Life full of Hope

Gloria (in a pink shinny dress), NOPE Executive Director, Phillip Waweru (right) and Human Resource Manager, Alice Njuguna (left) during Gloria's birthday. She was turning 16 years

“One day I will be a doctor and I will be providing medical attention to children who are like me”. This are the words of Gloria Chepkorir a 16 year old girl born with spina bifida, a type of birth defect where there is incomplete closing of the backbone and membranes around the spinal cord. This has left her glued to a wheel chair and also stagnated her growth. Despite all this, she has not lost hope in life and she is counting each day of her life as a blessing.

We left Nairobi at 11: 00 am. We had a mission. To drive all the way to Salga, the famous black spot in Kenya to pay a visit to a young girl named Gloria Chepkorir. This has been a routine by the Nation Organization of Peer Educators (NOPE) staff to visit the girl and her family every year on 22nd December .which is her birthday. This year she turned sixteen.

Gloria is a special girl. She was born with spina bifida, a type of birth defect where there is incomplete closing of the backbone and membranes around the spinal cord. This has left her glued to a wheel chair and also stagnated her growth. She has also undergone several medical operations at Kijabe Mission Hospital, where she was implanted with a shunt which connects the head and urinal bladder and also uses catheter tube which assists her loosen her bladder.

We arrived in Salga and Gloria’s home at 3:00 PM. The compound was full of people, mostly children who were friends with Gloria and women who were busy running up and down with cutlery preparing food. Men were seated under a tent listening to music. We stopped at the entrance of the homestead. A middle aged man and woman whom I later learned to be Gloria’s parents came to meet us. “Hello, it is nice to see you again, welcome.” said the man with a smile, as he directed us to our seats.

Gloria was on the front row seat in a pink shinny dress. Her face lit up with a smile when she saw us. We all took turns to say hello to her. This was my first time to meet the girl that NOPE staff talked fondly off. I was really amazed by her energy despite her condition. She is a lovely girl with a bright smile that warms your heart.

The father, Mr. Kibet, thanked NOPE for their support and their help not only to Gloria but the whole family. “NOPE has ensured that Gloria never misses her monthly medical checkups and physiotherapy at Kijabe hospital. Apart from that, NOPE has become part of our family as they have also assisted our firstborn daughter Mercy Chemutaito pursue medical engineering at Arvist college and Victor kipkemoi Kurui who is joining form 4 at Bomasan high school.” He said. Gloria who is joining STD 3 at Edison Academy can comfortably go to school with the wheel chair provided by NOPE.

Love for Music and school

Gloria’s love for music was evident when she was about to cut her birthday cake and share with her guest. “I want to sing this song and I hope you will all join me”. She requested. “He has done so much for me, I cannot tell it all”. She sang loudly with a beautiful voice and everyone joined her. We also sang her a birthday song and one could only hear her voice. “Gloria is a God-fearing daughter, singer, jovial and likes education.”  Said her father.

Philip Waweru, the executive director for NOPE said that they will arrange for Gloria to have a piano that will encourage her to continue with her passion. “I believe that Gloria has a talent that should be encouraged” he said. He asked Gloria’s parents to confirm from the doctors whether it was okay for her to play a piano.

Mr. Waweru had met Gloria when he had gone to visit his sister in her school in Kericho. Gloria’s father who was then working in the school told him about her. After he met her. He reached out to colleagues and friends who decided to raise funds to assist in Gloria’s school fees and medical care. They also supported Gloria’s mother with funds to open a small scale business.

The team from NOPE also gifted Gloria with food and non-food items. While receiving the gifts, Gloria acknowledged that her birthday was always the best day of her life.  “This is the happiest day of my life”. She said with a smile. “I thank NOPE for their generosity”. She concluded.

“One day I will be a doctor and I will be providing medical attention to children who are like me”.