Posted in book review, challenge, disability, my library, reading

Me Before You

Lemme get this straight…why does everyone cry after reading this book? I never cried! Am i that inhuman? No. Well i watch many Indian films on Zee Cinema and Star Gold that the right to die was once captured on Guzaarish a 2010 film where Hrithik Roshan (Ethan) was a dancer until his friend planned an accident that saw him paralyzed and he requested for Ethanesia to end his miserable life….(story for another day).
Back to basics, Lou a 26yo too comfortable, ever chatty, stressed, weird lady loses her job at her cafe when the owner shuts it down. In a quest to find another she gets employed as a carer at the Traynor’s where their son Will is a quadriplegic- as a result of a motorbike accident. With no skills nor education on handling a disabled person she is in for a 6months contract but what she doesn’t know is that this is the duration he has given his family to bond with before he goes to Dignitas. Lou’s work is to make him change his mind.
When the cat is finally out of the bag, Treena, Lou’s sister helps her come up with activities that might help cheer up Will and at the same time researches on how to deal with the mind of a quad. Nathan, Will’s doc is stunned by Will’s recent behavior when he finally talks too much, goes out for outings but at the back of his mind he surely knows nothing can be done to reverse his death wish. During the months allocated, Lou becomes a transformed lady who gets out of her comfort zone and achieves things she would not have thanks to Will’s pushing demeanor (I love this guy). On the other hand, Will becomes a happy fellow who only goes to vacay with Lou to make her happy but not to live longer.
A girl struck in love ends her 7yo relationship with Patrick (i was really waiting for it to end) and focuses on making Will’s life worthwhile. She even chats with the quads group online where she gets tips from, money not been a problem for the Traynor’s gets him equipment to make communication easier and their sarcasm gets better by the day. During her last days of work when she thinks she can convince him to change his mind, they have a huge argument that makes her regret of her efforts. In a quest to fulfill his last wish she sets off to see him before his death…*sob.
She is in for another shock as Will’s will has her as a benefactor and sets out to achieve her lifetime goals.
Lou’s character in the book already names her carer since she has been taking care of her family through her meager income till her father gets a job with the Traynor’s as a castle repair man. The Traynor’s on the hand depend on Will’s death for life to at least get back to normal (his dad can marry the redhead), Georgina-sister can live peacefully without forcing she cares. As for me i now know how to handle a quad and even got ideas going around my head.
Now can i watch the movie and see if tears will flow? Moreover, read the second book: Me After You.
Question: Would you support one ending their life?
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Posted in disability

Disability is not inability

Saturday morning…yesterday or maybe should rewind back to Wednesday. Hmmmm well this is how it all unfolded.

The Peace Ambassadors Kenya meeting was due on Monday and the chairman was late as he was busy waiting for some form to be officially signed. Having had a busy day the impatient me decided not to wait and head home bearing in my mind that form was needed for some contribution to a disabled school. Wednesday, the form came through and clearly knowing how tight my schedules were i told myself i would collect enough funds before Saturday morning. Thursday passed by and Friday reminded me I was to knock at peoples doors.Impromptu things hang loosely in my mind and it is always difficult to make a decision as at that time. When i was heading home i met my buddies playing their all time favorite sport, basketball. Hastily i approached them and the form quickly had several names on it. How you interact with thy neighbors matters a lot; knocking from door to door and donations were coming through as required. The Heavens really came to my rescue.

Saturday, woke up late deliberately though as my body kept nagging for more sleep and would post-phone the alarm occasionally. Luckily, i was not the only one as my partner in sleep had not made it to the departure venue yet and this made me buy more time in my preparation. Ten o’clock, the journey was made by foot that made us curse the dusty roads leaving us wonder why it never rained on that part of the Sahara. Either we were so damned in our own city or people were nursing hangovers, because we were lost having ended up into the secondary school gate instead of the primary gate. The neatly dressed guard who kept on leaning on the gate bars that literally screamed “NO TRESPASSING”, did not listen to our pleas on trespassing as it was the shorter route to the primary school. An about turn was the only solution as we left to trod on the irritating roads leading to the primary school.

On arrival at Joytown, the joyful smiles welcomed us to a world only a few fathom. DISABILITY. With a population of about 300 children, the boys and girls here depend on their wheelchairs for locomotion. However, not all can spin the wheel and have to depend on staff to do it for them. Before i could begin what i love most-socializing, division of labor had to be done and that is when i followed a group to the rabbit house. Were it not for my agriculture practical back in high school where love turned to loath ( had countable kale leaves for my project as others filled in sacks), amazement rocked back in as i recalled the various breeds from Ear-lops to Chinchillas!! Cleaning was the order here and after that my tour journey began. My other team members were busy cleaning classrooms, corridors, splitting firewood, helping in the kitchen and helping other kids take  their bath.

Physically handicapped defines these bubbly talented children. Ranging from nursery to class eight not forgetting a special unit for those with mental disabilities. Saturday is a free day and majority were out basking under the serene environment of mother nature who had not forgotten them. The candidates were all optimistic as they narrated who they want to be in future; neurosurgeons, deejay, designing, art…. .

Cerebral Palsy, Congenital handicap, Brittle bone, Bow legged and Club foot, Spina Bifida, Poliomyelitis, Muscula Dystrophy describe the various categories that bar this children from performing other tasks. It is amazing how one can feed themselves with their leg, draw with a hand that barely holds a pencil, rap even if they stammer, say a word even if drooling hinders, give a hug or high five since they cannot speak, carry cleaning water in tow with the wheelchair ..I call it God’s miraculous ways. Independence and attaining the relevant skills has been instilled to them.

A loving community has continued to showcase that disability does not hinder one from achieving their goals. Teachers, staff have continued to support them in every way, correcting limbs with deformities through surgery and physiotherapy while still offering education. Not many have the nerve to deal with disabled people as the task is vigorous but for this team in this school thumbs up. More so, the equipments used by this children is very expensive and it takes a lot of support for the ease of accessibility. The adult diapers for example are so costly that  got me thinking if there was to be an alternative.

Lunch time bell rang and we pushed them to the dining hall where githeri was served. A prayer to the Almighty was said out loud in unison and munching began. This is where our donations bought  from the funds we had gathered, were received with jubilation and were almost calling it a day.

The Salvation Army having started several schools mostly catering for handicapped children, has continued to set examples that we need to take care of the vulnerable in societies. Putting aside all our differences aside, let us join efforts and support the physically handicapped.

Having two arms, two legs, no deformity is by His grace. Do we take a moment to say thank you? Do we help our own if they are handicapped? Do we accord the same treatment and respect to the disabled? Are you locking in a loved one behind closed doors because they are physically handicapped? I need no answers for my rhetorical questions but ponder over it as food for thought.