In 1992, I suffered from meningitis which caused severe damage to my optic nerves. My doctor told me that I was permanently blind. I could never see again and enjoy life for the rest of my life. Out of desperation, I asked if there was still a way possible. His response was when a nerve was dead within the central nervous system that was its permanent death. the only possibility of the restoration for such was outside the central nervous system. That can be pursued later in life through other rehabilitation practices.
I went home saddened, feeling empty, hopeless and meaningless without sight. I was thinking of ending my life.
On the following year, Ms Lucy Japu a young Community Base Rehabilitation (CBR) worker from the Creative Self Help centre for the Disables visited me after receiving a referral note from my former employer the Lutheran mission education secretary, Mr. Selmai Kazu.
Since then she visited me weekly on every Wednesdays for ten years with her CBR skills just to convince me that there was life beyond blindness regardless of my disability.
In 2001, on one of her many routine visits she shared with me one of her CBR experiences About how she assisted a little boy with cystic fibrosis to get on to a new wheelchair while the boy’s parents said and thought he couldn’t make it. However, regardless of the negative comments the boy did get onto the wheelchair. I realized that she was in tears when sharing that experience. That gave me something to think about.
Here I got out of my stubborn will and got fully involved in many of the CBR programs for the last nine years. I got empowered by attending various capacity building seminars, trainings, workshops and meeting other people with disabilities and sharing life experiences both in and out of the country which gave me a different approach to life beyond blindness/disabilities.
Although I still have many challenges as I move on in life each day I can at least SMILE and say thank you to God , my families friends , the many people and organizations to name a few like; CBM who supports and fund the CBR programs for the Creative Self Help centre, VSO and others who came into my life and moved on in one way or the other had contributed to see the turnaround in my life.
I am now employed as a teacher for the Blind and vision impaired children at the CSH-Special education resource centre.
My motto in life is Accept what you cannot change and Change what you can change and live one day at a time.
DO NOT LOOK AT MY DISABILITY BUT LOOK AT MY ABILITY. Your ignorance is my disability.