“Please can you assist me in getting a bus to Okoko.” A male voice spoke from the back.
The two friends were seated in a danfo bus and had been discussing with each other. They looked back to acknowledge the person with the voice. He was quite young; probably in his late 20s and he was wearing sunshades which were not so dark. The friends shared a look. He was visually impaired.
“Okay.” They responded as the bus inched slowly towards the final bus-stop. Every other passenger had disembarked and the three of them were left in the bus; besides the driver and the conductor.
“Conductor, you have not given me my change.” The guy said to the conductor. The conductor handed him a fifty naira note and the two friends watched him as he felt the naira note.
“How much did you give me?” He asked the conductor.
“Fifty naira.” The conductor responded.
He put the money in his pocket as he said a thank you to the conductor.
The bus arrived the final destination and the three of them disembarked. The friends held his hands; one on the right and the other on the left as they led him to where he was going to get a bus to Okoko.
“So how do you know the amount you are giving to the conductor?” One of the friends asked him.
“I arrange my money accordingly before leaving home.” The guy replied.
“But what if the conductor does not give you the correct change?” She asked again.
“Well.” He replied as he shrugged. “I only hope they will.”
“And how would you find your way home?” She asked him; still confused.
“I know my way around.” The visually impaired guy concluded.
The friends ensured that he was seated in a bus going towards his destination before they proceeded on their own mission.
They however wondered about how he coped daily with no guide to take him around.
A few weeks later, one of the friends was standing at a bus-stop when she saw a woman get off a tricycle. She seemed to be partial visually impaired. She had neither a guide nor a white cane. She looked disoriented for a few seconds after getting off the tricycle as she blinked many times; maybe in an effort to get her eyes accustomed to the environment.
Only one question was in the mind of the lady as she watched the visually impaired woman. How do the visually impaired survive in a country like Nigeria? A country where adequate provisions are not made for people living with disabilities.
Photo Credit: http://www.disabilitypride.org