Kenya: Rehabilitation: The Sherman Turner Story Part II
Sherman L. Turner
Reviewed by Joseph Yurt for Reader Views (5/11)
At the conclusion of his book, “Minorities Deceived: The Sherman Williams Story Part I,” federal minority contractor Sherman L. Williams suffered a massive, debilitating and paralyzing stroke. It wasn’t long, after awakening from a coma thirty days later, that Williams began to slowly comprehend that this life changing event had set him back to a point that he could never have imagined.
“I was 99% paralyzed and couldn’t communicate…I would sit in my wheelchair, look out the window at the world where I used to live, and start crying.” But Turner was tenacious of life. “…I made up my mind that once I left the hospital, the real battle would begin. They could make me take medications that made me fall asleep while I was in the hospital, but once I got home, everything would change. The doctors said I would never walk again, but they never asked me if I thought that I would walk again…”
Following months of arduous “start-up” therapy, Turner was released from the hospital and returned home. Within a month, he was dealt another devastating blow when his wife left him and disappeared. He then discovered that she had withdrawn nearly all of the money from his checking accounts. “I was at an emotional low,” Turner recalls. But, as he had done all of his life, he picked himself up, dusted himself off and continued on as best he could.
The remainder of the book takes us on the author’s journey, which ultimately took many years, through the rehabilitation process he sustained. The bulk of his account deals with his decision to do as his doctors recommended – learn a new language in the hopes of regaining his lost memory. The doctors believed that this challenge would encourage the brain cells to expand and to replace the dead brain cells with new ones, especially on the damaged side of the brain. After two years at Buffalo State University learning Kiswahili, an official African language spoken primarily in eastern and central Africa, Turner reached a critical decision. He decided that he would continue his language training and memory rehabilitation in Africa. This experience would have a profound effect on his life moving forward.
“Kenya: Rehabilitation” reflects the same simple language and story telling style he employed in his book, “Minorities Deceived.” But, this book, by virtue of the sequence of events which it covers, is both tragic and inspiring. It ultimately leaves Turner and his readers with new hope and a renewed belief in the possibility of new beginnings, no matter how wretched the place from which they started.