Disability is not inability. This saying rings very true to one Saidi Kombo. A young man that has blown the minds of many. When I first read his story, I was amazed and mad. You see Saidi was born deaf and dumb. As a child he loved crafting cars from old tins and boxes. Most kids grow out of crafting toy cars by the time they are teenagers but not Saidi. Time and age only served to grow his skill and sharpen his attention to detail. His mother, Bi Nuru tells of how he would leave the house in the morning in search of materials that he needed for his project only to come back home in the evening. Saidi is so passionate about his motorcycle; he has built a garage for it.
He used to go round his neighbourhood on his bike hanging out with other boda boda riders. That’s where Jackson Muuo, the man who brought his story to light first spotted him and took his picture. Saidi was often seen parked at the boda boda stops or on the main roads out for a ride.
Everyone knew him but for a while he disappeared. This troubled Jackson and he set out to track him down. He finally found him and learnt of the tragedy that he had faced. Someone had poisoned Saidi. A woman who since has been put behind bars. Thankfully, he survived the ordeal but needed medical attention. His mother had been having a difficult time taking care of him and his other siblings. Barely affording to pay the doctors fees and other expenses pertaining to his medical care.
Bi Nuru makes food stuff for sale in order to support her family, but her small business doesn’t bring in enough money. So she resorted to asking her neighbours for help. Getting milk from the shop on loan because Saidi needed to drink several packets of milk each day as prescribed by the doctor. Asking for lifts from boda boda riders in order to get Saidi to hospital for his appointments. It has been a challenging time for her, to the extent of not being able to keep up with her rent payments. Yet she doesn’t give up, she keeps going, doing what she can to provide for her home. A resilience that trickles down to her son.
One thing that stands out with Saidi is the great esteem and respect he holds for his machine. Such that if anything is wrong with it, he will not ride it until he has fixed the problem. His mother asked him to ride the bike for a shot we wanted to take. My husband and I had gone down to the coast to get some footage to help get word out about him. But his front tire was damaged and he was quite reluctant to ride. Eventually he did, but not for long. It was too painful for him. Every time his mother asked him to ride it a little further, he would point to the tire and gesture that his heart was not in it because of the busted tire. That’s love right there.
Since the poisoning incident Saidi doesn’t go too far with his bike. He doesn’t trust people and refuses to eat anywhere else. He doesn’t accept any food or water from anyone other than his own mother and still requires regular medical checkups. Thanks to Jackson sharing his story, his medical bill has been settled and well wishers have even bought him a bicycle which his mother says he rides around the neighborhood. Seeing his face light up when he got to sit on the Tenere was priceless. He was happy, he didn’t have to speak. It was written all over his face.
A pay bill number has been set up, and a bank account opened for Saidis school fund. Let’s help take Saidi Kombo through school. Details on how to wire funds are as follows:
Go to Mpesa
Lipa na Mpesa
Enter business no. 222111
Enter account number: 0950-000-4410