60. Joseph

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They told her that it was a reincarnation. I was one of the great grandfathers who was incarnated. One of my uncles said if it was one of the great grandfathers who was reincarnated who had not been disabled, why should I be disabled?


This thing happened from birth. When I was born I couldn’t crawl properly and I couldn’t toddle, so by that time my mother realized, “Why is my child up to this time not able to walk?”. It was there that they saw that something appeared on my eyes. My eyes became very red so I was taken to the hospital and medicine was dropped on my eyes. And it rather aggravated the situation. I couldn’t see well. So by the time my mother tried to cure me I became like this; I couldn’t walk.

During the time my mother detected that I couldn’t walk, they went and consulted a traditionalist and they told her that it was a reincarnation. I was one of the great grandfathers who was incarnated. One of my uncles said if it was one of the great grandfathers who was reincarnated who had not been disabled, why should I be disabled? So this brought something of a misunderstanding between them. But in the long run nothing came out of it.

My disability affects my relationships, because most of my family members who were in position to help me attend school, they said because of my disability they would not help. And I had no choice than to stay like this, else I would have gone to school.

The most difficult time for me is when my wheelchair gets broken. Because when the wheelchair gets broken, even to go to the gents I do not have the means to go because I cannot walk. Even to go to church, I cannot go.
What are the biggest barriers for persons with disabilities in Ghana?
To me, especially the inaccessibility to schools. Those are the great barriers that we have for the disabled. Also, those social places, public places. Most of them are not accessible to the disabled. So there are certain experiences or certain capabilities we can offer at certain places, but because of the inaccessibility of the area we cannot do it.

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

What I can say is that, as the Disability Needs Foundation has started now, by advocating the cause of the disabled, I would suggest that you continue like that. We also pray that God will help you. And when your voices are heard and the Ghanaian community, in collaboration with the international communities, they hear your voice and act on it positively, then we will also be free.

What is your happiest experience?

My happiest day in my life is when I was very very hungry one day. I didn’t have anything to eat. I was not having any money. But all of a sudden, I didn’t ask anybody – somebody just came and greeted me and asked me why I was so cool like that, why I was staying lonely like that. I said oh, nothing was happening. Then the person tipped his hand in his pocket and gave me ten cedis.

If you meet another person with a disability, what would you tell them?

I would only advise the person. If the person is not grown up, I would advise the person to take heart and do any job that is available within his or her capabilities to do it. And if the person is a grown up, I would still advise him or her to take heart and cope well with the situation.

What is your best ability?

Farming.

If you could have any job or career, what would it be?

I have not attended school so I cannot describe any word apart from farming.


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