Life is a beautiful journey and everyone who crosses your life leaves his mark on it. So is the story of Wanja Mwaura, 32 and Patrick Wanjiru whose event left people in shock…
One day, in early October, Wanja Mwaura, was on her way to the local market in Lower Kabaete, when she heard someone calling her name.
When she looked back, she was surprised to see a tall man with bulging eyes, a skeletal frame, dirtied black with equally stained thick woolen hat, sitting on the side of the road. However, she didn’t recognize him.
But when Patrick “Hinga” Wanjiru, 34, introduced himself, Wanja was completely shocked. She was standing before a friend whom she had known since she was seven years old.
Wanja says she met “Patrick or Hinga as we called him, at a primary school in 1992.” Wanja, now works as a nurse outside the Kenyan capital.
What Wanja did soon after she met her long-time friend, was priceless. She decided to rescue her classmate who was badly affected by drug abuse, leaving to look like a street urchin. Poor Hinja was estranged from his parents and used to live, along with his grandmother, in a squat.
When the old lady couldn’t afford to pay his school fees, he was forced to skip school temporarily right after they found themselves evicted from the squat as well. However, against all the bad circumstances Hinga did well in his exams, until the death of his grandmother- that forced him to drop out of school. Right from there, his life started to take a downward trajectory leaving him hopeless and lonely.
Hinga started using drugs, first marijuana and then heroin. He even started spending hours every day sifting through the garbage to find things so that he could sell on the streets. Time cursed and Hinga and Wanja lost touch.
15 years later their fates decided to meet each other again. But this time, Hinga had been living a completely homeless life for more than a decade. Everything changed, he no longer looked like his childhood friend whom she used to call “Pele”.
Sensing Wanja’s fear and disinterest, Hinga soothed her by saying that he only wanted to say hello. She offered to buy him lunch at a local cafe ordering his ultimate favorite dish which she has kept in her memory – pork ribs and mashed potatoes. She witnessed her old friend appeared distracted, and couldn’t finish his sentences.
“I gave him my mobile telephone number and told him to call me if he needed anything,” Wanja added.
In the next few days, Hinga borrowed a phone and regularly called his childhood friend, just to hear her voice for a small chat. He told her that he wanted to get clean from drug abuse.
Right from here, his life took an upward U-turn that changed him forever. Wanja decided to do something for his childhood friend by raising funds to send his friend to a proper rehab center. “I decided then, that something needed to be done to help him,” she said.
“Rehab here is very expensive and I had no ways of raising funds on my own,” she told.
“We set up a crowdfunding page, but we only managed to raise around 41,000 Kenyan shillings (£300) initially. However, the cost of nine days rehabilitation at Chiromo Lane Medical Center in Nairobi was more than 100,000 KES. “I wasn’t sure how we would be able to cover this.”
However, Wanja had promised to help him, so she took him to the center, unsure how they would cover the cost.
One of the spokespeople for the rehab programme told that Hinga was a dedicated patient, who was fully committed to the nine-day detox.
Within few days, Hinga had gained weight as well as his concentration improved. Wanja expressed her pride about her friend’s journey and transformation on Facebook saying:
“A week ago Hinga and I couldn’t hold a normal conversation without me trying to hold his head up with my hand in order for him to concentrate. Today we can have a normal conversation with him confidently looking at me,” she wrote.
Fauz Khalid Mombasa businessman saw Wanja’s public post on Facebook and decided to share the story on a much wider platform. He posted the pics on Twitter and currently speaking, his post has been shared more than 50,000 times.
Soon, the story came under Kenyan media’s eye who covered the entire story and Chiromo Lane Medical Center agreed to waive the entire cost for Hinga’s treatment.
For Wanja this was “a true blessing”, however, she still wants her friend to undergo a more sustained recovery program, and now she is raising funds for him to undergo a 90-day programme at The Retreat Rehabilitation Centre, where he is currently staying.
Wanja restored faith in humanity. This lady helped her addict friend who was roaming aimlessly to start a new life…