‘Hard times don’t create heroes. It is during the hard times the hero within is revealed – Bob Riley’
The pressures of living in modern everyday Nigeria is enormous. Whether physically through standing or walking long distances for transportation, mentally through fear for your safety and health or emotionally through harsh and wicked attitude of some, there always seems to be something around the corner after our happiness.
We often think of how we can get ahead; make the journey a little easier and our lives a bit more ‘bearable’. We compromise on values such as courage, tenacity, diligence, honesty, empathy, brotherly kindness while committing acts whether inconsequential, grievous or even abominable.
But there are many amongst us that give hope, who, in their own ways, are leading the ‘change’ the society so craves. I see people like this and all I have is respect, admiration and most importantly inspiration. Many times they are not the elegantly dressed, best-spoken or most educated but those just living in the extra-ordinary way called normal. I met such a person not long ago, Mrs Grace Adegbite a widower and an amputee.
I first saw her on a cold night at Ijebu Ijesa, Osun state when I visited for the Christmas holiday. I had bought bean cake popularly known as Akara from her the night I arrived. I went back the next morning and the next evening to buy. But on the 3rd day, I finally noticed how she kept using her shoulders to hold poly bags and then it hit me, she had lost her right arm.
‘It happened in 1974, Niger state,’ she narrated after I summoned the courage to talk to her about it. ‘I was in the forest but fell down a slope and broke my arm. I tried some traditional treatment but that led to complications. Finally, the hospital told me I had to have my arm amputated. I thought of killing myself several times. My sister comforted and encouraged me.’ Mrs Adegbite got married and had 3 kids but tragedy struck again as her husband passed on in 1997.
All her kids completed their formal education, the last is finishing up his youth service. The little children assisting her in the shop were her sister’s spending the holiday with her. She always has a calm and respectful aura; greeting her elders and taking good care of the kids, there is a warmness surrounding her shop that made the Akara extra tasty.
I am deeply moved by Mrs Adegbite’s story – the refusal to compromise and the tenacity to work towards a better future. She overcame the staggering setbacks life had thrown at her. She is a symbol of peace, of change and of the future we desire.
Every time you refuse to break but stand up to the bully called the hardships of life, holding on to the values we so eagerly desire, you make the world a better place in your own little way. You are a hero just like Mrs Grace Adegbite – a Hero of Everyday.