Experience told to Florence Mwaura a Psychological Counselor at Suruvi HomeCare Sevices

Hey you! Yes you, thank you for clicking that button that led you here. I hope you stay as we ride through my never told experiences as a young male caregiver. It is a learning process for me (hopefully for you too) as I look to discover aspects of my life that I was not keen to investigate. Welcome aboard!

My name is James Munguti and my father’s name is Kasomo. I am a son, a brother, a friend, a neighbour, someone’s crush( or so I hope) but most importantly, a grandson to a wonderful woman who I got the opportunity to care for. I would say that before my interaction with the Connection cafe run by Suruvi HomeCare services, I would have deemed caregiving as a general responsibility that everyone does. Some intensely, others easy and others, well somewhere in between. As I unfold my caregiving experience, I start by taking this opportunity to offer my heartfelt gratitude to the Suruvi Cafe, for the social and informative platform it provides for different caregivers to interact, share and encourage each other through their caregiving journey.


My grandmother came to board with us when I was around 11 years. Back then, I was in the throes of adolescence; balancing school work and fantasizing with the beautiful girls in our class. Well, I still daydream about the random melanin, sleek girls I bump into, as I hope to find THE one. The highlights of my days when grandma was around, was when she prepared this wonderful, finger-licking meals that always left me a happy boy. We all know African grandmothers, food is the best way they know how to show their love and care. Biased too by the belief that a wealthy man is known by his weight. Bless grandmothers, they do have a special place in our hearts. 


Shosh (Grandma) stayed with us throughout her ageing life. I saw her transition through strength and maturity to become fully dependent on us, much like an infant. This started with the wrinkling of her skin, increasingly shaky hands and eventually falling hair, poor vision and difficulty in speech. Sometimes she forgot who she was or where she was. Taking into account she was the life of the house, it was hard to come to peace with the fact that she was no longer the same. Other times she would wake up at weird hours of the night to go to the “shamba” because she needed to till the land in preparation for the rains. Still other times we would meet with her outside the gate holding a conversation with the invisible others. No one prepares you for such experiences, in fact, the saying, we are all just strangers passing by in this world, never hit home as it did during this period. I carry it to heart to date.


After I left high school, I was excited to join the free world in university. I looked forward to socialising, meeting new people, going to different places. See those fantasies we all build when we visualise what we want, yea I had them too. My first semester was all fun and getting to know people, but that was it for me. During this time, grandmothers’ condition had worsened. She had no control of her bladder, she was unable to feed herself and well, there was a lot of medication that needed to be administered. Did I mention I am the firstborn? If not, well, I am. My sibling was in primary school and so it became automatic that I was the one who had to be present. My parents??? They both were working through crazy shifts so that they could afford grandma’s medical bills while still taking care of us. I, therefore, had no choice but to be present. Let me be honest, being a young adult and having so many expectations for my life yet having such key responsibilities sometimes became overwhelming. There were times I got angry at the frustration but the family remained my first priority. I would juggle between lessons and going back home almost immediately after the lessons ended. Sometimes I would walk into classes late, other times miss the classes altogether. 

My only social life revolved around my neighbours, whom I only saw once in a while and the youths at my church. Sunday became my favourite day of the week because only then was I granted a break from my caregiving duties.


Life does not come with an instruction manual. People say that you should learn from other people, but I think it is also wise to live through your moments and learn as you go through each life season. 

At my young age, I was taking care of my grandma, while my peers recklessly jumped from one party to the next. Sometimes I look at these situations and think I would have probably wrecked my youth but this opportunity gave me a reason to mature, think over matters and most importantly, be responsible. 

There times I would quarrel with my parents to the point of dishing out silent treatments, but through everything, I learnt the art of obedience over sacrifice. I do not take anything for granted these days, we live, we learn and life moves on regardless. 

I do wish however, someone prepared me mentally for this because I sometimes feel it robbed me of the chance to be expressive, I am an introvert by nature but now I am an extreme introvert.

My grandma finally got her rest when I was in my third year. Yes, I was the one who confirmed her death because I was still carrying out my duties as the caregiver. It still scares me to date but I am thankful for friends who cheer me up and most especially for this platform that has enabled me to air out my story.

I am still healing, unlearning as I learn new ways of living with people. If this is anything, life hits everyone differently, and one of the worst thing one can ever do is remain on the dirty ground when it gives you a blow. Like my grandmother used to say, seize every moment and live it to your best. Carpe Diem.



  1. Noor Ali says:

    Wonderful! I like it

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