“Society” is supposed to be a safe haven for all individuals, regardless of their looks, preferences, social, or financial standing. “Society” is supposed to protect the rights of all persons, and treat them equally, none greater than or above the other. Now when this same “society” turns against you, discriminate against you, and constantly persecute you just because you look different, who do you turn to for help? The following is the sad and heartbreaking story of a very brilliant and smart girl whom “society” was against, but defied all odds and stands a champion today. The story is quite lengthy, so it will be published in 3 parts. This is the story of Gloria, as told by her:
Hello everyone, my name is Gloria Opoku Darkoh. Up until I was 6 years old, I was a very normal child (at least I thought I was). I never really cared about how I looked or that I was the shortest in my class. We were all young and free, and life went on quite smoothly.
However, at this time, things started to change. My age mates were growing taller, liking each other; some were falling in love and doing fun things together. They started becoming best friends but nobody wanted to be around Gloria, unless they were going to make fun of her!
This was also the first time I really thought of myself as being an undeniably abnormal 6 year-old girl.
At this point, the rate at which I was getting ill and my frequent visits to the hospital with my dad begun to make sense to me. What exactly was wrong with me? Was I really the Taboo-person society was claiming that I was? What on earth was I here for?
Our final year in junior high school, something happened. I was top of my class again! This was my chance – a very good one and I did not intend to make light of it. Previously, our teachers selected school prefects based on merit and even though I was always amongst the best five students since primary one, I was never considered for any prefectorial position – no, not once! This time I was a senior and there was no way my name would be skipped. I thought to myself, “What an amazing opportunity to show the world what I am made of! I am definitely going to make everyone recognize me for who I am not what I look like”.
Now, the names of school prefects were announced and guess what happened? My name was not there! I was denied being a prefect again! I remember thinking to myself, “What a waste of energy, time and effort!” I was so disappointed at myself and so angry that I asked one of my teachers why I was not chosen and what do you think he said? “Gloria, take a good look at yourself. Who are you going to lead looking like this?”
People, I was only 14 years old and this was my very first heartbreaking experience. To say I cried was an understatement. See, I grew up in a typical village called Twifo Hermang, where there was no electricity or a good source of water. Big trucks were the only means of transportation – whether rubbish trucks, log carrier trucks or sand trucks it did not matter so long as it was going your way, there was no other option. Every morning both students and teachers were packed in the back of the available truck together with whatever is inside to be conveyed to school. Coming back home from school was no different.
My family could not afford me wearing more than one school uniform throughout the year so you can imagine how my school uniform looked like. So imagine having to inhale the stench from a rubbish truck for thirty minutes every day and still make it among the best students in school. Imagine staying up late at night studying with a lantern so I could prove my worth. Imagine having to endure all the teasing, insults and bullying from people at school waiting patiently for this day to come, then for all my efforts I got nothing but humiliation!
Let me tell you a little about my condition. My Mom and Dad are…..[Part 2 ]