New Telegraph

Anguish, disappointment as fate plays cruel one on Nwaeruru

There is no doubt that Nwaeruru Chinyere Ohaegbulam from birth was blessed with the best people around her – a loving family, caring siblings and doting parents. The birth of little Nwaeruru was an answer to prayer and was heralded by fanfare and elaborate celebration. She was welcomed with all the love and affection she could ever ask for. But fate played a fast one on her family – there was no foreboding, no premonition or the slightest hint to the cruel fate that lay ahead for the poor little Nwaeruru.

For a family that had craved and prayed for a female child after five males, her arrival came as a jubilant stroke of fulfillment for the family. But who would ha e known what fate had in store for the family and particularly, little Nwaeruru. Life fired the first salvo when Nwaeruru was only three – innocent, tender and adorable. Her elder brother, Mr. Chinedu Ohaegbulam, said Nwaeruru, at the age of three was hit by a bout of Measles. She was already walking, though with unsteady steps. Her parents had risen to the occasion as expected and had rushed her to a hospital for medical attention. That trip to the hospital, till date has remained the family’s biggest regret.

That was all life needed to had Nwaeruru, a raw deal. According to Chinedu Ohaegbulam, the injection administered to Nwaeruru, landed her in a wheelchair, paralyzed for life. “My younger sister walked for only two years and few months in her entire life. She learnt to sit and crawl like other children her age. “She came to the point of standing up with support and eventually to the point of making staggered efforts at walking. And like her peers, she finally learnt to walk and in good time. “It was at the age of three, that she came down with Measles, and was taken to Mbano General Hospital.

There, she was injected by one man, named Robert, whose name we can never forget. “Robert was a member of staff of the hospital who administered the injection that paralyzed my kid sister’s limbs. This happened in the early 1970s.” Chinedu Ohaegbulam added: “Nwaeruru was a paragon of beauty right from birth. She was so delicately beautiful that our father gave her the name “Nwaeruru”.

She was born after our father had prayed and longed for a girl-child, because he already had five boys. The birth of Nwaeruru was celebrated by my father in a manner he never celebrated his first five boys and the other children that came later. “When the injection misfortune struck, our parents were literally broken and in misery, especially our father over what her poor little girl had to live with and deal with through life.

“They did everything within their means to make Nwaeruru walk again, but all to no avail. My parents confronted the paralysis through the orthodox, unorthodox, spiritual, traditional, religious, and other means recommended because our father was willing to explore every and any suggestion made to him by his many sympathetic friends and neighbours. When every idea was explored and exhausted, all hope to revive her limbs waned and faded, Ohaegbulam said. Consequently, Nwaeruru was confined to a wheelchair. She grew up to realize that her limbs were paralyzed and incapable of healthy functions and courageously, she accepted her fate and resolved to push on and face life squarely. A native of Ogbor-Ihitteaforukwu, Ahiazu Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State, Nwaeruru was later to be employed at the local government headquarters of the council.

But fate was not yet done dealing cruel blows on Nwaeruru. “On July 9, 2021, Nwaeruru was on her bed, getting ready to retire for the night, but as usual, she needed to refill the lantern that served as electricity in the house with Kerosene.

As she began to refill the lantern, in an instant, there was a loud kerosene explosion. On hearing the screams of her daughter; her very loyal and dedicated companion and care-giver for years, our dear mother, propelled by a mother’s love, used the last ounce of strength and courageously battled to save and extricate her dear daughter from the raging flame in the room.”. But the damage had already been done. So much was saved, yet so much was lost. Nwaeruru’s face and body suffered severe burns, Ohaegbulam narrated. In the last three months, Nwaeruru’s siblings in turns, chaperoned their sister, kept vigils to help her nurse her pains.

They did everything within their power and limited resources to save her life, but their best was not enough. To worsen a sad story, while Nwaeruru contended with paralysis and severe burns, she was also owed by government and deprived of her 14 months salaries, her brother narrated. Neither her paralysis nor the severity of her burns was enough to move the hand of government in sympathy, to pay her salary arrears in spite concerted efforts made by her brother. Nwaeruru Chinyere Ohaegbulam finally bowed to fate. She passed on October 3, 2021.

And her dear brother had this to say: “Nwaeruru was an Amazon; a fighter who faced life with courage. She wasn’t one to thrive on self-pity, she infact, hated to be pitied because of her physical challenge. She was my friend; I and my siblings cared for her till her last breathe and her memory we shall forever hold dear.” It is hoped that Nwaeruru will find in death, the respite that fate never gave her.

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