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Elias Kiprop and his wife were day laborers working on other people’s farms in a town called Cheragany when they decided to try to improve their lives. The couple had eight children, and they wanted to be able to provide a better life for them. They leased some land in town and planted vegetables and maize so they could sell the crops to make some extra money. Eventually, they saved enough to purchase four acres of their very own land!
Things were going well, but as the children began to enter school, Elias and his wife realized that the school fees were going to be more than they could afford. The stress of having to come up with the money soon overwhelmed the couple, and they turned to brewing illegal alcohol as a way to make extra income. Mom began brewing alcohol in their home, and Dad began drinking to escape the stress of their financial hardship.

Instead of helping their financial situation, brewing alcohol made everything worse. Productivity on their farm plummeted when Elias became an alcoholic because he was too drunk to work his land. At times he would steal maize from the store or eggs from their neighbors’ hens. Elias would sell what he had stolen, but his alcohol addiction was so powerful that he would use the money to buy more alcohol instead of providing for his family. Soon his personality changed and he became angry. He would scream at his children, who would become so afraid of him that they would run away and hide in trees. Sadly, Elias now recalls not even caring if his children were freezing outside because he only cared about his next drink. Elias knew that his addiction had truly taken over his life.
One day, Elias’s wife was arrested for brewing changaa. Even though she was able to buy her freedom by bribing a police officer, this experience scared them. They decided to take a two-month break from brewing so they could come up with a better plan. However, when they heard that all of the officers at their nearby police station were transferred to another location, they went right back to brewing in their home and endangering their children.

Just when it seemed there was no way out of their horrible circumstances, Elias’s friend Sylvester invited him to join him at an alcohol detox program in Ilula. The chief of Cheragany had invited them to check out the program. After the 10-day detox program, Elias came back and told his wife to stop brewing and that he had quit drinking forever! He was willing to do whatever it took to change their lives for the better. He asked Sylvester for a loan of some land so he could start up his farm again. He took odd jobs to make extra money so he could buy more seeds and add variety to his crops. Soon, he was able to afford to pay for his children’s education again. Elias felt so grateful and proud.
Now Elias and his friend Sylvester are paying it forward by helping other alcoholics find their way to sobriety. So far 10 more people have gone through the Ilula detox program because Elias has become a Man of Change!

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