This Blind Teacher Has 11 Children And Wants More
Moses Mandangura doesn’t need to know how his children look for him to be the best father he can be to them. At 49, he is the father to 11 children, seven sons and four daughters.
Mandangura who is a blind teacher always has a smile on his face that belies the hurdles of fatherhood that he has to surmount daily.
He teaches Kiswahili and social studies at St Francis School for the Blind in Kapenguria, but as schools are closed due to Covid-19 pandemic, Mandangura is busy with other responsibilities – being a farmer and a father.
He and his wife Pauline has earned the admiration of many in Murkwijit village, West Pokot County, Kenya.
Speaking about his close-knit family as the world marked Father’s Day yesterday, Mandangura told The Standard
“I am the firstborn in a family of six and the only blind one. My parents took me to St Francis School for the Blind in Kapenguria where I learnt how to use braille. Then I proceeded to Asumbi Teachers College before securing a job in 1996 as a teacher,” he says.
He chuckles as he recounts how he met Pauline, his wife of 23 years.
“A colleague at St Francis introduced me to her. At first, she hesitated, but I fought on until I won her heart and her hand in marriage in 1997. I paid 11 cows for her dowry and we had a traditional wedding after our parents blessed our union,” he recounts.
Madangura also revealed that his only regret is that he cannot see his 11 children.
However, he knows all of them by name, through their voices and by touch. He knows exactly when each of them was born and how far they have grown.
Besides not being able to see the family he heads, Madangura’s only other regret is that he cannot drive. If he could, he would take the entire family on a road trip.
“If I could see, I would buy a car and drive myself,” he says.
The couple’s firstborn is 19 and is set to join university when institutions reopen, while their last born is two.
“I desire to see my children but it is impossible in my state. However, I can identify all of them by their voices and by touching them. I enjoy hearing and feeling them grow,” he says.
Like any other parent, Madangura has become an expert at interpreting each child’s laughter, cry, gurgle, and babble.
“When I hold my children, I read their moods through their body language. Like right now I can sense my two-year-old girl is not happy,” he says, calling Cheptumwo to draw closer to him during the interview.
On why he chose to have many children, he explained:
“People wonder why I chose to have 11 children, and I answer: Why not? Whether by birth, adoption or foster care, children seldom drop into our lives unannounced. I can take care of all my children because God has given me the ability to give birth but not to see. There is a difference between a perfect family and a wonderful family.”
Surprisingly, Madangura takes care of his large family with little help from the outside world as he has never had to hire a house-help.
Every time his wife fell ill or went to maternity, Madangura would take charge.
“I can sweep, wash clothes and cook, but I cannot chop vegetables. Whenever my wife gave birth, I went to the market to buy her food. I do most of the shopping because I pass by Makutano town from Monday to Friday,” he says.
He is already familiar with every corner of his home and has mastered the terrains of his remote village to navigate his way around.
When he is not working or inspecting his farm, you will find him reading or listening to music.
“On Saturdays, I herd my cows and on Sundays, I go to church,” he says.
Reechoing his stand that family is the strongest and most dependable pillar for people living with disabilities, he says having any disability should not be an excuse for not being a responsible father and husband, and running a happy family.
“My relatives were delighted when we had our first child. For all parents-to-be, the support and encouragement of loved ones is invaluable,” he says.
Pauline says she has a lot of respect for her husband and others like him.
“Many blind parents have raised happy, healthy children who have grown into responsible, productive adults,” she says.