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  • Writer's pictureThabo Baseki

Who Am I?


Thabo Baseki
Thabo Baseki



















A few weeks ago, I made a blog about some of the causes of blindness. The question is about how I became blind. Don’t worry, today you will leave this page knowing exactly what happened, how I tried to correct the situation, how I felt about it, and how I am feeling about it at present. So, let me take you through my journey.

Before we start, let’s run through some house keeping rules quickly. Let your pity go, let it all go! I am more than what you perceive. Let what you see not deceive you. I stand with my head held high because I know who I am.

Ready?

Three months after I was born, health practitioners realized that I was totally blind. This is one category of blindness in addition to being partially sighted. I cannot see any colour, light, and or other objects. I would like to believe that it is a nightmare to give birth to a child who is living with some form of disability. According to my medical report card, the doctors realised that I had a disease called Buphthalmia’s, as an individual grows up, it is known as Glaucoma. This is a disease in which an eyeball grows excessively, and it affects the sight. It does not have a cure; a person enters a life-time treatment to regulate the eye temperature. They tried all their efforts, but they could not help.

My mother is a God-fearing woman and she always had hope that one day I will be a better person, getting her strength from her religious teachings. This motivated her to help me try obtaining some sight.


A well-dressed man standing against a wooden fence
The preacher man gave me hopes that never came true

We moved from church to church, as many as we could, and even to traditional healers. Some would say that it is by God’s will that I am blind, and that is not what I wanted to hear. I was looking for a solution to this monster, not to be told why I am blind. Others blamed my mother that she has sinned somehow while others pored chicken blood into my eyes and even gave me water with stones to either drink it or bathe with it. I did all these, having a strong hope that I would wake up one day and see the world. Were these efforts helpful? Not in any way possible! At the end of the day, I was feeling empty because I tried to follow every instruction I was given, and on top of not having a solution to my problem, I was told that I lacked faith. I always wondered what I was doing wrong, why would I go there in the first place if I did not have faith?


A young boy is at a table with older family members
I would always remain with parents when other kids were at play
Two children running through the yard
Other children would be outside playing

It is exceedingly difficult to be different from other people, especially when you are a child. Take a moment and think, suppose you are visually impaired, or you are lame, you cannot engage into play with other children, also if you are an active person, you cannot take part in day-to-day activities such as household chores especially if the family is overprotective. Now imagine if you are a boy, we are known of being too energetic, playing games such as football and imitating soldiers! Imagine being around other children and hear them as they enjoy imitating what they saw on a certain movie! Consider the feeling of being asked this question every day by your friends; “Why are you not joining us in playing this game? Are you seriously blind?” Worse than that, picture being made fun of by other children because you cannot see. The feeling also of being shown unnecessary pity! When I was a kid, it was so difficult to face such challenges, but with time, I learned to deal with them.

Doubts were my daily meal. As I grew up, I learned that there are some people who abandon their children on the street, because I do not know my father, I always thought one woman threw me on the street and because of love my mom came to my rescue. I felt that she wasn’t my biological parent though I never asked her. Well! I was wrong, wasn’t I? My trust in people was limited, regardless of who the person was. When food that I do not enjoy were served, I always had a feeling that others are having a nice meal, and only me is having a different type of food. Regardless of all these negative thoughts, independence has always been my theme since childhood.

I always thought everyone was blind, but I was wondering why I could not run just like other children. Why was I not allowed to engage in some activity? Why am I always given a hand to hold on when I am walking with a group of peers? All such thoughts as these gave me a tough time in life. My mom did not minimize my potential of learning, she took me to nursery schools, and I enjoyed associating with other children. I still remember being given the crayons to colour my books, as I sit today, I imagine the disaster I must have been making on those pages and I always make fun of it, because I know for sure that colours were not matching. How I wish I kept those papers even up to this day so that someone can describe to me all what I have done!

At some point in life, a child needs to be helped understand what’s happening around them, and this is when I received a heart-hitting message, heavy like a hailstone. I was told that I am different from other kids, that I did not have sight, and they do. I considered myself as some type of a virus, which one should run away from and I could not associate with other children easily, thinking that they may feel that blindness is contagious and ignore me.

Today I know the truth, I know that I am blind, and I know that it is never my fault or my mom’s. Having this knowledge helps me live a fulfilling life. I am grateful for everyone who is present in my life. I am happy about the achievements I have made, blindness did not hinder me from making progress. I have hope, I have peace of mind, and I enjoy good and upbuilding association. Personally, I am better to have lived my life blind since birth than having to have lost it when I was already used to seeing the beauty of the earth. As I mentioned in the outset of this article, the goal of this writeup was never to appear sad, or call on the emotions of the reader, but to take you on a journey of how I became blind.

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