A German friend of mine told me some years ago of his intention to start learning one wheelchair sport so that he will not be deprived of sports in case he sees himself in a wheelchair tomorrow.
When I told a Nigerian friend about this, his reaction was totally different. According to him, the young man in question was just wishing himself evil for no reason.
“Wheelchair or any form of disability is not my portion” he said repeatedly. Do you now see why we (in Nigeria) treat physically challenged persons without respect? Many till date believe that psychological disorder is a spiritual problem? Some even see disability as a curse.
This mentality is the resson we hardly make provisions for the physically challenged when we build roads, hospitals, churches, schools and so on. This mentality is the reason our physically challenged or rather our differently abled persons have become objects of caricature in some of our churches.
This mentality is the reason most of our physically challenged persons end up as market or online beggars? Disability is not a curse. It is part of life. Everyone of us is gradually losing one ability or the other.
Some are gradually losing their sight, sense of hearing or speech. Some others are gradually getting crippled, losing memory; some have become impotent or barren and so on. Whether “disabled” or in the process, we are called to contribute our quota in making the world a better place.
Fr Angelo Chidi Unegbu