Maono Ya Chini
Maono Ya Chini or low vision is a blog created and maintained by Fatmatta Wurie, a young woman, who was one of the first bloggers I interacted with after I launched Bold Blind Beauty. Fatmatta, a college student majoring in Information Technology (IT) and I connected as we share a mutual understanding on the loss of vision.
When I first saw the words Maono Ya Chini, which means low vision in Swahili, I was intrigued by their exotic sound and beauty. Since the word beauty is seldom associated with vision loss I was struck by Fatmatta’s personal story and her approach to handling that loss. “Seeing life through different eyes,” the tagline of Maono Ya Chini, seems to be the path Fatmatta has chosen to pursue her dreams.
Like so many of us who lose our vision, Fatmatta went through stages of disbelief, fear, denial, exploration to understand, acceptance and finally the desire to help others. Her diagnosis of the hereditary macular dystrophy caused her to make significant adjustments in her life.
I want to change the face of Information Technology for the Blind and Visually Impaired community. And once I do that, it is nothing to change the views and ideas of society. ~Fatmatta Wurie
Diseases of the eye that affect the macula, impact central vision which interferes with a person’s ability to perform daily activities including, but not limited to, recognizing familiar faces, grocery shopping, reading newspapers, menus, ATMs, currency, and watching TV, just to name a few. Safety concerns centering on the risk of falls, disorientation, medication-related errors, crossing the street, cooking, and bathing are real issues seldom considered until one has to face the prospect of living with the loss of vision. Add to it coping with the emotional impact of losing sight and independence it is a true life-altering experience.
After researching her diagnosis and following up with a retina specialist Fatmatta found that she had Stargardt disease. To be a 19-year-old at the beginning of her professional career one can only imagine what she went through upon receiving this news.
Being an Information Technology student, I am immediately drawn to being innovative, inventive, imaginative and creative. ~Fatmatta Wurie
The thing that impresses me most about Fatmatta is that it’s only been three years from diagnosis to the launch of her blog and she has chosen to advocate on behalf of herself and others. She’s volunteering in her local community and has proactively reached out and connected with other people experiencing vision loss to build a community of like-minded go getters.
Fatmatta shares lots of low vision and disability awareness resource information in addition to some of her personal thoughts from her journaling and re-blogged articles of interest. Being a full-time college student and blogging can be a challenge simply because of the demanding nature of school and life but she manages well.
Fatmatta you are an inspiration and I am hopeful that you will indeed change the world!! Your youthful zeal and enthusiasm is contagious. Keep up the good work friend.
“Our ordinary mind always tries to persuade us that we are nothing but acorns and that our greatest happiness will be to become bigger, fatter, shinier acorns; but that is of interest only to pigs. Our faith gives us knowledge of something better: that we can become oak trees.” ~E.F. Schumacher