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Man finds a life in construction work 20 years after losing right arm, family

By Daniel Chege | November 7th 2021

Samuel Munyiri at Mangu, Nakuru County, on November 6, 2021. [Daniel Chege, Standard]

Twenty-one years ago, Samuel Kanyiri Munyiri was a professional mechanic, husband and father of three.

His job, in one of the major companies in the country, had earned him a fortune that enabled him to acquire a plot and construct a house in Kitale, where his family lived.

“After completing my studies, I did a course in mechanics and was employed. My life was good, and I had a family that I loved,” 45-year-old Munyiri told The Standard.

However, in 2001, Munyiri's life took a major turn after he was kidnapped near his house. He was walking home from work when he was pulled into a vehicle by four people.

He says that he was forced to sniff a wet handkerchief and lost consciousness.

“I fought for my life against the four well-built men who were forced to put me to sleep to end the struggle inside the moving car,” Munyiri says.

When he regained consciousness, he realized he had been left in an unfamiliar place.

He says that he attempted to support himself up only to realize that he did not have his right arm.

“I called for help. Some Good Samaritans took me to Elburgon police station and then to Rift Valley Provision General Hospital where I stayed for a week,” he says.

From then, his life changed. Firstly, being a right-handed person, Munyiri found it hard to work with his left arm.

Munyiri works at a construction site. [Daniel Chege, Standard]

He then left Elburgon and went to his home in Kitale, where he says it did not take long for his family to get tired of him because he was helpless and dependent.

“I stayed with my wife for a year, and in 2002, we separated. I decided to leave and find something to do to stop feeling helpless,” he says.

He claims that his wife mocked him when he was leaving, saying that he would return home, an old man without teeth, clothes, or money.

Munyiri’s next step was to seek counselling and assistance from experts who deal with people with disabilities.

He says they encouraged him to lift himself and stop complaining or depending on other people who would not help.

His efforts went unnoticed for years because he did not get opportunities in the mechanical field.

He decided to remarry to at least get company and help. Unfortunately, the wife died. He remarried for the third time, but the wife also died.

Munyiri moved from one job to another and even worked in one of the Kericho tea farms, but was still unsatisfied. He returned to Elburgon to look for more opportunities.

And in 2006, his son, born in 1998, stopped visiting him.

“We used to see each other, but he stopped visiting me. I lost my children’s phone numbers,” he says.

Following the disappointments, Munyiri promised himself that he would change his life and prove his family wrong.

For the last few years, Munyiri started a course in construction work while at the same time strengthening his left hand.

Luckily, since 2018, he has been getting construction jobs as a casual labourer.

Last year, he got an opportunity to work at a construction site in Mangu, Nakuru County.

“We started by demolishing wooden houses that existed in the area before we started the construction of the new building,” he says.

Since March this year, he has been part of over ten crew members constructing a three-storey building.

“I do record works, storage, and help my colleagues carry some stones. I earn a living from it,” he says.

Sammy Kariuki, one of the instructors and a mason, says they are blessed to have Munyiri, who helps in record keeping, store work, and does lighter jobs.

“Any work done by people with two hands, he also does,” he says.

He urged the government to give opportunities to people like Munyiri because they are capable.

“They do not need to be shown mercy. They need to be given opportunities. They are human beings too,” he says.

Munyiri wants to put up his workshop. He believes that his skills in driving, riding a motorcycle and doing mechanical work will help start his business.

“I hear that the government sets aside money for the people with disabilities. Nobody has helped me since 2001, but I need help from the government to take the next step,” he says.

Munyiri would like to see his children again. He says that he misses them. However, he wants to have his life back on track when he meets them.

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