Roy Allan is a reformed criminal who was forced to survive on the streets after his father abandoned them when he was only four years old.
Allan beat many odds, including drug abuse and mob justice, and is now a pastor in Nairobi.
He shared his story with the Nairobian.
How did you find yourself on the streets?
I was forced to become a street child after my father disappeared from home. When I was still a young boy, (four years) my father disappeared from our home in Korogocho slum. My mother was a housewife and so this left our family in desperation. After a while and the struggles associated with sleeping hungry, my twin sister and I did not have an option but to drop out of school and become street children.
Please tell us more about your experience in the streets
This is where I was introduced to drugs, bullying, and other ills associated with street children. I used to scavenge for food and other valuables which I could sell to get money for drugs and also to help my family. I also used to take drugs like marijuana, cocaine, miraa, and other drugs to enable me to withstand the harsh environment on the streets.
How did this lifestyle affect you?
I became addicted to drugs such that I was now dependent on drugs. This affected my lifestyle since all my focus was on how I could get drugs for sustenance. It was really a hard life since I was now hopeless, and life had no meaning.
It is at this time that I joined a group of notorious criminals in Mathare to rob people of their valuables. We used to rob people at various points in Mathare, Dandora, and Kariobangi using crude weapons.
I even collided with my mother who incessantly tried persuading me to leave that lifestyle to no avail. I couldn’t hear anything she told me.
What made you come out of that criminal life?
The major turnaround for me was a robbery incident in 2016 which turned awry. We had planned for a robbery in Mathare and as they say, the days of a thief are 40, our days had reached. However, the robbery went awry and my colleagues managed to escape, leaving me alone in the field.
The mob descended on me and I was thoroughly beaten. Luckily, they didn’t kill me but left me to go with a stern warning of dire consequences if I continued with my wayward lifestyle.
What did you do next after this?
I immediately vowed never to go back to that lifestyle and went straight to a pastor in Mathare called Pastor Peter of KAG church. I told him about my predicament and my experiences in the street and as a criminal. He listened to me, gave me counselling, and prayed for my salvation and that was my turning point. I am thankful to him because he supported me all through and he was very understanding of my transformation process.
You see, despite the fact that I had resolved to change my ways, it was not easy to stop taking the drugs at once.
This means I could still take some of them gradually during my transformation process. Pastor Peter was very understanding and he could still accept me and allow a gradual transformation process during this time.
For now, I am fully reformed and not taking any drugs or being involved in any criminal activity. In fact, I am a pastor ministering at a church in Nairobi.