The long awaited KAWE support group meeting took place on 2nd December 2017. This was the first meeting for the support group this year. Most present were in the KAWE online epilepsy Whatsapp group and were excited to finally meet and interact with each other. We spent the whole day together exploring nature, playing games and sharing strengthening experiences in the beautiful Oloolua Nature trail.
The day kicked off with introduction games and socialising as we waited for the entire team to arrive. This was followed by an enthusiastic trek traversing through the five kilometer wild nature trail in search of the waterfall. Getting lost in the wilderness led the team to a beautiful swamp with papyrus reeds. This was a perfect spot for a photo session. One and a half hours of ‘the waterfall search’ left some of the team members tired thus they were left playing games as the tireless adventurous bunch continued with the search and, to their delight, found the waterfall and caves.
From the brain tasking game of charades to playing cards, the day was filled with awesome exhilarating fun filled activities. The broken telephone game marked the end of the morning activities as it became apparent that guys needed lunch when a message sent as “my spicy food” was received as “my supuu”. With such a clear signal we broke for the scrumptious meal.
The highlight of the afternoon was the much anticipated group counseling session. This session was modulated by Peter and Samuel from Amani Counseling Centre. We divided into two groups and in each group, several members had an opportunity to share their journey with epilepsy.
From a caregiver’s perspective, three mothers shared their journey raising children with epilepsy. They reiterated the importance of taking medicines as prescribed.
“What I would like to encourage all of you, as a mother, do not let anybody mislead you. Give your child the drugs as prescribed. Don’t let anyone tell you to stop the medication and go for prayers. I am a prayer warrior, and I know my daughter has to take her medication even as I pray.”
One member with epilepsy encouraged the team not to allow epilepsy to be the reason for an individual with epilepsy to abandon their dreams.
‘I have been in public schools all my life; Primary, Secondary and university, and now I am doing my Masters degree.’
The event was also graced by a discharged patient who was weaned off medication and has been seizure free for the past three years. She encouraged the team regarding social aspects of life.
‘And don’t think that you will not get a husband or a wife just because of your condition. My husband used to pick up the medication for me when we got married. If someone thinks your condition is a problem, then they do not deserve you.’
The interactive group counseling session ended with one of the counselors who has epilepsy and has been on medication for about 30 years posing a challenge to the team;
“What will you do with your Epilepsy? Will you let it take you places, or let it inhibit you?”
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The final session was the Mr and Ms KAWE 2017/18 selection. From the seven contestants, Mr. Killy and Ms. Grace were crowned based on their knowledge regarding epilepsy, confidence and passion. Their term will run for one year, during which they will volunteer their skills, time and networks as epilepsy ambassadors. They will take the lead in awareness campaigns, as well as helping to fund raise for patients who may not have enough funds for their medication.
The day ended on a sweet note with a cake cutting ceremony. The sweet aroma of the delicious cake must have attracted the monkeys who chattered as we enjoyed the cake. We would like to pass our gratitude to all who made this day successful as we look forward to the next meeting in early 2018.