When someone wants to be a soldier, he should be physically fit and considerably tall, and also has straight feet and perfect set of teeth. Basically, what the army wants to recruit and be a part of the military force are youths who are able bodied and are very much capable of performing the tasks of a soldier without any limitation or restraint. So, if these are some of the requirements in becoming a recruit for the army, then you might wonder why a disabled person is wearing a complete uniform of a soldier.
A 45-year-old Nairobi resident, Andrew Onyango Omondi, is seen by many as an army man fully dressed in an army combat gear. But he is not going to war nor he is part of the military force. He is a security guard wearing a replica of a Kenyan soldier’s uniform, and he is on a wheelchair.
Omondi is often seen by many helping car owners find a slot to park their vehicles. He is usually assisting drivers and motorists looking for parking areas in Kencom and Kenya cinema. He does these all while he is on an army uniform and on a wheelchair.
Omondi says he was not really born disabled. He became unable to walk when he was accidently shot in the ankle. According to him, in the course of running battles in Uganda, where he used to have a clothing business in the 1970s, he was shot and the bullet hit his right foot. And despite the surgery done to remove the bullet on his right ankle, his mobility became limited and then he became unable to walk with ease.
He lost his business in Uganda because of the incident and he then decided to leave and find a safe place to live and start over. He then chose to live in Nairobi until today along with his family, and make a living for them instead of begging.
Omondi, who is a man of honor and integrity, strives to earn a living and make money for his family. He wants to have an income that will not just feed them but also educate his sons and daughters so that they will have a decent job and not just beg on the streets because of poverty.
Omondi, day by day, in his soldier attire, goes to work as a security guard and is given an allowance of Sh3, 000. He also manages to help people find a parking place for their cars and is given a token in return. His limitations did not hinder him to work hard and dream big for his family.
Even though he was not a true soldier, his heart showcases one. He did not give up because of the misfortunes he had. Instead, he strove hard to live life and even help others, especially his family. He may just be a man wearing a replica of a soldier’s gear, but what he shows is the heart and spirit of a true and an honorable soldier.