When was the last time you wept out your heart because the tears just flowed even when you tried to hold yourself together? This is what happened to me at 1.23pm on the 17th of March 2016. I wept not because Five of the children born out of Nine children in this family I visited were permanently and Totally visually impaired, though that was depressing enough but the tears flowed when one of the children a two year old child, permanently visually impaired could have nothing else for lunch except gari and salty water.
Alfred the Subject of my visit to his village got my number from a teacher from one of the schools I visited recently to donate school materials. Alfred said he was initially afraid to call me because he said he did not know how I will respond to a stranger calling my number for security reasons. I think his thoughts came from the way he has been treated so far by people he thought could come to his aid.
Alfred is 25 years old and the 2nd of Nine children, five of whom are permanently totally visually impaired, that means they cannot see at all. Alfred recently completed high school and managed to shine through with aggregate 17 considering all the difficulties he goes through as a visually impaired struggling young man. He wants to go to the University of Winneba to read Government to graduate to become a teacher and later study Law, he told me.
His Woes begun when he needed 150cedis to buy his admission forms. He spoke to the MP and DCE of his area who did not go to his aid. The MP told him that he could not give him the money because he the MP had lost his candidature to continue as MP. He later met the Regional Minister and put before her his problem. The Regional Minister gave him a telephone number that never connects. Time was running out for applications so he called on me in his desperate last minute. I got him the forms next day and Alfred has now applied waiting to be selected.
I decided to make a follow up visit to go upclose and personal with him. This is where I came to terms with their life and living. His father came from the farm some minutes after my arrival. His father asked Alfred if he gave me some water; Alfred paused with heavy emotions and asked his father to get some water from the next village some 2km away. I asked if they had run out of drinking water but he said he believes I cannot drink the water they drink. He asked his father to show me their drinking water which he brought in their drinking cup (a used tomato tin).
Later Alfred’s mother who was returning from Hospital with spinal issues came to fix lunch for their youngest 2-year-old. Lunch was made of gari and salty water which the little 2year old visually impaired scooped with his bare fingers. The way he ate the food got me emotional and I broke down out of control for a few minutes and could not put myself together before leaving. I got him some few items and left to plan what to do for them as a family. This family need us all. . The least I can do is get Alfred University support and give them periodic survival support.
I told Alfred there is hope and said Goodbye to them.