Saturday 17 September 2011

Eastlea 'People's Millions' Trike Trail.

I woke up early this morning feeling a bit low in spirit because I hadn't slept well at all...too much on my mind. But whoever said that life was easy? My son came in and gave me a big hug and this brightened me up. I felt even better after some breakfast and a hot bath and I began to focus on my appearance at Eastlea Community School in Newham.

My transport arrived on time and as we drove along the M11 heading towards London I marvelled at the sight of the distant tower blocks of the city glimmering in the morning sunshine. It was nice to leave the dark clouds hovering above Harlow and into the sun.

We arrived at Eastlea and I was amazed to see the transformation that had happened since my last visit four years ago. The school reception area was stunning, with beautiful artwork above the entrance, and a bright, spacious interior, and best of all, totally accessible to people of all abilities. This just made my face light up, and I was humbled by the wonderful welcome I received from the Principal and the staff of the school. They took us through into the school and I when I saw the brand new amphitheatre and heard the excellent steel band playing I felt like dancing, this time not in my dreams!

It was lovely to see young people with disabilities whizzing around the play area on brand new trikes and handbikes having a great time, then my eyes caught sight of a swing especially adapted to take a wheelchair. I just had to have a go, big kid that I am, and I loved it, swinging back and forth for the first time in my life. The press and public were watching me but for a few minutes I was a little girl again lost in my own enjoyment. However, the fun ended too soon and I had to become the honoured guest again to officially open the area.

I noticed a young girl in a wheelchair, Rebecca, and I envied her because this great facility would allow her to play with her friends and enjoy the fresh air. Thankfully she will not be the little girl in the corner who was not allowed to join in like I was. I think that is why I decided to ask Rebecca to join me in unveiling the plaque because to me she is the future. Every morning when I wake up I always look for circumstances that I want, and sometimes when I can't find them I try to make them, and today as I gave my speech and looked at the faces of the young people with disabilities and their parents and teachers I wanted this so much for them. I desperately wanted them to understand that circumstances don't make us, they only reveal who we are and that's why disability should never mean inability.

The event finished with some wonderful food in the students canteen that was made by the students. It was delicious. I had to drag myself away to my transport and back to the dark clouds still hovering above Harlow.

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Friday 9 September 2011

London 2012 Paralympics.

Yesterday was a great day for all disabled athletes and Trafalgar Square in London was the place to be. Different sports were being showcased and it was a great spectacle to watch, especially Boris Johnson trying to play tennis! As I watched I thought to myself how some of this could help to change people's attitudes towards disability. To me, the whole event was designed to educate the general public. A survey taken by ComRes for Scope has shown that 47% of disabled people feel attitudes towards them are getting worse so an event like yesterday's is important. I was also pleased to read in the Guardian that the culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, talking about his £20m School Games plan said;"We will confine to the history books the terrible image of a disabled child sitting in the corner on sports day and being unable to take part". I was that child back in my schooldays in Kenya and I want to see such things ended everywhere in the world, not just here in the UK. Tickets are now on sale and it promises to be the greatest Paralympics ever so I really hope its a sell out. It's magical and will give thousands of athletes the chance to perform on a world stage. I am now even more determined than ever to work hard to earn my place on that stage. I can't wait.
I have been unable to train for a week as I nursed a really bad cold but thankfully it is fading fast and I am feeling alive again, and ready to resume my training. One good thing about being housebound is that I have had a lot of time to analyse myself and determine my strengths and weaknesses as I sipped my lemon tea.

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Saturday 3 September 2011

Bolt Back to his Best.

I have really been enjoying the World Championships on Channel 4 and I think their coverage has been fantastic. I especially like the commentary of Dean Macey and it is so refreshing to hear a new voice speaking with such passion and knowledge. He has a commentating voice that can make anything interesting to watch.I look forward to hearing more from him in the future.
The highlight of today was seeing Usain Bolt cruise to victory in the men's 200m final. It was lovely to see him doing so well after his heartbreak of last week and I really laughed after the race when he had the mass of photographers moving left then right then left, really funny. He has totally transformed athletics, not only with his incredible running but also with his showmanship and sense of humour. He is also humble when he needs to be. I and I love him!
I also enjoyed seeing Christine Ohuruogu running well in the women's 400m relay after her disappointing false start last week. I hope she can continue to make progress and win a medal next year in London.
It was wonderful to see Shelley Woods win a bronze in the women's wheelchair 800m. She is going really well just now and is also looking good for London 2012. Mickey Bushell also did well in the men's 400m, especially as it's not really his event. I personally would love to see more disabled athletes getting television coverage at major events because the general public really need to see that we are just as talented and competitive as our able bodied athletes, and we work just as hard in training to achieve our successes.
Which brings me on to the shabby way I feel Oscar Pistorius was treated when being dropped from the South African relay team. Why was he dropped?I think it's very disappointing, especially after the way he ran so well to help his team reach the final.
Finally, my country of birth, Kenya, has done incredibly well to be third in the medal table, with 6 Gold, 5 Silver, and 3 Bronze. Well done to everyone concerned. Kenya is a relatively small country but Kenyans have big hearts, big lungs, and big talent.

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