Whenever I see someone place their hands inside their pockets, it always triggers my mind to a wild chase of past traumas. You see, as a child I grew up with a widowed mom who sacrificed everything she had just to see me comfortable but it still wasn’t enough.
One of the items that is usually left out when budgets are tight is the small underwear that seems irrelevant until they start hurting your self-esteem.
When Jewel arrived at our Halfway House a few months ago, one of the needs that we didn’t notice was the need for a fresh pair of underwear. We all talked of his medical needs, nutritious food, a warm bed and after-care support.
But it never occurred to us that he couldn’t hold his head high due to that one invisible garment. Why do I call it invisible? An underwear is a piece of cloth that is worn under other clothes. Because of this, no one can really notice it is absent. Yet, an underwear is quite important to the person who doesn’t have it.
As I thought of a way to lift Jewel’s head, the only available option was to donate one of the underwear from a pack of three that my wife and I bought not so long ago. Though bigger in size, I knew it was going to wipe off Jewel’s shame and humiliation. Of late, I had been seeing him walking around the Halfway House with his hands in his pockets.
Unspoken intimate needs
Since the elastic band in his old underwear is worn out, Jewel has to hold his underwear by keeping his hands inside his pockets. Failure to do so make your underwear droop – on both sides I towards your hips. This makes them look like a pair of a donkey’s dropping ears.
As I presented the underwear to Jewel I watched his smile broaden when he realized what it was I was handing over to him. He didn’t say the words to convey his deep gratitude. As a man who had previously lacked underwear years ago, I knew that this piece of cloth meant the whole world to Jewel. I watched as he folded the underwear neatly and stashed it inside his left-hand coat pocket.
Though I had given him one underwear instead of three, I was sure of just one thing. I am not going to see Jewel walk around the Halfway House or go to church with his hands inside his pockets. This one underwear is going to serve him well until we get hold of another pair so he can wash and change into a fresh one.
Jewel is not the only young man who has intimate needs. There are many others in the juvenile prison system who need shaving machines for their private parts, counselling, life coaching, medication and transitional housing.
Support us today and help us meet needs that often go unspoken and unnoticed. By helping, you’ll enable Lifesong Kenya to bridge a gap and a vacuum that exists.