Comedian and Radio Jambo presenter Lawrence Macharia alias Terence Creative has opened up about his past life in the streets and fighting a smoking addiction.
"I am the lastborn of three brothers. Our mum died when I was nine years," Terence told Word Is on Thursday.
"We grew under my grandmother’s house that was too small to accommodate by brothers plus my uncles. At times I thought I could walk out and go look for food. That is when I became a street kid for seven years."
The same year his mother died, Terence started smoking. The presenter estimates that he has smoked at least 166,000 cigarettes in 22 years.
“One year ago I was a smoke slave. I couldn’t function without smoke, I kept it to my mind that I needed to smoke to be more creative. Later on I realised it was just a myth. I prayed to God and said to myself I will quit. I prayed and told God to free me 'cause I'm his child, and he did,” he said.
Apart from smoking, Terence turned to crime in Mathare to make ends meet.
"Life was not easy in the street. I became a drug peddler, that is how I made my money. I even used to fake disability and pretend to be a disabled child just to get money. I mean, life there was not a joke. It was so tough," he said.
"I sold scrap metals as well and I became a thug. I would snatch bags from people, side mirrors za gari za watu. But all this was out of frustrations in life and lacking hope because I didn’t see me becoming anyone in the society."
The comedian's addiction was so bad that people paid him using cigarettes.
“Smoking cost me a lot, loss of dignity, loss of jobs. I remember some of my ‘friends’ who wanted me to offer my creative services used to say, 'Hhuyu usimpee pesa, bora uende na fegi atakuskiza.' That’s how low I could stoop, and as an addict, you put smoke ahead of you.”
Macharia thanks Muli's Children's Home for rescuing him from the streets and giving him an opportunity to go to school.
"Mr Muli took me to his children’s home and that is where I reformed from using hard drugs after I was taken to rehabilitation for two years," he said.