I was born poor, but rich in mind. Life was not easy, but I had to be a strong little boy. I was staying in a rural area with Samson, my grandfather. At the age of 13 years old, I had to look for my grandfather’s cows.
I was a little boy, and my grandfather was a very scary man. If I didn’t get all the cows, he beat me to death. I grew up like an animal. I knew that if I didn’t get all the cows, I would have to go and look for a place to sleep at our neighbor’s house. He knew where I was hiding. He always came and looked for me. When I was 12 years old, I was strong like a man, thinking for myself. Only the other boys my age were scared of me. I beat them like they were beaten by someone who is much older than them. I was very strong. I didn’t find the cows, and I didn’t come back home. My grandfather sent his people to come and look for me and bring me to him so that he can beat me.
I had to sleep in the forest because I knew that he would come looking for me at my neighbor’s house. It was scary there. I was only sixteen years old doing grade eight. I missed my classes for almost two weeks sleeping in the forest. I didn’t find the cows, so my grandfather sent his people to come looking for me in the forest. They have to kill me if they find me because it was a long time not bringing his cows back home. I was eating only the fruits that were planted on the farm. I had no food for two weeks.
There were people that were looking after the farm. He informed them that there was a little boy that they had to kill if they see him near their farm. He even told them that wherever he is, he is without food, so when he comes to steal some fruit they will have to shoot him. I went to the farm, as I was sleeping in the forest near the farm. I went there to steal some fruit, and I find this man. He told me his name was Jackson, and he is waiting for me to kill me. He was informed by my grandfather to kill me. He said I was lucky that I found him near the trees, and that I have to take some fruit and go, but never return to the farm because the other men will kill me.
I finished all the fruit in the following week. There was no other way, I had to go back there and try to steal more fruit. The man noticed that I was coming and he was not alone, so he shot in the tree so that I would get scared and run. I ran. He told the other man that he thought there was a monkey in the tree. I slept with a hungry stomach in the middle of the night. I was sleeping on the farm in the stone.
I was used to sleeping on the farm because I had almost slept there a month. There was this big cold thing on top of me. When I opened my eyes, I realized it was a big snake. I was very scared and my heart was beating fast. I had to keep going. I was afraid that maybe the snake would come back. When I touched something, I cried thinking that maybe it was a snake. There was no other way, I had to go to another forest with that hungry stomach. When I got to another forest, there was a river with another farm with cabbage and meals.
The vegetables, I had to eat them as they are and drink water in the morning. I see the boys I used to go with when we would go looking for cows. They tie me and tell me we are taking you to your grandfather. I had to fight for myself. I bite them with my teeth like they were bitten by the dog. They let me go.
Later at night, when I had to go back to that farm because of the vegetables, I told myself that I would find myself a new home. There were lot of men there. I told myself that they are looking for me and I left. In the morning, I was weak and hungry. Jackson was looking for me. He found me laying near the river. He took me and said we have to keep going.
My granny has sent a lot of people to look for me. When we got to his house, he told me to feel at home and I have to go back to school. He would find me a way to take me to another school. I told myself it was a beginning of my new life.
Jackson treated me like I was his own flesh and blood, like he was my father. He told me that education is the fruit of life. He put it another way than my teacher used to say it, but he said education is the key to success. Every day when I had to go to school and eat food, I knew that this is all happening because of Uncle Jackson. He sacrificed everything for me. He even left his job for me. I had to make him proud of me, not regret helping me.
At school, I was faced with a lot of challenges when I was doing grade 12. Jackson was not working, but I had to go to urban areas for studying and libraries. He did everything he could so that I could get everything I need to pass my grade 12. As he was working on the farm, he had a lot experience in gardening. He had a small garden, and he was selling vegetables.
He was so excited when he heard that I passed my grade 12, and I was a top student. The school called him and told him that I was the best student. They gave me a scholarship to study and earn a degree. I was very happy having my own business. It was my dream. Uncle Jackson told me not to forget where I came from. He told me I had to make him proud; be a better man and always remember that education is the fruit of life. I was so happy because I could see my dream coming true.
After my studies at the university, I had to go back to my uncle’s house. I told him the path I chose was not an easy path. It won’t be easy for me to get a job because it needed someone with a lot of experience. He told me I was very smart, and I could do everything that I put my mind to. He told me it was just a matter of time. I was a lucky guy to have him. He was a father to me, a mother, my mentor, as well as my motivator.
I didn’t need someone in my life except him. There was a post from the farming industry. My uncle told me to apply for that post. I said I doubt that I will get a post that is worth of millions without job experience. In the post, they said they needed someone with a degree, and experience will be the good advantage. My uncle said I must have a little hope. If I have hope, everything is possible. After two weeks, I received the call from the department of agriculture.
I had long forgotten about that post because I was just applying and doubted I would get it. They asked me if am Nelson, and they invited me to come to their office. They said I did very well in my degree, so I do qualify for the post. They explained to me that the government had to buy that farm for someone who can take good care of it. I was happier than I have ever been in my life.
When I got back home, I was screaming. My uncle thought I was crying. He came running. I told him thanks my uncle, my dream has come true! I got that job. I am going to be the new owner of the farm that you were working on; the one that I was stealing fruit from when I was suffering. I have a big dream about that farm my uncle. I don’t want other people to suffer like me in my village while I am still alive.
As for you my uncle, I am giving you 30 percent of my share. I want us to own that farm together. That is the best I can do for everything that you did for me. I am so proud of you, my uncle. I am going to be a successful businessman because of you, my uncle. You are the best thing that ever happened in my life.
My boy I don’t know what to say, but I also think that you have to go to your family. They didn’t do anything to you. We can’t blame them for what your granny did to you. There was nothing they could do. Your granny was pig headed. Be a better, successful man. Family is everything to everyone. Your granny is now an old man who is just laying in bed, waiting for his day to come. Let’s just say he played his role in your life for what he did to you because he made you a real man.
I know it won’t be easy to face him, but forgive the old man and move on. He didn’t know what he was doing. You now have a business that is worth millions. You have a beautiful house, and you are educated. There is no use for holding grudges. Show him that you are better than him. Forgive him. I am proud of you.
Thanks uncle for your advice. It’s true when they say its takes a real man to survive. When I remember everything that I went through, I feel like crying. It was very painful, but if it was the reason for everything I have now, I am grateful. I can say my past is the scars to a better future.