I was born in Nairobi, Kenya with the ability to see. However, my parents say that one could easily tell that I had sight problems even at that tender age. I crawled and began walking without any difficulty. At the age of one-and- a-half years, I lost my eyesight as a result of retinal detachment. I no longer stopped when a person passed in front of me and I walked straight into obstacles along the way. I was taken to various hospitals in an attempt to find out whether my eyesight could be restored. In one hospital visit, a doctor told my parents that one of my eyes should be removed so that they could carry out tests in order to determine if I had cancer of the eye. Thankfully, my parents sort for a second opinion from another doctor who said that if truly I had eye cancer, I would still die so there was no need for one eye to be removed. That is how my two eyes are still intact. Well, I am still alive and at the time of writing this biography, I have never been diagnosed with cancer.
The many hospital appointments bore no fruit and it was decided that I should go abroad. I was taken to South Africa, then the well-developed economy in Africa. At first, doctors there said that they could restore my eyesight. Finally, they changed their minds and concluded that I would never see again. For my parents, this was a knockout punch. One has to understand that I was the only person in the family who was blind and they had never dealt with a person with a disability before. The only remaining person who could unblind me was God.
Even though I was very young, I still have memories of the numerous church visits and the many hands that were laid on my head. This shaped my current view of religion and more so miracles. My father, a staunch Catholic, agreed to take me to evangelical churches just in case there was a pastor capable of performing a genuine miracle. I was also taken to many Catholic priests who prayed for me. With a miracle not forthcoming, my fate was considered sealed so it was time to move on and find out how I would go to school. Was I supposed to be sent to a special or inclusive school? I had to learn how to be independent in my daily life.
At the age of two-and- a-half years, I was taken to Kilimani Primary School; an inclusive school. One might think that I was taken to school very early. Whilst that is true, remember I was young and had recently become blind. I no longer played with other children and became very bored at home. At Kilimani, I could interact with fellow visually impaired children. Also, I was taught how to walk with the aid of a white cane. Finally, I learnt braille. I joined mainstream classes after being proficient in braille. I studied with sighted students and was taught by regular teachers although we had teachers trained in special needs education who would assist us when we encountered challenges in class especially Mathematics. Finally, I sat the Kenya Certificate for Primary Education exams and emerged with 373 marks out of 500.
In 2010, time came for me to join high school. My father still insisted I go to an inclusive school since, he argued, there are special primary and secondary schools but no special universities. One high school head teacher was willing to admit me in his prestigious school but refused as soon as he was informed that I was visually impaired. My story appeared in the Standard newspaper and lo and behold, the then head of Nakuru Boys’ High School agreed to enroll me in his school. It was a less known inclusive school since the program had started two years earlier. I enjoyed my four years in Nakuru; the quality education I received and the many friends I met. In 2013, I sat the Kenya Certificate for Secondary Education exams and emerged with an A-(minus). I also set a new record in the country as I was the first ever totally blind student to score an A-(minus) in Mathematics. I hope that someone breaks that record one day.
In 2014, I went to the Kenya Society for the Blind (KSB) to study computers. I successfully obtained my certificate plus the skills which to this day help me use a computer adeptly.
When I am on my university holidays, I sometimes go back and teach other visually impaired persons so that I can equip them with the skills. In 2015, I joined the University of Nairobi where currently I am pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Economics. I hope that I will successfully complete my degree and work in the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) or the Treasury.
In 2016, I met Ivan Omondi. We stayed together in the same residence for four months. It was during this period that the idea of forming an organisation to help persons with visual impairment was conceptualised. I am thus one of the co-founders of the organisation which we named New Age for the Visually Impaired (NAVI). I was appointed the treasurer; a position I still hold. My main aim is to see NAVI grow financially so that we can expand our activities and geographical coverage. I also wish that NAVI grows from a community-based organisation (CBO) to a non-governmental organisation (NGO). Once I achieve my objectives and ensure that NAVI achieves its objectives as set out in her constitution, I will happily leave my post.