Our bike is unrecognisable. Somewhere under layers and layers of paint hides the once very orange body of our trusty steed – beaten up and at places broken by months of driving through the African continent. But you can’t see any of this anymore; all you see is a beautiful mess of colours – on the wheels, on the tank on the side panniers – the result of a ridiculous amount of fun.
Peter‘s body has been broken by nature. Diagnosed with severe arthritis Peter found help at the Naro Moru Disabled Children’s Home in Kenya. They can’t really do much for him other than physiotherapy which is a very painful experience, every time. The pain caused by the disease has a crippling effect on him in such a way that he cannot run and play with his friends. He has been condemned to live a life of solitude, watching others from the side-line. He doesn’t talk much and he doesn’t move much either. He leans on his walking frame like an old man and despite enjoying it, he can’t even crack a smile as he slowly moves his crippled hands up and down in an attempt to paint our bike – it just hurts too much.
Peter has yet to make peace with his condition, with the painful life he will lead and with himself, his physiotherapist tells me. He is only five.
Peter is one of a hundred disabled children being treated at the Naro Moru Disabled Children’s Home in Kenya and after spending a day there our outlook on life, on our journey and on our future has changed forever. We travel through Africa to enjoy life, they go through painful operations and therapies in the hope to have a glimpse of a painless, joyful life. We have seen poverty, disease and even hunger on this trip, but nothing touched us as deeply as these wonderfully positive little children, limping and at times crawling around our bike each with a paintbrush in their hand, smiling from ear to ear.
After many hours and many gallons of paint rubbed all over our bike and splashed on their mangled bodies and on their walking frames, we leave as they sing; “Who said disability is inability, we will show you our ability!”
These children were let down by their own bodies. They are prisoners of their conditions and the limitations it has as a result but they are everything but imprisoned or negative and with the help of the staff at the Home they are sure that they will overcome their disabilities and live as abled lives as possible.
We received very generous donations to help Peter and although we know it won’t give him the body he deserves, the Parrafin Wax Machine we bought with the money will help to relieve some of the pain he endures. We, Peter, the staff and the other children at the Home thank everyone for their kind contributions!
* All images were taken and published with permission of staff and parents at the Naro Moru Disabled Children’s Home.