NAME ::: Catherine Wangu COUNTRY ::: Kenya
I’m Catherine Wangu. I’m 46 years old and I have six children. I’m coming from Embu in Kenya. I’m working for different people. I go around and ask for work, so I work in the fields or at the houses of people. That is my only income, so I have to count that people give me work.
I grew up at a different place. But I was chased away from home by my parents, so I came here. My parents had no space for me anymore as I had too many brothers and sisters and was growing older. And I then got married to a guy and was told: “You can’t stay at home anymore.” But after some time he left me and I came here.
What is most important to you?
The life I would like to live is to have a good place to live. Right now, this place is very bad. So to have a good place for me and my children is very important to me. Right now, the thing that is most important to me are my children.
What has influenced you the most in your life?
Something that has influenced me a lot is that I have to pay the rent for the house and not having a stable income. This defined a lot of my life in the past until today.
My mother, when she was home with us children, she never really loved me. She always chased me away. That also had a lot of influence for me as a person, to not feel loved by her. To be some kind of black sheep in the family. I think at the end that defined a lot of how I feel as a person. Even today she is still treating me bad and I just don’t go there anymore. There was an occasion where a family member was in hospital but they did not even inform me. They just don’t want to talk to me anymore and not even see my children.
What has been an important turning point in your life?
I think a big change for me was when I got the goats as that helps me to provide for my children. That gives me a lot of joy. But beside that I think finding god had a good impact on me. Before I was sick quite often, but now I only go seldom to the hospital. It seems that finding god had a good impact on me.
Also to come here was important for me that changed a lot. The place is small, but I can be here with my children and I’m not dependend on my family.
What makes you happy?
I feel ok here, but when I talk about my past, I have a very hard time. But when I talk about that I’m independent now, that makes me happy. And seeing my children that is something that always makes me feel happy in a deep way.
What are you personally proud of?
God makes me proud and that I found god, because in the past I had such a hard time, but I feel that god helped me a lot to find myself, even when things are difficult. It gives me joy and confidence.
What have been the biggest struggles in your life?
Renting and keeping the house has been a major struggle for me as long as I can think as my work is so unstable. And sometimes that means there is not enough food for me and my children when I also have to pay rent for the house and for the school fees for my children.
What would you change in your life, if you could change something?
I think what I wish I could change would be to have a bit of land that I could plant and harvest from. Right now I only have a few squaremeters. With some land I could have also some space for my family and maybe it would even allow me to sell some of the crops.
What do you wish for your own future?
I would be very happy if I would have everything at home and a place where I would work constantly or have my own place where I could plant. But the best would be that I would own a hut myself that I don’t have to pay the rent every month as this has been a big struggle.