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Difficulties of securing love with a disability

At 54, Daniel Kamuri, who is physically challenged, is not yet married. Not that he doesn’t want to settle down and start a family, but because no woman has genuinely offered him her love

Mathew Ndung’u @PeopledailyKe

With a warm smile, Daniel Kamuri welcomes customers who throng his base, inspired by his hardwork. You see, the 54-year-old is physically challenged.

At Thika town, next to county government offices, he is a popular figure. People walk straight to his small stall to purchase his products. At the same point, he operates a weighing scale with which he measures people’s weight, to add to his source of income.

But his major concern is that at his age, he is yet to marry. All his life, he has been longing to have a romantic relationship and companionship with a woman who would understand and love him the way he is.

“I seriously need a woman that I can live with and raise a family with,” Kamuri says. Kamuri is still hopeful that all is not lost and that he will in God’s perfect time find his other half who he promises to treat like a queen as they enjoy life together. Kamuri says he has on several occasions started a relationship with women, but he has been unsuccessful.

Some reject his moves outrightly because of his condition. Others pretend to be interested, but only for what he gives them, especially financial assistance, then leave him. But he has never found a genuine woman.

He was born lame in Murang’a county, but now lives in Magoko, Thika. He is also a songwriter and has composed a number of songs, which he has recorded in audio form. But due to financial constraints, he has not been able to shoot a video. “Disability should not be a hindrance to marriage. I’m a man like any other.

I’m also able to provide and take care of my family through my hardwork. I always wake up early to prepare myself for the day. I buy goods on wholesale price and sell them at retail price,” he reveals.

Finding a life partner isn’t that simple. But it’s even challenging for people living with disabilities. Sociologist Beatrice Nderitu says there are many reasons that cause even those who would fall genuinely in love with a person who is physical challenged to develop cold feet. First, it could be the fear of what their family, friends and society at large would say.

“I had a patient who came to me saying her family couldn’t accept the man she had chosen because he was deaf. Imagine that! He had a well-paying job, was physically attractive only that he had a hearing disability.

What if he couldn’t walk?” he poses. Also, other fears the responsibility that comes with getting married to such a person. These people see the potential spouse as someone to take care of them, not as a partner.

“Such a partner would need extra attention. If he/she can’t walk, maybe you would need someone to help lift him/her to a chair or bed. Assist them to the bathroom. If one cannot see, you have to be their eyes,” she says.

Also there is gender role crash. “For example, if a woman is physically challenged, that would mean the man would help, for example, in the kitchen, with the children and so on. If it is the man, then the woman has to, for example, do handy jobs such as change bulbs, and sometimes step in as a provider of the family,” Nderitu adds.

For others, it’s because of fear of unknown such as sex life, having children, among others. However, Nderitu says there is still hope. “You can find love in this world. And when you do, you will know. Because that person will see you before they see the chair. The chair is not part of you or anything you are. It’s just a tool.

When you find the person who understands that, and can overcome their fear and discomfort, you will have found the right one for you. You are as worthy of love as anyone,” she advises.

And about that fear/discomfort of being with someone who is physically challenged? “It shouldn’t be your problem. It is their problem. Real friends try to empathise with and support you, not judge you and avoid you,” she concludes.

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