Disability: How can you ever take away the pain!

Posted March 25, 2018 from Cameroon
Edmond [sitting on his tricycle) on the day of his Masters defence. Flanked behind him are members of jury!
Edmond [left] and my dad [right] on a family thanksgiving day in Church
Edmond [left] and my dad [right] on a family thanksgiving day in Church (1/2)

Forty-something years on, the pain is still strong!

Actually, the pain grows stronger as the years roll on. If I have to tell you a story of a family with a brother living with disabilities, I would tell you a tale of an emotional curve that bends in all directions. This is my family story.

At forty-something, my elder brother who is paralyzed from waist down, to a disease called Poliomyelitis is active in his job as a laboratory technician, married, but all of these did not come easy at all. We always express our excitement and pride when we talk about his educational and career achievements. But we never stop cry when we look back at how he fought, like a soldier, in a battle front that was out rightly discriminatory, disability unfriendly, and stigma driven.

Explaining to you how Edmond, my brother, managed to bag a degree in Microbiology in the University of Buea and a Masters degree in Clinical Counseling from the Cameroon Christian University, is a difficult tale to tell. He himself cannot fully explain. Stuck in a tricycle and navigating the staircases to amphitheatres, lecture halls and administrative offices of the universities was a pain in the ass. He depended on passing students and friends who could lend him a lifting hand. Where he couldn’t get students with good hearts and intentions, he missed his classes. He missed one too many classes and tests which made life in the university not only hard but also discouraging to a man of his status. Sad to say university infrastructures in Cameroon are good examples of disability unfriendly infrastructure. Edmond, who always took prizes for excellent results in his secondary and high school days, ended up spending more than the required number of years for his first degree program.

Going back to explain how difficult gaining admission into mission boarding schools in Cameroon were because of his disability, is a story for another day. The truth is, they rejected him on grounds that they could not accommodate him because of his level of disability. Well, thank God he managed to beat the odds at government schools. And he courageously beat the bigger odds at university campuses.

In all of his achievements, have we ever been completely happy? I will be lying if I say YES. My brother is growing fatter and heavier as he grows old. We worry on a lot of issues. We worry about his strength of moving from his tricycle and wheel chair into public and private vehicles. As my other brothers grow old, we worry about their strength because they are the ones who back him to climb stair cases and navigate difficult buildings. They are the surest and most available vessels of transportation for him in times of difficulty – they have grown to accommodate his weight and accept his fate. We worry about his wife, who seem not be worried. She, like her husband has beaten all societal gossips of her marrying “a man who cannot walk.” She is such a strong soul. We worry about our mother, yes our mother, who has never stopped being worried about her son’s condition.

Yes, we worry a lot about our mum; Mum would cry whenever he is in difficulty, mum would cry whenever she stands by watching my brothers back him to climb stair cases. She would, at some point, close her eyes and turn away and then murmur silent but fast lines of prayers for safe climbing. And after every safe climbing, she would feel relieved and say a silent “thank you Jesus, in you alone I trust.” Meanwhile, she would never wait for occasions to get finished for her to pray for another save descending of the stairs.

Living with disability in Cameroon, for people with such magnitude of disabilities is a battle for those who have courage and family support to dare. If you can’t dare, you can’t win. Being a parent[s] of persons with disabilities in Cameroon is even harder – harder because the battle is a life long one. The pains come when the disability comes, and it never leaves you because of the discrimination, stigmatization, and disability unfriendly environment. So for our mum and us, in the midst of all Edmond has achieved so far, we are seeking for ways to take the pain away. That is why forty-something years on, the pain is still on!!!

This story was submitted in response to Share On Any Topic.

Comments 8

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Jill Langhus
Mar 26, 2018
Mar 26, 2018

Hi Nakinti. Thanks for sharing your story of sheer determination and love. I'm so impressed how determined Edmond was to get his two degrees and also with all the love that your family has to help him along the way. I'm sorry, though, that all of you are always worried about him. I found it interesting that only one of your family has polio, but I don't know much about the disease.

Mar 26, 2018
Mar 26, 2018

I am not his mother, but I am weeping because I can only imagine his pain. I am so sorry my sister. I'm sorry. Our leaders have failed us. They have the capacity to do their beat in order to ease the pain bit Alas, they are as useless as the smallest toe nail. I pray for all the family members today.
May Almighty ease your pain Amen.

Mar 27, 2018
Mar 27, 2018

I remember Mr Edmond in our UB days. He was president I think of the UB disability association fighting tirelessly for the rights of people with disabilities on campus. I understand perfectly the challenges faced, because it is not an easy thing to study in a disability unfriendly environment.

But one thing, I admired his determination and drive against the odds and was inspired. Little did I know someday his sister would become my sister... small world for real. My congratulations to him and for you and family for the unwavering love and support, while giving him a breathe of fresh air to be his own person.

Valéria Barbosa
Apr 03, 2018
Apr 03, 2018

A family is the basis for everything, for joys, welcome to suffering and especially to see the victory in the daily conquests. Your brother is a warrior, I am very touched by such strength and courage. God bless your family. Congratulations on Edmond's achievements. I want you to find a way to ease the pain.

Apr 11, 2018
Apr 11, 2018

My dear sis, Nakinti,

I am happy because you and your entire family is strong. You are supportive and encouraging because that's what is of ultimate importance. As for our government, it's a disgrace to all of us with no facility.
My love to bro Edmund

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Jun 01, 2018
Jun 01, 2018

Hello, Nakinti,

Your brother Edmond is so blessed that he has a sister like you, a wife who is unfazed by society's discrimination, and a mother who prays for his safety. He is blessed to be surrounded with strong women.

And oh how inspiring he is for finishing two degrees in spite of his missed classes. What a shame for those who have abled feet and yet chooses to be lazy in life.

There is triumph in your story, but you also share the pain of Edmond growing older and becoming heavier. This is another hurdle to overcome.

Perhaps it would benefit him in a long run if he can become an online consultant of his expertise so he does not need to travel and be transported from one place to another. He could set up a website, and create an online course. He can also have an online counselling. The digital possibilities are endless!

But I do believe that God's grace is very much at work in your family's life, including Edmond's. And it is my prayer that as your brother increases in age, more doors of opportunities and access to disabled-friendly facilities will be made available.

Thank you for your story. Looking forward to more it.

Bettina Amendi
Mar 16
Mar 16

This is a testimony of a battle,well fought, there is hope.Thanks for sharing.

Bettina Amendi
Mar 16
Mar 16

Its true we need a world without violence. Thanks for sharing.

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