Indomitable Spirit

A man with a physical disability rides a bicycle using
a crutch and his single leg along Bibi Titi Mohamed Road in Dar es Salaam on
Monday.Photo by Robert Okanda

Driving a city bus one comes into contact with all sorts of persons. This week I approached a cyclist from the rear on my regular route only to discover that he had one leg. He typically walked with a crutch serving in place of a prosthesis. Today however, he had inverted his crutch, purched himself on the saddle of a mountain bike and was riding in front of me. Powered by his right leg and a left crutch he was keeping up with the flow of traffic.

Another encounter was John, a Viet Nahm vet, who walks his wheel chair from bus to bus making his way around Grand Junction using a handmade hiking pole in each hand. John would eventually make his way to Whitman Park where he daily visits and encourages other vets who have not faired as well as he.

Indomitable spirits, like these, inspire others as their lives take unexpected turns and leave collateral damage. Many types of injured veterans contend with the changes that life has thrust upon them. Injured in war, in relationships, by disease, by accident, or economic disaster these vets are left to unravel their response to events that have left them crippled for life’s duration. Will they become unwilling victims of seemingly impassionate distress or will they…will we…turn crutches upside down and merge back into the daily stream of life?