56. Olivia

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As for persons with disabilities, we are many. I’ve been seeing them all around. Therefore I would advise them to take me for an example and to use me as a yardstick to encourage themselves. Because if I am living and I am happy, they can also live and be happy.


I was eighteen years when my mommy died. I and my three siblings had to migrate from where we were with my mommy to live with my mommy’s rival – my stepmother – and my daddy. So we were living with this woman and one day she woke me up early in the morning to come and sweep, to start with the household chores. Somebody had cast a spell right at the doorstep threshold of our house, of our room. I didn’t know anything about it; I was the first person to get up and get out from the room. So I stepped on this spell and immediately both legs pulled up, both legs started pulling up and I fell.

When it happened, first I was taken to a fetish priest, a herbalist, whereby they performed several rituals on me. Blood was smeared on my body, I was given some concoction to drink – a whole lot of rituals, but it was no avail. So they decided to send me to an orthopedic hospital. That is where one white lady helped pull my legs out. That is where my legs were able to be pulled out to this level. When it began I had to use crutches for mobility and sometimes when it rained it was difficult for me to go out. There was a time I fell over and on my face, my first two teeth were removed.

I suffered discrimination on the part of my friends and family. I even sent my siblings to get me something, give me a helping hand, but nobody is ready to give it. People were scared of me due to the nature of my condition. They thought I was some kind of spirit, because somebody with legs pulled inside of me, it was very strange so they didn’t understand. So in fact it is something that really affected my early stage.

What is making it difficult for persons with disabilities to progress in life?

The government is not helping persons with disabilities at all. What would improve the lives of persons with disabilities is the government must come in and support us financially, empower us financially. And also the family should come in to help us, but the family has rejected us and the government too is not helping.

What can the international community do to help persons with disabilities?

I think the international community should come and give a helping hand to persons with disabilities. Any time any financial support is coming to the country, they should find the individual disabled victim so that they can hand the money over to them physically. But if they give it to the government, we won’t receive it. So the international community should meet us one on one so they will know our story, our plight, and be able to support us financially, and establish those who have learned a skill.

What do you say when you meet other persons with disabilities?

As for persons with disabilities, we are many. I’ve been seeing them all around. Therefore I would advise them to take me for an example and to use me as a yardstick to encourage themselves. Because if I am living and I am happy, they can also live and be happy.

What is your best ability?

My best ability is sewing, dress-making.

What is your happiest memory?

My happiest moment was the day I gave birth to my child. Because society and my family thought I can never give birth due to the nature of my condition. But lo and behold, I have given birth.


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