A Nickname from my seizures!

My name is “Njoro wa Mavitu,” a nick name that was not by choice but as a result of my
seizures which my friends and schoolmates associated (outof ignorance of my condition) with use of drugs. My mum mentions that I once had a bad attack while in class fourbut it never happened again. I started having frequent seizures in 2018 while in the church circumcision camp. Whenever an attack happened while at the camp, I would wake up and come back to my senses only to find I am surrounded by the clergy and our mentors praying and cursing out demons in loud voices. I could not understand! All this while there was no treatment. The circumcisions ended, the year ended and 2019 I join Athi River Day secondary school while still having seizures at least once or twice a day. It is in high school that my nick name came about. All this while I never understood the
problem. My mum too was confused. My dad being a drunkard was not involved. The journey began of moving from on herbalist to another, from one religious’ leader to another for treatment and prayers which never changed my condition. I was devasted, confused and hated myself. All manner of things including sitting on my chest, one of the students removing his stinking shoe to put on my mouth, putting a spoon in my mouth as sometimes I would bite my tongue during a seizure. For two years in high school no visit to the doctor.

It was while in form three that my youngest grandfather visited us and a seizure happened as he watched. He stopped my mum from putting a spoon in my mouth. This was the beginning of my help. After the seizure, my mum explained to my grandfather how my life had been and immediately he took me to Machakos level Five for treatment. My grandfather was right. I had epilepsy! My journey of using anti-seizure medication began, and my seizure reduced and I managed to finish high school and scored a D+ which I am so proud of.

However, all this while, all I knew was, the doctor said I had epilepsy and nothing much. My awareness came through this year in May when my mum shared with one of her friends. Her friend directed her to her neigbour who works with an epilepsy organization that I learnt later that it was Youth on the Move. The good neighbor to my mum’s friends visited us at the market where my mum sells vegetables and educated us especially on the causes, anti- seizure medication uses and adherence, triggers of seizures and first aid. Sadly, I could not join their program then as they had already taken in other youth in Jan and they did not have funds for more.

My luck came in August when I was called by Youth on the Move, filled the forms, did the interview and upon succeeding invited to start the Psychosocial mentorship and business skills in September. The first topic on Epilepsy has opened me up to realities of epilepsy – that one can actually live a normal life by taking medication and following a few rules here and there. Meeting other youth with epilepsy and having some of the teachers with epilepsy has made me feel at home with the solace I am not alone. Their company is motivating and quite encouraging. In just one month, my fears, worries and frustration have gone down. I have embraced my nick name. I now know better and have forgiven my friends for they are ignorant. I have already taken a step forward to educate my family and friends. I am motivated and so curious and expectant at the same to see how the year unfolds and how Njoro wa Mavitu will be at the end of the year.” My name is Silas Njoroge and I am so happy to be mentored by Youth on the Move.