He spent early childhood as a herd’s boy, looking after the livestock of the family. He traveled extensively with members of the community across the vast pastoral lands between Garissa and Isiolo counties where the family roamed in search of water and pasture for their animals that constituted the only source of livelihood.
At the age of about 13 he was seriously wounded by raiders, cattle wrestlers who also killed 8 members of his extended family and relatives. The incident left him, through spinal cord injury, paralyzed from the west down. That was a time when there were no medical facilities to cater for the resultant complications and after basic treatments initially at Maralal and later in Meru hospitals –only for the spear wounds but no rehabilitation to deal with spinal injury complications and the resultant disability.
I was born and brought up in the plains of Mandera County. Mandera is, in many ways, our Timbuktu - that far off and remote place. Largely sandy and hot enough to ‘scald’ soft feet of the school going children. In many ways, it is the byword of poverty and neglect over the years. Nomadic communities there traverse the vast plains in search of water and pasture. It is among the poorest counties in Kenya that devolution under the current dispensation seeks to fast track to development.
In a polygamous family of over thirty siblings, I was the last born on my mother’s side. I grew up as a gifted child; striving to be amongst the very best in my class. My family and community had great hopes in me. They hoped I would excel and pull them from the laurels of poverty. After excelling in primary and secondary school, I joined Kenyatta University. The joy in my family was indescribable. I was the first child from our extended family of Reer Bilikha to join university.