Last year 14th February remains a memorable Day in my life; it is like I started living again after 6 years of loneliness, pain, self and social rejection. I felt alive again. Thanks to my Facebook friends who facilitated my travel expenses and paid for my dinner ticket that enabled me to travel from Gatundu to attend the first disability valentine’s dinner organized by Ability Africa Magazine. On that evening I resolved nothing would put me down again. I interacted with other young ladies with various disabilities who were full of life and visions. Listening to the speakers of the day changed my perspective on how I viewed myself and my disability. For the first time since the accident, I looked at myself dressed in red and saw the beautiful girl I knew I was. I realized there was life after disability. The founder of Ability Magazine spared time to sit with me and she asked me what I was doing with my life. She encouraged me that I could pick up my life afresh and by the time I left the venue, I knew my life was taking a new and better shape. I resolved to go back to school and pursue my career path. As am sharing this experience today am glad to say I have just received my KNEC results and I have performed excellently.
I’m Fidelis Nduta Kareko, born in Kikuyu, Gatundu South in 1987. I am the last born in a family of three- two brothers and myself. Mum died when I was only six years old so I was raised by my grandparents who later passed on while I was still very young in primary school. These major losses made our lives lonely and without a sense of belonging. It was tortuous being teased by kids always asking where my Mum was because I grew up knowing children are raised by grandparents you know. Plus, I used to ask my grandmother all the time where Mum was and she just always kept saying she had gone far way to get us cassavas. For a long time I had hope that mum would be back some day. I remember going out to the road looking for her or just sitting somewhere on the roadside hoping she’d pass by and see me.
I completed class 8 in 2000 and joined Kimunyu Secondary School thanks to a guardian who sponsored my studies and I completed 2006.I couldn’t raise college fees and I couldn’t continue with my career. In the process, I started doing menial jobs to sustain myself. In the process I was involved in an accident in 2013 that took my life in a different unexpected and unprepared journey. You see no one prepares you on how to live with a disability nor do people talk candidly about disability.
I was down in all ways and always looked forward to death. I knew that it was just there since it had taken my mum and grandparents and so I longed for it. I waited for it and yearned for it even more. I was misunderstood and became object of pity and reference. People talked behind my back and sometimes directly believing it was a punishment from gods or a curse that was running in my family. I remember the worst rumor that spread for sometimes was that in the midst of hustling, I must have stolen something and ended being bewitched so as to end up with the accident. It was devastating being blamed for circumstances I had had no control over and I had never imagined myself being into. At one point I resolved to commit suicide but my aunt caught up with me
I was treated as a burden sometimes by even close family members to an extent I lost hope in life and I had nothing to look forward to. I was not only drained emotionally but also my physical health was deteriorating. With little activity and no personalized care given to me, I developed bed sores and back pains. Psychologically, I was also not prepared for the turn of events especially the use of catheters and having to rely on someone to change me. I was normally having bad foul and that made people to keep off me which made my life lonelier as I witnessed them avoid me like a plague. My brother, well he’s stood by me all the way. He took me in and loved me through every single ache, every single struggle, every attempt to end things… He just loved me and for his love I am eternally grateful!
To conclude, I encourage persons with disabilities to move out. Life is short. Have fun. Make friends and pursue your dreams. Disability is not a life sentence and you deserve the best. Fall in love and take risks. If once broken, it is not your mistake. It is because the relationship did not work but there is another person out there whom you can blend better with. I am the best version of me and am looking forward to a greater future. Each Day at a time. Don’t feel inferior. You can be in love despite your situation. Have fun, love and be loved. Your sexuality and your desires are not disabled. They don’t just up and go because of the disability so be the best version of you. You can find yourself a man or woman who understands you and your level of crazy. Find someone who loves to love you. Someone who understands your love language as you understand theirs. But be careful as well because there are people out there who just want to use you. Some want to fulfill fetishes and prove certain myths so fall in love, be in love but always be on guard of creeps.
See you on 14th, same venue Desmond Tutu along Waiyaki Way,
oh I will be sharing my story life.