In my life, how I was feeling happy is when I see people playing ball. I like it very well. And when I see the soldiers march – I like it a lot. When there is entertainment, the way people dance and be jumping – I like it. But because of my situation I don’t do it, so when I see them do it I feel happy in me. That if I were to be like them I’d also be doing this. So when you are doing something or when I see you on your feet and you are doing something, I push you to do it because I feel happy that you should be doing that.
I was about 6 years when we were living in the village. My father came late hour to the village, around 5 to 6 in the evening time. He was carrying me on the head because I couldn’t walk fast. We had rainfall on the way, so the rain beat us to the village. At that time I was not disabled. I was walking normal. When we got to the village I was asleep when my father kept me in the room. My mother was frying gari at the kitchen. So I woke up in the room, then I started crying, “I can’t stand up and come out”. So then my mother told my father that my father should go for me. My father said why should he go for me, why, I can walk, I can do everything, they should leave me there, if I can’t come out I should be in the room. “No, no, I’m facing a problem inside.” So I was there still, crying. My mother stopped roasting the gari and ran inside. When she picked me up, I was not able to stand; I fell down. She picked me up again; I fell a second time. Then she shouted for help. Then my father was also there. “What is happening there?” My father ran towards me. When he came inside, he picked me up. I was not able to stand. “What is happening?” That very night they picked me from the village to the town.
My grandmother was a fetish priest. So around eleven in the night we had a fire burning in our room where I was sleeping. So you see the fetish priests like this, they have the spirits come into them to show that there is something happening here. So it came into my grandmother and she ran from where she was sleeping to our house. She ran from there to the house before people knew that our house was burning. Then she said we had something on the way, when we were going my father was carrying me, we met some cows on the way. So the cows were not giving us way to pass. My father removed his cutlass to cut one of the cows. There a man came out from the bush, said that he shouldn’t do that. My father should hold on and he would sock the cow so we could get our way to go. There the sickness came. So from that day I was not able to walk, I was not able to do everything minus to be in the house.
Then some interviewers also came like this. They were giving us some food. They gave me calipers to wear. I used them from class three up to class six and I stopped using them before I went to junior high six. So there I started walking alone without calipers. Some people started calling me “pozo, pozo” because of the sickness. So there I was even fighting to do something but because of the sickness I couldn’t do anything. So I asked my mother, “Where is the sickness coming from? How did I get it, because I did not get it from when I was born.” Then my mother told me it’s from a woman in our community who saw me and told her that she’s not fit to get me, to get a type like me. That’s why she did that to me, for what I’m coming with would be a benefit to the family – that’s why she did that to me. So I told her that she should show me the person for, frankly speaking, if my mother were to show me the person I don’t know where I might have been by now. Because I won’t spare the person. So my mother refused to show me the person until now. And I’m still forcing her to show me the person or the family of that person who did this to me.
When I finished schooling at senior high school, I was just in the house doing nothing. So at the private school there I was teaching, but the payment wasn’t good. So I decided to stop the teaching. So a friend of mine called me on the mobile phone – he’s having a store here, so I should come and be in the store selling. I came to him. I stayed with him for one year. The second year he told me he doesn’t need me again. So I left him. I stayed here for two months not getting any job because of my situation. So I was just roaming here. Then at a private school here too, I went there teaching but the payment wasn’t good. So I had to trace back to Kaneshie; they had a rubber company there. I went there, I was doing the work, and I lost my uncle at the village. So I went back to the village. When I came back, I lost the work too. So I was here moving with friends, asking them any common work they would get to help me get my daily bread just to help me because I don’t have anything doing. I don’t have money to go and do any work that I would benefit from.
One of my friends carried me to a man who has private toilets here. So he carried me there and I pleaded on the man that this is my situation; I can’t do any hard working, so the man should consider me and take me to the work. He also accepted me and took me to the work. I stayed there, I went there to work at eight o’clock in the evening and close in the morning at eight o’clock. So I work in the night. So I got some work and I came here. So I came here through a friend who brought me here.
But as of now I lost my father. So when I was younger my father was forcing me to go to school and my senior brother whom I followed. He forced me. If I needed something my brother quickly ran because he knew I can’t work. So even yet still, he calls me. He called me and told me that I should look for computer work so that whatever may be the cost, he would come and help me, pay for me, then he’d carry me there. So I went to Circle last week. I had it there, so I told him I’d be coming back. I called him yesterday. I haven’t heard the amount they would take from me so that I would be involved in that work. So when I told them I’d be coming on Monday, when I go there then I’ll know the amount they will take from me before I start the computer schooling. I’m happy that my brother would also help me to be somebody, to pay the debts he has spent on me, and my mother to get something from me before God calls her. As for my father, he has passed away. I’m left with only my uncle. I only have one uncle now in the house, so this is how my problem goes.
My most difficult problem being is the way I’m seeing people walking; when something comes they can run fast. When I grew up to a level at junior high school, I said if I were to be fit like the way my brothers and friends are, I would be a footballer or a soldier man. I’m having a lot of friends who are soldiers, who are police, who are footballers. I also want to be like them. But because of my situation I can’t do anything. Even to be a security, maybe prove that I can be a police member, but because of my situation I can’t do it. So I’m fighting for my children that they will be footballers because I like football and I’d like to be a soldier man too. So it pains me that I’m not in a good mood like the way they are for me to also be like that.
But I have no brother who has schooled up to my level, so when something comes up I can school him. They are all still young.
What hinders persons with disabilities in Ghana from progressing, and what can we do to help them progress?
The only thing which does stop persons, you see, is our parents. They don’t put attention on us, that we are sick, because they’ve taken you as what can you do to help the family. So if they will help you to go to school or do work, to do something, what will you get? Because some of us can’t stand and teach right. You can’t do any work that will get something to the family. So they don’t put attention on us.
Our parents should also know we are human beings. When we ask of something they should put hand because we can also do something. And other communities, other members, or the government, should see that we are also human beings. We can also do something, not that when you are a sick man you are not a human being. Or when you can’t do any hard working, it’s not all work that you can’t do. We have a lot of work. You can be at one place selling; it’s also part of work. So the government and other citizens should also know that we are also human beings. They should see to us that we can also do something to help the country.
How do you define disability?
My definition of this thing is those who can’t do any hard working to help a community, or when something happens in a place like here, they will run and leave you in a way that you can’t run. That’s how I define it.
You see, if you are a disabled, it doesn’t mean you can’t do anything. You can do something, so it is not a sickness. Even those who can’t see, they do a lot. So there are some scrubbing on the ground – they have something doing. So like things are going, if I were to be in this thing I would want to help a lot of people to also join me so that we shouldn’t mind that this one is this, this one is this – no. For us to be one, united, as a nation or a as a community.
When do you feel happiest?
In my life, how I was feeling happy is when I see people playing ball. I like it very well. And when I see the soldiers march – I like it a lot. When there is entertainment, the way people dance and be jumping – I like it. But because of my situation I don’t do it, so when I see them do it I feel happy in me. That if I were to be like them I’d also be doing this. So when you are doing something or when I see you on your feet and you are doing something, I push you to do it because I feel happy that you should be doing that. So a lot of friends that are here I advise them that when you are doing something like this, pay attention for it. Because, me, I know I can’t do it so I will bring myself to help you to do that. So when you are doing it I also feel happy in me and I would help them to do a lot.
What is your best ability?
I have listed some songs down that I want to compose through a friend here. It is in the room now as I’m saying it. And secondly I told my brother, so far as I have no money to do that, I want you to help me to do the computer work so that I can use it to help others who are also like me and those who are not like me too.