I am in. It’s a wonderful challenge: to write five hundred words or more a day. I say yes; but it will not be easy. Yet I am committed to it; because I want to win the race of blogging.Are we not told that determination is the key to success? Nothing worthwhile, Norman Vincent Peale taught me, comes easily in life.
I join the challenge with excitement and some worry; but I am in it. One thing I love about it is I am part of a large community. A big one, indeed. We are all doing the same thing. Journeying together; and we will surely support each other on the way. I am sure it is going to be a transforming experience for me. On this first day I want to talk about a challenging and enriching experience I had today. I know you want to know what it is and how inspiring and challenging it is.
Let me start with what it is. I met a blind man today who, surprisingly, and all on his own, was able to put on his laptop, log onto a website and read what he wanted to read. Do not think that the stuff he read was written in Braille. It was not. It was written in normal English language alphabet. He did not end there; he went on to type a comment which he posted.
I found it incredible. If I had been told that a blind man could do such a feat, I would not have believed it; but I bore witness to it. I was present. It happened under my watchful eyes.
I had had no idea that Mr. Ngong Peter Tonain , for that was the man, or any other blind man was capable of such a feat. That afternoon, Mr. Tonain came to my office to talk about having space on my station to run a program for people with disabilities. As we chatted, the discussion shifted to the web. I expressed regret that he could not read what I had been posting on my site otherwise I would have given him my link. He was quick to remind me of the slogan which says ‘Disability is not inability’. He asked me to give him the link which I did unable to figure out how he intended to use it.
My first surprise was when he pulled out a lap top from the bag he was carrying. I had not known he was carrying a lap-top. He switched it on and within minutes, he was on my blog without anybody lending him a hand. As I stared at him in awe, he began to read. I watched and listened dumbfounded. It did not end there. He went on to the comment box and wrote a comment which he immediately posted.
Mr. Peter Ngong Tonain holds an MSc. from one of Cameroon’s best universities, the University of Buea. He is a brilliant man. He has submitted an application to join the teaching corps of the highly reputed Catholic University of Cameroon; and is awaiting consideration.
He has repeatedly made it clear that disability is not inability, stressing that there is nothing someone with sight can do that you cannot find some sightless person somewhere to do it. He said if he was admitted into the teaching corps of the Catholic University, he would teach, not in Braille, but like any other lecturer with perfect eyesight. He said he would use his lap-top and power point to do so.
The tendency of feeling sorry for people with disabilities ought to be discarded. They will tell you what they need is not sympathy or charity but understanding. Disability does not mean lack of ability. Some people prefer to call people with disabilities people with different abilities or people with special abilities.
In an enabling environment they will exploit their potentials and make the most of their talents notwithstanding their inabilities. Like every other person, they are endowed with enormous potentials.
This incident with Peter has inspired and challenged me to become more aware of the enormous potential that God has endowed me with just like you. It has also dawned more on me that many of us sell ourselves short. We aim far below what we can shoot.
Now you have to ask yourself, if someone who cannot see like Mr. Tonain can do what he is able to do, is there any excuse for those of us who can see not to do marvels.
This is where the challenge comes in. There are many people with disabilities who have excelled in life. Yet, despite your able-body and your many talents, perhaps you sitting there doing nothing, and pitying yourself while your talents waste away. Thus the challenge for you is that you take the bull by the horns, set a lofty goal for yourself that will make you stand out and be counted and relentlessly pursue it until you achieve it.