This love story kicked off from Facebook! For former Ms Bukola Adeosun, falling in love and marrying Olawale Dada, a man living with Cerebral Palsy, is a joy she would cherish forever. The two, who have ticked four months in their marital calendar, shared their love story with Kemi Ashefon for Lovehaven magazine December 2017 Edition
LH: When did you get married?
Olawale: We got married on August 26, 2017.
LH: Where and how did you meet?
Bukola: We met on Facebook.
LH: What was the attraction?
Bukola: For me, the attraction was his open-mindedness, sincerity and when we met physically, I wasn’t surprised at what I saw because I had seen his photos on Facebook.
Didn’t you nurse fears?
Bukola: I had my fears especially when he asked me while chatting on the phone if I could marry someone with disability. I paused a while before typing my response. I reasoned that physically challenged persons are human beings too and nothing stops them from living a normal life. That day, for my response, I just typed ‘I don’t know.’
Olawale: I was just browsing through Facebook and I saw some friends’ suggestions with hers inclusive. I was attracted to her simplicity, natural beauty and smile. It was what I’ve always wanted—someone with a cheerful disposition. I went to read up her profile but the other photos were not too impressive—she looked like a pastor’s daughter. I thought, ‘can this person handle me?’ I wanted someone I would be free with, someone I can discuss my past with and be able to reason and not be too religious. Then I realised I would always go to see her picture. I would click ‘Like’. Then, I went ahead to start a conversation with her. Her response impressed me and from Facebook, we migrated to Whatsapp, then to phone calls and Imo, where we can see live video.
Weren’t you afraid to woo her?
Olawale: Due to the many disappointments I have had from some ladies in the past, I didn’t want pity, I wanted love. I told her from the outset all about me. I noticed a spark between us but whenever I wanted to make advances, she would say, ‘don’t get your hopes high.’ I didn’t give up and still forged ahead. I still can’t explain where I got the boldness from. I became stuck with her.
LH: What was the reaction when you met her physically?
Olawale: We met one-on-one on August 27, 2016 at a restaurant in Lagos. I came loaded with materials on cerebral palsy. I wanted her to know more about CP. That day, we were like two lost-but-found soul mates! We chatted unending.
Bukola: We would chat till very late. We would start from 9 pm till 5am on Whatsapp. We were so open to each other. That endeared me to him the more. A woman wants a man who she can talk to without inhibitions, she can bare her mind and not castigate over what she said; it was a beautiful friendship. I wasn’t really sure if I would marry him but I enjoyed the friendship. His perception to life amazes me—he helps people, he raises funds and gets items for those living with cerebral palsy.
LH: What was the reaction when he proposed?
Bukola: I visited him at home and I saw him going on his knees. His aunt was present that day! I was smiling but not ready for it despite the fact that I had fallen in love with him. I accepted but I made him realise that marriage is more than love and we needed to pray and get a word from God to confirm He wants us together. My parents are pastors and I told them to also pray about it. I prayed on my own but needed to pray with him and confirm this is from God. So, we got to pray and had three prayer points that we presented to God. First, God should convince us about each other. Secondly, that God should convince the authorities he has placed above us—pastors and parents. Lastly, that God should make a way for him in his real estate business. We took up some days of fasting and prayers. God confirmed with answers.
Any opposition from family or friends?
Bukola: None, they all supported my decision.
Olawale: No opposition but everyone told me to tame anger. Already, I had explained to her some characteristics of people living with disabilities.
By the time I informed my family members about her, they invited her and wanted to be sure it was love. This is because they knew that I would love a woman without inhibitions and some ladies had taken advantage of me in the past. My mum was surprised when she saw her and asked Bukola if she was sure of her decision to marry someone like me and if she was well informed about cerebral palsy—she responded positively.
Was the cerebral palsy from birth?
Olawale: I didn’t know it was cerebral palsy until 2010. I grew up being depressed, having low-self esteem and I was a triangle guy—church, school and back home. But in 2013, my New Year resolution was to make more female friends because I was cut off from everyone socially. Prior to that time, I couldn’t start a conversation with ladies. I decided making friends and opening up. That helped me a lot because I started understanding ladies—their likes, their dislikes. That also helped me because I knew I had to do away with pettiness, low self-esteem, immaturity and other mood swings which could show up in disabled people.
LH:So you didn’t know it was Cerebral Palsy?
Olawale: Yes. I wasn’t just comfortable with the uncoordinated body movements, I fell down easily but I had an accident in year 2000. It was so bad that I broke my legs. I felt pain and had series of tests and consultations in hospitals after which it was discovered that the severe measles I suffered at age two must have triggered it. My mum said after the measles, I didn’t talk for a while. But I pushed myself. I didn’t like what I was going through and I sought acceptance. I would cry, go to the Bible, read the scriptures but I discovered my entrepreneurial ability, worked on it and gradually, I’m getting results.
Do you experience discrimination?
Olawale: Yes. Growing up, I didn’t experience any form of discrimination from kids, but adults. Also, the reaction from churches is not encouraging. Imagine having a miracle session in church and if you don’t manifest any sign of transformation, they would look at you as if you have committed a sin that God cannot forgive. For many years, I thought God has forsaken me. I stumbled on a scripture one day and the Spirit of God ministered to me on , “What can separate me from the love of Christ…?” Every child, able or disabled, is a gift from God and He has deposited treasures in them. I always encourage parents of physically challenged children to work on their mindsets. This is because parents living with disabled children are indirectly disabled. The first disability is depression. Depression is not visible and nobody can see it and prescribe drugs, they carry the pains of having such a child. Also, know that your child is a gift from God. I see myself as a project to help others.
LH:How are you coping as his wife?
Bukola: People who knew him before he got married now are in awe that he looks good, fresher, and smiles more. I knew what I would go through when I said yes to him. Though it could be a bit tiring, I remind myself that I’m married to him and we are coping. Whenever we go out, I would have to hold him while he walks. I bear a bit of his weight. I’m coping and its been a jolly ride. I have noticed that I am a special person. I have gone through some things in life and these things have made me strong. I ensure that we are happy and take the good of every situation.
LH: Do you quarrel?
Bukola: We argue but its always sorted out.
Olawale: When I’m angry, I will start singing and thanking God.
LH: Who apologises first?
Bukola: He does.
LH: What do you call each other?
Bukola: We call ourselves Babe but sometimes, he calls me MOOD(Mrs Olawabukola Olawale Dada)
LH: How do you guys handle finance? Do you have a joint account?
Olawale: Not yet but she is my accountant.
Bukola: I know about every kobo he spends. He knows mine too. I handle his accounts and all transactions. I’ve observe that he could give out all his money to people in need. He’s generous to a fault and I am a very prudent person. I manage his account and try to avoid unnecessary spending.
What are his favourite food?
Bukola: He likes light food, snacks etc. I prefer swallow, he doesn’t.
LH:What is advice to ladies searching for life-partners?
Bukola: First, the physical appearance of a man doesn’t determine the state of his heart. Finding a right partner is beyond finding someone to love you but someone who can share your world with, someone you can take giant stride with, someone that whatsoever happens in future, you sail through together. A woman should look beyond the physical, beyond the pocket (money is important but not a determining factor). Make sure you are going into marriage with someone you are very comfortable with because sometime money, beauty and love might not be enough.
Olawale: For those living with disability and seeking life partners, know that you have to show yourself friendly if you are looking for a friend. For you to get married, know what you want. Be available, be accessible and be approachable.
Bukola: Marry a man with a purpose. When I met him, I realised he has passion for humanity. He pours himself out to people, helping people who are needy. All I could see was somoen who did not relent because of his situation, who was not seeking pity. I wanted a man who had identified himself and walking in the purpose. I am a teacher and work with students. I do mentoring for female students and I do volunteering too.