Losing my sight was best thing to happen to me, says policeman

Police Constable Stephen Hinga at his home in Kabatini, Nakuru County. The Anti stock theft unit officer lost his sight in 2016 while on duty. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

It’s not everyday you meet someone who has gone through adversity and remains optimistic about life. 

This is the story of a police officer in Kabatini, Bahati sub-County who, even after losing his sight while on duty, does not regret what befell him.

Constable Stephen Hinga in an interview with The Sunday Standard at his home said he thanks God for his affliction and would never wish to regain sight.

“Losing my sight was a blessing in disguise. I don’t wish to regain sight because if I had sight I wouldn’t have done the things I’m doing for my community,” said Hinga.

Since he lost eyesight, he has started a community-based organisation that helps people with disabilities access assistive devices like wheelchairs and walking canes.

“God blessed me with blindness. It is through this misfortune that I was able to assist my community, and see the benefits,” he said.

The 39-year-old who is attached to the Anti-Stock Theft Unit in Gilgil was enrolled in the force in 2007. Almost 10 years later, he found himself in darkness. He lost his sight on December 27, 2016, while on duty. 

And two years later, in January 2018, while undergoing treatment doctors discovered a brain tumor and had to undergo surgery.

Throughout his treatment, he is thankful that his superiors stood with him. He even recalls that the Deputy Inspector Administration Police Service paid for his rehabilitation at Kenya Society for the Blind.

However, he lost many friends with some even mocking him and others claiming he was not blind but just pretending.

“I lost all my friends; some associated my blindness with being a beggar and saw me as a burden. For almost two years I was in a state of denial but God used my disability to,” he said.

After losing his sight, Hinga could not do the regular police job, including pursuing and following up on stolen livestock as an ASTU Officer. He, however, works at the gender desk when on duty.

Currently, he is undertaking a Diploma in Community Development and Social Work at Mt Kenya University, Nakuru Campus.

“In August 2018 after accepting that I could not change anything I donated a third of my salary in an attempt to uplift the lives of persons with disability around my home,” he added.

Some of his friends he said assisted him to register Bahati Walemavu Pamoja, a community-based organisation. The group has brought together over 600 PWDs. He ensures those living with disability get assistive devices including wheelchairs and also white canes.

He operates Bawapa Resource and Computer Centre where he works trying to educate PWDs on using computer to pass information. With only three computers he feels he has been able to achieve much.

In 2019, he also started an adolescent girl’s empowerment programme aimed at providing mentorship programmes for young girls.

The County Government of Nakuru donated an incubator which he uses to hatch eggs and distribute to PWDs.

The father of four said his family has been supportive.

Frida, Hinga’s wife of 14 years, said their life changed after her husband’s affliction, and she has had to take up more responsibilities. She says the blindness has made their love grow even stronger and she is happy to show her husband how much she loves him.

“If it reaches a time God deems fit to open his eyes, we will thank Him; but if God chooses that my husband remains blind, we will still continue praising God,” she said.

Esther Waithera, Hinga’s mother says she was crestfallen when she heard her son couldn’t see anymore.

Waithera said she prayed for her firstborn son and was happy to see him accept his condition.

“I knew God wanted him that way that he set an example. She is my firstborn son,” she said. 

National Police Service Spokesperson Bruno Shioso said they are committed to working with their officers and offer them counselling and any support required.

“We are proud of the officer for his positivity in life, he is a motivation and a good example to other officers who might be going through such challenges,” he said.

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