Another chance at life, Thank You ELF

As I type this, I can gladly say that ELF saved my life. But how? You must be wondering. Well, let me tell you my story. Exactly one year ago, I had hit rock bottom. My hope was completely at zero and as each second passed, more and more suicidal thoughts crossed my mind. I had just lost a child through ectopic pregnancy and I was in a very dark space. It was even worse because my parents forbade me to talk about it.

Being an extrovert, I thought my parents would notice that something was wrong with me as I had become completely withdrawn which was unlike me. I was drowning in pain and everybody was moving on with their lives like nothing happened. I opted to slitting my wrist as a way of channeling the pain that was inside. One evening, the pain was overwhelming, and I couldn’t slit my wrist anymore because I already had too many bruises. For me, suicide was the only way out but to be honest, actualizing the thought is not as easy as it seems.

If anything, I felt relieved; I felt at home. I felt loved and I knew that ELF was now my second family. Here, I made friends for life and I knew that this was my second chance in life.

I lay on my bed with tear-filled eyes scrolling my phone with no agenda. My dad sent me a link to a YouTube video, and I thought to myself, “Let me watch this video first then I can think of a good way to commit suicide.”  As I think about it now, I can’t help but laugh. My dad knew how much I liked public speaking and he had sent me Caren Wakoli’s speech at St. Andrews Turi. As I watched the video, I couldn’t help but admire how well Caren articulated her speech and I got curious about this smart lady. Remember, at the back of my mind I wanted to complete watching this video and still think of a smooth way to end my existence. God works in miraculous ways.

After the speech, I decided to google and know more about Caren and that’s when I bumped into ELF. Little did I know that my focus was slowly changing from suicidal thoughts to curiosity about ELF and what it does. Amazingly, recruitment for cohort 8 was ongoing and I made my registration. At this point suicide was out mind since I had turned my focus to be part of ELF. Nonetheless, I still used to slit my wrist from time to time, as a way of coping. During the cohort 8 open day, is when I knew that I had really found a place to call home. Stella Cheboi was the first person I met and if you know and have interacted with her, you must agree that she gives the warmest welcomes. You know those deep welcomes that are hard to ignore, those that you’d think someone has known you for a while. I heard Jim India and Stella Nderitu speak and I couldn’t help but admire how well they picked their diction and articulation of words. It was impressive and at that moment, I concluded that I am in the right place.

As Sofina took us through the first session of life mapping and storytelling, I knew that I was in a safe space and that was the first time I shared my story with complete strangers and didn’t feel judged. If anything, I felt relieved; I felt at home. I felt loved and I knew that ELF was now my second family. Here, I made friends for life and I knew that this was my second chance in life.

Thank you, ELF. Keep impacting and changing lives because you never know how many more lives you will save.

Joyce Selim, 

ELF cohort 8 Fellow.  

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