‘I was abandoned 50 years ago, at age one’
Fifty years ago, she was abandoned as a one-year-old at a city home. Since then, she has not been visited by anyone, nor been in contact with any relative.
But Flora Otiende, now working for an international agency in Nairobi, has not given up her hope of tracing her parents.
Even at 50 years of age, she has no idea who her biological parents and siblings are, from what ethnic group she comes, and most importantly, why she was abandoned. Flora has been trying to trace her roots for years.
But this endeavour has been an uphill task. Fine, she knows that she was abandoned by an “aunt” on June 30, 1962 . She also knows that she had only one name — Flora.
She was given her other name, Otiende, by officials of the Salvation Army Children’s Home in Nairobi, after they thought she resembled a Luhya.
Job and family
“Could you be my relative?” is the question the woman who says God has blessed her with a job and family is asking.
Her quest to trace her people is insatiable. “I always cross my fingers,” says Flora.
The records at the children’s home indicated she was abandoned by her aunt. A copy of the admission note reads: “Mother deserted her. Was brought to the Child Welfare Society by aunt. This aunt ran away from the office and left the child behind. No one appeared since. Mrs Ashton (who has since died) brought her here.”
“Here” meant the Salvation Army Children’s Home on Quarry Road.
Flora, who now works for an international organisation, was admitted to the children’s home on June 30,1962, and according to the home officials, she appeared to be one year old; they thus put her date of birth as June 30, 1961.
Her language, which was barely developed at the time, could not be relied on to determine her ethnic background.
Asked whether she thinks her parents were Luhya, she replies: “Your guess is as good as mine.”
Upon admission, the home immediately secured Mr Olof Larson, a Canadian, as her sponsor. Mr Olof was based in Sweden, but took a keen interest in Flora’s growth.
A year later, he wrote a letter to Lt. Commissioner F. J. Adlam, head of Salvation Army Children’s Home, inquiring about Flora. He enclosed a cheque for £8.4 as a gift for her.