Gacoki is a 38-year-old cobbler and snack-seller in Kenya. His life has been full of physical and emotional challenges, he was born with polio, a condition that caused his body to fold his knees to his chest. His parents did the best they could until missionaries came to his aid and took him in at a young age. When he was 9 years old, he had surgery to straighten out his body and he used crutches to walk around. The missionaries were very supportive, and he went to school up until year 5 which he really enjoyed. Sadly, when he was 12, the missionaries left, and he went back to live with his parents. This wasn’t an easy time for Gacoki, his brothers rejected him as an outcast, and he felt very isolated.
When he was 18, the missionaries were able to get him his first wheelchair! This newfound mobility gave him a sense of dignity and independence. He could start working, using his chair to help him support the goods of his trade, he got married and was with the missionaries where he felt accepted. He took really good care of his chair and it served him well over the last 20 years. Sadly, he suffered a great loss, both his parents and his wife passed away. He left the missionaries 3 years ago and he became incredibly isolated. Despite these hardships, Gacoki remained resilient and hopeful, he discovered Walkabout and things started to turn around. Walkabout gave him a brand-new wheelchair, boosting his mobility and opening possibilities for Gacoki to keep supporting himself. The independence a wheelchair brings gives his life meaning, purpose, and hope for the future.