Persons with Disabilities of Cameroon: Michael

October 6th, 2016 by | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

During the last seven months of my Peace Corps service, I am featuring photographs and stories of several persons with disabilities living in Cameroon. All the photos are part of a series called “Persons with Disabilities of Cameroon.” The goal of presenting photographs and their stories is to create better awareness about the plights that persons with disabilities face in a developing country. When I return to the US, I hope to exhibit this series in a gallery and publish a book to educate others about persons with disabilities living in developing countries as this topic is so rarely discussed in the media.

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Michael is a electrician living in Bali who fixes electronics and has a mobility disability. ”

How did you become disabled?” I asked Michael.

“That was at the age of seven. I slept one night. I get up in the morning and I was weak. My father and mother took me to the hospital. But they couldn’t find anything. They took all the exams and they have seen nothing at all. Since then I’ve become disabled. Before seven, I was walking and going to school. After sometime, I stopped going to school. That’s how I became disabled,” said Michael.

“Why did you have to stop going to school?”

“Because it took me some time. It took me long time. At that time, I was in Nigeria, and I was there until ten years. I moved to Cameroon. When I was 15 years, I went back to school. I finally got a tricycle and that helped me go to school. I finished primary education but not secondary education. I couldn’t find people to help me go to secondary school.”

“What are your biggest difficulties as a person with disability?”

“So many difficulties. When I was going to school, I had to look for someone who could pull me. They don’t want to do it because they’ll be late to school. There are difficulties with the tricycle because you need someone to pull you to go. Life is very hard for disabled people. Because to find themselves is not easy. You need something but you’re not able to have it. You find someone to help you have it. You find so many difficulties. People always see disabled people as beggars. When I come to you, you think I’m coming to beg you. But that is not true. They always make disabled people not feel free to come close to them. They always see disabled people as beggars but it’s not true.”

“Why is wheelchair is not an option?” “Wheelchair is not an option because you cannot move around town with it.”

“Why you can’t move around town with it?” “Because of the roads. They’re not smooth.”

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