There’s a story Sarah likes to tell about when she took Mama Shaki to Kampala to tour a school for her son, Shaki, who has cerebral palsy. After touring the school for special needs, the two of them went to a new fancy mall in the city—a place that is a symbol of luxury in Uganda. Sarah treated Mama Shaki to lunch and ice cream. The funny part of the story is Mama Shaki’s first experience with an escalator. She rode up and down the escalators many times and was fascinated by them. Mama Shaki to this day still likes to ask all of us funny questions about the escalators such as “What happens if you fall when you are on it?” The sweet part of the story is that when they returned to the village and told everyone about their day trip to Kampala, Mama Shaki was asked what her favorite part of the day was. She could have said the nice meal, the ice cream, seeing the mall and riding up and down the escalators, but instead her response was “Imagining Shaki being able to go to that school was the best part of the day.”
It’s a heartwarming story and one that gets told often because it is a reminder the joy our work brings to people’s lives. Sarah has taken a big interest in Shaki’s situation because her older brother has cerebral palsy as well. The problem is that Shaki’s school program is expensive and physical therapy demands are also expensive because it requires either a therapist to come from the city or transportation going into he city from the village. Even with these limitations, Action in Africa is doing as much as it can to help. Mama Shaki cooks lunch at the Center twice a week which gives us some room to financially offset at home expenses by contributing to school fees.
Shaki is undeniably a big personality. He’s a tough kid. He crawls around and bumps into things and it doesn’t seem to bother him at all. In fact, it’s everyone else who is constantly telling him to be careful. Whenever I try to get him to relax for a moment, he tells me “njakukuba!” which roughly translates to “I’m going to beat you in many different ways!” He loves to try to hide and scare people—always looking to have a good laugh. Every time one of us tells him “Shaki, I love you” he responds without missing a beat “I love you, too.”
The thing that really gets me, is when Shaki grabs hold of me, climbs up my body until his feet are barely touching the ground and then takes some steps forward. He laughs uncontrollably when he does this, and I'm not sure why, but if I had to guess I would say it's because as tough as a kid he is, standing up straight and tall makes him feel even more powerful.
In the last couple of months, Shaki has begun taking physical therapy classes at Kampala School for the Physically Handicapped with a wonderful therapist named Umar. While we are so excited about Shaki finally getting the support and assistance he needs, it is costing Action in Africa money that we haven't fundraised yet. But it is worth it to us and we are confident that we are able to raise funds for this cause. We are providing a child with the tools and resources to potentially be able to walk and that's pretty profound!
If you are interested in supporting Shaki, we would be forever grateful. It only costs $15 a week to cover transport and the two hour therapy session. Join with us today by making a one time donation.