The Star (Nairobi)

25 January 2013

Kenya: Five-Minute Interview - I Can Somersault in My Wheelchair At Home

I'm good at............ motivating others especially those who feel like it's now the end of the world. I remind them God will never give you the burden you cannot carry dust yourself and wake up.

I'm very bad at...... agreeing with others what I know and understand is not agreeable in the face of God and humanity, including fighting and killing others because of matrixes like clan/tribe/ethnicity and faith.

The last book l enjoyed was............ "The Hero's Choice: Living From the Inside Out" by Dr. Roger K. Allen

The most surprising thing that happened to me ....... To become a wheelchair user, it never crossed my mind.

A common misconception of me is.... That I'm harsh and strict.

One of my worst childhood fears was............drowning in a river.

My ideal night out is............. Once in awhile at Ole Polis with goats rips under moon and clear sky and wade off all worries in life with my wife.

In another life l'd have been ....... A teacher.

If I were a politician, I would ......... listen to the voice of the people-they're the masters.

The best age to be is..............I believe its fourty (40), I am not yet there but this the stage where wisdom will come down to you.

The best part of my job is..........to go out and give a motivational talk, if through this I manage to put a smile on one person and make him/her forget worries in the world and move on, that's my pride.

My greatest regret is ............I haven't married earlier in line with my Somali culture.

Living person I most admire is ......Obama, he has shown the world you can truly become and achieve what you want to be despite all obstacles in your place.

My greatest achievement is ............organizing people with disability from northern Kenya to form NONDO and to challenge them to come out and participate and fight labeling, stigmatization and stereotyping of all kinds.

My favorite writer is ............ Chinua Achebe.

My lowest point of misery is........ when I was at National Spinal Injury Hospital and felt it was a dead end in life.

My greatest possession is....... my little house where I enjoy maximum freeness and can even try to "somersault" with my wheelchair.

If I was to die in five minutes my last words would be........God grant me Heaven and let my aspirations for people with disabilities in northern Kenya don't die with me.

Harun Maalim Hassan is the Executive Director, Northern Nomadic Disabled Persons Org. (NONDO). NONDO is an organization for and of Persons with disabilities from northern Kenya. It brings about the circumstances of persons with disabilities in pastoral communities in Northern Kenya. In this marginalized set-up they is this supper marginalized group.

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