At fifteen, I wasn’t sure about what I wanted in life. In the last exam, I had managed to score a C. that was the best I could produce. I was comfortable. Besides, I wasn’t the last one in the class and I was smart. I had managed to score 334 marks out of 500 in the Kenya Certificate for Primary Education (KCPE). 


Most of the people I was in high school with hadn’t achieved that much. I was part of the ‘elite’, or so I thought. I joined camp a little bullied girl. I was bullied for all reasons varying from my weight, or my stand at refusing to join the Christian Union when everyone was a fanatic and was being attacked by ‘evil spirits’ in school. At some point, I was even branded as a follower of the ‘illuminati’ or whatever that was. 


Being in a catholic school, this was a very serious issue. It didn’t matter whether it was a stupid rumour. Whatever was being whispered in regards to this following was the truth. My classmates would threaten me by saying they would report me to the principal. That would have been the end of my high-school life. I would remember how my mum worked hard to provide for me and my siblings. How she would cross Kenyatta highway with two small buckets of water to water the plants to sell, how at some instances, she was almost hit by cars and the drivers would haul insults at her for being careless while crossing the road and I would feel so low. I tolerated how they treated me because I didn’t want to see my mother’s efforts go to waste. 


Besides, we had been through enough with my mum through primary school. I remember how she would wake up at four in the morning, prepare and take me to school. When it rained, she would walk through stagnant water with me on her back since we lived in a swampy area. We would get to town at around five thirty and she would go to her garden then, to water her plants. The thought of these tough times made me not wish to bother her with what I was going through in school. I started the mentoring camps a beaten girl. Broken. I would share my story with my sisters during the evening sessions. No matter how small it seemed then, sharing eased the pain a little bit. 


The support system was amazing. We would spend the whole night encouraging each other to be strong and to remember what kept us going for so long. During one of the sessions, I shared my grades. The facilitator looked at me then and told me I could do better. She even promised a prize to anyone who improved their grades. She later on asked me what I wanted to do with my life and I told her I wanted to be a doctor. She looked at me straight in the eye and told me that I wouldn’t be one if I continued scoring those poor grades. She later asked me what motivated me and what set my soul on fire when doing things. I told her my mum’s story and how I wanted to get her out of that job. 


She told me to always think of her whenever I felt like giving up. I didn’t become a doctor but I am very happy where I am now and am glad to say that Resource Center gave birth to the person I am now. I came to realize afterwards that I didn’t want to be a doctor after all. I wanted to pursue social work and do amazing things and change people’s lives like how RCWG did to mine. For that, I am truly grateful. 


Article by Esther Wambui Mentoring and Empowerment Camps Alumni Group of 2015