If you moved away from your hometown, you probably got disconnected from some of your friends from childhood. It’s only natural. People move on and follow their own path in life. Some go on to become executives at major corporations, others teach at disadvantaged schools, some try their hand at becoming a professional writer. But with the opioid epidemic scouring America these days, some people fall into the clutches of drugs.
While we can’t know everything our childhood friends have been up to, it is a delight when we see them. Or at least I can be if they’re on the up and up. If they’ve been brought low because of drugs, then we can’t help but want to offer our hand to help raise them up.
After completing her education to become a nurse named Wanja Mwaura was walking out of her market in Kabete, Kenya when she suddenly “met this shaggy, dirty boy.” And he screamed out at her and “call (her) by (her) name,” Mwaura said.
She did not recognize the man at all. So she was surprised that he knew her name and this made her cautious. She didn’t want to fall into a trap and get injured.
She thought the drug-addicted stranger was just a “mad person” who was out on the streets because of choices they had made in their life. But as she looked closer, she saw the man within and started to recognize the child, who had once been her friend when she was in elementary school so many years before.
She dropped to her knee and looked in his eye. And that’s when she confirmed for herself that this “mad person” was not just any drug addicted beggar, it was her childhood friend Hinga, who was coping with the fallout of addiction.
It had been years since Mwaura had seen her childhood friend. And back when they were learning together, he was a star student and “one of the brightest boys in the class.” How did he fall so low? She had to find out.
As she lent her friend her ear, she learned that after their classes together, Hinga’s life was a constant struggle. He lost his beloved grandmother and then dropped out of high school to support his family. But soon the stress became too much, and he started surviving on the streets.
When he hit bottom, someone offered Hinga addictive drugs, and he decided to try them. That was back in 2004, and he had been addicted ever since.
Hinga admitted that he would do “anything he would come across” so he could get high.
Because Mwaura was a nurse, she knew the power of healing. She convinced Hinga to go to rehab. He agreed.
While he was working on his addiction, she gave him her phone number and told her to call whenever he needed help – or if he was tempted to do drugs.
“It’s all about love,” Mwaura said. “If I didn’t show him love, he wouldn’t have gone to rehab.”