I finally got the chance to speak to the crippled boy i was talking about.
He came to see me with two of his brothers at a safer enviroment...i.e where i knew people and the risk of a paranoid mob attacking me was minimal.
He was born normal, but somewhere between birth and his fifth year he was paralyzed by polio.
At first he was going to be my story for an article, thats why i made arrangements to see him again. But while talking to him, learning about his life...i didnt have the stomach to use his story. my blood boiled at the thought of writing his story, and just moving on with my life. I wanted to do something to improve his life....but what can i do?
His parents send him to Abuja with two of his brothers from a town nearby to beg.
When there is no food at home he rides on his brothers back, hitches a ride and comes to beg in the city. Its not uncommon to see children sent by their parents to beg in northern Nigeria.
What is so heart breaking is the way he moves, since only his head neck and hands are normal, he rolls on the floor to get from one place to another. On the hot tar, on gravelled floors in muddy paths.
I can't comprehend parents that would use their child like that, or a government that stands by doing nothing while children are exploited.
I feel so helpless and frustrated. I thought of raising money to buy him a wheelcheer, but people are telling me that he will just sell it and continue begging.
He told me him self that, though he wanted a wheel chair to make movement easy, he also needed food for him self and his family.
And i thought maybe there IS nothing i can do...
I cant get him off the street even with a wheel chair
I cant get the government to force his parents to stop exploiting him
(I spoke to the director of social service in Abuja, she said there is nothing they can do, the government doesnt have the facilities to care for the disabled.... bla..bla)
I was shocked, if this is the case in the Federal Capital what hell are handicapped children going through in remote regions of the Nigeria?