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
I remember being in church and going up to the altar and crying. I was so tired of the life I was living. I needed help. I felt a sense of peace at that time and knew that if this Jesus thing can work for some of these other guys, then it can definitely work for me.
I said to myself, “Why should anyone envy me and want to be in my shoes?”
God has led me to amazing places in my life, so let me explain how God led me from South Carolina to Kenya.
We built the first church with great difficulty. We went back to the States and the board asked us to become mission staff with the Outreach Foundation. That was 25 years ago, just about, and we’ve gotten more involved with Kenya as days and years went on.
I am a chef by profession. I’m happy because I do what I love. Now I work at Villadise Tours and Safaris, where I meet so many different people coming from far. Being helpful is just a blessing to other people.
Then God started tugging on my heart. There was a church sermon series that was about taking your God-given dream off the shelf. I was like, “I don’t know what my dream is. God, if you have a dream for me you’re going to have to tell me what it is.”