|From Drug Peddler to Anti-Drug Crusader|
Davinchy bounces up the small stage holding a microphone. He is the Master of Ceremonies for an event - a talent show for young people in Kitengela, Kenya. Before the event ends, he will have passed information about the importance of VCT, the risks of multiple partners, and the dangers of drug use, along with other healthy living information. Apart from being an MC for events he is also an actor and loves it. He is realizing his dreams.
Davinchy’s real name is Kelvin Mwendwa Kithua and he has not always loved his life. He started peddling bhang when he was in high school in Kitengela and continued the trade after he finished school. In 2007 he visited the Youth Resource Centre at the Kitengela Centre of HOPE with the aim of selling drugs to the youth at the site. Activities in the centre aim at educating the youth about taking responsibility for their health and their life. The Centre located in Kitengela Township started operating in August 2007 and was officially launched in June 2008. It is supported by the Wal-Mart Foundation and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
When Davinchy visited the centre he could not sell drugs there and got interested in what was being offered. Being charismatic and influential he was identified as a potential peer educator and in 2008 was trained by HWWK as a peer educator. Since then he has made it his personal mission to campaign against drug abuse. In the same year he trained in micro-entrepreneurship and started earning a living as a Master of Ceremonies for events. When he’s not being an MC he volunteers at the Kitengela Centre of HOPE.
In 2009, he wrote the following letter to HWWK:
The times with HWWK back in 2007 is what has made me who I am today. Back in the days I was a bhang peddler since school, people feared me because I was not the kind of person I used to be before I started using drugs. When I first saw the Centre, I knew it was a place that youth came to interact. So to me I knew I had won the battle, in my mind I was just counting how many rolls of bhang I was going to sell in a day in the particular place. Tip, wrong thought. I came to meet Mac-deck who introduced me to the services at the centre.
I was a kind of person that could attract people into doing something. We were trained in Peer Education and Magnet Theatre; we really gave a nice shot to Kitengela residents on condom use, importance of VCT and being faithful to one uninfected partner. Days turned into weeks, weeks into month. More training, more information and getting more skills.
Now it’s 2009 and I am so grateful of HWWK still volunteering with HOPE. Currently I am an Actor and a Master of Ceremonies. I pass information on safer sex practices during my activities e.g. weddings, house parties, road shows, concerts and talent shows. I have a life to be proud of...”