This is a compelling story of Collins Oliver Ariko, the Sub County Director of Education for Emuhaya sub-county in Vihiga County. The story was posted on TSC Kenya Facebook page as the first of a weekly series of inspiring stories of TSC employees. Here We Go!
In 2002, Dr. Ariko was involved in a devastating road accident that left him with disability. At a dangerous spot called Kambi Somali in Gilgil along Nakuru-Nairobi Highway, Ariko experienced the most outrageous event of his life.
Inside a school bus carrying students and staff of Maseno School, Ariko encountered a road accident that left him with a disabled arm and an amputated leg.
The team was on a benchmarking mission to Starehe Boys on 16th June 2002 when Dr. Collins Ariko met the accident. The performance of Maseno School was spiraling downwards at the time. The Principal Mr. Paul Agali Otula decided to sponsor the benchmark with an aim of changing things at Maseno. Dr. Ariko was then a Chemistry and Physics teacher at the school.
Following the untimely misfortune, the Physics teacher was left in a comma for two days. Moreover, he spent slightly over three months in hospital to undergo operations and recuperate. Through the accident, Collins Ariko lost his right leg, and his right hand was paralyzed. “Of all the people who were in the school bus on that fateful day, I suffered the most injuries,” Dr. Ariko said.
Dr. Collins Ariko spent at least 10 years seeking compensation for his injuries. Several legal bottlenecks hindered him from getting his compensation sooner, but he never gave up. On its Facebook page, TSC Kenya reported that the treatment of traffic accidents as civil cases in Kenya complicated Ariko’s predicament.
Collins Ariko also narrated how the accident halted the things he loved to do. “Before the accident I used to play soccer and cycle a lot. I also loved art and calligraphy,” Dr. Ariko confessed. It was indeed frustrating for him to learn that he could no longer do those things, no matter how much he yearned to.
Nevertheless, God opened new doors as the old ones got shut. While copying with his new lifestle, Dr. Ariko discovered a new passion in ICT. He used technology to pursue his interest in art and calligraphy. Dr. Collins Ariko also enrolled for a Master’s degree course in Education Administration and Management. He has since completed his education and got promoted to be the Director of Education at the sub-county level.
Furthermore, the accident never stopped him from doing some necessary things such as driving. With one leg and one arm, Ariko is able to drive a manual car. By balancing the accelerator, break and clutch with the left leg, Collins is able to drive himself from home to work and back every day.
To encourage other people living with disability, Ariko says, “When one door is closed many more doors open for you. Take the open doors, relearn if you must and pursue your dreams.” He adds that a person with disability should learn pertinent skills in a particular field to perfection. Seeking sympathy, according to Ariko, is not the best way to cope with a challenge.
TSC Kenya concludes that the first step for a person with disability is to accept their condition. Just as Ariko did, you should continue with your life and pursue your dreams because any form of disability is not inability. It is not the end of life, but part of the process.
Keep your spirits high, dear reader, and push hard towards your vision.