Not having an education or trade while living in Africa can be relatively difficult, especially when you’re physically challenged. I met the single mother of two little boys whom I always observe standing around the streets of Monrovia, obviously waiting for something.
I decided to monitor them over the week to see why they always lingered around; and to my surprise, I saw a woman slowly crawling towards them with a look of pain written across her face.
For a split second, I thought she would pass them, but upon reaching the youngest that looked to be about six years –old, he warmly reached around her neck and gave her a tight hug.
Seeing children unattended to, especially in Monrovia city, urged me to ask the crawling woman for her story, and with much coaxing, she opened up.
‘My children have to be fed and placed in school. I cannot look at my disability and say because of that, my children should have to suffer” Cecelia stated.
Cecelia, who crawls on all two knees, says that her physical condition is a mystery and happened so suddenly.
“I once walked normally, but according to my family, I went to bed one night and awoke the next morning unable to walk; to stretch my legs straight. I can stand on my left leg, but rather that I crawl on all two since my right leg is no good,” she added.
According to the mother, her disability has caused her to miss out on school and because of that she has no skill or idea how to do anything other than beg.
“Every day I take a car from Red Light along with my two youngest and come into the city to look for money to take care of them. Their father walked out on me and now I find myself having to beg. I don’t want to do it, I’d rather be selling and having my own business, but this is where I find myself,” she added.
Meanwhile, Cecelia makes about L$700.00 a day, she claims, enough she says to complete a house she has already moved into.
“Out of the money I make, I’ve built my house and the children and I have a roof over our head now. I have four children who all have to go to school, and I’m able to register them because of my begging,” she adds.
Though everywhere she passes along the streets stare at the woman who is just less than two feet when she’s crawling, Cecelia says she’s not ashamed of her condition.
“I went to a doctor who says I could possibly walk again one day. He says the veins behind my legs can be restored as though they have never been damaged. I’m hopeful of walking one day and because of that I drag my children out here every day for us to look for money,” she says.
Also, Cecelia says she has a wheelchair, but due to the distance she has to commute every day, she leaves it at home. She also added that he’s proud of her children who are always patient and obedient when it comes to accommodating her on her daily hustles.
“I have good kids and wouldn’t trade them in for anything. I’m their mother and have to do the right things for them, it’s no one else’s duty but mine to make sure my kids are okay, healthy and in school,” she added.