The entrepreneur and author Phineas Taylor Barnum said:
“The foundation of success in life is good health: that is the substratum fortune; it is also the basis of happiness. A person cannot accumulate a fortune very well, or seek happiness when he/she is sick.”
He should know. Many of us have many blessings. Some blessings we take for granted because they have always been there; we never needed to fight for them, or miss them. Parents, siblings, friends, spouses, homes, an education, a job, nice bodies, good looking faces – health. Some people get a limited number of blessings, sometimes, some one only gets one blessing. One. Good health. What happens when the only blessing you have, your good health is snatched from you in the prime of life? This happened to Kagendo in January 2018, at 27yrs old, she found out that she had a kidney disease. The news, of course changed her entire life – current and future life.
The Lucky ones
27yrs old is the age when young women feel they have definitely, point-of-no-return, left the “young girls” club, and are enjoying being women. The teenage yrs are over with their depressing unrelenting confusion. Early 20s are over with the panic of finding a boyfriend and making him a husband – by force and pregnancy if need be. A lucky woman has her 1st child before she turns 27yrs old. She has parents who love and spoil their grandchildren, and siblings who dote on their nephews and nieces.
If lucky, a 27yr old woman has an acceptable mother in-law – a mother in-law who dislikes her just enough to keep a deep friendship at bay, but respects her enough to bring her arrow-roots and a hen from the countryside when the 1st baby is born. Hopefully, the mother in-law loves, respects and fears her son enough to keep her opinion to herself when it comes to his wife. Lucky women have a man who comes home every evening even if he is sending funny albeit disrespectful messages to other women on messenger and whatsApp:
“I love you!”
“you are so beautiful!”
“you need Jesus”
When you get nothing, and then it is take away from you
Kagendo and her brother did not have these luxuries or blessings. Their mother died in 2004 when she was 13yrs old. Dad was long dead so the death of their mom ultimately rendered them orphans. Mental health questions began here – grief and abandonment trauma. When both your parents die when you are young, you feel like someone is working overtime to mess your life and you wonder what it is you did to deserve it. For some time, you notice the rich man/woman of your village and see all his/her sins and wonder why God blesses him/her, and not you who tries so hard.
You watch not only your life, but your sibling’s life getting lost in the maze of relatives who cannot help you because they have no idea how to help you. Or because they have nothing to spare. As a young woman, you walk through your small town in your old falling apart shoes, and notice every girl your age who has bata shoes. White shoes. Brown shoes. Heeled shoes. Flat shoes. Shoes everywhere. Because your hair is a birds’ nest for the birds of your county, you notice other women’s hair. Braided. Permed. Expensive Brazilian weaves. How can they afford this?! How does God send that to them, and a bird nest to me?
But she persisted
Still, you persevere. Move on. Shut down. Trusting few, or nobody. It is hard to even trust life itself – why would you? Hustle continues non-stop. You’re building a personality that could survive anything.
Eventually, your entire focus goes to yourself and your surviving siblings if any. So, I imagine Kagendo’s hustle gears kicking in to keep herself from homelessness, and to leave no man behind, she watched out for her brother. As she started to hustle for stability, hoping to find a job and possibly a husband and hopefully a decent mother-in-law to build a love/hate relationship with, and sisters and brothers-in-law to celebrate Christmas among – her body started to work against her.
No one ever tells you that your body may disappoint you in your twenties, right? Imagine her shock and sadness! Mourning for the health she had lost, people she had lost, opportunities never given, love never declared or received. And grief for the future that may never be.
Chronic illness messes with our mental equilibrium
After a period of sickness and countless hospital visits, doctors finally gave her the name of her next trial. Kidney disease. Chronic illness is a major trigger for mental illness (depression, anxiety, panic attacks, chronic worry etc). If her parent’s death hadn’t affected her at all, this diagnosis could not leave her untouched. Kagendo is now 28yrs old and 2 times a week, she has dialysis. Dialysis costs money but we will not speak about that today. We will speak about the long term of this young woman who got almost no breaks in life; whose life is now hanging on threads with the dialysis machine as a puppet master. She needs a kidney transplant valued at 2,5million shillings. She needs the transplant today if she is to survive, thrive and build a life for herself.
We are raising money for the kidney transplant and we need your help! Kagendo needs your help!
Are you in Kenya? Please contribute to the Paybill or Mpesa number above.
Are you somewhere else in the world? Please contribute to our Paypal Account – paypal.me/GrowthCatalysts – and tag the donation “Consolata”.
Are you on Facebook? We have a Fundraiser on Facebook