Emma was given a camera to take pictures of her life – what she encounters and what is important to her. Through a translator, here is her explanation of the pictures that she took.
[The first photo is of my house, and] I think you probably need to know where I live. That’s the house. Very important – that’s where I stay. That’s what I want to show[…]. My house is important because that’s where I relax. I gain my strength after a long day’s work. To sleep and refresh my body. And the kids around make my life exciting. Make me love. I feel ok and comfortable when I am in the house
Next come pictures from Emma’s shop, which she operates from around 7AM to 8 or 9PM. She wanted to share pictures of her shop because: this is where I get my income from. And mostly I am here for the whole day. I spend most of my time here. And if I am not in my house I am in my shop. And most people can find me here. That’s why I want to show the pictures. I spend almost the whole day here.
And the income from her shop provides for her food, and a little to save. The hairdressing work, people don’t really come here to make their hair, to braid their hair, that’s why I sell lots of stuff here – like water, shoes, and charcoal. To also support the work I do. And I have this susu that I have been doing. It also helps me to save some amount of money and through that I can give some money to buy goods for myself or children or buy some food and other things. So I use the water and the shoes and the charcoal to support the hairdressing.
The susu is in Tafo, and is open to the public, to men or women. You can get 300 cedis at the end of the month. I put in 10 cedis everyday. Each and every single day I put in 10 cedis. So the man will come with the bike and will come and take the money […] and give it back at the end of the month[…]. So it’s not a bank it’s just an individual who does this. He has volunteered himself to do the job[…]. I like it because, first of all, I find it difficult to walk from here to a bank or something and leaving this place for no one to watch, that’s first. And secondly I might spend more than I gain when I am out of the shop[…]. So I have to give it to someone who can keep it for me so that I won’t spend the money. I also have another susu at the bank and that’s for only my stuff; maybe when someone buys something, or the profits I gain, and I put this in the bank and that one has interest. It can help me to purchase other stuff[…].
Not all [disabled people] do this, and none I can think of. Most of them don’t work; a lot, if they have disability they don’t have jobs to do. And also even if they get jobs to do they can’t save like that because of their condition. They need spend, also on their family. So it’s difficult for them to save money[…].
Next is a picture of a shop near hers. First of all, they are closer to me. In case of anything they are the first people to get to me. And secondly, whenever I leave here to buy food or maybe see someone somewhere, they are the people who look after [my shop] for that time. They help me […] when I am not around. They have been looking after the place for me[…and I watch their shop] – it’s reciprocal.
The next photos are from inside her shop. Disabled people not all have the opportunity to work, and also the opportunity for handiworks, their talents that God have given them. And this shows how hard working I am, and the support I am getting from other people. And secondly, this is what brings my income, and food for everyday.
This [next picture shows] an improvement to the hairdressing. Some people don’t have time to braid their hair. I took it upon myself to also make something artificial for the women, so in case you don’t have the time you can just buy one and just fix it on. So I [want to show that I make these, and] feel happy whenever I do these things because it also brings people joy in some ways. And people come to purchase them. So I like making them. In case of free time I can do something instead of sitting idle.
Next are more pictures of people. These are [my] brother’s children, nieces and nephew. I felt like showing them, they were around during the time of the pictures. So why don’t they join[…]. The children are important [in my life…] and there’s no one together for them, so I normally take them.
Next are some pictures of Emma at her charcoal spot, working and sweeping. Ok so, most people think that disabled people are weak, but I am trying to show them that they are not, they also have the same capabilities and potentials just as the normal people do. And I am climbing in and out and also sweeping, showing that I can also do the normal things that normal people do, people who aren’t disabled also do.
And some pictures of Emma at her shop. [In this one] I mainly wanted to show the place where I work [along with crutches, both] curved and straight. The curved one supports me for working and the straight one is there to relax me. And that’s why I mainly wanted to show them. […And in another picture,] someone came to purchase something from me, and so I wanted to show how people also treated me. And yes, I also sell credits, for MTN. So people come to me to buy also. So I am a multi-trader.
Then there were some more pictures from Emma’s house. I want you to know that once I am in the house I don’t use the calipers, I mostly walk around with my crutches. So everything I do – going to the bath, going to the kitchen, [doing laundry, and cooking].