“Leo hajajifunua sana, nimeamka kumfunika tu mara moja (Today, he hasn’t uncovered himself so much, I only woke up to cover him once.)” says Paul as I enter their room to give the morning support. Paul is referring to Moses Kimani whom he shares a room. Paul is a core member with epilepsy and for many people, He is a receiver of care, but for Moses Kimani Paul is a giver of care.
From the day Moses joined Betania home one year ago, Paul has made it his personal responsibility to look after Kimani as he refers to him as his younger brother. Paul has made a personal effort to learn from the assistants how they support Kimani and even asks for a chance to support Kimani in intimate care in the presence of an assistant, just to be sure that he is doing it right. Many are the times he has sacrificed his sleep to ensure that Kimani doesn’t catch a cold at night as Kimani from time to time uncovers himself while sleeping. He has become famous for his phrase: “Siwezi taka brathe apate homa kwaajili ya kujifunua usiku( I wouldn’t want my brother to catch a cold from uncovering himself at night)”
Kimani has not been the only beneficiary of Paul’s care, the other core members and assistants are also of his concern. Paul is very keen to help where his help is needed. He will not just watch as others struggle with something, he can comfortably do, He is proactive and always steps in to give his support e.g using his height to help other members to reach items, emptying the dustbin, folding Musa’s and Kimani’s cloths, tying Musa’s shoe laces, supporting Kimani in feeding, the list is endless. He has also been a very strong advocate against the wastage of food. He has in many ways encouraged and inspired the assistants to continue working hard.
Paul has given us a chance to look beyond his disability by showing us what he can do and how much of a resource to the home he can be. He has taught us that if we focus too much on someone’s weaknesses we stand a high chance of missing out on his strengths.