Disabled boy who has never seen the sun for 20 years
Bumula, Bungoma County. A 24-year-old disabled boy from a village in Bumula constituency has never seen or felt the sun for the last twenty years due to his disability that has seen his family decide to lock him in the house throughout his life.
Richard Watome whose limbs are lifeless cannot talk or walk hence is left to crawl in the house alone as his mother goes out to fend for food for him and the entire family of nine.
According to his mother Congesta Nasambu, her son who was born in 1992 has never walked or spoken despite the fact that he can hear what he is told and therefore she has all through been forced to lock him in the house as she goes out to seek for food.
When we visited the home in Mabusi village, the mother had gone to look for mushroom from the nearby farms and the door was locked from outside as if nobody is inside.
“I have had a lot of problems with my son since he was born whereby he has never walked or talked hence that is why I always leave him in the house as I go to fend for the family. If I leave him outside he might be rained on or get any problems in my absence,” said Nasambu.
She revealed that after the child was born they thought that after some time he will start walking or talking but it never happened in his entire live of twenty four years now.
“When I come back I always find him wet in urine and sometime having gone for long calls where he sleeps and thus I have to start cleaning and wash the beddings on a daily basis,” added the mother.
The boy who lies still on the floor of the mud-walled house on tattered blankets and mattress lies lifeless and only moves after some time and thus one recognizes that he is alive from the eyes that remain wide open looking at the people in the house wondering what goes on around him.
Her mother noted that due to her poverty level she has never taken the boy for medication or any kind of physiotherapy and therefore what she always concentrates on is fending for food to feed him and the other siblings.
“Many people have come here they take pictures of my son promising to bring him some aid but they never come back hence I now call upon the government to assist me to feed and cloth my child who is in a pathetic situation here at home,” appealed the mother.
Neighbors also revealed that the family has been subjected to live in pathetic condition as they look after the son for all those years.
“This woman has really suffered with his child for all these years as we watch and now if there is any organization or government arm that can assist such people should come in and aid this boy,” said one of the neighbors.
“My mother-in-law always locks my brother-in-law in the house not because she does not want him outside but because she doesn’t want him rained on or burned by the scorching sun when she is away. I also appeal to the government and well wishers to come in and assist him because he is really suffering in this condition,” said Vivian Juma.
A teacher from a nearby special school for the physically challenged at Spring Valley Special School Mr. Robert Maelo confirmed that many parents in that area hide their physically disabled children in the houses instead of taking them to relevant institutions for support or education and other basic needs.
“There are many cases where disabled children are hid in the houses by their parents in this area of Mabusi and other parts of Bumula and yet there are institutions and other bodies that can assist such children achieve their full potential in their lives,” said Maelo.
At the same time the coordinator of people with disabilities in Bungoma county John Opar who also visited the home of Richard Watome promised to seek for assistance from the county and national government to assist the boy.
He said that parents should bring out such children so that they can also be considered and included in government programs at all levels.
“We are aware that many parents still hide their disabled children in the houses hence making it difficult for the government to budget and plan for them. I urge all parents and guardians of such children to be frank to expose their children of that nature because they are just like any other children and also have rights to access basic needs in life,” said Opar.
He said that Watome’s case is just one among many other cases of such children who are suffering out there hence the people in the society should help unveiled and exposed to stakeholders for help.