Living in the dark hasn't dimmed our dreams

Diana Yatich, 32, works at Safaricom, she lost her eyesight when she was five years old.
Diana Yatich, 32, works at Safaricom, she lost her eyesight when she was five years old.

I used to love nature and watching the stars. Then one afternoon, I lost my sight completely. I was five years old, seated outside with my mother. The last thing I remember seeing was the huge tree outside my mother’s house that we used to play under. This was in 1991.

I started losing my eyesight when I contracted malaria. I lost the ability to see with my left eye first, then the other followed. The medicine I was given was too strong for my optic nerve which caused an atrophy that took away my sight.

I remember how my mum and dad looked but I don’t remember how I look. The only colours I remember are blue and red.

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I work at Safaricom in the Human Resources department so my day starts at 5.30am as I have to be in the office by 8am.

How I spend my weekends depends on how my week has been. If it was hectic, I spend my time resting, cooking and cleaning.

If it was an easy week, I definitely go out for a dance. I am not married but may be someone will come along some day.

Some men want to date me out of curiosity but I know this type as soon as they approach me. I am not very easy to crack but also I wouldn’t want someone to be with me because may be they are sympathetic of my situation. People always have expectations of people like me and I do my best not to live by what others think of me.

Being blind is really not as hard as sighted people think it is. The hardest thing is when you can’t do some of the things you wish you could, like driving.

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I do not mind it though. I have learned to love and live with what I have. I focus on what I can do, not on what I cannot do.

Being blind has taught me patience and how to plan. Of course there are annoying people out there who think if I can’t see, I can’t also hear but I have learnt to deal with these challenges as they come.

I love singing, writing and talking. I can call up friends and we will talk for hours. I work using assistive technology in computers. It is great that we do not have to use braille because those machines were so bulky and noisy, and we would have to translate what we wrote for people who could see.

I do not know what I look like, but I always try to imagine it. I’m always forcing people to describe how I look but if they’re not nice, I’m like, “Hmm I’m prettier than that.”

I have never thought about it till now but yes, I think we do have more nightmares than sighted people, but it has happened so often it stopped bothering me. They are also scarier because if I watch a horror movie with an alien in it, I overthink what the alien looks like because I cannot see it.

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It was hard at first but my life is still fulfilling even without eyesight.  

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