The deaf men of Kakamega who attract clients

Apart from several gestures and a maintained silence, Christopher Simiyu goes about his chores in Kakamega town without much ado.

The 26 year old man gesticulates as he extends his hand to get money for sausages he sells along the road next to Muliro Gardens.

If no balance is required, the purchaser may not think about this youth who does his work, and just leaves.

What endears people to him is the smartness he maintains during his transaction of the business.

This man is clean and keeps his sausages warm, says Joel Ashono who is engaged in boda boda transport in the town.

As various people buy the sausages, it least occurs to them that though meticulous, Mr. Simiyu is actually deaf. But this does not deter him from earning himself a living.

Through his endurance and tolerance when dealing with buyers who are in a hurry and do not understand his state, Mr. Simiyu, a father of two, says that he is able to take care of his family residing in Lurambi Estate.

To effectively explain this, he pulls out his cell phone and writes some texts, thanks to literacy gained at Kamagambo School for the deaf, he says, adding that he was to later obtain business skills from a teacher who sometimes offered to stay with him during term break.

But a deaf boda boda operator in the same town, Frederick Elama, complains that failure to understand what his clients want leads to loses.

He says that all he does is rev the engine and ride off the town. The loss, he says, is incurred when he spends extra fuel after taking wrong routes which a visitor to the town may not have known.

Eve though, he does not allow anger to get better of him since he understands his challenge and does not have an alternative source of income.

It is wrong interpretation that I usually make because sometimes, I depend on ‘reading’the lips when someone is talking, he says. He hastens to take solace in his use of SMS to and from regular clients.

Mr. Elama affirms that he cannot abandon transporting people to and from various places because he cannot count losses throughout any given week, noting that those expecting 100 percent profits every time may give up in life.

Another deaf man in the vicinity, Rodney Okumu, who sells sausages and eggs, says that it is immoral for an able bodied man like him to beg instead of working to earn himself a living.

He says that he and his friend, Simiyu, are neighbours in Lurambi Estate, 2 km away.

Source: Kenya News Agency