A visually impaired couple in the Okere District of the Eastern region of Ghana is probably going through the most difficult stage in their struggle for bread and butter as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and its negative impact on livelihoods.
Francis Agbeko, 37, and Rose Korkor Tetteh, 39, both blind have been living together as husband and wife for close to two years and are expecting their first child by August 2020.
Francis Agbeko lost both parents at age nine (9). He was then staying at Pahionya a farming community in Yilo Krobo municipality of the Eastern Region. He became blind in 2007. Stigma and maltreatment by family members forced Agbeko to attempt suicide.
“One day I nearly committed suicide. Even my Uncle told me I am useless. I have to die and stop worrying his father so that he will take care of them. So this hurt me and I went inside the room then I took the chemical and said that if I am useless I have to cut my life short. That was Sunday morning and I said to myself I will not kill myself while people are around. So I waited for them to go to Church so in the afternoon I took the chemical [weeping] so when I was about to take it I heard somebody call my name so I pushed it under my bed.”
He escaped from the village to settle at Okrakwadwo a community in Okere District, where he presently lives.
Life has not been kind to Agbeko but he refuses to give up on his academic pursuit. He is currently enrolled at Akropong School for the Blind.
Francis Agbeko met his wife Rose Korkor Tetteh, two years ago. The young man’s story touched her to the point that she decided to be his partner in life. She says her support though little is what has kept Agbeko alive till now.
“I became worried when I first met Francis after he narrated how his family has dejected him and the struggles he was going through. At that time my mother was supporting me small so I decided to be with him to help him out. But after we came together my family has stopped supporting me. So it has not been easy for us. Sometimes we starve the whole day”
Their source of livelihood is wholly dependant on good samaritans who intermittently give them money and food.
The partial lockdown in the Greater Accra and Greater Kumasi areas has been a huge thorn in the couple’s side as support has stopped.
A reliable childhood friend of Agbeko’s who used to send in support has cut assistance to them albeit not intentionally. This carpenter friend based in Tema was unable to work and therefore unable to earn money to assist the blind couple.
“I depend on my friend but because of the lockdown he is unable to send us money so sometimes we prepare rice porridge to take it once then that is all until the next day”
The two, therefore, want support to be economically independent to be able to withstand adversities.
“I want to be a fisherman for myself I don’t want to always depend on people because if you depend on people to go fishing for you if the person says he is fed up what will you do maybe you will think about ending your life”
Francis Agbeko is, therefore, appealing to philanthropists to assist him with capital to start animal husbandry as a source of livelihood.
For his wife, Rose Korkor she believes getting support to restart charcoal selling business would be a big economic relief to them.