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Prodigal teenager returns home after squandering Sh20K on betting

When she left for Muscat, Oman for her business trip last month Ms Amina (not her real name) left her two children under the care of their house help in Mombasa.

Her first born, 17 year-old Form Four leaver, was literally in charge of the family.

Thus when she reached her destination, Ms Amina sent him Sh20, 000 for her children’s use. However, a week before she could return to Mombasa, her son had lost all the money on betting.

The boy had used his mother’s phone to bet; it’s the phone his mother had left behind to allow her communicate with her children from abroad.


The Arsenal FC fan did not win a single bet.

“At first I spent Sh5, 000. I thought I would win and return my mother’s cash. But when I played again I lost the entire cash,” the teary boy told journalists on Monday.

A day after Ms Amina’s return, the boy escaped from home to avoid his mother’s wrath. He lied that he was going for his computer classes never to be seen for days.

“I left home because I was afraid my mother would ask me about the money which I had spent on betting. I feared her and I knew she would punish me, that is why decided I should go away from home,” he said.

He went to Ukunda, Kwale County, using his Sh150 he had been given as pocket money.

“It was my first time going to Ukunda and I decided to go to the beach. I lived under a small tree just to be away from my mother,” he said.


He stayed at the beach for the nine days, surviving on wild fruits while living under the tree.

“I could drink the sea water just to survive as I had no money with me and I was afraid to ask from people as I knew they might harm me,” he added as he sobbed uncontrollably in front of his mother.

At night, he slept in boats at the beach.

On Sunday, after spending 10 days from home, as he sheltered in a small makuti-thatched structure at the beach to protect himself from the rain, he finally gathered courage to reach out to his mother and apologise.

He used the phone of a Good Samaritan.

“He was very weak when I saw him. He complained that he was hungry and that is why I decided to help him. We waited for the parent who contacted me through my phone and we met at the main bus stage,” said the Good Samaritan.


Ms Amina fainted when she finally met her son and had to be rushed to hospital. She later narrated to journalists her agony of the last nine days.

“I thank God I managed to get my son. I have gone through hard time in the last one week. I have not been able to sleep. These new games are hurting our children,” said Ms Amina.

Muslims for Human Rights (Muhuri) chairman Khelef Khalifa called on the government to come up with measures to deal with sports betting.

“The trend is very dangerous and the government has to do something about it. We are heading at a wrong direction with these menace. If a 17 year old can spend Sh20, 000, what more incidents do we need to see that our society is tumbling down,” said Mr Khalifa.