35. Wisdom

Participant-40-Portrait

I got married at 37 years. I met this lady, and I expressed interest in her, and she loved me. But when I went to see the family, they disagreed. They said she couldn’t marry a person with a disability. Because the woman loved me, we kept dating, and we had two children, but one of the children died.


I wasn’t born a person with a disability. When I was one and a half years, I was injected, and all of a sudden, I became a person with a disability. My parents never thought I could ever walk because I was on the ground. They were even surprised at my age that I could take steps to walk. As a child, I was crippled. I couldn’t start my first step. At the age of five, I could walk by myself with a leg. When I was thirty-seven years, I had to get this walking stick because I gained weight.

I started school at the age of six years. Because of my disability, I started school in Accra, but my father rejected me in a way. As a result, I dropped out of school, and I was sent to the village, and I had my education in the village. My grandmother supported my education. I went through form four.

My father married another woman. My father always shifted the blame to my mother because she took me to the hospital where I got injected. There was a rivalry between my mother and step-mother, which was why I was sent away.

I was treated very well in the school. The teachers were quite considerate of me. Even when we were going on a parade, they would often have me sit in class when they thought walking would be too difficult for me.

After completion of school, my father asked what I wanted to do. I said I wanted to learn a trade, and he suggested that I learn electronics repairs. He got me enrolled in the trade.

After I learned the electronics repairs, I had to establish myself. I started with a tabletop repairs. The income I got from that, I started saving. When I got some amount, I purchased a kiosk. I made a part-payment, and then when I started working, I paid the rest, and later, I had my only shop. Eventually, I had eight apprentices. I’ve been able to train eight apprentices. Since then, nobody has enrolled, so I’m doing it alone now.

I got married at 37 years. I met this lady, and I expressed interest in her, and she loved me. But when I went to see the family, they disagreed. They said she couldn’t marry a person with a disability. Because the woman loved me, we kept dating, and we had two children, but one of the children died.

When we lost one of the children, the in-law wouldn’t allow her to keep living with me. She came and took her away with the child. She said, he is a person with a disability, and she disagreed with the marriage.

When the lady had given birth to my second child, I was going to the hospital to get her. My in-law told me to hold on, so I didn’t go to the hospital. The in-law went for the lady, and my wife stayed with the in-law, but the wife didn’t come back. The wife said I should come and tell the in-law, but the in-law said I couldn’t come back. She thought I was the cause of the death of the first child.

Why do people have negative views of people with disabilities?

I don’t know why. The mother in law attributed it to the fact that persons with disabilities are poor and don’t have money to take care of their wives.

What is your happiest moment?

My happiest moment was when I had my first child. Since the woman left, I’ve not been myself.

Do you know other people with disabilities, and what would be your advice to them?

Whenever I come by a person with a physical disability, I always tell them they shouldn’t worry at all in life. Their plight is better than those who don’t have sight. Their disability is the worst. They are completely in darkness. If I have sight and can see the beauty of the world, don’t worry so much. You are better off than other people with disabilities.

What is the biggest barrier you face as a result of your disability?

It’s really difficult having to board public transport. Even when you’re boarding and having difficulty wanting to enter, nobody wants to help you enter. Even people you’re sharing a seat with, they will not want to sit near you. They will be pushing away from you.

Unless you have a trade and are doing your own job, you won’t be employed in the public sector. They don’t want to employ you because they don’t think you will provide anything.

Do you have any fears?

It is difficult living alone as a person with a disability. It is difficult to do routine activities. I need someone to assist me with fetching water and going to the market. It makes life quite different.

Do you have hope things will change for people with disabilities?

My leg disturbs me a lot. I went to the hospital in Koforidua. They prescribed me some drugs which said will help me.

There’s no hope for people with disabilities. Nobody is willing to help us. There’s no support from anywhere. When you’re a public servant, you can have social security. You can’t be employed in the public sector, so you can’t have social security. If you’re old and sick, you are left alone.

What is your hope for your life and your children?

It is one thing I really think about because my work is no longer flourishing. Because of my disability, I didn’t give birth early. I’m very old, but my children are very small. I’m now taking care of them at the primary stage. I’m now thinking how will I fend for them when they get to the secondary schools. I have some fears for how I will fend for my children in the future.


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