My name is Samuel and I was born in a remote village called Kpor in the southern part of Nigeria. My earliest and most frightening memory is of the day that my uncle brought me to the orphanage, told the matron I had no family and then, in turn, told my mother that I had died on the way. I was four years old at the time and did not know why my mother did not want me anymore. Maybe it was because I was different, crippled with polio and unable to walk. Panic gripped me as I wondered what would happen to me next.Life at the orphanage turned out to be a miserable existence at best. Instead of caring for the children entrusted to them, our caretakers strived only to make money. We were given only one meal a day so we would appear wretched and starved in order to elicit funds and contributions from donors.
I suppose it was the trauma of being hungry all the time, feeling utterly alone, and the pain of dealing with my illness that caused me to constantly wet my bed.
For this crime I was beaten thirty times every morning with a leather whip used for animals. This went on for eight years of my life, and I became known as “The Bed Wetter.’ The shame that followed me was unbearable and the disgrace was so great that I could not even lift my head when I spoke. I was afraid to sleep and afraid to wake up knowing what awaited me in the morning.
When I was eight, I realized that no one was going to help me and if I was ever going to make something of myself I had to get an education. The challenge, though, was that the school was over a mile away, and there was no transportation available. At this time in my life the only way I was able to get around was by crawling, and though the problem seemed insurmountable, I determined to crawl over a mile to and from school to get an education.