My Love for Caregiving

Paul Muiruri’s experience as told to Suruvi – Care for Caregivers

How did you become a caregiver? Is it something you chose to do or did the role find you?

My caregiving journey started in primary school and extended to high school. l loved taking care of any injured classmates in our PE sessions and outdoor activities. l assisted the school nurse while in my fourth year and over the holidays, I would go to the local hospital and ask if l could feed the senior patients. Even though I did not know or call it by name then, l was already in love with caregiving. 

When l finished high school and the KCSE results came back, l had to choose my next course but was not sure what to study. One day, I saw an ad for a college called Ujuzi Fursa while scrolling through Instagram. I decided to follow them and eventually went to see if their classes were for me. I ended up joining the school for a caregiving program that I enjoyed immensely. However, my friends kept asking what kind of person I was to choose a ‘dirty course’ and it dampened my spirits. It was disheartening to learn that these people whose opinions I valued greatly thought so poorly of my academic and career path. I finally talked to my mum and dad about all this and they reassured me that what mattered was my happiness. If I was happy with the program, so were they. Left alone to think about it, I made peace within myself and felt the dark cloud lift. I can say that the course found me and it is the best decision I have ever made.

What fulfilment/insight has the role provided you with?

I have dreamed of becoming a caregiver since childhood because I know that it is a God-given gift and role to give care. Also, I have interacted with distinguished and well-known people through this work that I never could have in any other capacity. I have seen all walks of life, from the very rich to the poor. Moreover, I have acquired essential skills like patience from exposure to different working conditions.

What challenges have you wished you had support through?

Mental health. 

Working in the caregiving space at my age requires that I defend my qualifications often. I have visited patients whose families asked questions like, “how old are you? Aren’t you too young?” Sometimes they have decided that I am too young or too inexperienced to do the work and their lack of faith in me can be frustrating. In return, I say that age is not an accurate determinant of a person’s capabilities and that experience is a better assessment metric. It certainly says more about a person than their age does, and I have a lot of experience despite my young age.

What motivates you to keep going, caring, and doing what you do?

It is not always easy to continue this work especially because of how people perceive it and their demotivation. Despite that, I am fueled by the ability to treat my patients like family and therefore offer genuine care. I see them as my parents, brothers, sisters, relatives, or friends. The knowledge that I am able to offer care today but could need it tomorrow keeps me going, and it is a humbling seed sown unto humanity. I know that when you love something and care for it, it bears fruit. I see the fruit of my caregiving in the journey with my patients, and in the knowledge and experience, I acquire along the way. I go out there and keep exploring and doing new things, despite the comments that my youth is a weakness. Finally, I constantly remember a nice quote that my mum always said; “what you see is not the thing, but behind the thing is the thing itself”.

One comment on “My Love for Caregiving

  1. Judz says:

    Wonderful story, glad he followed his heart by overcoming criticism for what he loved. I enjoyed the read.

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