By Antony Luvinzu
She strikes you as a humble and patient woman who is struggling against all odds.
Beneath her sun-burnt skin lies a strong will and resilience.
Her father abandoned her at the age of ten because of her albinism but she struggled on, determined to achieve her goals in life.
Ms Monica Muchiri, 22, wants to become the first albino television news anchor.
“I would like to be the first albino news anchor in Kenya; first to realise my life time dream and secondly to demystify the myth about albinos being social misfits,” she says.
Born with albinism, the second-year Journalism and Mass Communication student has taken a brave path and not even life’s murky waters can dampen her resolve.
Her upbringing presented many challenges that nearly sent her off the rails but as she puts it, the challenges shaped her vision.
“It was not easy growing up in a society that harbours negative perceptions about albinos and this environment taught me a lot of lessons and today I have developed a thick skin, I am going to make Kenya’s first albino news anchor in Kenya,” a composed Muchiri says.
She says her father couldn’t just stand her!
“He, erroneously, remained adamant that I was sired by another man. He took off one day after a heated argument with my mum,” she says.
Amid the struggles, her experiences at St Lucy’s school Primary School for the blind somehow gave her a turn-around.
“I joined the school from 1997 through 2006 and it was an incredible place, only that at first I couldn’t just understand why teachers insisted I put on a hat,” she chuckles, in reference to the fact that albinos have to protect themselves from the effects of the sun’s rays by donning hats and sun glasses.
To her, a chance to go to school was a priceless gift from heaven.
Things, however, took a rather ugly twist when she joined Kaaga Girls High school as fellow students, apparently ignorant of her condition, often pinched her to ascertain whether she was a real mzungu given that she had the same accent as theirs.
“They somewhat awoke me from some ignorance of sorts. I felt like a misfit,” she remarks.
But the then principal Ms Dorothy Kamusila motivated her by showing her motherly love while at school.
“Ms Kamusila was simply a God send,” she says.
But she braved it all to register a good performance in the KCSE exam that earned her a place at Masinde Muliro University to pursue media studies.
She says High court judge Ngugi Mumbi (who shares the same condition as hers) has always been her role model.