Wednesday, 22 October 2014

International Stammering Awareness Day- Interview with Two Stammerers

                 

Since today is the International Stammering Awareness Day, I decided to interview a few stammerers and let their voices be heard on this platform. 

Meet Joseph Entekume and Tosin Smart.

When did you start stammering?
Joseph: It started when I was 4.
Tosin: I really can't remember when because I knew I started at a very young age, maybe 4yrs and above.

What do you think caused it?
Joseph: I was imitating the Late. Sam Loko Efe for a while and nobody stopped me. Also, it was a Tv series so it was a daily habit for me to imitate him.
Tosin: Well, I think it was fear, being bullied and lack of confidence.

Was any other member of your family a stammerer?
Joseph: Nope. Only me!!!
Tosin: My mum stutters once in a while because it is that obvious but I wouldn't say she is a stammerer.

What was it like, growing up as a child stammerer?
Joseph: It was bad, really bad, but sometimes it brought me good things. My teachers liked me a lot, they always had my back and I think that that, apart from me being the last-born, made me my dad's favorite.
Tosin: It wasn't a good childhood for me. You know, a lot of things you want to say but can't voice out, your opinion doesn't count because none of your friends has the patience to wait for 3 minutes to hear a 5-word sentence. So that made me a walk-over. I could hardly defend myself when lied upon and explaining matters was even worse, not to talk of answering questions in class even though you have the answers to the questions.

How did you cope in school?
Joseph: It was hard answering questions in school. I couldn't participate in debates though I was really good. And people, expecially my mates made fun of me a lot. I think it contributed to my former anger-prone self. But it got easier with time, I got better. My mates got wiser.
Tosin: It wasn't a good experience in my elementary school so what I did was move with those who were sympathetic to my cause. lol. And they spoke for me too.

How has it been with the opposite sex?
Joseph: OoooooK........stuttering has never been a hindrance when it comes to "chyking"(borrowed that from your article). Whenever I decide to talk to a girl, it's like I'm Usher. I just sing my way through..... I mean it goes away. It might creep in a bit, but then I can control it like a boss. This might sound odd but I think I'm usually in control when it comes to chyking. I discovered it in a bet. I was in SS2. My friends and I were contemplating on "TOASTING" a beautiful Nigerian brunette that was in front of us, and I opted to go first. They laughed and said I couldn't, so we bet on some money. So I walked faster, caught up with her, looked for that thing that makes me an Urhobo man (courage) and I spoke to her. It was flawless.
Tosin: Wow! opposite sex.... Well I had a crush on so many girls but couldn't find the voice or courage to approach anyone of them but only could with my eye contact and being nice. So guys that were sharper and could talk fast got the girls while I just fantasized. But all that is a thing of the past now.

What do you dread the most as a stammerer?
Joseph: Saying my name. Like when trying to introduce myself to someone. It can be really embarrassing, so I try to avoid it.
Tosin: I dread conflicts, arguments which I never win even though I might be innocent. I also dread the fact that my stammering may not leave me, that is to say I might still be stammering at my old age.

What has been your most embarrassing moment?
Joseph: Dunno, too many.
Tosin: Hmmm..... When I was asked to explain something in front of a whole class, it happened twice, in my primary school and secondary class and the whole class just bursted into laughter.

What have you achieved notwithstanding your stammering challenge?
Joseph: A lot. Talk about being the youngest in a media firm and being the supervisor. I'm a leader, that I know. And even though I stutter, people tend to listen to my opinions and words. And a lot more (can't say all).
Tosin: Being able to talk in public and dramatize infront of thousands without stuttering as long as I stick to the script.

What has been your escape method?
Joseph: Escape method???? I didn't have one before. I just made sure I said what I had to say, no matter how embarrassing it was or how many times I hit my feet on the ground. But now, when it creeps in bad, I just laugh and remind the person I'm speaking to that I stutter (then they either laugh or say, "it's ok"or "take your time")

What do you have to say to other stammerers?
Joseph: F*** the world!!!F*** them all!!! Just be you, and try to relax when talking. Take your time. People would definitely push you around mostly because they think you don't have what to say. Some will have pity on you and show it in a really embarrassing way. Sometimes market women will think you want to steal something just because they think you're pretending, maybe get a beating or two. The bus driver might cheat you and collect 100NGN instead of 50NGN for a half way trip just because you couldn't tell him where you were going to before the bus left the park. Just learn to control the pace in any situation. Look into the eyes of whoever you're speaking to and talk. Like I said, F*** the world. You're in charge. 
Tosin: I will like to advice anyone stammering to be confident, not to be quick to say words, to take their time and let the words come out slowly from their mouth.

What do you have to tell non-stammerers?
Joseph: Be patient with stammerers.
Tosin: Be patient with people stammering. Don't make fun of them as it will hurt them badly when laughed at and increase their low self esteem.

What do you think is a Stammerer's deepest need?
Joseph: Love. Trust me........"LOVE"

All thanks to Joseph and Tosin for giving me their time. If you haven't read my own account, click here
©Radiant~ October 2014

International Stammering Awareness Day- A Stammerer's Deepest Need


Author: Chidiogo Ibe 

Today is the day set aside worldwide to create awareness to the public about the 1% of the world's population who have that flaw in fluency of speech, called stammering or stuttering. You might have heard one speak or heard of them during stand-up comedies

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

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Photo by eventsvenue.com.ng

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Trembling Digits


Have you ever held unto the handle of a door and prayed that no one came near it to open it?


This was the state I found myself in on July 18, 2014 at some minutes past two in the morning. Following the previous day's hectic work, I had zonked out and sailed off to dreamland unsuspectingly until I sprang off my bed awoken by the characteristic sounds that I heard. I had heard a lady exclaim 'Jesus!' as an iron boot collided with a wooden door. I knew immediately what it was. My sister had told me that the compound had been attacked earlier in the year, so my memory cells picked the signals quickly. I saw myself hiding my iPad, picking my phone and blanket, switching off the light and running into the kitchen. I put the phone on silent mode and quickly hid it, then I held the door so tenaciously that I could have broken the handle, was it present. Since there was no handle, my fingers latched on the holes in the handle space and lost their blood supply. My heart raced like a hundred-meter sprinter and my breathing could be heard. My fingers shook so badly out of terror. This was the first time I was experiencing a burglary. I couldn't help but wonder what was going on with the lady that had screamed. I prayed that my neighbor's children would be safe. I thought about jumping off the window through our emergency exit, but 'what good would that do?', I thought. Staying outside wasn't any safer.


Then there was a bang closer to my flat. Then another. This time so loud that I was sure it was my flat. I began to remember scriptures that talked about protection and started muttering them. 'My life is hid with Christ in God', 'No weapon fashioned against me shall prosper', e.t.c. I muttered as much as I could, then spoke in tongues and continued muttering. I repeated the cycle, still standing with my fingers trembling in the two holes, hoping that they would not decide to check the kitchen. 'What if they open this door?', I considered. 'What will I do?'. I couldn't fight with a kitchen knife. That would just make them violent. Since I couldn't tackle them physically I decided it was going to be a spiritual battle. I had heard of a man who was attacked by armed robbers and asked to surrender his car keys at gunpoint, but he refused. Instead, he turned to the gun man and commanded, 'In the name of Jesus, die!' And the gun man dropped dead immediately. The others saw what had happened to their fellow and fled. I told myself that that would be my case, should they decide to open the kitchen door. 

After that peak of adrenaline surge, time lapsed and I heard no other sound. It was like they had gone, but I couldn't dare step out to see what had been done to my belongings. I just remained in my position for about two hours, after which I began to feel my legs ache and so I sat on the kitchen bucket, still holding unto the door continuing my confessions and spiritual language. More time passed, and still not hearing any sounds or movements, I decided to release my hands. I did, and my fingers came out curved and difficult to straighten. I began to take notice of rat squeaks and owl cries. I would check my phone a thousand times to see the short hand South South. It seemed to take forever. I couldn't wait for dawn to come or to start hearing the blaring of cars and the shouts of bus conductors. I now so much longed for what I despised the most about living near the road. I could now cringe at the sight of a mice—what I cared less about while I held unto the door. Several horrible thoughts flashed my mind. 'What if they decide to jump into this kitchen through the window?' I hadn't noticed that there was no protector until then. I kept saying my confessions, though afraid.

I finally began to hear sounds from cars and bus conductors but I still didn't come out. I waited another thirty minutes for it to be brighter, then I came out stealthily, careful not to make a noise. I was surprised to see that my room was intact. I checked the door and it hadn't been tampered with. So it wasn't my flat that had been broken into. I was grateful. I heard some neighbors talking, so I opened the door and discovered that the woman I heard her voice was the one with the children and she had been robbed. The other doors they broke into, unfortunately for them had no residentsone was a kitchen, the other was a flat someone had paid for but hadn't yet packed into. I packed my things, went to work that morning, but after work, went to stay with my sister.

©Radiant~ October 2014