Yahuza Bawage

last updated Fri, Sep 1, 2023 12:32 PM

4 mins read

Share this post
4 mins read

Rising above the taunts in pursuit of her dreams

By Yahuza Bawage
| Updated 12:32 01/09/2023
Share this post

One June afternoon in 2023, Sharifat Musa Abubakar posted her pictures on Facebook, only to receive a comment that read, “See, this is the lady with only one eye.” Upon reading it, Sharifat dropped her phone on the couch and shed tears.

“Yes, I indeed have only one eye, and I always acknowledge it to myself, but it hurts me when people remind me negatively,” Sharifat said.

Sharifat knows this is nothing of her doing and finds it disheartening when people follow her on her social media handles to stigmatise her.

There were instances when she met her Facebook friends outside the digital space, and they told her, “I didn't know that this is how you look.”

On many occasions, these experiences made her feel down, and the incident on Facebook in June 2023 took her down memory lane.

She recalled the late afternoon in 2007 when her mother sent her out to get some soup ingredients for dinner. Along the way, she met some boys from their neighbourhood playing with sticks.

Sharifat stopped to talk with them for a few minutes, and when she turned around heading to her destination, she felt something hit her eye.

“You know children used to play with sticks and rubber bands. So that's what got into my eye,” Sharifat said.

Sharifat fell to the ground and started wailing while one of the boys who threw the stick ran away.

A few people rescued Sharifat and took her to the Specialist Hospital, Jalingo. Because the hospital was new, there was no eye surgeon there, and since there was none at the Federal Medical Centre, Jalingo, she was referred to the Special Hospital, Yola.

Unfortunately, there was no eye surgeon in Yola either. Sharifat and her parents were asked to go to a missionary Eye Clinic in Zing Local Government Area of Taraba State for emergency surgery.

“It was at the Eye Clinic in Zing where they treated me,” she told Prime Progress. However, after some days, there were complications with the initial surgery, and she was moved across the border to Yaounde in Cameroon for special treatment.

While in Yaounde, Sharifat underwent another surgery because the professionals there admitted that during the previous surgery, the surgeons in Zing forgot cotton wool inside her eye, which made her eyes teary.

Sharifat's father had to sell his plot of land, and her mother used all her business income to finance the eye treatment.

When they returned home to Jalingo, Sharifat continued to use medicated eyeglasses because her left eye was damaged.

“It still hurts me when I remember that the family of the boy who hit me with the stick failed to even pay me a visit to sympathise with me,” Sharifat said, sobbing.

As Sharifat continued attending the Rev. Yakubu Yako Memorial School in Sabon Gari, Jalingo, she faced the sad experience of her fellow students calling her “Terminator.”

They derived the name from a popular Arnold Swazenngermovie at the time.

This made Sharifat feel shy about attending public gatherings or joining group discussions in school.

“I told my mother that I will start wearing a Niqab (a black veil that covers a woman's face) because I don't want people to see that I have one and a half eyes.” 

Her mother never failed to console her by letting her know she was beautiful despite her condition.

After graduating from primary school in 2009, Sharifat enrolled in secondary education at Iqra Science Academy.

Even though she didn't face any discrimination in school, people in her neighbourhood around Nyamusala continued to address her as “The lady with one eye.”

Despite all the discrimination, Sharifat's mother never let her daughter feel unloved.

“My mother said that with this condition, all I need is to study hard so I can at least be proud of myself and make her proud of me,” Sharifat told Prime Progress.

After secondary school and fuelled by her love to care for others, Sharifat went to the Taraba State College of Nursing and Midwifery.  She kept her head down and worked hard to earn good grades there.“I can't be disabled physically and mentally.” she said.

She has been working as a Registered Midwife in various Primary Health Care Centres across Jalingo before securing a job at the Federal Teaching Hospital in Gombe.

The job has given her the privilege to support her parents, who spent almost everything they had to educate her.

At the hospital in Gombe, she is usually faced with adverse reactions from people whenever they learn about her eye condition. But she had mustered the courage to focus on her work and nothing else.

As Sharifat continues to defy stereotypes to lead a better life, she hopes to become a philanthropist who can bring smiles to the faces of orphans and persons with disabilities.

She concluded, “I want to change the world with my modest efforts and help the girl-child receive an education,” Today, she is focusing on ensuring her patients regain their health. 

Sharifat Musa Abubakar

You may also like