The story of Patience Dositha is one that will make you sit down and think about your life, your past, present and future. After losing her left hand, being orphaned, rejected by her adoptive family and with nowhere to go, she found her way to Kenya where she is making a life for herself.
Patience was born in Congo in 1997 but during the First Congo War. At just three months old, she was attacked and lost her left hand. Before he died, her father begged a woman passing by to take the maimed baby with her as she escaped the war-torn country.
Her adoptive mother rescued her and raised her as her own in their new home in Rwanda.
“It wasn’t an easy life,” Patience confessed in an interview with Eve Digital. Her [adoptive] mother was her salvation throughout her difficult childhood. Her siblings blamed her for their father’s death. He had tried to protect the family after baby Patience’s cries alerted the militia of their location.
“My mum was good,” she reminisces. “She was good to me and she always helped me handle my life. She was my favourite.”
Her adoptive mother succumbed to illness a few years later and the rift with her adoptive siblings grew worse. According to Patience, they kicked her out of home.
Getting to Kenya
She moved to Kenya when she was 20 years old.
“When I left home, I came in a goods lorry and it dropped me in Kikuyu,” she said when describing how she got to Kenya. “The driver gave me Sh500 to survive on before I found my way.
“I lived on the road with the other street kids. Most of them were good.
“Some of the ones I knew who had developed bad habits I managed to talk to and get them to change.”
One market day she got the break she had longed for.
“It was a Friday,” she recalls. “I overheard someone on the phone speaking Kinyarwanda. I stopped him and told him that I needed help. He took me to his home.”
It was while living with this Rwandese family that she met another well-wisher. Patience would visit the local church often, seeking solace for her troubles. “The priest saw me crying a lot and asked me what the problem was. He bought me my first line [sim card].”
That sim card enabled Patience to access the internet from where she sought help. It was the International Rescue Committee that came to her aid. As a refugee with no identification documents, the non-profit helped in documenting her and enrol in a course.
“I studied at De-Capture Media Institute where I pursued a course in Photos and Videos,” she said. Patience wants to pursue journalism and saw this as a stepping stone towards her dream career.
“I worked there [at De-Capture] for about one year.”
Of her clients, Patience says, “Some people I would meet at De Capture. If there’s one of my friends who has a wedding they ask me to be their photographer.”
Patience hasn’t let disability stop her from following her passion and her work speaks for itself.
“I have met some clients who refuse to let me photograph them because I am disabled,” she said in another interview. But once they see her work, they agree to have her do it.
“I graduated in 2018,” she adds.
Currently, she runs Able Photography, mostly relying on Facebook and Instagram, for clients.
Patience continues to look after the street children she knew in Kikuyu. “With the money I got for fare from IRC, I paid rent and we lived together. I would leave to go to school or work and they would go to the streets. We would meet in the house in the evening.
“I looked for families for some of them. The ones who had problems with their families I would take them back home. There are some who I haven’t reached to help because they are like me, they don’t have anywhere to go.
“I am looking for a big house so they can come and live with me.”
Patience has great plans for when she gets a job. “If I get a job, I can get a big house and take these [street] children. If there are some who need to go back to school, I’ll pay their fees. The job will enable me to look after them and myself.”
Patience story is one of perseverance and determination. As well as helping the street children, she also wants to mentor persons with disabilities, to help them overcome their disability and pursue their goals.
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