Knowledge could be burdensome. I guess that is why it is often said that ignorance is bliss. But should we duel in ignorance? Did Plato not say that “ignorance is the root, and the stem of every evil”?
Thursday, the 3rd of November, FFF had her 4th annual awareness walk and lecture. Ziim and I joined them.As we walked through the streets of Ikeja where the walk was held,I kept thinking of knowledge and ignorance, how thin the line between them could be, yet how wide it could be.( FFF is acronym for Festus Fajemilo Foundation, a foundation set up by parents of a child with Hydrocephalus to create awareness of conditions, hydrocephalus and spina bifida). As I listened to side comments and observed the actions or it reactions from people on the street, I could not help marveling at their ignorance. The “Haas”, “Hos” “omase’ ooh”, “which kind children be these? ha, make person no look them too much before person go get pikin like that.” Se’ these ones na human beings, look their heads, hm.. na wa oh. IGNORANCE!! Lack of knowledge!!! I had smiles on my face as I trusted the can at them and gave them information leaflet, refusing to move until some money is dropped in my can. (we had cans to raise funds). Some of them gave out of compassion,some gave out of pity, some gave just to get us off their faces, but gave they did, yet some just hurried past, turning their faces away as “they” sped past “us”. Ignorance!! I had fun, watching “we” and “them”. Of course there are no side walks, so “we” kept pumping at “them” and most of “them” kept running away from “us”.
After the walk, before the lecture started, I interacted with some parents and again the wall between ignorance and knowledge was made manifest in the sizes of the heads of the children. Most of the children whose heads were largely enlarged were ignorant of what was wrong with their children thus they did not seek early medical intervention; Ignorance. Some who were aware did not have money for surgery, by the time they got money the child’s head had enlarged; knowledge, but ignorance of where to seek for assistance. Yet there were a few who said they were told early (they had knowledge), they were ready with their money, but the hospital, (a state teaching hospital) was not, they kept postponing the date for the surgery, then the doctors went on industrial action that lasted over four months. When they resumed, the number of patients that needed surgery had increased so they were rescheduled, the parents had to do another CTscan as the one they did had expired (more money) such that by the time they did the surgery, the child’s head had gone so large. Hm… what do I call this? Gross ignorance on the part of the medical people, ignorant of the plight or is it feelings of parents with children with disabilities!!!! The doctors have the knowledge on issues like this, they should know the difference time could make, they are probably ignorant of human feelings!!!. well, may be some of them.
A lot of us have knowledge of different things; how do we use this knowledge? Somebody said somewhere that often we are slow to recognize how much or in what way we can assist each other through the knowledge we have. For me, I never really enjoy any “knowledge” until I have somehow shared it with people or at least somebody I feel that it will be beneficial to. The parents of Festus through their experience gained knowledge about hydrocephalus and started a foundation. They create awareness of the condition, they help parents source for funds for surgeries, they act as advocate group to discourage stigmatization.Are you doing anything with your knowledge, especially that got from experience that you would like to share? Margaret Fuller said; “If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it” and I add, your candle will not go off. Share your knowledge please.