My Lagos Adventure to Bring Back Wheelchairs – Onwubariri Emmanuel Chidube

I find it thrilling to visit places, going from one humanitarian outreach to another. This is something I never could imagine that I could do after my spinal cord injury.

A GoFundme was created by Mr. Erik Kondo to support Dubel Disability Foundation to purchase wheelchairs. Two Rough Rider wheelchairs were purchased, a third wheelchair was donated by Mr. Phil Hunt, medical supplies were also donated to us from generous individuals. All of these goods were sent on a shipping container from the US, by my relative, to Logos. We waited for eight months for its arrival.

In my despair after my accident, I never dreamed of ever traveling, driving. The opportunity came to me to get a car for doing Dubel’s work. Today I’m driving. People see it as miracle. Some imagine it as risky, but then I know is a God given opportunity to prove most people wrong.

When the items donated to Dubel got to Lagos, it became a challenge for me to find a person to trust to travel hundreds of miles from my home to Lagos State Nigeria to help me get those items for Dubel. I took it upon myself to travel to Lagos. It was difficult for me. When I came back, I got sick from exhaustion. Looking back on my journey, I am much lifted up with joy knowing that I took a flight to travel to a big city. It was my first time taking an airplane flight.
On arrival to Lagos State, I had a partner waiting for me at the airport. We took an airport taxi across the city to a hotel where we slept for a night. At daybreak, we took a taxi to the shipping location to ensure the safety of the items donated to Dubel. We were able to receive the many large boxes. We took them to a transportation company that will bring them to my home state. We then took a taxi back to the hotel because it was late.

The next day, we left the hotel at 5am to go the bus station to travel home Imo State. It was a long journey as we encountered several traffic jams, mostly as we got to the city of Onitcha. On our arrival to Imo State, it was late. We had to sleep in a hotel. The next day we took a taxi back to the airport where I had parked my car. Because it had been three days since I had travelled and parked my car, the front wheel was chained by the management. On seeing this, money had to be paid before my car was unchained. Finally, I drove from the airport to my home.

Two days later, the transported items arrived at Owerri. The next day, I drove to the city two times to collect the boxes. The following day, we began distributing most of the items. We travelled to the home of Francis. We brought him a brand new Rough Rider wheelchair with cushion and some medical supplies.

Mr. Francis, who Dubel had visited on many occasions in the past, had told us that his hospital style wheelchair, which we donated to him previously was broken. As such, he barely could go about his business of surviving on his own. The Rough Rider wheelchair was built to withstand our tough environment. It has the proper type of wheels and fits Francis well. Recently, I came back to visit Mr. Francis. I was able to witness how he’s making use of the Rough Rider wheelchair. It was really amazing, he’s so active. He goes out to do his daily business, gathers firewood, attends meetings and church.

Next, we travelled to the home of Mr Christopher Odumegwu, who has been mostly bedridden because his wheelchair was broken. We provided him with a sporty wheelchair and a cushion donated by Mr. Phil. This was a big relief to him. We also saw that that he lays on a dirty old mattress. He’s in dire need of more support.

I have benefited greatly from getting the second Rough Rider wheelchair. It’s joy to me because my environment is always sandy and filled with potholes. But with the Rough Rider I can maneuver around areas that I couldn’t before. I am forever grateful to the supporters of Erik’s Gofundme campaign for making all of this possible.