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Meet Mr Etsie, The Visually-Impaired Who Fixes Car Parts   
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Disability, the sages say, is not inability, and that is the clear message Mr James Etsie, a visually-impaired at Agona Swedru in the Central Region, seems to be sending.

Mr Etsie, who has been visually impaired since 1997, has proven that with the requisite skills, people with various forms of disabilities begging along the streets could set up their own businesses.

Today, Etsie, also known as ‘Teasu’, to wit ‘step on it’, has become widely known in the Swedru area and beyond as a result of his dexterity in the repairs of faulty vehicular brakes and clutches despite his impairment.

He has become so popular that the junction leading to his workshop has been named Teasu Junction, which is located opposite the Agona Swedru Motor Traffic and Traffic Department (MTTD).

Eye complications

Mr Estie, who is in his 50s, is also the father of seven boys. He started having eye problems in 1995 and after visiting a number of hospitals, the problem with his eyes was later detected to be glaucoma, a complicated eye disease which causes damage to the optic nerve leading to progressive, irreversible vision loss.

Etsie was born to Opanyin Yaw Kakra and Esi Mansah, both deceased. He attended the Bediako Local Authority School in the Brong Ahafo Region.

Learning a trade

After school, he assisted his parents on the farm for about three years, after which he was attached to an uncle (Kwesi Afenyi of blessed memory), a mechanic, to learn the trade at New Edubiase in the Ashanti Region in 1979.

“Because my parents did not have money, I could not continue my education to the secondary school level, so they asked me to join my uncle to learn his trade,” he told The Mirror, adding that after three years of training he passed out and later moved down south to Swedru with another colleague to set up their own mechanic shop.

He later broke away from his friend and set up his own shop in 1983. Shortly after that in 1987, he said, he started having problems with his eyes.

“Later when I realised I had began to have some blurred vision, I went to different hospitals to seek medical assistance but they all could not help. After 10 years, in 1997, the situation had worsened making me totally blind,” he narrated.


Support from GBU and family

He indicated that he was greatly disturbed and hurt when he lost his sight and decided to sit at home to reflect over his situation.

Fortunately for him, he got some counsel from some members of the Ghana Blind Union (GBU) which encouraged him not to abandon his trade.

The members even trained in the manufacture of mats but because he had to take the mats to go round and sell the mats himself, without making meaningful profits, he quit that business to concentrate on the repairs

of faulty brakes and clutches although he was trained in the general servicing of vehicles.

So far, Mr Etsie, who is the President of the Swedru Zone of the GBU, has trained 47 apprentices who have all set up their own shops.

He currently has two apprentices working under him.

He believes that given the appropriate training and financial support, the visually impaired would take their rightful places in society and also contribute their quota to national development.

The wife of Mr Etsie, Esther, who sells brake fluids and minor car parts in a container opposite her husband’s shop, has ably supported and lived with him for the past 35 years.

“I have not left him since he developed the problem because I believe that once he is supported, he would live a normal life,” she said, and added, “that is why I have given him all my support.”

A driver, Mr Samuel Yeboah, whose KIA vehicle was being worked on by Mr Etsie at the time of The Mirror’s visit, said, “Teasu has been servicing the brakes and clutches of different types of vehicles I have been bringing to him for the past 18 years”.

“I have known him for the past 18 years and I can say that he is an expert in brake repairs and everybody can attest to this in Swedru,” he said.

A taxi driver, Kofi Arthur, said Tiasu’s shop was where he repaired his brakes anytime he had problems with them.
Source: Ghanaweb.com

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