Dr. Naboth Coole is a Phd holder and a lecturer at Makerere University. However, because of his physical disability, his life would have been different if his mother had listened to the advice of relatives and village-mates who thought the best he would ever make of his life was to become a cobbler.
42-year-old Naboth was born like any other healthy child in Nyakibale, Rukungiri district. Polio crippled him as child, but not his dreams. In fact he spent two years in coma and only his prayerful mother didn’t give up on him.
He recovered but with both legs crippled, meaning he would have to crawl to move from place to place. At school fellow children made fun of him and his father’s peers didn’t help matters.
“One time they told my father, don’t waste time taking this kid to school. He will grow up, go to town, become a cobbler and he will earn a living,” Dr. Naboth said while speaking at a dinner to raise funds for Angel’s Center, an NGO that takes care of children with mental challenges at Hotel Africana last weekend.
“What a child of that nature needs is not so much about the money available at home, it’s hope. I lived a hopeless life because the best they saw in me was to become a cobbler, but when hope was restored, I became someone no one ever imagined I would ever be. I have been invited to speak in 36 countries, who knew!” he said.
“There is someone in the village who told me, I don’t deserve the best, because even when God was creating he, he was preparing me to live a low life.”
Naboth actually yielded to the pressure and started grazing cattle. It is someone whom he considers a godfather because he changed his life, who found him grazing cattle during school hours and asked why he wasn’t in school. He told him education was the key to his future.
The school was four kilometres away and Naboth was finding difficulty getting there, but like they say, there is nothing like a mother’s love.
“Hadn’t it been for my mother’s guidance and prayers, I wouldn’t have made it. She used to take me to school very early in the morning on her back and pick me up in the evenings. One evening I told her, ‘mum I seem to be trouble to you. Let me kill myself so that you can have peace.’ She looked straight in my face and said Naboth you are not a mistake. God gave you to me as a gift. Don’t look at what I’m doing as a burden, I am very proud to do it.”
He advised parents not to lose hope in their disabled children. “Nobody in my area knew that I would be Dr. Naboth one day. I have swam threw the fallacies of misconceptions and stereotypes. I transformed my thinking to look at my obstacles as the my best opportunities,” he said.
“My mother told me I would make the best husband, but someone told me you cannot hold the hand of your wife and walk with her, and it was reality. My mind was dominated by such kind of negative thinking. I would see people jogging with their wives in the morning, hugging their wives and it hurt. I learnt that I may not be able to stand and hug my wife, but my heart can hug her,” he said.
And when everything seems too heavy for his heart to bear, he has always turned to God. “There is a book that I cherish reading and it’s the Bible. One of my favourite verses is that I am wonderfully and fearfully made in God’s image. Another verse is that I am not created by mistake,” he said.