TRUE STORY OF A WOMAN MARRIED TO A BLIND MAN
BY CHIOMA GABRIEL
They say love is blind and for Barrister Francis Kiafuwa Aifuwa, a broadcaster at Radio Nigeria and Clementina his wife, their love is indeed blind and could not decipher any faults.
The couple met at the Edo state University Ekpoma as students and became friends.
It was not something serious initially as Clementina had a female friend then who was closer to Francis.
“ We didn’t know he was blind. He was walking as a normal person and when his friends jumped the gutter, he too jumped. But in the process, he pushed my friend and her books scattered all over. He helped her up and apologised. Nothing showed he was visually impaired. He asked for our telephone numbers and we gave him. He typed them into his phone himself and kept moving. He was closer to my friend and we often saw each other on campus and greeted. It was later that I learnt he is blind. He wasn’t carrying himself as a blind person. It is easy to know a blind man from the way he walks but it wasn’t the same here. He wasn’t using any stick and he walked normal. It was when you got close to him that you would know or except he told you. In my case, my friend and I didn’t find out until we were told. His phonetics sounded foreign any time he spoke and I used to think he just returned from abroad. He had no complex about his disability and practically carried on like a normal person.
“ After we left school, I got a call one day and it turned out to be him. He said he was in Lagos and was staying with a friend. I think they had an NGO or something and so, I visited them. And as usual, he carried on his business as a normal person, not showing any sign of disability and worked with some confidence that was very unusual for a person with such a challenge.
“ Then, one day, he told me that there was somebody looking for a wife and asked if I was ready for marriage. He didn’t tell me he was the person and I never thought I was going to marry him. So, I told him if I saw the person and liked him I could say yes. He now said he was the person. I didn’t say no to him but I didn’t say yes either because I was caught between two dilemmas. I couldn’t say no to him and at the same time, I didn’t want to disappoint my family by saying yes to a blind person. They expected more from me. So, I told him to let me think about it. Actually, I didn’t know how I was going to tell my family about it. You know, they might not be impressed with the idea.
“ When I got home, I went to one of my aunties who floated the idea first. My aunty had asked what I would do if this man should ask for my hand in marriage knowing about his visual challenges. When I now told her about it, she encouraged me to go ahead and said that he has a bright future and helped to convince the family. The rest is history. If you ask me, I will tell you that love conquered all because he had so many female friends but I was the one he proposed to. Before he proposed, he used to introduce me to his friends as a school mate and never as a girlfriend and I never perceived him as a blind person because he moving around like a normal person and didn’t use a walking stick.”
“ It was friendship first and then love crept in. I was being visited by many ladies but she was different from the rest. I was even closer to her friend when we were in school but she was always the one trying to help out all the time. And like she said, I used to move together with my friends on campus and there was this day that we had to jump over a gutter but in the process, I brushed her friend and her books scattered. From there, we got acquainted and when I came to Lagos, I called her. We started visiting each other but then just as friends. My friends and I had this NGO and we were having a programme and she came. She helped us to do a lot of things during the programme, type-setting our letters and posting our bills and helping us to cook. She wasn’t the only one. There were other ladies coming around but she was the one my heart caught. Well, the rest is history and we are happily married and blessed with a child so far.”
Francis skipped a bit to talk about his blindness.
“ I was not born blind. I was about nine to ten years when I noticed in school that I wasn’t seeing the writings on the board clearly except I moved closer. And because I was a bright pupil, the teachers suggested that I be taken for a test and my family complied.
“ The test revealed a glassy growth which the doctors called cataract and I was pulled out of the normal school to the Pacelli school for the blind and partially sighted. I learnt to read and write through the braille. What my wife and I have is strong and in our case, our love has conquered my visual challenges”
Francis presents Bedtime Belt and Family Belt and produces a retinue of programmes on Metro 97.7, one of the stations of Radio Nigeria. He is currently working on a new programme targetted at the physically challenged.