Lucy started at Matunda in 2011 together with her brothers. She went to school, was a good student and had a future in her last year of grade school (Kenyans have eight grades of primary school). We had just finished a course in sex education, among other relevant items for young people, and then she got pregnant at 16.
Her life changed dramatically. She didn’t go to school, as she probably was ashamed, although she didn’t say so. We got her a new uniform that would cover her growing size, but she didn’t use it. Now she’s a statistic, one of the almost 20% of teenage girls in Kenya that get pregnant.
Young girls have a higher risk of death, as do their babies. They usually quit school and don’t go back. So far, Lucy is one of them.
She has final exams in November. She’s missed almost a year, so her grades would suffer should she choose to do so. She doesn’t have a job; her boy-friend does odd jobs that do not allow them to even feed themselves decently.
No one knows if Talia made it to nine months. They couldn’t afford check-ups or an ultra-sound. She probably was premature, as she was very small, still is almost three months. And the fact that she didn’t cry much may have been due to malnutrition; Lucy was not producing enough milk to feed her. But no one noticed.
She had dropped out of site and only came back just before Talia was born. She was to be taken for an ultra-sound, but the baby came before that could be done. Then she disappeared again, during which time the baby was not drinking enough. To add to the problem Lucy was also not eating enough – no money to pay for food.
Since then she has been coming to Matunda for meals. She was advised to feed the baby every four hours instead of waiting until she cried. She didn’t have a watch, clock or phone with the time, so we gave her a small alarm clock that could be used for feeding.
Talia seems to be doing better now; she’s alert and reacting better.
Back to school, a job, professional training? It’s all dependent on the baby; getting help to take care of her, and of course money. Neither is going to be coming from the parents, as the father has a drinking-problem, and the mother has been out of Lucy’s life for years.