Taking Ziim to public functions sometimes could be worrisome. On Sunday, my friends at the FFF invited us to the annual CODISA Sunday Service in the Chapel of the healing cross, Idi-Araba, here in Suru-Lere, Lagos. CODISA is an acronym for Committee For The Disabled, the name speaks for itself. I was told that the service would start at 9 am after which a reception was to follow.
The day started off on a good note, Ziim woke up dry, that means I saved a diaper. Put in proper perspective, I met her still dry for she does almost always wake up dry, it is me who probably while engaged with something else fails to observe her waking up, thus leaving her long enough for her to wet her diaper. I quickly put her on her potty chair, she did not just wee, but she did no 2, wonderful!! It means one of my sources of worry has been dismissed for that day. One of my worries when we go out is that I may need to take her to the toilet, I am yet to see a public toilet in Lagos that considers the likes of her; children that you may need to lie on the table to change.
We arrived the venue about 8.30a.m. I usually try to get to events early so that I may get good parking space. This also is one other source of worry. In Nigeria, I do not think people living with disabilities are taken into consideration when parking spaces are constructed, I have not seen spaces marked “disability parking”. Anyway, I got there at I time I considered early enough, but as I tried to drive inside the premises, one of the security men informed that there were no parking spaces left inside. It meant that I needed to pack quite far away from the venue. It will be a long walk back and I did not want to put Ziim’s push chair through the untarred road, so I stopped close to the gate, brought out her stroller from the trunk and put her there, moving her to the side of the road. I wanted to leave her there and go and pack, then come and take her in. The same security man came back, madam, you want to pack? of course I do, I will leave my child here and go and find parking space some where outside then I come and take her. Ha….. dis your baby,hm oma se’ o (this your baby, it’s a pity) come make I find space for you here. Pronto, he found me a parking space where he had said there were no spaces left. I was happy for the space, but hated the sympathy. I hate it when people “pity” me because of my child!! But most times that is what I get from people, some you could read it on their faces, others are what I consider bold enough to walk up to me and patronizingly say something like “my sister, it is well oh, the Lord is your strength , or the Lord is in control”. We get this often outside my church, then she’ll quickly inform me about a powerful priest somewhere whose anointing can heal my baby instantly if only I can but visit his church with my baby. You will note that outside is emphasized because inside the church she has deliberately avoided us, she made sure she did not shake hands with me or my baby when the priest asked the congregation to give each other a sign of peace.
Anyway, I got my good parking space, we were early, I saw some members of the FFF, so I went to them and we sat together outside, waiting for the first service to end. Shortly it ended and we went in. I noted that there was no ramp at the door. One lady helped me lift up the push chair inside, thank you, I found a spot and positioned Ziim’s chair and sat down, ready to enjoy the occasion. From my position, I could watch people coming in, I watched as all the wheel chair assisted people coming inside the church were lifted at the entrance and I could not help wondering why it never occurred to any of the committee members to put even a temporary wooden ramp at the entrance door at least for this occasion. This is one other thing I worry about when we have to go to public events; that we may be barred by the structures at the venue. And as Zimuzo is getting older and bigger, the reality daily stares me at the face.
As the service started, I forgot about the “slight” omission at the entrance and concentrated at enjoying it. The choir was simply good, songs were uplifting. The committee had invited people from different homes and schools for people with different forms of disabilities. The gospel passage was read by a boy with visual impairment from Pacceli School for the blind, nice, talk of inclusion. The sermon was really nice, soul moving if you ask me, though I must confess that I was a bit distracted as I was engrossed with watching two ladies interpret or is it transcribe the sermon to the hearing impaired children!! I couldn’t take my eyes off them!! Really nice!
The reception was good, good food, good music and good talk. The children had a good time, those who could danced their hearts out.Well done CODISA!!
Time to go, I had to give Mrs L and her son master S a ride. Master S has hydrocephalus, at 14 he is wheel chair assisted and incontinent. They came by taxi. I overhead the mother asking him to wait while she go get a taxi, so I offered to give them a ride home. I wanted to also talk with her and share with her some of my fears.
We had a good talk, at the end we agreed that the best thing is just to take the days one at a time. When I dropped her off, she said, you never know, by the time your daughter is 14, she may not need a wheelchair, I still hope and believe that S will walk someday” I said a big Amen. Please say Amen with me!