My university invited me to attend an international conference in Mombasa, Kenya where I was to present topics on social change in Africa: “Creating an environment with zero discrimination for children with special needs and with disabilities.” Living with a disability does not mean inability. We must find ways for accommodation through education and love from people and God.
My trip to Kenya began on April 24th. There were challenges even before we left. Our departure was scheduled for 2:00 pm but the engine of our bus broke down, so we had to wait until it was fixed. We finally pulled out of Mwanza at 5:00 p.m., due to arrive in Kenya at 10:30 pm.
Honestly, I had no idea about what was about to happen in Kenya. When the bus arrived at the Kenyan border, we needed to go through immigration and then return to our bus. After clearing immigration, while the six of us headed back to our waiting bus the power went off and the area was plunged into total blackness. Out of nowhere a group of possibly twelve rough men attacked us. I noticed at least one had a machete. They forced a pikipiki helmet on my head so that I could not see what they were doing. Why cover the eyes of an albino man who has poor eyesight anyway? They forced me to my knees and took my backpack containing my money, phone, Listen to Learn MP3 device, bank cards, keys etc. and one of my shoes! Thankfully, I had hidden my passport in my underwear.
One of them jumped on my legs so that I could not run to follow them. I became confused and heartbroken. I was in shock. They threw me on the ground and I swallowed dust. The men took off into the night.
When it felt safer, we looked for someone to help. I cried out asking God to help us. This experience taught me that not everyone cares about what you are going through. I wondered how many people would think of me at this moment and I was surprised to read later that so many of you were praying for me during this darkness. I didn’t think that I would ever see the light of another day again because of the hard time I was in.
I had no safe place to spend the night. This is a very dangerous area, especially for people with albinism. I just sat on the chair at the Tanzanian immigration office, terrified until the sun came up.
Thanks to the Lord Jesus Christ that this wasn’t the end for me. He was fighting for me all along when I could no longer fight for myself. He sent many of you to fight with me through prayer. I was happy to be given a chance to return home. “If it were not for you Lord, where would I be?”
After returning to my university dorm, without keys, I stayed in a friend’s room. I picked up his Bible and this verse jumped out at me. ‘He called you out of darkness to experience his marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9. So that you would make known his glorious wonders throughout the world.
As I visualized and meditated on this verse, I immediately I found strength, true joy and the utmost appreciation for my Lord and Savior who has never left my side. I still desire to go where He calls me to go. "Thank you, God, I saw Your light."
During this time, I have learned that disasters and problems grab our attention more quickly than the profound beauty all around us. I consider the life of Job and take notice of the wonders God has done and continues to do. I don’t allow a mindset of fear to overcome. There is joy in the journey with Jesus when I think of all what God has done. “Never get tired of God, never stop doing what is right, never stop being a voice for the voiceless, never give up.’’
It’s my hope that when I die and someone asks what they remember about me, they will say that I loved people, because my degrees are temporary, but my investment in people goes beyond this lifetime.
Through His love and protection, I won’t quit promoting social change and contributing positively in our communities through education. Most of us really don’t do great things. but we can all do small things with great love, and together we can do something wonderful. Let us continue working together to ensure that no one is left behind and to advance happiness and peace.
I want others to be able to experience the freedom that I have stepped into. I would never want to keep quiet about the miraculous actions that the Lord has taken in my life and in my heart.
Please feel free to contact me, I would love to chat!!! Thank you so much for your prayers and support. [edited by Hanneke and Don]