Archive for August, 2011

WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW

Posted: August 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

 I met you on a boring Tuesday. What you don’t know, I was not in the mood to talk, much less to a stranger but I did it anyway.

 I wore black and let my hair down. What you don’t know, I spent hours trying to find the perfect outfit to match my mood; somber, uninspired, black.

I missed my matatu, because I went back to the house to change shoes. What you don’t know is had I not gone back I probably would not have caught the one you were on.

 I get into the matatu, the back seat is unoccupied but yet I take the one next to you. What you don’t know, I didn’t bother to check who I was sitting with. I didn’t matter, the journey was routine anyway.

I make it a habit to pay before I’m asked. I take out my money and you stir in your seat. What you don’t know, I didn’t mean to distract you from your lessons in Swahili.

We get off, exchange pleasantries, and head in different directions. What you don’t know, I hit the internet and Googled you.

Days became nights and then weeks and finally months and voila…I was engrossed. What you don’t know, I secretly hoped you were too.

You were, for a moment…I was, possibly for a while to come. What you don’t know…you turned my Tuesday around. What you don’t know…won’t hurt you. What you don’t know hurts me.  What you don’t know, being friends is second best.

My Keratoconic Self is Special

Posted: August 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

That I have Keratoconus is not the point. That I’m reminded every second that someday I will completely lose my sight and that in the meantime I cannot drive or walk around unaccompanied is what gets to me. That my doctor is surprised I made it to her office without my contact lenses on gets to me. That the girl sitting next to me in high school made a mockery of my eye condition and lied to me about what was written on the board just to prove that indeed I could not see that far gets to me. That my boss gets impatient when I take forever to locate stuff on my computer gets to me. That the bank teller would not help me fill out the deposit form correctly even after I told him I can’t make out the numbers on my ATM card gets to me. That people feel sorry for me gets to me.

For those of you wondering what keratoconus is, it’s a degenerative eye condition that affects 1 in 1000 people. Yes out of the 1000 people in my vicinity, I’m the only one with it. Isn’t that special? I am special. Heck, I’ll prove it! I’ve had the condition for about 14 years now; did it stop me for being the energetic, motivated person that I am? No! I did my national exams in primary school with no glasses. I would lie face down on my desk, my eyes would be centimeters away from the question paper and answer sheet and the teachers never inquired. They sat me at the back of the class and put the noisy ones in front. I would be ten steps behind in my reading, because I had no idea what he just wrote on the board. Yet I passed, probably did better than I expected; 12th position out of 33. Come high school, I got a pair of glasses, with time they couldn’t help me. My eyesight grew worse. By the time I was sitting for my final exam at Form Four, the glasses were completely useless. Yet, I passed; 3 points short of securing a place at the local universities.

This morning I wake up to go see my doctor. Her instructions were clear. “Have your contacts off hours before the routine.” That way she could correctly examine the condition of my eyeball. So I woke up, got ready and proceeded to town. Of course everything was blurred. If you’ve lived in Nairobi you know how crazy it is to attempt to cross roads, much worse of you can’t see properly! But somehow, I made it to her office after losing my bearing around the city a couple of times. She sees me and after the exam, she is shocked that with such poor eyesight I still made it to her office. Did I say I was special? Take note.

 I just finished my degree in Communication (Print Media) and it was a struggle, both because of finances and my eye condition. Thankfully black or white boards are used minimally in campus. I’ve had to rely heavily on my sense of hearing. Got my first pair of contact lenses in 2005, had them for 4 years-instead of 2! That stuff is pricy but now that I’m working I could probably afford another pair. I keep thinking I need a long-term solution. Surgery, perhaps. But that costs an arm and a leg. It’s scary when they tell you as you get older it gets worse. I intend to keep living my life to the fullest. I’m told it would be easier if I didn’t live alone and if I had a boyfriend, brother, sister to take me everywhere. I don’t need that. I have always managed alone. Besides I’m not blind. I just have a degenerative condition with a very funny name that sounds like shoes in Kikuyu. Other than the pounding headaches I get at the end of every day, I’m perfectly alright. I cook my own food, go to work by myself, manage to get home even when it gets dark, I’ve mastered how to tell the vehicles are far enough when crossing roads…yes, I’m fine! I am special, ain’t nobody telling me anything different.