot of encouragements, I made to the alter. I gave my life to Jesus and got saved. Things never remained the same again. I never cried anymore in my blankets just I used to do everyday. I never hated the day I was born. I gained such confidence that I never used to have. The same year I was chosen a prefect. I remained a leader in school till I finished high school. I thank God so much for 1995, a turning point in my life. Even though I struggled to finish school since, always I would be sent home for fees, there was light at the end of tunnel and I was able to complete my high school.

Life after high school:

After completing high school in 1998, I visited my maternal aunt. I was freer with my aunts and uncles than with my immediate family. They worshiped in the Free Methodist Church in western Kenya.

It is one thing completing school and another thing joining university or college. Well at this point all I cared was passing exams and God would take care of the rest. In 1998, I officially got baptized in Free Methodist Church and a full member.

It is here that I got to know Hope Africa University in 1999. Thanks to God, Results had been released the same year and I had passed well. My pastor asked me to give a try and apply for an admission at HAU. I gave it I try and guess what, I was admitted! Mmmh, even though I was excited, I did not know how I was going to pay my fees. Anyway, I prayed and hoped that God would open a door for.

I shared this with my mother but she was skeptical. She told me she had no money to pay for my university education. I did not loose hope. My aunt then promised to sell one of her cattle for a start, hoping a way would finally be opened. Truly my aunt’s cow was sold and that is how I managed to pay my first installment in February 2000. Being at HAU was not now the issue anymore. Where to stay in Nairobi was another story. I had never been to Nairobi. However I had an aunt living in one of the slums in Nairobi- Kawangware. She was married with two children. I made arrangements to live with her. She was willing but not willing to provide fare to Karen- where HAU was situated. They lived in a single room. There was a curtain that had been used to split the room into two. We would sleep on the other side of the curtain with the daughter as they slept on the on the other side with the husband and young child.

To make the story short, I went through many difficulties from bus fare, to eating to studying. God will never always allow us to go through what we cannot hold anymore for long, He always open a door. One day, my pastor at the Karen FMC asked me to stay with them after narrating to them what I was going through. I joined them in 2002. Life here was better. It was close to HAU. After a short while I and other colleagues were given single iron sheet rooms behind our FMC to stay in. So Judith (a student too at HAU), a friend of mine resided together in the single iron sheet room. We struggled together for she too came from a poor family. HAU gave us work study that really benefited us. It is here I also met Beth Webb. I learned from her that WMI had given me scholarship!! This was one of the happiest moments of my life. Thanks to God!! I knew there was some scholarship coming from friends of HAU but I had never known who they were. I am really most grateful to WMI!

Above all these I went though many valleys and mountains but Jesus kept an eye on me till I finished and graduated at HAU in 2004, September with a Bachelors degree in Education. In fact on my graduation I received a gift- some money which I believe must have come from WMI officers because who else would have given me. Thanks a lot to WMI officers!

After leaving HAU in Bujumbura, I rejoined my family in February 2005. It took me about 8 months to secure some teaching job. I taught literature and English in a village high school. Life was not easy. The little money I got every end month was all spent on the family. I trusted that God would answer my prayer. In 2002, I asked God that it was my desire to reach the level of PHD in my studies. I also understood that getting a job in Kenya with only a bachelor’s degree was not easy. In fact with my bachelor’s degree I was being paid $61 dollars. I was so discouraged but kept hope alive till this other special opportunity that God opened for me to study at Daystar University for masters degree, MA, counseling Psychology through WMI again!

*Dr. Caroline Ayuya received her doctorate and gave a wonderful testimony of God’s faithfulness to her in providing in so many ways for her education. She is only the 2nd woman in the Free Methodist Church in Kenya, and the First woman from the Nairobi FMC, to receive her doctorate. During her testimony, she specifically asked that the missionary express her gratefulness to WMI for helping to make this possible by the scholarships which were awarded to her in the past. Caroline has been faithful to the church and currently serves on two FMC boards. Hopefully she can be more involved in the Women’s ministry.  She will be having a graduation party soon as well as a special thanksgiving celebration at the church in Nairobi.