22. Bernard

Participant-27-Portrait

As my brothers were going through school, I was left alone. My uncle too was a car mechanic in the area. Anytime I was left in the house, I was left alone in the room, and eventually, I thought it wise that I shouldn’t stay there to be handled this way. I needed to find a way to help myself, so I used to crawl from my place to where my uncle was. That was how I used to pass my leisure hours – while my brothers were in school. I crawled from the house to the place and passed my leisure hours there. In the afternoon, when they close and go home, I would come and join them at home. In the course of that, going to sit with my uncle, I learned the trade.


At one and a half years, I was walking, but then I fell sick and was taken to the hospital. I was injected, and I couldn’t walk again. I don’t know whether it was a bad injection, but it paralyzed me. My father was accusing my mom about why she gave birth to a disabled person. At that time, my daddy used to quarrel with my mom so much – because of me. In the course of that, he left.

In the end, my mother suffered a stroke, so she couldn’t take care of me. So even sending me to school, my auntie took over, and she took my brothers to school but left me – because of my disability. My auntie thought she should not support me, but she supported the able ones. She thought that it was easier to support the able ones than me. She thought it was too expensive to educate a person with a disability.

As my brothers were going through school, I was left alone. My uncle too was a car mechanic in the area. Anytime I was left in the house, I was left alone in the room, and eventually, I thought it wise that I shouldn’t stay there to be handled this way. I needed to find a way to help myself, so I used to crawl from my place to where my uncle was. That was how I used to pass my leisure hours – while my brothers were in school. I crawled from the house to the place and passed my leisure hours there. In the afternoon, when they close and go home, I would come and join them at home.

In the course of that, going to sit with my uncle, I learned the trade. Unforgettably, he died, so when he died, it was like stuck on the way. Because I was an apprentice by then, I decided to join some disability organization to see if I could get some support for myself. I joined a group called Hope for Life. That is where some white NGO came in, and they helped me go through certain operations on my feet, which resulted in my use of this caliper, and that is when I started walking. I was able to stand on my feet.

I spent one and a half years in the hospital, and when I was discharged, I came to live with my auntie again, who was taking care of me through my teenage years. My auntie was so supportive, she has helped me through all of this time until I got married. I used to go there and have supper if I wanted.

What are your best abilities?

I’m a baker, and I’m a mechanic as well. I repair power engines. I bake bread.

What is your happiest memory?

As for me, I happy myself everyday because I think this is not a disability. I have so much ability in me. That is why I am always happy.

How would you describe your outlook on life?

I am the extrovert type. I make many friends because of my nature. People come close to me. Formally, they didn’t want to come close to me but because of my nature, but I always show a smiling face, and for this reason, they come close to me. First, I happy myself and use myself to make my disabled counterparts happy.

Did you ever have any challenges making friends with children in the community?

The guys in the community came to love me due to my football nature. They came to love me because I’m very good and very active. That is the reason I made more friends.

What are your dreams for your life and for that of your children?

My dream is to get a better job than this, to be able to cater myself, my wife, and my children, so I can better my life to be an example to other disabled counterparts.

During your married life, did you suffer any discrimination?

Initially my wife’s father didn’t like the marriage. Later he accepted me because I was somebody who was open, and my wife convinced him to accept me. All my friends attended my marriage ceremony, and it was so much fun.

If a person with a disability comes to you for advice, what do you tell them?

I tell them they shouldn’t look down upon themselves because they have a lot of abilities in them. What an able person can do, they can do much better if they get a little push. Even if they don’t get a little push, they have enough ability in them to confound the able ones. That is the encouragement they used to give them.

What do you think needs to be done to help people with disabilities in Ghana?

What I can do is that in the future, if I am fortunate to have my own bakery shop – that is my dream – I can impact the knowledge into my fellow brothers with disabilities. I can teach them how to bake. I can impact my mechanical knowledge too.

Do you think the government is doing its role in helping people with disabilities?

I think the government is not doing the best. What the government is doing isn’t really helping. They have completely failed.

What would you change?

If I had the opportunity to get the power, I would remove all disabled persons from the side of the road begging and empower them economically.


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