After thirteen years of living on the streets, addicted to drugs and struggling to survive, Patrick Hinga was able to rebuild his life. And, he has former classmate Wanja Mwaura to thank.
Hinga’s story began in Kabete, Africa. He was born in September of 1983 and attended Ndararua Primary School. In 1998, he scored 447 marks out of 700 on his KCPE exams, earning him admission to Uthiru High School.
According to Daily Nation, Hinga was introduced to drugs while he was in standard eight. He and his friends would sneak to the toilets and smoke cigarettes and bhang (an edible preparation of cannabis).
“It all began with cigarettes,” he said. “Before we knew it, we were smoking Bhang. I gave in to drugs because of peer pressure.”
After his teachers discovered he was using drugs, Hinga was immediately expelled from school. Reportedly, this was the beginning of a “downward spiral” that would eventually lead him to be homeless. After expulsion, Hinga enrolled at Elite High School in Kayole where he later dropped out due to drug use. His mother eventually noticed his habit and took him to Mathari Mental Hospital. However, he repeatedly ran away. In total, he was admitted eight times.
Life on the streets was rough. During the day, he would wander around. And at night, he would retreat to a corner outside a small hotel. There, people would sometimes pity him and buy him a plate of fried pork.
“What pained me the most was that my siblings were at home with my mother, safe and sound, yet I was in the streets and that was really depressing for me,” said Hinga.
One day, while sitting on the street corner, his childhood classmate recognized him. Wanja began talking to Hinga, who expressed that he wished to leave the streets and rebuild his life. Three months ago, she helped him check into “The Retreat,” a rehabilitation center. After raising support and funds, the fee for his recovery was waved. He has since detoxed off of the drugs and learned valuable life skills.
To say the Kenyan community was stunned by the “before” and “after’ photographs of Hinga is an understatement. Because the country faces a growing drug problem, many people donated to support his recovery process. Most of the funds were used to open a business for Hinga, called “Hinga’s Store.” His mother, who, for a long time, did not know how to help her son, runs the store.
Now, Hinga is clean-shaven, fashionably dressed, and feels comfortable enough to speak to the media about his experience. He aspires to be a mechanic and feels privileged to have received a second chance at life.
“I feel like I am a new man. I pray daily, asking God to deliver me so that I am not pulled back to that life of drugs,” he said.
After being expelled from school for using drugs, Patrick Hinga’s life took a “downward spiral”
For thirteen years, he lived on the streets and suffered from a serious drug addiction
His mother, Nancy Hinga, tried to help him by bringing him food. “I was known as the madman’s mother”
Then one day, Hinga was recognized by a childhood classmate
Hinga told Wanja Mwaura that he wanted to get off the streets and start a new life
She promptly checked him into a rehabilitation center
Mwaura was able to find support and donations for his treatment through social media
The good Samaritan even helped him start his own business, called “Hinga’s Store”
The “before” and “after” transformation is hard to believe
“I feel like I am a new man”
“I pray daily, asking God to deliver me so that I am not pulled back to that life of drugs.”
Hinga’s story is proof that with a little help from good people, it’s never too late to turn your life around
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