Nikko


I watched a man dance in the square for money. What made him unique was he had only one arm and one short stub for a leg. He sits on the sidewalk and kind of bounces.  He had wrapped tape around his leg stub so that the concrete wouldn't rub the skin off while he danced. The crowd was quite large, maybe 200 people.   

 

His name is Nikko. He lives alone in a small room about the size of a walk in closet except the ceiling is not as high. It is probably about 6X8 feet and does have an electric light. There is a low wooden bench that he sits and sleeps on that takes up about half the room. There are a few belongings including a boom box and stack of CDs for his performances. He was very gracious and friendly and talked quite openly about his life as a street performer. He too has been affected by 911 as it caused the tourist trade to drop. I asked him if he had any medical or dental needs. He didn't mention his teeth at first which was interesting because they were visibly rotten. He was having difficulty eating because of problems with his throat.

 

It seems that about a year ago while he was eating something stuck in his throat and he began to choke. He only has one arm and the hand that is on it, has only a stub that is to large too fit in his mouth. His mother, who is now living in another city, realized what was happening and reached down his throat with her hands to dig the food out. Nikko said her fingers tore the inside of his throat and for this last year it has been very difficult to eat. We give him a voucher to go to the hospital and have his situation evaluated. That was his primary concern. After he knew that his throat would be looked at he thought a little dental work might not be a bad idea.

 

I our country we do what we can to minimize the disabilities of others. In Peru it is sometimes necessary to exploit yourself to make a living if that is all you have. At home I see able bodied people lining up for a government handout in Peru I see a man with no hands or feet doing what he can to survive.

 

Paul