On my last trip to Kenya, I met an intriguing young man, Joseph Macharia Kimani, from the Maragua constituency in Kenya. Eight years ago, as a child of 9, he lost his arm in a tragic accident. In spite of the challenges of growing up with only one functional arm, he remained active in sports activities and always received good grades in school academics.
However, his dream of one day having an artificial arm remained strong. Joseph simply wanted to add to the quality of his life and to enjoy the basic things many of us take for granted. Now he is 17 years old, and finally his dream has come true.
I met Joseph at his school when I visited to donate computers to the schools in his native town. After listening to him tell his story, along with his teachers and the Member of Parliament who accompanied me, I decided to help him realize his dream. And on the spot I told him he would have an arm in a few months.
After obtaining all the necessary medical documents, I appointed Ms. Atula Shah to investigate the matter as soon as possible. Then I began looking for an appropriate sponsor to pay for the prosthesis. In order to move the process along as quickly as possible, I looked locally and asked Mr. Moni Kholi, the finance manger of the Nairobi Buddhist temple to help me coordinate the task. Mr. Kholi’s brother, Mr. Mahesh, upon hearing our discussion on the phone, came forward immediately to sponsor the total cost of the arm. I felt as though I experienced a miracle.
It will take one month to import the arm from Germany and then fit it correctly and train Joseph to use it properly. Dr. Sicati, the surgeon in charge, and Dr. Choi, the orthopedic technologist at the Kikuyu Orthopedic Rehabilitation Centre in Nairobi, will be responsible for all the details of the procedure.
I am thankful to Mr. Mahesh, Ms. Atula, and Mr. Moni Kholi for the work they are doing to see the completion of this noble deed. I look forward to meeting and speaking with Joseph again as he enters this exciting new stage of his life!