About a year ago, I went on a road trip to Uganda to fulfill my adventurous ambition. I love travelling and fact that I am paraplegic had never discouraged me, so I believed. I’m not afraid to travel by bus. All I have to do is make sure I get someone to help me with the passport stamping once we get to the border.
If the first person doesn’t want to help, the second might, and then again there’s always the cute money-changer that will come by and all I need to do is flash a smile at one of them and promise to get my money changed by him. I prepare myself for the 10 hour drive in a way that I do not need to go to the ladies.
My trip went smoothly until we got back to Kigali. As usual, I called someone to pick me up about 2 hours earlier so I’m confident that they will be there waiting for me. Unfortunately, for the first time, they weren’t.
They called me to say they were stuck in traffic and would be there as soon as they could. I didn’t think that would be a problem. But by the time they had offloaded everything from the bus, my ride still wasn’t there.
The bus driver turned to me and rudely asked what I was still doing on his bus. I was shocked. I tried to explain to him that my ride was running late, but just exploded. He said that was the very reason he didn’t like taking people like me on his bus. We always caused trouble one way or the other.
He added that he didn’t care how I got off. I was close to tears wondering what I had done wrong to deserve such treatment. He asked the people that were offloading luggage from the bus to take my things out because he wanted to go to Kinamba to get his bus washed.
He said wasn’t going to be delayed by things that didn’t concern him. He then looked at me and asked what I was planning on doing. I stayed there staring at him. He the said he didn’t care anyway and started the engine.
I told him that if he was going to take me to Kinamba he might as well as the guys to bring in my luggage. He refused. At that I got very angry and tears were flooding my eyes. I told him so that to stop the bus so I would crawl out. He ignored and drove off leaving all my belongings in the middle of the parking lot.
When we got to Kinamba the cleaners asked him if they should wait for me to get off, he said that wasn’t their problem and that they should just do their job.
Before I knew, soapy water was flooding from everywhere and my feet were soaked. At that time I was too shocked to think, cry or scream. I just sat there feeling hopeless and humiliated. When my ride arrived, I was relieved. All I wanted was to go home and never come out again.
Life indoors is no life for a human being. Never going out, never getting to see other people, never getting to do something fun or hang out with friends. But with such treatment, who would want to go out.
One might die of depression in your own house but might find it a lot better than dying of humiliation in public. Some people just think that people living with disabilities are supposed to stay away from all sorts of public activities and are better off tucked away in the house where nobody can see them. Sad, isn’t it?