From heroin to heroine
Posted Saturday, July 21 2012 at 01:00
- Judy Wambui knows first-hand what it means to be heavily addicted to hard drugs. But she survived – and now she is teaching others how to do the same.
We meet Judy Wambui outside her home in Kiserian on a warm, sunny Saturday afternoon. She looks relaxed as she chats with Bernard, her husband of three years.
A book, ‘Sober Again’ by Stella Mathu, is on her lap. It is perhaps the only signal of the seedy drug past that Judy, now an addiction counselor, harbours.
“Love can blind you to the point of destruction,” she says of the primary reason why she dabbled with cocaine, heroin and marijuana in the first place.
“I never imagined that I could sink so low.”
It all began in 2002 at a restaurant along Moi Avenue where her friend, Jennifer, introduced her to a man of West African origin called Chooks for short.
“His friend was dating Jennifer,” explains Judy. Chooks told her that he was in town to handle a big shipment that was stuck at the port. Before parting ways, he asked her for a coffee date.
“I was awed at first sight. He was tall, dark and handsome.” For the next few days before their date, she could hardly get him off her mind. “I longed to see him again,” she says.
After their first date, they began to meet frequently as their coffee dates turned into cosy dinners. Before long, Judy began to date him. “I was head over heels. I even moved in with him at his Kileleshwa house.”
To her surprise, Chooks was already staying with another woman called Elizabeth. “I was alarmed at first, but he explained that she was just a friend whom he was staying with while his clearance got processed.”
Apparently, Elizabeth was a clearing and forwarding officer for a freight company in Industrial Area. Judy cautiously settled in and with time, her fears over Elizabeth’s position in his life dissipated.
“We even became friends!” However, as days went by, Judy noticed that Chooks and Elizabeth often talked about drugs.
“They seemed to agree that there was a lot of money in the world of drugs.” Whenever a drug peddler got nabbed by cops on TV, they would quip that he or she had just been unlucky, and that many other peddlers went by without getting noticed.
Judy began to suspect that something was not right. But while her instincts screamed that something was fundamentally amiss with Chooks and his friend, she was already deeply in love with him.
Her fears were confirmed one day in late 2002 when she came home early and found Chooks smoking crack cocaine on the balcony.
“He and Jennifer’s boyfriend would go to the balcony and smoke. All along, I assumed they were just smoking cigarettes.” Judy says that she stood there aghast, shaking.
“I’d been feeling that something was wrong. But in my wildest dreams, I could never have imagined that he was doing drugs. Later, she confronted him about it and he did not deny.
“Cocaine was just the tip of the iceberg. He was a drug peddler who also traded fake traveller's cheques. The cheques were usually stolen, and Chooks would forge his own details on them. He also did heroin.”