My name is Paquito, and I was born in 1998.  I haven’t hands, elbows or arms, but I have something than replaces all of them, my feet.  Since I was a little baby my Mom put all kind of things and materials between my little toes: cotton, crayons, TV remotes, and later spoons and forks.  As she taught me how to use all of them, the idea was to make me happy and independent.

I was born in México and the doctors told my Mom not to expect too much from me. Thank God my Mom thought they were wrong!  She treats me the same way as if I was any other kid. Sometimes people asked her “How hard is it to have a kid like me.”  She said the question is badly formulated and they should ask me, “How hard is to have a Mom like her; a Mom than doesn’t notice than I don’t have arms, and never used that as an excuse for anything.”

When I was younger (4 or 5 years old) I asked Mom why I didn’t have arms and she told me because God sent me like this.  Then I ask her why God did that, why me? (never as a complain, just natural curiosity) She told me that God saw in me all the talents, the courage, and strong will I have, that he saw in me, things that I don’t even know that I have already; so he was sure I was able to deal with this condition and make of this a wonderful challenge.

When I started school, many schools rejected me just because I look different.  Even though I learned to write, read, and add before I was 4 years old, they said I’ll slow the class down, but my Mom went to every single school in my town to find a place to me.

I must say than I’m now the winner of 3 annual contests in the city: Mathematics, Auditorium reading and understanding and Declamation (yes declamation, one discipline where judges look at the movement of hands).  Well I don’t have arms but I have my face, my voice and all my body to express myself and according with many people, lot of talent. Furthermore I won the Regional contest in the Auditorium reading contest where there are participants from many cities.  This is the first time in our history when one kid wins all 3 different contests, and ever for a kid with a disability.  Can you imagine the faces of all teachers and principals that denied me the opportunity to study and said I’d slow their class down?

Most important of all is that I’m a very confident and happy kid with great self-esteem.  I give hugs to everybody because I don’t need the arms to hug my Mom with my heart.

I wanted to share this message with you to tell everybody that disability doesn’t mean useless.  All of us have different shapes, weights and talents, and we have to be able to see through an empty sleeve, or an uncoordinated body. There are no two people in the world exactly alike, even twins, so for those who believe they’re “normal”, let me remind them that “normal” is to be different.