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Entertainment of Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Source: 3 News

Lifestyle: Once a chief, now a blind cook; meet Nana Debrah


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One would have expected to see Nana Boafo by the roadside, assuming a posture that elicits sympathy from passersby, with a cup in hand begging for alms like most blind people do in the big cities.

But no, Nana is a different ‘breed’ of his kind; a visually impaired man who has refused to live by alms.

He has chosen to live by the work of his own hands; the kind of blind men who are rare to find these days.

Nana exemplifies the saying “disability is not inability”.

He’s a motivation to others in similar challenging situations to forge through the struggles of life. He has surmounted all the odds associated with visual impairment to make a decent living for himself and his children.

Nana has got exceptional culinary skills.

He prepares tasty meals of all sorts, the reason TV3’s Portia Gabor chooses to call him ‘Chef Extraordinaire’.

Nana Boafo was not born blind.

Prior to his blindness, he was the Ankobeahene of the Anum-Asamankese Traditional Area in the West Akyem municipality of the Eastern region.

The unfortunate happened when he travelled to South Africa in June 2014.

For someone who has enjoyed the pleasure of full sight and even had a whole traditional area under his control in his capacity as a traditional ruler who commanded a lot of respect, it must have been very disheartening being plunged into perpetual darkness.

Nana recounts how it all happened.

“In a dream, I saw I was walking with a friend and in the process, the friend told me that Nana look, someone, is taking your eyes away and in the dream, I say who is taking it and he said look at him, he is going.

“And I said how can somebody be taking my eyes while I can see. Seven months later I got a shock that fateful day. I was walking on the street one day, all of a sudden I’m off” he narrated.

Medical reports revealed that Nana was diagnosed with end stage of glaucoma.

Nana revealed his condition brought a sharp twist to his life leading to rejection, ostracism and stigma. He narrates the rejection he faced.

“There is a day, one chief died and they [his village people] wanted to go and I decided to go with them. In fact, that day I wept, I said I would go with them but they came and said I won’t go with them, they can’t go with me.

“You’re going to disorganise our waitings like that. I said aaah what is happening, I can do everything. They said no. That day was the day I saw myself that nothing for me to do on my own” he said.

Portia wanted to know if his situation ever pushed him to contemplate suicide. He responded in the affirmative, saying “definitely, about 3 times”.

Nana said he eventually gave up the thoughts of suicide and fled his town to seek refuge in a prayer camp where he met a woman who helped him.

The woman was moved by the story of Nana so she decided to help him acquire skills in preparing pastries and other dishes.

Testimonies from neighbours and customers give credence to prowess in cooking.

Nana has not lost hope on regaining his sight but until then he needs support to expand his business.

“So I need oven and I need kitchen utensils to run some small restaurant so that I can lay[sic] on my own” he appealed.

With little assistance, Nana uses his senses of touch, smell, taste and hearing to perfectly execute tasks in the food making process.

Portia Gabor simply could not resist the taste of Nana’s pastries.

Watch video below



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