“I don’t know why I eat soap but I enjoy it. I discovered my appetite for soap when I was five years old,” says Chepchirchir.
Speaking to the Standard, Chepchirchir says she has never had stomach upsets, irritation in her mouth or any other health problem from eating soap.
“My younger sister lived with my aunt and we rarely met. One day, I noticed she had a bar of soap in her pocket. I asked what she was doing with it and she said she eats soap. This brought us closer because we borrow soap from one another,” she says..In 2014 Chepchirchir was pregnant, she asked a doctor at Chepterwai Nyayo Hospital in Mosop whether soap would affect her health or that of her baby.
“The doctor said it was the first time he was encountering a person who eats soap. He also said he was unaware of any condition that makes people eat soap. He, however, said soap is not poisonous,” says Chepchirchir.
Chepchirchir says she was always in trouble with her mother and grandmother due to the habit. “They would beat me but I didn’t stop eating soap. I continued stealing soap until they gave up. I would sneak into bathrooms, even neighbours’, and steal soap.
“Eating soap has never affected my health. I also eat any food. If I can’t get a bar of soap, I lick powder soap.”
“I recently visited a hospital in Kapsabet and I was told my health is perfect. I’m yet to understand why I eat soap,” says Chepchirchir. She adds: “While in secondary school, I would sleep in a secluded cubicle because I didn’t want my colleagues to know I ate soap. I would buy less of what was considered necessary so I had extra cash for soap.”
On her part, Chepkemboi says she just found herself enjoying soap.The 17-year-old Form Three student says she always has a bar of soap in her pocket.“I am also shocked that I eat soap. I have worked hard to hide the habit but some of my friends know about it. They say I am not normal. I want to stop but I just can’t,” says Chepkemboi.