Disability is not Inability
I became a resident of the World on February 20th, 1995, in Kenya. I enjoyed playing with my friends, and exploring adventures in my life. When I was three-years-old, I enrolled in Kindergarten where I continued to build relationships with new friends and extended family.
After two years, opportunities came knocking and I moved to the United Kingdom with my family for a stable life. I successfully completed my Kindergarten education and I got enrolled in Elementary school. When I turned seven-years-old, I begun to experience challenges with my eyesight. Some of the early signs included short-sightedness, difficulty reading books with small letters, and mild headaches.
The medical examination and test results revealed that I have a non-cancerous benign brain tumour in the optic nerves.
Frustration bubbled up, because as a child I couldn’t understand why I was not able to do what my age mates were doing. My parents got very concerned, so I was referred to an Optometrist for them to find out what was the issue. The medical examination and test results revealed that I had a non-cancerous benign brain tumour in the optic nerves, and diagnosed with a spontaneous condition called Neurofibromatosis (Type 1).
Consultations with the medical team followed, in an effort to safeguard my eyesight. I was put on Chemotherapy treatment to shrink and prevent the tumour from growing. After each treatment I experienced pain, fatigue, nausea and I was hospitalized intermittently. I developed a strong sense of fear when deeply thinking about what my life would be like in the future.
Faith has been the element that has helped me get through the pathway in times of darkness. Faith has also given me strength in times of weakness.
Unfortunately, in the course of the treatment I became visually impaired when I was nine-years-old. Losing my eyesight was a difficult diagnosis to accept. My eyes welled up in tears and I became apprehensive for my future. I pulled myself from these feelings, because I had to accept my new reality with the support of my family and Church community.
I’m a Christian. Faith has been the element that has helped me get through the pathway in times of darkness. Faith has also given me strength in times of weakness.
Though I lost my eyesight, I cherish the memories of the World, what my environment is all about, animals, plants, colours, and people. When I became visually impaired, I embarked on the journey of learning how to use different accessibility tools. For example, I learnt how to use a laptop installed with screen reader software called JAWS Professional.
This helps me with internet research, typing information, and communication. I also learnt Braille, which I find useful when taking down notes and reading books with the raised dots. Furthermore, I was trained how to use a cane as it helps me with mobility to feel out my environment, and detect obstacles around me.
More Faith Stories
You see, I never used to pray for myself. I thought I was being selfish by praying for myself, so I would always pray for everyone else but never ask God for anything for me.
I was so surprised because my young child taught me much about faith – my faith – so I had to be faithful with my God.
I cannot explain to this day what happened next. Suddenly my car went out of control for no reason. I’m on the New Jersey turnpike and there’s a truck next to me, a truck behind me, a truck in front of me. I said, “Oh my God, I’m going to die.”
I remember her giving me a little booklet and there was a lot of singing. Then she gave me this picture of this beautiful man with a little glow behind him, and she says, “That’s Jesus.”
The people that were doing the auditions with the African Children’s Choir came to my church and they were looking for children that could sing. Because I was active in Sunday school, I was chosen to be in the very first African Children’s Choir in 1984.
I was 12 in a small Baptist church when the pastor made it very clear that a decision needed to be made to accept Jesus and to follow Him. It was a very sincere commitment to surrender my life to Jesus when I was 12.