By Demola Adeleke
Hi friends, it’s my pleasure to have you here. My name is Demola Adeleke, a final year student of Mass Communication at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, in Enugu State, Nigeria. I am a blind Nigerian who, in spite of his eyes closed, has chosen to share his stories with you.
Hence, simply see me as a beggar, one who begs, not for alms, but for your readership and contribution on this series. In this column ‘Chronicles of a blind Nigerian’, I shall be giving you an insight into my world, how it feels to live without eye-sight and also share the experiences of other blind persons with you. I will be your host on this column; therefore, you are welcome to my world!
This first episode will only usher you to how I lost my sight and became a blind Nigerian, subsequent episodes will give you a better knowledge of my world (the blind world).
The love between my parents was what converged them in their matrimonial bed on one of the days in the early 1990s and after some time of love making, I appeared in their lives in form of pregnancy. Just like any pregnancy will, I grew in my mum’s womb with the passage of time and in a lapse of 10 months, I was launched into this beautiful world in the male sex.
Being preceded by strictly two female siblings gave my arrival a special attention from my parents; you know, the African custom of having preference for male children, so the care from family members was much and every stage of my upbringing experienced special parental adoration.
Life was worth living, the feeling of being loved by family stimulated the butterflies in my tummy, I was a happy child with lots of dreams, I wanted to become a doctor, lawyer, engineer and driver. I wanted to become everything at once, in as much as the spirit of infancy was the one suggesting professions to me.
I had a blind spot about life and the possible challenges in it, thus, I was convinced that it was on the bed of roses I would forever lay my back. But Conversely, I got a shocking twist of events in my life at the age of 7 when I had a decline in my sightedness.
Or what could have happened when my fellow classmates, with the same size of eyeballs as me; when seated at the same location, would clearly see the contents on the chalkboard but for me, the writings were all a blur. Oops! But thought such comes only with old age infirmities, as evident in my grandfather who could barely see. So why me? A 7-year-old boy whose eyes hadn’t seen anything yet.
“Life was worth living, the feeling of being loved by family stimulated the butterflies in my tummy, I was a happy child with lots of dreams, I wanted to become a doctor, lawyer, engineer and driver. I wanted to become everything at once, in as much as the spirit of infancy was the one suggesting professions to me.”
Shout-out to my childish brains which rendered me unreasonable not to have considered my deteriorating sight a threat to my welfare, because with every roll of days, my eye condition blurred the line between bad and worse. So little by little, I found myself in a situation where I had to copy notes from friends and not directly from the board.
Sometimes, I wish I could just travel back to my childhood to make some corrections but sadly, there’s no second chance in life.
I didn’t mention my defective eye-sight to my parents at all, ask me why and I will tell you I don’t know either. Perhaps because I was still a kid who took interest in only eating, sleeping and playing. Every other thing aside the aforesaid activities, had no section in my daily thinking.
Then one day, my class teacher who might have spent some time observing me, asked why I was always looking into my friend’s books to copy my notes and not the chalkboard. With the fear of being beaten for not having an answer to his question, I tremblingly explained to him how the writings on the board appeared as a blur to me when viewed.
“Sometimes, I wish I could just travel back to my childhood to make some corrections but sadly, there’s no second chance in life.”
He advised that I should tell my parents about it and which I promised him I would, but before getting home that afternoon, I had already forgotten. So time continued to roll by while my sight continued to aggravate. In order not to bore you with history, my parents finally knew about their son’s predicament in school through the headmaster and with that, my life took a new turn, a turn of going for appointments in the eye clinic.
Appointments appointments; everytime appointment in the eye clinic, and for my mum, she was never tired of bringing me to the clinic (A mother’s love for her only son).
In my mother’s eye, I could see depression in it. I knew she was troubled, of course any mother will. But I knew her main fear, it was waking up one day to see her Demola become blind. For me, I was only feeling inconvenient for having to skip most of my Monday classes for an appointment at the clinic. And if at all I felt bad as a result of my waning sight, then it would be because a classmate insulted me with it.
Money, energy and prayers of my parents didn’t help bring back my sight. After 9 years of frequenting both hospitals and prayer grounds, I eventually lost my sight to glaucoma in 2009.
My friends and siblings were so sad, my parents were sadder and being the bearer of the problem, Iwas the saddest of all. My God! Why me? Is it that my parents’ prayers were not enough? What of the energy and stress my mother put into making sure I went for all my appointments at the clinic? My dad’s expenses on my sight is incalculable, so why didn’t you crown his effort?! God, I don’t deserve to be blind! I cried to him that year.
But today, I’ve had a totally different orientation about life. So without sight, dreams can still be accomplished?
“But today, I’ve had a totally different orientation about life. So without sight, dreams can still be accomplished?”