‘My family and classmates are my feet’
by Rhona, World Vision sponsored child
I recently graduated Grade 10. I am now two years away from college. Like other teenagers, I am excited to pursue my dream. I want to become a teacher someday. Though my dream is nothing special, I, the dreamer, am special. I was born crippled.
My mother once told me a story of how I came to be. It was a stormy night. She was on her way home when she saw that the bridge to our village was damaged. With not much choice, she took the longer route. We live in a rural village where streetlights and paved roads are luxuries and trees are more populous than houses. My mother braved both the storm and darkness that time. She was then seven months pregnant with me. When she finally reached our house, she was in pain. With the help of my grandmother, a hilot, I was born and my wails competed with thunder and lightning that night.
The story did not end there. Because I was born two months early, my parents put me inside a mosquito net and surrounded me with lights, believing that this would help me grow. But this method was more effective to grow chicks. A few months later, my mother noticed that I still could not move like most babies my age. I could stand but I was not standing straight. Then, at an age when I should be walking, I was crawling.
Whether my situation was because of the way I was born or an inborn disease, we do not know. My parents could not send me to a hospital because we did not have enough money to spend for transportation and doctor’s fee. Both my parents had no regular sources of income. I have five other siblings in the family, and all of us relied on whatever income my parents could get from selling rice cakes or vegetables to our neighbours.
Despite my situation, my parents still sent me to school. I had no wheelchair during my first few years in school. My mother had to carry me on her back every day for three years. In the following years, my parents bought a bicycle that my brother and I used to go to school then, he would carry me on his back to my classroom. Recently, my parents purchased a motorcycle on instalment basis. This time, my father is the one who takes me to school and, upon reaching school, puts me on a wheelchair donated to me.
My teachers and classmates are understanding of my situation. My classmates would take turns in helping me whenever we have outdoor activities. During our JS prom, they helped me throughout the night. We chatted, laughed and watched performances on stage. It was a memorable night for me. I have never experienced being bullied or left out.
Though my family and classmates treated me like a usual teenager, I am fully aware of their sacrifices of carrying me and pushing my wheelchair. There were times when I wallowed in self-pity and shame, feelings that exacerbate whenever it rained and I could not go to school because the road would be muddy and impassable. Rain makes me remember the reality of my situation. I would often cry. If I were not like this, I would be able to go to school on my own and neither mud nor rain could stop me.
My family and classmates’ love for me is the only thing that motivates me to keep going. They are my inspiration and my feet. I graduated because of them.
World Vision/May 25, 2018
World Vision is a global Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.