TSC SUB COUNTY DIRECTOR PROVES THAT DISABILITY IS NOT INABILITY
Receive our greetings,
Today I would like to share with you the extraordinary story of Dr Collins Oliver Ariko, the TSC Sub County Director for Emuhaya in Vihiga County. Following a road accident in 2002, Dr Ariko lives with disability of losing an arm and a leg. He has since come to terms with his condition and soared to accomplish his dreams, including doing his Masters and PhD degrees. Every week, we shall be posting an inspiring story of a TSC employee (both teachers and secretariat staff) on our Facebook platform. Today we start with Dr Ariko’s story.
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Dr Collins Ariko tells his story….
On 16th June 2002 I was involved in a road accident along the Nairobi -Nakuru highway at a spot called Kambi Somali in Gilgil area. I was traveling together with a group of Maseno School staff and students from Nairobi to Kisumu in a school bus. We had travelled to Nairobi to benchmark with Starehe Boy’s Centre. Mr Paul Agali Otula, then principal of Maseno School, had sponsored the tour. This was part of his mission to turn around Maseno’s declining performance. I was a Physics and Chemistry teacher and also head of the Physics Department at Maseno School.
After the accident, I slipped into a coma for two days. I woke up in hospital where I would spend three and a half months and undergo several operations. The accident left me with a paralyzed right hand and an amputated right leg. Of all the people who were in the school bus on that fateful day, I suffered the most injuries.
When I was discharged from hospital, I sought compensation for my injuries but it was not easy. It took a decade for me to realize this, due to many legal and policy impediments. The fact that road traffic accidents are considered as civil cases complicated the matter.
Before the accident I used to play soccer and cycle a lot. I also loved art and calligraphy. But after my discharge from hospital, I was apprehensive that I would no longer do those things again. However, I can testify that God has since opened new doors and opportunities for me in a great way.
As I began coping with my new normal of reduced function of my remaining limbs, I discovered the world of ICT. I may not be an ICT expert but I have acquired sufficient skills to navigate my way through it and enjoy my love for art and calligraphy. Previously I had been procrastinating with my post graduate studies, but after the accident I unflinchingly set my mind on my Masters and Doctorate courses, both in Education Administration and Management.
My condition has also taught me to drive a manual car with one hand and a foot. I have acquired the amazing art of juggling between the three pedals and balancing the accelerator and clutch to stop my car in a traffic jam. In fact, I have once driven my car from Kisumu to Mombasa and back safely.
I encourage other people in a similar situation not to give up. When one door is closed many more doors open for you. Take the open doors, relearn if you must and pursue your dreams. Our government has several affirmative policies under the Disability Act that can cushion you. Acquire knowledge in a particular field and become an authority in it. This is because if you seek empathy, you will be under the mercy of other people who can take advantage of your situation.
I nowadays derive pleasure in reading, writing and pursuing my love for art. I do all manner of designs and creative works. I am at peace with myself and there is little that I cannot do, such as running. But then my reader, when did you last run? People living with disability, please take heart. If they underrate you laugh it off and prove them wrong. The first part of this journey is accepting your condition and, secondly, deciding to chase your ambitions regardless of your status. Always smile to the world, never give up and every time give glory to the Lord.