I was confident that my husband will be my all– Deborah

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My Bullying Teacher almost forced me out of School– Mrs Deborah Joseph, 41 years, staff of kogi state polytechnic ,lost her limb to polio at 2
* I was confident that my husband will be my all.
Writes ATABOR JULIUS LOKOJA
Disabilities in any form is dreaded. It could come in the form of pigmentation, that is Albino with its social economic, psychological and physical inhibitions. Disability could occured with lose of vision or eyesight , either partial or permanent. It could be lose of limb as a result of ailment or accident.  Children with autism,  stuttering or stammering. It could happened from birth , while some experience it  at the early or later part of their lives. It could be through natural form or accidental. However,  Whatever form it occurred in the life of a person  is not an experienced to be  cherished, as society treat them with disdain.
While some accept their predicament as act of God, and work so hard to convert their disabilities into ability by engaging in enterprises or vocations that would change their narrative, others simple resign to fate.
Deborah Alih Atabo now , Mrs Deborah Joseph, is in the class of her own with her challenges not given a damn.
Although, Deborah was born in 1981 to the family of Mr and Mrs Alih Atabo ,in Abejukolo, omala LGA, like every normal child , her problem started when she was  just  two years old into her existence on earth ,
The unthinkable happened that would permanently changed her personality.
While narrating sequence of circumstances surrounding the lose of her limbs, Deborah has this to say .” When my problem started. I had a running temperature. I was rushed to hospital and i was given antibiotics injection.
The following day, my leg seize to work. I couldn’t stand on my feet again. I started to crawl.
I was taken to Makurdi General Hospital, the doctors tried their best to no avail.
They referred me to orthopaedic Hospital, Kano, where i was given artificial shoe to strengthen my bones , still i couldn’t walk.  I then  resorted to crawling , since i could not walk again.
Sometimes, my siblings will back me  , while I will crawl, if there are no persons around to assist me.
With my condition deteriorating, my mother took me to a prayer House in Ogule, Agatu LGA, in Benue state. As the prayer was going on, i requested for a walking stick. I told my mother that i will not crawl again, that an unseen hands have touched my feet.
With the walking stick, movement became easier for me. After a while, the prayer woman, known as “Ochenigwa, meaning whosoever drink the water would be healed- organised a crusade at Abejukolo, my home town. At the crusade, the same unseen hands touched my feet and immediately, i dropped the walking stick. It was a great testimony that shook the entire congregation. From then, i will use my hand to support the leg to walk.
Although, with her challenge, the little Deborah, could not imagine seeing her sibblings going to School and she will stay at home, against odds to her destiny in her hands.
In her words ” I enrolled in the primary school which was not to far from our house. My siblings would carry me on their backs to and from schools. Sometimes, the older school mates would complement my siblings by bringing me home.
And when no one is available, i will crawl to the house.
After my primary School,  i gained admission to Ife Community Secondary School Abejukolo, Headquarters of Omala LGA kogi state.
The school is a bit far from my House, so i had to live with one of my father’s sisters living close to the school. I would stay with her  from Monday to Friday and  then return home on weekends.
Initially, my father gave his bicycle to one of his friends to take me to school and bring me back after closing untill he struck the deal with his sister to allow me stay with her from Monday to Friday to reduce the burden on him.
My school mates were very sympathetic, caring and would go out of their ways  to make me comfortable.
However, an incidence that almost truncated my education happened.
Although, i have accomodating mates,i always felt uncomfortable, when my mates would be sweeping their portion, i could only sit and watch them.
It was during the harmattan period, my mates were sweeping the school compound and as usual, i will sit and watch. A teacher came and asked those  sweeping, that who is this “thing that is not sweeping. He collected the broom from one of the students and began to whip me mercilessly. I reported him to the VP academic, who promised to talk to him. Two of my uncles were teaching in the same. They talked to him, but , he seemed to have some sinister motives.
One particular  day,  he invited five us to his office.  He asked us to kneel down. He said , we failed to fetch  water for him. The tradition then is students are assigned to teachers for household chores. Others gave excuses and he left them off the hook. He went outside and cut a very big stick and begin to whip, even threatening to kill me. He flogged me with scars all over my body.
He derogatorily told me that , if my condition does not allow me to fetch water for him, i should honourably transfer to Disabled School at Iyale , where all students are physically challenged.
I was devastated by his word and i cried until there was no more water in my eyes. I cursed him that , before he died, he should experience my state, and i dont know how, he became paralyzed, living on wheel chair before he died.
This made me to stop going to school. When my father inquired, i narrated my encounter with the teacher.  He later apologized to my parents .
My first Employment.
Immediately after my Waec,, although, my results was not too good, and instead of staying idle at home, i enrolled at a typing institute in the village. One day, a doctor with the General Hospital, Dr.Kenny Abuh employed me as his personal typist . He was very supportive. I started to  save the income, to enable my further my studies.
He assisted me financially to enroll at DKK Computer Institute Lokoja. With the typing experience, it was easy for me to learn computer. Initially where to stay was a problem. But my uncle ‘s wife simply known as Mama Ataboh accepted even when other relatives rejected me because of my physical condition. Just about six moths at the institute, somebody came looking for computer operator. I was recommended and employed.
However , something terrible  happened. A neighbor accused me of going to sleep with a man in the neighborhood. My host was infuriated and sent me back to the village, ending my sojourn in the city.
My senior brother who works  in Abuja,  came home and picked me to Abuja. He will pawn here and there for me to get job to no avail.
While searching for Jobs, My uncle , whose wife had  earlier sent me to village, came and took me back to Lokoja.
By Divine Providence, i got the job im doing till now. My uncle , had earlier negotiated with the Rector, kogi  state Polytechnic, Professor J. Omada for a job for his junior brother.
When he took the junior brother to the rector, he rejected him . The Rector told him to bring any of his relation. He said, the only person he has is a cripple who will not be able to work. The Rector asked him to bring me. He told the Rector that he has no money for transport, as an excuse . He gave him the transport fare. When i was brought , he took special interest in me . He conducted an interview for me and i passed and subsequently employed.
I was posted to the Dean , part time studies.  When i went, the Dean was not in the office. I have to wait for him till around 4pm. There was a man in the office  at the time i came. He asked me to sit down. So he couldn’t see my deformed leg. So , on the following day, i came to resume. The man couldn’t recognise me because, this time i was standing before he came in. He went in and told the Dean, that  one Cripple has been posted to you and she is  right now  in the office. He didn’t know i was the one he met yesterday. I told him i was the girl he met in this office yesterday, he was shocked.
Speaking furrher, she noted after some months in the office, she applied for casual leave and the Dean granted it.
 “When i resumed , he was having discussion with a friend, and when he was through, he scolded me that why didnt i come in to greet him. He said, is it how the Disabled behaved. I became demoralised. A part from this isolated case, all the staff in my department have been supportive.
Her Journey to matrimony
I have a mentality of these two moral lessons from my maternal grandmother and one of my uncles.
They had warned me never to marry whom i have more feelings for ,than he does to me. She said , if the husband has more love for the wife than the wife for him, he will stay with her in every situation.
My uncle, upteenth times warned against unwanted pregnancy.
However, an elderly auntie, mocked  me that , i should not look in the way of young men for marriage, i should beam my searchlight on the widowers , divorcee or those with multiple wives. I rejected his proposition. I prayed earnestly for God to take control.
And so , it was.  There is this young man that did his IT in my office. He fell in Love with me. He promised to take me to his parents. We travelled with his Cousin. We were to spend three days at home.  We have enough preparations in our house to make the introduction palatable.
Unfortunately, when he came with the Cousin, there were not comfortable. He even told me that his cousin cannot afford to marry a Disable.
I was confident that my God’s given spouse will come . And he actually came.
In 2008, i had an accident on the same leg. It took me to orthopaedic Hospital, where i was given  a clutch. I was in ND 1 then. The accident made me to differed a semester. So, when i resumed, i was going to write exam. A young man was equally writing his.  We met and he greeted me in Yoruba Language. I told him i dont understand the language. He collected my handbag while the discussion  continued . We exchange numbers.
He proposed to me for marriage. Since the first day we met, he has never seen my disability. What he sees in me is ability in Disabilities.
Initially , my fiance’s  families were averse  to the relationship. Although, i was a friend with the mother on Facebook, she has not really seen me physically.
I and my spouse attended a programme at Christ Embassy Lagos. We used the opportunity to visit the mother, who resides in Lagos . After spending some days with her, she called me and said , there is no way, her son would marry me, because , he was already married.  I know , those excuses were because of my disability.
Shedding light on how the met, her fiance , now husband, Mr. Joseph has this to buttress her claims. Hear him,  ” I had actually been looking for a woman, who will be my  mother, wife and sister all put together. After  the first date , i know within me that she is a perfect match for me. I told her , that my mother was only trying to protect me and her behaviour was not a reflection of my desire.
When i met her , i was precise on what i wanted – Marriage and nothing less.
Meanwhile, my mother and my wife are best of friends.
Her take on the temperament of physical Challenged
It is probably because of stigmatisation by the society. They only wanted to express who there really are. It is to rationalize their experience with society, who often takes advantage of them. Their action is to rationalise the societal perception of them.
Advice
I challenge those with physical Challenges to know that they could do what others could do even do it better. I urge them to know that, the physical could be deformed, but who lives in them is not Disabled.
I said, when the body is tuned to metaphysical, there is nothing that is impossible, the physical body that is affected in not the mind. With the mind being fed with relevant information, nothing is impossible.
Her take on the temperament of physical Challenged
It is probably because of stigmatisation by the society. They only wanted to express who there really are. It is to rationalize their experience with society, who often takes advantage of them. Their action is to rationalise the societal perception of them.



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