Have you ever seen people beg for alms and wondered what events led them to such a a desperate situation? This is the story of a woman who has resorted to begging not by choice but because of her ailment that has caused her not to be able to sit for six years. This is her story.
50 year old madam Christiana Fuseseh lives with her only child Rebecca in Tema Comm. 20. She was afflicted with a devastating spinal injury that caused her not to be able to sit. Unfortunately, today she still experiences this excruciating back pain and can no longer work to feed her family. Before that, she was a very hardworking woman, engaged in petty trade and various side jobs in an effort to make money and take care of her home. She has never been married and the father of her daughter is deceased. Even though they were not rich, they were living a modest life until disaster struck in 2010.
Rebecca was short sighted and so had to wear glasses since childhood. She visited the eye clinic regularly for check ups. One day after seeing the optician, she was informed that she would no longer need to wear the glasses. She and her mother walked out of the office elated when suddenly, Rebbeca asked her mother “Ah mama, is it evening already? Why is it so dark? I cannot see a thing!” Her mother replied that it was just 2pm in the afternoon and that was when they discovered that Rebecca had completely lost her eyesight. The cause of her mysterious blindness up to this day is unknown.
They seeked help for Rebecca’s situation from several optometrists but none of them could offer a solution. “At this point we gave up and started praying for a miracle. We have been to several prayer centres and even slept at Edumfa prayer camp” she recalled.
For years, all their efforts seemed to be in vain, but Madam Christiana and her daughter were determined to make the best out of their situation. With the little money she had, she enrolled Rebecca in Akropong School of the Blind to learn how to use braille, which is a tactile writing system used by people who are blind or visually impaired to aid in reading and writing. At age 30, Rebecca is now in her second year at Adidome Senior High School where is currently furthering her education.
Madam Christiana on how she got in her current state where she cannot sit, said that, because of her previous work as a petty trader, she experienced severe back pains that would not go away until she took pain killers. About a year after her daughter’s blindness, she was washing her clothes in front of her house one morning when she suddenly felt a sharp pain in her back and that was it! For six years now, she has not been able to sit. She can only stand or lie down and she does this only with the help of a stick. Ironic how her surname Fuseseh means strong bones in Ewe but have completely failed her. Medical tests indicated that the soft cartilages which aid in bending in the spinal area are completely damaged. This has caused her spine to rub each other causing severe pain during movement and her inability to bend or sit.
For six years she has not been able to work to feed herself and her daughter so she has resorted to begging in order to survive. When asked how she pays her daughter’s school fees, madam Christiana said her local church (name withheld) has absorbed that cost but as for provisions and pocket money for her daughter in school, she has to beg before she can get it.
Life has become very unbearable for madam Christiana and her daughter. “Our situation is so bad that even if we want to drink water, the money has to come from someone’s pocket. I have no money and absolutely no one to turn to for help”. She was lucky to get some donations from people who once heard her story on Adom fm some years ago. Jerry Justice of Adom Fm was one of such kind hearts who were able to offer some help to the woman.
Despite her almost helpless state, she is strongly against surgical operation as a solution to her problem. Why? She said she feared that she would not be able to walk again after the procedure and since she was her daughter’s only source of vision, she did not want to take that risk. However, she was more open to traditional medicine and therapy and pleaded that anyone who could help her in such a way should kindly come to her aid.
As sad as her situation is, madam Christiana is a very cheerful soul. She kept cracking jokes and making my camera crew and I laugh. She believes that in spite of her condition, she being alive is more than enough reason to be thankful to God and she knows that very soon she will be healed. Truth be told, her bravery and determination to fight on despite her poor living state is a great source of motivation and inspiration to me. I invited Charity organisations, NGOs as well as well-meaning Ghanaians who have the resources to help this woman to kindly extend a helping hand to Madam Christiana and her daughter Rebecca. The team at rawafrica really want the meaning of her name “strong bone” to manifest in her life. Time is of the essence!
To support Madam Christiana in cash or kind, please contact her directly on 0541230555 or Alex at A.AMANKWA@THERAWAFRICA.COM