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A shoulder on which people with mental illness can lean

For the past 10 years, Timothy Mbugua had come to a familiar scene every morning at his jewelry store in Wangige, Kiambu district, with one or two people waiting for him.

But they are not his customers.

The visitors, who are mostly confused and restless, have got themselves a drop of hope, mostly a meal, at other times a haircut or just to have a wound connected. [19659002] They also have deeper "wounds". But what they want in the next hour is something to eat; The emotional patch works better when your stomach is no longer in a civil war.

More visitors will show up during the day. Almost all of them are men who suffer from mental illness or seek to overcome drug addiction.

Mbugua, 51

, and his small shop are the palliative they are looking for.

The early callers nod in greeting and sit on a wooden bench. They starve for Mbugua's thick porridge, which he carries in a canister. He pours it into waiting cups.

The conversation is not always coherent, but the men respect Mbugua.

In the meantime, he arranges his goods – gold imitation rings, necklaces and bangles – while his stereo plays with happy music.

In fact, every market (or city) has one or more broken heads, and that could not be more honest than in the city of Wangige.

They walk fast, barefoot, stopping now and then to ask for a coin or to beg for a cigarette from the lips of a smoker. They roam the bustling market and talk to invisible people.

They are colorful – young, middle-aged and older people. At night they sleep under parked trucks, empty market stalls and huts.

Some analysts attribute this to the proliferation of cheap drugs that have devastated the mind, while traditionists attribute this to "family curses."

But for whatever reason, the sick are at home in Mbugua.

During the interview, a woman rushes into Mbugua's shop and says, "A man got angry in the middle of the city."

She wants Mbugua to calm him down. Mbugua puts on a pair of surgical gloves, lights a cigarette and smiles. "This is my life," he announces.

They call him the "madman." The nickname is not very mocking. This is more a reference to Mbugua's unique work. In fact, Mbugua finds it honorable.

Hardly anyone would have anything to do with these people, but Mbugua, a trained clinician, has a backdrop that can be summed up in line with a celebrity one-act actor by Thornton Wilder entitled "The Angel That Troubled the waters ".

How did he find himself here? Mbugua, born in Uasin Gishu County, was mentally ill for more than a decade

In 1987, the promising student Mbugua received a scholarship from the Moscow State University in Russia to s tudy medicine.

The young man was looking forward to returning to Kenya to practice medicine, but three weeks before the closing day, an incident that would change the trajectory of a promising future forever.

"I was at a party and we had a drink," says Mbugua. He suspects that someone has poured an unknown substance into his soda.

The next time he knew he was on a plane in Kenya, all of his belongings were stuffed into a small travel bag.

It's an episode that still baffles him, but his accepted view is, "Some things can not be reversed, they're living with the accident, but leaving the scene."

Mbugua entered Mathari National Teaching

After his release, he moved back to Uasin Gishu, but soon he was on the road, unaware of his surroundings, and found himself in Wangige.

Looking back, Mbugua watches Destiny Pointing the Way.

The decade between the mid-1990s and the late 2000s is a tabula rasa, and the spotty details he has since collected are those that were scrawled by humans, knew him and took him in this dark chapter.

"I'm told I slept in trenches on cold corridor floors," Mbugua says, but he says it's just as good that he does not blame the experience can summon bst.

In the deleted scenes he walked the streets, this heap of a man, sometimes laughing, without nudging, and sometimes keen on the world.

But mostly he stayed alone. He lived like a nestless bird. "I've gone crazy and I do not remember anything from that dreadful time, friends tell me about it, and I can not remember the files," Mbugua says, later telling a psychiatrist that, apart from all that Mbugua had done

The drug worked and by 2008 Mbugua was declared eligible again.

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