After Losing Her Sight, Legislator Works to Open Center for The Blind in Uganda

JOHN TLUMACKI/GLOBE STAFF Margaret Baba Diri walked in the lobby of the Carroll Center for the Blind in Newton with Dina Rosenbaum (right), chief program officer for the center.

JOHN TLUMACKI/GLOBE STAFF Margaret Baba Diri walked in the lobby of the Carroll Center for the Blind in Newton with Dina Rosenbaum (right), chief program officer for the center.

Margaret Baba Diri is scrolling through her iPhone, even if it doesn’t seem that way at first.

The screen is dark, and she holds it at her chest, her finger swiping through the pages as an automated voice calls out the names of her apps until she lands on the one she wants.

She is practicing “flicking,” a technique she learned during an eight-week training program this spring at the Carroll Center for the Blind in Newton.

A member of the Ugandan Parliament for more than 20 years, Baba Diri, 64, came to the center to improve her skills and move closer to her goal of opening a center for the blind and visually impaired in Uganda.

She hopes to model many aspects of the Carroll Center’s program, she said, especially the close relationship instructors build with students.

“We’re not here for competition,” she said. “We are all growing at our own pace.”

Baba Diri has a gentle, natural smile — the kind that tells you she doesn’t smile just to be polite. She smiles most when she talks about things that bring her joy, like her woodworking classes at the Carroll Center, or her daughter, Susan, who works as her guide, or the land she has set aside in her home district of Koboko for a center for the blind.

The Ugandan Parliament sponsored Baba Diri’s visit, as it did when she completed a shorter computer training course at the center last May.

Read more at article source: https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2018/06/25/after-losing-her-sight-legislator-works-open-center-for-blind-uganda/n7YhbLnaf3b1c2NoX4WseJ/story.html