Legally Blind in Kampala

If you wear contact lenses or glasses this post will resonate with you. I have horrible eyesight so having my contacts in is a must or I’ll stumble around in a blurry world.

When I lived in Uganda I would usually go into Kampala once a week, usually on Tuesdays and it was a day to enjoy some nice things that Uganda had to offer. I would go to the gym, look around the mall, and eat lunch at a pizza place downtown. I loved Tuesdays, I loved my trips into Kampala, but on one certain Tuesday, disaster happened

At this point I have to stop and thank my good friend Mark, if not for him I would probably still be wandering around Kampala unable to find my way home.

Mark and I had gone into the city together and after working out we both jumped into the pool to cool off. I swim with my contacts in and I open my eyes underwater, making sure to close them before I surface. But something happened that day that had never happened before and has never happened since. When I came up out of the water both, not one, but both of my contacts had fallen out in the swimming pool. The clear, sharp focused world I was used to living in had become a blur where everything ran together into one enormous blob of color. I flubbed my way over to the side of the pool and climbed out and told Mark what had happened. We were supposed to be going to a meeting or something after the gym so I tried to convince him to go to the meeting and I would find my way back to Gaba to get new contacts. It wouldn’t be that hard to find my way out of the mall, catch a boda boda (motorcycle) to the taxi park, navigate through the chaos to the correct taxi, get off at the right stop, pay the correct amount of money and walk the bumpy roads back to my house.

Thankfully Mark realized the nonsense in my thinking and decided to escort me back to Gaba. He didn’t hold my hand, but I followed closely behind him, squinting to make things a little clearer and we made our way out of the mall, onto a boda boda, through the taxi park, rode all the way to Gaba, paid the correct money, and stumbled up the bumpy road to the house. Once in the bedroom I found my spare contacts and put them in and the world was brought back to that sweet clarity.

The lesson from this story: if you wear contacts and go swimming in Kampala, make sure you either have an extra pair of contacts with you or a friend who will be your seeing-guide for the day!

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