Overcoming Everything from Blindness to Single Motherhood
My challenges have been many, and my pain extreme.
Having been born in a beautiful village known as Manga in the countryside of Kenya, I was a bright student in school. I was the second born in a family of six. My parents were both primary school teachers.
At 13 years old, I was diagnosed with keratoconus, a rare eye condition that affects the eye’s corneas and can potentially lead to blindness. We visited many hospitals and eventually were advised to go to India for a cornea transplant. We couldn’t afford it.
My parents were too scared. They couldn’t understand how their healthy child could have transplanted corneas that had to be donated from departed souls. I worked so hard in school, but my eyes hurt day and night, so much so that it was difficult to even read and sleep.
I had no choice—I had to work hard in school. I wrote on a piece of paper that I had to work hard and get a good job so I could afford to pay for my surgery. It was a constant reminder.
I made it into the best girls’ school in Kenya. And later, I went to the best university in East and Central Africa. It was when I was in college that I had my first child. I was 23. I now had to deal with my eye problem, studies, my son, and a heartbreak. My boyfriend left me and later got married in a church wedding.
But life went on. I later got a bank job. I met my husband at work. We moved in together, but it ended up being an abusive marriage. My husband had a child with someone else while we were still married. It happened during the time I had gone for my surgery. The bank had agreed to cover all my medical expenses. But it was a long and arduous process. I had four painful eye surgeries in three years.
All the while, my husband was not supportive. He was alcoholic and abusive. I wanted to make it work so badly that I stayed, for fear of ridicule from society. But after four years, i couldn’t take it any longer. I left my husband and was now a single mother of two boys.
I went into a long depression. I had no one to talk to. I felt ashamed of myself. My parents had invested so much in me, and I felt I had let them down.
One day, I was looking online for solutions. I stumbled upon a personal development program known as the Miracle Morning, by Hal Elrod. I did the program for two years, and my life turned around. I started doing motivational talks in schools. I was now feeding 40 street children in my local county. I was also working to be the best mother I could be. Additionally, I discovered a passion in writing and singing gospel inspirational music.
My story touched Hal. He invited me to the U.S. to share with other Miracle Morningers. Now, I am writing my memoir, Lost and Found. I know from firsthand experience that anything is possible and that we can overcome all the obstacles life puts in our way.
Rister Ratemo is a loving mother of two amazing boys. She has a passion for music and giving back. She writes and sings gospel inspirational music. She is a motivational speaker and life coach. A native of Kenya, Rister currently lives in New Jersey.