Continuing Kathrine Seavill’s posts from her overseas visit. Kathrine has left India and is now in Kenya…

I arrived in Kenya in the late evening and it was great to see Alfred waiting for me. Alfred is a colleague I met on my last visit more than two years ago.

After what seemed a very short sleep I awoke in my room in Nairobi. It was a beautiful day and the staff were already up and about and ready to help me with whatever I needed.

Lauryn and familyWhen I last visited Kenya I met a little girl called Lauryn and her mother. Lauryn also has Spina Bifida like me and it was interesting to speak with her. Her life in Kenya with a disability is so different from my own experiences as a child living in New Zealand. Lauryn had grown a lot since I last saw her and it was great to see she had been keeping in good health.

Two years ago I had made a promise to her mother that when I next visited if I had time I would speak with a group of mothers who had children with disabilities. It was wonderful to be able finally to fulfil my promise made so long ago.

We caught a taxi and drove into the centre of Nairobi where we were met by the group.

The women spoke of the difficulties of raising a child with a disability in Kenya. They told me how the main challenge is the stigma – other people’s lack of understanding. One woman spoke of how she had been abandoned by her family when her son was born because they thought that it was her fault that her son had been born with a disability.

The mothers said their children often were unable to attend school because the access and resources are not available to cater for their special needs. They asked me lots of questions about my own life as a child in New Zealand.

After leaving these women I thought about how lucky I am to have been born in New Zealand and how much support I receive from family, colleagues and friends to be able to live my very independent life. I also thought about how courageous these women are and how they want the best for their children just as we do in New Zealand for our children.

I spent the rest of the weekend relaxing and looking forward to travelling to Emali on Monday. I wonder if I will meet some of the same people I met last time I visited.

If you would like a way to help disabled children in Africa please consider our appeal to help children with disabilities attend school.

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