~By Charity Kuria~
For a girl who grew up dreaming of going through school, getting into a good marriage, living in a posh home and driving a guzzler she is not doing bad. Two years ago she completed her Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication with a major in Public Relations at St Paul’s University and has high hopes of pursuing a master’s degree in Public Administration someday.
“It’s precisely one year since I started working for the National Government under the Ministry of Interior and Co-ordination as the Assistant County Commissioner, Limuru Constituency. I applied for this job just like any other person and was lucky to qualify after a series of internships here and there.” Said Miss Theuri seated behind a big desk in her glass walled office.
“Life has a tendency of throwing us surprises and twisting events. You see, I pursued a Bachelor’s of Arts in Mass Communication with Public Relations as a major but here I am serving in a different field altogether.” She mused indicating with a sweep of her hand.
Miss Theuri has the advantage of being an extrovert which works best for her given that the nature of the job demands such from her that is if the long queue of people waiting patiently outside her office door is anything to go by.
“Being a people’s person by nature really works to my advantage and having done a PR course is an added bonus given that my line of work demands a lot of talking and high levels of diplomacy. I enjoy talking to people and offering solutions,” she noted.
Every job has its own challenges and the case is not different for Miss Theuri despite being abled differently. Sometimes government vehicles break down thereby inconveniencing her fieldwork schedule or she encounters rude fellows like she narrated. “Some people are a bit too rude which leaves me baffled. One day a client walked in my office and insisted that he wanted to see the real DO, it took time to convince him that he was actually conversing with the DO.” She chuckled at the memory.
Miss Theuri has refused to let her Mass Communication skills gather dust as she hosts a television show at Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC).
“Abled differently is a program on KBC set to give a platform to talk about disability issues and stuff that people didn’t know about. We get to air our views. Jackie the producer identified a gap that no other media station has program focusing on us. Abled Differently tries to change lives and people’s perspective on issues to do with disabilities so that people can stop viewing us as a liability.”
“I would really like to call for parents to unashamedly bring their children into the world despite their physical appearances. There is nothing to be ashamed of really. Present them to the world from an early age so that they can get used to that extra attention from the public. It’s more harm than good locking them up. Imagine what could have happened to me had my parents locked me up denying me education and exposure. Literally speaking I wouldn’t be where I am today but probably out on the streets begging.”
“I nurse the dream of becoming the Deputy County Commissioner or the next PS with a disability. For me the sky is the limit. Patience, persistence and aggressiveness keep me going despite people thinking that disability holds me back.” She said dreamily.
“Whenever I wear that uniform I’m aware that people get inspired, to me that’s enough than any pay check.” She said proudly. “I am a very proud Kenyan who wouldn’t trade my citizenship for any other. It’s a peacefully nation and democracy gives us the right to express ourselves. I think we are very free people,” she stated.
“I admire my mother, she is one strong woman. You know challenges make us strong and better than yesterday. She is the psyche and force behind my never letting small things weigh me down,” she revealed.
“To unwind I read Jackson Biko, listen to loud music and socialise. Above all, those smiles on people’s faces after helping them out gives me joy. I can’t live the house without my lipstick, powder and phone. You never know! And oh! I hate routine. It’s monotonous and boring. I love challenges, they make life more interesting.” She declared amidst smiles
“My advice to people with disabilities; please accept yourself and get somebody to talk to. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. For the regular people, don’t act smart towards us because disability is a club, you can join it anytime. The sooner they accept us the better for everyone.” She cautioned.