All eyes tracked her elegant movements as she walked toward the stage in her red patterned traditional Kenyan dress. Lucy greeted the crowd, smiled confidently, and then introduced herself.
“My name is Lucy. I was born to my father’s 5th wife on the 30th of December, 1980.”
Today, Lucy can tell her own story - something she has never done before, because her story is told over and over by so many others in the communities where ACCES works. She glanced at the clustered posters of Kenyan children helped by ACCES and gained the courage to speak.
“I am the 9th child out of the 13 children born to my mother. My dad has a total of 39 children. The marriage was arranged, and my dad is 33 years older. One day, when my mom was aged 15, she went home for lunch and found new heads of cows and several old men sitting under a fig tree. That day was her final day to be a girl and a child.”
Lucy remembered her young self as a “house girl” at age 10. Her father left for long periods of time, particularly after the births of unwanted daughters. They lived with their grandmother and took casual jobs “like digging and washing clothes for people, selling sugarcane by the roadside, and brewing illegal beer called chang’aa. We had jiggers and scabies most of the time...”
Lucy’s life changed with tragedy. At the funeral of her 8-year old sister who died in her arms, a kind primary school teacher took Lucy in, providing food, school fees and uniforms. Lucy laughs when telling about her first pair of shoes. “I joined form one and I put them on the opposite feet. At the end of the day my school matron saw my limping and helped me to put them on right.”
Lucy was the first girl from her high school to go straight to university. She graduated from Kenyatta University where she met and married Josephat. Their two children aged 7 and 3 now lead the healthy lives their parents didn’t.
Lucy says, “If I made it through all these struggles - from house help, to street girl, to beggar, to the position of Programs Director, then, I believe anyone else can make it this far.”
Every day she meets students whose lives parallel the same relentless poverty of her youth. Lucy knows the difference that a few dollars can make in the life of one person. She knows as well, that with each person helped, the effect ripples outward.
Will you join with Lucy and ACCES to help one person today?