34. Emmanuel


We got married, but my friends would still say, “He’s a disabled. Why would you marry him?” Some people were polluting her mind, but she said this was the man she wanted to marry and she said they shouldn’t disturb her marriage. She never listened to her friends or family. We have four children now.

When I was ten years, I was injected, and I started walking with the stick. By walking with the stick, I became used to the stick. I used the stick until I was finished with the stick. Anywhere I go, I use the stick.

I started school around the age of fifteen years. Because of my disability, I didn’t go to school early. I was older than my class. Form one, form two, form three, I was in the village in the Volta Region. The distance I was traveling was far. My mother used to carry me because the school was not accessible. There, you cannot get access to wheelchair. In the village, nobody cares for those things, so they would have to carry me to school before I got used to the stick. I used the stick during my primary and JSS.

I began to learn a trade. I learned the electronics.

I did an apprenticeship in Accra. My uncle brought me to Accra, and he said I should learn something for the future. I did the electronics. I went to a National Vocational Training Institute to complete it. I was doing it at home small, small before I became used to it.

People look down upon you because you are a disabled. They don’t even regard you. When you want to do something, they look down on you.They were saying, “How could this thing come to your family?” It baffled them. They think maybe it’s a curse.

My family consulted herbalists to find ways and means to solve the situation. They consulted the herbalist to find out the way the things happen. When they send me there, he put some herbal things to treat me and to see how I should begin to walk. All of these things proved difficult. I’ve been given concoction to drink, but it doesn’t work.

I had a lot of friends though, and they helped me. They carried me. They helped me a lot.

I’ve faced a lot of discrimination about me and my predicament. My neighbors said I could not do anything in the future, so my family was wasting time on me. Being a disabled, they don’t see anything good coming out of you in the future. Wasting time on disability – why? They don’t see anything good. I know – disability is not inability. I know one day, I would come out of those situations.

My ambition was if I had gotten the chance, I could make it in life, but by then, there was no money, and family was not trying to make it. My ambition was one day to make it in life. I did not get an opportunity to go to university.

I was dating my wife for some time, and then her family got to know about my disability. They ignored us and told us not to marry at all. They said, “How can you, a strong woman like this, marry a guy like this?” The families were trying to prove difficult. She became pregnant, but since she became pregnant, they said they would not take the drink. As tradition demands, they didn’t want to take the drink because I’m a disabled. As time went on, an uncle came from overseas, and he said, “You people are trying to discriminate Africa so much.” So the uncle came and collected the drinks, and we performed the custom as tradition demands. The uncle was a lawyer and had traveled overseas, so his perception was different. He would not accept what they said about disability. He educated them about disability in marriage, so the uncle took the drinks. I wedded the woman.

We got married, but my friends would still say, “He’s a disabled. Why would you marry him?” Some people were polluting her mind, but she said this was the man she wanted to marry and she said they shouldn’t disturb her marriage. She never listened to her friends or family. We have four children now.

Then my job situation became difficult and so money to feed at home was not coming. She eventually said she couldn’t be passing through these difficulties, so she left.

When I am going somewhere and there’s a queue, someone will say, “You! Go queue!” As a young man, I follow the system. Disabled person don’t get any preferential treatment. The car is not disability friendly. It’s very difficult. The mate and the driver don’t pass comments, but the problem is the queue.

Going to Church, at times, they assist me. They allow me to take a dropping taxi. The Church treats me fine. They feel like putting your companion to them and making you feel happy and at home. They give you a place to sit and make you feel well. You feel a sense of belonging. Someone will even assist you to sit down.

I didn’t find it easy to find a job at all. When you go to an office as a disabled person, someone will say, “Why did you even come here? We can’t help you.” But they will not even allow you to go to the office, but because I knew what I could do, I went there everyday, and finally they accepted me. I tried so many places, but now where I am working presently, I didn’t find any problem. Someone assisted me to get this job, otherwise, I would not have gotten it at all. I’ve been working for about ten years now.

What is your happiest moment?

My happy moment is the time I got married. When I’m home, I also feel happy. My children say, “Daddy, daddy, daddy – clench me!” I support my children by myself.

What do you think are the barriers facing persons with disabilities in Ghana?

It’s education, and financially, they don’t have any support. They don’t have money to care for themselves.

In Ghana, if you are born into a poor family and are disabled, what happens?

It’s a lot. People don’t regard you to become something in the future. It’s a lot of problems disturbing you. It’s the way we think, thinking our daughter or son will be different and not succeed. You suffer a lot because even someone coming up to help you is a problem. People think you are a waste of money.

Do you have hope for persons with disabilities in Ghana?

I have hope for disability persons. The mind is there to work. The ability is there. There is hope because when we have support, there is hope.

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