The gaze of a visually impaired man

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He turned his head towards the shrill sound that came through the window and with smile, he said, “The saddest moment of my life was when I lost my mom; you can imagine how I felt in my condition.”     

“Even though I never spent much time with her, I wish she was still around because she was the only one who gave me comfort and assurance in life,” he said.    

Evans Baah Tetteh had to fall on aunties to play a mother’s role, but as he puts it “they would give you what they had and leave you to take care of the rest.”
   

Growing up, he could see partially, but an attempt to correct his acute sight challenges rather took his sight—he lost his sight in an ocular surgery operation.      

Baah Tetteh was thrust into life with visual impairment even though he had a huge vision; he wanted to become a lawyer. What was left for him was to push himself up the academic ladder with great difficulty.     

Life at Akropong School for the blind was accommodating because he was in the midst of other visually impaired students. Life was quite flexible even though it was challenging.     

“My greatest challenge came when I entered the University of Cape Coast. I stayed in my room for a long time because I didn’t know anywhere and there was nobody to talk to, but after attending lectures for some time, I was able to make friends, he said.    

Learning for Baah was really terrible. It took much effort to convert the course materials into brail before he could read. But some of the materials were not converted. Evans told of how he had to fall on friends to read for him before he could learn anything.     

“Imagine writing the same examination with students who were always stuck to their books, whilst you could only learn when a friend reads the materials for you,” he informed.      

He told of how he had to pay some of these friends to read because some would not offer such services for free.           

“I had issues with finance. It was quite difficult getting to school. I had to fall on friends and other associates for help.       

The difficulty now is how to get a job. “It is sad when after going through long years of education in my condition, you still have to come back to the people who have struggled along with you for help,” he observed.        

Baah is currently a service person who teaches fully sighted children. He relies on smart pupils to write on the blackboard whilst he dictates. He again relies on a pupil or colleague teacher to read out answers to questions after class tests and home work before awarding marks.         

Thomas Charles Obeng, Chief Executive Officer, Tomobglobal Foundation, London, UK, has identified Evans as a potential role model for People Living With Disability and is currently trying to support him as far as possible, but is appealing to people to come to the aid of Evans.   

He has appealed to government to put a mechanism in place to absorb people who are living with disabilities and have been trained.      

Mr. Obeng, who is also a PLWD and an expert on disability, an international motivational Speaker, said it would serve as an encouragement to people who are currently assisting people living with disabilities, because they would know that their wards would not continue to depend on them after taking them through education.  

The lack of disability infrastructure and the difficult mountainous terrain of Akwapim Akropong did not bother him that much but getting a good job and a good life in an uncertain future.

Source: GNA

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