This is Hassan’s story,in his own words,as told in his facebook.
23rd March, 2014; Reflections and down memory lane.
On Sunday 23rd March 2014 I will be exactly seven years as a person with physical disability who is a wheelchair user. This is the day I was involved in a bad road traffic accident where I suffered spinal cord injury near little town of Rhamu, Mandera County about 950KM northeast of Nairobi.
Three of those years I was in denial, withdrawn and saw no value in life. I am blessed with wonderful family members and true friends who saw me through during this trial moments. I later on accepted graciously my new lifestyle, started wheeling into the future and immersed myself into the world of disability movement. I am currently a team leader (and a founding member) of Northern Nomadic Disabled Persons Organization (NONDO). NONDO is a Public Benefits Organization (PBO) in Kenya that’s advocating for the rights, inclusion and participation of persons with disability from northern Kenya in all spheres of life.
My wife and I will on this day share little gifts to mark this anniversary with patients of National Spinal Injury Hospital, Hurlinghum here in Nairobi . This is the third year we are doing it. It serves as a moment of reflections, appreciating our good health and living for a purpose; the purpose of social calling of touching life of others. Such little gestures –and indeed from my own experience- mean so much and it has a huge magical influence when we are at our lowest of deepest moments.
I was a patient here for seven months before being referred from Nairobi Hospital. With deep anguish and pain I saw here my friends (patients) finding it stressful to hung on to the rope of life any longer and started dropping one by one. It’s also here I met friends who made lemonade out of the bitter lemon and became sources of inspiration to me and many others to date. For the last three years, unless I am out of Nairobi or unwell, every Saturday I made it a tradition to visit this Hospital to have some moments with these comrades. We talk, share experiences on life skills and independent living as wheelchair users.
Regardless the strength in human being is in having faith in God; it’s in your neck and above. The power to change anything in this world lies in you. There is nothing too hard to overcome and there is no place too high to reach. We only need to take little steps with courage and optimism to accelerate gently up the gradient. It doesn’t matter what happened and why or what bad thing they say about you in life. Just recognize happiness has nothing to do with your life’s circumstances; it’s based on your ability to accept the things you are experiencing. Salute the past and give thanks for the lessons and experience it gave. Welcome the future and be ready for new challenges.
I once read of Muhammad Ali Clay (born Cassius Marcellus Clay). Ali is perhaps one of the most recognized sporting figures of this century. A controversial and polarizing figure during his early career, he is today widely regarded for not only the skills he displayed in the ring but also the values he exemplified outside of it: religious freedom, racial justice and the triumph of principle over expedience. Ali was later in life diagnosed with a trauma in his head, a neurological condition called Parkinson’s syndrome that he lives with to date. When asked of his greatest lessons in life, Ali has this to say “I have learned to live my life one step, one breath, and one moment at a time, but it was a long road. I set out on a journey of love, seeking truth, peace and understanding. I am still learning.” And so in all these unfolding I am also still learning.