My White-Cane Day Experience

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When the White Cane Day Committee met to deliberate on the event, we were all excited about it. It was something that we had thought about, but hadn’t gotten around to discussing the details. After the meeting, we realized that we had one week to make it a success and get everyone involved on board such as the sponsors. We immediately started making the necessary phone calls and sending out the invitation letters. The responses received were heart-warming as most of the invited guest confirmed attendance. Eventually, the D-day arrived, and we all gathered at the Judiciary grounds awaiting the flag off by the Chief Justice Dr. Willy Mutunga. Participants excitedly received their blindfolds, white canes, and t-shirts as they chatted away. Eventually, the chief justice arrived and was warmly welcomed by the crowd. Before the walk began, he received a small tutorial about the White Cane and its use. Mr. Paul Mugambi also challenged him to read the declaration that was written in Braille, which sent everyone into fits of laughter. After the declaration was read, the event was officially flagged off, and we began the 10-KM trek.

Throughout the walk, the climate was favorable considering that the whole week, the sun was scorching, and news feeds kept talking about the looming El Nino. Everyone walked at their pace, and eventually, we saw the destination in sight. The end point was at the Kenya Society for the Blind. The MC welcomed participants heartily, as they received refreshments and snacks. The Guest of Honor, Dr. Willy Mutunga walked the whole trek blindfolded while using a white cane and a sighted guide. Various speakers and sponsors discussed the White Cane Day, how it had impacted their lives, and what they intended to do in future regarding issues of discrimination not only towards blind persons but also other persons with disabilities. Entertainment from the DJ, and other invited musicians such as MPOFU NAMBA1, THEM MUSHROOMS among others. Eye doctors from various organizations such as the Kenya Society for the Blind, Glaucoma Society of Kenya, Dr. Gichangi and his team among others provided free eye checkup to the participants.

For the sighted person, it was quite difficult to walk with the white cane while blindfolded. It meant that you had to trust the white cane to lead you as you walked. For the participants who chose to walk with a sighted guide, the trust had to be built. For blind persons, the terrain was too easy for them. After the walk, they stated that for the next event, they wouldn’t mind some rough sections being included in the walk. It was incredible to receive various views about the day from both the blind and the sighted participants. It goes to show that the society is determined to change their perception of blind persons and other persons with disabilities. Once you walk in their shoes, you experience their challenges, and its impact changes your views completely. Persons with disabilities aren’t looking to get pity from the society. Their aim is to be treated as equals in every aspect of life.