Me and Alex, we’re both physically handicapped. I temporarily, Alex permanently. My handicap is fixed in the world’s best health care service and operated by a world class orthopedic surgeon, insurance coverage, and now I’m recovering. Alex’s disability could also have been helped as a child if there was health care.
We both have difficulty moving from one place to another, we have to use crouches to get around, except that Alex does not have any, he crawls.
I asked my friend to visit the City of Helsinki’s free equipment lending facilities covered by Finnish social security to get supplies for me, such as pliers, toilet seat elevation (Alex has no toilet), and sofa step (Alex has no sofa, Alex has no home).
We both have a hard time pulling a sock on the foot except Alex has no socks.
The visit to toilet is very uncomfortable for both of us without the tools, except that Alex does not have a toilet. No tools.
I can not put foot creme to my feet or shave my legs, I would buy it as a service if I would be allowed to sit down! What a tragedy.
Cooking is difficult when you can not reach or bend and balance is not good. Alex don’t have this problem as he eats the bread he happens to find and keeps it in his pocket (Alex has pants, or at least something like that)
I’m so annoyed as there are so beautiful and rare early summer days and I can not even go out that much to enjoy it in a good company. Alex can not get to the shadows, as he escapes the war from southern Sudan, dodging the horrible human masses and hiding in the bushes (3 days) Alex crawls a war escape 28km, 3km a day under the hot sun.
I was moving my house and I was nervous before hand when there was so much stuff that had to be moved from place to another, thankfully there were a lot of friends and family helping and everything went more than well. Alex’s family has been killed, Alex was alone. Alex does not have any stuff.
I have a lot of problems Alex does not have. A hairdresser’s visit, it is difficult without being able to sit. Having a shower after the surgery, I had to wait two! days. Sitting in restaurants and parks and enjoying the crowd is now at a break, I have to refuse the invitations and skip a lot of fun. Alex does not have these problems.
If Alex was a woman, she would have been raped because 50% of the disabled refugees would be raped. Alex’s story I do not know. I do not have this problem.
My wound is carefully operated in a sterile environment and ticks are removed in hospital, no infections , because the wound care is very important in Finland. Alex’s wounds have come from the fact that he has fled the war by crawling in a rocky desert for two weeks.
This week’s lesson has been to have a small, private glimpse of how small things can return human dignity to a disabled refugee. How important it is to maintain independence for your own hygiene, washing and clean water, aids and other people’s reliance and help. The question is about human dignity, for me and Alex.
Alex now has things well according to his own words. He made it to the Palorinyan Refugee Camp in Uganda. World Vision Finland, together with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, finances and works for the improvement of the water and toilet situation of disabled refugees in refugee camps. In addition, we help people with disabilities to acquire a livelihood for them to secure their own standard of living.
Alex is an entrepreneur, he has a grinding mill, Alex’s group of 7 called ‘Lomeriti-dara’ (the poor cannot get tired) received a grinding mill from World Vision. “This grinding mill is helping us earn some income. Fellow refugees bring their food for grinding every now and then. Some give us cash while others give us food in kind. Every two weeks we share the money, sometimes we decide to give it to one person if he/she has a very pressing need or a business idea that requires capital,I am able to buy books, pens, and also have some spare money to buy anything I want” Alex narrates.
I am rich, I’m tired. So I go to my raised couch to rest and watch Netflix.