07 Aug 2015, Posted by silentimages in Blog

“Sluts,”  Jackson mumbled under his breath as he and his two brothers walk past Mary and her friends.

The women do not bother looking up; they stay focused on their hands as they create colorful, beaded bracelets and necklaces.  Mary and Josephine did not bother explaining that they contracted AIDS from their husbands who died years ago, and Sarah was too embarrassed to tell her story of being brutally raped in the slums when she was 18 years-old.

Instead, the women keep their hands busy, flashing occasional smiles to one another.  Amidst the social isolation and the harsh stigmas the women draw closer to one another… even though these judgements were placed on them because these women were physical violated in a way no one should have to endure.

Four months pass and Mary realizes that Jackson has disappeared. She saw his two brothers leave the slum but never saw Jackson leave. Mary pauses in front of his door and slowly removes the bucket of water from her head as she leans into the doorway. There is Jackson, half naked and lying on the mud floor in a daze.  He had come down with tuberculosis and his brothers abandoned him to die alone.

Ignoring her title as “Slut,” Mary runs and gathers the other women to help pull Jackson from the mud. Then the women use the money they made from selling their beads to buy Jackson a bed.  They don’t stop there but spend the next four days tending to his medical needs.  When he is well enough to walk, they purchase him a bus ticket and send him to his home village to be cared for by his parents.

Today, Mary and her friends continue to gather daily to make beaded necklaces and bracelets to not only provide for themselves, but also to finance the next need that  arises in the slums of Nairobi.



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