32. George

Participant-37-Portrait

My brother came to a funeral, and I told him I wanted to do banking. He said he could not take me to school. But he said if I would learn the work, he said he would see one of his friends who would allow me to become a tailor. Tailoring wasn’t my dream, but when it came, I said, “Okay – I’ll force it.”


 

I was born in the Eastern region. When I was born, I was not disabled. When I grow to four years, I became sick. At that time, my mother and father were separating, so my mother took me to my father to take me to the hospital because I was having measles. When my mother took me to my father, he took me to a hospital. They gave me an injection, and when I returned from the hospital, I couldn’t walk again. I went to the hospital again, and they said, “Let’s wait three days.” After three days, I still couldn’t walk. So my mother took me to Koforudia for treatment. They told me there was a governmental hospital there that could do something so I would not be a disabled person. At first, I was using crutches, but when I reached eight years, I liked to play football. I would throw the crutches away and play. I wanted to play with my friends. When I was four years before I fell sick, I played with them. When I returned, I wanted to keep playing.

When I was going through the SS, my father was a driver at the school. My father had ten children, but I was the third born. My father said, “No – I don’t have money to take you to education.” When I was going to school, I wanted to become a bank manager. Everyone told me I should be a bank manager because I was so talented in math. But I stayed home for three years. When I stopped the school, I couldn’t do anything.

One of my brothers stayed in Accra. By that time, I was in the eastern region. My brother came to a funeral, and I told him I wanted to do banking. He said he could not take me to school. But he said if I would learn the work, he said he would see one of his friends who would allow me to become a tailor. Tailoring wasn’t my dream, but when it came, I said, “Okay – I’ll force it.” My father said I should come to Accra. He took me to a place and I started. When I was coming, my mother bought a machine. When my mother knew I had a disability, she thought I would not learn it, but I took her machine with me to Accra.

By God’s grace, I was attending a community Bible church. I was very active in the Church, and some of the church members would give me some money – five cedis for the week. So I was using that little bit to support myself during the apprenticeship. That was how I managed to learn the work. When I reached the one and a half years, I told my master I was ready to go work and get paid. So I was looking for a place to go and work and get paid. Because there was no one looking after me, everything was dependent on Church. I didn’t like the idea of people giving me money at Church. I wanted to do something to really feed myself. I hated waiting for people to give me something. Eventually, I found someone who hired me for five cedi, and it made me happy. I was working to earn something on my own.

I want to have a container, not a kiosk, a permanent place. I want to upgrade. Right now – it’s very hard because of the wood. When rain comes, the wood is very rough.

I enjoy tailoring because now by God’s grace, I am making it. The first time I came to learn it, I was not happy, but later on, I accepted it.

I wish to have my own wife. It was very terrible. This one lady, I told her, “You know me. You know the person I am.” I didn’t let people intimidate me. I told her I would be able to cater for her, but she undermined me. That was the only lady I proposed to. She embarrassed me. Now – getting married, my financials are not stable, so I don’t have money.

Someday, I want to sell clothes that I sew and showcase them, so I get customers. It’s all a matter of upgrading the business.

Have you suffered any discrimination with transportation?

As for me, by God’s grace, no. I can board any car easily. I’ve joined the GPSD. We’re not required to pay tax.

What should we do to make the lives of persons with disabilities better?

Some of these disabled people, they don’t believe in themselves. Any place that everyone can go, I can go there too.


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