43. Patience


I would describe disability as somebody who cannot do anything on their own without help. But with me, it’s not a disability. Since I can do something, it’s not a disability. So it’s ability out of disability. Disability is a form of deformity but you are not helpless. You can do anything out of disability.

I developed this boil and for two years I had to be confined to a room. I was bedridden for 2 years. So this boil developed and it burst. My feet contracted, my muscle contracted, so I couldn’t walk. I was taken to the hospital to be operated upon. After the operation I couldn’t walk so I was using crutches to walk. I had to remain there for years with crutches. My feet were contracted. So I was lucky one NGO called Center of Hope came on the scene and I was fortunate they took me to the hospital to perform a surgery on it. That is why I was able to straighten it out.

After the surgery they had to put metal in my leg. They had to remove my kneecap because it was worn out and place the metal in it. So as I sit here I can’t even bend my leg. When this metal was put in my leg I was supposed to be changing it every 3 years but 10 years now I have not gotten the money to go to the hospital and change the metal. So the metal is worn out in my leg and it’s still there because of financial constraints. The white man who helped me to do it is gone, so the old metal is still resting in my leg.

I’ve been through a lot of discriminations among my peers and I have never been happy in my life since my predicament started. All my siblings left the home. I was left in the house of my mom and my daddy and later my daddy died. My daddy was my source of happiness. So when my daddy died it was like hope was lost and I didn’t know what to do so I became the saddest girl in the village. My mom was a very old woman who couldn’t work to support me. My daddy was my source of livelihood, but he died. It was a very big blow to me.

I had to leave the village due to sadness because I was left alone in the village and my mom had to come to Accra. So I joined my mom. When I came, my mom was my source of hope now in Accra, but after 3 years my mom also died. So I became an orphan. So being an orphan, living in the city all alone with a disability, was a very big blow. That was my difficult time.

Some of the challenges that I have been through were during my pregnancy; the man who impregnated me never married me. After impregnating me, he told me I am a disabled person so he doesn’t want me anymore. But through it all, I sold oranges and bananas to cater for myself. Through my pregnancy I was taking care of myself, no support. The man who impregnated me ran away from me, so through my own effort I was able to look after myself and through it all I gave birth. So I think that I have the ability in me to do exports, provided I can get a little push. I can move forward and better my life.

Currently I’m being supported little by little by my brother. Even when I was admitted to the hospital during labor, it was my brother who was giving me a helping hand. My waist was affected by the boil so I couldn’t give birth naturally. So I went through Cesarean so the child was removed. I had to remain in the hospital for one week before my brother came in and discharged me. As for the man who impregnated me, he absconded until now. I am taking care of his child.

Did you experience difficulties in education as a result of your disability?

My lack of education is a result of my disability.

What are the biggest barriers for persons with disabilities in Ghana?

The biggest barrier is financial constraints. And for me, my mom and my dad were my source of happiness and support, and they died. Those supporting me have died, so what do I do? I need something to start with. For persons with disabilities I think the biggest barrier is financial constraint, and also when we are rejected in the family, nobody is in to support you so the government is supposed to come in and help. But the government is not helping. So if the government does not help you, you are doomed.

What can improve the lives of persons with disabilities?

What should be done for it to be improved is that we need to secure a job. Persons with disabilities, especially the women, should be financially empowered. Me, for instance, when I dropped out from school I wanted to learn a trade – a sewing apprenticeship – there was nobody to support me to go through the sewing apprenticeship. So it was a barrier for me to even learn a trade. Secondly, I wanted to go to school and become a caterer so that I could prepare pastries and sell. But since I could not get the support to go through that training, I am here and I’m stuck in life. So I think that if persons with disabilities are educated, our lives could be improved. If we are financially empowered and start something like a trade, our lives could be improved.

What is your best ability?

My ability is education but since I could not go through the education now I think my ability is to learn a trade. And then I think I can do exports in that area. But I think if I could get sponsorship to go to school, education would be my ability. If I had the ability I would go to a catering school.

Is the catering your ideal job? If you could do any job, would it be that?

I would go to the catering school and do decoration and catering. Even if somebody is holding a  ceremony or a wedding, even though I have not been through the school, that training, I have it in me. I used to go and support them and do the decoration. I think that is my ability; if I am able to get certain training based on that, I would do exports.

What advice would you give to others who have disabilities?

I would advise the person to put their trust in God because I think that the downfall of a man is not the end of his life. If you fall, you rise again. Therefore I would advise the person to have trust in God, pray, and also try something with his hands.

What does disability mean to you?

I would describe disability as somebody who cannot do anything on their own without help. But with me, it’s not a disability. Since I can do something, it’s not a disability. So it’s ability out of disability. Disability is a form of deformity but you are not helpless. You can do anything out of disability.

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