COPING WITH DISABILITY EVEN IN ENVIRONMENT FILLED WITH HOSTILITY
I was born on the 4th of June, an only child of my mother, with no siblings, mine was a happy home until eleven months after my birth when I was paralyzed by polio. My parents were determined not to let this setback put paid to my progress in life. At age three, I started school. Academically things were okay, but the schools around were not built with the comfort of the disabled in mind. As I grow older, there were many sad moments experienced while with my peers both at school and in my neighborhood because of my inability to take part in their social activities that involved moving and running about. But still I kept my head up.
In 1997, I got admission into the Bayero University, Kano, Nigeria to read economics. There, I faced other forms of challenges. Though unlike my elementary school days where my parents took me to and from school with a vehicle, I resided in the school hostel. The snag was that the distance from the hostel to the lecture halls was considerably far, especially for someone with my condition who has to make the journey on crutches. Tired and exhausted, I usually settled for the less fancied sits, because the better ones would have been take by the time I get there, till this day, this has been the situation of things in my life. To make matters worse, some of these lecture halls were situated on first or second floors. Though the life I lead was strenuous, I kept keeping on hoping for a better tomorrow which I was determined to achieve through quality education.
My interest in sport grew while in school, but avenues to showcase my talent was at zero level. Provisions in sport for disable students amongst other things was non-existent, hence a career in wheelchair race didn’t take – off, but I kept the dream alive in me with the hope that my case would not be a black cotton that is, a life of unrewarded struggle. I had to make do with being the president of the supporters club of the schools’ football team, a position I had for two years.
The year 2002 started on a promising note, but little did I know death was lurking around the corner, within a space or period at four months, I lost both parents to the cold hands of death, I call this period the dark age of my life, because having been there for me all my life, my parents’ demise was such a blow that I felt I was slipping into darkness. I give God the credit for making me stay awake and instilling the belief in me that life goes on.
After my graduation and armed with a B.Sc honors in Economics, I though getting a job would e a piece at cake, little did I know I was in for a rude awakening as most firms didn’t want to employ a disable person. It’s such a shame because in this present age, power nor resides in the brain, a fact a lot of people are ignorant of.
Life has been a traffic jam, but in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moments, I still have a dream and I’ll keep on pursing it because the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
The realization of those beautiful dreams can eventually come to reality now, my dreams may not be in vain as I have a renewed hope now, I was introduced to Olutosin Oladosu-Adebowale by a septuagenarian who is a true mother, she thought I could waste away if nothing is done about my habitual sitting in my wheelchair that has become dilapidated after several years of usage, and my best spot is the newspaper stand, where I have officially joined the free readers association of Nigeria, looking for a job that may never come through paper adverts. There were instances when I will be invited for interviews but when they see me in crutches, they will just inform me that the interview has been postponed, most times that is the end of such, I have met with several disappointment and failures but I believe that one day God will send a perfect up, I will never commit suicide!
Olutosin stepped into my case, she took me through a rigorous journey to Centre for Citizens living with disability where they promised as usual to try their best and I have prayed all night to receive a call or an e mail from them, if it can change my life. Olutosin is unrelenting in assisting me but she continued to tell me that there is a worldpulse, where I can meet with other women and men who can lift me from my wheel chair, who can assist so that my brain may not be wasted and I will not become an ordinary vegetable in a nation that is fed up with the number of its workforce. She said that there are several Olutosins on Worldpulse who are better off and smarter than herself, but she has become a hope in my journey; she shows that this life can still be beautiful. I decide today to join this council of world changers.
I have vowed never to be a beggar and I will never beg, I can work, I cannot continue to remain on a spot, for how long?, when I can contribute my quota, worldpulse, I am in your midst, I want to be engaged in what you are doing because thousands of lame men and women are out there who are not even opportune to be educated, talk less of reading about how you are touching the skies of women around the world. I want to be their voice too!
With humility of purpose do I join you today and wishing for acceptance and uplifting.
WORLDPULSE May you soar on high!!!!!!!!!!