News / Africa

Kenyan Traveling 4,000 Kilometers in Wheelchair

Zack Kimotho is traveling 4,000 kilometersZack Kimotho is traveling 4,000 kilometers
Zack Kimotho is traveling 4,000 kilometers
Zack Kimotho is traveling 4,000 kilometers
Ricci Shryock
Kenyan Zack Kimotho is making a 4,000 kilometer trek by wheelchair from Nairobi to the nearest spinal rehabilitation center, which is in South Africa. But he said the longest journey of his life – or at least what felt like it – was the ride from the roadside where he had been shot during an attempted carjacking to a hospital in Nairobi.

“That was the longest journey I had ever taken,” he said.

Now Kimotho has a new journey. He’s trying to raise the $2.9 million needed to build a spinal chord injury rehab center by wheeling himself halfway across Africa. He chose South Africa as his destination, because that is where the nearest center is located.

“I’m on the road wheeling myself,” he said. “The whole idea here is if Kenyans can help me raise  250 million [Kenyan Shillings], I’ll come back , because at the point that we have reached our target… and we’ll start building our own rehab, because there won’t be a need for me to go to South Africa.”

He added their main goal is for Kenyans to make donations using their mobile phones. He and the Kenyan Parapalegic Organization have currently raised 40 million Kenyan shillings, or almost $500,000, since beginning his journey on June 9. So far, he has travelled 78 kilometers.

“I want to help people who are in a similar condition as I am,”  he said.

Kimotho, who is a widower and father of one, said one of the hardest parts of  being confined to his wheelchair was arriving home after three months in the hospital. “You are told to go home. You’re isolated, and that’s it. You are forgotten,” he said.

He said a rehabilitiation center would help both the injured and their families learn how to better cope with the special needs of a parapelegic’s lifestyle.

“People don’t know what to do with you,” he said. “They see someone in a wheelchair, and they look at you twice and start conversing in low tones. It's something people need to be aware of –  that anybody can get into a wheelchair – it doesn’t matter who you are. I think this lack of awareness is there.”

According to the Kenyan government, there are more than 15,000 people who suffer spinal-chord injuries from accidents on the road each year.

Kenyan Zack Kimotho talks to Ricci Shryock about his journey from Kenya to South Africa
Kenyan Zack Kimotho talks to Ricci Shryock about his journey from Kenya to South Africai
|| 0:00:00

You May Like

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: mwangi from: muranga kenya
June 19, 2012 6:31 PM
there is an error in the piece - 40 million shilling is not $5 million - its $0.5M.
What a noble effort!! by Kimotho!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs