By Demola Adeleke
Enough of me! Let’s talk about another blind Nigerian today.
This story I want to share with you is a bit funny and at the same time very heart breaking.
It’s all about one of my blind buddies who studies at the same university as me.
Joseph is his name, he left his eyes in the womb during delivery, slightly smart, lives a care free life, very brainy, a Yoruba brother, likes playing the piano and also a music enthusiast.
An unfortunate incident befell him on a day he was meant to be happy, so I felt sharing it with you is going to be worthwhile.
It was on his matriculation day. As a Jambito [fresh student], the matriculation ceremony organised by the school isn’t something you would want to miss.
Blind Joseph also deemed it important to have some shots with the matric gown. So a day to the main ceremony, he entered the bank for some cool cash, requested a friend’s help for a shopping at the Ogige market (a popular market in Nsukka) and got himself a nice top and pair of jean trousers.
The matric day eventually dawned and the atmosphere in the campus wasn’t sly enough to hide the celebration in the air. Before the clock ticked 9a.m on that morning, freshmen had already started marching out from the various routes leading to the hub of the campus.
One by one, two by two, in groups of both genders, mostly clad in new dresses, they walked down to the matric venue where they all converged and waited for the conventional speeches and advice from the authorities.
Joseph stayed longer than usual in the bathroom on that day, trying to look fresher I suppose. There were four blind students in his class. Chinedu, Nonso, Nwanchor and the supposed dreamer but blind Joe himself. His lateness in the room, dressing carefully like a woman, could have exhausted his fellow blind classmates’ patience. They all left him at the hostel and set off for the matric venue.
Minutes elapsed before our dear Joseph finally got ready. In a perfectly ironed dress plus well-polished pair of shoes, the blind boy slowly trailed along the hallway in the hostel with the shuttle park destination in mind.
Oh, I forgot to tell you that most blind students don’t relish the act of finding their way with a guide stick, we consider it too attention calling. So flagging pedestrians down has been the habit.
The hostel was already scanty, students had gone up school and besides, poor Joseph didn’t seem ready to seek help.
Just as he came out of the Eni-Njoku hostel, His mobility angel forsook him. His instinct deserted him. His sense of smell abandoned him. He headed directly towards the deep, wide and dirty gutter collecting the running water from all the small channels inside the hostel and before his brains could interpret the distant shouts telling him to wait, his legs had already gone off the ground.
He had a short struggle gripping the air in order to escape the fall but heck no! The gutter was particularly flooded with shit on that day specially for blind Joe.
He dropped humbly inside the gutter and laid inside like a baby in his cot. All his clothes, head and body were covered in potopoto (a slang used to mean dirty water).
The passers-by and shuttle drivers who had tried stopping him earlier rushed to the gutter and helped him up. His new clothes were later thrown away because not even a hungry dry-cleaner will agree to wash them.
Poor Joe sadly went back to the bathroom and had another shower. Still with the pains of the cut on his leg, he bitterly dusted off the sand particles on his matress and forced himself to sleep. I almost cried for him when he narrated the story.
Fate should have chosen another time for that ordeal, not on his happy day.
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