Hildah Nyambura, 42, a crochet entrepreneur – letter to her mum, Phoebe Wambui, 71, a retired teacher.
No amount of words would perfectly express my gratitude for having you as my mother and to appreciate all you have done for me and my siblings.
I look at my siblings and wonder how you managed to raise seven small humans into amazing grownups, teach five days a week, farm on Saturdays, and serve in church on Sundays.
You played the role of a doctor, too, with your homemade remedies, like raw eggs for a cough, and still managed to keep it all together.
I believe only a resilient and patient woman would handle that. You nailed it, mum.
When I found out I had cancer in 2017, which was five years after dad died of cancer, I was shaken.
Thanks to you for instilling the value of love and support within the family; you and my siblings provided overwhelming support through my cancer journey.
You made frequent calls, visited me at the hospital and home during my chemo sessions until I was cancer-free. You made the journey more bearable and I thank you for that.
Nyina wa Kimemia, thank you for teaching me your magic cooking tricks when I was young.
Though at times I felt like you were punishing me, I now see the value as I prepare delicious meals for my family.
Thank you for showing me how to love others, for teaching me to be kind and considerate like you are, and the importance of sharing the little one has with others.
Thank you for always making time to listen and give me advice when I needed a wise woman’s advice.
How can I forget the life skill you taught me? How to knit, crochet, and make baskets. I remember you once saying, “In case you lose your job, will you stay at home, borrow money all the time, or watch your kids die of hunger?”
For three years now I have commercially crocheted scarfs, ponchos, table mats, and I am currently perfecting crocheting handbags and sandals.
I am looking forward to opening a shop and providing more of my artistic works, thanks to you.
Mum, I would have loved to come over with my family and spend Mother’s Day with you, but that is not possible.
I hope this letter will make you smile in this complicated situation we find ourselves in.
Monicah Nyakio, 23, recent graduate – letter to her mum, Naomi Muthoni Guchu, 43, a businesswoman
Happy mother’s day to you! I am privileged to be celebrating the best mother in the entire world. I am eternally grateful to God for choosing you to be my mother.
You have been the greatest blessings in my life. Given a chance today, I would choose you to be my mother over and over again.
At 23, I am now able to understand motherhood. I am now aware of how hard it was for you to raise me and my brother as a single mum.
You did not allow the absence of my father to dampen your spirit. You ran your business to ensure that we had food on the table, a roof over our heads, and an education.
Look at me now! You did it and you did an excellent job. I have inherited that same spirit from you, a spirit of resilience.
Mummie, I am grateful that you have a relationship with God and strived to ensure we have one too.
I now know that He is the one who helped you through the hard times and gave you the wisdom to raise both of us by yourself. Thank you for fighting those battles on your knee.
Thank you for not just being the woman who gave birth to me but my friend as well. An ally that I can confide in and one who will never stab me in the back.
I have learnt that not all mothers are their daughter’s best friend like we are, that is why I appreciate you for developing that relationship with me at a tender age.
You encouraged my dreams and aspirations. Mum, do you remember the time when my academic performance was not good?
We would receive my report card at the end of the term and we would both cry because, as usual, I was among the last.
At some point, my teachers gave up on me and they would call me names. I thought that you would also lose hope in me and punish me for the poor performance.
Instead, you bought me all the study materials I required, encouraged me to keep working hard and to believe in myself.
Thank you for believing in me even when it seemed like I would not amount to anything. Now I have a degree in Education Arts, thanks to your belief in me.
I appreciate you teaching me appropriate moral values, which have enabled me to fit in society. Thank you for reprimanding me and my brother whenever we went astray and for the wise counsel you offer.
One of the greatest lessons I have learnt from you is not to feel inferior because of any of my shortcomings.
When I become a mother someday, I want to be like you. You are the best role model for me. The perfect example of what motherhood means.
I want to raise my children as you raised me. I want to love them as you love me, believe in them as you believe in me.
I want to have an unshakeable faith like yours. Happy Mother’s Day to the best mother in the whole world.
Naitiemu Nyanjom, 25, a material artist – letter to her mum Elizabeth Rikanna, 58, a teacher
As I write this, I realise tomorrow is your birthday. You will be turning 58! Oh, how time has passed since I was a baby, to now, an adult trying to figure their way through life.
Mum, I appreciate all the values I have learnt from you. Dad passed away when I was only 15, and since then, you have single-handedly taken care of all four of us, seen us through school, and ensured that we don’t lack. This has not been easy for you.
You are known by many to be the tough ‘Mwalimu’ because you’ve spent many years teaching many people, and one consistent characteristic about you is that you only settle for the best results.
Growing up, I never really appreciated this aspect of you, but now I am so grateful because you made me a hardcore.
You taught me that to stumble is not to fall, and regardless of whether we fall or not, we have to pursue everything with great determination.
Just like you were able to attain an education in a situation (Being Maasai girl) where others would have considered impossible.
You taught me to unapologetically believe in myself and the abilities gifted to me, and to pursue my goals with ruthless consistency.
You nurtured a spirit of love for the community and the environment in us from a young age. I remember how you insisted on sharing everything that we have.
Many times our house would be full because we always housed other relatives. You were also very strict about littering.
You instilled a habit of conservation and innovation within us, making sure that we re-purpose waste into useful materials.
You taught me how to save money and how to calculate profits and losses within ‘my business’.
Mum, you harnessed within me skills of entrepreneurship and always reminded me that I have to be independent.
You did teach me the basics of running a business and seeking opportunities from an early age because you told me that opportunities follow the prepared.
I remember when I first made sales out of paintings and you advised me to invest the money in buying sheep to earn profits the next year. Thank you for this preparation in life.
When I was broken-hearted by a boy, you told me that I have to be strong and love myself more. That helped me through campus.
You made me believe in myself and pursue the things I love. Not once did you discourage me from exploring and experimenting: from basketball to designing clothes, to art, throughout Engineering school.
Now that I am successfully pursuing my career as an artist, it’s the belief that you’ve had in me despite not fully understanding the quests that have kept me afloat.
You never discouraged me. I am grateful. You have been a shoulder to lean on in low moments.
We have celebrated our victories and mourned together, had moments of misunderstandings, anger, and fear, which we have talked through honestly.
After all this, I couldn’t ask for any other mother. You are the best!
The mother of a special child
Mercy Mugure, 35, executive producer – letter to her mum Gladys Gichunge, 65, a farmer
Mama, I am forever grateful for the amazing love and care you have always given me. Now that I am a mother, I understand the love of a mother better; I’m always your little girl “Kagure” as you fondly call me.
Mama, you raised me not as a special child but a woman to conquer the world with all its challenges.
As a little girl, you made me accept my disability that developed due to osteomyelitis, by reminding me that we are all God’s creation and are always undergoing modification.
Mama, I remember, you carried me on your back to and from church and school when I couldn’t walk.
In the church, I learnt the love of God, built my strong faith and also character. In school I got the empowerment to be the woman I am today.
Were it not for those sacrifices you made, mama, I don’t know where I would be, probably still in the village as a dependent.
Someone said, when you educate a girl you educate a nation, yes mama, today I am a mentor to over 30 girls and women with disabilities, sharing my experiences with them and impacting their lives positively, which is fulfilling. You taught me to be always there for others.
Mama, little did we know years later at the age of 60 you would lose your eyesight to diabetes and leukaemia complications.
Mama, 2015 was a defining year for you, you went through physical and emotional pain, and you had given up on life and called out to death to take you home.
I reminded you of your unfinished business and we made a deal that you had to overcome leukaemia for me.
You had to live to walk me down the aisle and give me away to my husband during my wedding day; you had to wait and play with my babies.
Please remember you have partly fulfilled our deal, keep strong. I pray daily for you and I believe God – who answered our prayers then – will still grant you more years to see more grandchildren.
My son enjoys your company when you are around and your daily phone conversations. I know you feel his love and care.
The last time you visited, we loved the mukimo you prepared for us. Our son enjoyed holding your white cane to guide you, though he is too young to understand why you can’t open your eyes.
Mama, please stay strong and don’t give up, so that you can share more.
We love you, mama. God bless you. Thank you, mama, and happy mother’s day.