Using a Wheelchair did not limit 56-year-old Charles Kinyua Mwai alias Power from becoming a successful entrepreneur. Kinyua, from Kirinyaga County, turned his sitting room into a retail shop which he operates from his Wheelchair.
Speaking to Signs TV during an exclusive interview, Power, a nickname derived from his love for electric connections, revealed how he was determined to run a booming business using a very small amount of money that he had saved as his capital.
“I had saved Ksh 500 and Mum gave me Ksh 1000. That was my capital. I converted my sitting room to a shop, where I sell basic items like foodstuffs. I also buy milk from farmers and retail it to neighbors. I also buy electronic airtime and sell both to neighbors and online customers
I can’t sit for a long time so I also converted the room to my bedroom, so I can easily operate when sitting on my Wheelchair or lying on my bed,” he narrated.
Kinyua, who had dreams of becoming an engineer, used his situation to challenge himself by being creative.
“I can’t sit for too long. Six hours is too long for me. I was using a manual Wheelchair by then and since am one-handed I couldn’t wheel myself around. So most of the time I was indoors until I find someone to push me outside. Then I would wait for someone to push me back into the house and lift me to bed. I started thinking of ways to make my stay in the house less boring. So I called a carpenter and he made some shelves on one of the walls. I bought some items and that was it,” he stated.
He admitted that if technology had advanced while he was still in school, he would have delighted to study computer science. Speaking to Persons with Disabilities, he encouraged them to see above their circumstances and that they, too, could be useful.
He further revealed that he looks up to Henry Wanyoike, who is a Kenyan long-distance runner, who is also a person with a Visual Disability as his role model.
“Never give up or lose hope in life. Becoming disabled at any age or stage in life is not the end of life. Becoming disabled just makes one abled differently. You just identify your abilities and work on perfecting them. One must strive to archive a life of dignity. Everyone deserves that,” he said.
In addition, Kinyua shared one of the scenarios that challenged him to live beyond his limits.
“During those days that I used to stay in house all day doing nothing I watched a movie of a certain martial arts expert. One day during a fight one of his hands was chopped off. He became dejected and lost hope.
Then another instructor started motivating him to keep fighting. During one of their mock fights, the instructor attacked him with a sword. He aimed at the chest but the martial guy ducked and the sword pierced through the shirt sleeve of the armless side.
The instructor said, “What you don’t have, use it. In life, learn to use what you don’t have.” Henry Wanyoike is an example of one who uses what he doesn’t have,” he noted.