By Janice Johnson Pemida
My grandmother took her time to nurture me as her own even without knowing I was her grandchild. However, she discovered few months later that I couldn’t walk the way a normal child should. A year passed and I was still crawling. Two years and still the same; no improvement. This continued for seven good years. I was still unable to walk. Yet this woman never gave up on me. I couldn’t go out to play with other children. My grandma would go out and harvest cassava, then squeeze out the juice for me to drink. She started doing this since when I was a year old and she continued till I was seven.
She was a poor woman herself. My dad never came over to visit not to talk of giving her money for my upkeep. She didn’t have the means of taking me to the hospital, so she resorted to local ways of treatment. People kept telling her to forget about me walking someday because it will never happen, yet she refused to give up. She kept giving me the squeezed juice from the cassava in order to strengthen my legs.
One day, she went out to get something from the farm. She locked me inside for hours. Then I heard some children playing outside and wanted to join but no way out. So I started to cry. I cried really hard and while crying, I was making efforts to stand up. I kept making efforts to stand up and open the door repeatedly. Suddenly, the miracle happened! I was able to stand on my feet. I t was unbelievable. I still couldn’t open the door though and continued crying until the old woman returned.
When she opened the door and saw me standing on my feet, she looked incredibly stunned. Suddenly she exclaimed with joy and hugged me so tightly while crying profusely. She told me to follow her outside and she started telling all those who cared to listen, what happened. They all looked in awe. That was how I started walking after seven years of crawling. Although, initially, I wasn’t walking straight but gradually I began to walk normally. Today, you can never tell if I ever had such an issue while growing up unless I tell you myself.
I was happy I could play with other children. I started following my grandmother to the farm and other places. She enrolled me in a public nursery school in the village. At age seven, I was in the same class with nursery school children. All was well though until the old woman fell terribly ill. When the sickness became very serious, she sent message across to my dad and his sister. Those were the only children she had. They came to the village and eventually my grandma died. Being a Muslim, she was buried the same day.
Two days after the burial, the family members met to decide what happens to me now that the old woman had died. They wanted to do away with me since I wasn’t in any way related to them. That was when my dad confessed that I am his child and that he was the one who dumped me at grandma’s door step when my mother run away and left me alone with him.
(Episode 3 coming soon)