18. Juliana

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The hope for myself and others is education. I was not able to go to school. If there was a way for persons with disabilities to have education, that is the key. It will make a good impact and transformation in their lives. Secondly, I think if we are empowered financially, there will be a tremendous change. 


When I came to the age of six, one night, I dreamed that I was bitten by a dog, so I woke up and I explained it to my mom, and suddenly, I felt like passing water, but in my attempt to wake up from bed, I couldn’t. My mom tried to help me up, but I couldn’t. I was completely bed-ridden.

At the age of eight years, my mom started finding a solution to my condition. She took me to the hospital but it was to no avail. She took me there, and she wanted to find out if they could operate on me to see if I could use crutches and walk because I was static in life. When we went, they said I was too feeble to be operated on, so I was brought back. My mom didn’t know what to do with me, so what she could do was to take me to fetish priests. She took me to several of them, but it was to no avail.

They applied certain things on me – like herbs and concoctions, but it didn’t work. One morning, my mom was doing laundry, and a mullah was passing, and he was selling medicine, and he said he could help. Some medicine was administered on me, so I could crawl, and that was how I started crawling at the age of eight years old.

I had wanted to be taken to school. My school wasn’t accessible for people like me. Due to my condition, there was no device for me to even step out of the house. So what my mother did for me was to just leave me in the room and fetch some money for me, to make ends meet to cater for me.

I decided to do something with my life at the age of eighteen years. I wanted to operate a tabletop grocery store. Anytime my mom went to town, I asked her to bring stock to me, and then I retailed it in front of our house. That is what I was doing for my upkeep.

In the course of that, I moved from the village where I was living to Accra. That was where I met Ghana Society for the Physically Disabled, and I joined the organization. In the course of the meeting, I met my husband, who is also a person with a disability.

When I met my husband, he proposed to me, and I accepted. I had to introduce him to my family, so I brought him home, and my daddy didn’t like it. My daddy was hoping that I could marry someone that was able. My mommy accepted him whole-heartedly. The man’s family accepted me whole-heartedly. My aunt and my mom convinced my daddy, and later, he accepted. So my husband was able to complete the necessary marriage rites as custom demands. We were dating in the course, and I got pregnant. I was pregnant before the marriage ceremony was performed.

I didn’t encounter any problem in my pregnancy during the initial stage, but as the baby increased in size, movement was very difficult, but in spite of all of that, I was able to go through due to my determination.

What types of discrimination have you experienced?

I suffered so much discrimination from the neighbors. They passed comments that hurt. Living as a disabled person with a husband with a disability, they used to pass very bitter comments. In the course of that, I didn’t have a friend in the house. This woman here is the only one who will help with my household chores.

What gave you the strength to continue?

I’m a Christian, so I look up to God. When I attend church, as I mingle with the congregation, it inspires me, and my friend here encourages me and inspires me a lot. She helps me with the household chores, and she sees me as abled.

What are your abilities as a person?

My strength is my husband and my children, and I am capable of doing anything. I wash myself. I do my laundry myself. I bathe my children myself. I cook. I cook for myself and for my husband. I just need a helping hand. My ability is also that I learned sewing, and I’m very good at it, and I can also operate a grocery shop.

What is your hope for your life and for other people with disabilities?

The hope for myself and others is education. I was not able to go to school. If there was a way for persons with disabilities to have education, that is the key. It will make a good impact and transformation in their lives. Secondly, I think if we are empowered financially, there will be a tremendous change.