36. Daniel

Participant-41-Portrait

It was not my dream to become a poultry farmer, but it was such that if I try to look for a job somewhere, they wouldn’t have the necessary logistics to employ me. As a graduate in school, I would have preferred to have a white-collar job, but unfortunately, because of my condition, no company was ready to accept me. That means, if you are a disabled person and your family is not able to find something for you to do, you are doomed. That is why my father helped me to start this poultry business – not that it was my interest to go into this.


 

I live in Accra, and I’m the third born among my parent’s children. When I was born, I was the first who could take steps as a child. I could take steps up until the point when I was one and a half years old, and then, they said they were going to give a polio immunization. When I was given the injection, I couldn’t walk again.

Among all of my siblings, I was the only one who could advance in my education. My parents didn’t leave me. They took me to school. They took me to Churches and other places to get me healed. They took me to school, and I was the only who could advance.

My father took me to learn computer programming. Unfortunately, for me, that was when the coup started. My father couldn’t get me to continue my education.

I was not equipped with any skill that could get me economically sound, so my father decided that since I couldn’t complete my computer stuff, he opened a small poultry farm for me, and that’s what I was doing to support my living.

God so good, out of that poultry, I could generate income, and I got myself a woman. I got married, but then there was a bird flu outbreak disease, so people stopped patronizing bird products, so nobody could patronize my products and earn a living. It dwindled until we lost everything.

I’m social. Everybody likes me – even my teacher. I was good too in school. I had it fine – no discrimination. People would come to me to teach them. However you behave, I will come to you. There wasn’t any bad situations.

I was the kind that people embraced. My parents mentioned my name as outstanding. I always did something beyond what the able ones could do. Despite my disability, nobody looked down at me. I was a sort of unique person. This saved me from any form of discrimination because people had to come to me for help.

It was not my dream to become a poultry farmer, but it was such that if I try to look for a job somewhere, they wouldn’t have the necessary logistics to employ me. As a graduate in school, I would have preferred to have a white-collar job, but unfortunately, because of my condition, no company was ready to accept me. That means, if you are a disabled person and your family is not able to find something for you to do, you are doomed. That is why my father helped me to start this poultry business – not that it was my interest to go into this.

When I met my wife, when I proposed to her, she refused initially. Then she realized that I was somebody who was very forceful. Because of my disability, she didn’t want to live with me, but when she discovered that I was very forceful, she realized I was an ideal man to live with. The woman had been living with an able man who treated her bad. However, my efforts as a poultry farmer made her love me.

I didn’t suffer discrimination from the side of my in-laws. I was somehow a breadwinner to them. I was supporting them in a way. That made them accept me in someway – because I was helping them with their upkeep, they accepted me wholeheartedly. This means if you are a disabled person, and you are gainfully employed, then you will be accepted in every area of life.

We got married and we were living happily. We had three children, but later on, this woman decided that when this business started dwindling, she decided to leave the marriage because she realized I was poor and had no money to cater for her or the family.

The eldest is eighteen. I’ve catered for them since she left. The mother left after the third born, who is twelve. She left about ten or eleven years ago.

After my wife left, I had to engage myself in the sale of herbal medicine, so I had to travel miles in the sale of this medicine – to get something to support this woman, but she wouldn’t. She said she doesn’t even like me anymore, and she’s leaving the marriage. My children’s education became very rough for me. Even what to eat became difficult. Considering my challenge, catering for three children on my own…my mom and daddy very old to support me, my siblings were all married and concerned with their children, so I was left to my fate, and I had to find something to support my children, which is how come I left Nsawam to live in Accra.

I was able to save some money out of the herbal medicine I was selling, and in the course of that, I was able to buy myself a certain machine called a transformer that is used in making polletin bags. Eventually, it was out of use. It didn’t work for me because I couldn’t purchase the materials that I needed for the work, so I had to abandon it. Later, I found a way to raise some money to support my family. I prayed to God and went to a pharmacy. I asked them and said I wanted to engage in envelope-making for envelopes for packaging drugs. They accepted me wholeheartedly to supply them. I was manufacturing the envelopes in my room. I prepare my own adhesive and then in the room, I caught the pattern and mold them, and supply them to the pharmacy shops. Most of the pharmacies in my community were using them to package my medicine. That’s what I was doing to support my children’s education and their upkeep.

During this envelope stuff, I did it for some time. In the course of it, I met another woman, and I proposed to her, and she accepted. She was very forceful and encouraging. She supported me in this envelope business. When this business went down, she also left me and went away. She decided that I wouldn’t worry with engaging… I had one issue with my second wife, which made the number of my children…four. I decided that I will stay and find a way to survive. Where I was living in Accra, things were rough. My accommodation was bad. I was not able to cater for myself, so I eventually decided to move into this village and start a new life with my children.

I’ve been in this place for three months. When I moved to this community, I was received by my friend Apostle Williams and I’ve gotten one accommodation. It’s not really good, but I’m managing. That’s where I’m living with my children now. I’ve been here for just three now. I don’t know what life has for me in this village, but God willing, I will succeed in this village.

 

What is the most difficult experience you’ve had as a person with a disability in Ghana? And the happiest?

The most difficult moment of my life was when my first wife divorced me because it was like I invested so much in this woman, and then it was like my capital was with this woman, and when she left me, it jeopardized me completely. It was my worst moment.

I cannot exactly figure out an exact moment that I felt happy, but when I’m able to work and make a living, then I’m okay and happy.

Transportation is also very, very difficult. Normally, we with these crutches, we like sitting in front. You might have to beg for someone to go to the back. They will say, “Are we not paying the same price?” They will insult you to the core. My challenge lies in transportation. I can be over here without getting the front for three or four hours.

Do you think there’s hope for people with disabilities?
I think there’s hope provided that persons with disabilities will become one voice and one body. I believe that together, we will stand. If we wait for the able ones to be our voice, we will be left on the ground, but if we stand up with our rights, we will fight, and life will be better.


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