Bucket Hands

Kaya Hartley - Senegal


March 14, 2012

If you’re not familiar with the game ‘would you rather’ here’s an explanation. A group of people basically go back and forth asking each other which scenario the other would prefer to be in. ‘ Would you rather be able to fly or be invisible?’ ‘ Would you rather eat the same thing or something disgusting once a week for the rest of your life?’ ‘Would you rather have buckets permanently attached to your hands or your feet?’ A couple of months ago as I was walking down the main road of Potou on market day I was reminded of this game.  There was a man, hardly visible behind all of the hustle and bustle of market day- who had no legs.  He had constructed ‘shoes’ for his hands out of cans, sticking a bar through the top of each can ( one for each hand ) so his can ‘shoes’ worked very similarly to crutches. He would position his hands in front of him and swing his body forward to move around- dodging all of the people, horse carts, mobile vendors and cars at the same time. I approached him and gave him 1000 cfa, about the equivalent of two bucks. I suppose I didn’t expect a reaction from him, he must be having a really hard time with such a huge disability. But instead I was surprised by recieving one of the largest grins I’ve ever seen and finding myself immersed in conversation with him. Here was a man who had been put in a situation that many would view as hopeless in a place like Senegal. And yet he had invented a way to make it work, and was asking me how MY family was. I continue to enjoy conversations with Abdou every market day, and he continues to inspire me with his resourcefulness, gratitude, and persistence.

Kaya Hartley