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I’m a voice of hope

When I watched her walk down the isle last month, I knew Janet Kanini’s story was one worth telling. Her beautiful smile made memories of our difficult past fade away for a moment. Hers is a story of courage and determination.
Four years ago, we had rented rooms in Mathare slums, Nairobi while attending a journalism college in the city. One night at around 11pm, Kanini knocked at my iron sheet door crying. When I opened the door, I found her standing outside with not a piece of cloth on her. She was bleeding all over the body. I took her in and tried to comfort her but she was inconsolable. She told me she had left her room to go ease herself at the community latrines about 200 metres away when she was accosted by six thugs. They took her to an infamous valley locally known as Kosovo and raped her repeatedly. They then abandoned her there, taking her clothes with them. Kanini had to wade through the luckily deserted streets to find her way back home.
I called neighbours and we took her to Nairobi Women’s Hospital where she received emergency treatment and was put through a counselling programme. Despite the counselling, the following months were trying for her. She hardly spoke, but I understood her anguish. We couldn’t go back to Mathare because it brought back the bad memories. We had to seek for funds to pay for accommodation at the college.
Her experience must have taught her tough lessons about life and she gradually started appreciating the little life offered. With the positive attitude, she has been able to take on a video- editing job and even start a family.
Many women in Mathare and other slums in the city are going through similar ordeals every day. Amnesty International in fact launched a report in Nairobi in July 7 revealing the insecurities women face in the slums because of lack of enough toilets. During my stay at the slum, I had to use a bucket if I felt the need to ease myself at night.
But that is not the story I want to tell. Agonising stories of life in the slums have been told and retold. But I have always wanted to tell stories that give me hope and courage. I’ve been in the media for long enough to know that stories such as Kanini’s can’t make headlines. A story about a random slum girl who recovers from rape in a non-story to most editors. I found out about Pulsewire through the Association of Media Women in Kenya and knew right then that I had got a platform to tell my stories of hope and determination. The world will get to hear the unheard voices of hope from the slums and other areas thanks to Pulsewire.

Comments

NyamburaFoley's picture

Wairimu...

It was hard reading about your friend Kanini. I applaud you for staying by her side and helping her through. It's not common for a woman to turn her back on a friend when stuff hits the fan. But you stuck it out and wrote about how proud you are of her achievements.

Very encouraging.

Thanks and have a lovely day.

Nyambura.

Wairimu Michengi's picture

Thanks Nyambura.

Thanks Nyambura.

Dear Wairimu,

Your story brought chills to my body as I read. Your introduction caught my attention and I could not help but keep reading your story to the end and wanting to read more and more.

Thank you sharing one of the millions stories of women facing insecurity in the slum.Stories of strong and courageous women.You educated me on the intervention of Amnesty International in your community.
Keep sharing more of your stories as it is true that 'The world will get to hear the unheard voices of hope from the slums and other areas thanks to Pulsewire'.

Remember to add your specific vision and how you intend to bring change in your community here. As a supportive community we are to support your vision for your community.

I cannot wait to read more stories from you. You are a powerful writer and advocate.

In admiration,

Gifty Pearl Abenaab
Founder
Greight Foundation
www.greightfoundation.org

Wairimu Michengi's picture

You are one of the people who

You are one of the people who have inspired me at Pulsewire, Gifty. Its encouraging to know I have sisters out there who share my vision of raising the unheard voices. Its time the world heard positive stories about Africa. Its time Africa stopped mourning and whining over challenges that face us. We have so many reasons to celebrate and so many success stories to tell.

Hi Wairimu,

It was really wonderful to read your post and thank you for sharing something that is so close to your heart. You are a very powerful writer and your piece has quite an impact, especially the title. I really really hope that through PulseWire you are able to reach out to a global audience and spread your stories of hope.

All the very best! Looking forward to hearing more from you.

Best,

Manvitha.

cbenkov's picture

Interwoven stories

Hi Wairimu,

It's nice to see how the story of your friend has become part of your story that brought you here. I feel that way as I read women's journals here - that they are becoming a part of my story too.

Thanks and keep writing!
carly

Wairimu Michengi's picture

Thanks Carly. You know we

Thanks Carly. You know we carry the world's weight on our shoulders as women. If we are not there for each other, some of us will crumble under the weight.

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