My disability as stated in my last article was never a problem, but High School made me think otherwise. It exposed me to the real world.
I entered Senior High School (SHS) in the second term, and it was in a boarding school. My new community was not familiar with people with disability like me, so they tend to either loath me, or be over sympathetic around me. I had people who wished I vanished by morning, and those who will wake up at night to make sure I am still breathing. Times in high school was very hard! I was kicked out of my basketball team after my first tournament, because my coach could not have ‘someone like me’, on her team. She said to me, “People stare too much at you, and it makes most of your teammates nervous so they find it difficult to concentrate on the game.” This came as a big blow to me. My mother used to tell me I can be whatever I want to be, but little did I know some of these wants were not my decision to make.
When I was in SHS, my trips to OTC kept me; I met other young ladies like me who where seniors when I was only beginning. They all told me the same thing, that I will get used to the people, and they will get used to me. It did not happen the way they said it would. I had friends and tutors who really supported me and I had other people who made it their mission to make my life difficult. My General Knowledge in Art tutor was very encouraging. She told me, “If you survive high school, and it does not break you, nothing ever can”.
I survived high school, and all stigma that came with it. Before I completed, I was a dinning hall prefect in my final year; I joined the choir; I stayed in the boarding house till I graduated. They never got over the fact that I had ‘one short crooked leg’ yet did everything. I fetched water with or without prosthesis. I did everything by myself. Although I did not play basketball I was an active student, and I made sure everyone who was there during my time remembered me. I also told stories about the OTC, and other children with disabilities to my friends and classmates.
Here I am today living life to the fullest. I have completed my first degree, and I am a career woman . One day a question came to my mind, and it has been steering my life till now. ‘Would I have been where I am today, if my parents had not sought help for my mobility?’. For the most part I can not tell, but this I know that, OTC has had a great impact on my life. When you are less dependent on people for your mobility, it makes you a little more confident. It also changes your self-image. These are few of the gifts OTC have given me. At the moment, I am the Executive Officer at OTC, raising funds; managing the webpage, receiving guests; being a role model for the children, and an ambassador to the world. I love it here, and I am glad my parents made this choice. OTC is not just a rehabilitation center for people with mobility challenges, but one big family.
My name is Gloria Williston, and this is my story.
If you want to support OTC to give children with mobility challenges a chance to living a full and happy life, you can reach our hotline on +233268339092; donate in the US via our Venmo account @OTC-Ghana; or visit our Donation column on this page for more options.