Young man from Lebanon Alexander Badran search for his Kenyan family
Alexander Bedran, 25, has lived most of his life in Lebanon but he often sees himself as Kenyan as well.
Based on narratives from his Lebanese father and his late mother, Alexander has come to learn of his Kenyan roots. He knows he has Kenyan grandparents, has a Kenyan birth certificate and even spent the first two years of his life there.
The urge to look for his relatives in Kenya has seen him visit the Kenyan Consulate in Beirut and write letters to the Kenyan Embassy in Kuwait (which is accredited Lebanon). None of them were helpful but they advised him to travel to Kenya and apply for his Kenyan citizenship documents.
Last week, he spoke to the Nation, hoping that one day, his grandparents, uncles or aunts will read it and bring him home. Here is his story:
“My name is Alexander Badran. I am Kenyan or Lebanese, actually both. I am 25 years old. I was born in Kenya on March 11, 1995 at the Mombasa Hospital. I have decided to come to you through the Nation because I am trying to find my mother’s relatives, siblings or any of her relatives. I have tried on my own the past couple of years through social media, browsing through names that relate to my mother’s and those I heard my father mention. I have not been lucky.
I don’t know why I want to contact them. I don’t have a reason, which may sound awkward, really, but I guess I just want to connect with my family as I have never had a sense of family. I never had one from my parents. I never knew relatives from my mother’s side and those from my father’s side as they never stayed in touch. My father had continual family feuds with my grandfather. My entire family tree has always been a mystery to me.
My mother’s name was Jacinta Mueni Kitinga. She was born sometime between 1972 and 1974. She was initially protestant though I don’t know the exact denomination. She had a brother named Alfred who was either a priest or a cleric in a church. Her mother, my grandmother, was called Rachel. Her father was David or Daniel; I am not sure. My mother was living in Mombasa when she met my father. They later relocated to Lebanon.
My mother was of Kikuyu and Kamba descent. I can’t remember exact details but my mother mentioned that my grandfather might have had a house or lived near Lake Victoria.
My father’s name is Ahmad Yousef Badran. He is Lebanese. He was born in November 1952 or 1953. My relationship with my father wasn’t perfect. I viewed him as a strange man because he often lied to people.
I cannot confirm if whatever he told me about my mother was accurate. According to him, he met my mother while on leave. He had been working as the captain of a ship for the ICRC. He says he met my mother while on a safari. I am not sure where that was.
I remember my father mentioning that he married my mother only so she could take care of his two other children from a previous marriage after the wife died. Those children were eventually abandoned as they lived in Manilla in the Philippines.
About a year prior to marrying my father, my mother converted to Islam and changed her first name to Iman. However, I am not sure if she legally changed it.
I remember my mother mentioning that she had worked in tea plantations in Kenya when she was younger.
My parents mentioned quite often a man named Paul Kelly, who may or may not have been the boss or contractor where my father worked at the time.
After I was born, we lived for about a year in Mombasa. But I remember Nairobi was mentioned often even though I don’t know if we ever lived there or if my father’s work place was based there.
My parents then moved to Cyprus for about a year. A year later, when my grandfather (father’s side) was about to die, they relocated to Lebanon as my father and his siblings were seeking their inheritance.
While in Lebanon, my mother was never allowed to communicate with her family back in Kenya. She was not allowed to learn Arabic or go out to meet anyone or see anything.
My mother, however, secretly made friends with a union of international women in Lebanon who were her only friends and source of companionship. My father still forbade her from ever seeing or talking to them.
As the years went by, she became more miserable and lost all hope. Fast forward to 2005 and my parents fought physically almost daily, sometimes every 15 minutes. My memory of this time is of running to the neighbours to ask for help to separate them. Each day my father returned home, he unleashed his rage from work on her and beat her senseless.
My father claimed my mother was insane when people asked about her.
In August 2007, or perhaps 2008, she committed suicide through electrocution. The neighbours saw her intentionally hold onto an electric wire until she died. That same day my father had threatened to send my mother to a mental asylum, saying she would be locked up. Weeks before her death, she asked for a divorce but my father laughed it off and beat her whenever she mentioned it.
When the police arrived to investigate her death, he portrayed himself as the victim and described himself as a loving father and husband.
My father took me out of school multiple times until Grade Seven when he stopped my education for unknown reasons.
Years later in 2016, I ran away from home. I packed everything I had and never looked back. However, my mother’s legal papers from Kenya are all missing. I did menial jobs and saved enough to study digital marketing in a vocational school. I got my degree recently.
In my attempt to reconcile and forgive my father, I met him in July 2020 for the first time since leaving home.
I put grudges and hatred aside and asked for my mother’s Kenyan ID, marriage certificate or any legal document of hers. He claimed to have lost them all or to have forgotten to collect them from a local Mukhtar (title for a village chief in Lebanon).
He also claimed they were left in the morgue where my mother’s body was kept. Both the Muktar and the morgue deny retaining any papers.
My father still stays with my younger sister. He often locks her up, which causes me to worry about her mental health.
I believe I have been denied my right to acquire my Kenyan nationality because of the chaos in my immediate family. I once reached out to the Kenyan Consulate in Lebanon and was advised to be physically present in Kenya while applying.
I have been so desperate in the past. I had never met a Kenyan so when I met a Ugandan hairdresser, I asked if she knew my relatives.
I figured that since the two countries neighbour each other, he might know someone in Kenya who might connect me to my relatives.
The only Kenyan document I have is a birth certificate. My mother gave it to me years back and told me to guard it jealously. She said it could one day help me. I hope it does.
By Aggrey Mutambo
Young man from Lebanon Alexander Badran search for his Kenyan family