Though the morning was chilly for Nairobi on Saturday 21st June (about 150 C), my friends and I availed ourselves at WYAA office off Uhuru Highway-Haile Selassie Roundabout and headed for Kanunga, Kiambu in an effort to curb the jigger-menace facing the poorest people in this area. The ‘hottest’ matatus (The Public Service Vehicles in Nairobi) were ‘booming’ with music and the members faces were beaming with excitement as we set off from The City Centre to Kiambu. I later learnt that the WYAA interns, Amira and Jennifer had organised for the event’s transport logistics and the fun too!
I was happy that all of us had this indelible passion to help those afflicted by this malady, me included. We arrived quite early and after several formalities, we were all set to kick off the programme. The presence of the former Ms Kenya, Cecilia Mwangi, was quite notable as she practically demonstrated how to treat the jigger using a 4 year old girl’s feet and hands.
I was saddened seeing children below the age of nine having to go through the agony brought as a result of jigger infection. Dressed in gloves and armed with a basin of water, disinfectant, medicated soap, Vaseline and Tee Tree oil, I assigned myself to two young boys, whose faces left an indelible mark on my mind, they displayed the poverty and helplessness that is a symbol of many residents of this area and many other areas in Kenya. Adults and children alike were malnourished, unkempt and evidently in pain.
As I washed the kids tender feet, I could see them twitching, as if they had cried so much that it would not help crying anymore. The sores under their toes hurt the most. I felt pity for them and wished that this malady shall be done away with in order for us to have a better, healthier generation. As I looked in to the eyes of these children, I could see future presidents, ministers, whose right to grow in a healthy society had been denied to them, yet there was more hope owing to the fact that they all have an intrinsic worth regardless of their current status in life (What I have come to understand in WYA as Human Dignity)
It is definitely imperative that we all work at reducing poverty which leads to lack of proper hygiene and malnutrition. We should engage our leaders to implement policies that are person centred and as young leaders, I’d like us all of us to take the mantle and make a difference!
In spite of all this, we were all happy to have helped several men, women and children, especially after watching those little sneaky cruel, blood sucking animals called jiggers come out of the victims’ bodies after disinfection. I personally thank the organization –WYA- of which I am a member, for organizing the project and bringing together youths who are ready to restore human dignity to all and sundry.