Nana, the youngest attendant in the group, had been looking for a way of expressing that, literally, she hated attending those evening Bible studies. The studies had dominated the family leisure times in the evening for more than a year, bringing together men and women, at least nine but the number could bloat when people felt they were in dire need of God’s intervention.

The venue for the studies shifted from one family to another, chaired by the pastor who was Nana’s father. It took place from seven o’clock and, in most cases provided supper for the attendants. They read out and discussed topical Bible verses relevant to the occasion.

    Nana’s parents, whom she thought were fanatics especially the mother, would have loved to see her attend all the sittings in order to keep away from evil temptations. But of late she had devised ways of dodging the studies, hiding under fake ailments, usually headaches, upset stomach, or school homework. Thank God the studies took place once per week.

Nana had no atheist inclinations, other than the feeling that they overdid things, always chorusing, “For God loved the world that he sent his only begotten son to die and save people from sin and give them everlasting life.” They crowned their reading with hymns.

Pastor Joseph Ndoy lisped, making it difficult for people to distinguish when he was saying “this” and “these” which sounded like ‘shhis.” Nana didn’t like their usual too long, circular and repetitive prayers which, at times, made Nana doze off.

Mark Lia who loved looking religious, was the best friend of Nana’s father. He was usually in standby to lead the studies if and when Pastor Joseph Ndoy was not present.

Mark Lia, blessed by God with material things and the most well up in the group, had a double-cabin pick up. When the session took place at his home he made it a feast. When crying “Praise the Lord” his coarse voice was loudest.

One evening when the study was taking place at Nana’s home, at the end of the deliberation Pastor Joseph Ndoy was engaged in sealing the session by his long and winding prayer when Nana felt tired of keeping her eyes shut. The eyes flew open and she was shocked by catching Mark Lia, staring at her face.

Lia blinked with the embarrassment of being caught with his pants down, but it was too late for him to withdraw the stare. Nana expressed her disturbed curiosity by keeping the stare. They stared at each other and disconnected from the prayer as Nana wondered what Lia had been thinking to stare at her like that. Lia cracked an adulterous smile at her. She smiled timidly.

Nana knew Lia had always admired her. He had expressed that admiration by engaging in some flirtatious punches relating to how beautiful she looked. She had already seen that he loved sitting close to her.

Lia was a married man with two children. Of late his wife had been missing most of the studies due to her last child who had delicate health.

The stares stayed but Nana’s appeared cynically demanding, “Why are you staring at me?” Lia’s responded seductively as if to ask, “Don’t you know that you are a woman and I am a man?” Then the cat came out of bag when his left eye flashed a wink at her. She smiled and swallowed the embarrassment. Then for a while their eyes engaged in a cat-and-mouse dialogue. She was not amused at all and wondered how often in the past Lia had stolen watching during the prayers.

They picked the closing words of Pastor Joseph Ndoy then both closed their eyes to sing, “Amen.”

“Praise the Lord!” the pastor emphasized.

The evening left Nana worried about Mark Lia’s motive, which he mystified by his increased new visits to chat politics with Nana’s father. Nana’s mother didn’t like Lia. She claimed he talked too much and didn’t give anyone a space to squeeze in a word.

One day over a weekend in which Nana’s parents had traveled to the countryside to attend a funeral of a villager, Mark Lia paid a visit under the pretext that he was not aware of the funeral function. He found Nana preparing herself to go downtown to cinema to watch a blockbuster film.

“Come, I’ll give you a lift,” offered Lia and Nana accepted the lift that she would live to regret. He took her out of Nairobi and raped her after which he threatened, “If you dare tell anybody about this, I want you to go home bearing the awareness that I’ve got all the money to hire a hit man to shoot you very dead.

Mark Lia disappeared completely from attending the evening Bible studies. Besides, he did his best to evade Nana’s parents.

The worst befell upon Nana when she missed her monthly periods. She was barely sixteen, doing her secondary school education, in Form Three. She kept the pregnancy to herself, wondering how she could help herself by resorting to abortion. She had no money for that.

Nobody could tell Nana how her parents would react if she disclosed that she was pregnant. She would suffer from the wrath of her father. For sure he would stop paying school fees and, adding insult to the injury, being a draconic disciplinarian powered by being born again through the blood of Jesus Christ, he would beat up Nana for defiling his home. She loved education and was one of the most promising students in her class.

As it had happened to some girls, so it happened to Nana that she succeeded in concealing the pregnancy absolutely, even from her mother, by smothering her womb with cloths, which sometimes made it difficult for her to breath or bend. Her father had lived with the faith and complacency that the power of the blood of Jesus Christ would protect his daughter from sin.

But Nana was faced by the worst catastrophe when she realized that nobody had ever succeeded in covering pregnancy forever. She knew too well that any time from now she would deliver. So she thought out for a safe venue. When she had stolen enough money from her mother for the course she decided to go underground by taking a countryside bus to western Kenya, prepared to cross over to Uganda. But by the time she reached Nakuru town her body could not carry her any further. She hired accommodation in the backyard somewhere.


 She had a concrete plan that after birth she would know what to do with the baby, perhaps abandon it then return to Nairobi. Nothing happened to her until the fourth day at Nakuru town.

It was a blessing when the labour pains struck that a Samaritan woman with access to a nurse living in the slum helped Nana deliver a baby girl successfully. Nana lied to them that she was on her way home to Kitale from Nairobi.

“Stay at least for three days before traveling with your baby,” advised the good Samaritan woman. They did the best to help her for three days. The few days that she had spent before the delivery had given her time to look around, just waiting for the moment.

Now she feared that if she stayed any longer she would run short of money. So she decided to act fast. On the third day after delivery, a day that rained cats and dogs, she wrapped her baby with a towel and took a road she had seen leading to a high class estate, leading to a particular house she had spotted with a see-through gate.

She arrived at the house at the opportune moment when the next downpour was about to strike. She rattled the gate calling out for shelter. Someone opened the gate for her and sympathetically whisked her to the house.

Just as soon as she had entered the house a car arrived and a couple poured out the car and rushed for shelter when the rain had started falling in heavy drops. Nana thought quickly when she spotted the arrival of the car and the onset of the rain. She placed the baby on a nearby sofa then tossed out of the house and vanished into the downpour. She ran for a distance irrespective of being drenched. Only when she thought she had got away securely did she look for a shelter somewhere.


Ten days after Nana’s disappearance from home she returned with a believable story to her parents that she had been kidnapped by a stranger man who drove her to Kitale and forced marriage on her. “I used my intelligence to free myself,” she added. Besides milking herself, she had been treating her breasts with salt water, as she had heard, to overcome the overbearing pain of milk in the breasts.

Nana’s parents received her with tears and delivered the longest prayer, thanking God for saving their daughter from the evil minded captor.

It was that time when Nana’s father ran into Mark Lia downtown and cried, “Oh my God, Mark, what happened that you dropped from the evening Bible studies?”

“Too many involvements,” he said cheekily. “These days I’ve got hardly any time to myself. How have the studies been getting on?”

“Wonderful, praise the Lord,” cried Joseph. “We’ve been missing you but praying for you.” He tried to crack a joke, “We’ve been wondering whether, by any chance, you stepped on one of the too many traps set by Satan on our paths.”

The joke shocked Mark Lia, but he did his best to hide it as his frightened eyes searched Joseph’s face anxiously for any clue that he knew something. But Joseph’s face remained flat and blank. He got the courage to reply, “I’ve been in God’s good hand, praise the Lord!” If he had a slip of the tongue he would have said, “I’ve been in your daughter’s good flesh.”


It was a terrible night for the couple where Nana had deposited the baby. The man, Dr Koech arap Choge was a lecturer at the Kabaraka University while his wife, Winnie, ran a salon joint at Nakuru town. They had three children, one son and two daughters. The eldest, a son, was a first year student at the Kabarak University while the others were in secondary school.

“Koech,” panicked the infuriated Winnie, “what the hell is this?” she pointed at the crying infant whom she didn’t want even to touch.

“It’s a child,” Koech retaliated heating up because he read his wife’s mind. They had once fought a battle to dispel a post graduate student girl Koech had been dating having promised her marriage under the pretext that he wanted a more educated and inspiring woman unlike Winnie who had never been to university.

The fight had nearly broken the marriage. But even after reforming, the marriage remained restrained and his wife lived with a big scar. Now the baby dumped at their home hit the scar and the wound resurrected.  

Now she boiled and spurted, “Koech, I knew one day you’d throw shit on my face. This is it!”

“Winnie,” he fought in vain, “I swear by the breast of my mother that I don’t know the mother of this child. She must have mistaken the house.”

“Oh yeah, you want me to believe you? Now you’ve got reason to marry the mother – damn you, I don’t want to listen to you!”

“Winnie!” he roared violently fighting a losing battle. The home smoked with the heat of quarrel. Every word she made in the quarrel burnt him. He feared that the only thing left to contain Winnie was violence. Winnie, possessive by nature, was not made out of the brass that takes challenges lying down. She dictated, “Bring the mother of the baby then we can talk!”

“Winnie, that’s demanding a pound of flesh from me!”

Winnie launched the biggest threat to dislodge her husband out of what she thought was his hiding. Two days after the fight she closed her salon and returned to her parental home in the Nandi Hills, vowing never to come back until he produced the mother of the baby.

Koech thought of surrendering the child to the police, but he realized that such move would only make the matter worse. Winnie would read nothing else from it but marital mischief in the hiding of both the child and the mother.

On the other hand, the incident had caused mysterious anxiety and sympathy in his heart in which he felt as if it was a baby angel that had been brought to his home. At whatever cost he decided to keep the baby. The circumstances in which the baby girl had been brought to him prompted him to name her Chemarus.


Although Nana’s parents bought the story of her disappearance, they read every form of disturbance from her face. Within such a short time she had lost weight.

Three days after her return she fell seriously ill and was hospitalized. The hospital examination revealed something they had never imagined. “Your daughter’s body bears witness she had gone either through abortion or delivery.”

“Oh my God!” the parents cried and. As husbands are commonly known to act in such circumstance, Joseph turned fiercely against his wife, blaming her for what he described as awfully sinful behaviour of her daughter, claiming that she had hidden the matter from his knowledge and that, she together with the daughter, had arranged for Nana to travel to a secret place and abort.

Nana’s mother couldn’t convince the father. In fact, domestic riot broke out in which her father suspended the evening Bible studies, put the Bible aside in order to deal with his wife and their sinful daughter who, as he put it, was getting initiated into prostitution.

A week after Nana had been discharged from hospital, the father decided to use violence and beat sense back into her mind. He gave her several slaps and threatened, “I’ll destroy you if you don’t disclose to me what happened. If it was abortion, you must tell me where it took place and what happened to the child. If you killed it, I demand you tell me where you threw the body, whether in a pit latrine or in the forest somewhere.”

Remembering Lia’s death threat, now she was torn between being destroyed by her father and being killed by Lia. She broke and told the most shocking story she had never dreamt of telling. She described what Mark Lia had done to her and the death threat as the aftermath of the rape. Then she disclosed what exactly she had done in Nakuru and where she had deposited the baby.

Circumstances forced Pastor Joseph Ndoy to bite the bullet. After making arrangements, three men left for Nakuru accompanied by Nana. It was the greatest relief for Dr Koech arap Choge, who demanded that the baby would only be taken away in presence of his wife.


Pastor Joseph Ndoy did not call Mark Lia to come home. One day he stormed at his home in flames, ready to destroy Lia for the crime. This time, without crying “Praise the Lord,” Mark Lia implored, “Joseph, I’ve got no words with which to express my heinous crime. Please, don’t take me anywhere; ask for whatever compensation and I’ll pay even if it be half of my estate and let the matter remain between you and the four walls. Spare me destruction before my family.”

Through a proxy Mark Lia helped Nana open a bank account in which Mark Lia deposited enough money to bring up the child for eighteen years and educate her through university. Since he could not raise the money, he sold one of his city plots to get the money.

Nana lived to wonder whether the “Evening Bible Studies” had been a blessing in disguise for, her father with his mean pastoral earnings, could not have afforded to educate her to get her Bachelors Degree in Economics, which gave her a good job in a bank.