A Chance Encounter
In life, there can be a single moment that changes your world forever. For Wanja Mwaura, seeing one of her old classmates living on the streets was almost too much to bear. Witnessing the pain in his eyes and the shell of a person he’d become, she made it her mission to help him.
You won’t believe how this act of kindness changed the life of one man but inspired a woman to transform as well.
A Figure from Her Past
Living in Kiambu County in Kenya, it was a cool morning in October 2017 when Wanda decided to head out to her local market. It was a walk she had completed numerous times before her shift at the local hospital. Working as a nurse didn’t allow much time for shopping, so the early mornings were the only time she could stock up on much-needed essentials. However, on this day Wanja spotted someone she recognized.
Childhood Friends Reunited
Wanja realized it was an old classmate from her past named Patrick Wanjiru. Of course, she didn’t recognize him right away. His rough appearance and dirty clothes made him almost unrecognizable. It was then Patrick re-introduced himself to Wanja, leaving her absolutely shocked.
A Great Soccer Player
“Patrick, or Hinga as we called him, and I had met at primary school in 1992,” Wanja told the BBC. “Hinga used to be a great soccer player all throughout school. We nicknamed him ‘Pele.’”
Sadly, her old friend had fallen on rough times since they last had seen each other, his life spiraling out of control. It was a sad sight to see for Wanja.
Back in their school days, Patrick showed quite a bit of promise in his classes. Not only did he score very high grades throughout primary school, but he continued his education at Uthiru High School as well. Sadly, it was during his years in secondary school where things took a very dark turn in his life.
The Downfall Begins
Patrick revealed in an interview with Daily Nation that his downward spiral began when he started smoking cigarettes. From there, he moved on to marijuana. According to him, it all boiled down to peer pressure and wanting to fit in with his fellow students. Unfortunately, the teachers at the school caught wind of his new dirty deeds and he was expelled without a warning.
Thankfully, this wasn’t the end of the line for Patrick and he was accepted into another high school. However, his drug habit continued to wreak havoc in his life and education. In the end, he dropped out of school and turned to his drug habit full-time. At this point, his mother was growing concerned and decided to have him evaluated at the local hospital.
Accepted into a Psychiatric Facility
Thanks to a referral from his previous school, Patrick was admitted to a psychiatric facility at Mathari Hospital. After running a series of tests, the doctors concluded that the drugs he had been taking had taken a negative toll on his brain. They chose to admit him to the hospital as an inpatient, but things did not go according to plan.
During his time at the hospital, Patrick left the facility several times. He did not like the way he was treated and complained that they treated him like a mental patient, the doctors force-feeding Patrick medication all the time. Since he was not mentally ill, the treatment began to take a toll on him emotionally and physically.
Addicted to Drugs
Unfortunately, it was Patrick’s behavior outside of the hospital that continued to cause him problems. His mother revealed, “When he was out of the hospital, he would walk around the neighborhood completely naked or he would rummage through garbage.”
Sadly, things only got worse when Patrick became addicted to the drug Attain.
Life on the Streets
With treatment going nowhere and his addiction to drugs only growing worse, Patrick fled the facility to live on the streets. He spent over ten years living on his own and was troubled by the fact his family pretty much abandoned him during this time.
Abandoned by His Family
“What pained me the most was that my siblings were at home with my mother, safe and sound, yet I was on the streets,” he recalled to Daily Nation. “That was really depressing for me.”
Thankfully, Patrick’s situation was about to turn around after meeting with his old schoolmate, Wanja.
Please Stay in Touch
Worried about his condition and state of mind, Wanja bought Patrick lunch and implored him to stay in touch. She gave him her cell number, hoping he would reach out to her. He may have been abandoned by all of his loved ones, but she wasn’t go to let him continue his journey alone.
Wanting to Change
Over the next few days, Patrick stayed in contact with Wanja. They caught up on life and inspired by her kindness, he made the decision he finally wanted to change his ways. However, turning his back on the drugs and his street life would be easier said than done.
Turning to Social Media
According to Ranja, drug rehab was very expensive in Kenya and she didn’t have the resources to raise the funds herself. In the end, she set up a crowdfunding page with the hopes of raising $975 to cover his first nine days. Unfortunately, they only raised $400 at the time.
Admitted to Rehab
Despite falling short on the funding, Wanja refused to give up on her friend and pooled her resources so he could be admitted to rehab. Patrick was more than thankful and was determined to make his friend proud. In those first nine days, Patrick detoxed and regained some weight. He was on the path to a new life.
Things Begin to Look Up
Wanja couldn’t believe how far Patrick had come in such a short period of time. Posting an update on Facebook, she revealed “A week ago, Patrick and I couldn’t hold a normal conversation without me trying to hold his head up with my hand in order for him to concentrate. Today we can have a normal conversation with him confidently looking at me.”
It’s amazing how the will to change can completely alter the course of someone’s life.
Treatment Continues Thanks To Help
Wanja’s post about Patrick inspired many on social media to share his story. On Twitter, it was retweeted over 50,000 times and pretty soon donations began pouring in for Patrick’s rehab. Soon, there were was enough money raised to cover his entire stay at the facility.
A New Man
During his time at the rehabilitation center, Patrick completely transformed mentally and physically. At the age of 35, he was a new man and couldn’t wait to start the rest of his life. And things were only about to get better.
Starting A Business
Due to the generous amount of donations, Wanja was able to divert some of the funds to help set up a business for Patrick. It was called “Hinga’s Store” since that was his nickname in high school. While Patrick finished up rehab, his mother handled the business, waiting for the day he could take it over. Many call Wanja a “hero” but she simply believed she did the right thing.
“People say I changed his life, but he changed mine too,” Wanja revealed in an interview. “I realize now that a small act can change a person’s life.”