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Disability did not hold him back

During the day and some evenings, you will find 29-year-old Elvis Odhiambo either at an event entertaining or at the Sarakasi Dome in Ngara polishing up his dance styles.

When he isn’t doing what he is most passionate about, Elvis plays football and basketball for two city teams.

What is surprising is that Elvis is deaf.

The reason why he is able play and dance so beautifully, he said, is because he has mastered concentration, counting visually and his body picks out vibrations.

He was born as a normal child, went to a regular school until the age of seven when he began losing his hearing. 

Even as a child, he was sporty. It was at Nyang’oma Deaf School in Bondo that he discovered and nurtured his love for dancing, football and basketball, and when time came for him to pursue a career, he found himself taking a carpentry course at Karen Technical Institute even though his heart was in music and play. 

He found his break in 2010 when a friend introduced him to Sarakasi dancers where he was integrated into the Sarakasi deaf dancers group which he now captains. 

He is also the vice-captain of the King Deaf basketball team which has seen him go for tournaments as far as Bulgaria. He is also the captain of BlackStar Deaf Youth FC, a football team in Makongeni.

Tough journey

Elvis admitted that his journey in life has not been easy. To master a certain dance style, he needs many hours of practise in order to develop an inner sense of timing for that specific dance.

When he plays, he has to rely on visual cues and hand signals to guide him.

“The government and society have made some steps in employing disabled people but in my experience, it is still hard for the deaf and dumb. I have observed that when there is a job and a person has a choice of two disabled people, they opt for the one who can talk,” he said.

He hopes for a time when he and others like him will be given a chance to show the world that they can do things.

Before then, he is focusing his energy at scaling the fences he is sure to find on his journey in the world of sports and entertainment.