Edwin Kuki

At my birth I was given the name of Edwin Kuki and I was born in 1942.

Photographer: Greg Low, Solomon Islands

I was born with a good body, but in 1952 I had polio and acquired this disability. Because of my disability, I live a very poor life. I am very happy that you have invited me to share, that I may share my ideas with you. I have seen discrimination all along my life. I have seen no big changes in levels of discrimination. I attended primary education and I was selected to go to a high school. It was my uncle who said “No, you are not going.” So, I didn’t go further with my education. I only completed grade four.

People who were working on the water supply were planning to put the water supply stand pipe up there, far away. Then I called them and said “Now look, I am a person living with disability. What’s going to happen if I am up there and there comes the rain and so on. If you leave that water supply there, it would be far from my house. So, what if you come down and leave the water standing pipe just beside my house?” And then they saw I was right and said “Oh yes he’s got a good idea”. So they came and installed the water supply stand pipe here. Just beside my house. I felt good about myself because now it’s easy for me to access the water supply.

Travelling around is not that easy, indeed, it is very difficult. I find it very difficult moving around.

When going to a health centre it is easy for me, because the children are very willing to help me, pushing my wheelchair. All I need is to call for them and direct them to take me to the clinic.

I am a song writer. I have sung and I have written many songs and I am invited to go everywhere in this Island to perform songs. I am very happy when performing in front of a crowd.

I am really interested in the election but I usually have the problem of getting to the polling station: it is not easy getting there.

I am very worried about climate change, I am afraid because I have never seen this before. I have seen the sea has come up further, I have seen the sea level is high; I have seen unusual storms coming. We have seen that the wind came in from the west, in the month of February and March, and then from the month of June the wind comes from the east, this is not on, the wind seems to come from every direction nowadays. And there has been a lot of rain causing a lot of floods. I am worried because of my house, I don’t have a good house. I am afraid that a storm might come and destroy my house. The wind is nobody’s friend.

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