The washroom that makes me smile

|By Teresia Maina|

Never did I imagine that I would smile at the sight of a washroom. This, however, is the case each time I visit the ladies’ washroom in the Library. I can explain, I promise.

Saturday, 4th February 2023, was one for the books. Bright and early in the morning, a few COP volunteers and I hopped onto the bus and off we left for Marurui, Thome, Kiambu County, to pick 23 beautiful girls and their babies. Wings of Compassion Rescue Home, one of the five main projects under the Community Outreach Programme, offers care and support to teenage mothers and their babies. The adolescents, sadly, are victims of varied forms of abuse, among them sexual abuse. At the time of joining the Centre, the girls are below 15 years of age and pregnant. Thanks to counselling and other forms of therapy, the girls bloom to their best selves, full of confidence and exuberance. In fact, these girls are so enthusiastic that without knowing their background, one may find it hard to reconcile their past with the present.

On arrival, we were met with squeals of joy and beaming smiles. Their joy could not be contained. The plan for the day was to treat the girls and their babes to a day spent on campus. The ride back to the University turned into an academic trip. We pointed out prominent buildings to the children and they were exhilarated to finally get to see with their own eyes things which until that point were just theories. The National Museum of Kenya, KICC, Parliament and the expressway were the stars of that trip! The larger team of COP volunteers met us in Sangale campus and we embarked on a tour of the University.

Remember the washrooms? When we were at the Library, a few girls wanted to use these facilities and as expected, their children followed them. I had no idea what awaited me on the other side of the door. No sooner had we gone in than I realised that the children had never used a hand dryer before. “Njeri, hii ni nini?” Asked one of the little ones, pointing to the dryer. I explained its use and decided to demonstrate. The children were intrigued and just like that, I found myself a new career in weight lifting as the children were too short to reach the dryer and had to be lifted. One by one, they dried their hands with a few getting their hands wet once more if only to have another chance at the dryer. What was meant to be a short break turned out to be an activity in itself.

When the excitement died down, we continued with the tour. Later, we settled down for a mentoring session with the older girls and engaged the younger ones in play. After a sumptuous lunch at the Kilimanjaro cafeteria, we had more games before calling it a day.

This experience helped me to appreciate the beauty in seemingly mundane things and served as a reminder to seek joy in ordinary life. So, as the year goes by, I intend to make time to enjoy life because challenges will always be there or as popularly said I will chop life for problems no dey finish.

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