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Despite having no limbs, Murungi wants to be a pilot

By Vision Reporter

Added 19th March 2008 03:00 AM

THERE is nothing as strong as hope. For hope, dear reader, never runs dry. Moses Murungi was born limbless, but that has not stopped him hoping and dreaming that he will become a pilot when he grows up.

THERE is nothing as strong as hope. For hope, dear reader, never runs dry. Moses Murungi was born limbless, but that has not stopped him hoping and dreaming that he will become a pilot when he grows up.

By Carol Natukunda

THERE is nothing as strong as hope. For hope, dear reader, never runs dry. Moses Murungi was born limbless, but that has not stopped him hoping and dreaming that he will become a pilot when he grows up.

It does not matter that he has no arms and legs. This six-year-old boy sees himself in charge of a plane one day. “I want to drive the plane and fly high up,” Murungi tells his father, with a broad smile, before staring up at the ceiling.

The first time Murungi talked about becoming a pilot, everyone smiled in disbelief. “He had seen a big plane in the sky and said he wished he could fly it. Next, he saw it in a film and in the newspapers; now he talks about it daily and we know he is serious,” his father, Yakobo Kato, tells of his son’s ambition.

This is the same child who, as he grows older, wonders why he is different from other children — why he does not have arms and legs like his friends in the Primary One class he attends at Kagadi Parents School in Kibaale district.

In fact, one morning this little boy asked his father to tell him what happened to him.

“Daddy,” Murungi asked, looking at himself as if in confusion, “why I am I like this?” Quite unsure of what to say, the terrified father only replied: “We always pray for you and God will take control.”

Perhaps this statement is the source of Murungi’s hope – never to see himself as incapable, never to stop dreaming bigger, but to hope that God will, indeed, take control.

But only a parent knows fully, what it means to have such a child. Kato vividly remembers the night of September 24, 2001 when Murungi was born.

“It was chilly, with a slight drizzle. My wife had been in labour since 11:00am and being our first child, I was very restless. She gave birth at around 9:00pm and I had gone to town but when I came back, she had delivered,” Kato narrates.

The anxious father hurried down the corridors of Kibaale Hospital to see his first child, only to be hit by an unusual sight — a healthy looking baby boy with no limbs! Kato does not say the first thing that came to his mind then, but looks down as he recollects.

“I felt bad when I saw the child,” he says, pauses and looks up.

And if a father was this distraught, what would a mother do? Already, the community was looking at her with suspicion.

“It wasn’t easy,” recalls Kevina, Murungi’s mother. “People laughed at us and called us fools. They said we should have killed him from the hospital. They argued that a limbless child will do nothing for himself or the parents in this world throughout his lifetime”.

All the same, Kevina knew it was her child; so she had to face the situation. She had seen other parents mistreating such children, locking them up and starving them. And she felt it too harsh for an already disadvantaged child. “That kind of treatment traumatises a child. We didn’t do such heinous acts to our son and he is schooling well like any other child. He does better than most of them!” Kevina explains.

Stories abound of some men abandoning their wives once they realise that the baby delivered is somewhat different. But Kato says it never crossed his mind.

When his wife conceived, the signs of her pregnancy had been even more glaring. At two months, Kato’s wife had been in and out of hospital, with high fever, vomiting and colds.

“They gave me injections, drugs and there was a doctor who feared the pregnancy would not go well. We would go to hospital almost every day,” Kato remembers.

So now that the baby was born limbless, Kato knew he would be inhuman not to support his wife, after the painful nine months.

“In fact, some people think the heavy medication must be the one that stopped the baby’s limbs from growing. But I didn’t and have never had a problem with my wife, because it was not her will,” the self-acclaimed Christian says.

It has certainly been a hard path to tread, especially for a village couple with minimal income. All Kato does for a living is carpentry, while Kevina is a shop attendant in her sister’s shop. Their home in Kagadi Town Council is about two miles away from Murungi’s school. This leaves them no choice but to hire a bodaboda daily to transport Murungi to and from school at a cost of sh3,000.

Unlike other children who walk to school, play and jump around, theirs has to stay in one place, because the best he would do is crawl on his knees, or his bottom.

At school, the family has to pay one of the teachers a monthly fee of sh50,000 to give special attention to the boy — like taking him for short calls. He would otherwise have to crawl through the dirty, sometimes flowing urinals and toilets. So a potty is the only option, both at school and home.

“Our challenge is to buy him a mobile toilet but it is too expensive. The money for his transport is also too much, and we cannot afford it. Sometimes, when it rains, the bodaboda man doesn’t come to pick him, so he stays home, yet he likes studying,” Kato says, adding that if he got funding, he would buy a motorcycle, specifically to take Murungi to school. The school premises also do not provide enough facilities, such as special walkways for him to crawl, and it is also hard to get up the steps or the benches in the classrooms.

Kato also laments that Murungi’s clothes get worn out very fast because of crawling on the ground. The child also needs counselling sessions to help him accept himself, amidst other normal children.

Still, the simple pleasures stand out. Murungi eats by himself and dresses himself, the same way another child his age would. He also loves spending time with other children.

He has also proved bright as he beats several children in all subjects, including handwriting.

“It is so amazing that someone who doesn’t have hands writes better than those who have the hands,” Kato laughs and tips his head back. “It reminds me of the story of a limbless evangelist called Nick Vujicic who has succeeded against the odds.”

Murungi speaks good English – he cheerfuly answers when asked what his name is and which class he attends. And because Murungi always talks about becoming a pilot, his father bought him a toy plane. Only, of course, he cannot make it fly in the air –— he pushes it on the floor, as he screams “vroomm…”

But will Murungi realise his dream when he is grown up? Make a difference in his life by calling 0772543426 or send an email to

helpmoses2007@yahoo.com. Financial support can also sent to Stanbic Bank Account No. 0121062623801.

Despite having no limbs, Murungi wants to be a pilot

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