When Webster’s dad walked through our doors in mid-April he was desperate. He had recently moved to Kariobangi and was looking for a school for his son. Two schools had already turned him down. Webster is special and the two schools had told his dad they couldn’t handle him. “My son needs education like any other and it’s painful when we are turned down like this,” he said grimly. As he carried on with his moving story, all the hesitation I had about admitting another child dissipated. There was no way I was going to say no. “Your son is welcome to join Hands of Love… we will be happy to have him here” I said as he came to the end of his story. “Thank you” he said. Then he buried his head in his hands, as if in disbelieve. Finally, he stood up and left the office, happy, jubilant.
Webster Maina was born on February 13, 2012. Nine months later, his mother died suddenly. He has since lived with his father who works as a welder. When he was about two years old, his dad says that he began to notice that there were times he would seem not to be aware of his surroundings and he would occasionally convulse. Although the dad believes the condition to be epilepsy, he has never been properly diagnosed. We hope to be able to have him get a proper diagnosis so that he can get the help he needs.
At school, Webster copes well. He is friendly, and very playful – hyperactive. Teacher Lilian reports that he has difficulty sustaining attention; and seems at times to be daydreaming. Since he’s been with us he has had two convulsions. Taking care of him means more work for teachers. I hate to be the one adding more work to our teachers who are already doing a lot. But they understand we exist to help children like Webster. It also helps all of us learn compassion and empathy – which is an important aspect of our shared humanity.