Living with Visual Impairment; from Misery to Hope
From sight to living with visual impairment is the story of Ehone Melingui Didier Junior, born on September 15, 2005 in Nkongsamba, Cameroon. From birth, Ehone could see and appreciate the beauties the world had to offer with both his eyes.
What went wrong remains the unanswered question on looming the minds of his parents, family, friends and now us. He was in class five when one morning, Ehone work up from sleep and complained that his eyes where painful. He was immediately rushed to the hospital where he was diagnosed of Cataract and glaucoma.
Certain of her son’s delicate condition and how deteriorating the situation was getting, Ehone’s mother started looking for an ultimate solution. “During my search, I was told that specialists called the MercyShip have come to Douala. I took Ehone there and the specialists operated his eyes and medications were given. Unfortunately for my handsome son, after the surgery, he was unable able regain his sight.” Ehone’s mother recalls the painful incident.
Ehone’s plight began when he was 10 years-old living happily with his parents but when he lost his sight, his father abandoned him and his mother to struggle alone. “Meka’s father suddenly abandoned us and later sent us parking out of his house claiming that his son Meka is a witch. That is how we left for my mother’s (Meka’s grandmother) house.” Narrates Meka’s mother on a sad note.
After going through ‘thick and thin’ in Nkongsamba, Meka’s worries didn’t end especially as his mates were schooling while he was at home. The challenge of studying as a visually impaired person and the money to provide his school fees and get his needs for his new status, became another ‘wahala’. It was then that Ehone’s maternal aunt asked for her nephew to be sent to Yaoundé to live with her.
Ehone’s mother was happy that her sister had come to their rescue and that her son was going to have a better life there. But was that the case? “While in Yaounde, he was kept in a room from interacting with other children of the house and was being given food and water – as is done with prisoners.” Remarked Esidie Maclane Esong, Member of Parents Support Group and EDID program field worker.
“One glorious afternoon, while we were in a field visit, we were told that there is a visually impaired child living in that area. We did our search and discovered Ehone Melingui on April 23, 2018. We sensitized Ehone’s guardians on their son’s situation and encouraged his mother to join the Parents Support Group,” added the field worker.
Few days after meeting with the family, Esidie Maclane Esong and her supervision team visited the family again for assessment, and later for Individual Rehabilitation Plan which was drawn following the difficulties and challenges Ehone’s mother was facing.
Ehone’s mother was encouraged to collaborate with her sister in enrolling and providing Ehone transportation to a Brail school. She pledged to do so and Ehone was enrolled in the Braille Training Centre where he studied the Braille Language for two months.
“We supported his training with the sum of 150,000FCFA, bought him a Braille Tablet and his Pointer at the cost of 30,000 francs, a carton of braille papers for 21,000FCFA, while Etoug-Ebe Baptist Hospital Eye Department offered him a Mobility Cane,” revealed the field worker.
Today, Ehone is a class five happy pupil in the Government Primary School, Mendong. He has a lot of plans and prospects for his future. Ehone’s mother is once more happy to see her son happily going to school. She says she feels indebted to the EDID programme for the assistance they gave and continue to give them all these while. Ebone is also loved and welcomed by his classmates who treat him as any normal kid and as their own brother.