From Stairs To Ramps: The Audacity Of Ambition

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Nothing was special about that day, to be completely honest, nothing was special about any day. They all felt the same to me. None evoked any emotion; Friday wasn’t lively and Monday wasn’t blue. At some point, it felt pointless to keep up with the dates. There was little desire to know which day it was or which was coming next. All that seemed to make sense is that there was day and night, then the repeat button was pressed. That is the life I lived and each empty day felt like serving a sentence in solitary confinement; all alone.

I remember this particular day as a Thursday because JKLive was on tv. This is back when Jeff Koinange was at Ktn. The show was more inspiration oriented. They would bring on guests who had such touching stories you would cry. Weirdly, I don’t remember crying even once, I couldn’t truly feel their pain because I was too busy denying mine.

Jeff’s guest was the then MP for Kamukunji who was on a wheelchair at the time. Mr Hassan was a well-read articulate man whose interview was both inspirational and informative. It was the first time I was seeing an influential figure who was also on a wheelchair, on mainstream media. Naturally, I was intrigued and invested in everything that was coming out of his mouth. For the first time after my accident, I wanted to emulate another disabled person.

Just like me, Mr Hassan is a soft-spoken man with a low pitched voice and a calm demeanour. He was so intentional in the way he spoke that I unconsciously separated him from his disability. Nothing in the way he presented himself showed weakness or struggle; qualities unfortunately characterized by disabled people.

He had sustained an injury after a bomb had exploded just metres from him. It was his tales of rebuilding that resonated most with me. The things he had achieved after going through a near-death experience, the places he went and the hearts he touched. That was what stuck with me. “Will I ever be this to someone?”

Would I ever be a source of inspiration to a lost soul? Would I ever be the spark that lit a fading flame and turned it into a roaring blaze? Suddenly, the high I had gotten from Mr Hassan took a downward spiral. It is a phenomenon I know too well about. One minute you are up and determined and the next you are content with being low on the ground; sabotaging your own ambition because you are too damaged to want anything good for yourself.

Part of me still held on to the wild dream that one day I would be on tv and tell my story. I saw myself like I saw Mr Hassan, a man who had gone through it all but had come out better in all conceivable ways. I saw myself being fluent in the way that I spoke and thought. I spoke with a universal voice, one that all could relate to. My disabled peers lived my pain and felt my tears in their own eyes. Those who weren’t disabled were inspired to do better and become better for the sake of not only themselves but all they would come to contact with.

Four years later I was somewhere in Mombasa road seated in a warm dark room being illuminated by studio lights. Behind me was a big sign with three letters. KTN. Seated across me was an attractive news anchor asking me to tell my story, asking me to inspire, asking me to live a dream I had brushed off so many years ago. From depressed, bedridden young man to influential motivator? HOW DID WE GET HERE? 2020 Will be a good year, one where you too, will be asked to live your dreams.

Find my KTN interview here.

From Stairs To Ramps: My Resolve To Evolve

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