Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Camp Diary of a Shy Girl to a Confident Young Woman: Part 1

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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