January 2015, I was buried beneath my white bed sheets listening to the rhymes of pouring rain and the moans of trees making love as they collided due to the blowing winds.
I couldn’t sleep that night, I was thinking of all the things I could’ve done, the roads I could have travelled, the places I could’ve explored, the beats I could have danced to, weak people I could have helped and my dreams that will never be turned into reality.
For me happiness refers to traveling with a camera, taking pictures from different places, creating visual wonderlands, moving to the beats like no body is watching, helping people, exploring new things and places.
To be honest, I never dreamt of richness, fame. I never dreamt of being anything big, owning big houses, cars not even much money. I only need a few pesa to survive. I wanted to travel the world with a camera, taking pictures from different angles.
Wait, before anyone starts saying why didn’t you do it. I use a wheelchair, I can’t travel the whole world with my camera like I wanted to.
I remember one day, me and my family went to visit Kalisimbi mountain where amasimbi (small white crystals) lays on its head shining, a scenery that calls you the moment you see it.
I mean I may be lying that is what I was told but never seen, I just stayed down looking at the evergreen forest with tall trees that sorounded the volcano.
I wanted to go beyond the forest and climb the mountain. but it’s okay.
At least I got there, some kids with disabilities don’t have wheelchairs, they don’t know the world beyond their beds, they don’t know how to read and write, they don’t have a place to express their feelings.
Other are hated by their families. People stares as they pass, most don’t smile at them they laugh and it makes them wonder what they did not to be like others. they are mistreated, excluded, wounded and haunted by their suicidal thoughts, depression and pain. and at the end of the day no one tells them; there’s something beyond that wheelchair, beyond those canes and beyond your disability.
In primary I studied at Gatagara in Nyanza, there was a boy who had physical disabilities, they called him Gisimba which means animal in Kinyarwanda. Think about it, what if you were that boy? Uhm. His life is a story for another day but think about him and what you are doing today to change the perspective of society towards people who have disabilities.
I was saying I wanted to travel the world with a camera till the day my body will be turned back into mud, they’re many reasons why I love photography so much;
It captures bad events so that the world will understand the ugliness of the world because happiness comes not from the desire to be happy but from the understanding the ugliness of being sad.
I wanted to capture beauty and keep them eternal.
Photography freezes moments along with beauty in time. Even when people change, they remain the same in the pictures.
Without light, we see nothing. I wanted to capture the light, including reflected, diffused, transmitted, and directed light that brings life to an image.
Light is the lifeblood of an image and photography allows you to feel, that light.
Photography allows you to capture the beauty inside of a person that not everyone can find.
As I was thinking about all my dreams that will never be turned into reality. I started to cry, one negative thoughts led to another till I thought about dying.
Suicidal thoughts are really, I’ve been having them from when I was 9 years and now I’m 18. Many people think suicide is selfish and for the weak, stupid people but you never know people’s pain unless you’re walking in their shoes.
The saying that suicide is stupidity makes a person who hear it become more suicidal that because he feels as if what he’s feeling is not normal.
Every time my favorite songs played on a radio, I said I could’ve danced to this, everytime all students left me alone in classroom I said I could have done this and that, I couldn’t travel to Kigali using public transport it’s difficult so I always missed art events in Kigali though I was interested in attending them and so many chances that I could have taken.
I started feeling everything in a negative way and since everything that would have made me happy was out of my reach, I thought dying was the only solution.
“The time when we starts to think that death is better than life.”
I started planning my suicide method, I thought about using heroine but it’s expensive.
I thought about paracetamol but when I read how it will take two weeks for me to die a painful death I didn’t, they’re many reasons why I never did it and said I will do it later.
In all this journey of depression and suicidal thoughts my mother was there, she told me you will be fine, there’s a reason why you’re like that, you were born for a purpose, happiness can be found everywhere, miracles exist and so many strengthening words.
Little by little I started discovering something to live for “My Mom”.
Every time I thought about killing myself I always thought of the pain I’ll cause to my mother and said: “I shall live for her to be happy”.
Being born in a Christian family, I spend night and nights praying searching for miracles.
Back then when I was still in Nyanza I went to Ruhango every month, the place was called Kwa Yezu Nyirimpuhwe which meant (a place of Jesus who have mercy) the church would be filled with different people from different places, sometimes I slept on glasslands waiting for the church service to start in the morning, cold winds blowing the whole night, dew wetted my clothes but I didn’t mind, I was looking for miracles, I was looking for God.
I was looking for something to hold on.
Hahah, the miracle didn’t happen, maybe not yet. Funny I still believe in God but what else can you do?
My mom said that what to do when all is gone is to HOPE.
Prayers are not enough without love, for me heaven is love, God is love. Prayers never made me want to live but love did, love from my family especially my mother.
Today is my moda’s birthday.
She’s that woman who gave me life, she is that woman who made me want to live, she is that woman who taught me that happiness can be found everywhere and anywhere. That I can find happiness even in my wheelchair because I am the one who choose happiness, it doesn’t choose me.
She is a proof that not all heroes wear capes.
She is that woman who taught me love, humanity and happiness.
She told me “it’s okay if you want to die but before you die, live“.
I am living today and achieving many things I never thought I’ll achieve today.
You makes me feel that light, it’s okay if I never achieve my dreams. I’ll live. For you.
Happy Birthday, Mom!