Finding Faith brings twists, turns and much potential

Finding Faith brings twists, turns and much potential

Written by Faith Wanja

I was born in the Lenana slum in Nairobi and am the youngest in a family of seven. My siblings are all much older then I am, most of them already had families of their own when I came along. I have few recollections of my father who left the family or died when I was a baby. My mother took care of all of us plus three grand children left orphaned when one of my sister’s died of AIDS in 2005.

It was this advent that initially brought Mama Hanne and Baba Ted into the slum in 2006. My mother was often forced to beg in order to provide for all of us, but especially to buy the medicines for my dying sister. She approached Hanne and Ted and the rest is history as they say. That encounter not only brought relief to us as a family but brought HHFL to life, which in turn brought hope and dreams of a better future to many of us.

I became an orphan in 2008 when my dear mother died of exhaustion, literally. Even though, I was stricken by sadness and pain, I quickly realized my incredible good luck. I not only belonged to an organization that offered me safety and an education, but also gave me the solace of knowing that I belonged to the loving HHFL family.
I moved into the HHFL hostel and enjoyed my primary years at St. Nicholas Private Primary School where I did fairly well. As one of the oldest girls in the Hostel I quickly asserted myself as a mentor and bigger sister to the little ones. I also helped with the Saturday extra curricular programs and clubs. Scouts and drama were my favourites. Through these activities and the coaching of Mama Hanne and other staff, I started developing leadership qualities I did not know I had.

I became a dedicated member of the HHFL scout group and drama club. In January 2010 I left for boarding high school. But in 2011, my life changed as I fell in love with a man named Peter, fell pregnant and gave birth to a baby boy named Denzel who is now 2 years old. I was 16 and in Form 2.

My life crashed as I was forced to leave school, as Kenyan rule dictates. I moved in with Peter. Things became tough immediately, as neither of us had the financial resources nor the expertise to cope by ourselves. I felt profoundly ashamed, which led to a lot of deceiving and lying. I fully know and understand today that my/our behaviour was wrong. Nevertheless, and though we did not warrant it, HHFL stood by me /us through the next year with all its trial and tribulations. Peter is a very smart and talented human being who finished high school with a B+ and dreams of becoming a game warden. But the situation and stress was too much to bear.

After a year of trying to make it on our own, Denzel and I are back home at HHFL and we feel blessed that HHFL cared enough about us to take us in one more time. Malnutrition was getting the better of us. Both Denzel and I still suffer the after effects from the constant lack of proper nutrition but are getting healthier every day. Peter and I decided to go our own separate ways and focus on our personal development.

I earn my keep by doubling up as the assistant housemother, administrative clerk and kids mentor. I am home schooling as it has become crystal clear to me that getting a high school diploma is essential if I am going to fulfil my potential. I am also taking advanced computer lessons and learning how to type. I am focused on higher education and dream of going to university one day.

I can’t thank HHFL, HHFC and all of its donors for believing in all of us! You are not only making a difference in our lives, but that of our children and partners! I love you all.

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