She sat down and reflected on where she had come
from, a tiny girl who was shy, timid, and whose life had shown her that it
couldn’t be sweet, it had slapped her so many times that at some point she had
wished that it would come to an end. She reflected on how many times she had
tried to end it herself but she would always wake up in the morning,
disappointed it didn’t work.
The chain of thoughts that rushed through her mind
were always negative. She would always have a smile on her face but deep inside
she felt as if knives were piercing at every inch of her skin. The voice in her
head was always telling her that she was always on the wrong and that she deserved
everything that came to her. All the people who mistreated her and made her
feel small, as if she was a mistake, were justified.
She got a chance to attend a programme, the person
who told her about it said it was something to do with women. At the point, she
was open to anything that would free her from her agonizing thoughts.
She met new faces that day, with whom she had been
told to interact with freely because they were all sisters. She didn’t
understand what that meant but she tried as best as she could to fit in. That
night they had a personal story sharing session. Nobody forced her but the
session they had had all day about the self and courage had made her feel that
she was in a safe space where she could express herself and no one would judge
her. She volunteered to go first and shared her story, the most amazing part
was as she narrated it, some of the girls in the room cried along with her, as
if they had taken her burden and put themselves in her situation. They didn’t know
it but that day, they had aided in the birth of a new person, a person who had
discovered that crying was not a sign of weakness, a person who wasn’t ashamed of
her background and in a way had given her strength to achieve what she had set
her mind to.
The next day, she went back to her usual self, the
one who didn’t like talking and she thought because she had shared her sad
story, everyone would just pity her and would let her stay in her comfort zone
as she tried to cope with her situation but she was wrong. The facilitator
asked a question and she kept quiet. She thought that she would leave her alone
but she insisted that she had all the time to wait for her to answer. She was
true to her word. The silence in the room built pressure on her because she
knew that everyone was waiting for her. When she finally garnered the courage
to answer, her voice came out very low, she hadn’t even finished her sentence
when the facilitator threatened that she would send her to a nearby tree and
ask her to answer the question at the tree. She thought about it. That would
force her to stand up and that would attract attention towards her and also she
would have to shout thus that would make her feel even more uncomfortable. Her
hands were all sweaty, she considered her options and preferred to be more
audible. The answer she gave was correct and the facilitator asked her what was
stopping her from giving it initially. That is the day when her voice was born.

Article by Esther Wambui

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