Meet a one handed vulcanizer adored by motorists

Ochieng Sibe during the interview. PHOTO/Nyang'au Araka, The Scholar Media Africa.

When Ochieng Sibe was born 27 years ago, it was clear that his left arm was shorter than the right one.

As he grew, each of the two upper limbs grew at its own rate.

While the right limb is fully formed into the upper and lower arm and the hand, the left limb only comprises of the upper arm.

This means Sibe’s upper left limb is deformed; for it does not have the lower arm, the wrist and the hand. He has five fingers.

Perhaps one may think that Sibe has confined himself to some corner lamenting that he is living with a disability.

“Not me! I had to accept my condition and live positively,” Sibe, a father of two who repairs car wheel punctures and refills them says.

For the last two years, Sibe has been in this business which he does without much strain as one would expect.

At his place of work near Kisii Hotel, Sibe enjoys serving motorists to satisfaction.

“I was trained by my home mate on how to repair punctures and refill pressure after I dropped out of school in 2013,” Sibe who hails from Eroga village of Homa Bay County says.

After the training in Oyugis Town, Sibe moved to Kisii Town briefly but discovered that he could not attract motorists in need of his services in the midst of other well established vulcanizers.

“I moved to Nyamira where someone who had an air pressure pump employed me,” Sibe recalls.

After working there for some time, he eventually returned to his town of choice two years ago.

“This is the job that feeds and clothes my family. I don’t have any other source of income,” he told The Scholar Media Africa during the interview on August 24, 2021.

Ochieng Sibe in action. PHOTO/Nyang’au Araka, The Scholar Media Africa.

He is yet to buy his own machine so that he self employs himself and perhaps creates a job for someone else.

“A good machine costs Ksh60, 000 but there are others which are slightly cheaper,” he said.

Presently, he shares earnings from the business with the owner of the machine.

“We have agreed to share what we get after every two weeks. That is after we have deducted some amount for the maintenance and storage of the pressure machine and other materials that I use here,” he said.

Had life gone the way Sibe fathomed, he would have studied up to college and gotten a job that would help him rewrite the story of his humble background.

“I was taken to Joyland Special School in Kisumu but when my sponsor withdrew support, I abandoned my studies in Form Three,” Sibe said.

He had started his schooling at Nyaera Primary School before he sat for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education from K’Otieno Primary School.

Sibe believes that persons living with disabilities can eke a living if they are supported to do so.

“Some motorists have doubts when they come here for the first time but when they give me the opportunity to serve them, I do it well,” Sibe said.

Davis Agwata who had his wheel vulcanized in the course of our interview said that he prefers Sibe because he is swift and does his work to perfection.

Anatomy indicates that the arm is divided into the upper and fore arm.

The upper arm which extends from the shoulders to the elbows is predominantly for lifting and pulling strength.

The fore arm which extends from the elbow to the wrist has muscles that are responsible for the rotation of the hand because they also rotate and flex.

The elbow allows the arm to open up to an angle of 180 degrees.

Some scientific journals define conditions like Phocomelia Syndrome as a rare birth defect characterized in most instances by severe malformation of the extremities.

Mr. Sibe fixes the wheel after vulcanizing it. PHOTO/Nyang’au Araka, The Scholar Media Africa.
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Mr. Araka is the pioneer reporter and editor at The Scholar. His satirical segment, The Idler's Corner is very popular with our readers. He is also a published novelist and biographer.


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