In Summary
  • The examining doctor concluded that my body lacked vitamins and prescribed some medications.
  • The patches began emerging in places that I could no longer hide and I was diagnosed with vitiligo.
  • I have found a new way to define beauty and no matter the social construct of what beautiful is, I am beautiful.

My name is Margaret Wagio. In 2011, I was 23 and fresh from college when I started noticing some white patches on my back. After a short while, the patches multiplied and I decided to seek medical attention.

The examining doctor concluded that my body lacked vitamins and prescribed some medications. However, the speckles didn't go away. If anything, they gradually began to spread to different parts of the body such as the thighs and abdomen.

“After studying for my diploma in hotel management, I did my attachment in Mombasa. During this time, the condition exacerbated. The patches began emerging in places that I could no longer hide and upon seeking another doctor’s opinion, it was discovered that I had vitiligo.

“I had never heard of such a condition or seen anybody with it but my husband had mentioned that he had met people who had experienced the same. It didn’t make sense to me then.

“I got a job after the training and by then, it had become full blown. I could sleep and wake up with more spots. It was such a difficult stage of my life. As they continued to increase, my employer was taking note. One day, he informed me that he couldn't continue having me working for the hotel. He was concerned that as the fresh juice attendant, I would infect the food or customers. Furthermore, he had had enough with the customer stares. Notably, vitiligo is not contagious. The more I hunted for a job, the more rejections I got.

“In 2014, I resolved to come back to Nairobi. While on my journey back, I met my father at Mtito Andei, where he used to work, and upon seeing me, he was beyond shocked. Because of the condition and the pain that came with it, he developed high blood pressure which he manages to date.

“On my journey back, I kept wondering how I would face my first born son who I had left in the care of my mother. He had seen me without a blemish when going to Mombasa and here I was, returning home a stranger to him. He was five years old then and I recall him pleading with me not to attend visiting days in school because he didn’t want the other pupils asking him about his mother. That stands out as my lowest moment.

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