It is every parent’s joy to see their kids grow up into adults, it is actually a bittersweet feeling full of excitement that comes when their kids attain every milestone.
Parents to some extent keep photos and diaries with records of their baby’s first smiles, which fills their hearts with nostalgia.
Unfortunately for 67-year-old Mama Grace Imari, all she can remember about the 28 years lifespan of her firstborn daughter, Margaret Ajema, is a spell of unfulfilled dreams, despair, and total suffering.
Imari’s hopes of living a better life ended immediately after she gave birth to Margaret who bounced into this world, with a physical disability.
Margaret moves around by crawling due to her twisted lower and upper limbs.
However, the situation has never been a hindrance to Margaret, she is among hundreds of persons with disabilities who have vowed not to be deterred by their conditions.
Margaret is determined to beat all odds and become the sole rescuer of her poor family.
Unbelievably of her condition, Margaret can cook, wash clothes, clean utensils, and receive and make calls easily, in fact, her ailing mother and young sister are fully dependent on her.
However, Margaret has to be in turn helped to bathe, dress up, and do other house and personal chores by her sickly mother and siblings.
According to her mother, Margaret was born with the disability, hence in the last 28 years, it has not been easy raising her as she required a lot of support which she could not get.
A first-born in a family of four children – three girls and a boy- Margaret did her fourth form at St. Georges Secondary School for persons with physical disabilities in Nyakach, Kisumu County, and scored a D+ in her Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examinations, which according to her expectations, wiped away all her hopes.
Her dream of becoming a high Court Judge in Kenya was all washed away after failing to get the equivalent grade.
Nevertheless, Margaret is still a spirited and determined soul that one day she will meet someone who will open college doors for her to pursue any course that will help her support her ailing family.
Amidst the hardships Margaret and her family face, she is so determined on doing things for herself in helping the family and at the moment she is the breadwinner for her mother and younger sister, who is set to sit for her KCPE exams.
An interview with an orthopedic expert Amos Odhiambo who has treated Margaret and has an insight history of the family revealed that the family suffers a hereditary health problem.
Dr. Odhiambo told media that the problem manifests well in first born children within the family lineage, explaining that Margaret is first born, her firstborn son also has a physical disability, her late father too had the disability and her late step-mother’s firstborn has it.
According to Odhiambo, who works at Migori Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH), Margaret’s condition is referred to as congenital malformations. This is a condition where the patient has defects or abnormalities in the body that develop during pregnancy.
The condition is caused by genetic or chromosomal abnormalities, environmental factors such as exposure to toxins, and maternal health during pregnancy.
He states that the condition can only be rectified at birth or before the baby reaches five years. Although, the medical operation can only be done to help the patient to stand but not develop undeveloped limbs when the patient has none.
Gabriel Omondi who is a physiotherapist at MTRH states that expectant mothers should routinely visit maternal and child health clinics and not buy drugs over counters.