Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
For the Danladi family in Nasarawa State, nothing would have been crueller than the incidents of 2009 and 2011 when the enemy struck, rendering twin brothers, Peter and Paul, completely bat blind at their prime age of 25 and 27 years with their father.
The yet-to-be resolved mystery behind the sudden blindness is not the truncation of their dreams of becoming lawyer and panel beater. Peter became blind the same month with their father, while Paul lost his exactly two years later. Since those years locust took the happiness in the family. The Danladis have known nothing but anguish and sorrow, running hopelessly from one hospital, herbalist and spiritual home to the other in search of solution to regain their sight without any success.
Left with limited options, the twins had resigned to fate by taken the viable lucrative option of joining the School for the Blinds in Abuja, announcing confidently that nothing will threaten their dreams of becoming singer and journalist. Peter, the elder of the twins told Daily Sun:
“We were not born blind like this. We became blind in 2009 and 2011 at the ages of 25 and 27 years. It started with my twin brother after suffering from measles disease then attacked me and our dad.
“This blindness has spiritual implication. My brother had had a dream where he was playing a game with one old woman. Then, she threw something into his eyes before leaving him. He started feeling sharp pains like having particles in his eyes after waking up from that dream. He later overcame the pains, but that dream manifested five years later when he fully lost his sight.
“When this happened, my brother was in the JSS2 almost ready for promotion to JSS3. I was in school before but had to drop out and enrol into apprenticeship as a panel beater because it became very difficult for our parents who are mere farmers to pay our school fees.
“I was at the workshop in 2009 almost close to freedom from the apprenticeship when I started having eyes problem which finally made me lose my sight in 2011. Painfully, I became blind the same year with my dad.
“We had gone from one hospital to another including outside our state, Nasarawa, in faraway Plateau State and the eye clinic in old Karu, FCT. But unfortunately they were unable to resolve the problem.
“What was more confusing is that most of the hospitals we visited told us that there was nothing wrong with our sight yet we cannot see. While my twin brother lost his sight in 2009 I battled it but finally lost mine in 2011. Surprisingly, my dad went blind too the same month with my twin brother.
“As if it was not enough, one of our step sisters became blind in 2015, however, due to divine intervention; she was able to regain her sight but could only see partially. The only thing of joy for the family is that she is married and living happily in her husband’s house.”
For him the only way to defeat the enemy totally is to continue with their academic pursuit with the hope that financial intervention could come their way: “Now, the problem is that all the relatives helping us previously are tired of us.
“The heavy load of taking care of the whole family is now on the head and shoulder of our mother who just depends on farming to sustain us. My appeal to my state governor and good Nigerians is to kindly help us by contributing to our academic training to help us actualise our dream of becoming independent persons. We are supposed to graduate this year and we need help from the government.
“My target is not graduating with any of the professional courses like law, medicine among others. My target in life is to become a practicing journalist. I am in love with journalism and it will be a life-fulfilling dream to read Mass Communication and become a practicing journalist.”
For Paul, the twin brother, it is time to put the challenges behind and move forward: “I don’t want to continue to dwell on the past, recounting the circumstances that led to our blindness. I have since resigned to fate by putting it behind me as I look up to the future.
“I wanted to be a lawyer and I still dream of becoming one, but this blindness has made me discover my real talent as a gifted singer. I want to move ahead with my new found love of singing.”