Crystal Asige’s sudden blindness has not stopped her from turning darkness into light, and we find this preety inspiring.
She sits down with BBC Africa‘s Sharon Machira to discuss what she misses about life with full vision and the challenges that come with living with a disability.
Sexual education for differently abled kids is non-existent, she said, adding that she had to teach herself how to date as a visually-impaired woman.
She was drawn to the arts as a child, and her dream was to be a musician and film producer. But in her teenage years, it became difficult to read the blackboard in class. Then, the words on the pages of her books began to get fuzzy. Her vision progressively got worse, and one day, she received a diagnosis that would change her life forever.
Crystal Asige grew up in Mombasa, Kenya, and always loved the arts. She learned from a tender age that there was something very powerful about music.
“I used to come home from nursery school and instead of crying about the bullies, my mother said I would sing about it,” Crystal told The Weight She Carries. “I think that’s profound because every kind of music is about some sort of emotion. I was able to channel that at a very innocent and naïve time of my life.”
In high school, Crystal was active in theatre and production, but began to notice that it was getting harder to read her books. She sought medical attention, but due to negative experiences with doctors, she was reluctant to follow up on her health. Instead, she adapted to her visual challenges.
“I just continued to pretend. I began to memorize my scripts as soon as I got them so that when it came to rehearsals, I already had all the words in my head and I wouldn’t feel embarrassed reading in front of the entire cast,” she said.
She also made every effort to get to her classes early. As soon as the bell rang, she would hurry out of class and into the next classroom so she could find a seat close to the front. This way, nobody would notice she was struggling to read. And if she was asked to read out loud in class, she would find an excuse.
In 2007, when she completed high school, Crystal went to the UK to study film and theatre at the University of the West of England, Bristol.
With the lecture halls being significantly larger than the ones at her high school, she could no longer simply get by. She was forced to get examined by an optician.
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