11. Emmanuel

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If I got money, I would establish my own business. I would start a printing business. I would sell exercise books and notebooks. I am a good binder, and it is marketable. If I had money to start, I would. I can go to the market and buy materials, and if I got a pulling machine, I could do the cutting and trimming by myself.


I was born well, but sickness caught me. It was very unfortunate. My mother told me that I was two and a half years. They sent me to the hospital where they injected me. That was all.

I started primary school in 1971 and finished in 1980. I had crutches, and I used to walk there. They called me names, but all the same, I continued.

Sometimes my crutches get spoiled, and I didn’t have money to repair. My mother fried doughnuts for my upkeep, and I had friends who tried to help me. They would carry me to school on their backs, and I came out successfully.

I wanted to continue after junior high but I didn’t have any way. I passed my exams, but during that time, there was no way – because of financial concerns.

So I was reading a newspaper and saw an advert in the paper for a tailor apprenticeship. I wrote a letter to them. It was free, and I boarded there. They took care of me. The government was taking care of me. This was in 1981 to 1983.

A white man, a Roman Catholic pastor, came, and he told us he would buy us sewing machines. He was supporting the school. But 1983 was very hard for the nation. It was the coup time. Hardship was very high. And after graduation, it was very unfortunate, but the pastor couldn’t give the machines to us.

Someone told him we were stealing equipment or that management was misusing them. So he became angry. He had promised to take us along to the U.S., but due to mismanagement, this Catholic father became furious and left.  So I couldn’t establish myself then. I didn’t have any equipment to start my business.

That is why I joined the printing press as a binder and started printing books – notebooks, exercise books, stories, stationary and all. I worked for about twenty-two years.

I’d bind books from before eight o’clock to five o’clock, and sometimes seven or eight.

I met my wife at the age of forty years. I met her in this area. I proposed to her, and she accepted, and she became pregnant. Her family accepted me, 100%. Her brothers and sisters would come and stay around. Even still, they are coming. They love me.

I don’t know what happened next. One day, I saw she was packing her things from the house. By that time, I had child with her.  I asked her why, and she said she was going to her uncle’s place, and I said, “At where?” She said, “In Accra.” Someone told me that she was lying. She was living with another man. So I called her, and she wouldn’t tell me, but one of my siblings saw her staying with a man. I went to the parents because she had taken the child. I hadn’t seen the child in six months. So I reported my case to the police. Her father sent someone to find the girl, and I went there to collect my daughter, but she didn’t give me the chance to collect my daughter. She wanted to stab me with a knife.

The girl used to visit me. She is now eleven years.

You said you were a printer for twenty-two years, why did you stop?

The printers had a car to pick me in the morning. One day, around nine-o-clock, I was at my gate, and they had not come. The manager told me I should take a taxi, so I took a dropping taxi, and I went to work. Since that day, they did not pick me up again. So I had to take a dropping taxi for one year, and I didn’t have money to do that. So I resigned.

Why do you think people have prejudices against people with disabilities?

Well – I don’t know. They don’t respect us as human beings.

Who supported you during your life?

God, but I’ve stopped going to Church because I don’t have any money to take a taxi there.

If a person with a disability came to you for advice, what would you share with them?

I would tell them all is not lost. He or she should try to do whatever he or she want to. Because one day, take mine for example, I’ve moved on.

How can we change things for people with disabilities in Ghana?

I’ve been in the house for four years now, and I have to make ends meet. If somebody knows me, they can give me small-small, but as I am now, I have a medication to take, and my money is finished, so I do not have it. I don’t like begging from people.

If you could make one wish, what would it be?

If I got money, I would establish my own business. I would start a printing business. I would sell exercise books and notebooks. I am a good binder, and it is marketable. If I had money to start, I would. I can go to the market and buy materials, and if I got a pulling machine, I could do the cutting and trimming by myself.


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