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Environmental law

My name is Nyaboke a name that I inherited from my late grandmother the mother to my
father, whom I would have loved to have met. In the Kisii community that I come from it is
customary to take up the names of generational matriarchs, this name Nyaboke means honey
one who is born out of honey.
I grew up partly in what most Kenyans would call privilege or ‘wadosi’ a Swahili word loosely
defined as the rich. My father worked so hard to make sure that I and my siblings attended the
best schools in the country my mother on the other hand made sure that we got all the help
and attention on the basics of life as she also had a busy work schedule. As much as we went to
the best schools in the country we grew up with a father who was absent during most of our
childhood and therefore my mother took up most of the responsibilities including teaching my
brother how to be a man.
Having been raised by an absentee father and an extremely strict and religious mum who
constantly enshrined on as the responsibility that each of us have to each other, this mantra
later on became a testament at grade 11. Just as the years passed by my father was declared
redundant and he lost his job and therefore school fees amounted to arrears and my role as the
first born became even more pronounced as I was constantly taken out of class and sent to the
headmaster’s office to be told of these arrears and that I and my siblings should not attend
school until they are met.
It was during one of these visits that I decided to speak my mind, bearing in mind also that my
mother said that we were each other’s responsibility, I was at that time left with a month to sit
for my O levels , and you can imagine all the stress of exams and course work that was lingering
so I walked out of class courteously with a courageous demeanor, I adhered but this time I said
to myself it would be different . As I walked to headmaster’s office through corridors that were
familiar ,this time there was no fear in me because I knew what the headmaster was going to
say but this time my response would be different .
I conducted myself in the politest way possible and I told my headmaster that, Sir my dad has
no job and my siblings, and I need to be in school and if you send as home it is as who would be
losing and not my dad, Sir I would recommend that you call my dad the next time, and I looked
down and run back to class. The next day I went to school and I was never called back to the
office again.
In the African society there is this persistency and constant dogma that one needs to respect
their elders not matter how wrong they are and whatever wrong they have done to you, they
should be obeyed there was no question about that. Therefore, standing up to the headmaster
was brave and courageous but a 15 year old should never do that it is wrong.
It was at this age when I understood my surroundings in a more meaningful and abstract
manner where I came to understand the deep meaning of the words my mother said and the
repercussions and effects that my dad’s loss of employment impacted on as, as a family, other
than the fact that we could not attend the best school in the country meant that we would
have to look for cheaper housing. My mother decided that we should down grade to a two
bedroom one bath house. We then moved to the rural area of Rongai which 20 minuets from
school, and 10 minuets from my mother’s office. This is when my mum became the sole bread
winner and I as a first born carried the mantra more profoundly I was truly responsible for my
sibling’s wellbeing in school at home and overall.
At the age of fifteen I was able to wash cloths by hand, cook ugali and clean the house coupled
with taking care of my fourteen and eleven year old siblings. Leaving in a new neighborhood
where there was no running tap water and substandard to none sanitary standards, this was a
very big change to what we were accustomed to. We would buy water which would be
delivered to the block on the backs of beaten down, malnourished donkeys where it would be
sold for five shillings in ten litter jerrycans. This water would last as 2 weeks if we used it
economically, this cycle went on for the next four years.

Living in Rongai made me understand the importance of basic life commodities which I took for
granted especially the need to have toilets which flushed and living in an environment which
was free from human waste. It was during these four years my youngest sibling got so sick, she
was later diagnosed with cholera and typhoid which are the deadliest water borne diseases.
We were living in the most deplorable conditions where we used a bucket of water to flush
down waste in the toilet and we stored drinking water in a big black drum. Rongai is taught to
have one of the worst sanitation systems and it got worse during the long rainy days.

The sanitation system in Kenya, is mostly privatized, privatized in the sense that it is stricken by
the antecedents of poverty where certain individuals take advantage of poor sanitation systems
to sell basic commodities such as clean drinking water. Due to the poor nature of the sanitation
system which also includes sewage disposal my sister got sick and it would have been fatal.
Unfortunately although this took place years ago, even with the advent of the new
constitutional dispensation which under

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