Not all those who wander are lost.
– J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
When I was 10 or 11 had a disability. I remember losing control of my legs,
then stopping suddenly stopping to walk. Being disabled in a rural Kenyan community was the last thing one would want to see. It was very difficulty to get out of the bed, my mother, who at this time had other young children had to juggle around all our needs. She had also to work in the farm to provide for us, my dad did not care very much it was the role of women to look after the family. I remember crawling on the dusty floor, as our two bedroom thatched and mud house was not cemented. I remember trying to chase my younger siblings on my knees unable to catch up with them, I remember crawling on the bumpy ground looking for the best spot (with lots of sunshine) to take a nap.
I remember my mum and sometime neighbors carrying me on their backs to take me inside the house. I remember being pulled on a sack (sisal bag) back to the house. There were many embarrassing moments such as going to the bathroom right in the bed because I could not crawl or get help to go to the outhouse. My family and I had to endure this moments of shame, desperation and fear of living for the rest of my life handicapped.
That all changed one day, after my mum’s prayer. I started to have feelings to the feet again. I was so happy and I was ready to restart my life again. I had been in that condition for more than a year. I could not wait to start praying soccer again, I could not wait to go back to school, my dreams were renewed and I could not wait to live my dreams again. I now live in Canada, my experiences working with persons with disability in Canada has been very different from what I and other persons with disabilities have to go through in countries such as Kenya.
In Kenya, the traditional view of disability often focuses on the individual, highlighting in capacities or failings, a defect, or impairment. This focus creates obstacles to participation on equal terms since an individual who seems to lack certain capacities may not be able to attain autonomy. In Kenya, many children with special needs are considered a bad omen by some families and are therefore locked in and denied opportunities for personal growth and development. It was and (possibly) very painful and difficulty to be disabled in a rural village in Kenya and if your family is poor you suffer even more. This is what I had to go through for a year.
I can never take walking for granted, it is a gift. I can not imagine what would have happened if I never walked, I would still be crawling or I might have died by now, and if I was still alive I would have caused many more shame to myself and family. For many people who have been fortunate to get out of their dire and desperate situation you probably feel like it will never change, you were born to be in your situation. I can not completely walk in your shoes but I am here only to encourage you, to mention to you that may be your miracle has not happened like it did for me but do not want you to lose heart. It is by responding in the proper ways that we are able to progress toward our dreams. God gives each of us dreams to strive for. Yet for a number of you those dreams has not yet been accomplished. You have encountered many obstacles and setbacks and now your dream seems distance and unreachable. Those are the obstacles that we see. I am always reminded that every obstacle that we overcome and every hardship we endure serves to make us stronger. Make a list of difficult circumstances you have endured and what you have gained from them. For example, losing a job may prompt some people to further their education and learn a new trade thus opening the door of opportunity to bigger and better things.
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