Family rejection, suicidal thoughts: Oti Regional Minister’s sad but inspirational story
Joshua Makubu, the Oti regional Minister has narrated the physical and emotional ordeal he had to endure after he lost his legs at age 9.
Living with a disability left him with suicidal thoughts on several occasions due to society’s attitude toward him, after his amputation.
According to him, the surgery that kept him in the hospital for 13 months deprived him of the opportunity to be an active part of society as even his closest family were “ashamed” of his condition.
He disclosed how a panel at an interview to enroll in the School of Medical and Laboratory demoralized and left him with no option but to choose suicide.
Speaking on Peace FM, Joshua said “When I came out of the interview, I decided to walk in the middle of the road with the hope that a car will just hit me and that will be the end of it Whiles I was there I saw one Musa who taught me in primary school, he was coming with his bicycle when he saw me, he shouted, what are you doing in the middle of the road. I felt if I couldn’t go to school, what was I going to do because I was left alone?”
Not long after that experience, Joshua had the opportunity to study Actuarial Science at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, but payment of his fees became a problem.
Again, he thought of ending his life.
According to him, “I went to the Pharmacy to buy some drugs to end my life but again I thought about my cousin I was staying with and how he would cope if anything happened to me under his roof. And I even suspect that my mom committed suicide because of me.”
Joshua Makubu explained that it was realized at a tender age that his knee cap was wearing off and needed to be amputated.
“When I was born, my mom was a businesswoman, and my father was a farmer, so I was always under the care of my sister. When I turned 6 or 7 years, I discovered a tumor on my knees. When I go to the hospital, they tell me my kneecap is wearing off. So, when I asked my sister, she said when I was little, she bathed me and touched my knee I would cry so she realized there was some pain.
”So, I was growing, and my right leg was deforming. It was always straight; I could not bend my knee. At one point, my father asked that I be taken to the hospital so they took me to the Yendi Government hospital they did some surgeries on my knee but it was not successful so after some weeks I was discharged and I was taking Bimbila for dressing,” he told Peace FM.
He narrated how his family thought he had died after he bled profusely and went into a coma.
“On one of the occasions, I bled so much that my brother who took me to the hospital thought I had died. But those days dead people were not carried in the afternoon because of the gods in the land. If you carried a corpse in the afternoon, you’d have to buy a sheep to pacify the gods.
“So, what my brother decided was that he would put me in a bush and go for my father’s car to carry me later since he was using a motorbike. But he met a classmate of his, who attended Yendi Senior High school with him, who told him that he had learned something in Biology known as coma so they should wait a bit to see if I would wake up or not. My brother said they came back after some 2 to 3 hours to find some palpitations in my throat so they rushed back to get milk, coke, and tomato paste, mixed it and forced it into me and I vomited that’s how I regained consciousness.”
He noted that it was after that experience he underwent an amputation.
“After that my father said they should take me to the Damongo Hospital, when we got there the doctor, Dr. Seidu I remember his name, the doctor said if I’m allowed to bleed again, I may die so my father and my mother should leave whatever they were doing and take me to the hospital to be amputated.
“3 months after the surgery, the tissue pulled back so I was sent back to the theatre, to do another surgery and which was opened after 3 months before they started dressing the wound. I went to the hospital in August 1990 and I was discharged in September 1991 so I spent 13 months in the Damongo Government hospital. I was 9 years at the time,” he noted.
His ordeal will begin after he was discharged from the hospital. His family did not want him to step out of their home. His friends and others in society shunned his company.
“It was not easy”, he said.
“When I came back home, my grandmother made a statement that stuck with me. She said a living crippled is worth more than a crippled grave. Wen, I thought about it meant that the only thing I was better than at that time was a grave. She couldn’t even compare me to any live thing. So, it was not easy.
“When I came home, for two weeks my family did not allow me to step out. They always wanted me to be indoors, and I said no I want to go back to school. The first day I went back to school I had the shock of my life, my best friend Yakubu also joined everybody to run away from me. It was not easy but what could have I done?” he asked.
The Oti Regional Minister admonished persons living with disability saying “your disability is not the end of your life.”