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The Written Image: A True Story of a Kenyan Teenager

If you saw her today, you wouldn’t believe she is the one. A girl full of life and determined to challenge life. In the year 2000, in Murang’a Kenya, a bouncing baby girl was delivered in Marie Slopes. She was a source of joy to Mr. and Mrs. Maina since she happened to be their first born. As soon as she drew in her first gulp of air, her parents knew that she had something special.


Soon after, she started developing complications and was rushed to the hospital only to be diagnosed with asthma. Most people, including some of her closest relatives, started losing hope in the life of this baby. However, the parents still clutched at a straw believing that the child would survive. The girl was a fighter and she did not know the meaning of “giving up” even at her tender age. She truly had something special.


A true fighter she was, she fought against sickness and soon attained the age of starting school. Mr. and Mrs. Maina happily took their beauty to join Sacred Heart Academy where she schooled until she graduated to her primary school level. This little girls’ star shone even in her students besides her common life. With the little her parents had, they made she that their gorgeous daughter got all that she needed. Mr. Maina, who worked with USAID, was always moving from one place to another, accompanied by the family he really adored.


Maina’s daughter was mainly affected by this movement since she had to be transferred from one school to another. The movement did affect her influential life but it did not shake her educational basis. This little girl’s life was what I would term as “smooth.” Years passed and she was soon a teenager running her life joyfully. Being a teenager came with its challenges. Anytime that she would report home late or mistakenly be seen standing with a stranger, it would land her in trouble.


At times, her academics would make a slight drop and in case the drop remained consistent she would receive a thorough beating from her parents. Although her parents loved her, they would not let themselves watch her stray off. They brought their daughter up to be morally upright.


While in grade eight, life took a negative turn after a gang of armed robbers attacked the family on a one starless night as they had their family movie night and brutally bit up her father and left him in a devastating state. Police were informed but they arrived late. They quickly rushed Mr. Maina to the nearest hospital where he was hurriedly attended to.


Luckily enough, he survived the merciless attack which made the family have a reason to have smiles plastered on their faces. Christine Maina which is the name of Mr. and Mrs. Maina’s adorable daughter successfully completed her primary school education and passed with flying colors, enabling her to join a school of her choice.


Before Christine could completely heal her wound on the family’s attack, another terrible tragedy happened. She was in grade ten when all this took place. Her dearest father who acted as her advisor, consultant, and friend was involved in a fatal car accident. Mr. Maina did not seem injured and therefore did not find any need to visit the hospital for the check-up.


Life still moved on though it now had more challenges attached to it. After a period of time, Christine’s dad started having severe pain all over his body, vomiting every now and then and also losing consciousness. It is after having to convince him for such a long time that he agreed to be rushed to the hospital though he was already in a critical condition. On arrival to Nyeri General Hospital, Mr. Maine was done a Head CT Scan which proved that he had a blood clot in his brain hindering activities taking place in the brain.


A brain surgery was scheduled and the family was left to look for means to pay the huge hospital bills. When the doctors announced the sad news to the family, tears of sorrow cascaded down their chubby cheeks. Nobody was believing what they had heard. A man who had appeared to be full of life and strong was now lying in a hospital bed, in a state of coma. It was a do or die situation.


After a long consultation, the whole family agreed on signing the theatre papers for the operation to take place. After five hours of waiting, doctors came out of the operation room with news that the operation was a success, but Mr. Maina has to be rushed to the ICU since he was not yet stable. On hearing the news, Mrs. Maina burst into tears. Everybody in the waiting bay has wet eyes. They were all hoping and praying that Mr. Maina would survive.

Christine, having been the first born, was assigned the duty of announcing to her siblings (Jackeline and Lewis) the heartbreaking news. It was not an easy task but if there is someone who knew how to phrase a situation in its best position then this was the girl.


From that day henceforth, life was not the same. Christine was forced to move from one school to another due to their financial status, but finally, she ended up in a place she could value as a second home. Despite Mr. Maina being away from the family, the family remained intact and still maintained the family love. Christine Maina grew her fighting skills and ensured that whenever any of her family members be it her mother, sister, or brother was feeling lonely and sad, she would whisper a word of encouragement that would lighten up all their faces and lives as well.


Daraja Academy is the school where Christine found her comfort and where she was mentored on growing her leadership skills and her inner peace. It is what she was taught and what she is still being taught that has made her be courageous enough to face other obstacles that have come her way.


One thing I have learned is that without courage and determination then we are not destined to go anywhere. Life is what you take it to be. You smile at it and it will smile back with more than you could give. You choose to frown at it and you will go through the darkest of days. If every single day that we get to watch the sunrise should be a day that should leave us with determination to move on. With a new dawn comes new strength and new strengths.


Challenges are meant to come our way so as to test us whether we are strong enough to be termed as conquerors. Whatever we go through maybe so painful a situation is the stronger we become. We may feel so down and demoralize but what we ought to remember is that once we fall down the next place we could move is only upwards.


Do not let anything or anybody make you lose your focus rather stand firmly in your decision and show the person on the right path. A point may reach where we may want to blame ourselves for everything that happens to us and our loved ones, but taking the blame won’t work. It is the urge to correct what went wrong that will work best.


Yes, you may blame yourself forever but that situation will either remain the same or move to the worst. Old habits won’t open doors for new ways. Just learn to find a solution to every challenge that comes knocking on your doorstep.


“I can’t” are two words that do not exist in my vocabulary. I believe in myself more than anything in this world. That’s the spirit that each one of us should possess. Every time that we proclaim positive things to ourselves, we equip hope, love, strength, and determination to be our shield against giving up.


I (Christine Maina) have undergone a lot of traumatizing moments in my life but the challenges act as my source of strength. I whisper to myself words of encouragement every single morning and this is what keeps my day feeling great and determined. Despite what I have gone through in the past seventeen years, I have learned to make challenges my source of strength.


My father (Mr. Maina) is now in his fourth year in a state of the coma but through our family and friends prayers, I believe that one day he will stand and run his life as he used to. Many times I have found myself shedding painful tears thinking about my once good life but it is through the tears that I have also learned that challenges and disappointments that come our way are meant to give us a reason to patiently wait for a new dawn that with it comes new strength and new strengths.


We were all put on this earth to accomplish a fruitful mission. We did not appear on this earth by mistake. I am currently in grade twelve and every day that I meet a sad face across my path I tend to encourage them to always smile because it is through our smiles that we give hope to another sorrowful soul.


The key to happiness is real progress and growth. No, constantly working on yourself and developing something. Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. Choose to let what you have gone through be your strength and strive to be the better you.


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