Kenyan Youth Recovering from Difficult Lives

I led a workshop for young adults and young people outside of Nairobi city (Kenya). Most of the participants had been in RC for over five years and live in Mathare Valley slum and its environs.

I began by reviewing confidentiality and the importance of not using addictive substances. I taught classes on early hurts, internalized oppression, healing from war, and reclaiming physical power. Participants shared their life stories in support groups. My highlight was a demonstration on early defeats and fighting for ourselves.

Janet Wambui Kabue

Area Reference Person for the
Nairobi, Kenya, RC Community

Thika, Kenya

Below are some reports from the participants. (The writers aren’t identified, as we weren’t able to contact all of them for permission to publish their comments.)

A—: I learned about the fundamentals of RC. I’ve decided to teach RC to young adults and have regular sessions. In my session after the class on early mistreatment, I realized that I have a voice, I have a say, and I will decide how to be treated in my family and in my marriage.

B—: A young adult living in Mathare experiences hopelessness and endless struggle and is prone to emotional breakdown—a clear indication of the need to discharge. I lost my father at age two and my mum at age four and was then mistreated. I worked more than the other children and was blamed for their mistakes. I discharged on this at the workshop. The physical power session was a new way for me to fight the pain. I intend to initiate a support group of people with common experiences, in which to share, discharge, and cause a ripple effect.

C—: Growing up in Mathare slum in Nairobi, I went through many challenges that most, if not all, of the youths pass through: police violence, crime, peer pressure. Most of my fellow youth dropped out of school due to poverty and not having school fees. Most of us lack employment due to being associated with the slums. I discharged about events that have affected our country and about the exploitation of our workers. I learned what it takes to have a good session. I realized that I have been mistreated and am hurting and need to work on that pain. I will have regular sessions, and I plan to reach out to other people with RC.

D—: Our community’s low economic status has made us feel inferior and unwanted by people in other communities. I can discharge on how I was abused in the past and regain my power and voice. I look forward to having more sessions and introducing RC to my friends and family, which will be of great help to the community.

E—: Growing up in Mathare has been challenging in terms of financial instability, unemployment, gender-based violence, a polluted environment, and sexual harassment. My workshop highlight was the physical power session. I pushed back on the counselor, who represented the torment I had experienced in life. It helped me learn that I did not deserve the mistreatment. Now I have a chance to heal.

F—: I was born and raised in Mathare valley, a place where most of the youth think there is no future ahead. I learned that I need to stop addictive activities, such as video games and betting. I learned about maintaining eye contact in sessions and how to stand and speak in front of many people. I learned to be confident about myself, which will help me face my problems and figure out how to solve them. I would like to reach out to youth who are using drugs and educate them about the drugs’ causes and effects.

G—: Mathare has approximately 600,000 people. Young adults comprise a huge portion of this population and face many challenges. I learned about taking turns with equal time for discharge. I plan to form a support group so as to discharge frequently. I would like to introduce RC to people around me.

H—: A young adult growing up in Mathare experiences both negative and positive pressures. On the positive side, we may be pressured to join community youth groups and volunteer for community development projects. The negatives include drug use and criminal gangs. I have learned to open up my emotions and listen to other people’s experiences.

I—: There is a misperception that all Mathare youth are thugs, which makes society reject us. At the workshop we formed support groups of six people and shared life histories. After that, everyone felt relief. I will be having more than three sessions in a week.

J—: For the past five years I have had a chance to associate with young adults from Mathare. I have noticed the high rate of early pregnancy. Young women get pregnant and drop out of school, which leads to child labor and child neglect. What stood out the most at the workshop was the physical power session—a new experience for me. I ended up feeling relieved and less burdened.

K—: In last year’s post-election violence I witnessed traumatizing events. People were being tortured and bleeding to death. Such memories can haunt us for most of our lives. I have decided to work on myself by understanding the fundamentals of RC and not using any addictive substances. I am in RC to heal, not to find comfort. I will have regular sessions, as healing does not happen at once but is a process. I will share what I’ve learned.

L—: Life is not easy in Mathare for young adults. Being idle and unemployed, many engage in illegal activities as a way of passing time and end up living miserable lives. I have learned how to listen to others’ experiences in the same way that I would like people to listen to me. We all have issues that have been haunting us, but by discharging we feel relieved and can let go of the burdens. I have learned that I am not inferior.

M—: Young adults born and raised in Mathare face a lot of challenges, including drug addiction, illiteracy, and poverty. I have gained a lot from Re-evaluation Counseling. It helps me deal with and heal from the experiences I face in life.

N—:Survival of the fittest” prevails in the day-to-day life in my neighborhood. People are hustling in order to have bread on the table. We were reminded not to act on our frozen needs or to use addictive substances. My goal is to practice RC in my day-to-day life and have three to five sessions a week. I also plan to introduce RC to my neighbors and have sessions with them.

Last modified: 2019-01-06 00:48:08+00