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“Al Shabaab tried to recruit my son.”

“At first, my son worked as a storekeeper. He was hardworking, he wore his hair in dreadlocks and loved listening to reggae music. Then he and some friends began listening to the preaching of a radical imam in Majengo. He shaved his dreadlocks and wore his trousers above the ankle. I was happy that my son was neat and respectful and his prayers were on time. I found out he resigned from his job. I was cleaning his room one day and I saw his letter of resignation. Upon asking him, he lashed out at me, that I’m was going through his things without permission. His behavior started to change drastically.

I heard from some women children were being radicalized, traveling to Somalia for a cause “to go to Paradise” and a radical imam was behind this. I was furious, scared and worried, as I hadn’t seen my son for over one week. I went to look for the imam and found him standing outside the Mosque with a few of the youth. I asked, “Did you send my son to Somalia?” He didn’t respond. I told him If he does not bring my son back within two days, I would knock on every door in the government to expose him. He smiled, looked at the boys and asked them why they brought him a politician’s son? They did not answer. I warned him again I planned to visit him in two days and he would have to deal with the consequences if my son was not returned. The next day, my son called from Mombasa. I asked him when will he come back and he said soon. My son arrived home safe. Eventually, my son moved out of Majengo to rebuild his life.

Throughout this whole journey, I was stressed and frustrated but the Kumekucha program helped me overcome and deal with issues I have carried for so long in my heart. I am now in a better position to plan my future than I was before.”

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