By BERRY DINGHAN
JIREH Widuh uses the top of his short right arm, shoulder and chin to write.
His handwriting looks so beautiful that one who has not seen him would not have guessed it is from one with underdeveloped limbs.
His upper limbs end just above where the elbow area. His legs are only 10 centimetres long.
But Jireh, 48, from East Sepik has worked for three security companies in the past 20 years to monitor the radio, closed circuit television and telephone. He quit last year and is looking for another job.
He also reads and speaks good English by local standards.
“As a person living with of disability, I have worked in the private sector for years and have contributed to the country through taxes.”
You see, Jireh wants to take care of himself and not to be fully dependent on others. He wants as much as possible to do things using what he has got – which may not seem much to normal people.
All he lacks right now is an electric wheelchair to help him move around. He depends on someone else to push him around.
He was brought from East Sepik to Port Moresby in 1988 by Catholic missionaries to live in the Cheshire Homes.
He started schooling at the centre in 1989 when then Australian High Commissioner to PNG Allen Taylor and wife Carol sponsored him at Murray International School (now Ela Murray International School) in Port Moresby from 1990 to 1994. He managed to complete Grade Six.
He has been living at the Cheshire Homes for almost 31 years.
But one thing he has promised himself not to do is go out to the street and beg as some disabled and normal people are doing. Jireh sees that as a sign of laziness.
“It’s the show of laziness and lacking initiatives to be productive. Seeing both able and disabled people begging from the public is shameful and embarrassing. They should be ashamed sitting and begging. It is a disgrace.”
He believes that people who can help themselves to earn a living should not be begging or engaging in criminal activities to survive.
“ As a person living with of disability, I have worked in the private sector for years and have contributed to the country through taxes.”
Jireh urges police to arrest beggars because there must be other useful things they can do to survive.
“Disabled people should not be begging and must be at home or to go to Cheshire Homes for health and safety reasons. Begging in the streets is not safe for them.”
He believes that some families deliberately send their disabled members to go and beg in public.
Jireh has never begged once in his life.
“I may accept gifts from people who willingly give something to me at times as it is their heart’s call.”
He hopes to find work soon and look after himself. Jireh does not see his disability as a handicap but something to make him work harder to be as good as the rest.