16. Vida

tumblr_inline_ntk666jc7e1t99o8z_540

I’m a very strong woman and very forceful in life. Even when I was pregnant, I would fall and I would continue. I used to hawk. I would prepare kenke and sell it. Even with my pregnancy, I was selling kenke, and I would fall, but I would pick it up, and I would continue. Because if I didn’t do it, then who would do it? My ability is that I’m forceful. I can do anything if I get a little push. I can carry water on my head. I used to fetch water. Sometimes, I would fall, but I would get up and catch another and come home.


When I was three years, my mommy had two boys already, but she was having a problem having a girl child, so she prayed to have a girl child. Her family didn’t want her to give birth to a girl child, but God willing, she had one. Because her family disliked my mommy having a girl child, somewhere down the line, something happened.

My mother was carrying me on her back to the farm, and I just screamed, and my mother realized my tongue had pulled out and I had stretched myself and was helpless. In the village, when things like this happen, they find it very strange, so I was rushed to the fetish priest where it was discovered that my aunties were responsible. My aunties did some kind of spell. My extended family didn’t want my mom to give birth to a girl because they said this girl would be more beautiful than my auntie’s children. So out of jealousy, they cast a spell. They wanted to kill me. God willing, I survived, and it resulted in this.

My mom became sick, and that compelled us to move from the village to Accra. Unfortunately, my mom died. When my mom died, life became very difficult for me. When I was seventeen, I met my first man, and we were dating, and I got pregnant. I lost the first man because he thought that my disability wouldn’t help him.

A Good Samaritan came in because I wanted to learn a trade, which was hairdressing. Due to my hardship, someone came in and supported me to learn a trade even though I had a child. I was able to raise some funds out of selling oranges to put my baby in school so that I could have time to learn my apprenticeship.

In the morning, I would send my baby to school and then go to work. But it got to a point, where I couldn’t continue due to financial constraints. Working at the same time as my disability and catering for my child while also paying for transport to work, it became very difficult for me to come by money for transport to work. I had to quit the apprenticeship to focus on my baby.

When I quit the apprenticeship, tie-and-dye cloth printing came about. My mom knew how to do it, so I put myself into an apprenticeship to learn to do it. Transportation was very difficult, but I met my second man, who was supporting me to go to work and come back. Fortunately, I met my second man, who was supporting me. I was awarded a certificate of completion, and I was supposed to be employed, but because of my disability, I couldn’t get employment. I’m still pursing it until now – after nine years.

For my business now, I am given jewelry on credit. A friend introduced me to this business. I don’t have capital, but they give it to me on credit to sell, so I make a little. My fear is that since I’m not trading on capital, if I run at a loss, that is a problem. But I have no option but to do it.

Where I live, when it rains, it comes into the bedroom, and the place get flooded, but I am coping. The neighbors don’t talk to me, and I don’t know why. They’ve given me a nickname – the lady with one leg. They don’t talk to me, so my fear is that if something happens to me or my kid in this place, I don’t know who will come to my aid because there are only a few who talk to me.

What is your best ability?

I’m a very strong woman and very forceful in life. Even when I was pregnant, I would fall and I would continue. I used to hawk. I would prepare kenke and sell it. Even with my pregnancy, I was selling kenke, and I would fall, but I would pick it up, and I would continue. Because if I didn’t do it, then who would do it? My ability is that I’m forceful. I can do anything if I get a little push. I can carry water on my head. I used to fetch water. Sometimes, I would fall, but I would get up and catch another and come home.

What is the most difficult experience of your life?

Stigmatization is high. And because of my disability, I fall very often. Because I did not complete school and I am not well educated, even though I have learned some trade, it is very difficult for me to get a job. All I can resort to is something like this.

Why do you think people discriminate against people with disabilities?

People see me as cursed. My sister is wheelchair-bound, and I am physically disabled now, Some men come into my life and visit, and when I’m sitting, it’s hard for them to discover that I am disabled, but if an attempt to see them off, they see my disability, then they go and never return. Men see me and come to propose marriage to me, but when they see my disability, they go and never return.

How do you define disability?

I see disability as an ability. I think it is just a life’s misfortune. It is not something that should scare people away. It is something that can happen to anyone. I think I have a lot of potential, a lot of ability in me, compared to able counterparts. I see myself as a strong woman, who can climb to the top.

What have you learned through your disability?

I was able before I became like this, so I have learned that persons with disabilities are very special people. We have some uniqueness in us. Since I have experienced both sides, I know that when I became like this, through interacting with my disabled counterparts, I have found some uniqueness in us. We are very bright too – provided we get education.


Return home to the portraits.