Written by Kinyera Melvin
I am Melvin, a 15-year-old primary seven (P7) boy from Christ the King Demonstration school being raised by a single mother. I was born in a Christian family and served as an altar boy in the church for 3 years from 2016 to 2019 when life became hard due to my parents’ separation. My father got married to another woman and abandoned. My mum suffered from all sorts of abuse from my dad until their separation. I developed hatred for my parents, and I decided to join a group of street gangs. I was harsh on mum, siblings, classmates, and teachers. I used to rob and beat anyone who cross my way. I rarely stayed home or helped mum with household chores. From school, my teachers used to say am too big to be in P7 and if they were me, they would have gotten married instead of wasting school fees. I lost interest in studies, my performance dropped, I got dismissed from the alter service work, generally life was meaningless.
When TRP came in, I had no interest in their program at first but after the first module on self-awareness, I realize that my classmates feared me because of my aggressiveness. I reflected on the impact of this on my relationship with mum, siblings, classmates, teachers, school performance, and God and realized am messing up a lot. I also discovered I am a good artist and musician when we were tasked by our facilitators to identify what we are good at what makes us a unique individua. I then decided to join Music Dance and Drama (MDD) group preparing for the city festival. I was surprised to win a trophy for being the best city actor of the 12 schools presented. Teachers, classmates, and mum started liking me from this point.
The module on Building Positive Relationships helped me to reconcile with whoever I was harsh on, like my mum, classmates, siblings, and friends from home. I decided to leave street life and went back to church, and I was given another chance to serve at the alter again. The module on problem solving taught me never to be afraid of problems but to confidently face them as they come. I learnt to be creative to think outside the box and to have multiple alternatives to solve a problem. I used this skill when it was three weeks to our mock’s exams, and I had a pending fee balance at school. I decided to draw a picture of a miserable child, drew, and framed a picture of a woman being battered by her husband which I sold expensively and used the money for clearing my fees and gave some to mum for upkeep.
The module on family journey opened my eyes to realize my roles in a home. I used not to bother supporting mum but now I can cook, fetch water, sweep compound, and move around with my artwork to support mum financially. I also share a lot with her whenever she or I is stressed.
I do a lot of breathing exercise, go for church service, spend time doing my artwork which I learnt from TRP whenever I feel stressed up. This helps me to calm down.
Right now, I feel a bit relieved and much confidence to handle life. Though sometimes I worry a lot about my school fees, I believe God will help me through. For now, I look forward to working hard to pass my national primary leaving exams, perfecting my artwork because with art, I can express my emotions and release stress, I can earn money to support mum, and educate the community. I also look forward to reconciling with my dad during my vacation.
Much thanks to TRP especially the facilitators for bringing me from a nobody to someone. I always remember the word they tell us whenever at the forest “You can still be someone better and make the impossible possible if only you are open and ready to learn.”