Samuel Mwangi, a disabled man has been able to rise from squalor and begging and currently hawks groundnuts in the streets of Nakuru. It is a difficult task for him, but Mwangi understands that he only has himself to pay bills and live a worthy life.
The 30 year old was crippled when aged only 3 months, a matter that led him into a dejected life. He had to endure the thoughts of his cousins saying that his situation arose from a curse. Worse still, some of his kith and kin were ruthless to him and didn’t entertain the thought of offering him the much needed help.
WoK tells of the moving story of Samuel Mwangi who eschewed the comfort zone and now leads a self-sufficient life in Nakuru.
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Mwangi was brought up in Eldama Ravine, Baringo County. He has 11 siblings and he is the only one who is crippled in the family.
At a young age, Mwangi would painfully hear his cousins claiming that his mother had been cursed by their grandmother when she was pregnant. He would ask his mother about his condition but she never gave an answer.
“I asked my mother why I was her only child with a disability but she said nothing,” Mwangi told Standard Digital.
Moving Away From Home
When he turned 18, Mwangi felt he wanted to marry and asked his mother to help in finding a wife for him. However, she turned down the appeal and told him that his condition would be a hindrance.
Frustrated, Mwangi moved away from home and took a 4 day journey to look for his father who lived in Nakuru. He found him but they couldn’t live together for long. According to Mwangi, the dad was an alcoholic and even demanded money from him.
Mwangi would then move on to live with his aunt. However, he would find himself in another crucible of pain. The aunt demanded that Mwangi caters for food for the family as she was giving him shelter. This forced the crippled man to move to the streets and began begging.
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The streets became his home and begging was all he could do to keep the days moving. He braved cold nights and was at the mercy of good willed pedestrians. But he learnt one painful lesson: many people despised beggars. Mwangi would get mocked by individuals, with some labelling him a crook (mkora).
“People said I had been sent by my parents to beg on their behalf. It was hard for my mental health and I could not stomach the mockery,” he says.
Starting A Business
In 2019, Mwangi resolved to start investing. With only ksh 500 and a glimmer of hope, he began the business of hawking groundnuts after a friend gave him the idea. At first, he would make only Ksh 200 daily as the sales slowly began taking an upward trajectory. He would at times make up to ksh 1500 daily.
After 3 months, he had saved enough money to pay rent and moved out of the streets. Despite contracted returns, the Covid-19 pandemic disruption would not allow the hardworking Mwangi to quit his venture.
Mwangi says he currently makes between ksh 700 – 1000 daily. A typical day begins at dawn and by 7.30 a.m he leaves his house. He uses his wheelchair to access Nakuru City and leaves it with a friend as he prefers crawling in the streets.
Normally, Mwangi would be dressed in a reflector and has protective pads made of worn out tyres on his knees. Additionally, he uses sandals on his palms as he holds the bucket’s handle with his teeth. The 30 year old advises people with disabilities to shun begging and look for self reliant activities.
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